Doing bowl projections when the four teams in the College Football Playoff all win on Saturday. This, however, is not a normal week because there is going to be a change among the top four.
Oregon is moving up and replacing Washington as the fourth member of the semifinal field. The change might raise some eyebrows as the Huskies defeated the Ducks earlier this month and still are unbeaten. But after two lackluster performance by Washington against Arizona State and Stanford – the two worst teams in the Pac-12 – the expectation is that a likely rematch in the conference title game will go a different way. The change is all about the Huskies, Oregon looked dominant of its thrashing of Utah last week, and only home games against Southern California and Oregon State appear to be possible obstacles to reaching the Pac-12 title game with one loss.
Another result working in the Ducks’ favor was Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas that ensures no team in the Big 12 will finish unbeaten. That means a one-loss champion from the Pac-12 should be in the field given the overall strength of the league this season.
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Other major changes this week sees Kansas State move up into the New Year’s Six ahead of its game against Texas. The Wildcats should get past the Longhorns, who are expected to be without quarterback Quinn Ewers, and then be in position to make the Big 12 title game.
Reminder: Some conferences may not fulfill their bowl allotment. Asterisks denote a replacement pick. James Madison and Jacksonville State are eligible for a bowl if there are not enough six-win teams to fill all the spots.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football bowl projections: Oregon jumps Washington in playoff