Bowl Predictions 2019: College Football Playoff Predictions for Top Teams

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 17, 2019

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) looks to pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
Thomas Graning/Associated Press

The top of the College Football Playoff rankings should not change after Week 12.

LSU, Ohio State and Clemson were three of nine top-10 teams to come out victorious Saturday.

The top three squads have used dominant performances to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in recent weeks.

Georgia, Alabama, Oregon and Utah headline the competition for the No. 4 seed. The field of contenders for that position was trimmed because of the losses Baylor and Minnesota suffered.

But those defeats should have more of an impact on the New Year's Six teams than the final four.

                              

College Football Playoff Predictions

Peach Bowl (December 28): No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oregon

Fiesta Bowl (December 28): No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson

The top three teams in the country should remain in those positions for another week.

LSU torched Ole Miss for 714 total yards, with Joe Burrow producing 489 passing yards and five touchdowns in the 58-37 victory.

OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI - NOVEMBER 16: Justin Jefferson #2 of the LSU Tigers celebrates a touchdown with Terrace Marshall Jr. #6 during the second half of a game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Oxford, Missis
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Burrow added to his Heisman Trophy resume by setting the program's single-season passing yards record, per the team's official Twitter account.

JaMarr Chase and Justin Jefferson combined for 17 receptions, 339 receiving yards and five scores, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 172 yards and a score. But the offense's performance was not the top takeaway from Saturday. The Tigers' defense was gashed for 614 total yards by an Ole Miss squad that had lost four of its past five games.

Four-hundred and two of those yards came on the ground. That may be a concern in the next two SEC clashes against Arkansas and Texas A&M. Arkansas' Rakeem Boyd is coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, and the Aggies had two players hit triple digits in Week 12 against South Carolina.

But if LSU continues to outscore opponents, the struggles of the rushing defense may not come into the picture until the SEC Championship Game against Georgia.

A clash with the Georgia defense that gave up its first rushing touchdown Saturday will be the ultimate test for the LSU offense to pass. While the Bulldogs have looked dominant in stretches, three of their five highest point concessions were against ranked foes, and they appeared to ease up during Auburn's fourth-quarter comeback.

LSU's offense looks like a machine that can't be stopped, and because of that, the Tigers would land the No. 1 overall seed and the right to choose which national semifinal site to play at.

We did not learn anything new about Ohio State in Week 12, as it breezed through Rutgers. The Buckeyes have two opportunities to prove their worth in big games, with Penn State coming to Ohio Stadium in Week 13 and a trip to Michigan a week later.

PISCATAWAY, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 16: Ohio State Buckeyes sing their alma mater song following their 56-21 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Chase Young's return from a two-game suspension should boost Ohio State's defense. 

The junior defensive end could change the games by himself by sacking Sean Clifford and Shea Patterson. In his most recent appearance, Young made four sacks versus then-No. 13 Wisconsin at home.

If Ohio State runs through the rest of its schedule, it would have three straight wins over Top 25 foes, including the Big Ten West champion. In that scenario, Ryan Day's side would be ranked no lower than No. 2, and it should force a debate for the No. 1 seed with LSU.

In the six games since its scare against North Carolina, Clemson has outscored opponents 315-58. Trevor Lawrence has five consecutive 200-yard performances, and Travis Etienne eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the last six games.

Even if Dabo Swinney's team wins out, its lack of Top 25 wins will prevent it from challenging LSU and Ohio State for the top seed. Clemson closes with a road trip to South Carolina, which has four losses in its past five games, and a matchup with either Virginia, Virginia Tech or Pittsburgh, all of whom sit at 7-3.

Oregon extended its winning streak to nine games by controlling Saturday's contest with Arizona. Mario Cristobal's team may be in better position to eclipse Georgia and Alabama than Utah because it has not lost since Week 1, and its lone defeat came to Auburn at a neutral site.

If it finishes the season with a 12-game winning run and a Pac-12 championship, Oregon could be the best fit for the No. 4 seed over one-loss Alabama and Big 12 winner Oklahoma. If that comes to fruition, Oregon would be the first Pac-12 team to reach the playoff in three seasons.

                          

New Year's Six

Cotton Bowl (December 28): Memphis vs. Florida 

Orange Bowl (December 30): Georgia vs. Wake Forest

Rose Bowl (January 1): Minnesota vs. Utah

Sugar Bowl (January 1): Alabama vs. Oklahoma

Baylor's loss to Oklahoma likely cost it a New Year's Six position for the time being.

The Bears still have a chance to enact revenge against the Sooners in the Big 12 Championship Game, but their scoreless second half does not inspire much confidence in that happening.

If Oklahoma lands the Big 12 title, it will head to the Sugar Bowl, where Jalen Hurts could face his former team, Alabama.

WACO, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 16:  Jalen Hurts #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs the ball against the Baylor Bears in the second half at McLane Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

However, Tua Tagovailoa's season-ending injury may affect that potential matchup. Alabama still has to get by Auburn to finish with one loss. The good news for the Crimson Tide is they will face an Auburn side that has produced more than 20 points once in four Top 25 matchups in SEC play.

One-loss Alabama could get the Sugar Bowl nod over two-loss Georgia, which would slip into an at-large berth with a SEC Championship Game defeat to LSU.

Florida could be the biggest beneficiary of Baylor's loss, as it is in position to finish in the top 10 and earn the final at-large spot in the New Year's Six. Dan Mullen's team is 9-2, with its only defeats coming to LSU and Georgia. All it has to do is beat Florida State in Week 14, and it should be the fourth SEC team in the New Year's Six.

Despite losing to Iowa, Minnesota still has a chance to qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game by beating Northwestern and Wisconsin. If that occurs, the Golden Gophers could land a Rose Bowl berth, even with a loss to Ohio State.

Penn State and Wisconsin would be contention for a trip to Pasadena, California, but P.J. Fleck's side would have head-to-head wins over both.

Utah is the second-best Pac-12 team in the rankings, but it could change that by beating Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Utes will enter the first week of December beneath the Ducks because they carry a worse loss. Utah fell to USC, while Oregon lost to Auburn.

Memphis and Cincinnati are still fighting for the Group of Five berth, but the former have looked much better in recent weeks. The Tigers have four straight wins, including a 54-48 victory over SMU. They beat Houston by 18 on the road Saturday.

Cincinnati has won two of its past three games by three points. In Week 12, it needed a last-second field goal to down South Florida.

The two sides meet November 29 in Memphis and could square off again in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game to determine the top Group of Five squad.

                                

Bowl Projections

Bahamas Bowl (December 20): Charlotte vs. Buffalo 

Frisco Bowl (December 20): Temple vs. Marshall

New Mexico Bowl (December 21): Western Kentucky vs. San Diego State 

Cure Bowl (December 21): Georgia Southern vs. Liberty 

Boca Raton Bowl (December 21): Tulane vs. UAB 

Camellia Bowl (December 21): Miami (Ohio) vs. Georgia State 

Las Vegas Bowl (December 21): Washington State vs. Boise State 

New Orleans Bowl (December 21): Louisiana Tech vs. Appalachian State 

Gasparilla Bowl (December 23): UCF vs. Southern Miss 

Hawaii Bowl (December 24): BYU vs. Hawaii 

Independence Bowl (December 26): Florida State vs. SMU 

QuickLane Bowl (December 26): North Carolina vs. Michigan State 

Military Bowl (December 27): Miami vs. Navy 

Pinstripe Bowl (December 27): Pittsburgh vs. Illinois

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

Holiday Bowl (December 27): Iowa vs. Washington 

Cheez-It Bowl (December 27): Kansas State vs. Oregon State 

Camping World Bowl (December 28): Notre Dame vs. Texas 

First Responder Bowl (December 30): Florida Atlantic vs. TCU 

Music City Bowl (December 30): Virginia vs. Kentucky 

Redbox Bowl (December 30): Indiana vs. Arizona State 

Belk Bowl (December 31): Virginia Tech vs. Mississippi State 

Sun Bowl (December 31): Louisville vs. California 

Liberty Bowl (December 31): Iowa State vs. Cincinnati

Arizona Bowl (December 31): Wyoming vs. Arkansas State 

Alamo Bowl (December 31): Baylor vs. USC 

Citrus Bowl (January 1): Wisconsin vs. Auburn 

Outback Bowl (January 1): Penn State vs. Texas A&M 

Birmingham Bowl (January 2): Ohio vs. Nevada

Gator Bowl (January 2): Michigan vs. Tennessee

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (January 3): Central Michigan vs. Utah State 

Armed Forces Bowl (January 4): Air Force vs. Toledo 

Mobile Alabama Bowl (January 6): Western Michigan vs. Louisiana

                    

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

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