The upsets that churn the College Football Playoff Rankings and bowl projections have finally begun. The first top 10 team to go down was No. 8 Washington State, which lost at home to No. 16 Washington on Friday, costing the Cougars not only a potential playoff spot but also a chance to play for the Pac-12 Championship Game. But the biggest domino to fall so far is No. 4 Michigan, which got run out of Ohio Stadium in a 62-39 loss to No. 10 Ohio State early Saturday afternoon.
The Wolverines defense, which had been one of the best in the nation going into the game, got absolutely shredded from the start. Ohio State scored more points against the Wolverines than Michigan had given up in its previous five games combined. Michigan is now projected to the Rose Bowl to face Washington. Washington State is projected to the Peach Bowl, where it would face No. 7 LSU. That is despite LSU losing to No. 22 Texas A&M in seven overtimes to pick up a third loss on the season, which puts a spot in the New Year's Six in jeopardy. We will have to see what the CFP Selection Committee says about the Tigers this week, but I am still projecting them to hold on to that spot.
No. 5 Georgia throttled Georgia Tech 45-21 and will move up to No. 4 in this week's CFP Rankings; however, that should be temporary as the Bulldogs have to face No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game next week, a game that will shake up the rankings no matter the result. That could leave the committee with a debate between current No. 10 Ohio State and No. 6 Oklahoma, which escaped No. 13 West Virginia with a 59-56 win on Friday night.
It's not an easy call for the committee, which has had the Sooners much higher than the Buckeyes ever since Ohio State fell 49-20 at Purdue on Oct. 20. However, Oklahoma's defense is one of the worst ever for a team with this good of a record. The Sooners have given up at least 40 points in six of their 12 games, including the last four. Oklahoma's offense, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Kyler Murray, is a juggernaut, though. The Sooners have scored at least 45 points in every conference game except the one against No. 25 Iowa State.
Ohio State's defense has been much maligned, too, but it is not as bad as that of Oklahoma. Ohio State's offense is not as good as Oklahoma's either. The Buckeyes can count a win now over previous No. 4 Michigan, along with road wins over No. 12 Penn State and Michigan State. Oklahoma's best win is the one at No. 13 WVU on Friday, plus it gets the win over No. 25 Iowa State. Oklahoma has a better loss than Ohio State. The Sooners lost to No. 14 Texas earlier this season, 48-45, and will get a chance to avenge that loss in the Big 12 Championship Game.
The CFP Selection Committee will have a lot to pore over, but I think the edge goes to Ohio State for now if it comes down to a final vote between the two. The quality of Buckeyes' wins, and especially the dominance of Michigan, overcomes the miserable nature of their loss.
That is why I have Ohio State over Oklahoma in the No. 4 spot of my new bowl projections at this time. Note that things could change after the championship games, when Oklahoma gets to play a better opponent than Ohio State. The Buckeyes will face No. 19 Northwestern for the Big Ten title.
Despite that, I am still projecting Ohio State to get that final spot in the CFP. That leaves Oklahoma for the Sugar Bowl to face Georgia. No. 3 Notre Dame capped off an undefeated regular season with a 24-17 win over USC. The Irish have effectively clinched a spot in the CFP with the win, while the Trojans failed to qualify for a bowl.
No. 11 Florida throttled Florida State 41-14, ending the Seminoles 36-year bowl streak. The Gators are still projected into the Fiesta Bowl to face No. 9 UCF. The Knights beat South Florida on Friday night but lost quarterback McKenzie Milton for the season with a serious injury to his leg. UCF will play Memphis for the AAC title.
2019 College Football Playoff
|Date||Game / Loc.||Time / TV||Matchup||Prediction|
|Title game|| Semifinal winners|
(1) Alabama vs. (4) Ohio State
(2) Clemson vs. (3) Notre Dame
Selection committee bowl games
|Date||Bowl / Loc.||Time / TV||Matchup||Prediction|
SEC vs. Big 12
| Georgia vs. Oklahoma|
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
|Michigan vs. Washington|
At-large vs. At-large
|Florida vs. UCF|
At-large vs. At-large
| LSU vs. Washington State|
There are currently 82 teams projected for the 78 spots needed for the bowls. Because of primary and secondary agreements with the conferences, I do not have spots to place independents Army and BYU. Army could end up with 10 wins and left at home. Also, Wyoming and Louisiana-Monroe do not have spots in a bowl in these projections.
Some adjustments may need to be made on Sunday morning pending late-Saturday results.