Bowl Projections 2018: Latest Predictions for CFP Final and Most Dangerous Teams

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) carries the ball in for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Tuesday is one of the most important days of the season for the top programs in college football. 

When the latest College Football Playoff rankings are released around 7 p.m. ET, we'll have a better idea of what each playoff contender must do Saturday in order to join Notre Dame in the final four. 

The majority of the attention in Week 14 will be directed at the SEC Championship Game, with Georgia likely needing to beat Alabama to earn the No. 4 seed. 

Oklahoma and Ohio State are the main contenders for the last spot if Georgia falls to the Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship rematch, while UCF needs a load of help to even be considered in the eyes of the playoff selection committee. 


CFB Playoff Final Prediction

Alabama vs. Clemson

If you're hoping to see a new program break into the National Championship, we're here to get your hopes down. 

Alabama and Clemson are on a collision course for the final contest of the season; it's hard to find a team across the country that matches up well against either team. 

Richard Shiro/Associated Press

Georgia has the best opportunity of any program to knock off the Crimson Tide on Saturday in Atlanta, but the Bulldogs have to play a perfect game and bank on Alabama making a few mistakes, which would be uncharacteristic of Nick Saban's team. 

The meeting between the top two teams in the nation at Levi's Stadium on January 7 would mark the fourth year in a row Clemson and Alabama meet in the playoff. 

Since the playoff system was implemented ahead of the 2014 season, only the Tigers and Crimson Tide have been the No. 1 seed. That streak will extend to five years even if the Crimson Tide lose to Georgia, as Clemson is expected to be the top-ranked team in that situation. 

If the third championship meeting in four years between the two powers of the sport comes to fruition, we'll witness a showcase of the present and future of college football at quarterback, with Alabama sophomore Tua Tagovailoa facing off against Clemson freshman Trevor Lawrence. 

The field will be littered with future NFL talent, with Clemson's dominant defensive line of Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant expected to receive the most pregame attention outside of the quarterbacks. 

Finding a discernible difference between the two programs will be hard, even with a week of breakdowns. 

The Tigers hold a 13-yard advantage over the Crimson Tide in total offense, but the latter have scored 40 more points. 

Defensively, Alabama has conceded 12 fewer total yards than Clemson and has given up 0.2 points per game less than the Tigers. 


Most Dangerous Teams 


Georgia is the one team capable of throwing the playoff conversation for a loop. 

The Bulldogs haven't been talked about as much as they should've been on a national level in recent weeks as they've dispensed of their opponents in dominant fashion. 

John Bazemore/Associated Press

Kirby Smart's fourth-ranked team has the clearest path to the playoff of any one-loss team, needing to beat Alabama to qualify.

If Georgia falls to the Crimson Tide, there's no controversy and the Bulldogs will step aside with a Sugar Bowl berth in hand and let Oklahoma and Ohio State square off for the No. 4 seed. 

Although they are listed as a double-digit underdog on OddsShark, the Bulldogs shouldn't be discounted in the SEC Championship Game. Their Jake Fromm-led offense is capable of keeping up with the Crimson Tide, and their experience against the Alabama defense in the 2018 CFP National Championship could prove valuable. 

Just like it is for any Alabama opponent, containing Tagovailoa is Georgia's toughest defensive assignment. Limiting the left-handed signal-caller would go a long way to securing a win and a CFP spot.


Ohio State

Of the two teams directly underneath Georgia jockeying for the No. 4 seed, Ohio State has the most hype behind it after demolishing Michigan, 62-39. 

The Buckeyes are far from the perfect product, as we witnessed in the underwhelming wins over unranked Nebraska, Michigan State and Maryland leading up to the win over Michigan. However, no one wants a part of Urban Meyer's team after it erupted against the previously top-rated defense in the FBS. 

In quarterback Dwayne Haskins and running backs Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins, the Buckeyes have enough firepower at the line of scrimmage to turn opposing defenses in every direction. 

Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

When Haskins gets going in the passing game, he has a few key targets to hit in Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill, while freshman Chris Olave emerged as a threat through the air against Michigan with two touchdowns. 

While the Ohio State offense proved it is capable of playing with one of the best teams in the nation Saturday, concerns still linger over its defense. 

Giving up 82 combined points to Nebraska and Maryland and letting up 49 in a loss to Purdue are the blemishes on Ohio State's defensive resume, but a dominant performance in the Big Ten Championship Game versus Northwestern would erase those concerns.

Even if the Buckeyes don't advance to the playoff, they're in position to play in the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten champion against either Washington or Utah out of the Pac-12. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.