College Football Playoff projections heading into Week 7. As we reach the midway point of the year, these four teams are on the right path for semifinal berths.
Semifinal No. 1 – Fiesta Bowl
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Tie-ins: CFP No. 2/CFP No. 3
Fiesta Bowl Projection: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State
The Tigers put together another complete game last Friday night in the win over Boston College in Chestnut Hill. To say Dabo Swinney’s squad avoided a hangover from the wild Louisville win the week before would be a gross understatement. Rather than coming out flat, the Tigers won 56-10 and held Boston College quarterback Patrick Towles to just 91 passing yards while recording 503 yards of total offense. The Florida State game on Oct. 29 may have lost a little luster, but do not dismiss the Seminoles. It will be another tough test for a Clemson team looking to reach the College Football Playoff for a second straight season.
Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes survived a feisty Indiana squad last Saturday in Columbus, as J.T. Barrett’s aerial attack was held in check. Therefore, the dual-threat signal-caller hurt the Hoosiers on the ground, rushing a career-high 26 times for 137 yards and a touchdown in a 38-17 win. Barrett was just 9-of-23 passing for 93 yards, but he put the offense on his back to thwart IU’s upset bid. The Buckeyes held Kevin Wilson’s squad to just 99 rushing yards and 281 total yards. A big test looms for the Buckeyes this week when they battle No. 8 Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. The passing game will need to bounce back from last week’s effort, although it will be going up against a stronger defense. So Barrett may need to handle a lot of the offensive load once again.
Semifinal No. 2 – Peach Bowl
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Tie-ins: CFP No. 1/CFP No. 4
Peach Bowl Projection: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Washington
The Crimson Tide went into Fayetteville and extended their nation-best win streak to 18 games with a 49-30 win over Arkansas. The offense featured a more up-tempo attack, led by standout true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, who recorded four touchdowns and 253 passing yards. Nick Saban’s squad churned out 517 total yards on just 51 plays, while linebacker Tim Williams and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick—who had three interceptions on the evening—each scored defensive touchdowns. It only gets more difficult for ‘Bama, though, as it travels to Tennessee this week before a home showdown with Texas A&M, which is arguably the toughest opponent remaining. A matchup with LSU in Death Valley and the annual Iron Bowl are also scheduled. But this is a ‘Bama squad that is playing like the No. 1 team in the country.
Chris Petersen’s Huskies dismantled Oregon in Eugene last week, finally ending their 12-game skid to Oregon in a big way. Quarterback Jake Browning threw for 304 yards and a school-record six touchdowns in a 70-21 rout of the Ducks. Myles Gaskin ran for 197 yards and a touchdown for the undefeated Huskies, who have won nine straight games overall. If you look at U-Dub’s remaining schedule, it is very manageable. Sure, a road test against Utah and games against USC and Washington State won’t be easy. But this is a complete team, and it looks primed for a CFP berth.