CFP Poll Week 5: What It Means For The Camping World Bowl
The College Football Playoff released its latest poll Tuesday, and while the rankings are bound to change based on the results of this weekend’s conference championships, the new Top 25 gives Florida Citrus Sports its clearest look yet at which teams could be booking a trip to Orlando for the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28.
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 29, 2017
If you’ve read these posts before, you know we have to start by stressing that we don’t know who’s coming because we can’t possibly know while there’s still football to be played. (Ten of the top 12 teams in the poll are in action this weekend, and the trickle-down effect of those games could be significant.) The purpose of this exercise, instead, is to explain what the Nov. 28 rankings would mean if the season ended today. So, with that said, let’s take a look:
The Top 4 will be locked into the CFP semifinals, so right now, we’re looking at No. 1 Clemson and No. 4 Wisconsin in one of those games (likely the Sugar Bowl), with No. 2 Auburn and No. 3 Oklahoma meeting in the other (in this case, the Rose Bowl). If all four of those teams win their conference championship games, it stands to reason that they’ll all remain in the semifinals in some order.
That would leave No. 7 Miami as the highest-ranked non-semifinal team from the ACC, meaning the Hurricanes stay in town for the Orange Bowl against No. 5 Alabama, the top non-CFP team among the SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame.
Moving on, No. 14 UCF is still the highest-ranked Group of Five team and appears to control its own destiny heading into its AAC championship game against No. 20 Memphis, who would presumably take UCF’s place in the New Year’s Six in the event of a victory in Orlando on Saturday afternoon. The Pac-12 champ is also guaranteed a spot somewhere at the table, meaning either No. 10 USC or No. 12 Stanford is in.
From there, the current poll would result in No. 6 Georgia, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 9 Penn State and No. 11 TCU filling in the rest of the New Year’s Six bowls as at-large selections.
What’s that all mean for the Camping World Bowl?
— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) November 26, 2017
Well, when it comes to the Big 12, Florida Citrus Sports get the No. 2 pick outside the CFP series of bowls. No. 19 Oklahoma State is the highest-ranked Big 12 team not projected to play in a New Year’s Six game based on today’s rankings. The Big 12 does not have any other teams listed in the current CFP Top 25, but Iowa State, Kansas State, West Virginia and Texas all finished one game back of Oklahoma State in conference play with identical 5-4 Big 12 records, and each could make a case for a Camping World Bowl selection.
It’s also possible a TCU loss to Oklahoma could drop the Horned Frogs out of the Top 12 and make them available for non-CFP selections, as well.
As for the Big 12 representative’s opponent, the current inclusion of an SEC team in the Orange Bowl means Florida Citrus Sports would only make one selection from the ACC (inclusive of Notre Dame), and that team would play in the Camping World Bowl. The Fighting Irish are currently ranked No. 15 and do not play this week. The same is true for No. 22 Virginia Tech and No. 24 NC State. If a Big Ten team ultimately ends up in the Orange Bowl, Florida Citrus Sports would make two picks from the ACC/Notre Dame pool and welcome both to Orlando.
Long story short: The only thing we really know for sure is that we’re going to have a great game. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long to find out who the participants in that game will be. The final CFP rankings will be released on Sunday, Dec. 3, at noon, with bowl announcements to follow.
For a closer look at the media’s Camping World Bowl picks heading into Selection Sunday, check out our latest projection roundup.