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Wayne Staats | NCAA.com | December 6, 2019

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Week 15 Top 25

5 college football championship games to watch in week 15

Here's how we predicted the College Football Playoff rankings might look in Week 15. After a crazy Week 14 of games, Utah, Oklahoma and Baylor remain strongly in contention for a playoff spot. You can get the actual Top 25 here.

The committee will rank the Top 25 each week until the final rankings on Sunday, Dec. 8. You can get an overview of the committee's process right here on the official site.

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Top 25 projections for Week 15

NOTE: This is how I though the committee would rank the teams on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Click or tap here for the actual rankings as they're revealed.

  1. Ohio State (12-0): Ohio State looked great again and should have the No. 1 spot for another week after crushing Michigan on the road. Next up: Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.
  2. LSU (12-0): The Tigers destroyed Texas A&M 50-7. Georgia is going to be a harder test, so an impressive win in the SEC Championship could make LSU a threat to jump Ohio State back for No. 1.
  3. Clemson (12-0): The Tigers didn't waste time in crushing South Carolina. Now Virginia stands in the way of another CFP appearance. Unless OSU or LSU lose, Clemson is likely locked into the No. 3 spot.
  4. Georgia (11-1): The Bulldogs had no trouble against Georgia Tech. The showdown with LSU for the SEC title is next.
  5. Utah (11-1): The Utes didn't mess around against Colorado and won by 30. Utah will now enter into a debate with OU (and the SEC Championship Game loser) for a possible CFP spot.
  6. Oklahoma (11-1): There was no Bedlam upset as OU beat the Cowboys again. And the Sooners remain right in the middle of the CFP hunt.
  7. Baylor (11-1): The Bears are suddenly even more in the CFP mix, but they might need some help. But they can do their part and beat OU to win the Big 12.
  8. Wisconsin (10-2): The Badgers have regrouped nicely since losing two in a row. Wisconsin went to Minnesota and pushed aside the Gophers to win the Big Ten West — and get a rematch with Ohio State.
  9. Alabama (10-2): A late missed field goal and a penalty likely cost the Tide a chance to return to the CFP.
  10. Penn State (10-2): It wasn't pretty, but the Lions got to 10-2 in a win vs. Rutgers and also got a blowout loss by Minnesota. The Lions are thinking New Year's Six, maybe even the Rose Bowl.
  11. Florida (10-2): The Gators have now won two in a row against the Seminoles and are still in the New Year's Six hunt.
  12. Minnesota (10-2): It'll be fascinating to see how much the Gophers drop after losing by 21 to Wisconsin. Will the head-to-head win against Penn State be enough?
  13. Auburn (9-3): Wow. The Tigers stun 'Bama to end the Tide's CFP hopes — and picked up huge bragging rights for the next year.
  14. Oregon (10-2): Now the Ducks will have to settle for playing for a Rose Bowl appearance after losing to Arizona State last week.
  15. Notre Dame (10-2): The Irish have done nothing but win since losing big at Michigan. Now they're 10-2 after racing away from Stanford.
  16. Memphis (11-1): The Tigers defeated Cincinnati but will now have to do it again to win the AAC — and to likely secure a New Year's Six spot.
  17. Iowa (9-3): It wasn't easy at Nebraska, but the Hawkeyes closed with three wins to end the regular season, including handing Minnesota its first loss.
  18. Michigan (9-3): The Wolverines had looked much better in the last few weeks, but beating Ohio State was simply a much too tall task.
  19. Boise State (11-1): The Broncos did just enough to beat Colorado State. They return home to the Blue Turf for the MWC title game vs. Hawai'i.
  20. Cincinnati (10-2): The Bearcats battled but fell short at Memphis. Now they'll get another chance and hope the second loss doesn't hurt their New Year's Six position.
  21. Southern California (8-4): The Trojans didn't get the upset needed to play in the Pac-12 title game, as Utah beat Colorado.
  22. Virginia (9-3): The Cavaliers are heading to the ACC title game after ending the 15-year losing skid to Virginia Tech.
  23. Appalachian State (11-1): The Mountaineers beat Louisiana in the first meeting. The Cajuns will be a tough team to beat twice.
  24. Oklahoma State (8-4): The Cowboys put up a fight for a bit, but they couldn't keep pace with Oklahoma.
  25. Kansas State (8-4): The Wildcats finished up a strong first year under coach Chris Klieman by beating ranked Iowa State.

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Semifinals

Here's how I think the final CFP rankings will look.

  • No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (Peach Bowl)
  • No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 Clemson (Fiesta Bowl)

Ohio State might be No. 1 going into the conference title games, but a big LSU win against Georgia could make things a little interesting for the top spot, especially if Wisconsin keeps it close against Ohio State. And the No. 1 ranking matters because the No. 2 seed will (probably) have to play defending champion Clemson in the semifinals.

There's going to be some big questions for No. 4. Right now, Utah could make the jump, especially if it beats 2-loss Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. But Oklahoma could easily slot in here should the Sooners win in Week 15. OU rallied to beat previously undefeated Baylor in Week 12 and will get the Bears again in the Big 12 Championship Game. But if Baylor beats OU in the rematch, the Bears probably think they deserve a shot in the CFP.

CFP RANKINGS: Schedule, TV information for how to watch the Top 25 announcement

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

This is what I think the games and matchups will be at season's end. This was updated after Alabama fell behind Auburn in Tuesday's Top 25. The Tigers are now No. 11 and the Tide is No. 12.

  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Baylor
  • Rose Bowl: Utah vs. Penn State
  • Orange Bowl: Florida vs. Virginia
  • Cotton Bowl: Auburn vs. Memphis
  • Peach Bowl (semifinal): No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
  • Fiesta Bowl (semifinal): No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 Clemson
  • National Championship Game: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 LSU

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