Bowl Predictions 2021: Updated Predictions After Week 11 CFP Rankings
The top of the college football food chain did not change much in the past week.
The Michigan State Spartans were the only top-five team to lose, but that defeat was not the end of their national title hopes.
The Big Ten title race is still wide-open, with plenty of contenders left in the mix, including three teams that were ranked in the top 10 of the latest College Football Playoff rankings.
Entering Week 11, everyone is still chasing the Georgia Bulldogs, who are in their own class on top of the sport.
Georgia looks like the only lock to qualify for the College Football Playoff. The other contenders have a few more weeks' worth of work to prove they belong inside the top four in December.
College Football Playoff
Orange Bowl (December 31): No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Cincinnati
Cotton Bowl (December 31): No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Oregon
New Year's Six
Peach Bowl (December 30): Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M
Fiesta Bowl (January 1): Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame
Rose Bowl (January 1): Michigan State vs. Utah
Sugar Bowl (January 1): Oklahoma State vs. Alabama
Bahamas Bowl (December 17): Western Kentucky vs. Miami (Ohio)
Cure Bowl (December 17): Eastern Michigan vs. Texas State
Boca Raton Bowl (December 18): UCF vs. Ohio
New Mexico Bowl (December 18): Utah State vs. UTEP
Independence Bowl (December 18): BYU vs. UTSA
LendingTree Bowl (December 18): Northern Illinois vs. Appalachian State
LA Bowl (December 18): USC vs. Fresno State
New Orleans Bowl (December 18): Marshall vs. Louisiana
Myrtle Beach Bowl (December 20): Florida Atlantic vs. South Alabama
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (December 21): Central Michigan vs. San Diego State
Frisco Bowl (December 21): SMU vs. San Jose State
Armed Forces Bowl (December 22): Air Force vs. UAB
Gasparilla Bowl (December 23): East Carolina vs. Virginia Tech
Hawai'i Bowl (December 24): Nevada vs. Memphis
Camellia Bowl (December 25): Coastal Carolina vs. Ball State
Quick Lane Bowl (December 27): Minnesota vs. Buffalo
Military Bowl (December 27): Army vs. Middle Tennessee
Birmingham Bowl (December 28): Western Michigan vs. Florida
First Responder Bowl (December 28): TCU vs. Houston
Liberty Bowl (December 28): Texas vs. South Carolina
Holiday Bowl (December 28): North Carolina vs. Oregon State
Guaranteed Rate Bowl (December 28): Texas Tech vs. Washington
Fenway Bowl (December 29): Syracuse vs. Liberty
Pinstripe Bowl (December 29): Miami vs. Penn State
Cheez-It Bowl (December 29): Pittsburgh vs. Iowa State
Alamo Bowl (December 29): Baylor vs. Washington State
Duke's Mayo Bowl (December 30): Virginia vs. Mississippi State
Music City Bowl (December 30): Iowa vs. Tennessee
Las Vegas Bowl (December 30): Purdue vs. Arizona State
Gator Bowl (December 31): NC State vs. Kentucky
Sun Bowl (December 31): Clemson vs. UCLA
Arizona Bowl (December 31): Boise State vs. Troy
Outback Bowl (January 1): Wisconsin vs. Auburn
Citrus Bowl (January 1): Michigan vs. Ole Miss
Texas Bowl (January 4): Kansas State vs. Arkansas
No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Cincinnati
If Georgia wins out, it will be the unquestioned No. 1 team in the CFB Playoff rankings.
The Bulldogs have three tune-up games ahead of the SEC Championship Game, where they could face the Alabama Crimson Tide or Texas A&M Aggies.
Kirby Smart's team faces a potentially tricky test Saturday against the Tennessee Volunteers, who have looked sharp offensively under first-year head coach Josh Heupel.
While Tennessee can keep pace with anyone on the scoreboard, its defense needs some work, which could kill its upset chances Saturday afternoon.
Georgia has proved it is the superior team to any challenger in the SEC, and it has a strong enough defense to deal with either Alabama or Texas A&M in Atlanta.
The playoff selection committee has been kind to Cincinnati compared to Group of Five teams in past seasons. The Bearcats started at No. 6, but they moved up to No. 5 after Michigan State's loss in Week 10. Although the Bearcats wish they could be higher, the message is clear: If they win out, they should land in the playoff.
At least one top-four spot will be cleared if Alabama suffers a second loss, and the Big Ten's list of contenders will dwindle to one since Michigan and Michigan State still have to play Ohio State.
Cincinnati struggled to finish off games in recent weeks, but what is most important is that it still won.
The Bearcats could bolster their resume with a win over the SMU Mustangs in Week 12 and then by beating the Houston Cougars, their likely foe in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game.
If Cincinnati reaches the playoff, it would likely be as the No. 4 seed because of how little the committee values Group of Five leagues compared to the power conferences.
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Oregon
The selection committee may be forced into setting up a rematch from a regular-season game in the playoff semifinals.
Ohio State and Oregon both should be viewed as the favorites to win their respective conferences.
The Buckeyes have a tougher path to the playoff since they have to play four ranked teams in a row, starting with the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday. Ohio State needs to beat Michigan State and Michigan just to get to the Big Ten Championship Game, where it would face a Top 25 side from the Big Ten West.
If Ohio State wins out, it would have a much better resume than the Ducks and should land the No. 2 overall seed.
The committee proved that head-to-head matchups can be rendered useless when it placed Michigan over Michigan State on Tuesday.
Although Oregon beat Ohio State on the road in September, it would not have a comparable resume to compete for the No. 2 seed. Oregon's only ranked foe left on the schedule is Utah, which it may have to play twice since the Utes have an edge in the Pac-12 South standings.
The committee could look into dropping Oregon to No. 4 and moving up Cincinnati to No. 3 to avoid a rematch, but that seems unlikely given how it views Group of Five teams.