In college football, the 2021 season was a wild and highly unforeseeable year. There were plenty of upheavals, and we saw a lot of underdogs who climbed to the top with incredible campaigns. Georgia defeated Alabama to win their first national title since 1980, capping off a remarkable football season. The Bulldogs and their fans have earned a long period of celebration, but we are all already looking ahead to the 2022 season.
Even though the next season is still several months away, we can start having some fun with some way-too-early predictions for the playoff landscape in the 2022 season. Bear in mind that a lot will change in the coming months – we didn’t even reach the preseason – and this is only an early look based on current squads and each team’s odds with bookmakers.
The 2022 College Football season, which will mark the ninth edition of the College Football Playoff system, is scheduled to start on August 27 and run through December 10. The post-season is set to begin on December 17, with 44 Bowl games scheduled, and end on January 9, 2023, with the CFP National Championship at SoFi Stadium.
Alabama Crimson Tide
According to bookmakers like Bethard – read this review about Bethard betting site – Alabama lead the odds to win next year’s title at +225 odds. And that’s reasonable, since the Crimson Tide will bring back Heisman winner quarterback Bryce Young, Will Anderson, one of the best defensive players in the nation, and linebacker Henry To’o To’o, who led the team in tackles last season. With such talent on the field and Nick Saban, the coach with most titles, leading the team, it’s safe to say that Alabama will be fierce contenders, especially after losing the title to Georgia.
The second-favorites to win it all in 2022 at +275 odds, the defending champions Georgia Bulldogs are expected to put up a fight once again. Given the fact the team is likely to lose a lot of players in the upcoming NFL draft, Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs’ staff are reported to be working intensely to recruit new talent and replace Outland Trophy winner Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, and possibly starting QB Stetson Bennet. Yet, Georgia still has a qualified roster – especially with the returns of safety Chris Smith, cornerback Kelee Ringo, and linebacker Nolan Smith – and should remain a strong contender in the SEC.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Returning Heisman finalist quarterback CJ Stroud and star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba – who broke the record for the most receiving yards in any bowl game in history at the 2022 Rose Bowl – the Buckeyes are ranked by bookmakers behind only Georgia and Alabama ahead of the next season. However, defense will be a critical point for 2022, since the team allowed 87 points in the last two games of the season. After the departure of Dan Lanning, who took the head coach job at Oregon, Ohio State appointed Jim Knowles as the new defensive coordinator.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Fighting Irish would have received much more attention if they had defeated Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl and ended their BCS struggles. In his first full season as Notre Dame’s coach, Marcus Freeman, though, brings a lot of enthusiasm. Northwestern defensive back Brandon Joseph – who recorded nine interceptions in the previous two years – will team up with defensive end Isaiah Foskey, linebacker Jay Ademilola, and others to make a powerful defense. The most difficult challenge for Notre Dame, however, will be the schedule, which includes Clemson, Ohio State, USC, and BYU.
Michigan and its fans had a great season in 2021, with 12 victories, finally getting past Ohio State, and winning their first Big Ten title in years. Nevertheless, the blowout defeat to Georgia in the CFP semifinals showed us that Michigan still has to improve in some aspects. Furthermore, with the NFL likely taking away the majority of the players responsible for these achievements, such as Heisman runner-up defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, linebacker David Ojabo, and running back Hassan Haskins, the future looks a bit cloudy for the Wolverines. Especially with rumors linking head coach Jim Harbaugh to jobs like the Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders.