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The final College Football Playoff Rankings will be released Sunday, setting the stage for the CFP itself as well as the New Year's Six bowls. While at least one new team will fight for its first title of the playoff era, the decisions made Sunday by the CFP Selection Committee will determine which teams have the most manageable path to the national championship. 

With USC losing in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the four teams should be set. SEC champion Georgia and Big Ten champion Michigan punched their tickets to the dance before their league title games even kicked off; by virtue of their victories, they locked up the top two spots. There may be arguments made for putting the Wolverines over the Bulldogs, but the latter are the reigning national champions with the Dawgs putting forth more consistently dominant performances throughout the season.

TCU and Ohio State, the lone remaining one-loss Power Five teams, will likely take the final two spots barring the committee deciding to buck logic and reason. Our experts unanimously believe it will be those four in some order.

The Horned Frogs' 31-28 overtime loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game may create a bit of chaos by putting the No. 3 seed up for grabs. TCU and Ohio State have each defeated two teams in the CFP Rankings. However, the Frogs lost in overtime to a 10th-ranked Kansas State team they previously defeated this season, while the Buckeyes were handily beaten by the second-ranked Wolverines at home to end the regular season -- and they did not play for their league crown.

Those hoping TCU's loss coupled with Utah's upset of USC on Friday would open the door for Alabama will likely be disappointed. The two-loss Crimson Tide are 2-2 against teams in the CFP Rankings with their only victories coming rather unimpressively against a pair of 8-4 squads (Texas, Mississippi State). There simply does not seem to be any legitimate reason to push TCU behind Bama due to Saturday's loss.

Keep on reading for College Football Playoff projections from CBS Sports bowls expert Jerry Palm -- check out his entire 2022-23 bowl projections here -- along with a breakdown of how our college football experts would vote if they were members of the committee. 

Follow along with CFP and bowl game announcements throughout the day here

College Football Playoff projection

Here's how Palm has projected the top four in the CFP. Palm has gone 29 for 32 predicting CFP teams in their correct slots through seven years of the playoff.

Date Game / Loc. Matchup Prediction

Jan. 9

National Championship
Inglewood, Calif.

Title game Semifinal winners

Dec. 31

Peach Bowl


(1) Georgia vs. (4) Ohio State

Dec. 31

Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Ariz.


(2) Michigan vs. (3) TCU

College Football Playoff expert picks

Here's how our college football staff would vote if they were on the CFP Selection Committee.

The case for Ohio State at No. 3

Ohio State, like TCU, only has one loss ... and it was to the No. 2 team in the nation, Michigan. Granted, it was a bad loss. But wins over No. 8 Penn State, No. 21 Notre Dame and the "eye test" should resonate quite a bit. The Buckeyes' running back room was depleted against the Wolverines, and the wide receiving corps has been without Jaxon Smith-Njigba for the majority of the year. Those aren't excuses for losing, but they should be factored into the equation.

TCU's best win is over Kansas State in their first meeting. It's next-best is over No. 20 Texas. The biggest difference between TCU and Ohio State is TCU's inconsistency, which has caused the Frogs to scramble in second halves just to get wins. They made it work, which is a huge compliment to coach Sonny Dykes and that roster. But the Buckeyes didn't have to live that knife-edge life for the majority of the season, which is enough to convince me that they deserve the No. 3 spot. -- Barrett Sallee