College Football Playoff Prediction: CBS Sports reveals final CFP Top 4, New Year’s Six Bowl projection

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison12/03/23


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There are no more games to play. Conference championships have been decided and the regular season is over. With that, the College Football Playoff is more clear. However, until the actual Playoff rankings are released, there is plenty to debate.

There are five or six teams who seem to have good arguments to make the College Football Playoff. That includes three unbeaten Power Five teams and three one-loss teams. In a format that only has four available spots, there is plenty of room for chaos following conference championship week that saw the top team in the country fall short.

Amid all of the debate, CBS Sports released its final predictions for the College Football Playoff, New Year’s Six, and every single bowl game this season.

1. Michigan Wolverines

Michigan has beaten Iowa to claim the Big Ten Championship
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan took care of business in the Big Ten Championship Game, shutting out the Iowa Hawkeyes. For a team that has seen head coach Jim Harbaugh suspended twice this season, including once by the Big Ten, it was a pretty satisfying moment. With that moment, Michigan also moved to 13-0 and will likely be the top seed in the Playoff.

There really isn’t any debate about whether or not Michigan is getting into the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines are in. Now, it’s about where are they ranked and what matchup they get in the semi-final.

2. Washington Huskies

Washington celebrates the 2023 Pac-12 Championship
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Washington got a big win against Oregon in the middle of the season but didn’t dominate after that game. Oregon did, which made the Ducks the favorite going into the Pac-12 Championship Game, where it was assumed that the winner would make the Playoff. Then, the Huskies won.

Washington, like Michigan, has all but punched its ticket to the Playoff. There’s not much debate about that as an unbeaten Power Five champion. Now, for Washington, the question really comes down to who the Huskies are going to play.

3. Florida State Seminoles

Florida State HC Mike Norvell
Matt Pendleton | Gainesville Sun | USA TODAY NETWORK

This is where the debate begins. Florida State is an unbeaten Power Five champion. For basically the entirety of the College Football Playoff, that’s been enough to make it. However, the selection committee does say it takes injuries into account and the injury to Jordan Travis is a massive one that has clearly made the Seminoles a worse team on offense.

Still, the Seminoles kept on winning. Florida State beat Louisville to win the ACC and even with a struggling offense, CBS is predicting that will be good enough to make the Playoff. However, it’s not a sure thing that the Seminoles are in.

4. Texas Longhorns

Texas WRs Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy in the Big 12 Championship
© Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Unlike any other team that CBS is predicting will make the College Football Playoff, Texas has a loss. The Longhorns lost Red River and then Oklahoma failed to make the Big 12 Championship Game, which meant Texas couldn’t make up for the loss. Instead, Texas won the Big 12 by blowing out Oklahoma State.

Texas does have a major calling card. The Longhorns went on the road and beat Alabama. Since Alabama won the SEC, Texas would argue that head-to-head should earn them a spot in the College Football Playoff ahead of the Crimson Tide.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Liberty

© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon had a shot to make the College Football Playoff but fell short to Washington. Now, the Ducks are going to have to settle for a New Year’s Six Bowl as a consolation prize. In CBS Sports’ case, that looks like it will be the Fiesta Bowl.

On the other side, Liberty seems poised to be the Group of Five representative in the New Year’s Six. With Tulane losing and Liberty winning, the Flames are the only ranked G5 team coming into the final rankings. So, while they could get jumped by someone, it doesn’t seem likely.

Orange Bowl: Louisville vs. Alabama

Alabama CFP
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville had a phenomenal first season under Jeff Brohm. However, a stumble against rival Kentucky and then in the ACC Championship Game is going to be a frustrating way to end the season. Still, the Cardinals had an excellent season that’s probably going to get rewarded with a major bowl game.

For Alabama, however, the Orange Bowl would be a major disappointment. Alabama won the SEC and only has one loss. Because of that, the Crimson Tide feel strongly that they belong in the College Football Playoff as one of the four best teams in all of college football.

Peach Bowl: Georgia vs. Penn State

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart after the SEC Championship
© John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia lost the 2023 SEC Championship Game. It was the Bulldogs’ first loss since the 2021 SEC Championship against Alabama. Still, the Bulldogs think they deserve to make it to the College Football Playoff, arguing that they’re one of the four best teams. However, that seems like a long shot, now.

Penn State, on the other hand, already knows that a New Year’s Six is where the Nittany Lions are gonna max out. After losing to both Michigan and Ohio State, Penn State didn’t have a shot for more this season. Now, the question is what game and what opponent will they have?

Cotton Bowl: Missouri vs. Ohio State

Ohio State QB Kyle McCord
Barbara J. Perenic | Columbus Dispatch | USA TODAY NETWORK

Missouri had a surprise season, maybe the most surprising of any individual team in the SEC. The Tigers fell short of the Bulldogs in the East, but it was still a fantastic season. It’s also a season that will likely be rewarded with a New Year’s Six Bowl, depending on how the Tigers end up ranked.

As for the Buckeyes, Ohio State needed chaos to make the Playoff after losing to Michigan. There was some chaos, but not nearly enough to get the Buckeyes to jump multiple teams to make the Playoff. So, this season, it looks like the New Year’s Six is what’s on the table.

Remaining bowl game projections


Myrtle Beach Bowl: James Madison vs. Tulane
Brooks Stadium (Conway, South Carolina)
2:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana
Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)
2:15 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Cure BowlArkansas State vs. UCF
Exploria Stadium (Orlando, Florida)
3:30 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State vs. New Mexico State
University Stadium (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
5:45 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

LA Bowl: Boise State vs. UCLA
SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, California)
7:30 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl: Kansas vs. Cal
Independence Stadium (Shreveport, Louisiana)
9:15 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

MONDAY, Dec. 18

Bahamas Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Ohio
Jerry Richardson Stadium (Charlotte, North Carolina)
11 a.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

TUESDAY, Dec. 19
Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl: Rice vs. Texas State
Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas)
9 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

THURSDAY, Dec. 21 Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs. USF
FAU Stadium (Boca Raton, Florida)
8 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

FRIDAY, Dec. 22
Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Old Dominion
Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Florida)
6:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Birmingham BowlGeorgia State vs. Utah State
Protective Stadium (Birmingham, Alabama)
Noon, ABC and the ESPN App

Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern vs. Miami (OH)
Cramton Bowl (Montgomery, Alabama)
Noon, ESPN and the ESPN App

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces BowlTexas Tech vs. Troy
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, Texas)
3:30 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

Famous Idaho Potato BowlBowling Green vs. Wyoming
Albertsons Stadium (Boise, Idaho)
3:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

68 Ventures Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. South Alabama
Hancock Whitney Stadium (Mobile, Alabama)
7 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl: Northwestern vs. Utah
Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
7:30 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl: San Jose State vs. Coastal Carolina
Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex (Honolulu)
10:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

TUESDAY, Dec. 26
Quick Lane Bowl: Syracuse vs. Northern Illinois
Ford Field (Detroit)
2 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl: Air Force vs. App State
Gerald J. Ford Stadium (Dallas)
5:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Guaranteed Rate BowlWest Virginia vs. Minnesota
Chase Field (Phoenix)
9 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Military BowlVirginia Tech vs. SMU
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Annapolis, Maryland)
2 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Duke’s Mayo BowlDuke vs. Kentucky
Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, North Carolina)
5:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Holiday BowlClemson vs. USC
Petco Park (San Diego)
8 p.m., Fox

TaxAct Texas Bowl: Kansas State vs. Texas A&M
NRG Stadium (Houston)
9 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App


Wasabi Fenway BowlBoston College vs. UTSA
Fenway Park (Boston)
11 a.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl: North Carolina vs. Rutgers
Yankee Stadium (New York)
2:15 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Pop-Tarts BowlNotre Dame vs. Oklahoma State
Camping World Stadium (Orlando, Florida)
5:45 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Valero Alamo BowlOklahoma vs. Arizona
Alamodome (San Antonio)
9:15 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

FRIDAY, Dec. 29
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: NC State vs. Tennessee
TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville, Florida)
Noon, ESPN and the ESPN App

Tony the Tiger Sun BowlMiami vs. Oregon State
Sun Bowl Stadium (El Paso, Texas)
2 p.m., CBS

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. Memphis
Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium (Memphis, Tennessee)
3:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

TransPerfect Music City Bowl: Maryland vs. Auburn
Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tennessee)
2 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl: UNLV vs. Toledo
Arizona Stadium (Tucson, Arizona)
4:30 p.m.

MONDAY, Jan. 1
ReliaQuest Bowl: Wisconsin vs. LSU
Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Florida)
Noon, ESPN2 and the ESPN App

Cheez-It Citrus BowlIowa vs. Ole Miss
Camping World Stadium (Orlando, Florida)
1 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

No matter the end result of the College Football Playoff rankings, someone is going to be left out who feels it deserves to be in. Regardless of which team that is, there will be a good argument that they should have made it. However, under the current format, there does need to be someone who misses out in a year that’s been as competitive as this one.