Rivalry Week 2023 is in the rear-view mirror, and after the contenders helped separate themselves from the pretenders, Championship Week is set for this coming Friday and Saturday as the Power Five's best teams advance to their respect conference title games and from there, hopefully to College Football Playoff selection.
Where does that leave things in the college football bowl season picture? Here's our latest projection for the most important postseason matchups and the playoff.
Prediction: Penn State vs. Missouri
Penn State took care of Michigan State in the Land Grant Trophy game, easily procuring its 10th win of the season, and that could set up a nice Big Ten vs. SEC matchup in the postseason against a resurgent Missouri team also at 10-2.
Prediction: Alabama vs. Washington
We expect Washington will lose the Pac-12 Championship Game as the Huskies have been playing progressively closer games as the season has worn on, while Oregon has been building momentum since losing to UW a few weeks ago. And we expect Alabama will lose to Georgia in the SEC title bout.
Prediction: Ohio State vs. Louisville
Louisville is our runner-up for the ACC championship and is a sure thing for a New Year's bowl game as a result. We predicted Michigan would defeat Ohio State again, a tough break for the Buckeyes and their improved defense. A one-loss OSU won't have room to crack the playoff this year, not with other teams competing for attention at the top of the rankings.
Prediction: Texas vs. Tulane
A one-loss Big 12 champion (as we project) Texas is certainly in the mix for the College Football Playoff, but the selection committee could favor the winner of the Pac-12 as they view that conference as being superior to what the Longhorns will have to beat in Arlington (Oklahoma State). Tulane is still our pick as the class of the Group of Five, our projected American champion against SMU.
Prediction: Michigan vs. Florida State
Michigan is arguably college football's most well-rounded team and, with a win over Ohio State and as the favorite against Iowa, should be undefeated Big Ten champion. The selection committee likely won't take the injury to Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis into consideration, instead judging the team by its complete performance. And as the undefeated ACC champion, it's hard, impossible really, to argue against Florida State being in.
Prediction: Georgia vs. Oregon
Georgia is our projected SEC champion and undefeated, unchallenged No. 1 team in college football. And we're picking Oregon to avenge its sole loss of the season by taking down Washington to win the final Pac-12 football championship game. These teams met in the 2022 season opener, a 49-3 shellacking by the Bulldogs. This edition of the Ducks' defense promises for a closer matchup, however.
Prediction: Georgia vs. Michigan
The absence of Travis under center should be enough to thwart the Seminoles' chances of advancing to the national championship game, especially in the face of a defense of Michigan's caliber. And the Bulldogs are one of a very few teams that have the speed and physicality to get past Oregon and stop the Ducks' electric No. 2 ranked offense.
National champion: Georgia