What the CFP and New Year’s Six would look like if they were played today
Despite Wisconsin’s undefeated record, Kirk Herbstreit and Booger McFarland aren’t convinced the Badgers are better than the teams surrounding them in the CFP rankings. (1:38)
This was too easy.
The 13-member College Football Playoff selection committee hit the repeat button at the top, maintaining the status quo with the first five spots: No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 4 Clemson and No. 5 Oklahoma. There was a bit of natural shuffling in the top 10 following the upsets of Ohio State and Penn State last week, as they both sank to No. 13 and No. 14, respectively. Undefeated Wisconsin is now the Big Ten’s highest-ranked team at No. 8, but with six total Big Ten teams ranked — including No. 25 Northwestern — it’s clear the committee respects the league, which certainly helps the Badgers’ strength of schedule.
TCU jumped to No. 6, further emphasizing an already important Big 12 matchup on Saturday between TCU and Oklahoma. The other notable move within the top 10 was No. 7 Miami leapfrogging Wisconsin. Both teams are undefeated, but the committee is clearly giving the Canes the edge for their win over now No. 17 Virginia Tech.
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 since Clemson is in a semifinal, it would take the next highest-ranked ACC team, which would be No. 7 Miami. The Orange Bowl then chooses the next highest-ranked non-conference champion from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame, but it can’t choose the Big Ten champion, which is projected to be No. 8 Wisconsin in this week’s ranking. It would then choose No. 10 Auburn.
Because the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A Peach bowls are non-contract bowls, meaning they’re not tied to any particular conference champions, those bowls will be assigned based on the best potential matchups. While 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 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC automatically gets a berth in one of the Cotton, Fiesta or Peach Bowls.
Considering fan interest and matchups, this week’s projection slots No. 11 USC against No. 18 UCF in the Peach Bowl and No. 5 Oklahoma in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic against No. 8 Wisconsin.
With the other bowls filled, it makes sense from a matchup and geography standpoint to put No. 6 TCU against No. 9 Washington, the projected Pac-12 champ, in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
Here’s what the New Year’s Six and New Year’s Day would look like, based on this week’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. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Oklahoma (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas)
Saturday, Dec. 30
4 p.m. ET: PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: No. 9 Washington vs. No. 6 TCU (University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona)
8 p.m. ET: Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 10 Auburn vs. No. 7 Miami (Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida)
Monday, Jan. 1
12:30 p.m. ET: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 18 UCF vs. No. 11 USC (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)
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