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Bowl Projections 2017: CFP Predictions After Week 12 AP Poll Release

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2017

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 11:  Miami Hurricanes mascot Sebastian celebrates during a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Hard Rock Stadium on November 11, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Saturday's chaos was just another reminder that college football in November never fails to entertain.

Two of the top three teams went down, as No. 10 Auburn obliterated No. 1 Georgia 40-17 and No. 7 Miami made a statement with a 41-8 drubbing of No. 3 Notre Dame.

Those two outcomes likely open the door for two new teams to climb into the College Football Playoff committee's Top Four, which will be released on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

While we wait for those rankings to be released, let's take a look at the AP Top 25, which was released on Sunday afternoon, followed by a prediction for the committee's Top Four, as well as the other matchups for the New Year's Six bowl games.

     

AP Top 25

1. Alabama

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2. Miami FL

3. Oklahoma

4. Clemson

5. Wisconsin

6. Auburn

7. Georgia

8. Ohio State

9. Notre Dame

10. Oklahoma State

11. TCU

12. USC

13. Penn State

14. UCF

15. Washington State

16. Washington

17. Mississippi State

18. Memphis

19. Michigan

20. Stanford

21. LSU

22. Michigan State

23. South Florida

24. West Virginia

25. NC State

     

Projected College Football Playoff

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

Rose Bowl: No. 2 Miami FL vs. No. 3 Clemson

After narrowly escaping Mississippi State on Saturday, Alabama is the clear choice to replace Georgia at No. 1. The gap between Georgia and Alabama was narrow to begin with, and now Alabama stands alone as the only team with a legitimate claim to the top spot.

The biggest challenge for the committee will be finding the right spot to place Miami.

The undefeated Hurricanes were No. 7 in the Week 11 rankings, behind multiple one-loss teams. However, with a dominant win over Notre Dame, Miami may have a strong enough resume to surge as high as No. 2.

Clemson also has a strong case for No. 2, but its loss to Syracuse—which is now 4-6 and in serious danger of missing out on bowl eligibility—is a dark cloud hanging over the Tigers. Can the committee really rank a team with a bad loss ahead of an undefeated team from the same conference?

That decision was justifiable last week, but Miami's throttling of Notre Dame could vault it to No. 2 on Tuesday.

     

Other New Year's Six Bowls Projections

Despite Jonathan Taylor's dominance, Wisconsin is still just outside the playoff picture.
Despite Jonathan Taylor's dominance, Wisconsin is still just outside the playoff picture.Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Peach Bowl: Georgia vs. UCF

Orange Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin

Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC

Cotton Bowl: Auburn vs. TCU

Undefeated Wisconsin will likely be snubbed once again this week, but the Badgers resume is slowly improving. A convincing win over No. 20 Iowa finally gave the committee a chance to watch Wisconsin against an opponent it respects, which could help sway some committee members who favor the eye test.

Based on these projected bowl matchups, Wisconsin is the only team that could reasonably feel snubbed. However, many others are waiting just on the outskirts of contention.

Auburn, which entered the week ranked No. 10, will almost certainly rise. No. 6, ahead of Wisconsin, is a likely landing spot for the Tigers.

With two losses, it will be difficult for Auburn to crack the top four anytime soon, but the Tigers clearly control their own destiny based on their remaining schedule. On November 25, Auburn will host Alabama and will head to the SEC Championship Game with a victory. If they run the table, Auburn is virtually guaranteed a spot in the playoff.

Georgia, despite its devastating loss to Auburn, also still controls its own destiny in the playoff race. The Bulldogs have already clinched the SEC East, so it will get an opportunity for revenge against Auburn or a shot at No. 1 Alabama in the SEC title game.

Despite the Bulldogs' convincing loss to Auburn, a one-loss SEC champion would certainly be awarded a spot in the playoff.

If complete chaos strikes, Ohio State could be the next team up, assuming it also runs the table. While Ohio State was ranked all the way down at No. 13 last week, a dominant victory over Michigan State will likely vault Ohio State back into the Top 10 on Tuesday.

Assuming Ohio State closes out its season with a Big Ten championship and a win over Wisconsin, it may have the strength of schedule to sneak into the playoff—but before Ohio State fans can dream of another postseason berth, the Buckeyes need multiple teams ahead of them to join the ranks of the two-loss teams.

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