Bowl Predictions 2018: Complete CFP Projections Following Week 10

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 4, 2018

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 03:  Damien Harris #34 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a second half touchdown while playing the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Alabama won the game 29-0. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The path to the College Football Playoff is clear for the top four programs.

Alabama reinforced its No. 1 ranking with a Week 10 victory over LSU, and when December rolls around, the more intriguing SEC storyline could be how many teams from the conference qualify for the New Year's Six bowls given the mediocrity of the programs beneath the Top 10.

Clemson appears to be the only team capable of challenging the Crimson Tide, but if the Tigers keep on their current trajectory, they'll have to wait until the National Championship for a rematch with Alabama.

Notre Dame and Michigan are next in line for the playoff, and if they pass the handful of tests left on their respective schedules, they'll slot into the final two positions.

Given the amount of ranked teams that have fallen through 10 weeks, there's a chance one of the four playoff contenders slip up, but we don't see it happening.


Bowl Projections

College Football Playoff

Cotton Bowl (December 29): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Michigan 

Orange Bowl (December 29): No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame 


New Year's Six

Peach Bowl (December 29): UCF vs. Georgia

Fiesta Bowl (January 1): Oklahoma vs. Kentucky 

Rose Bowl (January 1): Ohio State vs. Washington State

Sugar Bowl (January 1): West Virginia vs. LSU


Other Bowls

New Mexico Bowl (December 15): San Diego State vs. North Texas 

Cure Bowl (December 15): Akron vs. Arkansas State 

Las Vegas Bowl (December 15): Fresno State vs. USC 

Camellia Bowl (December 15): Western Michigan vs. Coastal Carolina

New Orleans Bowl (December 15): Marshall vs. UL-Monroe

Boca Raton Bowl (December 18): South Florida vs. Florida International

Frisco Bowl (December 19): Nevada vs. Toledo

Gasparilla Bowl (December 20): Memphis vs. Miami

Bahamas Bowl (December 21): Ohio vs. Middle Tennessee State

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (December 21): Boise State vs. Northern Illinois

Birmingham Bowl (December 22): Cincinnati vs. California

Armed Forces Bowl (December 22): Temple vs. Appalachian State

Dollar General Bowl (December 22): Buffalo vs. Georgia Southern 

Hawaii Bowl (December 22): Hawaii vs. Louisiana Tech 

First Responder Bowl (December 26): BYU vs. Georgia Tech 

Quick Lane Bowl (December 26): Army vs. UAB 

Cheez-It Bowl (December 26): Baylor vs. Colorado

Independence Bowl (December 27): Virginia Tech vs. Oregon

Pinstripe Bowl (December 27): Iowa vs. Duke

Texas Bowl (December 27): Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

Music City Bowl (December 28): NC State vs. Arizona State 

Camping World Bowl (December 28): Syracuse vs. Texas Tech 

Alamo Bowl (December 28): Texas vs. Arizona

Belk Bowl (December 29): Boston College vs. South Carolina

Arizona Bowl (December 29): Utah State vs. Troy

Military Bowl (December 31): Virginia vs. Houston

Sun Bowl (December 31): Stanford vs. Pittsburgh

Redbox Bowl (December 31): Purdue vs. Washington

Liberty Bowl (December 31): Iowa State vs. Texas A&M 

Holiday Bowl (December 31): Utah vs. Wisconsin

Gator Bowl (December 31): Northwestern vs. Florida

Outback Bowl (January 1): Mississippi State vs. Penn State 

Citrus Bowl (January 1): Auburn vs. Michigan State


Playoff Outlook

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Michigan

Even if you didn't watch a second of Alabama's thumping of LSU, all you have to do is look at the final score to see how dominant the Crimson Tide were Saturday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

With the victory, Nick Saban's team clinched the SEC West title and a date with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 03:  Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide throws a third quarter pass while playing the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Alabama won the game 29-0. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Get
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

From now until December 4, the goal for Tua Tagovailoa and Co. is to improve the smallest facets of their game in order to show no weaknesses during December and January.

The Crimson Tide have Mississippi State, The Citadel and Auburn left on their regular-season schedule, and they will be overwhelming favorites in each game.

Even if Mississippi State or Auburn keeps Alabama within striking distance, neither team has shown it can consistently move the ball down the field.

While we were busy fawning over Alabama, Michigan's blowout of Penn State flew a bit under the radar.

With LSU dropping out of the playoff positions, the Wolverines will slide into the No. 4 spot, as they continue to prove Jim Harbaugh's doubters wrong.

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The dominant victories over Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State won't matter if Michigan can't beat Ohio State on Thanksgiving weekend with the Big Ten East title on the line.

The Wolverines should be able to get to November 24 at 10-1 since they have Rutgers and Indiana coming up in their next two games.

Since the Buckeyes conceded 25 or more points in four of their past five games, we don't have much trust in their defense silencing a Michigan offense that has outscored opponents 219-75 in conference play.

As long as Michigan knocks off its biggest rival, it should be able to handle whichever team emerges from the mess in the Big Ten West, which is the 5-4 Northwestern.

Michigan won't suffer a letdown against the Wildcats for the second time this season and will be prepared to come out on top with a playoff berth in its sight.


No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame

Clemson has an opportunity to make a statement different to the one it made by trouncing Louisville in Week 10.

The Tigers won't put up 77 points on Boston College, but they will be able to prove they can win in a hostile environment on the road.

Richard Shiro/Associated Press

Saturday's trip to Boston College marks the first significant road test the Tigers have had since Week 2 at Texas A&M, and it's the final road game of their regular-season slate.

Dabo Swinney's team not only will have an eye on the College Football Playoff, but it will also look to lock up the ACC Atlantic Division title by knocking the Eagles into the two-loss column in conference play.

As long as the Tigers get through Week 11, they should cruise into the playoff, with Duke and South Carolina at home and a team with eight or nine wins from the ACC Coastal awaiting in the ACC Championship.

Notre Dame survived its second-to-last road challenge Saturday by beating Northwestern by 10 points.

The Fighting Irish's focus shifts to Florida State and a neutral-site game versus Syracuse at Yankee Stadium.

Jim Young/Associated Press

Getting past the struggling Seminoles at home should be an easy task, but the Orange could provide a tough matchup.

Even if they are involved in a tight game, the Fighting Irish proved they can win one-possession games against Michigan, Vanderbilt and Pittsburgh.

Brian Kelly made the right decision to go with Ian Book at quarterback, as he's thrown for at least 250 yards in each of his six starts.

In a projected matchup with Clemson, Book would square off with Trevor Lawrence, who also started the regular season on the bench.

However, Lawrence has only thrown for 300 yards twice because of how one-sided the majority of Clemson's games have been.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.


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