College Football Playoff predictions for Week 8 haven’t shifted much at all. In fact, the college football landscape only really shifted below the three major bowl games this season. A new report from CBS Sports on Sunday, October 18, has the same four teams playing in the 2015 College Football Playoff. Those predictions have TCU vs. Alabama in the Cotton Bowl and Ohio State vs. Clemson in the Orange Bowl. The two winning teams would face off in the Championship Bowl on January 12.
With each of the top four schools from prior predictions winning in Week 7, it didn’t change the top-tier of the bowl projections. What did shift, though, is how a number of the other major bowl games could look now. CBS Sports now has Baylor vs. LSU in the Sugar Bowl, Michigan State vs. Stanford in the Rose Bowl, Utah vs. Iowa in the Fiesta Bowl, and Florida State vs. Houston in the Peach Bowl. The Michigan Wolverines took a big hit by losing to the Michigan State Spartans, but still are projected to play in the Citrus Bowl against Florida.
The four schools that will get invited to the College Football Playoff are going to be the top four teams (by ranking) when the conference championship games have been completed. So far, Alabama isn’t a part of that picture after the team was upset by Ole Miss earlier in the season. In fact, according to the last rankings reported by ESPN.com, Alabama was still down at No. 10 overall. The school will likely pass Texas A&M after the Aggies lost on Saturday, October 17, but Alabama shouldn’t move past that No. 9 slot yet.
Viewing the AP Top 25, the other schools with a great shot to make it into the playoff field are No. 2 Baylor, No. 6 LSU, and No. 7 Michigan State. LSU just beat No. 8 Florida over the weekend, improving to 6-0 and leading the SEC West still. A showdown between the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide is on the schedule for November 7, with a spot in the SEC Championship Game possibly on the line.
Baylor has a rough road through the Big 12 to get to the end of the season, which could be why so many College Football Playoff predictions leave the Bears out of the field. The team has to play 5-1 Oklahoma on November 14, 6-0 Oklahoma State on November 21, and 7-0 TCU on November 27. It’s not a stretch to state that Baylor has a shot to become the No. 1 ranked team if the Bears can win all three games against top-ranked opponents. Likewise, it sets up scenarios where Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU can emerge with even stronger resumes.
There are a few other bowl projections that could be interesting for conferences like the Pac-12, Big Ten, and SEC after the Week 7 games. Some of the new match-ups predicted by CBS Sports include Wisconsin vs. Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl, Oklahoma vs. USC in the Alamo Bowl, Texas Tech vs. Oregon in the Cactus Bowl, Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State in the Russell Athletic Bowl, and Memphis vs. Miami in the St. Petersburg Bowl. The Memphis Tigers are a team to watch after the school beat Ole Miss over the weekend to improve to 6-0 on the season.
There is still a lot of time left in the college football regular season, so big shifts could come once the main rivalry games are played out on the schedule. A big one already took place with Michigan State beating Michigan, though, so the Big Ten is starting to look very favorable for the Ohio State Buckeyes to make it back to another College Football Playoff bracket. As for teams like the Utah Utes, it will take a bump in the national rankings to get into that field of four schools still.
[Image Sources: Jamie Sabau, Christian Petersen, and Gene Sweeney Jr / Getty Images]