Georgia, Tennessee safe in College Football Playoff bowl projections – USA TODAY

  • November 2, 2022

October is in the rearview mirror, and the College Football Playoff race is officially starting its stretch run. 
Perhaps the biggest game of the season will come Saturday when Georgia hosts Tennessee, the two teams that have separated themselves from the other contenders in the competition for the semifinals. While the winner likely will be headed to the SEC championship game, the loser should finish 11-1 and be in prime position to be selected by the committee.
It could be argued that if both Clemson and TCU finish unbeaten that would be a serious threat to the narrative because the Tigers and Horne Frogs, plus the Big Ten champion and eventual SEC champion would take up the four spots. And there’s also the potential of a one-loss Pac-12 champion – either Oregon, UCLA or Southern California.
The more-likelier outcome is that either Clemson or TCU lose and the Pac-12 winner doesn’t have the requisite résumé to overcome the loser Saturday. This would be absolutely true if somehow the debate is between Oregon and Georgia, given the Bulldogs trounced the Ducks in overwhelming fashion in the season opener. 
Tennessee – with its résumé of wins against Alabama and several other quality opponents – is going to be hard to leave out should it go on the road and give Georgia a tough test. So in a weird way, the loser of the game might see the prospects improved as long as the winner takes home the SEC title. 
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There were two significant changes this week’s bowl projections that impacted the New Year’s Six games. Cincinnati’s loss to Central Florida throws open the chase for the Group of Five championship spot. With the American Athletic race up for grabs now, the door is open for Boise State of the Mountain West to walk through. Also moving out is Wake Forest after an unexpected stumble at Louisville. North Carolina is now poised to finish as the top-ranked ACC team not in the playoff and head to the Orange Bowl.
Note: An asterisk indicates a school that has replaced a conference pick.

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