Springtime is finally here, and with it, the beginning of the 2024 college football season is, at least to some extent, also here. Some spring games have already taken place, and now we're starting to get a glimpse of just what teams could be working with as many more have hopes of making the 12-team expanded College Football Playoff.

No longer will it just come down to four teams. Now teams like Florida State, who were put on the outside looking in by voters, won't have to worry about missing the field even if they aren't undefeated conference champions, or are missing their starting quarterback, as power conferences will receive an automatic bid. Not only will they receive an automatic bid, but they should also receive a first-round bye, assuming they are one of the four highest-ranked conference champions.

With that said, now that we all have a brief appetizer to our college football fix, it's time to make some bold predictions about who could and couldn't make the new expanded College Football Playoff.

LSU Tigers make the CFP

Let's start with LSU football. The Tigers will be transitioning from Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels to redshirt junior Garrett Nussmeier. If the LSU spring game was any indication of the season that Nussmeier is set to have, then LSU fans should be pretty happy.

Nussmeier went a perfect 7-for-7 and threw two touchdowns and 187 yards passing. Per usual, though, the Tigers looked to have some major offensive weapons, including Liberty transfer wide receiver CJ Daniels, who will be alongside Kyren Lacy and Zavion Thomas, who each scored long touchdown passes in the Tigers' spring game.

Defense will continue to be the question in Baton Rouge, however, as new defensive coordinator Blake Baker takes over the unit. Still, at 12 teams, if LSU can get 10 wins, that's probably good enough to get into the playoff.

Miami makes the CFP

The Miami Hurricanes could be one of the eight additional teams to take advantage of the expanded College Football Playoff this season. Entering Year 3 under Cristobal, the Hurricanes are primed for a successful season, and that's mainly because of the transfer portal addition of quarterback Cam Ward.

Ward looked the part like really no other Hurricanes quarterback has in decades just from his appearance in the spring game. He went 19-of-24 passing for 324 yards and three touchdowns. He and Xavier Restrepo should be a nice combo together.

The biggest question the Hurricanes need to likely address is the running game, which never got going. Mark Fletcher is still dealing with a foot injury he suffered back in the bowl game, and Miami is losing Henry Parrish and TreVonte' Citizen to the portal. With Cristobal's staff said to be highly active in the spring portal, a couple of new additions and the Hurricanes could easily find themselves in the playoff.

Alabama misses the CFP

Jalen Milroe and Kalen DeBoer

This will never feel comfortable to say, given the absurd amount of success that has happened in Tuscaloosa for over two decades in the Alabama football program. But this is a team that is in a major transition. No matter how good of a coach Kalen DeBoer is or will be for Alabama football, coming in to replace arguably the greatest coach the sport has ever seen makes for a huge transition period.

Would it surprise anyone to see the Crimson Tide back in the playoff? Absolutely not. However, taking on an all-new philosophy under a new coaching staff, replacing the one that had been instilled there for over 20 years, is no easy task. There's obviously still good talent on this Alabama football squad to win games, like quarterback Jalen Milroe, who seemed to fit in pretty nicely to DeBoer's offense at first, although later started to fizzle.

It's hard to judge off a spring game, but no matter what, overcoming a transition period will be Alabama's biggest obstacle this season.

Utah makes the CFP

Utes football will be in a new conference home in the 2024 season, and that may just work wonders for the program. Under Kyle Whittingham, Utah football has been one of the more consistent programs in college football, not suffering a losing season since 2002.

With the Utes moving to a new-look Big 12 conference now, they may just be set to take over the conference entirely. A lot of that could be thanks to returning quarterback Cam Rising, who went 15-for-19 passing for 208 yards and two touchdowns. The connection he had with Dorian Singer and Money Parks was exciting and fitting for the usually explosive Big 12 offenses.

If Utah finds themselves as conference champs, they'll be in the playoff.

Georgia makes CFP, takes No. 1 seed

Carson Beck, Kirby Smart, Georgia football

Okay, this may not seem like a bold prediction, especially since the Bulldogs have owned that spot the last two seasons when entering the playoff. However, in the new-look SEC that's adding talented teams Oklahoma and Texas, the road to the playoff isn't as easy any longer, and undefeated seasons aren't nearly as certain.

Granted, being in the SEC the voters tend to favor the teams within the conference because of their schedules. It'd be surprising if Georgia football wasn't in the playoff, especially with the expansion, but who attains No. 1 now feels less certain.

Then you start to look at the talent Georgia has returning, that includes starting quarterback Carson Beck, who quietly had a great season. Then look at the receivers he'll have to throw to, like Dominic Lovett, Miami transfer Colbie Young, Dillon Bell, and Rara Thomas. This is a deep room for the Bulldogs. It's the running backs that are the question marks.

The defense should also be good once again, that at this point just keeps getting restocked every season. That's good enough to put Georgia as the No. 1 seed again, just over Ohio State.