Bowl Predictions 2022: College Football Playoff Predictions for Top Teams
The College Football Playoff conversation gained some much-needed clarity on Saturday;.
The USC Trojans put themselves in an ideal position to enter the top four in the CFB Playoff Rankings on December 4 with a win over the UCLA Bruins.
USC will likely only be sixth in Tuesday's ranking release, but that is the ideal spot to sit with two games featuring top six teams coming up in the next two weeks.
The Tennessee Volunteers had their playoff hopes ended by the South Carolina Gamecocks. The loss benefited the LSU Tigers, who will likely be No. 5 in Tuesday's ranking.
LSU still has to play the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game. A Georgia win would take LSU out of the picture and allow USC to collect the No. 4 spot.
One of the top four spots will be vacated on Saturday, when the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Michigan Wolverines.
Neither Ohio State nor Michigan looked great in Week 12, but they both found ways to win and set up an 11-0-versus-11-0 clash inside Ohio Stadium.
The winner of the Ohio State-Michigan game is expected to win the Big Ten Championship Game and occupy one of the four playoff spots.
Georgia, the Big Ten champion, USC and the TCU Horned Frogs will likely feature in the playoff if the Bulldogs, Trojans and Horned Frogs win out.
CFB Playoff Predictions
Peach Bowl (December 31): No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 USC
Fiesta Bowl (December 31): No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 TCU
New Years' Six Bowls
Rose Bowl (January 2): Michigan vs. Oregon
Cotton Bowl (January 2): Penn State vs. UCF
Sugar Bowl (December 31): LSU vs. Kansas State
Orange Bowl (December 30): Clemson vs. Alabama
No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 USC
The Georgia Bulldogs will remain on top of the CFB Playoff rankings until they lose, which may not happen before New Years' Eve.
The reigning national champion did not look great on Saturday against the Kentucky Wildcats, but it found a way to win and complete a perfect regular-season record in the SEC.
Georgia is better programmed to deal with an offensive letdown than other playoff contenders because of how strong its defense is.
Kirby Smart's side limited Kentucky to six points. It has not allowed over 20 points to a single opponent in the last six games. The Florida Gators hit 20 points exactly and the other foes have been held to scores in the teens or single digits.
Georgia's defense could be its massive advantage in the SEC Championship Game against a young LSU Tigers squad. The Bulldogs have all the title game experience and that should show over four quarters in Atlanta.
USC's playoff path became much clearer on Saturday and it needs Georgia's help to solidify a spot in the top four.
A Georgia win over LSU knocks out the Tigers and one of Ohio State and Michigan has to lose next week. USC will likely be No. 6 behind LSU in Tuesday's rankings and it has two losses from teams in front of it ready to happen.
USC's resume will be strengthened by a win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish next week and it can beat the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Caleb Williams is playing like a Heisman Trophy winner right now for the Trojans. He had 470 passing yards against the UCLA Bruins on Saturday and has 31 touchdowns compared to two interceptions.
Williams and the USC offense would pose the biggest threat to Georgia's defense this season and that could set up a fascinating challenge to the Bulldogs' title repeat quest.
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 TCU
Ohio State and TCU survived on Saturday and that is all that matters in the playoff picture.
The Buckeyes will be in the spotlight all week for their Big Ten showdown with Michigan. They are looking to enact revenge for last year's domination by the Wolverines at Michigan Stadium.
Even though the Buckeyes struggled against the Maryland Terrapins, they still put up 42 points behind C.J. Stroud and his collection of five-star wide receivers.
Ohio State also got running back TreVeyon Henderson back. He could be important in attacking Michigan's front seven in the ground game.
Michigan struggled to score touchdowns against the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday. It can't settle for field goals against a Buckeyes squad that can put up over 40 points on a bad day.
Ohio State's offense is more explosive and it has the motivation of enacting revenge on its biggest rival at home.
The Big Ten East winner will go into the Big Ten Championship Game as the No. 2 team in the CFB Playoff rankings. The Iowa Hawkeyes are the likely foe in Indianapolis. A win over Iowa would lock in the No. 2 seed at worst for the Buckeyes or Wolverines.
TCU is not out of the clear yet, but it is still alive at 11-0. That is all that matters this time of year.
The Horned Frogs need to avoid a let down against the Iowa State Cyclones so they can go into the Big 12 Championship Game against the Kansas State Wildcats at 12-0.
TCU beat Kansas State by 10 points on October 22. The Horned Frogs seem like they are able to get out of any trouble because of quarterback Max Duggan.
TCU's biggest concern over the next two weeks is the health of wide receiver Quentin Johnston, who was not on the field during the game-winning drive against the Baylor Bears.
If TCU slips up and Georgia and Ohio State are conference champions, there is a chance that the one-loss Clemson Tigers with an ACC title could get back into the mix. We will find out how much of a reality that is when the rankings come out on Tuesday.