Going into the 2022 season, which teams have the most realistic chance of making the college football playoffs? Here’s our ranking of the 20 playoff-bound teams and what needs to happen for each.
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It’s very hard to make it to the college football playoffs.
simply winning the conference championship isn’t enough, and if you’re a pool-of-five program, going undefeated doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything.
what have we learned since the beginning of the cfp experience in the 2014 season? you win your power five conference and end with a loss, it’s a deadly lock to get into. he’s 11-1 with that loss to the eventual powerhouse conference champion, and he has a chance.
You lose two games and there’s a fun bowling game somewhere with a delicious array of goods, services and prizes waiting before your glorified display, but you won’t go to the show.
what is the path to the college football playoffs for all the top contenders? Below are the key games that matter for each team that can reasonably dream of breaking into the top four, along with whether or not they’ll make it.
Before you dive in, a few ground rules…
– again, a loss and a power five championship, or undefeated and a group five title. outside of some special circumstances – sec championship loser, notre dame – two losses end streak .
– timetables mean almost everything. Take anyone in the Second West and put them anywhere but in the Big Ten East, and you’d be a contender for entry into the CFP. the oklahoma road is very different from the texas a&m road.
– getting into the college football playoff and winning it requires two very, very, very different skill sets. a team may have the schedule and the magic formula to be a top four , only to find two pieces of Alabama reality waiting behind the door.
consensus odds to win the college football playoff are listed, but the goal is to find the teams that can get there. here’s our ranking, from least likely among the best realistic options for making the college football playoffs to most likely.
This isn’t about how good the teams are. It’s about who controls their destiny, what needs to happen, and the 20-team pecking order with the most realistic chances, starting with…
odds to win college football playoff: +20000 must win game: at arkansas, sept. 3 land mine to dodge: in smu, Oct. 22 where it could all go wrong: at ucf, oct. 29
Bottom line: The dream of a repeat appearance in the college football playoffs could end immediately with a trip to arkansas. however, he wins that and the game begins. going to smu and ucf at the end of october is a bear, but everything else, including the home date against indiana, is doable. a loss, however, and the cfp is out. there is likely to be more than one loss.
will cincinnati make it to the college football playoff? no. the bearcats will be great, but they won’t recreate the magic of 2021. preview uc | top 10 players | schedule
odds to win college football playoff: +10000 must win game: in georgia, nov. 5 land mine to avoid: in south carolina, nov. 19 where it could all go wrong: on pitt, sept. 10
Bottom line: It’s heavy lifting, but if the Vols somehow go 11-1 and clinch the secondary championship, the respect given to the schedule might be enough to keep them in the search for the playoffs. even with another loss. they’ll be fine, but in pitt, florida, in lsu, alabama, in georgia, kentucky, in south carolina…that’s too disgusting.
will tennessee make the college football playoffs? no, but they’re going to ruin someone’s cfp hopes. preview | top 10 players | schedule analysis
odds to win college football playoff: +9020 must win game: georgia (at jacksonville), oct. 29 landmine to bypass: south carolina, nov. 12 where everything could go wrong: utah, sept. 3
bottom line: florida will be much, much better under new head coach billy napier, but it’s not beating utah, kentucky, lsu and south carolina, and beating georgia, tennessee , texas a&m, and the state of florida away from gainesville. The college football playoff is too difficult a goal, however, beat Georgia and the 2nd East race becomes interesting.
will florida make it to the college football playoffs? ehhhhhhhh, florida will be better than everyone thinks, but no. the schedule is too hard. florida preview | top 10 players | schedule analysis
17. state of pennsylvania
odds to win college football playoff: +9100 must win game: ohio state, oct. 29 land mine to avoid: minnesota, oct. 22 where it could all go wrong: at purdue, sept. 1
Bottom line: Considering the eastern big ten is much harder than the western ones, if the nittany lions can get through auburn on the way early on and split the dates against michigan state and ohio, they’ll be the favorite in the big ten championship. It’s too daunting for an elite Penn State team, but this version doesn’t seem to come close to that. however, if michigan was able to do it last year…
will penn state make the college football playoffs? no. the team is not strong enough to go 12-1 and win the big ten title. pennsylvania state preview | top 10 players | schedule analysis
odds to win college football playoff: +7520 must win game: alabama, nov. 5 land mine to avoid: tennessee, oct. 8 where everything could go wrong: state of mississippi, sept. 17
conclusion: welcome to the section, brian kelly. Yes, LSU could shock Alabama if all goes well, but can he go at least 12-1 with road games at Auburn, Florida, Arkansas and Texas A&M, and home dates against Tennessee, Ole Miss and Mississippi? condition? no, and all that, and alabama too, comes with a start to the season against florida state and whatever happens in the second championship if all goes well.
will lsu make the college football playoffs? no. Kelly will have a good first year and the team is good, but the schedule is too tough. lsu preview | top 10 players | schedule analysis