We are a little less than 12 weeks from the 2022 college football National Championship Game to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Jan. 10.
Nobody knows what teams will be playing for that title, or even the two semifinals games on Dec. 31, as far as that goes. But a lot of folks think they do. That’s what makes sports fun, especially college sports.
Last week I took a look at the remaining undefeated teams in the Top 20 and wrapped that column up with a promise that I would reveal my predictions for the College Football Playoffs, aka the college football version of the Final Four.
I do believe three of those final four teams will be undefeated, while the fourth will have one loss. While this is way early to narrow the best college football teams in the nation to four, let’s take a shot at it anyway.
There is one team that I see as an absolute lock to make the playoffs. I will reveal that team first, followed by the next three:
My first prediction is the University of Cincinnati. Yep, the Bearcats. It’s not necessarily because I’m sold that UC is the best team, it just seems like its path to the Final Four is the easiest.
Cincinnati is 6-0 halfway through the regular season, with the only major challenges ahead of the Bearcats being SMU and the University of Central Florida. While there will be some one-win teams nipping at their hills, Cincinnati will likely run the table, as well as being ranked in the top four of both Major polls. It will be virtually impossible to leave UC out of the Final Four. In the end, the road win over Notre Dame will likely make the difference.
The second team most likely to make the playoffs is the University of Georgia. UGA will have a couple slight challenges (Florida and Tennessee) between now and the SEC Championship Game the Bulldogs are destined for. It’s likely Georgia will play Alabama in that title game, but the Crimson Tide still has plenty of work to do. A win by a one-win ‘Bama team over Georgia could cause a few problems for the selection committee.
But if the game were played today, I would have to go with Georgia, so I’m putting them in the Final Four as an undefeated team.
The other undefeated team I have wil be from the Big XII. While both Michigan and Michigan State are undefeated in the Big 10, it just doesn’t seem likely that either of those teams will be able to run the table. There are a lot of tough games left on both of their league schedules.
While Oklahoma State, now 6-0 on the year, seems to be gaining momentum each week it appears like a stretch that the Cowboys will go undefeated. Oklahoma is giving up plenty of point, but the Sooners have more than enough offense to overcome their defensive woes.
It is likely to come down to the OU-OSU game. If that occurs, the Sooners will be the favorite.
So the question remains who will joins Cincinnati, Georgia, and Oklahoma in the Final Four.
That team will likely come out of the Big 10, and will most likely be the winner of the Ohio State-Michigan game. At this point, the Buckeyes are the ones to beat.
So how will these teams be matched up in the semifinals?
I’m going with Georgia and Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl and Oklahoma facing off with Ohio State in the semifinals.
Am I right? Probably not. But it’s also likely you aren’t either. That’s what makes it fun.
Austin Bishop, AKA The Old Sports Dude, has been covering high school, college, amateur and professional sports since 1975. He is currently pastor of Great Commission Assembly of God in Philadelphia, Miss. He may be contacted by email at email@example.com.