Bowl Projections 2017: Latest Predictions for CFP Final and Most Dangerous Teams

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 28, 2017

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 25: Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate victory over Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes won 31 to 20 on November 25, 2017 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

If you thought the college football coaching carousel was the only thing that's spun your head around multiple times, just wait until the College Football Playoff rankings get released on Tuesday. 

The debate surrounding the four best teams in the country has taken a back seat to the nonsense mostly taking place in the SEC, but the shouting matches regarding who lies where in the playoff standings will return to the forefront of the sport once Tuesday night comes around. 

Clemson should be the top team in the rankings, but that doesn't matter a ton since the ACC Championship serves as a de-facto playoff quarterfinal, just like the title games in the SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten. 

We're going to go a step further than predicting who will be in the playoff itself, though, as we take a look below at the best matchup for the January 8 final and the most dangerous teams coming into Week 14. 


CFB Playoff Final Prediction

Clemson vs. Auburn 

There's a slight chance that Clemson could be headed for a third final in a row against Alabama. And if you're a supporter of Team Chaos, there's a scenario in which the Crimson Tide could sneak in as the No. 3 or No. 4 seed and find a way to play the Tigers in the national championship.

However, the more realistic championship opponent for Dabo Swinney and Co. is the other SEC West team that resides in Alabama, the one that controls its playoff fate. 

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 09:  Defensive back Jeremiah Dinson #20 of the Auburn Tigers strips the ball from wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud #34 of the Clemson Tigers for a fumble during the football game at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Clemson, So
Mike Comer/Getty Images

Clemson will get into the playoff with a victory against Miami (FL), and it'll most likely be the No. 1 seed based off its resume that would have five victories over ranked opponents. Who the Tigers play in the national semifinal is up in the air in this scenario, but the Tigers would have the upper hand on them in terms of experience after making it to the title game two years in a row. 

As for Auburn, one has to think if Gus Malzahn's team win the SEC Championship, it will be higher than the No. 4 seed. Even if Oklahoma and Wisconsin win their respective championship bouts on Saturday, you could make a legitimate argument that Auburn's resume is better as a whole with two wins over Georgia and a victory over Alabama. 

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 25:  Carlton Davis #6 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates after making a tackle during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Imag
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There's also a possibility that Clemson and Auburn could face off in one of the two semifinals if the playoff committee values Oklahoma's resume and Wisconsin's undefeated season over a two-loss SEC champion in Auburn. 

But based off how any college football season ends up, it's hard to believe all four de-facto playoff quarterfinal games will see the quartet of favorites come out on top, which is why we think Clemson and Auburn will eventually avoid each other until the final. 


Most Dangerous CFB Teams


No one wants to play Auburn at the moment. 

The Tigers enter the SEC Championship on a five-game winning streak that includes scalps of two previously-ranked No. 1 teams in the nation. 

Auburn has a resume that few in the country can match, and it has talent that is difficult to stop on offense with Jarrett Stidham and Kerryon Johnson leading the charge. 

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 25:  Kerryon Johnson #21 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Gett
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Auburn's defense may be seen as a weak link by some since its conceded over 20 points to Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Arkansas and LSU, but limiting Georgia and Alabama to 17 points in two of the last three weeks has to count for something as well. 


Ohio State

Since taking a beating in Iowa City, Iowa, on November 4, the Ohio State Buckeyes have clawed back into the playoff discussion with convincing wins over Michigan State, Illinois and Michigan. 

Although the Buckeyes enter the Big Ten Championship as a more tested contender than Wisconsin with victories over two Top 15 teams, they aren't a lock to take home hardware from Indianapolis given how well the Badgers have played. 

If the scenario arises that the Buckeyes win the Big Ten, there's an argument for and against Urban Meyer's team. Those in favor of Ohio State would claim its conference championship and three wins over ranked opponents. Its detractors would use its two losses against it and throw Alabama into the mix as a more deserving team. 

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 25: Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball second half against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 25, 2017 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Ohio State's situation might be the most complex since it could sit behind Alabama, Georgia and Miami (FL) in the playoff rankings. 

Also looming large is the Buckeyes' Week 2 loss to Oklahoma. If certain results occur, the committee could be comparing Ohio State and Oklahoma's resumes. A win by Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship might be the best thing to happen to the two-loss Buckeyes in order to avoid an extra dose of chaos. 


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