Florida State or Louisville? It didn’t come with exactly the same cache as a playoff bid when the latest College Football Playoff rankings were announced, but it did have a lot of resonance in the ACC.
Yes, Clemson is still at the top of the ACC’s standings and moved up to the No. 3 spot in the rankings. The Tigers’ playoff berth is secure with a win Saturday in the ACC championship. But the next highest-ranked team would get an Orange Bowl berth, should Clemson make the playoff, and that was a big mystery.
Florida State has been playing better of late and just knocked off Florida.
Louisville has dropped two straight, but it owns a dominant head-to-head win against the Seminoles.
So who would it be? The committee decided Florida State, but not by much. The Seminoles checked in at No. 12, the Cardinals at No. 13. For now, that puts FSU in Miami for bowl season. But, it isn’t over yet. If the Florida win were devalued a bit by a massive Alabama victory in the SEC title game, perhaps that’s enough for Louisville to inch back ahead. There is precedent. In 2014, the committee flip-flopped Mississippi State and Michigan State in its final rankings despite neither team playing, and the Bulldogs went on to play in the Orange Bowl.
With all that said, on to this week’s projections…
College Football Playoff semifinal (Fiesta Bowl): Clemson
Capital One Orange Bowl (vs SEC or Big Ten): Florida State
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (vs. SEC): Virginia Tech
Russell Athletic Bowl (vs. Big 12): Louisville
TaxSlayer Bowl (vs. SEC): Miami
Belk Bowl (vs. SEC): North Carolina
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (vs. Big Ten): Georgia Tech
Hyundai Sun Bowl (vs. Pac-12): Pittsburgh
Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (vs. American): Wake Forest
Camping World Independence Bowl (vs. SEC): NC State
Quick Lane Bowl (vs. Big Ten): Boston College