Bowl projections: Southern California, Michigan move into College Football Playoff after wild weekend




The College Football Playoff projection got a major facelift with two surprising results that have caused half the field to adjusted.

The first newcomer is Southern California. The path for the Trojans was clear three weeks ago. Could they navigate a three-game run through UCLA, Notre Dame and the Pac-12 championship to secure a spot in the semifinals?

Two steps are in the books with the latest one coming with an impressive defeat of the Fighting Irish. The last one will come against Utah, the lone team to beat USC. The Trojans should have a better outcome Friday and secure an unlikely berth in Lincoln Riley's first season.

Southern California wide receiver Tahj Washington (16) celebrates his touchdown during the first half against Notre Dame at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Southern California wide receiver Tahj Washington (16) celebrates his touchdown during the first half against Notre Dame at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  

The other team joining the field is Michigan off its impressive defeat of Ohio State that puts the Wolverines effectively in the field even with one more game left against Purdue in the Big Ten title game.

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Falling out this week are the Buckeyes, who looked to be the class of the Big Ten before the loss, and Clemson, which suffered a stunning home loss to South Carolina.

Other adjustments this week come in the New Year's Six with Kansas State securing a place in the Sugar Bowl and Washington's defeat of Washington State moving the Huskies into the Rose Bowl. LSU falls out of the Sugar Bowl opening a spot for Tennessee in the Orange Bowl.

Here's the status of the rest of the bowl field: With 41 postseason games besides the national championship game, there are 82 spots for six-win teams. There are 79 entering the final weekend that have already qualified. Buffalo and Army are 5-6 and still have one game remaining. Appalachian State is 6-6 but has two Championship Subdivision teams, meaning the Mountaineers will get placed after other six-win teams if there are openings. New Mexico State could be in a similar spot if it can land an additional game this weekend. If 5-7 teams are required to fill spots, Rice is in the top position due to its APR score being better than any other teams in the pool.

Reminder: Some conferences may not fulfill their bowl allotment. Asterisks denote a replacement pick. Teams in bold have accepted berths.

 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football bowl projections: USC, Michigan move into playoff

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