The 2022 college football season has carried a theme of tying together the familiar with the new, binding history with an eye on the future as we move through a period of transition in the sport. The end of 2021 saw a wild coaching carousel reset the clock at several blue-blood programs, conference realignment got crazy again in the summer, and the College Football Playoff saw its expansion efforts stalled, resumed and eventually finished by the time we got to the end of the calendar.
And while the Nick Saban vs. Jimbo Fisher spat in May -- plus Bryan Harsin's late-spring hot seat fiasco at Auburn -- provided interesting conversation to go with the big-picture shifts in the sport, many college football fans were happy to see the focus return to the actual games in the fall. That's where college football showed up to command our attention with the reminders of the familiar and an introduction to the new.
Georgia returned to action as reigning champion and has done nothing to dispel its status as the top dog dawg in the sport, while Michigan has proven that not even two coordinator changes and a new quarterback will shake its newfound position as the Big Ten power. Ohio State was back in the familiar spot of being just one loss away from controlling its own destiny, though this year fell in line with 2014 and 2017 where a one-loss Buckeyes profile was still strong enough to make the playoff.
But there's also the new in 2022 as this is the first College Football Playoff to not involve Alabama or Clemson, while TCU is making its first CFP appearance after getting left out with an 11-1 record in 2014. The 2022 season marks the first year the Big Ten has gotten two teams in the four-team playoff, though even that comes with some familiarity as the Buckeyes third appearance in four seasons with Ryan Day as coach.