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#pounditTuesday, November 29, 2022

ESPN releases its top 5 CFP predictions for 2022 season

Steve Sarkisian smiles

Jan 7, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian speaks to media during the Alabama Crimson Tide media day at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 college football season doesn’t kick off until August 27, but it’s never too soon to look at possible College Football Playoff matchups.

ESPN revealed its top five most likely playoff combinations based off of the recently-updated Football Power Index (FPI) rankings for 2022. ESPN’s FPI rankings are based on projections from 20,0000 simulations of the season using FPI, which measures team strength and is meant to be the best indicator of a team’s performance during a season.

Based off of these FPI rankings and the All State Playoff Predictor, ESPN predicted the five most likely playoff combinations, as seen below.

All combinations involve the top six teams in the FPI rankings: Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson, Notre Dame and Texas.

Alabama, ranked No. 1, appeared in four of the five possible combinations, including the one with the highest probability at 20 percent. Georgia, the defending national champions and No. 3-ranked team, was also predicted to play in four of the five possible outcomes.

However, it was Ohio State, the FPI No. 2 team, that appeared in all five possible combinations. With QB C.J. Stroud back for his second season, and Michigan figuring to take a step back, Ohio State has a great chance at a playoff berth.

Clemson, the FPI No. 4 team, made three of the combinations. The Tigers are still a talented team despite last season’s lackluster 10-3 record. The Atlantic Coast Conference could also be wide open with former Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett headed for the NFL.

Notre Dame, ranked No. 5 in the FPI, appeared in only one potential playoff scenario. Texas, as the No. 6-ranked team, made three potential combinations.

For those college football fans worried about the lack of parity in the sport, these predictions aren’t good news.

Each of the teams in the most likely scenario – Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State – have appeared in at least two of the first eight playoffs, and have all won at least one national championship during that time.

Alabama has won three titles in seven playoff appearances, while Clemson has won a pair of championships in six trips to the playoff.

Ohio State won it all in the inaugural season of the playoff in 2015, and has made four playoffs overall. Georgia, the reigning national champions, has clinched two playoff berths.

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