Now that Michigan State has made the playoff and will face Alabama in the Cotton Bowl on December 31st, the College Football Playoff Committee has released its full Top 25 rankings. With the Rose Bowl on the record saying they would take the top-ranked Big Ten team available, throwing Iowa's Rose Bowl dreams in doubt, there was still some intrigue for the Big Ten pending the release of these rankings.
16. Oklahoma State
DJ Carver: Michigan State is the school that likes to have all the chips, but Michigan should have one here being put below TCU and Ole Miss at 14. Michigan's losses were to Ohio State, Michigan State, and Utah. Ole Miss? Florida (OK), Arkansas (LOL), and Memphis (eh, ok). Michigan had "better" losses other than being blown out by Ohio State, but at least Ohio State is a Top 10 school. Arkansas? At one point we weren't sure they'd make it to six wins and Florida only beat Vanderbilt 9-7. That's some awful football right there.
MNWildcat: I second basically everything DJ said. Disappointing to see Ole Miss and Oklahoma State make an NY6 over the 'Cats, but that's how tie-ins work.
12. Ole Miss
10. North Carolina
9. Florida State
8. Notre Dame
7. Ohio State
Orange Bowl - 12/31
#1 Clemson vs. #4 Oklahoma || 3pm, ESPN
Cotton Bowl - 12/31
#2 Alabama vs. #3 Michigan State || 7pm, ESPN
The NY6 Bowls
#5 Iowa vs. #6 Stanford || 4pm PST, ESPN
The Hawkeyes will face a Stanford team that leapfrogged Ohio State with a big win over USC in the PAC-12 Championship. That's clearly a sign that the CFP Committee valued Iowa's strong showing in the B1GCCG. Congrats to Hawkeye Nation.
I expect Iowa fans to positively flood Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl -- could we see 2/3 Hawkeye fans in Pasadena? If the excitement surrounding this program at GameDay was any indication, I wouldn't doubt it. It's gonna be more MANBALL in the Rose Bowl, and Iowa should be well-equipped to give Stanford all they can handle. Look for the Hawkeyes to get to Kevin Hogan early and often; if they can contain Christian McCaffery, Iowa will take this one.
#12 Ole Miss vs. #16 Oklahoma State || 7:30pm CST, ESPN
Great: two teams that aren't actually that great get to play in an NY6 bowl because of conference tie-ins. Meanwhile UNC, TCU, Northwestern, and Michigan are wondering what could have been.
#7 Ohio State vs. #8 Notre Dame || 12pm CST, ESPN
DJ Carver: The committee did the right thing and kept Iowa ahead of Ohio State. Ohio State felt snubbed for like five minutes until the committee matched them up against Notre Dame. What do people in the midwest do best? Hate Notre Dame. Take solace Buckeye fans, you get to beat up on the school that things they're better than everyone. You'll hear Notre Dame fans claim they only missed the playoffs by four points. I hope you all beat them by 40+ and show them how awful they are.
WSR: Urban Meyer hasn't killed anyone yet that we are aware of. Go Buckeyes.
#18 Houston vs. #9 Florida State || 12/31, 11am CST, ESPN
WSR: more proof that everyone loves Cougars on New Year's Eve.
All the Bowls!
As they come rolling in, we've got your bowl game updates here! An asterisk denotes teams who went 5-7 but were invited to bowl games on the strength of their APR.
Pinstripe Bowl - 12/26
Indiana vs. Duke || 2:30pm, ABC
Foster Farms Bowl - 12/26
Nebraska* vs. UCLA || 8:15pm, ESPN
Jesse Collins: I'm happy with the draw but mostly because I'm happy our team gets another month of practices. UCLA has beaten as many ranked teams as they've lost to as many unranked teams this year - or so I've heard - and so yay inconsistency! I'm going to assume lots o points in this one.
Quick Lane Bowl - 12/28
Minnesota* vs. Central Michigan || 4pm, ESPN2
WSR: GOPHERS VS. CHIPS! WOOOOOOOOO!
Holiday Bowl - 12/30
#25 USC vs. Wisconsin || 8:30pm, ESPN
Outback Bowl - 1/1
#13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee || 11am, ESPN
MNW: It's the worst-possible matchup for Northwestern, as the Vols have led in the 4th quarter of most games this year, blowing leads late to Florida and Oklahoma. If Human Forehead Joshua Dobbs can get the Tennessee attack running, I'll be spending my New Year's Day with a hangover in Raymond James Stadium listening to "Rocky Top" on repeat.
Citrus Bowl - 1/1
#19 Florida vs. #14 Michigan || Noon, ABC
WSR: For the second consecutive game in a row, I'm ready to be disappointed by Florida.
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl - 1/2
Georgia vs. Penn State || 11am, ESPN
MNW: This could somehow allow James Franklin to win his second-straight bowl game by keying on a not-so-great team.
DJ: YOLO Hack needs to show up for Penn State to have a chance to win, but then again they gain by losing Donovan calling plays and Georgia has a new HC and is without it's top RB