Once again, Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan are expected to rank in the first four spots. Here’s how we think the new top 25 will look:
College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Week 13 Top 25
- Alabama (11-0): It was funny to see the Tide tied with The Citadel 10-10 at the half.
- Clemson (11-0): Rival South Carolina would love to play spoiler, but the Tigers haven’t shown much weakness.
- Notre Dame (11-0): That was an impressive win against then-No. 12 Syracuse. Now, beat Southern California and the Irish are in.
- Michigan (10-1): The Wolverines have looked like the more impressive team than Ohio State. But this will be on the road and the Buckeyes still have everything to play for when it comes to title hopes.
- Georgia (10-1): Georgia Tech has won four in a row coming in but the Bulldogs should be ready.
- Oklahoma (10-1): We want to say style points don’t matter if Oklahoma keeps winning. But allowing 40 points to Kansas?
- LSU (9-2): The Tigers have a tough visit to College Station as the Aggies look for their eighth win.
- Washington State (10-1): The dream continues. But rival Washington is ready.
- UCF (10-0): This might be the most interesting watch of the night. The Knights looked good against No. 24 Cincinnati. Ohio State almost lost to Maryland. If the committee has respect for UCF, it should jump the Buckeyes.
- Ohio State (10-1): As ugly as the Buckeyes have looked in recent weeks, they could be only two wins away from making the College Football Playoff.
- Florida (8-3): If the Gators beat Florida State, they’ll probably get in a New Year’s Six game.
- West Virginia (8-2): That’s probably it for Will Grier’s Heisman hopes (at least to win) and the team’s national title dreams.
- Texas (8-3): If the Longhorns beat 3-8 Kansas, they’ll play in the Big 12 title game.
- Penn State (8-3): If the Nittany Lions go 9-3, it’s easy to see them playing in a New Year’s Six game.
- Kentucky (8-3): After two consecutive losses, the Wildcats can close with two consecutive wins. Free-falling Louisville is next.
- Washington (8-3): The Huskies have quietly moved up the last few weeks. They won’t be looked over anymore if they upset the Cougars.
- Syracuse (8-3): The Orange lost QB Eric Dungey and then to Notre Dame by 33 points. Now Syracuse plays a struggling Boston College team.
- Utah (8-3): The Utes clinched the Pac-12 South title and will play either Washington State or Washington for the conference championship.
- Mississippi State (7-4): The Bulldogs lost to Ole Miss last year in an upset as QB Nick Fitzgerald got hurt. Though this is on the road, expect a much different ending this year.
- Northwestern (7-4): The Wildcats are already playing for a Big Ten title. But first, they want to get to eight wins.
- Iowa State (6-4): The Cyclones hit a wall in Austin after looking like a top-10 team for the last few weeks.
- Boise State (9-2): The Broncos are home against the Aggies, with the winner taking the Mountain West’s Mountain division crown.
- Pitt (7-4): The Panthers clinched the ACC Coastal and will face Clemson for the conference championship.
- Utah State (10-1): The Aggies were fortunate to escape Colorado State. It’ll get even tougher this week as they go to the Blue Turf.
- Army (9-2): The committee has been slow to rank non-Power 5 (and non-Notre Dame) teams. But with not too many options, Army could find a spot here.
College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Semifinals
This is what we think the College Football Playoff semifinals will be at the end of the season:
- No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Michigan
- No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
Don’t hope for surprises — at least not for this week. The top four should remain the same, and in the the same order.
However, this week could change the dynamic.
Michigan plays Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, with the winner taking the Big Ten East to set up a Big Ten Championship Game meeting with Northwestern. The loser would be out of the CFP picture. That’s the big game.
But there are others:
- Oklahoma at West Virginia: The Sooners defense has really struggled, but as long as they keep winning, they’ll have a shot at returning to the CFP. As for West Virginia, the Mountaineers must rebound and win if they want to make the Big 12 title game.
- Washington at Washington State: The Cougars are the Pac-12’s final playoff hope. But even if they go 12-1, they wouldn’t be assured of a spot in the semifinals. A one-loss Big Ten champion would be tough to keep out, no matter how impressive Washington State looks at the end of the season.
- Notre Dame at Southern California: Because the Irish don’t play in a conference, this is Notre Dame’s final game of the regular season. Win this, and the nation will already know one CFP semifinalist.
College Football Playoff rankings predictions: New Year’s Six games
Here are our New Year’s Six games predictions.
- Peach Bowl: Florida vs. Penn State
- Fiesta Bowl: LSU vs. UCF
- Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Washington State
- Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Oklahoma
- Cotton Bowl (Semifinal): Alabama vs. Michigan
- Orange Bowl (Semifinal): Clemson vs. Notre Dame
Even if Ohio State loses to Michigan, a 10-2 Buckeyes team is headed to the Rose Bowl if Michigan makes the CFP.
Because we project West Virginia to lose to Oklahoma and drop to 9-3, that opens up a spot many didn’t see a week prior. Florida could jump in, but the Gators must beat Florida State first.
Penn State should also feel confident this week, even if the 20-7 win against Rutgers was far from impressive. If the Nittany Lions are 9-3 (only Maryland remains), a Peach Bowl trip seems possible.