In a week where the top four teams in the nation struggled, do our predictions for the latest College Football Playoff rankings indicate a late change with just two weeks until “Selection Sunday”? Or will we see the same CFP rankings as one week ago as the only remaining unbeaten teams in college football continue their winning ways?
Predictions for the College Football Playoff
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Michigan Wolverines
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- TCU Horned Frogs
1) Georgia Bulldogs
With just their game against Georgia Tech to go, the Georgia Bulldogs have gone unbeaten in SEC for the second consecutive season with a 16-6 win over Kentucky in college football Week 12.
While it was the sort of workmanlike performance that Michigan has been criticized by the CFP Selection Committee previously, the Bulldogs hold on to the top spot in our College Football Playoff predictions.
There’s a multitude of factors at play as to why Georgia should stick at the top of the CFP rankings. No matter how they achieved the result against Kentucky, a win is a win, and it’s difficult to see anything other than a defeat being enough to topple the Bulldogs from their perch atop the push for the “final four.”
If you don’t believe that a narrow win over an unranked Wildcats team that moved to 6-5 in what has been an ultimately disappointing season for the Kentucky program is enough to keep Georgia rooted as the number one team in the nation, then who played well enough to displace them ahead of college football Week 13?
Four of the five chasing teams were equally lackluster this week, as we’ll discover while we progress through these College Football Playoff predictions.
Their dominant defense, an offense that struggled to put points on the board this week but is nonetheless one of the top-ranked units in the nation, and ranked wins over Tennessee and Oregon bolster a résumé that is a -150 favorite to repeat as national champions according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
2) Ohio State Buckeyes
It’s a case of the same old brand new you in our College Football Playoff predictions as, despite a scare against a defiant Maryland team, the Ohio State Buckeyes should hold on to their number two spot when the latest CFP rankings are released on Tuesday.
The 43-30 scoreline flatters to deceive, but the Buckeyes could have plummeted down the College Football Playoff rankings if not for a late defensive rally.
On a day when the Buckeyes proved they might have one of the best running back rooms as well as wide receiver rooms in the nation, freshman Dallan Hayden found the end zone three times, and TreVeyon Henderson converted a short pass from C.J. Stroud for a 31-yard score.
Yet, they had to settle for three Noah Ruggles field goals, allowing Taulia Tagovailoa to keep the pressure on right into the late fourth quarter.
However, it was the defensive unit that has bolstered their CFP résumé with their improvement this year that got the Buckeyes across the finish line to hold firm in our CFP predictions. Sacks by a dominant Zach Harrison on consecutive plays resulted in a Steele Chambers fumble return touchdown that put the game to bed with 0:09 remaining.
With an emphasis on balance from the CFP Selection Committee, Ohio State has a top-10 offensive and defensive unit and an undefeated record. The only defeat in “The Game” rivalry and subsequent failure to win the Big Ten title stands between them and a place in the “final four.”
As the second favorite to win the national championship (+240) by DraftKings, they’re likely to enter that game entrenched as the number two team in the nation.
3) Michigan Wolverines
Did Michigan’s 19-17 win over Illinois actually bolster Blake Corum’s Heisman Trophy candidacy? After giving Michigan the lead early with his 18th rushing score of the season, the star running back suffered an injury before the half that kept him out for the rest of the game.
From there on out, Michigan struggled to get anything going offensively and had to rely on Jake Moody’s heroics to sneak a win.
It was the epitome of a workmanlike performance that had seen the Wolverines start outside of the top four in the initial CFP rankings of this season. For a long time on Saturday, it looked like they might be heading back to that original ranking — or even worse — as they struggled to live with a ferocious Illinois defense. Meanwhile, their usually rock-solid unit couldn’t contain Chase Brown at times.
Ultimately, they managed to do enough on both sides of the ball to scrape a win that is enough to keep them as the third-ranked team in our College Football Playoff predictions. Jim Harbaugh can thank results elsewhere for Michigan’s continued presence in touching distance of their hated conference rival.
A comprehensive TCU or Tennessee win could have seen the Wolverines tumble. However, they head into “The Game” knowing that a win — coupled with a Big Ten title — will secure their place in the “final four.”
Despite this, they’re considered a long shot to win a national title with odds of +1000 from Draftkings.
4) TCU Horned Frogs
If a place in the top four of the CFP rankings was guaranteed for the ballsiest coach in college football, Sonny Dykes would have the TCU Horned Frogs sitting atop the nation with zero challengers.
Down two with the clock rapidly expiring, Dykes played for a field goal with a rushing play that kept the seconds slipping away. Triggering chaotic scenes as the field goal unit rushed onto the field, it only added to the drama as Griffin Kell nailed a 40-yard game-winner to keep the Frogs undefeated.
You can say this for TCU this season — they’ve comfortably been one of the more entertaining teams in the nation. Their balanced offense between Max Duggan’s quarterback play and a ground game led by Kendre Miller has provided us with highlight reel plays every single week. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs’ defense has shown they can mix it with some of the nation’s most potent offenses.
However, they were routinely exposed on the ground and allowed Blake Shapen to make several top-level throws on Saturday, as they lost the lead on three separate occasions.
When Richard Reese found the end zone to make it 28-20, it looked like the Frogs’ fairytale adventure in College Football Playoff land might be over. Yet, they were “Saved By The Kell” as time expired.
Although they remain in the fourth spot in our College Football Playoff predictions, another come-from-behind win where their defense was tested could give the CFP Selection Committee the ammunition to adios their claim to a “final four” spot.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time they’ve played that card. Tennessee losing, LSU beating up on a Group of Five team, and USC narrowly overcoming UCLA should ensure that no other team hops over the Horned Frogs this week.
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