If Ohio State beats Northwestern and Oklahoma defeats Texas, there will be debate over what could be the final playoff spot. But Georgia could upset No. 1 Alabama and amplify the Playoff debate.
College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Final Top 25
NOTE: This will be updated throughout the weekend as games go final. Here is how we project the rankings will look on Sunday in the final rankings of the season, along with bowl projections. Teams in bold play this weekend.
- Alabama: 13-0 with projected win against Georgia. The Tide will be No. 1 if they beat Georgia. Even if ‘Bama loses, it’s possible it could still get a CFP spot.
- Clemson: 13-0 with projected win against Pitt. Pitt upset Clemson two seasons ago, but the Tigers will roll.
- Notre Dame: 12-0. The Irish can relax knowing they have a Playoff spot clinched.
- Oklahoma: 12-1 with projected win against Texas. Any kind of win could be enough, but a sloppy win could open the door for Ohio State.
- Ohio State: 12-1 with projected win against Northwestern. If the Buckeyes win big, they need a Texas win or an ugly Oklahoma win to have a chance.
- Georgia: 11-2 with projected loss to Alabama. If Georgia competes and loses in a thriller, the Bulldogs would have an argument ahead of a conference champion.
- UCF: 12-0 with projected win against Memphis. Without QB McKenzie Milton, the Knight could lose to Memphis and a spot in another New Year’s Six game.
- Michigan: 10-2. The Wolverines will have to settle for a New Year’s Six game after the blowout loss to rival Ohio State.
- Florida: 9-3. The Gators are likely safe to remain in the top 10 for a New Year’s Six appearance.
- Washington: 10-3 with projected win against Utah. The Huskies will head to the Rose Bowl if they beat the Utes.
- LSU: 9-3. The Tigers’ tough seven-overtime loss shouldn’t keep LSU from a New Year’s Six game.
- Penn State: 9-3. Penn State might be on the outside looking in at a possible Peach or Fiesta Bowl appearance.
- Washington State: 10-2. The Cougars might be knocked out of a New Year’s Six game after that loss to Washington.
- Kentucky: 9-3. A memorable season for Kentucky means a bowl win could have it move into the top 10.
- West Virginia: 8-3. Consecutive defeats have the regular season ending on a sour note.
- Texas: 9-4 with projected loss to Oklahoma. Even if the Longhorns lose, a New Year’s Six trip could be next.
- Mississippi State: 8-4. A dominant defensive front will lead the Bulldogs into a solid bowl.
- Texas A&M: 8-4. Thanks to that wild win against LSU, the Aggies can get win No. 9 against what should be a strong team in a bowl.
- Boise State: 10-3 with projected win against Fresno State. The Broncos need a loss by UCF to have a chance to sneak into a New Year’s Six game.
- Syracuse: 9-3. The Orange regrouped nicely after losing big to Notre Dame.
- Utah: 9-4 with projected loss to Washington. The Utes are one win away from playing in the Rose Bowl Game for the first time.
- Iowa State: 8-4 with projected win against Drake. The Cyclones close the regular season against FCS Drake after rallying to beat Kansas State.
- Missouri: 8-4. The committee clearly respects the SEC by having the Tigers here. Mizzou isn’t ranked in either the AP or Coaches Polls.
- Northwestern: 8-5 with projected loss to Ohio State. Hey, crazier things have happened than the Wildcats upsetting the Buckeyes and winning a Rose Bowl trip.
- NC State: 9-3 with projected win vs. East Carolina. Army could also get consideration here.
College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Semifinals
Here’s what we think the CFP will be come Sunday:
- No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
- No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
In this situation, we think Oklahoma will beat Texas and jump current No. 4 Georgia. The Bulldogs could battle and keep it close against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, but we think the CFP selection committee will reward a one-loss conference champion in Oklahoma.
If the Sooners avenge their lone defeat to Texas by beating the Longhorns, it would be difficult for the committee to have Ohio State jump ahead of Oklahoma. As the current No. 5 to Ohio State’s No. 6, the Sooners have the huge edge, especially because Ohio State’s most impressive performance is right behind it: 63-39 romp of then-No. 4 Michigan. If the committee didn’t rank the Buckeyes ahead of the Sooners after that, when could it ever?
It might take Texas beating Oklahoma again for the Buckeyes to move into the top four.
College Football Playoff rankings predictions: New Year’s Six games
As most attention is focused on Alabama-Georgia, Oklahoma-Texas and Ohio State-Northwestern for CFP purposes, there’s another game that seems more ripe for an upset.
Undefeated UCF, ranked No. 8, will have to beat Memphis with star quarterback McKenzie Milton out after a devastating leg injury sustained in the 38-10 win against South Florida.
If Memphis beats the Knights for the American Athletic Conference Championship, that opens the door for the Boise State-Fresno State winner in the Mountain West Conference title game to take the New Year’s Six spot.
Right now, we think UCF will do just enough to pull out the emotional win.
- Peach Bowl: LSU vs. Michigan
- Fiesta Bowl: Florida vs. UCF
- Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Washington
- Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Texas
- Orange Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
- Cotton Bowl: Clemson vs. Notre Dame