The first set of College Football Playoff rankings raised plenty of questions, caused plenty of controversy, and left some fans in a furious frenzy. Ahead of the second set of rankings, we’ve put together our College Football Playoff predictions, casting our eyes into our crystal ball and attempting to decipher what the “final four” might look like ahead of Week 11 of the 2022 college football season.
Predictions for the College Football Playoff
- Georgia Bulldogs
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
3. Michigan Wolverines
4. Tennessee Volunteers
1) Georgia Bulldogs
Can you say that the third-ranked team in the initial College Football Playoff rankings was disrespected? It feels fairly respectful to say that a program is one of the premier teams in all of college football. Yet, the Georgia Bulldogs clearly felt disrespected by the CFP rankings last Tuesday, and boy, did they play like it against the number one team in the country, Tennessee.
In these College Football Playoff predictions last week, we thought Georgia would be the No. 1 team in the inaugural rankings. We were wrong. Or the College Football Playoffs committee was wrong — who’s to say? But one thing is for sure ahead of Tuesday’s show. In beating Tennessee in dominant style on a rainy Saturday in Athens, Georgia put themselves in pole position for the SEC East title, the SEC Championship, and the College Football Playoffs.
The Bulldogs’ defense has never been in question. They were sensational once more on Saturday afternoon. They’ve allowed the second-fewest points in the nation and the fifth-fewest yards. Time after time, they put Hendon Hooker in situations he hasn’t been in this season and positions that he just simply could not get out of.
The Georgia offense has been in question, despite entering the game with the sixth-ranked scoring offense in the nation. Stetson Bennett IV and Ladd McConkey — possibly the most unlikely QB and WR duo to dominate college football — struck early, struck often, and struck decisively. A quietly dominant defense of their national title got a whole lot louder in Week 11.
2) Ohio State Buckeyes
Georgia being the number one team in the nation is an easy start to these College Football Playoff predictions. Everything that comes afterward is somewhat more difficult. College football Week 11 provided more questions than answers for a lot of teams, making it almost impossible to decipher how the committee might view each program’s performances.
Ohio State is a key case in point. The Buckeyes ranked second in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, causing consternation for some who argued that Michigan’s win over a component (Penn State) was far more impressive, yet the Wolverines were deemed to be more workmanlike than sensational.
How will the CFP committee judge an Ohio State victory over Northwestern that was actually the epitome of workmanlike? Will they punish Ohio State for playing from behind as they did with TCU in the first set of CFP rankings? The now 1-8 Wildcats were one of the worst teams on the Buckeyes schedule, beaten by Southern Illinois and Miami (OH), but C.J. Stroud struggled in the swirling conditions. How will that be judged?
In all likelihood, the results around them have likely saved Ohio State from a change in position following college football Week 11. Georgia leapfrogs them in these College Football Playoff rankings, but it seems probable that — despite saying the gap between the Buckeyes and Wolverines wasn’t that big — Michigan’s first-half struggles against Rutgers might prevent them from usurping their hated rival at this point.
3) Michigan Wolverines
Michigan’s strength of schedule and “workmanlike” approach to winning their games this season was held up as the reason that the Wolverines missed out on a spot in the initial College Football Playoffs “final four.” Their win over Rutgers was labored, and they had to come from behind, but in the second half, they pulled away on the back of the ground game that has powered their success this season.
With Clemson and Tennessee both losing in college football Week 10, the Wolverines inherit two spots in these College Football Playoff predictions. Their win over Rutgers was clearly more impressive than Ohio State’s victory against Northwestern, but having been expected to deal with the Scarlet Knights comfortably, their struggles in the first half are likely to halt their ascent above the third spot in the CFP rankings.
At one point, it looked like the Big Ten might position two teams in the CFP rankings, annexing the “final four” alongside the SEC. It’s become clear that “The Game” will not only decide the destination of the Big Ten Championship but also which team makes it to the College Football Playoffs. The likelihood of a one-loss team from the conference earning a postseason berth appears to be exceedingly slim.
DraftKings Sportsbook currently offers odds of +900 to win the College Football National Championship in January, placing them inside their top four favorite teams.
4) Tennessee Volunteers
I would like to state for the record — and mainly for TCU fans — that these College Football Playoff predictions attempt to understand what the committee might do on Tuesday. They are not a reflection of who I think are the best four teams in the nation. We’re simply attempting to see things through the eyes of Boo Corrigan and his band of merry men, predicting how they might align the top four teams in the nation.
Looking through that lens and taking onboard some of the things that Corrigan (repeatedly) said last Tuesday, it’s hard to look past the Tennessee Volunteers being the fourth and final team at the forefront of the latest CFP rankings. Every argument that was made for keeping Alabama ahead of the Horned Frogs last week is still pertinent this week but applied to the Volunteers instead.
Tennessee’s only defeat this season has come at the hands of the number one team in these College Football Playoff predictions. They still have the No. 1 total offense and No. 2 scoring offense in the nation. Despite their defensive frailties showing up against Georgia, the Vols are still a more balanced team than TCU from a purely statistical standpoint. Once again, the Horned Frogs had to play from behind in college football Week 11 — something that was leveled negatively against them last week.
Tennessee’s defeat to Georgia might not see them kicked out of these College Football Playoff predictions (just yet), but it did impact their odds of lifting the national championship. DraftKings Sportsbook dramatically increased the Volunteers’ odds of winning it all from +800 last week to +1600 following their defeat in college football Week 11.
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