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College football bowl projections 2022: Ohio State delivers preseason hype with playoff return




It’s early August, which means it’s time to get ready for college football! It’s also time for preseason bowl projections, and when it comes to the College Football Playoff, expect to see some household names.

Not to ruin a tradition, this season once again projected No. 1 seed Alabama. Reigning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young leads the way as he strives to join the former Ohio State who trace Archie Griffin as a repeat winner of that award. Elsewhere, the Crimson Tide are, as usual, brimming with talent. Coach Nick Saban welcomes his fourth consecutive recruiting class ranked first or second in the 247Sports Composite team rankings. The more things change in Alabama, the more they stay the same.

Oklahomais is expected to be the number 4 opponent of Alabama in the Peach Bowl semifinals in Atlanta. The Sooners’ run of six consecutive conference championships came to an end last season when OU lost on the road to eventual champion Baylor, and the state of Oklahoma. Coach Brett Venables replaces Lincoln Riley, who left for USC and brought some players with him; however, the closet is far from bare at OU. It will be a tough challenge to get back to the top of the league, but this season the Sooners are bringing the Bears and Cowboys home.

In the Fiesta Bowl semifinals, Ohio is expected to return to the CFP as the No. 2 in the series after losing to Michigan last season. The Buckeyes return QB CJ Stroud who will once again have a talented roster of wide receivers to target. The Wolverines are still formidable, but that game will be played this year in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State gets another big home game as Notre Dame visits the Horseshoe to kick off the season. The Buckeyes will strive to avoid another season-opening misstep, like last year when Oregon won OSU’s home opener.

Ohio State is pitted against projected No. 3 seed Georgia. The reigning champion lost a number of players to the NFL, especially from the defensive side of the ball. However, the Bulldogs have recruited such a high level lately that they have extremely talented players waiting in the wings. Georgia is a firm favorite to rematch with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, and if both teams go into that showdown 12-0, there’s a good chance both will be in the CFP.

Those four teams have made 17 playoffs together, with Alabama earning seven of its own. At least two of those four teams have been in the CFP in every season of its existence.

College football play-off

January 9

National Championship
Inglewood, California.

title game Semifinal winners

December 31

peach bowl

Semi finals

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Oklahoma

December 31

Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Aris.

Semi finals

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Georgia

The CFP selection committee doesn’t have much flexibility when it comes to the other four so-called New Year’s Six games. In three of the games, both spots are contracted to specific conferences and/or teams with no minimum ranking required for qualification. In 2019, No. 24Virginia was the ACC representative in the Orange Bowl as the second-highest-ranked ACC team; Clemson was in the CFP that season. Even if a scenario occurred where no other conference team was ranked, the bowl would pick a team from that conference.

The Rose Bowl gets the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions. If those league champions are in the CFP, the bowl picks substitutes, traditionally the second-highest-ranked teams from those conferences. In this projection, Michigan is replacing the state of Ohio for the Big Ten, while the expected champion Utah represents the Pac-12.

A similar situation exists for the Sugar Bowl, which matches the SEC and Big 12 champions. In this projection, the champions of both leagues are expected to make it to the CFP, and in the case of the SEC, the second-highest-ranked team as well. Therefore, the expected matchup here is Texas A&M, the third-highest-ranked SEC team, against Baylor, the second-highest-ranked team in the Big 12.

The Orange Bowl is expected to feature ACC champion Clemson. The contracted opponent in that game is the highest ranked team remaining from the SEC or Big Ten, unless Notre Dame is higher than both. In this projection, the Fighting Irish get the clearing. That’s an unfortunate matchup because Clemson and Notre Dame will play in South Bend, Indiana during the regular season on November 5. However, it’s hard to imagine the Orange Bowl turning down Notre Dame.

That leaves the Cotton Bowl, the only place where the Group of Five automatic qualifier can go if it doesn’t make the CFP. from another Group of Five champion. Cincinnati’s opponent is expected to be USC, the highest-ranking team. Riley has brought in some new but talented players led by QB Caleb Williams and WR Jordan Addison. If Riley can get this team used to it quickly, the Trojans could pose a threat to do even better.

New Year’s Six bowl games

January 2nd

Pasadena, California.

Big Ten vs Pac-12

Michigan vs Utah

January 2nd

Arlington, Tex.

in general vs in general

USC vs. Cincinnati

December 31

New Orleans

SEC vs Big 12

Texas A&M vs. Baylor

Dec 30



Clemson vs. Notre Dame

There are 41 bowl games scheduled for this season, leaving a need for 82 teams to fill the open spaces. Last season, bowl directors were forced to invite a team with a record under 500 for the first time since 2016. Hawaii (6-7) was scheduled for the Hawaii Bowl, but the game was eventually canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Rainbow Warriors program. Rutgers (5-7) played in the Gator Bowl last season but was only invited as a last-minute replacement for Texas A&M, which also had to drop out due to COVID-19.

This preseason bowl projection has five teams expected to finish under .500 participating in bowl games. That would break the record for the most in a season. There were three such teams in bowls in 2015, the first year that sub-.500 teams were allowed to receive bowling bids.

Can’t see your team? Check out the rest of Jerry Palm’s preseason bowl projections.




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