This will be the last week of bowl projections without the benefit of the College Football Playoff rankings as a guide to see how teams in this imperfect seasons are seen by the committee.
There should be little mystery at the top with Alabama and Notre Dame occupying the first two positions.
Ohio State has been impressive in four games. Do the Buckeyes have enough data points to justify putting them ahead of Clemson, Texas A&M or Florida? Probably, but maybe not. The Aggies and Gators both have wins against teams ranked in the top five at the time of the victories. Ohio State only has the one quality win,last week's narrow defeat of Indiana.
Alabama running back Jase McClellan carries the ball against Kentucky during the team's game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. (Photo: Mickey Welsh, The Montgomery Advertiser)
The rankings should provide an early look at the committee's approach and help shape future predictions, though past seasons have proven the teams at the top at the start of the initial playoff rankings don't necessarily finish there.
WHAT TO KNOW: Key questions ahead of the ranking release Tuesday
FIELD ANALYSIS: Where the College Football Playoff stands right now
RE-RANK: Northwestern, Oklahoma move forward in NCAA 1-127
With no upsets and cancellations at the top of the rankings last week, the projected playoff field remains the same. Among the New Year's Six, the lone movement sees Northwestern moves up with its defeat Wisconsin.
The bowl lineup for the postseason stands at 37 games with the status of the Las Vegas Bowl uncertain. Teams in bold have accepted berths.
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