Looking at the rest of that sextet, NC State had New Year’s Six aspirations this season in a weaker ACC and it’s truly hard to see how in one offseason the Wolfpack can get things on track. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy is a seasoned coach who’s had his team dancing around the four-team playoff a few times. The Cowboys have never stuck the landings and in a Big 12 with Texas and Oklahoma for at least one more season, don’t bet on having a TCU-like breakthrough. You can discard Louisville. The Cardinals lost their head coach to Cincinnati this offseason and don’t have the recruiting chops or the roster to make any type of major push. Baylor is in that same boat despite a 2021 campaign where it won a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Can Arkansas make its way Razor-back to glory?

If Tulane doesn’t have the most direct route to the CFP among those six, I believe it’s Arkansas, purely by the Razorbacks playing in the Southeastern Conference. A rise out of Fayetteville could be similar to what we saw from Tennessee this season. A victory over Alabama cemented the Volunteers as legitimate title contenders halfway through the season. Arkansas plays almost all of the SEC’s heavy hitters in the regular season and its non-annual crossover game should be a walkover against Vanderbilt. As unlikely as the Razorbacks making it to the CFP may seem now, TCU’s odds were the exact same before its Cinderella chase.