In previous years around this time, we usually have an idea of who will be playing in the College Football Playoff. However with the on-going coronavirus pandemic and games around the country still being canceled or postponed, there is still a long way to go.
Earlier this week, the committee unveiled its second CFB playoff rankings, with Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, and Notre Dame holding the top four spots. We’re going to breakdown who each team is playing this weekend and how that will impact the New Years 6 bowl games.
College Football Playoff
1. Alabama (8-0) vs. LSU - The Crimson Tide appear to be cruising towards another SEC championship this season. But before they can think about that, Bama has to get by the LSU Tigers on Saturday night. Unlike last year’s LSU team, which featured Joe Burrow and Co., this is a completely different squad on both sides of the ball. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones should not have any problems throwing on this defense and getting his team one step closer to the playoff, especially as a 29-point favorite.
2. Notre Dame (9-0) vs. Syracuse - The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have fought their way through the ACC gauntlet and punched their ticket to the ACC title game. The Fighting Irish still have one game left on the schedule, and that’s versus lowly Syracuse. Notre Dame should paint the Orange in a sea of points, which likely sets up with a title game rematch against Clemson. ND is a 33.5-point favorite on Saturday.
3. Clemson (8-1) vs. Virginia Tech - Clemson got starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence back, and he did not skip a beat. The Tigers blew out the Pittsburgh Panthers 52-17 in Death Valley, sending a resounding message to the committee that they are still here. This week they face a Virginia Tech team which has lost its last three games. If Clemson wins, we get the rematch between the Tigers and Notre Dame. Clemson is a 21.5-point favorite on Saturday.
4. Ohio State (4-0) vs. Michigan State - Despite only playing four games due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Buckeyes are still holding onto that last spot. The last time we saw Ohio State, they only beat Indiana by a touchdown, and the Hoosiers gave them everything that they could handle. Ohio State still pulled it out and will be trying to make a statement against a less than stellar Michigan State squad.
No one knows how the Big Ten title game will play out or who will play in it. So it’s imperative that OSU wins because Florida, Texas A&M, and Cincinnati are lurking directly behind them.
5. Texas A&M (6-1) vs. Auburn - The Aggies are right behind Ohio State and in front of Florida due to their head-to-head win in College Station earlier this season. But it’s going to be tough for them to get into the Playoff with Alabama likely representing the SEC West in the Championship Game. If that happens, Texas A&M will need Ohio State to lose and Florida to defeat Bama to help out with their strength of schedule.
6. Florida (7-1) vs. Tennessee - If the Buckeyes somehow slip and Florida takes care of business this week and in the SEC title game, we could be seeing Kyle Trask in the Playoff. The Gators are right now in control of their own destiny, and can clinch the SEC East title with a win on Saturday against Tennessee. This season Florida has dominated in their wins, averaging 44 points in their last five games. They will be trying to make a statement on Saturday, before facing the Crimson Tide in the SEC title game.
New Years 6 bowl games
Outside of the top six spots in the CFB playoff rankings, there is still a lot to be decided when it comes to the New Year 6 bowl games. This season there are a multitude of Group of 5 teams competing to get into that NY6 spot. On Saturday we have a colossal matchup between undefeated 13th-ranked BYU and 18th-ranked Coastal Carolina, which was agreed upon on Thursday morning. Then in the Big Ten, we have the 12th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers, who are without starting QB Michael Penix Jr., taking on the 16th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers.
Along with those four teams, ninth-ranked Iowa State, who could represent the Big 12 in the NY6, will take on West Virginia, eighth-ranked Georgia plays Vanderbilt, 10th-ranked Miami plays Duke, 11th-ranked Oklahoma plays Baylor, and 15th-ranked Oklahoma State plays TCU.
Week 14 Schedule
No. 4 Ohio State vs. Michigan State
No. 5 Texas A&M vs. Auburn
No. 15 Oklahoma State vs. TCU
Syracuse vs. No. 2 Notre Dame
No. 6 Florida vs. Tennessee
West Virginia vs. No. 9 Iowa State
No. 12 Indiana vs. No. 16 Wisconsin
Vanderbilt vs. No. 8 Georgia
No. 13 BYU vs. No. 18 Coastal Carolina
No. 1 Alabama vs. LSU
No. 10 Duke vs. Miami
Baylor vs. No. 11 Oklahoma