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Bowl projections: Florida joins College Football Playoff field among major changes this week

Erick Smith
USA TODAY

The gang is all back together. With the Pac-12, Mountain West and Mid-American Conference announcing last week they plan to play college football this fall, all but four of the 130 Bowl Subdivision teams will take the field at various points between now and Dec. 19.

So where does that leave the College Football Playoff picture? The Big 12 continues to fall apart with Oklahoma losing and Texas barely surviving Texas Tech last Saturday. That would seem to help the Pac-12 in its bid to make the field after missing out the past three seasons. However, the league is only going to play seven games, putting it at a major disadvantage when the committee is also weighing at-large teams from the ACC or SEC.

Florida linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. (1) reacts during the first half of the team's win against Mississippi at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Which brings us to Florida. The Gators look poised to pass Georgia in the SEC East and face what now appears to be manageable games against Texas A&M and LSU from the West. If they finish 10-1 with a loss in the SEC title game, their case will be favorable compared to a less-than-stellar Big 12 winner or a Pac-12 champion that played a less-challenging schedule. That debate would be an appropriate way to end what has been a chaotic 2020.

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The rest of the postseason remains unclear. As of now, six wins are still required, though the NCAA appears set to waive the rule after its Division I football oversight committee recommended making all teams eligible for the postseason.

It's uncertain how many of the bowls will take place. For now, the major games will be included until there is more clarity about the schedule and whether the season can be completed in its compacted time frame.