Barring a) Georgia Tech winning the ACC championship and somehow getting selected for the College Football Playoff; b) Florida State winning the ACC championship and somehow not getting selected for the playoff; or c) Georgia Tech losing and somehow getting dropped below Clemson in the selection committee rankings, the Yellow Jackets are headed for the Orange Bowl.
The ACC opponent in the Orange Bowl is the highest ranked non-champion not in the playoff from either the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame. The possibilities are No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 8 Michigan State. Mississippi State is at No. 10 lurking behind Michigan State, but neither plays this weekend, and it would be difficult to envision a scenario in which the Bulldogs could jump the Spartans.
Alabama beats Missouri in the SEC championship, State beats Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship: Michigan State.
Alabama loses, Ohio State wins: Probably Michigan State again, unless Alabama falls out of the four-team playoff, in which case it would be Alabama.
Alabama wins, Ohio State loses: Ohio State, unless the committee dropped the Buckeyes past the Spartans.
Alabama loses, Ohio State loses: Probably Ohio State, again assuming Alabama stays in the top four. Otherwise Alabama.
Georgia Tech wins the ACC championship (by a lot) along with losses by Ohio State, No. 6 Baylor and No. 7 Arizona: Jackets possibly sneak into the playoff.
Georgia Tech loses by a wide margin: Probably still the Orange, but another weird selection committee factor to consider is that it takes injuries into consideration. So, if Tech lost and suffered an injury so critical that the committee determined that the Jackets would not be the strongest ACC representative, the Jackets could be dropped below Clemson. This is known as the “selection committee gets a lot of strongly worded e-mails from metro Atlanta provision.” Tech would probably end up at the Citrus Bowl, if either Ohio State or Michigan State ended up at the Orange Bowl. (The ACC’s No. 2 bowl after the Orange is the Russell Athletic, unless a Big Ten team is in the Orange, in which case the Florida Citrus has first pick of ACC teams.)
Florida State continues its pattern of looking less than world-beating in defeating Tech: Highly doubtful, but it’s possible the Seminoles could drop out of the playoff for winning the ACC championship in a fashion that doesn’t satisfy committee members. In that case, FSU would go to the Orange and Tech would likely go to the Florida Citrus Bowl, presuming Michigan State goes to the Orange Bowl.
I can safely say that the Sun Bowl is not an option.
Phil Steele: Orange vs. Wisconsin (I’m not sure if this is possible. If No. 13 Wisconsin beats Ohio State, the Badgers would not be eligible to go the Orange. If Wisconsin loses, it obviously wouldn’t go up in the rankings)
CBSSports.com, Jerry Palm: Orange vs. Michigan State
ESPN: Mark Schlabach: Orange vs. Mississippi State
ESPN: Brett McMurphy: Orange vs. Mississippi State (I’m also not sure this is possible. I’m guessing the projections were done before the latest rankings.)
Yahoo Sports: Orange vs. Michigan State
Fox Sports, Stewart Mandel: Orange vs. Michigan State
USA Today: Orange vs. Michigan State