Week 3 College Football Playoff projections

The start times were set on Wednesday for the ‘New Year’s Six’ bowl games on ESPN this year, as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day once again take on a big stage for the world of college football.

All six bowl games under the new College Football Playoff rotation, including the two College Football Playoff semifinals, will be televised on ESPN. Here is the schedule for the first year of the new postseason. All times are ET.

Wednesday, December 31
12:30 p.m. Peach Bowl
4 p.m. Fiesta Bowl
8 p.m. Orange Bowl

Thursday, January 1
12:30 p.m. Cotton Bowl
5 p.m. Rose Bowl
8:30 p.m. Sugar Bowl

The College Football Playoff, which begins this season, features the four top teams as selected by a selection committee. The Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl will host the first semifinals, which will pair No. 1 versus No. 4 and No. 2 versus No. 3. The winners of those games will battle in the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, on January 12, 2015.

Back on August 25 before the new season began, my playoff projections had No. 1 Florida State meeting No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl and No. 2 Alabama against No. 3 Oregon in the Rose Bowl. I thought the Buckeyes would have enough to get by Virginia Tech at home, and I believed that new starting quarterback J.T. Barrett would be very comfortable by the time the team went on the road to play Michigan State. With the results of this past weekend, however, I have amended my CFP projections.

Note: One team from the so-called Group of Five (American Athletic, MAC, Mountain West, Conference USA and Sun Belt) will get chosen for either the Cotton, Fiesta or Peach Bowl.

The College Football Playoff

Semifinal—Rose (Pasadena): No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 Alabama

Semifinal—Sugar (New Orleans): No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Michigan State

National Championship—(Arlington): The winners of the two semifinals meet

The CFP Selection Committee bowl games

Dec. 31 Peach (Atlanta): Georgia (At-Large) vs. USC (At-Large)

Dec. 31 Orange (Miami): Virginia Tech (ACC) vs. Auburn (Big Ten/SEC/Notre Dame)

Dec. 31 Fiesta (Glendale): UCLA (At-Large) vs. Oklahoma (At-Large)

Jan. 1 Cotton (Arlington): Baylor (At-Large) vs. Cincinnati (At-Large)

I replaced the Buckeyes with Michigan State. Sure, the Spartans lost to Oregon last weekend. But anyone who watched that game should see that the Spartans — if they run the table — could make a claim to be one of the best teams in the country.

Certainly the season has just started to get interesting as we prepare for the weekly releases of College Football Playoff rankings, which will debut on October 28 on ESPN and air each Tuesday night thereafter. The four teams ultimately selected to participate in the semifinal matchups will be announced on the weekend of December 7.

Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

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