Which College Football Programs Had the Best 2022 Seasons? My Top 10

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January 11

Rather than bore you with a final top ten of the season, because what’s the point? The Georgia Bulldogs are No. 1. Instead, let’s take a stab at which ten programs had the best years relative to their standing in college football and expectations coming into 2022.

1. Georgia Bulldogs: The Dawgs won their second straight natty, 15 games, and finished undefeated with the most dominant championship game victory known to humankind. It’s hard to begin to make a case that anyone is happier about how their 2022 campaign went than Kirby Smart’s squad.

2. TCU Horned Frogs: Picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 to the National Championship! It was quite the ascent for TCU in year one of the Sonny Dykes era. New kings of the conference? Maybe. Regardless, no one can take away the CFP, Max Duggan’s Heisman finalist, or the HypnoToad.

3. Michigan Wolverines: The ending really, really stunk but don’t lose sight of an undefeated regular season, another win over Ohio State, this time in Columbus, a second-straight Big Ten title, and the most wins in school history. Short of winning the natty, that’s a great season.

4. Tulane Green Wave: January 1st isn’t what it used to be but let’s put that aside. We’re talking about Tulane making it to the Rose Bowl! Tulane! They didn’t just make it; the Green Wave beat one of the most storied programs and the Heisman Trophy winner in their backyard. That’s pure Hollywood.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes: It doesn’t matter if you’re a glass-half-full or half-empty person; OSU has something for you. They lost to their rival again, and the defense (fixed?) allowed 87 points in their final two games again. But they made the damn CFP! That’s an outstanding year and counts for a lot.

6. Kansas Jayhawks: Not just a basketball school, KU cracked the top 25 for the first time since 2009 and made a bowl for the first time since 2008. Their six wins are more than the previous three seasons combined! Lance Leipold has them heading in the right direction, and Jalon Daniels is a star.

7. USC Trojans: The Men of Troy are back and ahead of schedule. The West Coast’s premier program had become almost irrelevant, and in one year, Lincoln Riley had them back on the national stage on the cusp of the CFP. Plus, Caleb Williams added to their record amount of Heisman Trophies.

8. Tennessee Volunteers: Similarly, the Vols were a national power that had become an afterthought as a title contender. After cycling through four coaches since Phillip Fulmer, Josh Heupel led them to 11 wins, their most since 2001. Beating Bama was glorious, as Rocky Top feels relevant again.

9. Washington Huskies: Not at the levels of USC or Tennessee, but the Huskies were a brand once upon a time. After going 4-8 last season, Kalen DeBoer had a surprising one-year turnaround. Their 11 wins are the third most in program history, and it’s their second top-ten finish since 2000.

10. Oregon State Beavers: OSU had a fantastic season. Ten wins were their most in 16 years, and two of their losses came by three points to USC and Washington. If this were a March Madness resume, we’d count Florida, Boise St., Fresno St., Washington St., and rival Oregon as quality wins.

Others of Note: Duke, Florida State, Fresno State, Illinois, James Madison, Kansas State, LSU, Maryland, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina, Troy, UCLA, UTSA, Utah

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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