College Football Playoff Projections (11/13/22)

Junfu Han/USA Today / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Hello, college football/Big Ten fans!

The Pathetic 12 lived up to their name as both the Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins blew home games, UCLA to a bad Arizona team. How does this affect this week's College Football Playoff projection?

First, my projected CFP Rankings for this week.

1. Georgia Bulldogs, 10-0, currently #1

2. Ohio State Buckeyes, 10-0, currently #2

3. Michigan Wolverines, 10-0, currently #3

4. TCU Horned Frogs, 10-0, currently #4

5. Tennessee Volunteers, 9-1, currently #5

6. USC Trojans, 9-1, currently #8

7. LSU Tigers, 8-2, currently #7

8. Alabama Crimson Tide, currently #9

9. Clemson Tigers, 9-1, currently #10

10. Penn State Nittany Lions, 8-2, currently #13

Utah is currently ranked ahead of Penn State but Penn State's two losses are to Ohio State and Michigan and Utah's losses are to Florida and UCLA and UCLA embarrassed themselves. Utah's win over USC on the other hand, improved Utah's resume.

On to the projections,

Big Ten:

The Big Ten East division title comes down to "The Game", Michigan at Ohio State, on November 26, even if somehow either team loses next Saturday, Michigan at home to an Illinois team that blew their last two home games, Ohio State to Maryland (they lost their last two but at least they were on the road). Neither Ohio State or Michigan wants to lose. A bad loss will drop either team and there's no guarantee they can recover from it.

As for the Big Ten West, does anyone even want it? We know Illinois doesn't want it. They went from 7-1 and a sure bet to go to Indianapolis to having to beat Michigan in the Big House to have a realistic shot. Right now based on schedule Purdue is in the driver's seat as they host Northwestern and travel to Indiana although if Iowa beats Minnesota and Nebraska they would go to Indy by their head to head win over Purdue.

The 2023 Big Ten schedule was released and it is based on current divisions but that doesn't mean the Championship Game has to be based on East vs. West next year. The Pac 12 had its schedule based on the old North vs. South divisions but decided to scrap divisions and have the top two teams play for the championship. The Big Ten can certainly do the same next year. It would certainly protect the Big Ten from another nightmare mismatch. On the other hand, I want to see Illinois have a chance to win the "Big Ten West Division" for once:)

In the end, it will likely go down to whoever wins in Columbus and I favor the Buckeyes.

Big Ten Championship Game Prediction: Ohio State (13-0) over Purdue (8-5)


The SEC Championship Game matchup has been decided. For once, Alabama is not in it. LSU won the West after their victory over Alabama last weekend. Georgia clinched the SEC East. Both teams have SEC games left on their schedule, Georgia has Kentucky and LSU has Texas A&M. Georgia might be able to overcome a loss and still make the Playoff but considering one of the semifinal games is in the Peach Bowl they would like to stay in the #1 seed and have priority for the Peach Bowl. As for LSU, a two loss team has never made the Playoff before. I don't think they will be the first, especially since they lost 40-13 to Tennessee who they won't be able to beat. Tennessee, if they win out, will have a decent resume with their only loss to Georgia and wins over Alabama and LSU.

SEC Championship Game Prediction: Georgia (13-0) over LSU (10-3)

Big 12:

TCU continues to win. They were an underdog according to Vegas at Texas but I had predicted them to win in last week's projections. The better news for TCU yesterday was Kansas State won at Baylor which helps Kansas State's chances of getting to Arlington. I've mentioned TCU wants KSU in Arlington to get home field advantage. TCU goes to Baylor and that game looks a lot easier after Kansas State won there (so did Oklahoma State). Everything is looking up for TCU (and the Big 12). Kansas State goes to West Virginia and hosts Kansas. They control their destiny to get to the Big 12 Championship (TCU has clinched their spot already). A loss opens the door for Texas as they beat Kansas State in Manhattan. Texas travels to Kansas this Saturday. Oklahoma State still has three losses but lost to Kansas State so they need KSU to lose twice or a multiple team tiebreaker to get to Jerry World.

TCU likely cannot afford a loss, only Texas and Kansas State are currently in the CFP rankings, Texas will drop but might remain in the rankings since their loss was to TCU.

Big 12 Championship Game Prediction: TCU (13-0) over Kansas State (10-3)

Pac 12:

And then there was one. Only USC has only one loss after both Oregon and UCLA suffered their second losses this week. In the Pac 12 conference race, remember there are no divisions and the top two teams in the conference standings make the championship game. USC and UCLA play in the Rose Bowl and Utah travels to Oregon. In conference play, USC, Utah, and Oregon have one loss while UCLA and Washington have two. If USC wins, they will go to the Pac 12 Championship Game for sure. Utah's last game is vs. Colorado but Oregon still has to go to Oregon State in the finale.

Oregon now will back to be in the role of Playoff spoiler. They cost 2019 Utah and 2020 USC possible spots in the Playoff by winning and would be in line to cost USC a spot if they win out.

I'm predicting Oregon State to beat Oregon in Corvallis and USC winning "at" UCLA. This leads to a three way tie between Oregon, Washington, and Utah for second place. Washington and Utah did not play. Washington's losses are to UCLA and Arizona State, Oregon's to Washington and Oregon State, Utah's to UCLA and Oregon. The next tiebreaker after head to head is common opponents among all three teams. All three played UCLA, Oregon is the only team to beat them. But Oregon lost to Oregon State while Utah and Washington beat Oregon State so that evens everyone out. Since Washington lost to Arizona State and both Oregon and Utah beat them, that eliminates the Huskies. So it comes down to Oregon and Utah and Oregon wins.

Hey, it's Oregon, it's too cruel:)

Pac 12 Championship Game Prediction: Oregon (10-3) over USC (11-2)


Like the SEC, the ACC Championship Game was decided after this past week's action. Clemson and the North Carolina Tar Heels will play in Charlotte. Both teams lost earlier this year to Notre Dame which hurts their chances to make the Playoff, even if they finish 12-1. Other than each other NC State and Florida State are the other ACC teams in the last CFP rankings and NC State lost at home to a bad Boston College team so they will likely drop out. The good news for the ACC winner is Notre Dame is ranked. The ACC winner would like for Notre Dame to beat USC to make their loss look better and completely eliminate the Pac 12. They'd also want Ohio State to beat Michigan because if Ohio State is compared to Clemson or North Carolina, they will have beaten Notre Dame.

ACC Championship Game Prediction: Clemson (12-1) over North Carolina (11-2)

Group of 5:

There's a chance in the prediction because the UCF Knights won at Tulane. Because they have wins over Tulane and Cincinnati, they control their destiny for the #1 seed and the right to host the AAC Championship Game which I said previously is a big advantage (only one AAC host has ever lost the title game). Assuming they win out, the #2 seed will likely come down to the Tulane at Cincinnati winner. Coastal Carolina still has a chance to finish with just one loss but they are currently ranked behind two loss Central Florida and their next two games are at Virginia and James Madison.

AAC Championship Game Prediction: UCF (11-2) over Cincinnati (10-3).

Playoff Prediction:

Provelt says that 1 loss P5 champions will have priority over 1 loss non champions. Now no 1 loss P5 champion has ever been bumped out of the Playoff in favor of a 1 loss P5 non champion. But in 2016, Pac 12 champion Washington was behind Ohio State so it is certainly possible for a "wild card" to be ranked ahead of a P5 champ.

In my predictions, I have Clemson, Tennessee, and Michigan all finishing with one loss. Clemson's loss was to Notre Dame, Tennessee's was to Georgia, and Michigan's would be to Ohio State. All three losses were or would be on the road. Tennessee also beat LSU and Alabama, teams currently ranked in the top 10. Michigan beat Penn State. Clemson would beat North Carolina. Penn State is currently ahead of North Carolina but Clemson's win would be on a neutral field so that might put them ahead of Michigan's win at home vs. Penn State. Clemson also has the win over Florida State to help them (FSU also beat LSU which helps Clemson's case). But with Tennessee's wins, I don't think anyone can stop them from getting in, especially if the Committee keeps Alabama and LSU high.


Fiesta Bowl: #2 Ohio State (13-0) vs. #3 TCU (13-0), Dec. 31, First Game

Peach Bowl: #1 Georgia (13-0) vs. #4 Tennessee (11-1), Dec. 31, Second Game

New Year's Six:

I had the dates all wrong the last few weeks!

Orange Bowl: Dec. 30, 8pm: Clemson (12-1) vs. Alabama (10-2)

Sugar Bowl: Dec. 31, noon, LSU (10-3) vs. Kansas State (10-3)

Cotton Bowl: Jan. 2, 1pm, Central Florida (11-2) vs. Penn State (10-2)

Rose Bowl: Jan. 2, 5pm, Michigan (10-1) vs. Oregon (11-2)

Non New Year's Six:

Citrus Bowl: Mississippi vs. Purdue, ReliaQuest Bowl: Minnesota vs. Florida