Predicting college football's conference champions in 2024

With the debut of ESPN's preseason college football rankings, the analytics model has calculated which teams have the best chance of winning their conference this season.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

After the second transfer portal window closed and with rosters more or less set heading into the summer preseason months, ESPN revealed its annual 134-team college football rankings, complete with the Football Power Index computer model's predictions for what to expect this season.

And while there are always some notable surprises in the FPI team rankings and projections, most of the teams near the top of the heap are expected to be the favorites in their respective conferences, even after a historic round of realignment that becomes official next month.

Let's take a look at what college football teams have the best chance to win their conference championships in the 2024 season, according to the latest FPI metrics.

College Football Teams Favored to Win Conference Titles in 2024

1. Conference USA: Liberty

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41.5% chance. Yet to have a losing season in the FBS ranks, the Flames are in prime position to earn the Group of Five's berth in the expanded College Football Playoff thanks in large part to the return of quarterback Kaidon Salter, who threw for 31 touchdowns and ran for 12 more while posting over 1,000 rushing yards.

2. Big Ten: Oregon

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37.5% chance. Before even joining the Big Ten, the Ducks are edging out the Buckeyes in some preseason predictions, thanks not only to key transfers like quarterback Dillon Gabriel and wideout Evan Stewart, but what already was college football's top returning wide receiver room, bringing back five leading returners at the position, in addition to a pair of physical, dominating lines.

3. Mountain West: Boise State

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36.2% chance. Ashton Jeanty scored 19 all-purpose touchdowns for the Broncos a year ago, and he returns as the conference's top back, aided by the addition of transfer quarterback Malachi Nelson, a promising dual-threat. Spencer Danielson gets his first full year as head coach with 18 returning starters in total and a real shot at contending for the playoff.

4. SEC: Georgia

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32.8% chance. Returning around a half-dozen starters on defense and an expected nine on offense, including quarterback Carson Beck, puts the Bulldogs squarely in pole position in the national title race. But this is a tougher schedule that includes road trips to Alabama, Texas, and Ole Miss, and a Week 1 tilt against Clemson in Atlanta.

5. American: UTSA

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

31.3% chance. Questions remain around the permanent offensive line rotation, and there's a big change at quarterback after Frank Harris' departure, although Owen McCown brings some experience. UTSA's backfield will stabilize the offense with returning producers like Kevorian Barnes, and the defense boasts credible skill in the back seven alignment.

6. ACC: Florida State

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26.2% chance. Major roster turnover puts the Seminoles in an interesting position, but the index still calls this the class of the ACC. Mike Norvell was aggressive in the transfer portal, picking up quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and wide receiver Malik Benson, and former Georgia edge rusher Marvin Jones, Jr. is an important addition to the line defense.

7. Sun Belt: Appalachian State

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22.0% chance. The return of quarterback Joey Aguilar is hugely important for the Mountaineers offense: he placed 3rd in college football in total yards last season, started 12 games, and set school records for touchdown passes, yards, and total offensive production.

8. MAC: Miami (OH)

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

20.2% chance. After winning 11 games and the MAC title a year ago, the RedHawks bring back just enough talent to do it again. Despite losses like wideout Greg Larvadain and back Rashad Amos, the offense still boasts great receiver skill and good enough protection to keep the unit intact. Linebacker is a position of strength, but there are spots to patch up in the secondary.

9. Big 12: Kansas

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17.4% chance. That low number indicates just how competitive the expanded Big 12 title race is this season, with plenty of contenders in the mix. KU should be dynamic on offense again with quarterback Jalon Daniels and rusher Devin Neal returning, in addition to personnel at wide receiver that can balance things out. Kansas should play solid pass defense, but has to find answers on the defensive line.

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James Parks

JAMES PARKS

James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.