Bowl Predictions 2017: Updated Predictions After Week 11 CFP Rankings

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2017

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 4: J. R. Reed #20 of the Georgia Bulldogs intercepts a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Sanford Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

There are still four weeks' worth of games left before the College Football playoff field is set, but with the second set of rankings released on Tuesday, we can start to predict which teams are most likely to get a shot at a national championship.

The same goes for teams who could end up playing in one of the other CFP-related bowls, known as New Year's Six bowl games.

Using the current standings as a guide and factoring in who the contenders still have ahead on the schedule, here's who we have pegged to play in the semifinals as well as the four other major bowl games.

       

College Football Playoff

Sugar Bowl: No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Alabama

Rose Bowl: No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 2 Clemson

Though Georgia is No. 1 at this point, Alabama will finish first if it wins out because that will mean taking down the Bulldogs (who have already won the SEC's East Division) in the conference title game. And with the top spot comes geographic presence for a semifinal, and the Crimson Tide will much prefer to play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans than have to go out to California.

That means Clemson, our pick for No. 2—after winning out, with a victory over Miami in the ACC title game serving as the final boost—would get shipped out to the Rose Bowl as that semifinal's "host" despite Pasadena being almost 2,300 miles from there. It's not like the Tigers aren't used to this, playing Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl in last year's semifinal and cruising to a 31-0 win.

Georgia, assuming its unbeaten when it reaches the SEC final, still gets a playoff spot with a loss to Alabama because it would have a strong overall resume that includes wins over Auburn (whom it plays on Saturday) and Notre Dame. The playoff committee will likely want to avoid a rematch of the SEC title game, thus putting the Bulldogs third and slotting Oklahoma at No. 4.

Oklahoma will slide in based on finishing with one loss, a Big 12 title and a strong nonconference victory over Ohio State.

         

Other New Year's Six Bowls

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 04:  Punt returner Dante Pettis #8 of the Washington Huskies is congratulated by teammates after returning a punt for a touchdown against the Oregon Ducks at Husky Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. The return for a
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Cotton Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC

Fiesta Bowl: Washington vs. Oklahoma State

Orange Bowl: Miami (Florida) vs. Wisconsin

Peach Bowl: Notre Dame vs. UCF

The Big Ten saw its playoff hopes take a major blow last week with Ohio State and Penn State losing on the road, and even with Wisconsin sitting at 9-0, it's still only eighth in the latest playoff rankings. If the Badgers win out, it will be hard to leave them out, but we're projecting they fall in the conference championship on Dec. 2.

That would be to Ohio State, who by virtue of that victory would be the first choice of the New Year's Six bowl games from the Big Ten. Normally, the Big Ten champ goes to the Rose Bowl, but with that being a semifinal site, it's the Cotton Bowl that ends up getting the Buckeyes.

That sends Wisconsin to the Orange Bowl, which will actually be the first NY6 bowl to finalize its pairing. That game will pit the the highest-ranked ACC team that isn't in the playoffs, which would be Miami, against the highest non-champion from the Big Ten or SEC or Notre Dame (Wisconsin in our projections).

The Pac-12 champion, Washington, will end up just missing out on another playoff bid and have to settle for the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State, the highest-rated Big 12 team that doesn't make the playoffs. USC, the Pac-12 runner up, gets sent to Arlington, Texas, to face Ohio State in a de facto Rose Bowl pairing.

That leaves the Peach Bowl, which ends up getting the Group of Five representative (American Athletic Conference champion UCF) but as a balance also lands Notre Dame.

        

Statistics are provided by CFBStats unless otherwise noted. Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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