[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2165" img_size="large"][vc_column_text]The Godfather and Consigliere love to debate topics and, as we all know, The Godfather wins in the end. But here’s an interesting debate about first-time playoff teams.
Which team will make the playoff for the first time this upcoming season?
Godfather’s Take: Utah
The Pac-12 hasn’t been represented in a while when it comes to the college football playoff but that could change with Kyle Whittingham’s 2022 team. Led by QB Cam Rising and a strong running game with Tavion Thomas and Micah Bernard, they have a smash-mouth offense that should wear down Pac-12 opponents and open up the passing game which boasts tight ends Dalton Kincaid and Brant Kuithe. In fact, almost everything about the offense screams power including transfer Logan Kendall who can be a terrifying h-back. On defense, they lose star LB Devin Lloyd but don’t worry too much as they have a nasty defensive line and bring in veteran LB Mohamoud Diabete from Florida. And don’t be fooled by the slew of passing yards they gave up last season in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State as that was a depleted secondary. They have some question marks there but should be able to keep the play in front of them. I can see some tough battles but this should be a stronger team in the fourth quarter than most and a run through the Pac-12 with one loss at the most could still land them in the playoff.
Consigliere’s Take: Ole Miss
Only 3 SEC teams have ever appeared in the CFP - Alabama, Georgia, and LSU, and it's time that a new face takes their place. So why the Rebels? It starts with their head coach. Lane Kiffin has proven time and again that he is an exceptional offensive mind. It doesn't seem to matter who is playing for him, they're going to put up huge numbers. And Jaxson Dart is the most naturally talented quarterback he's had in his time as a head coach. This combination of coach and QB will absolutely light up scoreboards across the south. So why this season? Within their own division, LSU is undergoing a program reset, Arkansas is on the come up but isn't quite there yet, Texas A&M has a lot of question marks, and Auburn is in shambles. Obviously, Alabama is still the team to beat by a wide margin, but the Rebels have the advantage of getting them in Vaught-Hemingway this season. And the same goes for the Egg Bowl, which is in Oxford as well. Their toughest road game is at that Texas A&M team which I do not fully trust. Their crossover games with the East are also about as good as you can ask for - Kentucky at home and at lowly Vanderbilt. They're going to put up points, and I can see them entering the November 12 tilt with Alabama at 9-0 and ranked in the top 5. While the Tide will be favored pretty much no matter what, Ole Miss has proven in the past they're capable of this exact upset. Win that game, and they will have a great shot at making the playoff.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]