The College Football Playoff projection got a major facelift with two surprising results that have caused half the field to adjusted.
The first newcomer is Southern California. The path for the Trojans was clear three weeks ago. Could they navigate a three-game run through UCLA, Notre Dame and the Pac-12 championship to secure a spot in the semifinals?
Two steps are in the books with the latest one coming with an impressive defeat of the Fighting Irish. The last one will come against Utah, the lone team to beat USC. The Trojans should have a better outcome Friday and secure an unlikely berth in Lincoln Riley's first season.
The other team joining the field is Michigan off its impressive defeat of Ohio State that puts the Wolverines effectively in the field even with one more game left against Purdue in the Big Ten title game.
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Falling out this week are the Buckeyes, who looked to be the class of the Big Ten before the loss, and Clemson, which suffered a stunning home loss to South Carolina.
Other adjustments this week come in the New Year's Six with Kansas State securing a place in the Sugar Bowl and Washington's defeat of Washington State moving the Huskies into the Rose Bowl. LSU falls out of the Sugar Bowl opening a spot for Tennessee in the Orange Bowl.
Here's the status of the rest of the bowl field: With 41 postseason games besides the national championship game, there are 82 spots for six-win teams. There are 79 teams entering the final weekend that have already qualified. Buffalo is 5-6 and plays Akron. Even with a win, that would still mean two spot are available. Those could go to teams that finish 6-6 but have two Championship Subdivision victories. Leading that group is Appalachian State, which completed it season at 6-6. New Mexico State and Army are both 5-6 and hopeful of a waiver from the NCAA. Army plays Navy on Dec. 10, but would need approval to play in the Independence Bowl by Dec. 3.
If there are remaining spots available, 5-7 teams with the highest Academic Progress Report scores would get first opportunity. Rice and then UNLV are in the top position.
Reminder: Some conferences may not fulfill their bowl allotment. Asterisks denote a replacement pick. Teams in bold have accepted berths.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football bowl projections: USC, Michigan move into playoff