Our College Bowl game projections for 2022, plus a look far into the future at the potential landscape of the College Football world.
But why stop there? As long as we’re making projections for the upcoming season, why not peer into the crystal ball and take a look into the future of the sport? What will the postseason look like in 10 years? Or in 20 years?
Here’s the lowdown on the upcoming season, along with the very first previews of the 2032 and 2042 seasons.
College Bowl Game Projections 2022: Who’s Playoff Bound?
For the foreseeable future, the College Football Playoff remains a four-team event. For 2022, we see two familiar faces and two teams returning to glory:
Peach Bowl (national semifinal): #4 Ohio State vs. #1 Alabama
The two preseason favorites for the Heisman Trophy, OSU’s CJ Stroud and last year’s winner, Alabama’s Bryce Young, meet up in this semifinal. Can the Buckeyes pull off the upset as they did back in the first playoff in 2014?
Fiesta Bowl (national semifinal): #3 Southern California vs. #2 Georgia
Lincoln Riley’s hire pays off for the Trojans immediately, as they make their first playoff appearance against last year’s champions.
Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Oregon
Jim Harbaugh can’t make it two in a row against the Buckeyes. But his consolation prize is a trip to Pasadena to meet up with the Ducks and new coach Dan Lanning.
Cotton Bowl: Miami (FL) vs. Houston
After losing a tight ACC championship game to Clemson, new coach Mario Cristobal leads the U down to Dallas, where AAC champion Houston gets to play in its home state.
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Wisconsin
Dabo Swinney’s squad is back atop the Atlantic Coast Conference, but a regular-season loss to Notre Dame costs the Tigers a playoff berth. Instead, they’ll take on Wisconsin in Miami.
Sugar Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Texas
Soon, it’ll be a conference rivalry once more when the Longhorns head to the SEC. For now, fans will enjoy this New Year’s Day battle in New Orleans.
How Will the Playoff Look in 10 Years?
It’s college football, so a lot of the teams will look familiar. But what about the people leading them? And what about the playoff landscape?
By 2032, it’s safe to assume expansion will win out, so we’re going to set up an eight-team playoff field to decide the national champion. The following could make for some pretty exciting matchups.
Sugar Bowl: #1 Alabama vs. #8 Coastal Carolina
81-year-old Nick Saban has already announced he’ll be retiring after the season. But first, he gets to make one last piece of history by becoming the first head man to coach against his own Heisman Trophy-winning player in the College Football Playoff.
Fresh off a Hall of Fame career with the Titans, Derrick Henry is in charge of the program at Coastal Carolina and has won a pair of Sun Belt titles in his first two years.
The Chanticleers are in talks to join a major conference. Perhaps the ACC or SEC. But first, they’ll take their shot against the sport’s greatest power.
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Orange Bowl: #2 Clemson vs. #7 Ohio State
Dabo Swinney and Ryan Day stand poised to become the “old men” of the college coaching profession upon Saban’s retirement.
The winner of this quarterfinal will have bragging rights and the first opportunity to become the new “dean” among college coaches.
Cotton Bowl: #3 Notre Dame vs. #6 Louisiana State
Luke Fickell left Cincinnati after the 2026 season to help rebuild a struggling Notre Dame program. Now the Fighting Irish are back in the college football playoff for the first time in years. And they’re ready to battle an LSU team dealing with coaching drama of their own.
Brian Kelly’s ill-fated tenure ended after only three seasons, and the Tigers went through two more coaches before hiring Lincoln Riley away from USC with the first $150 million coaching contract. But Riley announced just last week that he’s NFL-bound to take over the New York Giants.
With nowhere to turn, LSU’s administration asked native son Ed Orgeron, now a studio host on Amazon Prime’s College Gameday, to attempt to lead the squad to another national title. Orgeron accepted the interim position with his trademark “GO TIGAHS!”
Rose Bowl: #4 Florida State vs. #5 Michigan
We saved the best for last. The Seminoles are back from the abyss under Deion Sanders. “Coach Prime” turned Jackson State into a national champion into FCS. He then came home to Tallahassee to revitalize a long-struggling FSU program.
Deion has the Seminoles on the brink of a national title – if he can top the rookie head coach across the field.
After winning his 10th Super Bowl at age 52 as a backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Tom Brady announced his third retirement from the NFL. This one is sticking, however, as he’s taken over for old buddy Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.
The battle between Brady and Deion is the prime-time game on December 31, 2032, with broadcasters Ryan Seacrest and Peyton Manning calling the action before LeBron James and Kim Kardashian hosts “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” from Times Square.
College Football Playoff 2042: What IS This Sport?
Ok, now we’re a long way from our initial College Bowl Game Projections for 2022…
Let’s be honest, some of the players who figure to star in the 2042 College Football Playoff aren’t even born yet.
About the only thing we can count on is that the sport itself keeps on changing, and before the 2040 season, the heads of the conferences faced reality and separated major college football into four super conferences. No more SEC, ACC, Big 10 – just East, West, North, and South.
So now the playoff is back to just four teams – the winners of each region. But it’s not just the divisions that are hard to recognize:
Tesla, Inc. Bowl: Eastern Conference champion Rutgers vs. Northern Conference champion Ohio State
The former Big Ten rivals meet in the unlikeliest of matchups.
Rutgers, long a Big Ten laughingstock, saw their fortunes as a program change dramatically when the school was able to sign a NIL deal with the government of nearby New York City, giving players exclusive access to some of NYC’s greatest perks – appearances on late-night talk shows, roles in Broadway performances, even throwing out the first pitch at Yankees games.
Now they go up against the powerhouse program from their former conference. The mighty Buckeyes are back in the playoffs, despite seeing three starters from last year’s national championship team transfer to Rutgers in the offseason after the state of New Jersey promised rest stops named in their honor on the Garden State Parkway.
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Twitter Bowl: Southern Conference champion Miami (FL) vs. Western Conference champion UCLA
Yep, you noticed – Elon Musk now owns the College Football Playoff, outbidding the NCAA when the last contract expired in 2041. And he’s got a great matchup for the first-ever Twitter Bowl (played in what was formerly AT&T Stadium).
After a successful first term as President of the United States, Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson declined to run for re-election. Instead, he chooses to take over the football program at his alma mater in Miami. Johnson, now one of the richest men in America, is working without a salary in 2042 as he attempts to compete with the NIL program at Rutgers and other major football powerhouses.
Today, he battles a coach who has taken just the opposite approach. That’s right, Lincoln Riley’s back in college football. Lured away from the NFL by the first-ever 1,000 bitcoin per year contract to run the show at UCLA.
Leading Riley’s Western champions is newly crowned Heisman Trophy winner, Lonzo Ball Jr. He credits his grandfather and offensive coordinator LaVar for the Bruins’ success in defeating crosstown rivals USC and making the playoff for the first time in school history.