Brett McMurphy's bowl projections: Clemson, Oklahoma headed for title clash

by
Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

On Sunday, here's how I see the College Football Playoff selection committee will rank the nation's top four teams: (1) Clemson, (2) Oklahoma, (3) Georgia, (4) Ohio State.

I think two-loss and Big Ten champion Ohio State gets in over Alabama (11-1), which finished second in the SEC's West Division. That puts Alabama fifth and out of the playoffs for the first time in the brief history of the College Football Playoff.

Let's cut to the chase. After spending all day Saturday checking with bowl sources on the most likely scenarios, here are my updated bowl projections.

All of the projections are based on Washington earning a New Year's Six bid. The final New Year's Six bid is between Washington, Stanford, TCU, and Notre Dame. If I'm correct, Sunday's official pairings should resemble my projections below. If Washington does not get in a New Year's Six bowl, well, uh, wait until next year.

(Teams that have accepted bowl invitations are listed in bold type.)

College Football Playoff

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Championship Bowl (Atlanta) Jan. 8 CFP semifinal winners

Projection: Clemson vs. Oklahoma

Semifinals

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Rose Bowl (Pasadena) Jan. 1 CFP semifinal

Projection: Oklahoma (CFP No. 2) vs. Georgia (CFP No. 3)

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Sugar Bowl (New Orleans) Jan. 1 CFP semifinal

Projection: Clemson (CFP No. 1) vs. Ohio State (CFP No. 4)

New Year's Six bowls

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Peach Bowl (Atlanta) Jan. 1 at-large vs. at-large*

Projection: Auburn vs. UCF

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Fiesta Bowl (Glendale) Dec. 30 at-large vs. at-large

Projection: USC vs. Wisconsin

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Orange Bowl (Miami Gardens) Dec. 30 ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

Projection: Miami vs. Alabama

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Cotton Bowl (Arlington) Dec. 29 at-large vs. at-large

Projection: Penn State vs. Washington

Other bowls

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Citrus Bowl (Orlando) Jan. 1 ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Projection: Michigan State vs. LSU

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Outback Bowl (Tampa) Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. SEC

Projection: Michigan vs. South Carolina

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Liberty Bowl (Memphis) Dec. 30 Big 12 vs. SEC

Projection: Iowa State vs. Memphis**

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
TaxSlayer Bowl (Jacksonville) Dec. 30 ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Mississippi State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Arizona Bowl (Tucson) Dec. 29 MWC vs. Sun Belt

Projection: Utah State vs. New Mexico State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Belk Bowl (Charlotte) Dec. 29 ACC vs. SEC

Projection: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Music City Bowl (Nashville) Dec. 29 ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Projection: Purdue vs. Kentucky

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Sun Bowl (El Paso) Dec. 29 ACC vs. Pac-12

Projection: Louisville vs. Arizona State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Alamo Bowl (San Antonio) Dec. 28 Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Projection: TCU vs. Stanford

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Camping World Bowl (Orlando) Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big 12

Projection: Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Holiday Bowl (San Diego) Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Projection: Northwestern vs. Washington State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Military Bowl (Annapolis) Dec. 28 ACC vs. American

Projection: Virginia vs. Navy

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Foster Farms Bowl (Santa Clara) Dec. 27 Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Projection: San Diego State** vs. Arizona

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Independence Bowl (Shreveport) Dec. 27 ACC vs. SEC

Projection: Florida State vs. Southern Miss**

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx) Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big Ten

Projection: NC State vs. Iowa

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Texas Bowl (Houston) Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. SEC

Projection: Texas vs. Missouri

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Cactus Bowl (Phoenix) Dec. 26 Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Projection: West Virginia vs. UCLA

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas) Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. Big 12

Projection: Utah** vs. Kansas State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit) Dec. 26 ACC vs. Big Ten

Projection: Duke vs. Central Michigan**

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu) Dec. 24 American vs. MWC

Projection: Houston vs. Fresno State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth) Dec. 23 C-USA vs. Army

Projection: UTSA vs. Army

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham) Dec. 23 American vs. SEC

Projection: USF vs. Texas Tech**

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Dollar General Bowl (Mobile) Dec. 23 MAC vs. Sun Belt

Projection: Toledo vs. Appalachian State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Bahamas Bowl (Nassau) Dec. 22 C-USA vs. MAC

Projection: UAB vs. Ohio

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise) Dec. 22 MAC vs. MWC

Projection: Northern Illinois vs. Wyoming

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Gasparilla Bowl (St. Petersburg) Dec. 21 American vs. C-USA

Projection: Boston College** vs. FIU

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Frisco Bowl (Frisco) Dec. 20 American vs. MAC/MWC

Projection: SMU vs. Louisiana Tech

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton) Dec. 19 American vs. C-USA

Projection: Temple vs. Florida Atlantic

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Camellia Bowl (Montgomery) Dec. 16 MAC vs. Sun Belt

Projection: Akron vs. Arkansas State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Cure Bowl (Orlando) Dec. 16 American vs. Sun Belt

Projection: Marshall** vs. Georgia State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
Las Vegas Bowl (Las Vegas) Dec. 16 MWC vs. Pac-12

Projection: Boise State vs. Oregon

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque) Dec. 16 C-USA vs. MWC

Projection: Western Kentucky vs. Colorado State

BOWL (CITY) DATE MATCHUP
New Orleans Bowl (New Orleans) Dec. 16 C-USA vs. Sun Belt

Projection: North Texas vs. Troy

*The highest-rated champion from the Group of 5 conferences (American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt) will be selected to play in either the Cotton, Fiesta, or Peach Bowl. If Army is bowl eligible, it must play in the Armed Forces Bowl.

**Replaces team from league that can't fill bowl.

Brett McMurphy has been a college football reporter for nearly 30 years. He is a longtime voter in The Associated Press poll as well as a Heisman Trophy voter. Find him on Twitter @brett_mcmurphy or on Facebook.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)