After watching all of the championship games on Saturday night, the College Football Playoff selection committee will reconvene at 8:30 a.m. ET on Sunday morning.
They will meet as long as they need to, said CFP executive director Bill Hancock, to determine the top four teams in the country.
They shouldn’t need long.
With some fabulous finishes but no real surprises in the Power 5 title games, the top of the ranking shouldn’t change much, with No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama followed by No. 3 Michigan State and No. 4 Oklahoma. The committee’s sixth and final top four will be released Sunday at noon on ESPN.
While it’s possible that Big 12 champ OU could cling onto that No. 3 spot, it would be very easy for the 12-member committee to justify Michigan State’s leap to the No. 3 spot after beating previously undefeated Iowa. When comparing the two one-loss teams, Michigan State’s resume is more compelling, with road wins at Ohio State and Michigan, a win over Oregon, and finally beating the committee’s No. 4 team in Iowa.
Here’s what the bracket should look like tomorrow:
As for the other New Year’s Six bowls, here’s a projection based on what we think the committee will do:
The Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual still gets the Pac-12 champ, which would be Stanford. Since Michigan State is in the semifinal, it would most likely take the next-highest-ranked Big Ten team, which we project to be Ohio State. The Rose Bowl does not have to take the Big Ten runner-up, but it is expected to take the next highest-ranked Big Ten team in the conference. If the committee doesn’t move Ohio State up, the Hawkeyes will go to the Rose Bowl.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl is guaranteed the Big 12 champ, but since Oklahoma is in the semifinal, it would get the team that finishes second in the Big 12 standings. Since Baylor lost to Texas, that would be Oklahoma State because the Cowboys have the head-to-head win over TCU. Had Baylor won, it would have represented the Big 12 in the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl is also guaranteed the SEC champ, but since Alabama is in the semifinals, it would get the next highest-ranked SEC team, which should be Ole Miss.
Because of fan interest and geographical considerations on New Year’s Day, the selection committee would likely put Iowa against Notre Dame in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl. The highest-ranked conference champion from a Group of 5 conferences is guaranteed a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl, so Houston would likely face Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Here’s what New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day could look like, based on what we expect the committee to do tomorrow:
12 p.m. ET — Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Houston vs. Florida State
4 p.m. ET or 8 p.m. ET — Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (semifinal No. 1)
4 p.m. ET or 8 p.m. ET — Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Michigan State (semifinal No. 2)
1 p.m. ET — BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl: Iowa vs. Notre Dame
5 p.m. ET — Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual: Stanford vs. Ohio State
8:30 p.m. ET — Allstate Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss