It’s Week 7 of college football season, which seems like the perfect time for some early bowl game predictions.
The top six teams in college football right now all have a legitimate shot at making the playoff, but the gauntlet of the SEC will hurt both No. 3 Georgia and No. 6 Louisiana State. Georgia will likely lose the conference championship to No. 1 Alabama and the Crimson Tide will also beat Louisiana State. That leaves Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 5 Oklahoma. Each one has a chance to go undefeated.
Clemson looked mortal against North Carolina a few weeks ago, but Clemson has fewer challenges in the ACC than the other teams do, giving the Tigers a clear path to the playoff.
Ohio State has looked like the best team in college football in recent weeks, and the Buckeyes have a favorable schedule – they face three ranked teams, but get both Wisconsin and Penn State at the Horseshoe.
They’ll travel to the Big House to face Michigan, but the Buckeyes are currently riding a seven-game winning streak in the series and I don’t expect it to end this year. There may be some obstacles for the Buckeyes to get through, but Ohio State will punch a ticket to the playoff.
Oklahoma faces Texas in the Red River Rivalry this weekend. It’s the toughest game left on The Sooners’ schedule, so if they get past the Longhorns on Saturday, they should cruise to another playoff appearance.
There are asterisks next to some teams because those they’re replacing a team from a conference that cannot fill a bowl. In both cases, Pac-12 teams were selected to replace teams from the Big Ten and SEC. Since I’ve chosen a team from both the Big Ten and SEC to make the playoff and both conferences have a high number of affiliated bowls, it was tough to pick teams in tough conferences that may not win six games.
My National Championship pick may be born out of a desire to see some different teams playing for the title instead of a repeat of the matchup that’s occurred three of the last four years.
College Football Playoff National Championship
Ohio State vs. Oklahoma
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Peach Bowl
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
New Year’s Six Bowls:
Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Georgia vs. Texas
Notre Dame vs. Virginia
Penn State vs. Boise State
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
Louisiana Tech vs. Ohio
Tulane vs. Army
Florida A&M vs. Alabama A&M
New Mexico Bowl
Hawaii vs. North Texas
Temple vs. Georgia Southern
Boca Raton Bowl
Navy vs. Western Michigan
Georgia State vs. Central Michigan
Las Vegas Bowl
San Diego State vs. Southern California
New Orleans Bowl
Alabama-Birmingham vs. Louisiana
Cincinnati vs. Florida Atlantic
Brigham Young vs. Central Florida
Duke vs. Mississippi
Quick Lane Bowl
North Carolina State vs. Indiana
Syracuse vs. Southern Methodist
Pitt vs. Michigan State
Texas Christian vs. Kentucky
Arizona State vs. Nebraska
Texas Tech vs. California
Camping World Bowl
Miami vs. Iowa State
First Responder Bowl
West Virginia vs. Southern Mississippi
Maryland vs. Washington
Music City Bowl
Florida State vs. Missouri
Wake Forest vs. Florida
North Carolina vs. Arizona
Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi State
Utah State vs. Coastal Carolina
Baylor vs. Utah
Louisiana State vs. Michigan
Auburn vs. Iowa
Memphis vs. Colorado**
Minnesota vs. Texas A&M
Idaho Potato Bowl
Wyoming vs. Eastern Michigan
Armed Forces Bowl
Air Force vs. Washington State**
Mobile AL Bowl
Toledo vs. Appalachian State
Amanda Filipcic-Godsey is a freelance writer in Pittsburgh. She covers Pitt football and basketball for CNHI Pa. newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaFGodsey.