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Predicting the 2024 College Football Playoff

Scott Morris | June 22, 2024
College football playoff outlook for 2024 -2025 season

With the NBA season over, the Stanley Cup playoffs nearing their end, and baseball in full summer mode, you may have forgotten that in a little over two months from now it will be college football season. Thank God!

For the first time in college football history, we will have a 12-team playoff to determine a national champion. It’s going to be a while before teams even report to preseason camp, but we’ll take a crack at predicting the 12 teams that will make this year’s College Football Playoff.

Keep in mind the format. The five highest ranked conference champions will automatically qualify. The other seven spots will be determined by the CFP committee. The four highest ranked conference champs will receive a first-round bye. Teams seeded No. 5 through No. 8 will host first-round games that will be played at bowl sites.

 

No Doubts

This is the year that Ryan Day finally puts it to rival Michigan. The Wolverines lost a ton of talent, including QB J.J. McCarthy who is now a Minnesota Viking. The more important loss was head coach Jim Harbaugh. Don’t expect the Maize & Blue to be part of the CFP discussion long after games against Texas and USC early in the season.

The Buckeyes, however, return a bunch of studs – RB TreVeyon Henderson and DE Jack Sawyer to name a few – and they went to the portal to get former Alabama S Caleb Downs and Ole Miss RB Quinshon Judkins. Day also got his QB, Will Howard, from the portal. The Buckeyes have all the pieces to win their first Big Ten title since 2020.

It’s a similar story in Georgia where 16 starters return from a team that has been dominant over the past three seasons – 42-2 and two national championships. QB Carson Beck returns, but the schedule is a tough one. Still, the Bulldogs have the pieces to get to the playoff again. The total season wins for Georgia over-under is 10.5 games

 

FSU & Clemson

It should be a two-horse race in the ACC once again. Florida State and head coach Mike Norvell were shunned from last year’s CFP when QB Jordan Travis was lost late in the season. The Seminoles return in 2024 with a chip on their shoulder and possibly an even better defense than last year’s. 

QB D.J. Uiagalelei returns to the ACC and he’ll make the Seminoles offense go. FSU will face Clemson at home this season and the winner of that one will likely win the ACC. The Tigers went 9-4 last season. They finished 5-0 with wins over ranked Notre Dame and North Carolina teams late in the season. QB Cade Klubnik returns to run the Tigers offense that averaged 31.6 points over its last five games. 

Each of these teams has the potential to go 12-0, but even a 10-2 campaign will likely get the team that doesn’t win the ACC title into this year’s CFP.

 

SEC Rules

QB Quinn EwersIf you thought SEC bias was a real thing, just wait until December. In addition to Georgia, the SEC will get at least three more teams in the CFP. Alabama doesn’t have Nick Saban anymore, but they still have a ton of talent. New head coach Kalen DeBoer will crank up the Tide’s offense and even a 10-2 campaign will be enough to make the new CFP.

Don’t forget about Texas, which went 12-2 and made last year’s CFP. Head coach Steve Sarkisian will have QB Quinn Ewers back to run an offense that averaged 35.6 points per game last season. The Longhorns lose some receiving star power, but Sarkisian will simply reload. It will be the Longhorns first season in the SEC and Texas will welcome the new schedule. 

Ole Miss will reload after a No. 9 finish last year and another 11-win season. QB Jaxson Dart is back to run head coach Lane Kiffin’s high-powered offense. Kiffin added a number of studs up front on both sides of the ball. 

 

Best of the Big 12

It’s also a new-look Big 12 this season and the best team will be…wait for it…Utah! The Utes suffered through a ton of injuries last year. They’ll get QB Cameron Rising back for his seventh season of college football. He’s the heart and soul of the Utes and he’ll make a difference. 

Head coach Kyle Whittingham will do what Utah does best – run the football and play defense. Plus, the Utes will benefit from a schedule that allows them to skip Kansas and Kansas State in their first season back in the Big 12.

 

Rest of the Field

Notre Dame has a chance to be very good in 2024. Head coach Marcus Freeman gets another portal QB in Riley Leonard, formerly of Duke. His running ability will be a perfect fit for the Irish. The defense should also be very good with Howard Cross and Rylie Mills up front. The Irish were a top-10 scoring defense last season.

Two of the final three teams making the first-ever 12-team CFP playoff will come from the Big Ten. Penn State went out and got a new OC in Andy Kotelnicki. He’s the guy that helped transform Kansas’ offense. That should help the Nittany Lions make a splash in the Big Ten. 

Oregon should do the same in its first year in the conference. The Ducks lost QB Bo Nix to the NFL, but transfer Dillon Gabriel should be a nice fit in the Oregon system. The Ducks will face Ohio State at home and must play at Michigan. 

The final team making the field? It’s the best Group of 5 team in the country – Memphis. The Tigers return a wealth of talent, led by QB Seth Henigan. He’s the best QB you’ve never heard of. He threw for 3,883 yards and 32 TDs last season. Memphis beat Iowa State in the bowl game last year, proving the Tigers can hang with Power 5 talent.

 

 

 

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