CFP Poll Week 1: What It Means For The Camping World Bowl
After nine weeks of action on the field, the College Football Playoff released its first rankings of the 2017-18 season Tuesday, giving Florida Citrus Sports its best chance yet to project which teams could be visiting Orlando for the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28 at Camping World Stadium.
With so much of the season left to play and so many conference races still up in the air, it’s nearly impossible to guess exactly how things might shake out come December, but here’s how things are looking as November gets underway:
Based on the Oct. 31 standings, No. 1 Georgia and No. 4 Clemson would meet in the Sugar Bowl — the most regionally appropriate game for the Bulldogs and Tigers of the two CFP semifinals. That would leave Alabama and Notre Dame to play in the other semifinal at the Rose Bowl in a rematch of the 2013 BCS Championship Game.
With the Rose and Sugar Bowls both hosting semifinals, most of the New Year’s Six conference tie-ins would no longer need to be satisfied, however No. 10 Miami — the highest-ranked non-CFP team from the ACC — would be assigned to the Orange Bowl due to the game’s contract with the conference. The Hurricanes’ projected opponent in the game would be No. 6 Ohio State, currently the highest-ranked non-CFP team among the SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame.
From there, one could surmise that No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 7 Penn State would meet in the Cotton Bowl, leaving Pac-12 champ Washington the only remaining conference champion without a New Year’s Six bowl destination. The logical destination for the No. 12 Huskies based on proximity would be the Fiesta Bowl, where they could meet No. 8 TCU.
That would leave No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 18 UCF (the highest-ranked Group of 5 team) in the Peach Bowl, although it’s also possible UCF ends up in the Fiesta Bowl, with either TCU or Washington headed to Atlanta.
Now, what does that all mean for the Camping World Bowl? Well, because a Big Ten team would be playing in a non-semifinal Orange Bowl, the Citrus and Camping World Bowls would host the top two non-CFP selections from the ACC, which, based on these particular standings, would be No. 13 Virginia Tech and No. 20 North Carolina State.
The Camping World Bowl would then welcome the team that doesn’t go to the Citrus Bowl, and that team’s opponent, in this case, would likely be whichever team of No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 15 Iowa State is left on the board after the Alamo Bowl makes its pick. (For what it’s worth, the Cowboys appeared in last year’s Alamo Bowl against Colorado.)
Of course, while some combination of Virginia Tech or NC State against Oklahoma State or Iowa State looks like a strong possibility today, there are plenty of ways this picture could — and almost certainly will — be turned on its head over the next five weeks.
In one of a host of hypothetical examples, a Notre Dame loss could drop the Irish out of the Rose Bowl, potentially making them available for the Orange Bowl (which would no longer be pulling a Big Ten team, which means a Big Ten team would go to the Citrus Bowl in the ACC’s place, and so on…). And there are countless other similar chain-reaction situations that could see teams move up or down significantly, depending on how games play out on the field.
Additionally, the Big 12 race is as competitive as we’ve come to expect in recent years, and each of the conference’s top teams will be challenged down the stretch, starting with the Bedlam rivalry game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and a West Virginia-Iowa State showdown this weekend. And that’s to say nothing of the revived Big 12 Championship Game to cap off the season.
The next round of CFP rankings will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. For a look at what members of the media are currently projecting for the Camping World Bowl, check out our weekly projections roundup.