Bowl Projections 2021: CFP Predictions After Week 12 AP Poll Release

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 14, 2021

Bowl Projections 2021: CFP Predictions After Week 12 AP Poll Release

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    The AP Top 25 has not been an indicator of what we will see in the College Football Playoff rankings over the last two weeks. 

    That could change heading into Week 12 after the Oklahoma Sooners dropped down to No. 12 in the latest AP poll following their loss to the Baylor Bears on Saturday. 

    Oklahoma had one of the largest discrepancies between the AP poll and CFP rankings in the last two weeks. The Sooners were fourth in the AP and eighth in the playoff rankings. 

    With Oklahoma out of the way, the two sets of rankings should align more, starting with the Georgia Bulldogs at No. 1. 

    The easiest playoff scenario on paper is for four of the current top five programs to win out. All five can't do that since Georgia and the Alabama Crimson Tide are on a collision course to meet in the SEC Championship Game. 

CFB Projections

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    College Football Playoff

    Orange Bowl (December 31): No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Oregon

    Cotton Bowl (December 31): No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Cincinnati

     

    New Year's Six

    Peach Bowl (December 30): Wake Forest vs. Ole Miss

    Fiesta Bowl (January 1): Notre Dame vs. Michigan

    Rose Bowl (January 1): Michigan State vs. Utah

    Sugar Bowl (January 1): Oklahoma State vs. Alabama

No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Oregon

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    Georgia taught the same defensive lesson that it has all season long on Saturday versus the Tennessee Volunteers. 

    Saturday's performance was a bit more staggering than the others because the Bulldogs shut down an offensive unit that entered the weekend with a ton of confidence. 

    The Vols produced 50 total points in losses to Alabama and Ole Miss, but they failed to compete with the top-ranked Bulldogs. They scored just 17 points, which was still the highest concession of the season by the Bulldogs. 

    Georgia should cruise to victories in the next two weeks to put its undefeated record on the line against Alabama. 

    The Crimson Tide leaped Cincinnati to get to No. 2 in the AP Top 25 on Sunday, but their status in the top four is solely based on them beating Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, which is a task no one wants to face right now. 

    As for the No. 4 seed, that matter could become more complicated because of the games played in the coming weeks and the precedent set by the playoff selection committee. 

    Oregon is ahead of Ohio State in both polls, but the Buckeyes play the tougher schedule down the stretch, starting with the Michigan State Spartans at home on Saturday.

    Ohio State is in line to play three more Top 25 teams, and it already has two victories over Top 25 squads. 

    The CFB playoff committee set a potentially dangerous precedent by placing the Michigan Wolverines over Michigan State in last week's rankings even though Jim Harbaugh's team lost to the Spartans. 

    If the committee believes Ohio State has a better resume, it could jump Oregon. That would set up the potential for a rematch between the Buckeyes and Ducks. 

    As enticing as that matchup would be, the committee could place an undefeated Cincinnati at No. 3 to give us two fresh showdowns on New Year's Eve. It is also worth noting Georgia and Cincinnati played in the Peach Bowl last season and that could be a small factor in the decision making too. 

No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Cincinnati

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    If the committee does not want to see an Ohio State-Oregon matchup, it can easily put the Buckeyes up against Cincinnati.

    But that should not be the only reason for the two Ohio programs to jump the Ducks in the rankings over the next few weeks. 

    If Ohio State wins the Big Ten, an argument can be made that it has the better resume than Georgia because of all the ranked squads it would have beaten. 

    The committee proved on Tuesday that it had no problem putting head-to-head records to the side, and that could be the case again with Ohio State and Oregon in a few weeks. 

    Oregon's only chances for a Top 25 win come against the Utah Utes, once on Saturday and another potentially in the Pac-12 Championship Game. 

    Additionally, Oregon's loss to the Stanford Cardinal gets worse by the week. Stanford sits at the bottom of the Pac-12 North right now. 

    Cincinnati has been valued more than Group of Five teams in previous years. It could get a resume boost in the American Athletic Conference title game if the Houston Cougars enter that matchup as a ranked team. 

    If the Bearcats were being compared to a team from any other Power Five conference, there would be little argument for them to make a leap, but the Pac-12 is the weakest of the Power Five leagues. 

    Oregon's victories could carry less value because of the lack of quality across the Pac-12, and a potential Pac-12 title game win over Utah might mean less because the two teams already played. 

    Cincinnati needs to win big to close out its regular season to further bolster its case to be No. 3, but it is not an impossible scenario, especially if Oregon slips up a bit. 

    Oklahoma State could slide into the playoff picture as well if it wins out and earns the Big 12 title, but it needs some help to move up from its No. 10 spot in last Tuesday's rankings. 

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