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Predictions for the 2023-24 College Football Playoffs

Which four teams will rise above the rest this season?

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The college football season is underway! Week 0 is in the books, Notre Dame is undefeated (thank God Marshall is off the schedule), and the Michigan Wolverines kick off against East Carolina in three days.

With a few months to sort everything out and endless chaos to ensue, this season could be one of the most unpredictable in recent memory. In the final year of the four-team College Football Playoff (CFP) format, which four teams will have a chance for a national championship?

Firstly, let’s look at two teams who will be on the outside looking in.

6) Washington (11-2; Pac-12 Champion)

The top of the Pac-12 will be a bloodbath this year. With Washington, USC, Oregon, Utah, and Oregon State all battling for conference supremacy in the final year of the Pac-12. Similar to the Big 12, this feels like a cannibalization type of season where too many teams are too close talent-wise to escape the regular season with one or fewer losses.

Ultimately, Washington will rule over the rubble.

5) Penn State (11-1)

Penn State is the ultimate Jan Brady. The awkward middle child who can muster some magical moments, but consistently falls flat in its opportunity to lead the conference; “Michigan, Michigan, Michigan!”

4) Georgia Bulldogs (12-1; SEC Runner-Up)

Georgia is looking to become the first team to win three consecutive national championships since Minnesota in the 1930s. With a cupcake schedule, the Bulldogs will roll through the regular season on talent alone before stumbling against LSU in the SEC Championship.

However, recent history and a dominant season will be enough to sneak the Bulldogs into the CFP and give them an opportunity at history.

3) Florida State (12-1; ACC Champion)

Florida State has zero time to waste this season because its quest for a national championship begins against premier challenger LSU in Week 1. Expect the Seminoles to defeat the Tigers in a more decisive fashion and roll until they head to Death Valley on September 23 against Clemson.

Clemson will spoil Florida State’s pursuit of perfection, but the Seminoles will win the rematch in the ACC Championship and punch their ticket to the Playoff for the first time since 2014.

2) LSU Tigers (12-1; SEC Champion)

After losing to Florida State in Week 1, the Tigers will regroup and build momentum throughout the SEC schedule before upsetting No. 1 ranked Georiga in the SEC Championship. Riding a tidal wave of momentum, LSU will prepare for a rematch-rematch with the Seminoles in the opening round of the CFP.

1) Michigan Wolverines (13-0; Big Ten Champion)

Shocked, I know. Everything comes down to Penn State in Happy Valley and “The Game.” The Nittany Lions will be too small on the defensive interior to contain Michigan’s rushing attack for four quarters and the Buckeyes have too many question marks on the offensive line to challenge the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

Michigan will bulldoze whoever emerges from the Big Ten West before putting the “Beat Georgia” drills to use. Once Florida State proves to be the bane of Brian Kelly’s existence, the national championship will come down to Michigan vs. Florida State.

Michigan 31, Florida State 17.