College football Week 5 bowl projections: Clemson edges Michigan, USC for final spot

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No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Clemson and No. 6 USC all are in the College Football Playoff discussion after the first month of the season.

Which team has the best chance of making it?

If the Tigers can beat No. 10 NC State on Saturday, then it will be the same-old answer. Clemson will be through the most-difficult part of its schedule at that point, and that would put the Tigers on track to reclaim the ACC championship and make a seventh CFP appearance. 

Heading into Week 5, we have the Tigers joining No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Ohio State in the usual-suspects playoff. 

MORE: CFP picture shifts after Oklahoma upset

That does not mean Michigan and USC cannot shake that up. The Wolverines, however, were not as crisp in a 34-27 victory against Maryland in Week 4, their first semi-test of the season. The Wolverines still have to contend with the Buckeyes in the Big Ten East, and that won't be easy. USC survived an upset bid in a 17-14 victory at Oregon State, and the Pac-12 championship road has a few more potholes. 

Clemson has the easiest route to the CFP if it can beat the Wolfpack. That's on the line this week.

MORE: Clemson, Tennessee and more Week 4 overreactions 

The College Football Playoff semifinals will be on Dec. 31 this season. Those semifinals will be played at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta and the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. The College Football Playoff championship game is on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

Week 5 College Football Bowl Projections

DATE BOWL MATCHUP
Dec. 16 Bahamas Bowl FAU vs. Miami, Ohio
Dec. 16 Cure Bowl Georgia Southern vs. Kent State
Dec. 17 Wasabi Fenway Bowl Houston vs. Iowa State*
Dec. 17 New Mexico Bowl BYU vs. Air Force
Dec. 17 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl UNLV vs. Cal 
Dec. 17 Lending Tree Bowl Toledo vs. Old Dominion 
Dec. 17 Las Vegas Bowl UCLA vs. South Carolina
Dec. 17 Frisco Bowl UTEP vs. Tulsa
Dec. 19 Myrtle Beach Bowl Middle Tennessee State vs. Marshall
Dec. 20 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Eastern Michigan vs. Boise State
Dec. 20 Boca Raton Bowl Tulane vs. UTSA
Dec. 21 New Orleans Bowl UAB vs. South Alabama 
Dec. 22 Armed Forces Bowl TCU vs. Liberty 
Dec. 23 Independence Bowl Army vs. UCF
Dec. 23 Gasparilla Bowl SMU vs. Wyoming 
Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl Western Kentucky vs. Fresno State
Dec. 26 Quick Lane Bowl Central Michigan vs. Illinois 
Dec. 27 Camellia Bowl Northern Illinois vs. Appalachian State
Dec. 27 First Responder Bowl Kansas State vs. Washington State
Dec. 27 Birmingham Bowl Memphis vs. Duke
Dec. 27 Guaranteed Rate Bowl Texas vs. Maryland
Dec. 28 Military Bowl Miami, Fla. vs. Cincinnati 
Dec. 28 Liberty Bowl Kansas vs. LSU 
Dec. 28 Holiday Bowl  Washington vs. Syracuse 
Dec. 28 Texas Bowl Oklahoma vs. Florida 
Dec. 29 Pinstripe Bowl Purdue vs. Wake Forest
Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl Texas Tech vs. North Carolina
Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Oregon 
Dec. 30 Duke's Mayo Bowl Michigan State vs. Notre Dame
Dec. 30 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl Oregon State vs. Florida State 
Dec. 30 Gator Bowl Pitt vs. Arkansas 
Dec. 30 Arizona Bowl Buffalo vs. San Diego State
Dec. 31 Music City Bowl Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M 
Jan. 2 Tampa Bay Bowl Iowa vs. Ole Miss 
Jan. 2 Citrus Bowl Minnesota vs. Kentucky 

College football New Year's Day Six picks 

DATE BOWL MATCHUP
Dec. 30 Capital One Orange Bowl NC State vs. Penn State
Dec. 31 Allstate Sugar Bowl Baylor vs. Tennessee
Jan. 2 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Coastal Carolina vs. Utah
Jan. 2 Rose Bowl Game Michigan vs. USC
Dec. 31 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (semifinal) Clemson vs. Georgia
Dec. 31 Fiesta Bowl (semifinal) Ohio State vs. Alabama

College Football Playoff championship pick 

DATE BOWL MATCHUP
Jan. 11 CFP championship game Georgia vs. Ohio State
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