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Wayne Staats | | November 14, 2018

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Week 12 Top 25

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The third College Football Playoff rankings of the season were announced Tuesday, Nov. 13, and not much changed at the top. Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan remain the top four while the top 10 stayed put.

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Below were our predictions for the top 25, prior to Tuesday's reveal.

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Week 12 Top 25

  1. Alabama (10-0): The Tide have shut out ranked teams in consecutive games.
  2. Clemson (10-0): After rolling at then-No. 17 Boston College, the Tigers play a seven-win Duke team.
  3. Notre Dame (10-0): Now it might get tough. The Irish play Syracuse at Yankee Stadium.
  4. Michigan (9-1): The Wolverines would play Northwestern for the Big Ten title, should the Wolverines make it.
  5. Georgia (9-1): The Bulldogs have UMass and rival Georgia Tech before the showdown with Alabama.
  6. Oklahoma (9-1): The Sooners have surrendered 47 and 46 points the last two games ... and won both.
  7. LSU (8-2): The Tigers get 1-10 Rice before traveling to Texas A&M.
  8. West Virginia (8-1): The Mountaineers' next opponent, Oklahoma State, is only 5-5, but the Cowboys have beaten Boise State and Texas and lost to Oklahoma by one.
  9. Washington State (9-1): The Cougars need help if they want to make the CFP. Style points might matter against Arizona.
  10. Ohio State (9-1): The Buckeyes need to finish 12-1 to have a shot at the CFP. Would even that be enough?
  11. Syracuse (8-2): The Orange continues to surprise. Now Syracuse can spoil Notre Dame's unbeaten season.
  12. UCF (9-0): It won't be easy for the Knights the next few weeks: 9-1 Cincinnati, 7-3 South Florida and then, potentially, the conference title game.
  13. Florida (7-3): With Idaho and Florida State left, the Gators should finish 9-3.
  14. Iowa State (6-3): The Cyclones can clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game with two wins and a West Virginia loss.
  15. Penn State (7-3): With Rutgers and Maryland, the Nittany Lions are closing in on a 9-3 season and another (possible) New Year's Six appearance.
  16. Texas (7-3): Both the Longhorns and Cyclones are 5-2 in Big 12 play.
  17. Boston College (7-3): The Eagles' final regular-season game against Syracuse will be huge for bowl positioning.
  18. Washington (7-3): After playing 2-8 Oregon State, the Huskies play at Washington State — and could ruin the Cougars' season.
  19. Kentucky (7-3): After consecutive 17-point defeats, the Wildcats must close strong against Middle Tennessee and Louisville.
  20. Utah (7-3): The Utes would finish 6-3 in Pac-12 play if they win at Colorado.
  21. Mississippi State (6-4): The Bulldogs lost 24-0 to Alabama, but they should remain in the top 25.
  22. Michigan State (6-4): It won't be east to win at Nebraska. The Huskers have scored 53, 45, 31 and 54 points the last four games.
  23. Boise State (8-2): After upsetting No. 23 Fresno State, the Broncos get New Mexico and then high-scoring Utah State.
  24. Northwestern (6-4): The Wildcats are going to the Big Ten title game. They'll be huge underdogs against either Michigan or Ohio State.
  25. Utah State (9-1): The committee has preferred defense to offense so far, but the Aggies should finally find a spot in the rankings.

MORE: College Football Playoff rankings release schedule

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Semifinals

Here is how we think the College Football Playoff semifinals will be at the end of the season:

  • No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Michigan
  • No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame

These predictions hold for another week. They will likely be ranked in these exact spots again when the new rankings are out on Tuesday.

Of course, there are some big games remaining that could doom this scenario. Michigan plays against fellow CFP hopeful Ohio State, and Alabama will get Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. And Notre Dame plays surprising Syracuse at Yankee Stadium this week.

Things could change very quickly.

For another week, Georgia, West Virginia and Oklahoma appear to be the top contenders to move into the top four if any of the top four teams lose. Ohio State is also within striking distance — a win against Michigan would put the Buckeyes in a decent spot.

UCF is undefeated again but finds itself outside the top 10. Don't expect the Knights to move up too much higher to threaten for a spot in the CFP field.

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: New Year's Six games

Here are our New Year's Six games predictions.

  • Peach Bowl: LSU vs. West Virginia
  • Fiesta Bowl: Penn State vs. UCF
  • Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Washington State
  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Oklahoma
  • Cotton Bowl (Semifinal): Alabama vs. Michigan
  • Orange Bowl (Semifinal): Clemson vs. Notre Dame

One team to look out for: Syracuse. Even if Syracuse loses to Notre Dame this weekend, the Orange would be considered for a New Year's Six game if it finishes 9-3. A reward could be facing an undefeated UCF team. But if Syracuse loses big, we could see Penn State slipping in for a spot.

In the Rose Bowl, Washington State and Ohio State might not make the CFP, but a trip to the Rose Bowl is a good consolation prize. As for the Peach Bowl and Sugar Bowl, Georgia and LSU wouldn't need to make long trips for those games and would have tough games, possibly against West Virginia and Oklahoma.

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