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Final 2017 College Football Bowl Projections

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Sad as it is to say, the 2017 college football campaign in on its last legs and is moving on to the final phase: the postseason. While it’s a bummer that we only have a handful of games left in the year, the excitement is also about to pick up even more because it means the chase for the national title is down to four in the College Football Playoff.

With all that in mind, CFTalk decided to peer into our crystal ball and take a look at the postseason picture one final time — figuring out which teams wind up in certain bowl games prior to the official announcements on Sunday afternoon. Running through all the scenarios, here’s how the bowl picture could play out from the final four to the very first one on December 16th:

College Football Playoff

Bowl Teams
Rose Bowl No. 2 Oklahoma* No. 3 Georgia*
Sugar Bowl No. 1 Clemson* No. 4 Alabama

New Year’s Six

Bowl Teams
Peach Bowl UCF* Notre Dame
Fiesta Bowl USC* Penn State
Orange Bowl Miami Wisconsin
Cotton Bowl Ohio State* Auburn

2017 FBS Bowl Games

Bowl Teams
New Orleans Bowl Troy North Texas
Cure Bowl Marshall Georgia State
Las Vegas Bowl Arizona Boise State
New Mexico Bowl Colorado State UTSA
Camellia Bowl Akron Arkansas State
Boca Raton Bowl Temple Florida Atlantic
Frisco Bowl SMU UCLA
Gasparilla Bowl Western Kentucky FIU
Bahamas Bowl UAB+ Ohio+
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Wyoming Northern Illinois
Birmingham Bowl USF West Virginia
Armed Forces Bowl Army+ Southern Miss
Dollar General Bowl Toledo App. State
Hawaii Bowl Fresno State Houston
Cactus Bowl Kansas State Oregon
Quick Lane Bowl Central Michigan Purdue
Heart of Dallas Bowl Texas Tech Utah
Independence Bowl Louisiana Tech Duke
Pinstripe Bowl Boston College Iowa
Texas Bowl Texas Missouri
Foster Farms Bowl San Diego State Washington State
Military Bowl Virginia Navy
Camping World Bowl N.C. State Oklahoma State
Alamo Bowl TCU Washington
Holiday Bowl Michigan State Stanford
Belk Bowl Texas A&M Wake Forest
Sun Bowl Florida State Arizona State
Music City Bowl Kentucky Northwestern
TaxSlayer Bowl Louisville Mississippi State
Liberty Bowl Iowa State Memphis
Arizona Bowl Utah State N.M. State
Outback Bowl South Carolina Michigan
Citrus Bowl Virginia Tech LSU

+Accepted bowl invite

*Clinched New Year’s Six Bowl bid

Note: Buffalo, Middle Tennessee and Western Michigan also qualified for a bowl but were not selected

2017 College Football Bowl Projections after Week 13

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Thanksgiving weekend in college football brought plenty of turkey, gravy and an extra dose of chaos as the postseason picture in the sport was shaken up from coast-to-coast. No matter if you were looking at the College Football Playoff or trying to figure out the various conference races, chances are you saw a surprise outcome or two in Week 13 given the number of results that ranged from eye-opening to downright shocking.

With all that in mind, CFTalk decided to peer into our crystal ball and take a look at the postseason picture — figuring out which teams wind up in certain bowl games prior to the official announcement. Running through all the scenarios, here’s how the bowl picture could play out from the final four to the very first one on December 16th:

College Football Playoff

Bowl Teams
Rose Bowl No. 2 Oklahoma No. 3 Auburn
Sugar Bowl No. 1 Clemson No. 4 Alabama

New Year’s Six

Bowl Teams
Peach Bowl UCF Wisconsin
Fiesta Bowl USC Ohio State
Orange Bowl Miami Georgia
Cotton Bowl Notre Dame Penn State

2016 FBS Bowl Games

Bowl Teams
New Orleans Bowl Troy North Texas
Cure Bowl Western Kentucky Georgia State
Las Vegas Bowl Arizona State Boise State
New Mexico Bowl Colorado State Marshall
Camellia Bowl Akron Arkansas State
Boca Raton Bowl South Florida Florida Atlantic
Frisco Bowl Houston Northern Illinois
Gasparilla Bowl Memphis Florida International
Bahamas Bowl UAB* Ohio*
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Wyoming Central Michigan
Birmingham Bowl Duke SMU
Armed Forces Bowl Army* Southern Miss
Dollar General Bowl Toledo App. State
Hawaii Bowl Fresno State Navy
Cactus Bowl Kansas State Oregon
Quick Lane Bowl Western Michigan West Virginia
Heart of Dallas Bowl Texas Tech UCLA
Independence Bowl Louisiana Tech Wake Forest
Pinstripe Bowl Boston College Iowa
Texas Bowl Texas Missouri
Foster Farms Bowl San Diego State Washington State
Military Bowl Virginia Temple
Camping World Bowl Virginia Tech Oklahoma State
Alamo Bowl TCU Washington
Holiday Bowl Northwestern Stanford
Belk Bowl Texas A&M N.C. State
Sun Bowl Louisville Arizona
Music City Bowl Kentucky Purdue
TaxSlayer Bowl Florida State Mississippi State
Liberty Bowl Iowa State Utah
Arizona Bowl Utah State N.M. State
Outback Bowl South Carolina Michigan
Citrus Bowl Michigan State LSU

*Accepted bowl invite

+ Buffalo, Middle Tennessee and UTSA also qualified for a bowl

Rejoice! No five-win teams will go bowling this season

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Those who are no fans of the bloated bowl system (raises hand proudly) can take solace in this development.

This season there are 39 bowl games, including the playoff semifinals, meaning 78 teams need to reach the six-win threshold in order to keep APR scores amongst five-win teams from filling out the postseason field.  Fortunately, the latter won’t be necessary.

From the Associated Press:

Temple’s 43-22 win over Tulsa guaranteed that there will be [at least] 78 teams at six wins. The week started with 70 teams already bowl eligible with four games matching 5-6 teams. UCLA, Purdue and Middle Tennessee won what were essentially bowl play-in games. …

Duke, Texas Tech and Buffalo also won their games to reach six wins and qualify.

There are actually four teams that could reach six wins when all of the dust is settled: Louisiana Tech (UTSA) and the winner of the Colorado (5-6) vs. Utah (5-6) matchup tonight, Florida State (Louisiana-Monroe) and New Mexico State (South Alabama) next Saturday.

This will mark the first time since 2014 that a five-win team/teams haven’t been needed to complete the bowl field.

Buffalo clinches bowl eligibility with three-game winning streak

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In his third season as Buffalo’s head coach, Lance Leipold is taking the program bowling. And how they got there is commendable. Entering the month of November with a record of 3-6, the Bulls had no margin for error. A three-game winning streak to close out the regular season seemed like a reach, but on Friday afternoon the Bulls put the finishing touches on just such a winning streak.

Buffalo (6-6, 4-4 MAC) rushed out of the gates to a 24-7 lead on Ohio (9-4, 5-3 MAC) on their home field, but the Bulls needed a big play on special teams and defense to close the books on a bowl-clinching 31-24 victory. Tied at 24-24 in the fourth quarter, Ohio was forced to punt from their own seven-yard line. K.J. Osborn returned the punt 39 yards to the Ohio six-yard line. Two plays later, Emmanuel Reed gave the Bulls the lead with a short touchdown run. Then the game was put in the hands of the defense.

Ohio has a masterful drive rolling out, spanning 62 yards over 13 plays and wasting away nearly all of the clock after starting the drive with 8:10 to play. On 4th and 12 at the Buffalo 13-yard line, Nathan Rourke‘s pass was picked off by Khalil Hodge in the endzone with a little more than a minute to play. Ohio could call two timeouts to stop the clock, but the Bulls still managed to pick up a first down to close out the game.

While not to discredit Buffalo for their achievement here, it is worth noting Ohio’s fate in the MAC East Division race was settled earlier this week. The Bobcats were eliminated from clinching the division after Akron wrapped up the division with a win earlier this week. Had Akron lost, Ohio could have clinched the division with a win against Buffalo.

The MAC now has seven teams that have met the six-win minimum to go to a bowl game this season. This is Buffalo’s first bowl season since 2013, but Leipold is no stranger to a college football postseason. Leipold won six Division 3 national championships with Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2007 through 2014, and his D3 powerhouse program only missed the postseason once during that run.

Western Michigan TE explains sister’s premature field rush and hug that went viral

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An explanation has been given for one of the most memorable moments of not only Week 6 but the entire 2017 college football season.

In the first overtime of what turned into a seven-overtime affair this past weekend, Western Michigan tight end Donnie Ernsberger scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass that, with the successful extra point, sent the game into a second overtime. Moments after the catch, Ernsberger’s sister, Shalene, wearing a No. 85 Ernsberger jersey, came onto the field during the game to give her brother a celebratory hug.

Again, during the game.

“She thought the game was ended by my touchdown,” the football-playing Ernsberger explained to the Buffalo News. “I was astonished that she got down there so fast. I was in disbelief that she was there before all of my teammates. …

“She was excited for her brother, and it just shows the family love we have.”

One of those teammates had a classic response to the development.

“It was hilarious,” WMU running back Jarvion Franklin told ESPN.com. “She ran right past me on the field and I was like ‘Girl, you’re crazy.’ I wasn’t mad. People were laughing and kind of got us a little more energized.”

Shalene Ernsberger was escorted off the field and out of the stadium by security, although no charges were filed. Initially, the officiating crew threw a flag and penalized the Broncos 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, but ultimately picked up the flag when it was discovered that the field rusher in question was not a part of the WMU football program.