The College Football Playoff selection committee ranked No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Clemson but also put No. 5 Oklahoma ahead of No. 6 Ohio State, acknowledging the head-to-head result and sending a message that the Buckeyes still have some work to do, despite their impressive win over No. 7 Penn State.
While Alabama fans might be flabbergasted they’re not No. 1, Georgia’s win at Notre Dame, along with four wins against teams over .500, helped push the Bulldogs to the top spot. Alabama’s best win is against a 5-3 Texas A&M team that isn’t ranked by the committee.
Here’s what the bracket would look like today:
As for the other New Year’s Six bowls, here’s a projection based on the current rankings:
The Capital One Orange Bowl is guaranteed the ACC champion, but because Clemson is in a semifinal, it would take the next-highest ACC team, which would be No. 10 Miami. The Orange Bowl would then choose the next-highest-ranked team from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame that is not a conference champion or is not in the top four. In this case, that would be No. 7 Penn State.
Because the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A Peach bowls are non-contract bowls, meaning they aren’t tied to any particular conference champions, those bowls will be assigned based on the best potential matchups. Although the selection committee doesn’t try to avoid rematches in the semifinal games, they do try to avoid them in the other New Year’s Six bowls. Any displaced conference champion from the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12 automatically gets a berth in one these bowls.
Considering fan interest, geography and matchups, this week’s projection slots No. 8 TCU against No. 6 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl and No. 9 Wisconsin against No. 5 Oklahoma in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
No. 18 UCF is projected this week to be the highest-ranked conference champion from a Group of 5 conference, so with the other bowls filled, it makes sense to put them in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl against Pac-12 champ Washington.
Here’s what the New Year’s Six and New Year’s Day would look like, based on today’s rankings:
(All games can be seen on ESPN and the ESPN App)
Friday, Dec. 29
8:30 p.m. ET: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 9 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Oklahoma (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas)
Saturday, Dec. 30
4 p.m. ET: PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: No. 18 UCF vs. No. 12 Washington (University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona)
8 p.m. ET: Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 10 Miami vs. No. 7 Penn State (Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida)
Monday, Jan. 1
12:30 p.m. ET: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 8 TCU vs. No. 6 Ohio State (Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta)
5 p.m. ET: College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama (Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California)
8:45 p.m. ET: College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 4 Clemson vs. No. 1 Georgia (Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans)
Monday, Jan. 8
8 p.m. ET: College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T (Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta)