North Carolina

This week’s look at the top bowls

My projection of the four teams for the College Football Playoff and the four other New Year's bowls.

The top four teams, as ranked by the 12-person selection committee, will be placed in the Orange and Cotton Bowls and meet on Dec. 31. The winners will meet on Jan. 11 in Glendale, Ariz. for the national title.

College Football Playoff

Orange: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Notre Dame

Cotton: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Ohio State

There’s not a lot of consistency with the selection committee but if 11-1 Notre Dame gets compared to 11-1 Oklahoma, you figure common opponents will be considered.

Notre Dame beat Texas 38-3 in South Bend, Ind. in the opener. Oklahoma lost to Texas, at a neutral site, on Oct. 10.

Oklahoma still has to beat TCU and Oklahoma State to get there. Actually, the unbeaten Cowboys (10-0) – with Baylor and the Bedlam date with OU – are the Big XII’s best hope for a team in the playoff.

New Year’s bowls

Sugar: Florida (SEC) vs. Oklahoma (Big XII)

Rose: Iowa (Big Ten) vs. Stanford (Pac-12)

Fiesta: Baylor (Big XII) vs. Houston (Group of 5)

Peach: Oklahoma State (at large) vs. LSU (at large)

Season-long reminder: The Sugar and Rose bowls, which were playoff games last year, are “contract” bowls this year. The SEC and Big 12 are the only conferences that can play in the Sugar and the Rose is only open to Big Ten and Pac-12 teams. Those four teams will still be placed into those games based on the CFP selection committee rankings.

Also, the highest-rated champion from the “Group of 5” conferences is guaranteed one spot. Houston (10-0) has the inside track after pulling out a dramatic win over Memphis on Saturday.

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