Claire Komarek, CBS Sports

It was a wild Championship Week with Alabama taking down Georgia in the SEC Championship Game punting the Bulldogs from competing for a third straight national championship and putting the Crimson Tide in a head-to-head debate with the one team that defeated them this season, Texas. The Longhorns, which thoroughly took down the Tide by 10 points on the road at Bryant-Denny Stadium back in Week 2, completed their campaign with a dominant 49-21 win over Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship Game.

With only three undefeated Power Five teams remaining following the Georgia loss -- Michigan shut out Iowa and Florida State crawled to victory over Louisville in a rock fight -- Texas is now projected as the fourth seed in the playoff over Alabama by virtue of the 'Horns head-to-head victory back on Sept. 9. 

The CFP Selection Committee will use criteria including championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head results (if applicable) and comparative outcomes against common opponents in making its determinations. Texas and Alabama both won conference titles Saturday, and while the 'Horns have a tougher strength of schedule, the Tide have more wins over CFP-ranked teams -- four (including over No. 1) vs. three.

The SEC has sent at least one team to every playoff since the event's inception; however that is trivia, not criteria. Also, no program has made the playoff when ranked No. 7 or lower in the penultimate CFP Rankings; Texas looks like it will buck that trend (theoretically, Alabama could as well).

College Football Playoff

Date Game / Loc. Matchup Prediction

Jan. 8

National Championship

Title game Semifinal winners
Jan. 1
Sugar Bowl
New Orleans
(1) Michigan  vs. (4) Texas

Jan. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.


(2) Washington vs. (3) Florida State

There are two other significant changes to the projections. First, Alabama is now slotted to the Orange Bowl instead of Ohio State.   

The ramifications of that change are significant. When the Big Ten is in the Orange Bowl, the ACC gets the Big Ten's spot at the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa. Now that the Orange Bowl features an SEC team, there has been some shuffling done among the Big Ten and ACC bowls to account for the ReliaQuest Bowl going back to the Big Ten.

Another development took place in determining the Group of Five representative in the New Year's Six. SMU upset Tulane in the AAC Championship Game on Saturday, handing the Green Wave their second loss of the season, while Liberty remained undefeated with two-touchdown win over New Mexico State on Friday in the Conference USA Championship Game.

As such, I project Liberty to jump Tulane in the final CFP Rankings, emerging as the top Group of Five team and earning a spot in the Fiesta Bowl against Oregon.

New Year's Six bowl games

Date Bowl / Location Matchup Prediction

Jan. 1

Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Ariz.

at-large vs. at-large

Oregon vs. Liberty

Dec. 30

Orange Bowl


Louisville vs. Alabama

Dec. 30

Peach Bowl

at-large vs. at-large

Georgia vs. Penn State

Dec. 29

Cotton Bowl
Arlington, Tex.

at-large vs. at-large

Missouri vs. Ohio State

Don't see your team? Check out Jerry Palm's bowl projections, now complete following the conclusion of Championship Week.