If you blink, the College Football Playoff might already be here. The final week of the 2023 regular season is upon us and, as a preview for rivalry week, the Selection Committee released its Top 25 CFP rankings on Tuesday night for Week 13.
As we all know, we're still looking at a four-team Playoff, which is why it was big news on Tuesday night that the Washington Huskies leapt ahead of the Florida State Seminoles for the No. 4 spot entering Week 13, giving them an inside track to make the CFP if they can stay perfect and win out, most notably in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
However, it's impossible to look at the Playoff rankings and not have dreams of the 12-team College Football Playoff and what that incredible bracket would look like. So why wait -- or at least why not give fans a better visual for their daydreams.
This is what a 12-team College Football Playoff bracket would look like based on the Week 12 rankings.
12-team College Football Playoff bracket based on Week 13 CFP rankings
12-team College Football Playoff bracket: Top 4 Seeds
- Georgia Bulldogs (11-0, Projected SEC Champion)
- Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, Projected Big Ten Champion)
- Washington Huskies (11-0, Projected Pac-12 Champion)
- Florida State Seminoles (11-0, Projected ACC Champion)
It almost feels slightly disingenuous to have Michigan outside of the Top 4 and Ohio State as the projected Big Ten champion. Yes, the Selection Committee has the Buckeyes ranked higher, but the Wolveriners are favored in The Game coming on Saturday, meaning they are also favored to win the conference. But we'll stay true to the CFP rankings and have Ohio State getting this first-round bye as well, which would benefit Florida State, who still gets a Top 4 seed as a league champion.
12-team College Football Playoff bracket: First Round
- 9 Missouri Tigers (9-2, At-Large) at 8 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-2, At-Large)
- 10 Louisville Cardinals (10-1, At-Large) at 7 Texas Longhorns (10-1, Projected Big 12 Champion)
- 11 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2, At-Large) at 6 Oregon Ducks (10-1, At-Large)
- 12 Tulane Green Wave (10-1, Projected AAC Champion) at 5 Michigan Wolverines (11-0, At-Large)
Missouri at Alabama would be a fascinating First Round SEC clash for the Playoff, as would be the case with all of these games. Even though these projections don't have Michigan as the Big Ten champ, though, they get the most favorable First Round matchup against Tulane in Ann Arbor. The Green Wave are the sixth-highest-ranked conference champion (though the CFP may be moving to the five highest-ranked conference winners with the dissolving of the Pac-12). But they are only No. 23 in the latest Top 25, which would be a big win for the Wolverines to get that matchup.
12-team College Football Playoff bracket: Quarterfinals
- Peach Bowl: 9 Missouri/8 Alabama winner vs. 1 Georgia
- Fiesta Bowl: 12 Tulane/5 Michigan winner vs. 4 Florida State
- Cotton Bowl: 11 Penn State/6 Oregon winner vs. 3 Washington
- Orange Bowl: 10 Louisville/7 Texas winner vs. 2 Ohio State
Thankfully, the CFP rankings by the end of the season will largely sort some of this out, but there are several potential rematches on deck in this bracket projection. Georgia will have faced both Missouri and Alabama by the time the Playoff starts, so either opponent would be a rematch. Washington and Oregon will have also likely already met twice by the start of the CFP, which would make this the third meeting.
As for what's next, the CFP semifinals would be the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl would likely host the winners of the Peach Bowl and Fiest Bowl, while the winners of the Cotton and Orange Bowls would end up in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.