Bowl Projections 2021: Predictions for Georgia, Michigan and Top Teams

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 1, 2021

Bowl Projections 2021: Predictions for Georgia, Michigan and Top Teams

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Georgia has dominated throughout the 2021 season, reeling off 12 consecutive wins to solidify its spot as the No. 1 team in the College Football Playoff rankings entering conference championship weekend.

    However, the Bulldogs' schedule is about to get much tougher.

    On Saturday, they will be taking on No. 3 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Whether or not the Bulldogs win, they're likely to be advancing to the CFP. And they'll surely be the No. 1 seed if they're victorious over the Crimson Tide on Saturday.

    There may be some tough decisions awaiting the CFP selection committee next week, though. Could Alabama become the first two-loss team to reach the playoff? It may depend on how the rest of the dominoes fall this weekend. And if some of the favorites lose, the decisions will only get harder.

    Heading into conference championship weekend, here's a look at the latest bowl projections, along with predictions for how the CFP landscape will unfold.

New Year's Six Bowl Projections

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    College Football Playoff

    Orange Bowl (Dec. 31): Georgia vs. Oklahoma State

    Cotton Bowl (Dec. 31): Michigan vs. Cincinnati


    New Year's Six

    Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1): Alabama vs. Baylor

    Rose Bowl (Jan. 1): Ohio State vs. Oregon

    Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 1): Michigan State vs. Ole Miss

    Peach Bowl (Dec. 30): Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh

Georgia Will Win SEC Title, Push Alabama out of CFP

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Alabama could give Georgia a competitive game on Saturday. The Crimson Tide will likely be the best team the Bulldogs have faced this season, and you can never count out a Nick Saban-coached side with the SEC championship on the line.

    But it's hard to imagine Georgia's defense having a letdown now. The Bulldogs have been absolutely dominant on the defensive side of the ball all season. They lead the country in points (6.92) and total yards allowed (230.8) per game. No team has scored more than 17 points against them this year.

    Alabama's offense is great, and quarterback Bryce Young may end up winning the Heisman Trophy. But the Tide struggled against Auburn last week, being held to three points over the first 59 minutes and 36 seconds before needing a late touchdown drive and four overtimes to outlast the Tigers.

    Can Alabama really put up enough points against Georgia to notch a victory? Don't count on it, and expect the Bulldogs to improve to 13-0 and secure their spot as the top seed in the College Football Playoff.

Michigan, Oklahoma State Will Win and Get in

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    Michigan and Oklahoma State should have strong CFP resumes by the time Saturday is over. The Wolverines and Cowboys could each have only one loss on their records, and both may be champions of a Power Five conference. That's why both teams are likely to get into the playoff.

    For Michigan, all it needs to do is beat Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Wolverines are ranked No. 2 in the CFP rankings after knocking off Ohio State last week and are unlikely to fall to the Hawkeyes, which have already lost twice this season.

    Meanwhile, Oklahoma State will likely be the beneficiary of Alabama's loss to Georgia. With the Crimson Tide falling, the No. 5-ranked Cowboys will move up and secure a playoff berth by beating Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game.

    With Michigan and Oklahoma State both taking care of business, the two programs will go on to make the CFP for the first time.

Cincinnati Will Make CFP History by Getting in

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    Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

    There's never been a Group of Five team to reach the playoff. And when Cincinnati was ranked outside the top four despite being undefeated earlier in the season, things weren't looking great for the Bearcats to become the first.

    However, enough teams have lost that Cincinnati is now sitting comfortably in the No. 4 spot. And as long as the Bearcats defeat Houston in the AAC Championship Game on Saturday, they're likely going to be heading to the College Football Playoff for the first time.

    Cincinnati hasn't faced much adversity this season. Houston may be a stronger opponent than many of the teams the Bearcats have faced, they're still a clear better side than the Cougars. So, it would be surprising to see an upset take place.

    It seemed a Group of Five team may never reach the CFP unless the field was expanded, but Cincinnati is about to prove there is a way to make it happen with the current four-team format.


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