College football bowl projections: Clemson moves into playoff spot – USA TODAY

  • September 28, 2022

Forget winter. Chaos is coming.
That’s just unavoidable this season with three teams — Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State — way ahead of the pack, and the contenders for the fourth College Football Playoff flawed and likely to have at least one or more losses when the invitations to the semifinals are handed out on the first Saturday in December.
Despite all that uncertainty, someone has to make the field and that means we have to make a pick for this week’s bowl projections after Oklahoma’s shocking loss to Kansas State relegated the Sooners. 
Michigan might be the best team after the first three, but it’s hard to see the Wolverines making it as a second Big Ten team when two from the SEC are likely to go. The Big 12 might be the most-unpredictable conference. The Pac-12 isn’t far behind given its improved play at the top of the league.
Which brings us to the ACC. Clemson’s imperfect and significant win at Wake Forest puts Dabo Swinney’s team in position to effectively put a stranglehold on the Atlantic if it can win Saturday against North Carolina State and that’s good enough to earn the nod … for now.
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The big loser this week is the Sooners, who drop all the way out of the New Year’s Six with the first defeat of the Brent Venables era. They might still be the best team in the Big 12, but its hard to project winning the league with one home loss already. 
Among the other changes this week are North Carolina State moving into the ACC’s Orange Bowl spot vacated by Clemson’s ascension and Southern California improving to the Cotton Bowl after a dramatic win at Oregon State. Oklahoma State and Mississippi move up to the Sugar Bowl with the Rebels benefiting from a loss by Arkansas.
Note: An asterisk indicates a school that has replaced a conference pick.