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2021-2022 CFP teams: Who takes a step back?

Photo courtesy of CBS Sports.

The 2021-2022 college football season concluded with the Georgia Bulldogs defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18. The meeting between the two programs was the second in the playoff era that two teams from the same conference faced each other in the national championship game. Other CFP participants include Michigan and Cincinnati. Today, we will examine each program that participated in the CFP last season and determine if they will be in the conversation for the national title. In addition, each program endured changes to its roster once the season was over.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

It’s safe to say that last year’s Crimson Tide was one of the less dominant teams under Nick Saban. Yet, they still managed to play in the final round of the college football playoff. They did not get the desired results, but there’s lots of optimism for the upcoming season. Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Miller returns with a new cast of weapons. The Crimson Tide has signed two wide receivers in the transfer portal Georgia’s Jermaine Burton and Louisville’s Tyler Harrell.

The addition of Burton and Harrell should make up for the departures of Jamison Williams and John Metchie. Both players are now in the National Football League. On defense, they will be adding star cornerback Eli Ricks. Ricks entered the transfer portal after spending time with the LSU Tigers. Without question, Alabama will be contending for a national title this season.

Verdict: National Title Contender

2. Michigan Wolverines

Michigan finally overcame the hump and defeated their arch-rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Their resume was strong enough to participate in the college football playoff. However, this season, the Wolverines will be without three top players on defense: Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo, and Daxton Hill. With Ohio State reloaded with a potential 1st overall pick in C.J. Stroud, it will be difficult for Michigan to return to the postseason. I don’t see QB Cade McNamara being capable of lifting this program to another playoff appearance. Especially with the personnel that has departed for the NFL.

Verdict: Bowl Game Appearance, But Not Playoff Contender

3. Georgia Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs won their first national title in 1980 when they defeated SEC rival the Alabama Crimson Tide. Earlier in the season, I questioned if Georgia’s quarterback situation was suited to win a national title. Stetson Bennett proved me wrong when he led the Bulldogs on game-changing drives against Alabama. But will he be able to do it again with a less talented roster? Out of all last year’s CFP teams, Georgia is the program that lost a lot of firepower from last year’s unit. A record of 15 Bulldogs from the 2021-2022 team was selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. Also, JT Daniels will not be available if Bennett starts to struggle this season.

The former five-star prospect entered the transfer portal and committed to West Virginia. Back-to-back games against Tennessee and Florida could determine if the Bulldogs can return to the SEC championship and possibly contend for a playoff berth. However, I am not confident that this program can return to the level of dominating the SEC this season. Especially after losing the personnel that they lost from the 2021-2022 season.

Verdict: Bowl Game Appearance, But Not Playoff Contender

4. Cincinnati Bearcats

The Cincinnati Bearcats became the first-ever non-Power Five program to appear in the college football playoff. But was last year’s appearance a precursor of things to come for the Bearcats? 2022 will be the last year the program will be a part of the American Athletic Conference. Instead, the Bearcats will become a Power Five program after joining the Big 12 Conference.

As for this season, the Bearcats will be playing without key personnel from last year’s squad in quarterback Desmond Ridder and corner Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Both players are now members of the NFL. Based on their schedule, they will have another successful season. However, it may not be enough to impress the playoff selection committee. Last year, a lot had to bounce the Bearcats’ way for the selection committee to allow them into the postseason. Unfortunately, this season might not be the case.

Verdict: Bowl Game Appearance, But Not Playoff Contender




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