2022 National Championship contenders: The Southeast
Which teams in college football have the personnel and tactics to realistically contend for a Championship?
Today we’re talking the Southeast. Not the Southeastern Conference, there’s a lot of schools in there we’ll leave out today, but the southeastern quadrant of the greater American South.
Why so specific? Because the SEC is loaded and there’s a ton of teams in the SEC and ACC I want to address so we’re going to split them up. We’ll hit the SEC East and ACC today, move north to the Midwest, and come back to the SEC West for our finale.
As a reminder, we’re evaluating teams on the following three metrics:
Space force theory: The gist here is that elite athletes at left tackle, deep threat receiver, man cornerback, and Edge rusher can have an outsized impact on a game. Their matchups are routinely 1-on-1 battles in space with high stakes for winning or losing (touchdowns, turnovers, etc), so having elite athletes at those positions will matter more than other personnel, save perhaps for having really good decision-making at quarterback.
The rule of three in pass defense: To play elite, modern pass defense you need to be able to handle one of two requirements. To rush the quarterback with only three or to be able to cover a team’s top three receivers in man/match coverage without getting burned. Rushing with only three allows you to get help to defenders anywhere in the secondary, playing three capable man coverage defenders allows you to survive without needing help everywhere.
Pro-style passing wins titles: The most difficult level of college offense to master or to defend is a pro-style, spread passing game. Teams who can execute it with high level personnel will beat other high level teams executing a different style of offense.
Combine those three metrics with our currently limited but not useless sense of the rosters in the game and we can do some decent guesswork on who can really win the title this year. By the time the playoffs are settling into focus, we should have a decent idea of who can win the title.
I’m going to sort these teams by National Championship odds. Ready? Here we go.