Bowl projections: How top-three losses affect the College Football Playoff

No. 1 Georgia and No.3 Notre Dame lost on Saturday, which will obviously cause a shakeup in the College Football Playoff Rankings this coming week. That is a problem for another day. Today's problem is the CFP bowl projections and the New Year's Six games.

As it turns out, that is not much of a problem at all.  The only teams that lost unexpectedly this week among the 12 projected to be in the New Year's Six were Washington and Virginia Tech.  They have been replaced by Penn State and Auburn. The top four College Football Playoff semifinalists remain the same from my projections a week ago.

2018 College Football Playoff

DATEGAME / LOC.TIME / TVMATCHUPPREDICTION

Jan. 8

National Championship
Atlanta

8 p.m.
ESPN

Title game Semifinal winners

Jan. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.

5 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(2) Clemson vs. (3) Oklahoma

Jan. 1

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans

8:45 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Wisconsin

Selection committee bowl games

DATEGAME / LOC.TIME / TVMATCHUPPREDICTION

Jan. 1

Peach
Atlanta

12:30 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

Auburn vs. UCF

Dec. 30

Fiesta
Glendale, Ariz.

4 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

USC vs. TCU

Dec. 30

Orange
Miami

8 p.m.
ESPN

ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

Miami vs. Georgia

Dec. 29

Cotton
Arlington, Texas

8:30 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

Penn State vs. Notre Dame

One thing this week's results did accomplish was clearing out the race for the four spots in the College Football Playoff.  For the three remaining undefeated major-conference teams -- Alabama, Miami and Wisconsin -- it is as simple as win and get in.  That is not going to be easy.  Alabama would have to win at Auburn and over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.  Miami will face Clemson for the ACC title, and Wisconsin still has to get by Michigan and likely Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.

The list of current list of contending one-loss teams is down to two, Clemson and Oklahoma.  You might see the Sooners ahead of the Tigers this week, but I believe if both win out, Clemson's victory over Miami would lift it back ahead of OU.  Miami, which would also be a one-loss team in this scenario, would finish behind both teams.

I do not believe Wisconsin can realistically make the playoff as a one-loss team, even if it is still the Big Ten champion.

Alabama would be interesting at either 12-1 as a loser to Georgia in the SEC title game or at 11-1 if it dropped the Iron Bowl.  I think the Crimson Tide could get left out in either case, but it would be more likely to be left out at 11-1 without a lot of help.

The only two-loss team with a realistic chance to get to the playoff at this time is Auburn, which could win the SEC at 11-2 with a win over Alabama and two victories over Georgia.  That would make a strong statement, but the only potential one-loss teams the Tigers would definitely finish ahead of are Alabama and Wisconsin.  It is more of a toss-up with Miami if the Hurricanes' only loss is to Clemson.  Auburn would definitely be the top-rated two-loss team.

It would take significant upsets for any other two-loss team to get into the picture. Notre Dame could have the next-best chance but would definitely finish behind one-loss Miami (and probably even two-loss Miami).

Click here to check out the rest of Jerry Palm's bowl projections after Week 11.  

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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