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.
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.
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
|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
|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
|Jan. 11||CFP championship game||Georgia vs. Ohio State|