College football bowl projections: Alabama barely keeps playoff spot – USA TODAY

  • October 11, 2022

As Texas A&M was driving down the field in the final minute against Alabama, there was an opportunity for the College Football Playoff race to get turned on its head. If the Crimson Tide were to lose and then fail to win the SEC title game then it would have been safe to assume their chances of making the semifinals would be over.
However, Alabama held off the Aggies, so its path and the rest of the playoff picture in this week’s bowl projections stayed in tact. At least for another week. Because ahead for the Crimson Tide is a trip to Tennessee, and the Volunteers are more than capable of pulling off an upset, especially if Bryce Young is unable to play.
One emerging threat for two SEC teams in the field isn’t just the possibility Alabama and Georgia arriving with a loss. it’s also the improved play of the Pac-12 and Big 12. The leagues have four and six ranked teams, respectively.
Out west, UCLA and Southern California remain unbeaten. Oregon could get to the championship game with one loss. In the Big 12, Oklahoma State and TCU play this week and the winner will still be unbeaten at the halfway mark. There’s plenty of opportunities for quality wins ahead to boost résumés.
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While nothing changed among the playoff field, there were some adjustments among the New Year’s Six games. Utah drops out of the Rose Bowl with its loss. Southern California moves into that spot. Wake Forest replaces North Carolina State as the ACC representative in the the Orange Bowl. Penn State slides from the Orange to the Cotton, opening the door for Tennessee. 
With the season still not halfway gone, there’s sure to be more shuffling ahead. 
Note: An asterisk indicates a school that has replaced a conference pick.