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ESPN computer predicts College Football Playoff teams, national championship game

ESPN has announced its preseason Top 25 college football rankings and now we have its first predictions regarding which teams have the best chance to make the CFP and play for the national championship.

Alabama predictably led the poll at No. 1, followed by Ohio State, defending national champion Georgia, and ACC favorite Clemson comes in at No. 4 in the rankings.

RELATED: ESPN reveals preseason Top 25 college football rankings

Football Power Index then used its prediction model to calculate which teams have the best chance to make the College Football Playoff final four semifinal round. Let's take a look at the schools in the running for the 2022 season.

Best chance to make College Football Playoff

1. Ohio State — 82.3%

2. Alabama — 79.3%

3. Georgia — 73.5%

4. Clemson — 59.0%

5. Texas — 21.0%

6. Notre Dame — 17.6%

7. Michigan — 14.8%

8. Oklahoma — 12.6%

9. Pittsburgh — 10.2%

10. Utah — 4.9%

— FPI projects Ohio State and Clemson are most likely to win their respective conferences while the SEC is expected to send both its conference champion and expected runner-up to the semifinal games, as it did last season.

— The ESPN prediction model always includes one team that turns some heads, and this preseason that team appears to be Texas, which the computer clearly favors in the Big 12 over Oklahoma and even over defending conference champion Baylor.

Texas football cheerleaders at a college football game in the Big 12.

— FPI ranked the Longhorns in the top 10 and give them the fifth-best chance to make the College Football Playoff. Quite the prediction, given how UT struggled a year ago, going 5-7 in Steve Sarkisian's first year, including a home loss to Kansas.

— Notre Dame is getting respectable odds from the computer in Marcus Freeman's first year as coach, but the Irish open at Ohio State in Week 1 in a game that could determine the rest of their season.

— Utah is holding up the Pac-12's end in these predicted rankings, but with under a 5 percent shot to make the CFP, it's clear West Coast football still isn't on anyone's radar.

Chance to play for the national championship

1. Alabama — 51.6%

2. Ohio State — 50.0%

3. Georgia — 42.9%

4. Clemson — 25.9%

5. Texas — 6.9%

6. Notre Dame — 5.7%

7. Michigan — 4.2%

8. Oklahoma — 3.8%

9. Pittsburgh — 2.5%

10. Oklahoma State — 1.1%

— Expect the "big four" to be in the mix once again to play for the title, as they have been since the advent of the College Football Playoff.

— FPI projects a semifinal between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 4 Clemson and between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia, with the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes expected to advance to the national championship. Who is the favorite from there?

Odds to win College Football Playoff

1. Alabama — 30.1%

2. Ohio State — 27.4%

3. Georgia — 22.7%

4. Clemson — 11.1%

— As it has been for most of the last decade, the Crimson Tide are your favorites to hoist the trophy at season's end, boasting around three percentage points more than the second-favorite Ohio State.

ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) college football rankings are a measure of team strength that means to predict a team’s performance. 

Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season. It uses a combination of analytics, including scores to date and a team’s remaining schedule.


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