Bowl Projections 2022: CFP Championship Predictions and Biggest Matchups | News, Results, Highlights, Stats and Rumours

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 26: Stetson Bennett #13 reacts with Georgia Bulldogs Jack Podlesny #96 in the second half against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The 2022 college football regular season may be over, but conference championship week has arrived, and after that we’ll see some of the best matchups of the year in the college football playoffs.

The 2022 CFP will feature just four teams for the penultimate year before tripled to 12 teams from the 2024/25 season. The board of directors of the CFP officially approved the extended playoffs on Thursday.

Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoffs, said in a statement:

โ€œMore teams and more access means more excitement for fans, alumni, students and student athletes. We appreciate the cooperation from the six bowl game directors and the two future national championship game host cities. Everyone recognized that this change was in the best interest of college football and have worked together to make it a reality.”

While it’s fun to speculate on what a 12-team college football playoff would look like, that’s still two years away. So let’s focus on the CFP 2022 and which teams could be fighting for the coveted title.

But first, let’s take a look at Conference Championship Week and what impact it could have on the CFP result.

The Biggest Games of Conference Championship Week

Pac-12 Championship Game

Utah 47, USC 24

Big 12 championship game

No. 3 TCU vs. No. 10 Kansas State

SEC Championship Game

#1 Georgia vs. #14 LSU

ACC Championship Game

No. 9 Clemson vs. No. 23 North Carolina

Big Ten Championship Game

No. 2 Michigan vs. Purdue

American Athletic Conference championship game

No. 18 Tulane vs. No. 22 UCF

College football playoff rankings, top 10

No.1 Georgia: 12-0

No. 2 Michigan: 12-0

No. 3 TCU: 12-0

No. 4 USC: 11-2

No. 5 Ohio State: 11-1

No. 6 Alabama: 10-2

No. 7 Tennessee: 10-2

No. 8 Penn State: 10-2

No. 9 Clemson: 10-2

No. 10 State of Kansas: 9-3

These were the top 10 selected by the CFP committee and entered the week of the conference championship.

The biggest games of the conference championship week are those that will have the biggest impact on the college football playoffs. The matchups for #4 USC, #3 TCU, #1 Georgia, and #2 Michigan are competitive games.

A win over Kansas State for the 12-0 TCU Horned Frogs would essentially earn the team a spot in the CFP. TCU defeated K-State 38-28 at home earlier in the season after making an 18-point comeback.

The Georgia Bulldogs are likely already in the CFP after finishing the regular season 12-0, but a win over the LSU Tigers would help the team cement itself as the No. 1 seed for the four-team playoffs.

A loss for the Bulldogs would give the Michigan Wolverines a 12-0 chance to become the No. 1 in the CFP. However, Michigan would have to go 13-0 with a win over Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game.

The CFP committee will make its final decision on the four-team playoffs on Sunday. The 2022 College Football Playoff Selection Show airs at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Bowl Game Projections

Capital One Orange Peel

Friday, December 30 on ESPN

Proposed matchup: Clemson vs. Tennessee

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Saturday, December 31 on ESPN

Expected Matchup: Alabama vs. Kansas State

rose bowl

Monday, January 2 on ESPN

Expected Matchup: Penn State vs. Utah

Goodyear cotton bowl

Monday, January 2 on ESPN

Expected Matchup: USC vs. Tulane

The big matchups here are Clemson vs. Tennessee and Alabama vs. Kansas State. Alabama was considered a potential choice for the CFP, but a two-loss team has never been selected for the four-team title race.

However, Alabama would be the clear favorite to defeat Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl, especially with a perfectly healthy Bryce Young, reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

Had Young been healthy all year, the Crimson Tide might have been in a better position to contend for the SEC title game and a shot at the CFP.

The Orange Bowl features a matchup of teams who finished in the top four of this year’s playoff rankings in Week 9. Unfortunately for Tennessee, it will be without potential Heisman Trophy nominee Hendon Hooker, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury on Nov. 19. Joe Milton III will stand in as quarterback for the Volunteers bowl game.

CFP predictions

Chick-fil-A Peach Peel

Saturday, December 31 on ESPN

Proposed Matchup: #1 Georgia vs. #4 Ohio State

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl

Saturday, December 31 on ESPN

Expected Matchup: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 TCU

CFP National Championship

Monday, January 9 on ESPN

Expected Matchup: #1 Georgia vs. #2 Michigan

If both Georgia and Michigan win their respective conference championship games, they will likely remain Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. The same applies to #3 TCU.

The Bulldogs and Wolverines are undoubtedly favorites to reach the CFP national championship game, but both Ohio State and TCU could put up a good fight.

The Buckeyes in particular could shock many and upset No. 1 Georgia with a top-notch performance from quarterback CJ Stroud and wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. in the Peach Bowl.

Stroud, a Heisman Trophy nominee, is a far better quarterback than Georgia’s Stetson Bennett. However, Stroud will face a much tougher Georgia defense that will make it harder for the Buckeyes to move the ball.

TCU’s path to the CFP could be similar to that of the 2021 Cincinnati Bearcats season. The Horned Frogs had a magical season, defeating the likes of Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas en route to a 12-0 record.

Quarterback Max Duggan, running back Kendre Miller and wide receiver Quentin Johnson also performed better than expected, and there’s no reason to think they won’t be battling Michigan for their money in the Fiesta Bowl.

Still, Michigan has all the tools to make it back to the CFP national championship despite a season-ending injury to star running back Blake Corum.