College football predictions for 2024 bowl games, 12-team playoff, national championship | Sporting News (2024)

The 12-team College Football Playoff changes the way we do bowl projections.

It is more challenging than ever, but Sporting News took a first crack at projecting the 12-team College Football Playoff field – and the 35 other bowls that will be played during the 2024-25 college football season.

Who will play in that first CFP championship game of the 12-team era? Most publications will go with Georgia and Ohio State in that spot. The Bulldogs are a composite No. 1 across eight major publications, and the Buckeyes return a loaded roster in 2024 that was bolstered by transfers Will Howard, Quinshon Judkins and Caleb Downs.

How much will change with the new setup? These projections will alter throughout the season. Remember, bowl tie-ins and matchups often get tossed once the final matchups are set.

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The first round of the new CFP will have one game on Friday, Dec. 20, and three on Saturday, Dec. 21. The quarterfinals will be played at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 31), Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (Jan. 1), Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential (Jan. 1) and Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1).

The semifinals will be played at the Capital One Orange Bowl (Jan. 9) and Cotton Bowl Classic (Jan. 10). The CFP national championship is Jan. 20 in Atlanta.

SN has projections for every bowl game here, and they will be updated throughout the season:

MORE: SN's preseason Top 25 for 2024

College football bowl predictions 2024

There are 35 bowls involving FBS teams outside the College Football Playoff this season. Alook at those matchups.

DATEBOWLMATCHUP
Dec. 14Camellia BowlGeorgia Southern vs. Miami, Ohio
Dec. 17Boca Raton BowlTexas State vs. South Florida
Dec. 18Scooter's Coffee Frisco BowlCoastal Carolina vs. Jacksonville State
Dec. 18LA Bowl Hosted by GronkBoise State vs. Oregon State
Dec. 19R+L Carriers New Orleans BowlAppalachian State vs. Western Kentucky
Dec. 20Staffdna Cure BowlJames Madison vs. Middle Tennessee State
Dec. 20Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla BowlWake Forest vs. Tulane
Dec. 23Myrtle Beach BowlSouth Alabama vs. UAB
Dec. 23Famous Idaho Potato BowlSan Diego State vs. Bowling Green
Dec. 24Hawa'i BowlUNLV vs. Louisiana Tech
Dec. 26Detroit BowlOhio vs. Michigan State
Dec. 26Guaranteed Rate BowlRutgersvs. West Virginia
Dec. 2668 Ventures BowlTroy vs. Western Michigan
Dec. 27Lockheed Martin Armed Forces BowlUCF vs. UTSA
Dec. 27Birmingham BowlSyracuse vs. Auburn
Dec. 27Autozone Liberty BowlOklahoma State vs. Kentucky
Dec. 27SDS Distribution Las Vegas BowlTCU vs. Florida
Dec. 28Wasabi Fenway BowlGeorgia Tech vs. Rice
Dec. 28Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe BowlLouisville vs. Maryland
Dec. 28Isleta New Mexico BowlAir Force vs. Northern Illinois
Dec. 28Pop-Tarts BowlVirginia Tech vs. Arizona
Dec. 28Snoop Dogg Arizona Bowl presented by Gin & JuiceFresno State vs. Toledo
Dec. 28Go Bowling Military BowlSMU vs. Army
Dec. 28Valero Alamo BowlKansas State vs. USC
Dec. 28Radiance Technologies Independence BowlIowa State vs. Washington State
Dec. 30Transperfect Music City BowlWisconsin vs. Tennessee
Dec. 31Reliaquest BowlNebraska vs. Texas A&M
Dec. 31Tony The Tiger Sun BowlNC State vs. Colorado
Dec. 31Cheez-It Citrus BowlPenn State vs. LSU
Dec. 31Texas BowlKansas vs. Missouri
Jan. 2Taxslayer Gator BowlNorth Carolina vs. Oklahoma
Jan. 3Servpro First Responder BowlNavy vs. Texas Tech
Jan. 3Duke's Mayo BowlMiami vs. Iowa
Jan. 4Bahamas BowlEastern Michigan vs. Liberty
TBDDirecTV Holiday BowlPitt vs. Washington

College Football Playoff first-round predictions

A look at the four College Football Playoff first-round matchups for the 2024-25 season. Those first-round games will be played on campus:

DATEBOWLMATCHUP
Dec. 20First-Round CFP gameNo. 9ClemsonatNo. 8Alabama
Dec. 21First-Round CFP gameNo. 12Memphis atNo. 5 Texas
Dec. 21First-Round CFP gameNo. 10 Ole Missat No. 7 Oregon
Dec. 21First-Round CFP gameNo. 11 Michigan at No. 6 Notre Dame

Alabama and Clemson – which met in the four-team CFP era four times – fittingly start the 12-team CFP era in a battle of at-large teams. Dabo Swinney has to go to Tuscaloosa for that one. Memphis is the best bet to get the fifth automatic bid out of the American Athletic Conference. Oregon and Ole Miss would be a shootout, and the classic matchup between Notre Dame and Michigan – who holds off Penn State for a CFP berth – closes the first weekend.

MORE: Carson Beck, Quinn Ewers lead list of Top 25 QBs

College Football Playoff quarterfinal predictions

A look at the College Football Playoff quarterfinal matchups for the 2024-25 season. Those games will be played at the traditional New Year's Day Six bowl sites:

DATEBOWLMATCHUP
Dec. 31Vrbo Fiesta Bowl (quarterfinal)No. 3 Utah vs. No. 6 Notre Dame
Jan. 1Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (quarterfinal)No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 8 Alabama
Jan. 1Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential (quarterfinal)No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Oregon
Jan. 1Allstate Sugar Bowl (quarterfinal)No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 5 Texas

Georgia, Ohio State, Utah and Florida State earn first-round byes by virtue of winning their respective Power 4 conferences. The Bulldogs get a second matchup with the Crimson Tide, and the Buckeyes and Ducks could meet for a third time in this situation. There would be more pressure on Florida State and Utah – the ACC and Big 12 champions – against at-large teams, especially if they are from the SEC and Big Ten.

College Football Playoff semifinal predictions

A look at the College Football Playoff semifinal matchups for the 2024-25 season. Those games will be played at the traditional New Year's Day Six bowl sites:

DATEBOWLMATCHUP
Jan. 9Capital One Orange Bowl (semifinal)No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 5Texas
Jan. 10Cotton Bowl Classic (semifinal)No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Notre Dame

Again, rematches will be a factor. Imagine if Georgia really does have to go through second (and possibly third) games with Alabama and Texas again just to get to a championship game. That is a potential flaw in this process. Ohio State and Notre Dame meet in a rematch of last year's 17-14 slugfest in South Bend.

College Football Playoff championship pick

A look at the College Football Playoff championship matchup for the 2024-25 season. That game is scheduled for Jan. 20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

DATEBOWLMATCHUP
Jan. 20CFP National championshipNo. 1 Georgia vs. No. 2 Ohio State

Georgia beat Ohio State 42-41 on Dec. 31, 2022 in a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl – a matchup the Buckeyes easily could have won. These are the two most-talented rosters in the FBS – the ones built to get through the extra playoff game. Will either team be unbeaten in this spot? Will this set the tone for continual No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups in the future?

College football predictions for 2024 bowl games, 12-team playoff, national championship | Sporting News (2024)
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