After seven long months awaiting college football, the season is finally upon us. Along with all the excitement and action comes the opportunity to make outlandish predictions and takes based solely on speculation.
That’s exactly what I’m about to do. Judging by what we know so far about expectations and rosters, here are four bold predictions about the 2022 season:
Notre Dame and the Big Ten shock the college football world with agreement
Starting off with a banger, the rumors for this move have certainly been present recently. It’s well known that the Big Ten is hoping to further expand and that the University of Notre Dame is the premier program that’s available to poach.
Considering the Big Ten’s massive new media deal with NBC, the marriage seems perfect for the two. The Big Ten is the most practical conference for Notre Dame to join. Even if it’s a hybrid-style conference and the Fighting Irish retain independence, like the school’s current situation with the Atlantic Coastal Conference, a partnership with the Big Ten is feasible.
The Pac-12 breaks its playoff drought
Of the Power Five conferences, the Pac-12 has been, by far, the least represented in the College Football Playoff. The league has two appearances: the University of Oregon in the 2014-15 season and the University Washington in the 2016-2017 season. That’s half as many as the next conference: the Big 12 with four appearances. However, there is plenty of optimism to finally break through after five seasons.
Preseason No.-11 ranked Oregon is a steady program with key returning pieces and a new star quarterback — Auburn University transfer Bo Nix. Additionally, No.-14 ranked University of Southern California is considered by many the big “winner” of the offseason.
The program retooled a new coaching staff after picking up former-University of Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams, who followed his head coach to the program. The Trojans also added Fred Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison from Pittsburgh after the award named him the best receiver in the country last year.
However, I believe it’s No.-7 ranked University of Utah who is primed for the playoff, fresh off a last-second Rose Bowl loss and returning most of its core.
College Football Playoff accepts its first two-loss team
Since its inauguration in the 2014-15 season, 32 teams have played in the CFP. All 32 have entered with one loss or fewer.
I think this is the season in which that changes, and I think the team who makes it a first is the same program who has seen the most success in the CFP. That’s right — the University of Alabama is the most likely candidate.
Due to their reputation and conference affiliation, Alabama is the one program who could accomplish it, even with other one-loss programs. The most likely scenario is a regular season loss and a conference championship loss, but they could also drop two in the regular season and pick off the University of Georgia in the championship to sneak in the Playoff.
Ohio State sweeps QB, RB, WR awards en route to national championship
If this were to come true, it would probably mean this 2022 Ohio State squad would be the best offense ever and potentially the best team ever. In his first season as starter, quarterback C.J. Stroud had a prolific season, capped off by a record-breaking performance in the team’s Rose Bowl win over Utah. Some outlets consider him to be the Heisman Trophy favorite.
Wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba broke records alongside Stroud in the Rose Bowl victory, proving he is the next great receiver out of the program. It shows, as he was voted an AP Preseason First-Team All-American. Running back TreVeyon Henderson joined Smith-Njigba on the preseason first-team, as well.
The star-studded trio is expected to lead the most potent offense in college football, and each could very well be the best at his position. That kind of success would surely compute to wins, and this team has the tools to win it all.