Bowl season is upon us, college football fans. After Tuesday’s reveal of the College Football Playoff committee’s latest rankings, there is less than one week remaining until the Top Four are officially set and the postseason can begin taking shape.
Before we get into our bowl predictions, here are the rankings after Tuesday night:
In total, there are 40 bowl games that will be played before the national championship, and this is how we think each one will shape up. The schedule and viewing information are via ESPN.com:
|Celebration Bowl||Saturday, Dec. 17||NC Central||Grambling State||WatchESPN|
|Gildan New Mexico Bowl||Saturday, Dec. 17||New Mexico||UTSA||WatchESPN|
|Las Vegas Bowl||Saturday, Dec. 17||Boise St.||Mississippi St.||WatchESPN|
|AutoNation Cure Bowl||Saturday, Dec. 17||South Alabama||Georgia So.||CBSSports.com|
|Raycom Media Camellia Bowl||Saturday, Dec. 17||Arkansas St.||Miami (OH)||WatchESPN|
|R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl||Saturday, Dec. 17||Louisiana Lafayette||Southern Miss||WatchESPN|
|Miami Beach Bowl||Monday, Dec. 19||Tulsa||Central Michigan||WatchESPN|
|Boca Raton Bowl||Tuesday, Dec. 20||Memphis||Middle Tennessee||WatchESPN|
|San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl||Wednesday, Dec. 21||BYU||Wyoming||WatchESPN|
|Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Thursday, Dec. 22||Ohio||Colorado St.||WatchESPN|
|Popeyes Bahamas Bowl||Friday, Dec. 23||Eastern Michigan||Old Dominion||WatchESPN|
|Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl||Friday, Dec. 23||North Texas||Navy||WatchESPN|
|Dollar General Bowl||Friday, Dec. 23||Troy||Toledo||WatchESPN|
|Hawaii Bowl||Saturday, Dec. 24||Hawaii||W. Kentucky||WatchESPN|
|St. Petersburg Bowl||Monday, Dec. 26||Houston||Appalachian St.||WatchESPN|
|Quick Lane Bowl||Monday, Dec. 26||NC State||Northwestern||WatchESPN|
|Camping World Independence Bowl||Monday, Dec. 26||Wake Forest||Vanderbilt||WatchESPN|
|Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl||Tuesday, Dec. 27||Army||Louisiana Tech||WatchESPN|
|Military Bowl||Tuesday, Dec. 27||Boston College||Temple||WatchESPN|
|Holiday Bowl||Tuesday, Dec. 27||Washington St.||Iowa||WatchESPN|
|Motel 6 Cactus Bowl||Tuesday, Dec. 27||Baylor||San Diego St.||WatchESPN|
|New Era Pinstripe Bowl||Wednesday, Dec. 28||North Carolina||Maryland||WatchESPN|
|Russell Athletic Bowl||Wednesday, Dec. 28||Miami (FL)||West Virginia||WatchESPN|
|Foster Farms Bowl||Wednesday, Dec. 28||Indiana||Utah||Fox Sports Go|
|AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl||Wednesday, Dec. 28||Kansas St.||Texas A&M||WatchESPN|
|Birmingham Bowl||Thursday, Dec. 29||South Florida||South Carolina||WatchESPN|
|Belk Bowl||Thursday, Dec. 29||Arkansas||Pittsburgh||WatchESPN|
|Valero Alamo Bowl||Thursday, Dec. 29||Oklahoma St.||USC||WatchESPN|
|AutoZone Liberty Bowl||Friday, Dec. 30||TCU||Georgia||WatchESPN|
|Hyundai Sun Bowl||Friday, Dec. 30||Virginia Tech||Stanford||CBSSports.com|
|Franklin Amer. Mort. Music City Bowl||Friday, Dec. 30||Tennessee||Minnesota||WatchESPN|
|Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl||Friday, Dec. 30||Idaho||Air Force||Campus Insiders|
|Capital One Orange Bowl||Friday, Dec. 30||Louisville||Michigan||WatchESPN|
|Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl||Saturday, Dec. 31||Florida St.||LSU||WatchESPN|
|TaxSlayer Bowl||Saturday, Dec. 31||Kentucky||Georgia Tech||WatchESPN|
|Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl*||Saturday, Dec. 31||Alabama||Washington||WatchESPN|
|Fiesta Bowl*||Saturday, Dec. 31||Clemson||Ohio State||WatchESPN|
|Outback Bowl||Monday, Jan. 2||Nebraska||Florida||WatchESPN|
|Goodyear Cotton Bowl||Monday, Jan. 2||Western Michigan||Penn State||WatchESPN|
|Rose Bowl Game||Monday, Jan. 2||Wisconsin||Colorado||WatchESPN|
|Allstate Sugar Bowl||Monday, Jan. 2||Oklahoma||Auburn||WatchESPN|
*Denotes national semifinal
At the moment, there is only one team that is safe in the College Football Playoff Top Four, and that’s No. 1 Alabama, which would probably make the semifinals even if it lost to No. 15 Florida in the SEC Championship Game.
No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Washington would most likely secure their spots alongside the Crimson Tide with wins in their respective conference title games. Clemson will play No. 23 Virginia Tech for the ACC title, while Washington will meet No. 8 Colorado for all the marbles in the Pac-12.
Even if Washington loses on Saturday night, it should represent the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl.
Then comes Ohio State, ranked No. 2 and seemingly safe after its victory over No. 5 Michigan to continue its dominance in one of college football’s fiercest rivalries.
But the Buckeyes won’t be playing for the Big Ten title. That honor belongs to No. 7 Penn State after it won the Eastern Division thanks to a win over Ohio State.
The Nittany Lions will take on No. 6 Wisconsin for the conference, although a win probably still won’t get them in the playoff.
Given the rankings, there is a slight chance a second Big Ten representative makes the semifinal if Washington loses the Pac-12 title game. That includes Michigan, which is still right on the cusp of the Top Four.
Wisconsin could have a chance to leapfrog Michigan to the No. 4 spot following a Washington loss if it dismantles Penn State. However, any sort of close game in the Big Ten Championship and a Huskies loss could give the nod to Michigan.
The committee will be hoping that the play on the field during the final weekend makes its decision an easy one, because at the moment, there are plenty of question marks along the path to the national championship.