College Football Playoff projections heading into Week 6. These four teams are on the right path to reach the sport’s final destination.
Semifinal No. 1 – Fiesta Bowl
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Tie-ins: CFP No. 2/CFP No. 3
Fiesta Bowl Projection: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State
The Tigers passed their biggest test of the season last Saturday night with their wild win over Lamar Jackson and Louisville. It will arguably go down as the ACC game of the year, and it gave the Tigers a major advantage in the ACC Atlantic division race. When Dabo Swinney’s squad takes on Boston College this Friday night on the road, the Tigers will face a tough and physical defense. However, Deshaun Watson passed for three touchdowns and 420 yards in last year’s meeting with the Eagles, helping his team to a 34-17 victory. A road game against FSU looms, but the Tigers look primed for another trip to the College Football Playoff.
Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes have not only been putting up points at will, but the defense is coming off of a dominant effort against Rutgers, never allowing the Scarlet Knights to go deeper than the Ohio State 38-yard line and allowing just 33 passing yards. Bigger games loom, against such teams as Wisconsin and Nebraska, but all eyes will be on the Michigan showdown to close out the regular season. That game, along with a potential Big Ten championship tilt, will go a long way toward the Buckeyes’ CFP dreams.
Semifinal No. 2 – Peach Bowl
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Tie-ins: CFP No. 1/CFP No. 4
Peach Bowl Projection: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Washington
We will find out a lot more about Nick Saban’s squad over the next four games. The Crimson Tide’s schedule will take them to Arkansas and Tennessee before a home test against Texas A&M, which could end up being the team’s toughest challenge yet. The four-game gauntlet concludes with a showdown in Death Valley against LSU. Going 3-1 in that stretch and winning an SEC title should be enough for ‘Bama to make the CFP, because the selection committee will recognize the strength of schedule.
Out West, Washington announced to the college football world that it is ready to be a player on the national stage once again. Chris Petersen’s squad dismantled Stanford last Friday night, showing off its powerful offense and tenacious defense in the process. Now the attention turns to breaking a 12-game losing streak to an Oregon team that is no longer a national power. If not this year for the Huskies against the Ducks, then when? If you look at the rest of U-Dub’s slate, it is very manageable. The Huskies very well could be in the CFP mix at the end of the year.