So far, so good. At least for now.
No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, and No. 3 Notre Dame remain undefeated this week. The 13-member selection committee of the College Football Playoff has had it pretty easy with No. 4 Michigan joining the top 4 on Tuesday as many had predicted.
The SEC East champion Georgia is in limbo as No. 6 Oklahoma continues to be highly ranked followed next in line by No. 7 LSU. On Saturday, LSU lost for the second time this season to Alabama and dropped four spots.
While the talk all across the spectrum has been about the weak performance of the ACC this season, they do have 4 ranked teams including No. 13 Syracuse, No. 14 NC State, and No. 17 Boston College, who all joined Clemson. Clemson is highly valued by the selection committee for their scheduling strengths, while the Tigers have yet another opportunity on Saturday to improve their resume by claiming the division with a win over BC.
It was truly Groundhog Day for No. 8 Washington State, the Pac-12’s only remaining loss and highly-ranked team, along with UCF which remains at No. 12.
Here’s how the bracket currently looks:
No. 1 Alabama would square off against No. 4 Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinal in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic – the committee won’t geographically disadvantage a No. 1 seed. Arlington, Texas is closer to Tuscaloosa than it is to Miami, where No. 2 Clemson will play against No. 3 Notre Dame in the College Playoff Semifinal in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
A contract bowl that guarantees historic Big Ten champs against the Pac-12 champs is the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual. No. 4 Michigan is expected to win the conference and is already in a semifinal. The next highly-ranked Big Ten team should be No. 10 Ohio State. The Buckeyes would likely play against No. 8 Washington State which is anticipated to be the Pac-12 champion.
Another contract bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, is certain to get the Big 12 champion as well as the SEC champion. Because the SEC champ, No. 1 Alabama, is currently in a semifinal, the Sugar Bowl should also get No 5. Georgia, the second highest-ranked SEC team. The Bulldogs would face the expected Big 12 champion in the ranking, No. 6 Oklahoma.
It’s likely that No. 12 UCF, the highest-ranked champion from a Group 5 conference, will go to the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. This team should also be able to land a spot in the New Year’s Six Bowl rather than the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl where the team played last season. The Knights would square off against No. 7 LSU due to matchup and fan interest.
Of the remaining highly-ranked teams, No. 9 West Virginia and No. 11 Kentucky would play in the Peach Bowl which likewise, would be chosen due to matchup, fan interest, and geography.