We are just over two weeks away from the college football season. With anticipation building, there are a handful of Power Five teams that can pin their hopes on winning a conference title.
A number of teams can make their conference championship game, but few can win it.
Teams like Tennessee, Texas A&M and South Carolina have conference title appearance talent but will likely be knocked out by Alabama and Georgia. The same is true for Michigan State and Penn State who share a division with Ohio State and Michigan.
Elsewhere, the Big 12 and Pac-12 are wide open. Both have four teams that could conceivably win their respective conferences.
Matchups certainly play a factor. Baylor, who played Oklahoma and Texas at home last season, will travel to face those teams on the road in 2022.
Based on different factors, let’s take a look at which teams have the best chance to win their conference in 2022.
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LSU brings in one of the more accomplished coaches to lead a loaded quarterback room. Unfortunately for LSU, the path to an SEC championship runs through Tuscaloosa.
Penn State Nittany Lions
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Things went downhill fast for the Nittany Lions last year. Sean Clifford’s injury accelerated their fall from contention. He and head coach James Franklin will aim to return Penn State to prominence.
Texas A&M Aggies
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The fighting Aggies will have one of the more talented teams in the country. The only question is, can Jimbo Fisher deploy them effectively?
NC State Wolfpack
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The Wolfpack had an up-and-down season last year, but one highpoint was an upset win over Clemson. If they can play consistently, they could emerge as an ACC title contender.
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New head coach Mario Cristobal will look to bring over the success he enjoyed at Oregon. His background with offensive line could help the Hurricanes win from the trenches outward.
Michigan State Spartans
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With elite running back Kenneth Walker departing, Mel Tucker might replace him with former four-star and Wisconsin transfer Jalen Berger.
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Quinn Ewers, Isaiah Neyor and a more talented and imposing offensive line will look to take the team to new heights this year. If the defense is serviceable, Texas could compete for a conference title.
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Oregon replaces Mario Cristobal with former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning. There could be enough pieces there for the Ducks to win their division and compete for a championship.
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Baylor will win games in the trenches. How many games they win will be determined by how well they play on the outside.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
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Oklahoma State’s ceiling is determined by how much Spencer Sanders has grown. Head coach Mike Gundy might need to open up the offense to make up for defensive losses.
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The Sooners will look significantly different on both sides of the football. While a number of key players transferred out, Dillon Gabriel could cover whatever deficiencies the roster presents.
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Lincoln Riley brings Heisman hopeful Caleb Williams and talented receiver Mario Williams with him to Los Angeles. The Trojans could certainly win their conference.
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Michigan may have questions long-term, but has a chance to win their conference this year. This will be a big year for Michigan on the field.
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Head coach Kyle Whittingham came close to defeating Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. He will count on talented quarterback Cam Rising to elevate the team this year.
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The reigning national champions should compete for the SEC championship, despite sending a historic draft class to the NFL.
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Clemson has significant bounce-back potential this season. They will need improved quarterback play this season.
Ohio State Buckeyes
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CJ Stroud could not elevate the team in big games against Oregon and Michigan last year. He will have a strong enough roster to compete for a national championship this year.
Alabama Crimson Tide
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Bryce Young has a chance to win a national championship after winning the Heisman Trophy last season. Alabama is the clear title favorite in 2022.