College Football Playoff 2014: Bracket Dates, Schedule and Rankings Predictions

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2014

The 2014 season will feature the inaugural College Football Playoff bracket, and fans of the sport are already trying to decipher which programs will earn the honor of fighting for the national championship.

While teams like Alabama, Oregon and Florida State have made a claim on a spot in the postseason, the playoff voting committee could promote several programs into the No. 4 position after Mississippi State’s heartbreaking loss.

Here is the full schedule of the semifinals and championship for the College Football Playoff, the complete Week 15 projected Top 25 rankings and a preview of the most underrated team in the Top Four.

 

College Football Playoff Schedule
DateBowlPredicted MatchupTime (ET)Watch
Jan. 1Rose Bowl No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Oregon Ducks5 p.m.ESPN
Jan. 1Sugar BowlNo. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 TCU8:30 p.m.ESPN
Jan. 12Championship Game No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oregon Ducks8:30 p.m.ESPN
Viewing information via NCAA.com.

 

Predicted Week 15 College Football Playoff Rankings
RankProjected Playoff RankingsAssociated Press Poll
1Alabama Crimson TideAlabama Crimson Tide
2Florida State SeminolesFlorida State Seminoles
3Oregon DucksOregon Ducks
4TCU Horned FrogsTCU Horned Frogs
5Baylor BearsBaylor Bears
6Mississippi State BulldogsOhio State Buckeyes
7Ohio State BuckeyesMichigan State Spartans
8Michigan State SpartansArizona Wildcats
9Kansas State WildcatsKansas State Wildcats
10Arizona WildcatsMississippi State Bulldogs
11Georgia Tech Yellow JacketsWisconsin Badgers
12Ole Miss RebelsGeorgia Tech Yellow Jackets
13Wisconsin BadgersOle Miss Rebels
14Missouri TigersMissouri Tigers
15Georgia BulldogsGeorgia Bulldogs
16Clemson TigersUCLA Bruins
17UCLA BruinsArizona State Sun Devils
18Arizona State Sun DevilsOklahoma Sooners
19Oklahoma SoonersClemson Tigers
20Auburn TigersAuburn Tigers
21LSU TigersLouisville Cardinals
22Louisville CardinalsBoise State Broncos
23Boise State BroncosLSU Tigers
24Utah UtesUtah Utes
25Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers
Donald Wood's Projected Week 15 Playoff Rankings

 

The Most Underrated Playoff Contender

There are many programs that deserve the honor of playing in the first-ever College Football Playoff, but few fans are talking about the legitimate possibility that the Oregon Ducks could stun the sport and make a run at the national title.

Oregon went 11-1 this season with the team’s only loss coming to Arizona earlier in the season, but the team gets a chance at redemption. On Friday, the Ducks square off against the Wildcats in the Pac-12 Championship in what should be a thrilling battle.

Arizona beat Oregon on October 2, 31-24, but the Ducks have managed to win seven straight games since, including big victories over UCLA and Utah. On the other hand, the Wildcats lost two games after the win over Oregon but ended the year with four straight victories.

When asked about playing Arizona, Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich spoke to The Associated Press, via ESPN.com, saying, “We talked a little bit about preparing to give somebody our best shot. I would have said it about whoever was next. But certainly our guys know the 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' of some of that night. And a lot of that night is Arizona is really good.”

The key for the Ducks will be the play of quarterback Marcus Mariota. The junior is running away with the Heisman Trophy race and has been lights-out for Oregon, racking up 3,470 yards and 36 touchdowns through the air and another 636 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.

ESPN’s SportsCenter shared just how dominant Mariota was in Week 14:

While Oregon should be able to beat Arizona in the conference championship, the team will also be a legitimate threat in the College Football Playoff. With one of the most dangerous offensive units in the country and a defense that has played better than expected, the Ducks have the talent and depth to defeat teams like Florida State and Alabama.

The Seminoles may have the national championship experience and the Crimson Tide may have a roster full of potential NFL stars, but Oregon has the fourth-ranked offense in college football and a defense that only allows 23.3 points per game.

The result is a Ducks program that has the potential to win the inaugural College Football Playoff.

 

*Stats via ESPN.com.

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