College football season doesn’t begin for another two months, but it’s not too early to start thinking about which teams will be top contenders in 2018.
On Tuesday, Sporting News took an early crack at projecting the bowl games for the upcoming season. It included 11 SEC teams, but only one of those in the College Football Playoff — the reigning national champion, Alabama.
Sporting News predicts that Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State will be the four teams battling for the national title this season, with the Crimson Tide and Tigers advancing to again face each other in the championship game.
These projections leave out Georgia, which played Alabama in the National Championship Game last season. Instead, the Bulldogs are predicted to face TCU in the Sugar Bowl.
Here is the full list of bowls projected by Sporting News to include SEC teams:
Birmingham Bowl: Memphis vs. Tennessee
Independence Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Florida
Texas Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M
Music City Bowl: N.C. State vs. Missouri
Belk Bowl: Florida State vs. LSU
Military Bowl: Army vs. Kentucky
Gator Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Mississippi State
Outback Bowl: Michigan State vs. South Carolina
Citrus Bowl: Penn State vs. Auburn
Sugar Bowl: TCU vs. Georgia
Orange Bowl (College Football Playoff semifinal): Oklahoma vs. Alabama
College Football Playoff National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Clemson