College Football Playoff 2022 bowl predictions: Paths seven remaining contenders must take – Update Alaba

Here’s the Magnificent Seven: Seven teams with a real chance to advance to the ninth College Football Playoff. The group consists of four remaining undefeated teams, the only two one-loss teams left … and LSU. Those seven also include the reigning national champions, a program aiming to make its second straight SRP after missing the first seven entirely, another program hoping to become the lowest-ranked team to ever enter the playoffs at this point, and another that aims to become a team. the first two-loss team to ever advance to a four-team field.

The list does not include Alabama, which is out of playoff contention for the second time in SRP history. We also know that the CFP selection committee could have an extremely difficult time deciding between the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 champions should they all come out with one loss.

Tennessee has been the main victim since Week 12. His second loss by such an embarrassing margin against such an inferior opponent (in the rankings) that the Volunteers were eliminated from playoff contention. South Carolina was down 24 points at home and then won by 25 points. That’s a 49-point gap between perception and reality.

The expanded playoffs will be a blast whenever it is put into action. If there are seven teams alive for four spots at this point in the season, that extrapolates to 20 teams vying for 12 spots when the playoffs expand. For comparison purposes last year at this time they were also eight teams in the running.

College Football Playoff Contenders

No. 1 Georgia (11-0): Single lock unless he loses twice. The Bulldogs can seemingly “afford” to lose to Georgia Tech or LSU and still remain in the top four. That’s how dominant their season was. Almost quietly, the Dawgs have won a nation-leading 13 straight. Stetson Bennett is better at point guard. Defensive lineman Jalen Carter is a huge force at center after missing significant time with an injury. Now we have to consider the Dawgs’ potential sustained run. Since Nebraska won three of four in the mid-1990s, only one team has won. That was Alabama in 2011-12. Georgia would be only the second in the last 27 years. Even now, this possibility is not talked about enough. The Bama dynasty is not over. but for now, the road to any championship goes through Athens, Georgia.

No. 2 Ohio State (11-0): Win on Saturday and the Buckeyes are in … at least the Big Ten Championship Game for the fifth time in the last six years. They will still need to beat the winner of the Big Ten West (likely Iowa) to clinch a CFP berth. From the 2nd-4th teams spot, the Buckeyes have the best chance to survive a loss on Saturday, but it’s only a slim chance. It starts with losing a close game against Michigan. Then TCU, LSU, USC and Clemson would all have to lose at some point. Even then, TCU could still win the Big 12 with one loss. LSU would cause huge problems if they win, most likely locking up two SEC spots. If any two of these four win, there will also be problems. This would create a decision for the committee. In this scenario, the four spots would be Georgia, Michigan, and any combination of two from TCU/LSU/USC/Clemson as conference champions. It would be hard to pick one loss, Ohio State didn’t win its league (but was ranked in the top three all season) over any of them.

No. 3 Michigan (11-0): Basically, the Wolverines have to win. Ohio State is similar, but Michigan is easier to dismiss as a one-loss team. The Wolverines’ weak non-conference schedule (Hawaii, Colorado State, UConn) could be a deciding factor for the committee. We’re splitting hairs, but here we are this late in the season. If they lose, the competition for a playoff spot could include as many as three Power Five conference champions: TCU, USC, Clemson. Let’s just say that Michigan should be big fans of Iowa State (vs. TCU), Notre Dame (vs. USC) and South Carolina (vs. Clemson) this week.

No. 4 TCU (11-0): As one of just four undefeated teams, the Horned Frogs still have a lot of work to do β€” pesky Iowa State to end the season, then most likely No. 12 Kansas State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Wildcats will be motivated; they went 28-10 in the first meeting on October 22. If TCU lost to Iowa State and still won the Big 12, it would highlight that misalignment of brands which TCU suffers from. To date, TCU has defeated five ranked teams at kickoff. Ohio State and Michigan have beaten a combined three. And speaking of close games β€” five of TCU’s wins were decided by eight points or fewer β€” no one had a problem elevating Ohio State to the BCS Championship Game in 2002. That team won half of its 14 games by a touchdown or less.

No. 5 LSU (9-2): Win and the Tigers are in… we think. If LSU beats Texas A&M and then upsets Georgia, it will become the third two-loss team to play for the national title since 1936 and the first in CFP history. But the commission will have to examine the souls first. If it doesn’t include two-loss LSU in the playoffs, it would be the first time since 2004 that the SEC champion hasn’t been in the BCS/CFP. If he ignores SEC champion LSU, the committee would dismiss wins over Alabama and Georgia. That assumes Georgia — as noted above — stays in the top four with a single loss. We are witnesses why Brian Kelly came to LSU.

No. 6 USC (10-1): A lot of work. No. 15 Notre Dame will be no slouch in the regular season finale, especially after all the emotion expended against UCLA. Then it’s most likely No. 9 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game. The teams did not meet in the regular season. We know there will be a loss in the top four. For USC’s purposes, it’s better than Michigan. However, if TCU and Clemson win their leagues, there will be a jam. It’s fair to ask which of the three has the better resume in this case. For this view, it’s TCU (unless they get beat), but we’ll see. Things will get worse for the Trojans when LSU upsets Georgia. Regardless, USC brought the Pac-12 back among the living in the Power Five. The Trojans would be a dangerous opponent in the CFP. They have arguably the nation’s best player (Caleb Williams) and an opportunistic defense led by 18 tackles. USC would be the first Pac-12 team in the playoffs since 2016.

No. 8 Clemson (10-1): Clemson, along with USC, was the biggest beneficiary of Tennessee’s loss. He also has arguably the weakest resume if TCU and USC are competing for the final CFP spot. The Tigers’ best path to a seventh CFP berth in eight years is to win out. This is a must. Then a loss at Georgia, an Ohio State win, and losses to either (or both) TCU and USC. If Notre Dame loses, it looks “better.” But a win over No. 17 North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game looks “worse” after the Tar Heels’ loss to Georgia Tech. Should the Tigers make it through, they would be the lowest-ranked team entering the rivalry week to make the playoffs.

Armageddon scenario

As a bonus – really, mostly for laughs — we also took a deep dive into a potential Armageddon scenario where it’s possible that no conference champions make the CFP. Here’s how it could go down.

  • No. 1 Georgia loses its last two games (Georgia Tech, LSU) to move to 11-2.
  • No. 5 LSU loses to Texas A&M but beats Georgia to move to 11-3.
  • No. 7 Alabama loses to Auburn to move to 10-3.
  • No. 10 Tennessee loses to Vanderbilt to move to 10-3.
  • No. 2 Ohio State defeats No. 3 Michigan but is upset by the Big Ten West winner as OSU moves to 12-1.
  • No. 4 TCU has losses to Iowa State and No. 12 Kansas State, with TCU moving to 12-1.
  • No. 6 USC loses to No. 15 Notre Dame. No. 14 Utah beat Colorado to move on to the Pac-12 Championship Game as No. 13 Washington beat Washington State, No. 21 Oregon State beat No. 9 Oregon and No. 18 UCLA beat California. The Trojans would move to 10-3.
  • No. 8 Clemson has losses to South Carolina and No. 17 North Carolina to move to 10-3.

In this scenario we would be looking at…

  • 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’d probably be left with these four, none of whom would win their league…

1. Ohio State (12-1): Easiest decision given the win against Michigan.
2. Michigan (11-1): A fairly easy decision given his only loss would be at #1.
3. Georgia (11-2): The committee would have to consider LSU’s straight-up win and the much worse loss to Georgia’s work.
4. TCU (11-2): Probably a reward for their string of wins in the regular season.


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