It's easy to just toss Florida State out of the College Football Playoff mix now in the aftermath of Jordan Travis' season-ending ankle injury.
Travis was at the heart of the Seminoles' playoff push with 2,756 passing yards, 20 TDs and two interceptions. Now the task falls on backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker to keep that playoff push alive.
Here is the hard part for the College Football Playoff committee. Sure, one-loss teams like Oregon, Texas and Alabama would be attractive with a conference championship. So would the loser of the Ohio State-Michigan blockbuster matchup in the Big Ten East.
But they just can't turn away an unbeaten Power 5 conference champion. It's never happened, and it won't happen in this four-team format.
That's why Florida State just has to win against rival Florida this week and against Louisville in the ACC championship next week. If that happens, then the Seminoles are in. If Florida State loses, then the committee will quickly discard them to the bottom of the one-loss pile.
It's that simple both ways. That scenario is reflected in our Week 13 bowl projections.
We also have James Madison and Jacksonville State in because there will not be enough eligible teams with six wins.
The College Football Playoff semifinals will be on Jan. 1, 2024. Those semifinals will be played at the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, Calif., and the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Those locations were the sites of the first four-team playoff in 2014.
The College Football Playoff championship game is on Jan. 8 at NRG Stadium in Houston.
SN has projections for every bowl game here, and they will be updated each week for the remainder of the season:
Week 13 college football bowl predictions
A look at Sporting News bowl projections heading into Week 13 of the 2023 college football season:
|Dec. 16||Famous Toastery Bowl||Northern Illinois vs. New Mexico State|
|Dec. 16||R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl||Liberty vs. Troy|
|Dec. 16||Cure Bowl||South Florida vs. Texas State|
|Dec. 16||New Mexico Bowl||Jacksonville State vs. San Jose State|
|Dec. 16||LA Bowl||USC vs. Air Force|
|Dec. 16||Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl||Cal vs. Colorado State|
|Dec. 18||Myrtle Beach Bowl||SMU vs. Georgia State|
|Dec. 19||Frisco Bowl||Georgia Southern vs. Rice|
|Dec. 21||RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl||Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama|
|Dec. 22||Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl||UCF vs. James Madison|
|Dec. 23||Birmingham Bowl||Coastal Carolina vs. Syracuse|
|Dec. 23||Camellia Bowl||Miami, Ohio vs. Appalachian State|
|Dec. 23||Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl||West Virginia vs. Utah State|
|Dec. 23||Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Eastern Michigan vs. Wyoming|
|Dec. 23||68 Ventures Bowl||Ohio vs. Arkansas State|
|Dec. 23||SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl||Illinois vs. Utah|
|Dec. 23||Easypost Hawai'i Bowl||UTSA vs. Fresno State|
|Dec. 26||Quick Lane Bowl||Northwestern vs. Toledo|
|Dec. 26||Servpro First Responder Bowl||Iowa State vs. Maryland|
|Dec. 26||Guaranteed Rate Bowl||UNLV vs. Minnesota|
|Dec. 27||Military Bowl||Boston College vs. Navy|
|Dec. 27||Duke's Mayo Bowl||Florida vs. Duke|
|Dec. 27||TaxAct Texas Bowl||Oklahoma vs. Auburn|
|Dec. 28||Fenway Bowl||Georgia Tech vs. Memphis|
|Dec. 28||Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl||Wisconsin vs. Virginia Tech|
|Dec. 28||San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl||Oregon State vs. Miami|
|Dec. 28||Pop-Tarts Bowl||Kansas vs. North Carolina|
|Dec. 28||Valero Alamo Bowl||Oklahoma State vs. Arizona|
|Dec. 29||TaxSlayer Gator Bowl||Texas A&M vs. Clemson|
|Dec. 29||Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl||UCLA vs. NC State|
|Dec. 29||AutoZone Liberty Bowl||Kentucky vs. Kansas State|
|Dec. 30||Transperfect Music City Bowl||Tennessee vs. Rutgers|
|Dec. 30||Barstool Arizona Bowl||Bowling Green vs. Boise State|
|Jan. 1||Reliaquest Bowl||Ole Miss vs. Notre Dame|
|Jan. 1||Cheez-It Citrus Bowl||LSU vs. Iowa|
New Year's Day Six bowl predictions
A look at our New Year's Day Six predictions for Week 13:
|Dec. 29||Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic||Texas vs. Missouri|
|Dec. 30||Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl||Tulane vs. Penn State|
|Dec. 30||Capital One Orange Bowl||Ohio State vs. Louisville|
|Jan. 1||Vrbo Fiesta Bowl||Alabama vs. Oregon|
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Texas vs. Missouri
The Longhorns need help in order to get to the College Football Playoff, but they are still our pick to win the crowded Big 12 race. Missouri continues toward a 10-win season under Eli Drinkwitz. The quarterback matchup between Quinn Ewers and Brady Cook would be fun, too. The teams last met in the 2017 Texas Bowl, which the Longhorns won 33-16.
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Tulane vs. Penn State
There are a handful of other Group of 5 schools ready-made for this spot, but if Tulane beats UTSA and wins the American Athletic Conference championship in the next two weeks, then this will be its landing spot. Penn State still could get to 11 wins under James Franklin for the first time in 10 seasons.
Capital One Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. Louisville
This is where the loser of The Game between Ohio State and Michigan will be headed, so the Wolverines are an interchangeable choice here. We do not think two Big Ten teams will get in the College Football Playoff. Barring a two-game collapse against Kentucky and the ACC championship game, the Cardinals will land here under first-year coach Jeff Brohm.
Vrbo Fiesta Bowl: Alabama vs. Oregon
This would be the first matchup between these schools. The Ducks and Crimson Tide can still play their way into the College Football Playoff, and matchups like this are validation for the upcoming 12-team College Football Playoff. Bo Nix and Dan Lanning would have another shot a their old SEC rival. Jalen Milroe could put on a show here, too.
College Football Playoff predictions
|Jan. 1||Rose Bowl Game (National semifinal)||Michigan vs. Washington|
|Jan. 1||Allstate Sugar Bowl (National semifinal)||Georgia vs. Florida State|
Rose Bowl Game: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Washington
The Wolverines have to prove it against Ohio State and in the Big Ten championship game against Iowa, but the scoring totals are close between the Huskies (39.3 ppg) and Wolverines (38.3). This would be a a nice infomercial for the Big Ten heading into 2024 with the contrast in styles.
Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Florida State
Georgia has moved into fourth in the FBS with a balanced offense that averages 501.8 yards per game. That would be a tall task for the Seminoles, who still control their own destiny. These teams haven't met since the 2003 Sugar Bowl, which Georgia won 26-13. This is a matchup of 40-point offenses just the same.
College Football Playoff championship pick
|Jan. 9||CFP championship game||Georgia vs. Michigan|
CFP championship game (Houston): No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 2 Michigan
This has been our matchup since the preseason, and for at least one more week it's going to hold up. Michigan has run 74.6% of the time with Sherrone Moore the last two weeks. They would need to be much more balanced to have a chance against Georgia, which has run 54.8% of the time while beating three straight ranked opponents.