- College football reporter
- Joined ESPN.com in 2007
- Graduate of Indiana University
College football has only a handful of elite teams, but the actual field of contenders to finish in the selection committee’s top four this fall runs deep — at least according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, which gives 19 teams more than a 1% chance of making a College Football Playoff semifinal.
Only seven of those teams have at least a 1% chance of winning the national title.
The teams ranked lower can certainly beat the odds — Michigan and Cincinnati are recent proof. Last year, the Allstate Playoff Predictor gave Michigan a lowly .05% chance to reach the playoff, trailing Cincinnati, which had a .3% chance. Georgia entered the season with a 28% chance to reach a semifinal and a 4% chance to win the national title. Alabama, of course, had a 73% chance to reach the CFP last year.
With that in mind, here’s a deeper dive into this year’s CFP contenders, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, starting with the teams with the best chance to make the playoff:
Last year’s record: 11-2
2022 chance to make playoff: 83.1%
2022 chance to win national title: 27.3%
Toughest test: Nov. 26 vs. Michigan. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s quite possible the Wolverines could be undefeated heading into Columbus for their biggest game of the regular season.
What the committee will like: The star power on what should be the nation’s top offense — again. A Heisman-caliber quarterback has been a consistent trait among past CFP contenders, but it doesn’t stop at C.J. Stroud. Receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba could also play his way into the Heisman conversation, and running back TreVeyon Henderson gives the Buckeyes another powerful option.
What the committee won’t like: Home losses to crossover opponents from the Big Ten’s West Division. The good news? If Ohio State were to lose to Wisconsin or Iowa, it could have a chance to redeem itself in the Big Ten title game. The bad news? Ohio State shouldn’t lose to either of those teams at home if it’s a top-four team.
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