College football bowl screenings: Welcome to the College Football Playoff, TCU

College football bowl screenings: Welcome to the College Football Playoff, TCU

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with further reporting.

Welcome to the College Football Playoff, TCU.

The Horned Frogs went from tepidly splashing along the CFP’s edge to diving into the deep end this week. TCU removed any doubt of its Playoff contender status with a hard-fought win against Texas. In this week’s projections, the Horned Frogs entered the top four with Oregon’s exit and leaped past Tennessee into the No. 3 slot.

For the second consecutive week, Georgia remains No. 1, Michigan No. 2 and Tennessee No. 4. A few teams circling around the Playoff wading pool like hungry sharks include potential Pac-12 champion USC, projected Big Ten runner-up Ohio State and SEC West champion LSU.

Penn State edged projected Pac-12 runner-up Oregon as the final New Year’s Six at-large spot in the Cotton Bowl. UCF replaced Tulane as the top Group of 5 champion.

A few other notes:

  • Should Penn State jump ahead of an SEC at-large team not headed to the Playoff or Sugar Bowl, the Nittany Lions will play in the Orange Bowl. That would give the Big Ten’s ReliaQuest (formerly Outback) spot to the ACC.
  • 64 teams are bowl eligible for 82 spots. With two weeks left in the regular season, we project 83 eligible teams.

Reminders:

  • Most bowls do not have to select in strict order of conference standings. “Big 12 No. 3” means third choice, not third place. The SEC office plays matchmaker with its bowls and schools.
  • Notre Dame can fill one of the ACC’s bowl spots.
  • ESPN Events owns and operates 16 of the 41 FBS bowls, most of them involving the Group of 5 conferences. They have latitude to move teams around to create interesting matchups. One we came up with: A Birmingham Bowl matchup of Tulane and Coastal Carolina.
  • Bowls’ priorities range from TV audience to maximizing attendance. A team like Texas could generate sizable ratings but a motivated fan base like Kansas could swarm to a location in droves and help boost ticket sales and the local economy.

All times Eastern.

New Year’s Six

BOWL DATE TEAM CITY VIEWING

Orange

Dec. 30

Clemson (ACC) vs. Alabama (SEC/B1G/ND)

Miami

8 p.m. ESPN

Sugar

Dec. 31

Kansas State (Big 12) vs. USL (SEC)

New Orleans

Noon, ESPN

fiesta

Dec. 31

No. 2 Michigan vs. No.3 TCU

Glendale, Ariz.

4pm/8pm ESPN

peach

Dec. 31

No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Tennessee

Atlanta

4pm/8pm ESPN

Cotton

Jan. 2

Penn State (at-large) vs. UCF (at-large/G5)

Arlington, TX

1pm ESPN

Pink

Jan. 2

Ohio State (B1G) vs. USC (Pac-12)

Pasadena, Calif.

5 p.m. ESPN

Remaining Bowls

BOWL DATE TEAMS LEASE VIEWING

Bahamian

Dec. 16

Eastern Michigan (MAC) vs. Western Kentucky (C-USA)

Nassau, Bahamas

11:30am ESPN

Priest

Dec. 16

South Alabama (ESPN) vs. Toledo (AAFC)

Orlando, Fla.

3 p.m. ESPN

Fenway

Dec. 17

Syracuse (ACC No. 9) vs. Memphis* (AAFC)

Boston

11 a.m. ESPN

New Mexico

Dec. 17

San Jose State (MWC) vs. BYU (ESPN)

Albuquerque, NM

2:15 p.m. ESPN

L.A. Bowl

Dec. 17

Washington State (Pac-12 No. 6) vs. Boise State (MWC No. 1)

Inglewood, Calif.

3:30 p.m. ABC

Lendingtree

Dec. 17

Appalachian State (Sun Belt No. 5) vs. Wyoming* (C-USA/MAC)

Mobile, Ala.

5:45 p.m. ESPN

vegas

Dec. 17

Oregon (Pac-12 No. 3) vs. Arkansas (SEC Nos. 3-8)

Vegas

7:30 p.m. ABC

frisco

Dec. 17

Texas Tech (ESPN) vs. Oregon State (ESPN)

Frisco, TX

9:15 p.m. ESPN

Myrtle Beach

Dec. 19

Rice (ESPN) vs. Southern Miss (ESPN)

Myrtle Beach, SC

2:30 p.m. ESPN

Idaho Potato

Dec. 20

Fresno State (MWC) vs. Central Michigan (MAC)

Boise, Idaho

3:30 p.m. ESPN

boca raton

Dec. 20

FAU (ESPN) vs. Miami-Ohio (ESPN)

Boca Raton, Fla.

7:30 p.m. ESPN

New Orleans

Dec. 21

Troy (Sun Belt No. 2) vs. Middle Tennessee (C-USA)

New Orleans

8 p.m. ESPN

Armed Forces

Dec. 22

Air Force (ESPN) vs. EMS (AAFC)

Fort Worth, TX

7:30 p.m. ESPN

independence

Dec. 23

Louisiana* (Army) vs. Houston (AAFC)

Shreveport, La.

3 p.m. ESPN

Gasparilla

Dec. 23

Connecticut (ESPN) vs. NC State (ESPN)

Tampa, Fla.

6:30 p.m. ESPN

Hawaii

Dec. 24

UNLV (MWC) vs. UAB (C-USA)

Honolulu

8 p.m. ESPN

Quick Lane

Dec. 26

Michigan State (Big Ten No. 8) vs. Buffalo (MAC)

Detroit

2:30 p.m. ESPN

Camellia

Dec. 27

North Texas (ESPN) vs. Marshall (ESPN)

Montgomery, Ala.

Noon ESPN

First Responder

Dec. 27

Liberty (ESPN) vs. UTSA (ESPN)

University Park, Texas

3:15pm/6:45pm ESPN

birmingham

Dec. 27

Tulane (AAC) vs. Coastal Carolina* (SEC No. 9)

Birmingham, Ala.

3:15pm/6:45pm ESPN

Guaranteed Rate

Dec. 27

Wisconsin (Big Ten No. 7) vs. Baylor (Big 12 No. 6)

phoenix

10:15 p.m. ESPN

Military

Dec. 28

East Carolina (AAC) vs. Louisville (ACC No. 8)

Annapolis, Md.

2pm ESPN

Liberty

Dec. 28

Kansas (Big 12 No. 5) vs. Cincinnati* (SEC Nos. 3-8)

Memphis, Tenn.

5:30 p.m. ESPN

holiday

Dec. 28

Notre Dame (ACC Nos. 2-4) vs. UCLA (Pac-12 No. 4)

San Diego

8 p.m. Fox

Texas

Dec. 28

Oklahoma (Big 12 No. 4) vs. Mississippi State (SEC Nos. 3-8)

Houston

9 p.m. ESPN

pinstripe

Dec. 29

Minnesota (Big Ten No. 5) vs. Pittsburgh (ACC Nos. 5-7)

Bronx, NY

2pm ESPN

Cheez-It

Dec. 29

Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 3) vs. Florida State (ACC Nos. 2-4)

Orlando, Fla.

5:30 p.m. ESPN

Alamo

Dec. 29

Texas (Big 12 No. 2) vs. Washington (Pac-12 No. 2)

San Antonio, TX

9 p.m. ESPN

Duke’s Mayo

Dec. 30

Maryland (Big Ten No. 6) vs. Duke (ACC Nos. 5-7)

Charlotte, NC

Noon ESPN

Sun

Dec. 30

Wake Forest (ACC Nos. 5-7) vs. Utah (Pac-12 No. 5)

El Paso, TX

2 p.m. CBS

gator

Dec. 30

North Carolina (ACC Nos. 2-4) vs. Florida (SEC Nos. 3-8)

Jacksonville, Fla.

3:30 p.m. ESPN

Arizona

Dec. 30

San Diego State (MWC) vs. Ohio (MAC)

Tucson, Ariz.

4:30 pm Barstool

Music City

Dec. 31

Illinois (Big Ten No. 4) vs. Kentucky (SEC Nos. 3-8)

Nashville

Noon ABC

ReliaQuest

Jan. 2

Iowa (Big Ten No. 3) vs. South Carolina (SEC Nos. 3-8)

Tampa, Fla.

Noon ESPN2

Citrus

Jan. 2

Purdue (Big Ten No. 2) vs. Ole Miss (SEC No.2)

Orlando, Fla.

1pm ABC

(Top photo of TCU QB Max Duggan: Ben Queen/USA Today)

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