Update Dec. 4 12:15 a.m. ET As Michigan rolls Purdue 43-22, it would appear these rankings could hold.
We appear to have our final four teams. But do they have Ohio State jump over TCU? That’s basically the only question remaining on the board. The Committee has until tomorrow to decide what they’d like to do.
We’re moving our way through championship weekend in college football and by Sunday afternoon, the College Football Playoff field will be finalized.
TCU and USC’s losses in their respective league title games will have a huge impact on where things will shake out in the playoff field, and where the team’s that missed the cut will be slotted for the rest of the New Year’s Six bowl games. Some of those contests have strict conference tie-ins, while others will depend on where teams land in the final College Football Playoff rankings released on Sunday.
Here are our current projections for all of the New Year’s Six bowl games for the 2022-23 season:
Fiesta Bowl (CFP semifinal): No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Ohio State
Peach Bowl (CFP semifinal): No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 TCU
Cotton Bowl: USC vs. Tulane
Orange Bowl: Clemson/North Carolina winner vs. Tennessee
Rose Bowl: Penn State vs. Utah
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Kansas State
The No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff gets to choose where it plays its semifinal game and of course Georgia isn’t passing up playing another pseudo home game in Atlanta at the Peach Bowl (unless Kirby Smart is bored and really wants to visit Arizona). We’ll predict that their opponent will be TCU and that means the other semifinal game will be Michigan vs. Ohio State at the Fiesta Bowl.
You may be questioning the reasoning for Ohio State jumping TCU in the rankings for the third spot. You may also be asking “wait, don’t they try to avoid rematches?” And you’re correct. But c’mon people, it’s Michigan vs. Ohio State! The Game! You think the committee is going to pass up the opportunity to have the biggest rivalry in the sport as one of its semifinal matchups? You think they’re going to risk this chance by throwing the Buckeyes into the Georgia woodchipper right off the bat? I mean, that could happen. This is only a projection after all. But c’mon!
There is a committee directive about avoiding rematches, but apparently that might not apply to the national semifinals. And when the 12-team Playoff finally happens in 2024, we’re all going to have to get used to this.
Going down the list of other NY6 games, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowls are pretty straightforward with their traditional conference tie-ins. Utah will go to its second straight Rose Bowl after winning its second straight Pac-12 title while Penn State will be the Big 10 representative at 10-2. Kansas State will head to the Sugar Bowl as the Big 12 champion while Alabama will join them as the highest ranked non-playoff team out of the SEC. We’ll see who decides to suit up for the Crimson Tide and who decides to opt out.
As is tradition, the ACC winner will head down to the Orange Bowl and they’ll most likely meet Tennessee, who will be the highest ranked at-large team on the board. The Cotton Bowl will feature the highest ranked Group of Five Champion in Tulane and the Green Wave will most likely face at-large USC, who squandered its opportunity to go to the playoffs on Friday.