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Bowl Projections 2018: Updated CFP Predictions for Week 12

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 13, 2018

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) celebrates his touchdown run with teammates during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Boston College, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

It's been made clear over the last few weeks there's a large gap between the top 10 teams in college football and the rest of the pack.

You could even make an argument that within the 10-team group, a four-team bloc has emerged as the elite programs. 

Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan will be the top four sides in Tuesday's College Football Playoff rankings, and given how well each team has played, it's hard not to see the quartet in the playoff. 

The second tier of good teams is dominated by the SEC, which could force three teams into the New Year's Six based solely on the attrition in other conferences. 

Due to the lack of impressive programs throughout the power conferences, the bowl selection process could be difficult, as certain bowls try to get the best matchup possible. 

            

Bowl Projections

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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. Florida 

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): Toledo vs. Arkansas State 

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

Camellia Bowl (December 15): Western Michigan vs. Appalachian State

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. Colorado

Gasparilla Bowl (December 20): Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic

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

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (December 21): Boise State vs. Eastern Michigan

Birmingham Bowl (December 22): Cincinnati vs. Arizona

Armed Forces Bowl (December 22): Temple vs. Army

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

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

First Responder Bowl (December 26): BYU vs. UAB

Quick Lane Bowl (December 26): Northern Illinois vs. Georgia Tech

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

Independence Bowl (December 27): Virginia vs. Oregon

Pinstripe Bowl (December 27): Purdue vs. Duke

Texas Bowl (December 27): Texas Tech vs. Tennessee

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

Camping World Bowl (December 28): Syracuse vs. Iowa State

Alamo Bowl (December 28): Texas vs. Utah

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

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

Military Bowl (December 31): Wake Forest vs. Houston

Sun Bowl (December 31): Arizona State vs. Pittsburgh

Redbox Bowl (December 31): Iowa vs. Stanford

Liberty Bowl (December 31): Oklahoma State vs. Auburn

Holiday Bowl (December 31): Washington vs. Northwestern

Gator Bowl (December 31): Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M

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

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

                 

CFB Playoff Prediction

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Michigan 

Alabama is already penciled into 11-0, as The Citadel comes to Bryant-Denny Stadium during the SEC's annual cupcake week. 

While a matchup with a FCS program throws off the competitive balance of the schedule this late in the season, this is something SEC schools have done for a while, and it makes up for teams such as Alabama playing difficult nonconference opponents in September. 

As for the matchup itself, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is expected to play his full complement of stars, including quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, per ESPN.com's Alex Scarborough

Butch Dill/Associated Press

Even without Tagovailoa under center, the Crimson Tide would have rolled to an easy victory to keep them atop the rankings heading into the Iron Bowl. 

Michigan is building up to its rivalry clash with Ohio State, with Indiana being the latest team the Wolverines hope to surge past. 

The Wolverines won their last two games by identical 42-7 scorelines over two different teams in Penn State and Rutgers. 

A similar score is expected out of Jim Harbaugh's team against a 5-5 Hoosiers side that will try to test Michigan with bowl eligibility on the line. 

As it has been for the past few weeks, Michigan's defense will be the X-factor, as it limits Indiana to less than 20 points. 

Since Michigan is locked into the No. 4 seed if chalk holds, we can start thinking of how exciting a matchup between the Wolverines defense and Alabama's offense could be in the national semifinal. 

                

No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame

There isn't much left for Clemson to prove after it stormed through Boston College Saturday to pick up its 10th victory. 

Home games against Duke and South Carolina are left on the schedule for Dabo Swinney's team before it heads to the ACC Championship. 

In its five home games. Clemson outscored opponents 231-60, and while Duke and South Carolina are formidable foes, they won't be able to keep up with the Tigers offensively. 

With the ACC Atlantic locked up, the Tigers can look ahead to potential ACC Championship opponents, and maybe even take a glance at what a matchup with Notre Dame would look like in the playoff. 

Notre Dame enters Week 12 in a similar position to Clemson from a week ago. 

The Fighting Irish are looking to polish off their resume against a ranked ACC foe in Syracuse, but the difference between Saturday's game and Clemson's win over Boston College is the site. 

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Brian Kelly's team faces off against the Orange on a neutral field at Yankee Stadium, but there will be plenty of Notre Dame fans in attendance. 

If they make a statement with their win over Syracuse, the Fighting Irish could end their regular season with a blowout of a USC team that is all out of sorts. 

Although some could argue Michigan deserves the No. 3 seed, Notre Dame will end up in a matchup with Clemson because of its head-to-head win over the Wolverines from Week 1.

                

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.