2021-22 New Year’s Six & Playoff Predictions

With only a few weeks until the 2021 season kicks off teams across the nation are preparing to make a run for the college football playoff. Whether it’s teams like Alabama or Clemson looking to make it back into the playoff or teams like Penn State or Cincinnati looking to make their first playoff appearance, everyone is excited to see what this season brings. Although most teams would consider not making the playoff a bad season, with only a 4 team playoff making a new year’s six bowl game is nothing to be ashamed of even if you are a top program in the country. Let’s get into how I think this year’s playoff and bowl games will look like when the regular season is all said and done.

Peach Bowl, Atlanta, GA

Notre Dame vs Washington 

Seeing Washington on this could be a surprise to a lot of people after a few below average seasons but I think the Huskies turn a lot of heads this year. They won’t win the PAC-12 to get that Rose Bowl bid but I can definitely see them sitting around the top ten teams all year long. The Fighting Irish once again won’t have any conference affiliation this year and with a not so strong schedule I think they end up in a New Year’s Six game and not the playoffs. 

Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, AZ

Cincinnati vs Texas A&M 

Personally I think Cincinnati has a real shot at making this year’s playoffs but it would take another undefeated season which is not an easy thing to do. The Bearcats will drop a game and end up in a New Year’s Six game but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a real playoff case. As for the Aggies, they’ll have another above average season but I don’t see them outranking any of the top SEC teams this year. 

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Penn State vs Oregon 

Both of these teams will have great seasons but will fall just short of the playoff. Oregon wins the PAC-12 while Penn State unfortunately does not win the B1G Ten but will finish as the highest ranked B1G Ten team that does not make the playoff. 

Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, LA

Alabama vs Iowa State

This may come as a surprise to see Alabama not in my playoff predictions but I think they take a step back from last year and with what I think will be a dominant Georgia team I don’t see Alabama making the playoffs. As for the Cyclones of Iowa State they will have a solid season finishing behind Oklahoma. 

Playoff Semifinal

Cotton Bowl, Arlington, TX

#1 Georgia vs #4 Ohio State

These two will both win their respective conferences and secure a spot in the playoff for Ohio State’s third year in a row and Georgia’s first appearance since 2017. I give Georgia the #1 seed because I think that a win against Clemson will give them a big resume boost. Ohio State will take care of the B1G Ten like always and probably won’t even be tested by anyone in conference. 

Playoff Semifinal

Orange Bowl, Miami, FL

#2 Oklahoma vs #3 Clemson 

Oklahoma breezes through the regular season and wins the Big 12 for a seventh straight year. I think Clemson will do very similarly, winning the ACC with no problem but will have a loss on their record to an out of conference opponent in Georgia. 

2021-22 National Championship

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

#1 Georgia vs #2 Oklahoma

This year we get a rematch of the 2018 Rose Bowl, One of the greatest college football games in recent years. Obviously all the talent from that game is no longer on either team but the talent on both these rosters this year will make for a great National Championship. If everything goes according to plan for both these programs I think it’ll be very likely we see this matchup in early January. The 2021-22 season will finish with the Georgia Bulldogs breaking their 40 year National Championship drought. 

By Andrew Kalb

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