College football bowl projections: Notre Dame replaces Oklahoma in College Football Playoff

For the first time this season, there has been a change in the College Football Playoff projections. Three top-eight teams fell over on Saturday in Week 6 with No. 7 Oklahoma being the most prominent as it was slated to end the season competing for the national championship

Though Oklahoma erased a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter against No. 19 Texas on Saturday afternoon, the Longhorns fought back to win on a field goal with 9 seconds left. That loss drops the Sooners out of the playoff projections and replaces them with No. 6 Notre Dame, which routed No. 24 Virginia Tech on Saturday evening. The Irish slot into the fourth seed, previously held by the Sooners.

Notre Dame has a strength of schedule problem in almost any comparison but figures to be heavy favorites in each of its remaining games with the possible exception of the finale at USC. As it currently stands, the Irish will not have another ranked opponent to bolster their resume entering college football's version of Selection Sunday.

Let's take a look at the updated CFP projections.

2019 College Football Playoff

Date Game / Loc. Time / TV Matchup Prediction

Jan. 7

National Championship
Santa Clara, Calif.

8 p.m.
ESPN

Title game Semifinal winners

Dec. 29

Cotton Bowl
Arlington, Tex.

4/8 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Notre Dame

Dec. 29

Orange Bowl
Miami

4/8 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Clemson

Oklahoma still projects as the Big 12 champion, so the Sooners slide down to the league's spot in the Sugar Bowl for a matchup with Georgia. In this projection, Georgia is 12-1 with its lone loss coming to to No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.  You could reasonably make a case for the Bulldogs to be picked for the playoff ahead of Notre Dame. In fact, I am about to do something similar down below.  However, I do not believe that the committee will leave a major, undefeated team out of the playoff unless it has too many undefeated teams.  At least, I will not believe it until it actually happens.

Texas jumps into the Fiesta Bowl, replacing Stanford, which lost at home to Utah on Saturday night.  West Virginia moves over to the Peach Bowl slot previously occupied by Notre Dame. The Mountaineers are projected to face LSU despite a loss by the Tigers at Florida on Saturday afternoon. That spot is difficult to sort out. LSU is projected to be 9-3, while Kentucky and Florida are now each projected to be 10-2.  This is that case I was talking about before.  I'm projecting LSU would get the nod because of strength of schedule.

These three teams each have two quality opponents in common.  They will have all defeated Mississippi State and lost to Georgia.  LSU will have also played projected ACC runner-up Miami, which they destroyed to start the season, and Alabama, of course.  The Crimson Tide provide that extra loss for the Tigers. LSU also has a win at Auburn.

Florida was able to play both Kentucky and LSU at home and split the games.  The Gators only have Georgia as a guaranteed ranked team remaining on their schedule, and they are one of the few FBS teams this season playing two FCS opponents. Kentucky, which lost at Texas A&M in overtime on Saturday, does not have a quality opponent in nonconference play.  The Gators and Wildcats each have an in-state rivalry game that is usually better than it appears to be this season. As such, I am sticking with LSU for that last spot in the New Year's Six games. For now.  

Selection committee bowl games

Date Bowl / Loc. Time / TV Matchup Prediction

Jan. 1

Sugar
New Orleans

8:45 p.m.
ESPN

SEC vs. Big 12

Georgia vs. Oklahoma

Jan. 1

Rose
Pasadena, Calif.

5 p.m.
ESPN

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Penn State vs. Washington

Jan. 1

Fiesta
Glendale, Ariz.

1 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

Texas vs. UCF

Dec. 29

Peach
Atlanta

Noon
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

LSU vs. West Virginia

There are currently 75 teams expected to be eligible for the 78 bowl bids available this season.  Arizona State, Virginia and Wake Forest are projected to fill those open slots with 5-7 records.   

Check out the rest of Jerry Palm's college football bowl projections after Week 6.

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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