Georgia falling at home to South Carolina in double overtime did more than change the fabric of the SEC East, it adjusted the projected College Football Playoff. In the first major adjustment to the bowl projections through the first seven weeks of the 2019 season, Georgia bounced itself from the fourth seed in the postseason bracket and is replaced by Ohio State, which was able to enjoy its elevation into the field while on a bye this week.
Though the Bulldogs have fallen out of the playoff, they are not out of the New Year's Six entirely. The Dawgs are still projected to win the SEC East and play Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. As such, they have the opportunity to earn an at-large bid in the Cotton Bowl.
Georgia's loss also opens the door to the possibility of two SEC teams from the same division (the SEC West) making the playoff. Obviously, one of those would not be a division champion, let alone a conference champion. There may be a case for inclusion of the Alabama-LSU loser assuming that each team wins all of its remaining games. However, I do not believe that the Alabama-LSU loser would displace an undefeated conference champion from another league, and even a 12-1 champion from another league might have a better case in the eye of the CFP Selection Committee, depending on the team.
Speaking of Alabama, held serve on Saturday to maintain its position as the top team in the playoff. Clemson and Oklahoma also won and take the second and third spots, respectively.
2020 College Football Playoff
|Date||Game / Loc.||Matchup||Prediction|
|Title game|| Semifinal winners|
(1) Alabama vs. (4) Ohio State
(2) Clemson vs. (3) Oklahoma
LSU, which continued to see its offense hit new heights in a 42-28 home win over Florida, is the second SEC team projected in the New Year's Six. It would face Texas in the Sugar Bowl as the Longhorns are still projected to finish second in the Big 12 despite falling to Oklahoma on Saturday.
Undefeated Wisconsin is set for a big-time showdown with Ohio State in a couple weeks but remains in the Rose Bowl against Oregon, which ran through Colorado 45-3 on Friday. Despite a loss to Miami, it is expected that Virginia will play its way into the field as the ACC representative, and Notre Dame's win over USC keeps it as a one-loss Power Five team in the fold as well.
Selection committee bowl games
|Date||Bowl / Location||Matchup||Prediction|
SEC vs. Big 12
| LSU vs. Texas|
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
|Wisconsin vs. Oregon|
ACC vs. SEC/B1G/ND
|Virginia vs. Notre Dame|
At-large vs. At-large
|Boise State vs. Georgia|
With Virginia and Wake Forest losing this week, it is possible that the ACC may only have one ranked team in the AP Top 25 on Sunday. If the selection committee has Clemson in the playoff and no other ACC team in its top 25 at the end of the season, the ACC representative to the Orange Bowl will be voted on separately by the committee. It is the same process that would be used in the event no Group of Five team is ranked at the end of the season. It applies to any bowl with a conference contract and no ranked team to fill it. The committee has not needed to do this so far in its brief history.
Memphis' loss to Temple leaves SMU as the only undefeated team remaining in the AAC as it bids to represent the Group of Five for the third consecutive season and fourth time in the six years of the College Football Playoff. The Mustangs will travel to Memphis on Nov. 2, but they host a quality Temple team this week. Boise State out of the Mountain West is still projected to be the Group of Five representative this season. The Broncos biggest test remaining figures to be a game at Utah State on Nov. 23.
It would be interesting to see what the committee might do if Boise State finishes 13-0 and Cincinnati runs the table to go 12-1 with that 42-0 loss to Ohio State as its lone blemish. The case could be made that the Bearcats should be ranked ahead of Boise State, especially if the Buckeyes are undefeated. The Broncos' best nonconference opponent is Florida State, a team that is still struggling to rebuild. Also, both teams played Marshall. Boise State slogged through a 14-7 win over the Thundering Herd at home, while Cincinnati annihilated them 52-14 on the road three weeks later.
The AAC is still a stronger league than the Mountain West top to bottom. Cincinnati's strength of schedule figures to be better than that of Boise State. Still, it might be hard for the committee to turn away an undefeated team for one with a loss.
For the second week in a row, the bowl projections have exact number of eligible teams needed to fill the games, which is 78.