There are only two regular season games and conference championship week left in the college football season. With that, the College Football Playoff and bowl picture is taking shape and becoming much clearer.
Week 11 was full of massive games around college football. In the end, there were some close games and some blowouts, but there were very few upsets that would have shaken anything up at the top. Instead, those top-tier teams have continued to strengthen their grip on the Playoff and New Year’s Six Bowl race. Meanwhile, other teams have continued to make their pushes to become bowl eligible.
Ahead of the next College Football Playoff Rankings on Tuesday night, CBS Sports released its projections for the Playoff, NY6, and every single bowl game.
The Georgia Bulldogs are in the middle of their toughest stretch of the regular season. After beating Missouri in a close game, the Bulldogs blew out Ole Miss. Next, Georgia takes on Tennessee amid its stretch of ranked opponents in the regular season. As a heavy favorite in that game, the Bulldogs are expected to get through that game relatively easily.
Georgia also got a massive boost with the return of All-American tight end Brock Bowers. The tight end, just a couple weeks removed from surgery, looked like nothing had happened when he was on the field. That has to be a scary thought for opposing defenses.
Michigan was without head coach Jim Harbaugh when the Wolverines went into Happy Valley. It didn’t matter, though. Michigan quite literally ran the ball down Penn State’s throat. At one point, that meant handing the ball off 30 times in a row while harassing Nittany Lions’ quarterback Drew Allar.
As of now, Michigan is looking at two more games without Harbaugh thanks to the suspension from the Big Ten. However, Michigan is looking to the courts for some kind of legal action that might put him back on the sidelines earlier. For now, though, Michigan proved that they can beat good teams without their leader on the sidelines.
Florida State played a close game with Miami over the weekend. In the end, though, the Seminoles managed to get the win. With that, the Seminoles stayed unbeaten and are still in an excellent position to make it to the College Football Playoff. However, Florida State must continue to avoid an upset.
The Seminoles have an FCS opponent before taking on rival Florida to end the season. After that, it’s going to be the ACC Championship Game. There are going to be opportunities to lose. However, Florida State should be favored in every game this season.
CBS Sports is currently projecting that the Texas Longhorns sneak into the College Football Playoff as the fourth seed. That’s part of what makes this a projection because, as of right now, there are multiple unbeaten teams ahead of the Longhorns. It also means that for this to be true, Texas needs to win out and get some help in the process.
Texas will also need to turn on the gas. In their last two games, the Longhorns were almost upset twice. The first was an overtime game against Kansas State and the second was a three-point win over TCU. Now, the Longhorns will need to quickly improve to avoid an upset moving forward.
Fiesta Bowl: Washington vs. Tulane
Washington is currently an unbeaten team in the Pac-12 that still has its eyes on making the College Football Playoff itself. However, at the very least, it does appear that the Huskies are going to be headed to a New Year’s Six Bowl at the very least. That will likely be coming after a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game.
On the other side, Tulane is currently the top-ranked team in the Group of Five. This year’s Green Wave team doesn’t feel as complete as last year’s was. However, even amid close games, Tulane is finding ways to win. As long as the Green Wave do keep on winning, then there shouldn’t be any issue making it back to the NY6.
Orange Bowl: Louisville vs. Ohio State
The job Jeff Brohm has done at Louisville is hard to over appreciate. After being inconsistent during the Scott Satterfield era, he left Louisville and the Cardinals replaced him with former quarterback Jeff Brohm. Now, in Brohm’s first season there, the Cardinals only have one loss and look ready to play in the ACC Championship Game. As of now, Louisville even still has an outside shot at the Playoff.
For now, Ohio State has an inside shot at the Playoff, so long as the Buckeyes can keep on winning. However, it doesn’t look like CBS Sports expects that to happen. Ultimately, whether or not Ohio State makes it to the Playoff likely comes down to beating Michigan or not. After losing twice in a row, there’s going to be tons of pressure on Ryan Day to win that game.
Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Penn State
Ole Miss suffered its second loss this season, being blown out by Georgia on the road. That makes two losses on the road against the two teams playing in the SEC Championship. Ultimately, Ole Miss is clearly a good team. However, this team is also a clear step behind the truly elite teams within the SEC.
Likewise, Penn State lost its second game of the season. In the Nittany Lions’ case, the loss was to Michigan. For Penn State, it was just proof that the Nittany Lions are a step behind the Big Ten’s best teams. Despite that poor showing, Penn State is still an excellent team and in a good position to go to a NY6 game.
Early in the season, Alabama looked like it was going to struggle. Now, the Crimson Tide are heading to the SEC Championship Game. Win that, and making the College Football Playoff is well within reason. Either way, it looks like Alabama is heading to one of college football’s premier bowl games.
Oregon, similar to Alabama, still has a shot at making the Playoff if the Ducks can win the Pac-12 Championship. It would especially help Oregon if the Ducks could beat Washington in a revenge game. However, for now, Oregon is certainly in a good spot to at least go to the New Year’s Six.
Remaining bowl game projections
SATURDAY, Dec. 16
MONDAY, Dec. 18
Even though there are only two regular season weeks left, there is still plenty of time for things to change. Rivalry games are coming up and anything can happen in a conference championship game. In Week 12, there are a handful of incredibly important games, including for the College Football Playoff, with Georgia playing Tennessee, Louisville taking on Miami, and Washington traveling to Oregon State.