College Football Playoffs Expert Picks: Georgia, Michigan Clinch #1-2; does ohio state have a case for #3?

The College Football Playoffs final standings will be released Sunday, setting the stage for the CFP itself and the New Year’s Six Bowls. While at least one new team will be battling for its first title of the playoff-era, Sunday’s CFP selection committee decisions will determine which teams have the easiest path to the national championship.

With USC losing in the Pac-12 championship game, the four teams should be determined. SEC Champion Georgia and Big Ten Champion Michigan punched their tickets to the dance before their championship games even started; Because of their victories, they took the first two places. There may be arguments for putting the Wolverines over the Bulldogs, but the latter are the reigning national champions, with the Dawgs consistently being more dominant throughout the season.

TCU and Ohio State, the only remaining one-loss Power Five teams, will likely take the last two spots unless the committee decides to defy logic and reason. Our experts agree it will be these four in a specific order.

The Horned Frogs’ 31-28 overtime loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game could cause a bit of chaos by giving the No. 3 seed a win. TCU and Ohio State have each defeated two teams in the CFP rankings. However, the Frogs lost in overtime to a 10th-ranked Kansas State team they had defeated earlier this season, while the Buckeyes were beaten at home by the second-ranked Wolverines to end the regular season — and they played not for their league crown.

Those hoping that TCU’s loss coupled with USC’s excitement in Utah on Friday would open the door for Alabama will likely be disappointed. The two-loss Crimson Tide are 2-2 against teams in the CFP ranks, with their only wins coming rather unimpressively against a pair of 8-4 teams (Texas, Mississippi State). There just doesn’t seem to be any legitimate reason to push TCU behind Bama over Saturday’s loss.

Read on for college football playoff predictions from CBS Sports Bowls expert Jerry Palm, along with a breakdown of how our college football experts would vote if they were members of the committee.

College Football Playoff Projection

Here’s how Palm predicted the top 4 in the CFP. Palm has predicted 29 for 32 CFP teams in their correct slots over the seven years of the playoffs.

January 9th

National Championship
Inglewood, California

title game Semifinal Winner

Dec 31

peach peel
Atlanta

semifinals

(1) Georgia vs. (4) Ohio State

Dec 31

Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Ariz.

semifinals

(2) Michigan vs. (3) TCU

Expert tips for the college football playoffs

Here’s how our college football staff would vote if they were on the CFP selection committee.

The case for the state of Ohio at number 3

Ohio State, like TCU, has only recorded one loss…and that was to the nation’s No. 2 team, Michigan. Admittedly, it was a great loss. But victories over No. 8 Penn State, No. 21 Notre Dame and the “Eye Test” should resonate quite a bit. The Buckeyes’ running back room was exhausted against the Wolverines, and the broad receiving corps was without Jaxon Smith-Njigba for most of the year. These aren’t excuses for losing, but they should be factored into the equation.

TCU’s best win is defeating Kansas State in their first meeting. Second best is about No. 20 Texas. The biggest difference between TCU and Ohio State is TCU’s inconsistency, which has caused the Frogs to mess up in the second half just to get wins. They did it, which is a huge compliment to coach Sonny Dykes and this squad. But the Buckeyes didn’t have to live on the razor’s edge for most of the season, which is enough to convince me they deserve third place. – Barrett Hallee

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