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Potential College Football Spoilers by TJ Chapman

Potential College Football Playoff Spoilers

To many College Football fans it is a foregone conclusion that three of the 2022 College Football Playoff spots will be held by Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia. Two big questions now are who will occupy the fourth spot and what if the unthinkable happens? What if Alabama, Ohio State or Georgia lose two games in 2022 and the College Football Playoff Committee doesn’t choose one of the “locks” as a participant in the playoffs? In its brief history, the Committee has never selected a team with two losses to be in the playoffs. It’s almost seen as a death blow in a program’s chances to make the playoffs. Below is a list of teams who I feel can potentially occupy the fourth playoff spot or teams who can play a significant role in knocking one of the three “locks” out of playoff contention.

Scheduled Spoilers;

Notre Dame: The Irish open the season at Ohio State September 3rd. If they can find a way to defeat the Buckeyes, there’s a chance Ohio State ends the season with two losses. Although the Irish have a new head coach, they’ve kept most of the coaching staff intact. That continuity will go a long way in the Notre Dame’s success in 2022.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions host Ohio State on October 29th. Beaver Stadium more than likely will be hosting this game at night which means one of Penn State’s famous White Out games. The Buckeyes have struggled at times playing at Penn State, and if the scenario above with Notre Dame plays out this could be the Buckeyes’ 2nd loss.

Michigan: The Wolverines play at Ohio State November 26th. Depending on what happens with Notre Dame and Penn State, (or a hiccup somewhere else) this game could be the Buckeyes’ 2nd loss of the season. Michigan finally defeated Ohio State last season and are looking for back-to-back wins against their rivals for the first time since 1999 and 2000.

Tennessee: The Volunteers host Alabama October 15th and play at Georgia November 5th. The Vols have a lot of momentum heading into 2022 and if they can get their defense going may be able to pull off one, if not two of the most improbable upsets of the 2022 season.

Arkansas: The Razor Backs host Alabama October 1st. Arkansas coach Sam Pittman has the Razor Backs believing they can win the SEC West division. If they beat Alabama that would go a long way toward that goal.

Ole Miss: The Rebels host Alabama November 12th. Head Coach Lane Kiffin has the Ole Miss offense running wild. It’s up to his defense to make sure they can slow reigning Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Bryce Young.

Auburn: The Tigers host Georgia October 8th and host Alabama November 26th. In last season’s Iron Bowl Auburn was a run out of bounds away from upsetting Alabama. With both games at home Auburn has a chance to really play spoiler, especially in the case of Alabama.

Oregon: The Ducks play a neutral site game against Georgia on September 3rd. However, that “neutral” site game is in Atlanta, which means this is a home game for Georgia. This will be the first game for new Oregon head coach Dan Lanning, who was the Defensive Coordinator for Georgia last season during their National Championship run. If anyone knows the ins and outs of Georgia, it’s Lanning. That would be a difficult start of the season for the Bulldogs if the Ducks were to come all the way to Atlanta and win.

Two Possible 4th Seed teams looking for their first taste of the CFP:

Utah: The Utes finished 2021 with a 10-4 record and return a lot from last season’s Pac 12 Championship roster. The defense is tough, the run game is tough and if they can get Cameron Rising going with the passing game the Utes will be a legitimate threat for that 4th playoff spot.

Baylor: Like Utah, the Baylor Bears return a lot from their Big 12 Championship roster. Their defense is also tough, and the offense should be solid. They have a tough out of conference road game at BYU on September 10th and get Oklahoma on the road. But the Bears are tough under Head Coach Dave Aranda and if they get through that slate undefeated should get into the CFP.

Group of Five Spoilers:

Houston: The Cougars start the season ranked #24 in the AP poll. They open at UTSA who won 12 games last season and at Texas Tech. If they get by those two games, it’s not unbelievable that they can go undefeated. The American Athletic Conference has a few tough teams, but the Cougars avoid Cincinnati and UCF during the regular season and get Memphis and SMU at home. They’ll need some help from their fellow AAC teams on the schedule but it’s not impossible for Houston to get that 4th spot.

Boise State: The Broncos stumbled last season, only winning 7 games but are expected to bounce back in 2022. The Mountain West Conference is very good, four teams finished 2021 with at least 10 wins, so running the gauntlet in the MWC and winning at BYU, should give the Broncos all they need to sneak into the playoffs if they can go undefeated.

Fresno State: The Bulldogs hired former head coach Jeff Tedford to replace Kaelen DeBoer, who left for Washington. And in hiring Tedford they were able to keep star quarterback Jake Haener. The offense will roll with Haener at the helm, and the defense returns quite a bit. Oregon State at home, at USC, at Boise State and San Diego State at home should provide enough of a boost for the Bulldogs if they go undefeated and challenge for a playoff spot.

San Diego State: The Aztecs are tough defensively and in the run game. The pass game is pedestrian but if it shows some life San Diego State may make a run of it. Three of their four toughest games are on the road, at Utah, at Boise State and at Fresno State, with the lone home game of that group being against Air Force. It’s going to be tough but if the Aztecs finish undefeated, they may have enough to get into the top 4.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats lost A LOT from last season’s playoff team. It will be ridiculously difficult to repeat that feat, but it is possible. They open at Arkansas September 3rd, but the rest of the schedule isn’t difficult. Back-to-back road games at SMU and UCF are probably the only other test on the schedule prior to the AAC Championship game. They’ll need to ride with wave of name power to get back, but it is possible.

BYU: The Cougars have a strong schedule in their last year as an Independent before joining the Big 12 Conference. They lose star running back Tyler Allgeier but return a lot from last season’s high-powered offense. They need the defense to step up and help win some games. The Cougars open the season #25 in the AP Poll but if they go undefeated against a schedule that includes Baylor at home, at Oregon, Notre Dame in Las Vegas, Arkansas at home, at Boise State and at Stanford, they should be a lock for a CFP spot.

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