Bowl projections: Oregon moves into the playoff after debuting at No. 4 in the CFP rankings

·5 min read

Projecting the bowl games didn't get much easier after the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season.

While we now have our first glimpse of how the committee views teams, the rankings didn't add much clarity to the postseason because of just how much is left in the regular season. With four weeks to go, only Georgia is locked into a conference title game. There's a lot left to play for across the country and the final few weeks of the season are going to shuffle bowl positions in a big way.

Here's our latest and greatest attempt at postseason projections. 

College Football Playoff semifinals

Orange Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • Georgia vs. Oregon

We'll go chalk here to start. The Bulldogs were the obvious No. 1 in Tuesday's first College Football Playoff rankings while Oregon was at No. 4 ahead of Ohio State, thanks to a head-to-head win over the Buckeyes. Can Oregon hang on to a playoff spot and get the Pac-12's first berth in five years?

Cotton Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • Alabama vs. Ohio State

After Alabama came in at No. 2 on Tuesday night it became easy to see how the Crimson Tide could become the first two-loss team to make a playoff. All Alabama has to do is win out the rest of the regular season and then lose a close one to the Bulldogs in the SEC title game. And yes, Michigan State was ranked No. 3 on Tuesday, but we're giving Ohio State the edge for the Big Ten West (and the playoff) because they host the Spartans at home in Week 12. 

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman (10) smiles after defeating Duke in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Winston-Salem, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)
Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman (10) smiles after defeating Duke on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Winston-Salem, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)

New Year's Six games

Peach Bowl (Dec. 30)

  • Wake Forest (ACC champion) vs. Notre Dame (at-large)

The Demon Deacons may not have enough left on the schedule to make a run toward the playoff with an undefeated season, but they look to be the class of the ACC at the moment. Notre Dame just keeps on winning and could even get into the New Year's Six bowl games at 10-2. 

Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Michigan (at-large) vs. Cincinnati (at-large)

It pained us to drop Cincinnati out of the top four, but the committee's placement of the Bearcats at No. 6 makes it incredibly tough for Cincy to work its way into the top four with no playoff-ranked opponents remaining. Michigan, meanwhile, was in the top 10 after that loss to Michigan State. The committee clearly likes the Wolverines and the door is open for them to make the playoff with a no more losses and a Big Ten title. 

Rose Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Michigan State (Big Ten) vs. Utah (Pac-12)

The Rose Bowl will take a Big Ten and a Pac-12 team no matter what, so we're going with the No. 2 choices in each conference. Michigan State is a bit more obvious than Utah at the moment, so that one doesn't need much explanation. Utah is simply the best of the rest in a mediocre Pac-12 behind Oregon. There are currently nine teams with between three and five losses in the conference. 

Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Auburn (SEC)

Auburn moves up into the New Year's Six slots by virtue of a win over Ole Miss last week and by being the No. 3 SEC team in the CFP rankings. The Tigers can get another solid win over Texas A&M on Saturday and will likely be in position for a top bowl game if they finish 9-3 with an Iron Bowl loss. Oklahoma can make the playoff if it keeps winning, but we're not ready to bet on an undefeated OU season just yet. 

Other bowl games

Bahamas Bowl (Dec. 17)

  • Charlotte vs. Ball State

Cure Bowl (Dec. 17)

  • Buffalo vs. Boise State

Boca Raton Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • App State vs. Florida Atlantic

New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • UTEP vs. Air Force

Independence Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • BYU vs. UTSA

LendingTree Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • South Alabama vs. Kent State

L.A. Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • Arizona State vs. San Diego State

New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • Marshall vs. Louisiana

Myrtle Beach Bowl (Dec. 20)

  • San Jose State vs. Middle Tennessee

Potato Bowl (Dec. 21)

  • Nevada vs. Miami (Ohio)

Frisco Bowl (Dec. 21)

  • SMU vs. Coastal Carolina

Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 22)

  • Army vs. Washington

Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 23)

  • Boston College vs. UAB

Hawaii Bowl (Dec. 24)

  • Fresno State vs. Houston

Camellia Bowl (Dec. 25)

  • Troy vs. Eastern Michigan

Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 27)

  • Rutgers vs. Western Michigan

Military Bowl (Dec. 27)

  • Memphis vs. Virginia Tech

Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • East Carolina vs. Liberty

First Responder Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • West Virginia vs. Northern Illinois

Liberty Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • Baylor vs. Tennessee

Holiday Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • Virginia vs. Washington State

Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • Kansas State vs. Maryland

Fenway Bowl (Dec. 29)

  • UCF vs. Clemson

Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 29)

  • Syracuse vs. Minnesota

Cheez-It Bowl (Dec. 29)

  • Pitt vs. Iowa State

Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29)

  • Oklahoma State vs. UCLA

Duke’s Mayo Bowl (Dec. 30)

  • N.C. State vs. Arkansas

Music City Bowl (Dec. 30)

  • Mississippi State vs. Iowa

Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 30)

  • Purdue vs. USC

Gator Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • North Carolina vs. Florida

Sun Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • Louisville vs. Oregon State

Arizona Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • Utah State vs. Central Michigan

Outback Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Penn State vs. Kentucky

Citrus Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M

Texas Bowl (Jan. 4)

  • Texas vs. LSU

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