BetMGM: 4 teams can win the 2022 College Football National Championship
The number of teams able to reach the college football playoffs is far greater than many think – which is really great news for college football.
Non-traditional powerhouses Washington, Michigan State, Oregon, Michigan and Cincinnati have made the playoffs in the past. Basically, any one-loss or undefeated Power Five conference champion has a high probability of making the playoffs. Hell, even the Five-Eyes can’t complain about access anymore.
In fact, in 2022, there is an extremely healthy middle class in college football. From upper middle class (eg Wisconsin, Utah or Oklahoma State) to lower middle class (eg Wake Forest, Kentucky or Indiana), the preseason top 40 list could be loaded.
However, the bad news for college football is that the number of teams that could win back-to-back playoff games once they reach the final four is much lower.
Four teams, to be exact, can win the national championship next season.
National Championship Competitors
Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Texas A&M are the only four teams that can win the national championship this season.
Put all possible metrics – advanced or old – aside and just look at the best possible combinations of talent and coaching in America.
Alabama and Georgia, currently favorites in national championship odds, easily have the best combination of coaches and talent in the country. The Crimson Tide will likely boast the best offense in the country led by the best quarterback in the country on the best list in the country led by the best coach in the country.
Georgia is the defending national champion with elite talent, a returning quarterback and experience in the depth chart.
Ohio State will have the only offense in America that can keep up with Bryce Young and Alabama, and has proven to be the only program north of the Mason Dixon line with SEC-like recruiting prowess. The one glaring question: How much better will the Buckeyes’ defense be under new coordinator Jim Knowles?
Texas A&M is the clear No. 4 on the list thanks to a bigger quarterback question than the other three. But Jimbo Fisher has followed that exact routine before with a highly touted young starter surrounded by an elite roster. That led to a national title nine years ago when he was at Florida State.
In fact, Fisher might have the most talented roster of any American team.
The next level
Living in this territory of true championship content is extremely difficult. It’s thin air that drains oxygen from the lungs fairly quickly. This is why Oregon, Clemson, Michigan and Utah are not on the list.
All four will be excellent in 2022 and all four are high value games in the future of college football market (+5000 Ducks is my game outside of the top four, for what it’s worth).
But all four have at least one question regarding talent and coaching, limiting their access to the next level. Sure, all four could easily qualify for the playoffs, but can any of them win two games against Alabama-caliber teams?
The Ducks are brimming with top NFL talent in almost every position, and veteran leadership should keep this program running at a high level. They have an elite offensive line and have improved the quarterback position with Bo Nix (and Ty Thompson).
But Dan Lanning has never been a head coach, and while the good guys usually do very quickly in college footballa first-time head coach rarely wins big.
Dabo Swinney has an elite defense and attack that will need to be much better than in 2021 and is also filling huge voids in his once stable coaching staff.
For an offense trying to rediscover itself, a new coordinator could be the rocket fuel that brings the Tigers back to the playoffs. Or it could be the total meltdown that keeps them from winning the conference, let alone the national championship.
Michigan is well-drilled, physical, talented and will return two good quarterback options.
But it took elite top talent to fuse together for a breakthrough season. And most of that top talent is gone. That’s how the guy credited with finally developing the Wolverines offense – coordinator Josh Gattis – left for Miami after two seasons.
Utah will also have one of the best quarterback offensive line head coaching triumvirates in college football.
He has an established identity and a loving trench warfare. But, like Michigan, the Utes roster lacks the high-level talent to beat a team with better players twice in a row.
It’s not just those four either. Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, NC State and more are all going to be really strong football teams this fall.
But what separates playoff contenders from championship contenders is the ability to win that second game. For that, you need the best players and the best coaches.
Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Texas A&M are the only four to have both.
Braden Gall is a writer for BetMGM, works as a radio host for ESPN Radio and is the owner of the 440 Sports network. He also hosts the Cover 2 college football podcast for Athlon Sports. He’s from Nashville, Tennessee, and loves live music and brown water almost as much as football. Twitter: @BradenGall
This was a paid article submitted by our content partner.