Final 2022 College Football Playoff Projections!

Hello college football/Big Ten fans!

Well all the regular season games are now behind us, it's time to say who should be in the College Football Playoff before the CFP Committee messes it up and puts Alabama in like they did in 2017.

I said last week that I thought Michigan should be #1 after they won at Ohio State. The CFP committee (as well as the AP and Coaches Poll disagreed). Also, Georgia got an additional boost to their resume by defeating LSU this past weekend. Michigan beat Purdue, a less impressive win. By the last CFP Rankings, LSU ranks #14 while Purdue is unranked. No one has a better win than beating the Buckeyes in Columbus (and badly). The Wolverines also beat #8 Penn State. Georgia counters with a convincing win over #7 Tennessee, a total beatdown of #16 Oregon, a stomping of #19 South Carolina on the road, and a convincing win over #24 Mississippi State (I question whether they should be ranked). Georgia has had their share of close wins but it seems like the weeks they play tough games they make statements and as long as they didn't lose any games I would think they should be judged more on how they performed against the top teams than the mediocre ones like Missouri and Kentucky. Right now I would put Georgia #1 over Michigan with the extra "data point" of LSU that I didn't have last week.

People are going to say Alabama belongs in the Playoff and use the "eye test". It's the results that should matter. Alabama lost two games and they aren't a conference champion. When Ohio State was a conference champion in 2017, they were kept out of the Playoff in favor of a one loss Alabama who didn't win their conference or even their division and "two losses" probably was said as the biggest factor. Penn State was also kept out of the Playoff in 2016 in favor of a one loss Ohio State team that beat them. If conference champions with two losses don't get consideration over one loss non champions, why should a two loss team that didn't win their conference get consideration over one loss teams? Alabama couldn't even win their sorry SEC Worst Division that was won by a four loss team that couldn't even beat Florida State in practically a home game in New Orleans and couldn't even beat Texas A&M. Who have they beaten all year? Texas (TCU beat them two), sub .500 Auburn and Texas A&M, and a pair of overrated Mississippi schools. Alabama fourth best in the country? They're the fourth best in the SEC! 1) Georgia, 2) Tennessee, 3) LSU, 4) Alabama. Tell me I'm wrong. Maybe they're better than LSU, LSU got lucky on a two pointer and the game was in Baton Rouge. But not Tennessee. Yes they also won at home. But they also beat LSU badly in Baton Rouge and Alabama wouldn't have beaten South Carolina (at least if they played in the last month when Spencer Rattler was hot). If Alabama makes this year's Playoff, it will be a bigger joke than 2017, especially if Ohio State is left out again at their expense. So in 2017, 1 loss is better than 2 losses but in 2022 2 losses is better than 1?

So let's say the last two teams are the only remaining one loss teams, TCU and our Ohio State Buckeyes. How do you rank them? If you compare losses, Ohio State lost to an undefeated team while TCU lost to a three loss team with two of the losses at home, one to a team outside the Power 5 conferences (although Tulane certainly helped Kansas State's as well as TCU's case by winning the AAC yesterday). But Ohio State lost at home and badly, TCU lost in the Big 12 Championship Game on a "neutral field" (even though it was practically in their backyard vs. a far away KSU) in overtime. If you look at wins, Ohio State has wins at Penn State (#8) and at home vs. Notre Dame (#21) while TCU has wins over Kansas State (#10) and at Texas (#20). Ironically by losing to KSU, their ranking would have to go up and the quality of TCU's win over them goes up. I don't know how much it helps but Toledo, a team Ohio State beat, won the Mid American Championship. It seems really close. I think in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter much who is #3 vs. #4 so I would probably rank TCU #3 to avoid the Michigan-Ohio State rematch in the semifinals and TCU finished the Big 12 round robin undefeated.

Final Projection (or at least what it SHOULD be):

Fiesta Bowl: #2 Michigan Wolverines vs. #3 TCU Horned Frogs, Sat. Dec. 31,4pm

Peach Bowl: #1 Georgia Bulldogs vs. #4 Ohio State Buckeyes, Sat. Dec. 31, 8pm

After all the chaos from my first Playoff projection this season, three of the four teams still made it with Michigan replacing Clemson.

Rest of Rankings:

Assuming Alabama doesn't make the Playoff, it really doesn't matter whether Alabama or Tennessee is higher. I said last week I think the Tennessee Volunteers should be higher. The College Football Playoff protocol (from their own website):


    • Conference championships won,
    • Strength of schedule,
    • Head‐to‐head competition,
    • Comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory), and,
    • Other relevant factors such as unavailability of key players and coaches that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.
  • The committee will select the teams using a process that distinguishes among otherwise comparable teams by considering:
When comparing Tennessee and Alabama,

Neither team has a conference championship (Georgia won the SEC).

I don't have the exact SOS #'s but if Tennessee played 13-0 Georgia, it would be really hard for Alabama to top that.

Tennessee beat Alabama head to head.

Tennessee beat LSU while Alabama lost to them (and both games were played in the same location).

The one factor that you penalize Tennessee is that Herndon Hooker is out for the season and that "likely will affect its postseason performance". But does that overcome head to head, common opponent, and strength of schedule? I say no.

So Tennessee is #5 and Alabama #6. This really only affects who goes to the Sugar Bowl and who goes to the Orange Bowl and the CFP and the bowls could certainly switch them around as well. Alabama would likely treat the Sugar Bowl as a consolation prize while Tennessee hasn't been this good in years. If Alabama goes to the Orange Bowl it would be vs. Clemson and they haven't met since the four consecutive Playoffs (three national championship games). Even if the CFP ranks Alabama ahead of Tennessee, having Alabama in the Orange vs. Clemson sounds much better than Alabama vs. Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl.

Kansas State likely moved ahead of Penn State with their win over TCU. TCU blew the game going for it on 4th down when they should have taken the field goal but Kansas State could have scored a touchdown and won it anyway. TCU was hurt when they lost the coin flip. If they had the ball second, they would have known what they needed to score and Kansas State either would have scored the touchdown or had to face the "go for it on fourth down and short or kick the field goal and give TCU a chance to win with just a TD".

Keep in mind Kansas State got to call the coin toss. Mathematically a coin toss is 50-50 but psychologically you want to call the coin toss and feel like you control your destiny. Kansas State got the right to call the coin toss because they were the "visitors" and they were the visitors because they were the lower seed. In this situation, maybe the home team should get to call the coin toss. They earned the top seed, let them have the advantage. Or let the team that scored last have the advantage of having the ball last. If you give up the lead, you deserve to lose. Did TCU deserve to lose a game over a coin toss they had no control over and they had no control over it because they went out and were the better team and Kansas State was rewarded for being a lesser team?

It is a tough drop for USC but they got blown out and you have to rank them below a team that not only beat them but beat them twice.

#5 Tennessee Volunteers (10-2)
#7 Kansas State Wildcats (10-3) - Big 12 Champions
#9 Clemson Tigers (11-2) - ACC Champions
#10 Utah Utes (10-3) - Pac 12 Champions
#11 USC Trojans (11-2)


Orange Bowl: #9 Clemson vs. #6 Alabama, Dec. 30, 8pm

Sugar Bowl: #7 Kansas State vs. #5 Tennessee, Dec. 31, noon

Cotton Bowl: #11 USC vs. ? Tulane, Jan. 1, 1pm

Rose Bowl: #10 Utah vs. #8 Penn State, Jan. 1, 5pm

No changes to my other Big Ten bowls from last week.

This week, the CFP approved expansion to 12 teams for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. I don't know if I am in favor of a move to 12 teams this soon, I would have liked going to 8 as a more modest step first. I also don't like the idea of two rounds after New Year's Day as opposed to just one, I'd rather the semifinals be on NYD. Bowls are not going to like being in mid January and they can't be held on Saturday except early (1pm ET) because of the NFL.

Using my Playoff rankings and the proposed format (6 conference champions, 4 conference champions get 1st round byes),

1st Round:

#12 Tulane at #5 TCU (Here Ohio State vs. Tulane would be more important)
#11 USC at #6 Ohio State
#10 Utah at #7 Tennessee
#9 Penn State at #8 Alabama

2nd Round:

#1 Georgia goes to Sugar Bowl
#2 Michigan goes to Rose Bowl
#3 Kansas State goes to Cotton Bowl
#4 Clemson goes to Orange Bowl

Peach and Fiesta Bowls are SF's with Peach getting the Georgia half.

Thank you to everyone who read and commented this season. I may write here during basketball season with my NCAA Tournament projections. I have been writing at BT Powerhouse but I haven't been getting much response there in previous years. I seem to associate this board more with football but I certainly see basketball covered here so maybe basketball coverage could work here. Good luck to Big Ten teams in bowls, especially vs. that conference down south.

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