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College Football Playoff, bowl predictions 2022: Paths the seven remaining contenders must follow

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We’ve arrived at the Magnificent Seven: seven teams with a realistic chance of making it to the ninth college football playoffs. The group is made up of the four remaining undefeated, the only two remaining teams with one loss… and LSU. Those seven also include the reigning national champions, a program aiming to be a second straight CFP after skipping the first seven entirely, another hoping to be the lowest-ranked team ever to make the playoffs, and another aiming to become the first two-loss team to ever enter a four-team field.

Who doesn’t make the list is Alabama, who were eliminated from the playoffs for the second time in CFP history. We also know that it can be extremely difficult for the CFP Selection Committee to have to choose between the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 champions if they all suffer one loss.

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Tennessee was the main victim of the 12th week. This is the second loss by such an embarrassing margin against such a weak opponent (in terms of rating) that the Volunteers were eliminated from the game in the playoffs. South Carolina trailed by 24 points at home and then won by 25 points.. This is the 49 point difference between perception and reality.

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The extended playoffs will be a blast whenever it is launched. If there are seven teams remaining in the season for four spots at this point, this extrapolates to 20 teams vying for 12 spots when the playoffs are expanded. For comparison, at the same time last year there were also eight teams on the run.

College football playoff contenders

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No. 1 Georgia (11-0): The only lock if he doesn’t lose twice. It would seem that the Bulldogs could “afford” to lose to Georgia Tech or LSU and still be in the top four. That’s how dominant their season has been. Almost imperceptibly, the Dawgs have won the national lead 13 times in a row. Stetson Bennet is the better quarterback. Linebacker Jalen Carter plays a huge role at center, having missed significant time through injury. Now we have to consider a potential permanent getaway for the Dawgs. There is only one team that has won back-to-back national championships since Nebraska won three out of four in the mid-1990s. This was Alabama in 2011-12. Georgia will be only the second in the last 27 years. Even now, little is said about this possibility. The Bama dynasty did not end. but the road to any championship so far runs through Athens, Georgia.

No. 2 Ohio State (11-0): Win on Saturday and the Buckeyes…at least in a Big Ten championship game for the fifth time in six years. They will still have to beat the Big Ten West winner (probably Iowa) to take the CFP spot. Of the teams ranked 2-4, the Buckeyes have the best chance of surviving Saturday’s loss, but that’s only a slim chance. It all starts with losing a close game to Michigan. Then TCU, LSU, USC and Clemson were bound to lose at some point. Even then, TCU can still win the Big 12 with one loss. LSU will create huge problems if it wins, and will likely free up two seats for the SEC. If any two of these four win, there will be problems too. This will create a decision for the committee. In this scenario, the four places would be Georgia, Michigan, and any combination of two of TCU/LSU/USC/Clemson as conference champions. It would be hard to pick a one-loss Ohio state that didn’t win its league (but was in the top three all season) over any of them.

No. 3 Michigan (11-0): Basically, the Wolverines should win. Ohio State is in a similar situation, but Michigan is easier to dismiss as a one-loss team. The deciding factor for the committee could be Wolverine’s weak non-conference schedule (Hawaii, Colorado, UCLA). We are cunning, but this is where we are at the end of the season. In the event of a loss in the fight for a place in the playoffs, as many as three champions of the Power Five conference can participate: TCU, USC, Clemson. Let’s just say Michigan should be a big fan this week of Iowa (vs. TCU), Notre Dame (vs. USC), and South Carolina (vs. Clemson).

No. 4 TCU (11-0): As one of four undefeated teams, the Horned Frogs still have a lot of work to do – pesky Iowa State closes out the season and then most likely Kansas State’s 12th seed in the Big 12 championship game. Wildcats will be motivated; they lost a 28-10 lead in the first meeting on 22 October. If TCU loses to Iowa State and still wins the Big 12, that’s brand mismatch What does TCU suffer from? To date, TCU has beaten five ranked teams at kick-off. Ohio State and Michigan beat a total of three. And if we’re talking close games – five TCU wins were decided by eight points or less – no one had a problem lifting Ohio State to the BCS championship game in 2002. This team has won half of their 14 games with touchdowns or less.

No. 5 LSU (9-2): Win and the Tigers are in… we think. If LSU beat Texas A&M and then upset Georgia, it would become the third two-loss team to play for a national title since 1936, and the first in CFP history. But first, the committee will have to do a spiritual search. If two-loss LSUs are not included in the playoffs, it will be the first time since 2004 that an SEC champion has not competed in the BCS/CFP. If he ignores the LSU SEC champion, the committee will reject victories over Alabama and Georgia. This suggests that Georgia, as noted above, will remain in the top four with just one defeat. we observe why Brian Kelly came to LSU.

No. 6 USC (10-1): A lot of work. Notre Dame at No. 15 in the regular season finals won’t be a cakewalk, especially after all the excitement spent against UCLA. Then it’s most likely Oregon’s number 9 in the Pac-12 championship game. The teams have not met in the regular season. We know there will be a loss in the top four. For USC purposes, it’s better than Michigan. But there is a deadlock if TCU and Clemson also win their respective leagues. It’s fair to ask which of these three has the best resume in this case. For this species, it’s TCU (if undefeated), but we’ll see. It will be even worse for the Trojans if the LSU upsets Georgia. However, USC brought Pac-12 back alive in Power Five. Trojans would be a formidable competitor in CFP. They have arguably the best player in the country (Caleb Williams) and an opportunistic defense that has 18 interceptions. USC will be the first Pac-12 team to make the playoffs since 2016.

No. 8 Clemson (10-1): Clemson, along with USC, was the biggest beneficiary of Tennessee’s loss. He also probably has the weakest resume if TCU and USC compete for the last CFP spot. The Tigers’ best path to a seventh-place CFP in eight years is to win. It is necessary. Then losing in Georgia, winning in Ohio State, and losing either (or both) TCU and USC. When it comes to losing Notre Dame, things look “better.” But a victory over No. 17 North Carolina in the ACC Championship game looks “worse” after the Tar Heels’ loss to Georgia Tech. If the Tigers are successful, they will become the lowest ranked team entering Rivalry Week to advance to the playoffs.

Scenario Armageddon

As a bonus — really, mostly for laughs – We have also explored in detail a potential Armageddon scenario in which it is possible that no conference champion will make it to the CFP. That’s how it could go down.

  • No. 1 Georgia loses their last two games (Georgia Tech, LSU) and goes 11-2.
  • No. 5 LSU loses to Texas A&M but defeats Georgia to go 11-3.
  • No. 7 Alabama loses to Auburn 10-3.
  • No. 10 Tennessee loses to Vanderbilt 10-3.
  • No. 2 Ohio State defeats No. 3 Michigan, but is upset by the West’s Big Ten winner as OSU goes 12-1.
  • No. 4 TCU loses to Iowa State and No. 12 to Kansas State, with TCU going 12-1.
  • No. 6 USC loses to No. 15 Notre Dame. No. 14 Utah defeats Colorado to advance to the Pac-12 championship game, while No. 13 Washington defeats Washington State, No. 21 Oregon State defeats No. 9 Oregon, and No. 18 UCLA defeats California. The Trojans will move to 10-3.
  • #8 Clemson loses to South Carolina and #17 to North Carolina 10-3.

In that case, we would consider…

  • SEC Champion: LSU (10-3)
  • Big Ten Champion: Purdue, Iowa or Illinois (9-4)
  • Big 12 Champion: Kansas State or Texas (9-4)
  • Pac-12 Champion: Utah (10-3)
  • ACC Champion: North Carolina (10-3)

Then we would probably be left with this top four, none of whom would have won their league…

1. Ohio State (12-1): The simplest decision, given the head-to-head victory over Michigan.
2. Michigan (11-1): A relatively easy decision, given his only loss, would be No. 1.
3. Georgia (11-2): The committee will have to weigh a head-to-head victory for the LSU against much more serious losses related to Georgia’s workload.
4. GTS (11-2): Most likely, this is a reward for many ranking wins in the regular season.


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