The myth goes something like this.
In August, 128 teams will start the 2016 season unbeaten, with high hopes. The vast majority of schools do believe if everything breaks just right, if those freshmen and transfers are as good as anticipated, if those redshirts and veterans all come together, they might be able to get into the College Football Playoff chase.
Now a reality check: Only a fraction of those 128 could actually win the national title. More specifically, the metrics show an exact number of schools that could get to the CFP and win it: 11 teams.
Of course Alabama is one of them. Who else made the cut? An alphabetical rundown of the teams who can buy into the hype of a national title in 2016. Spoiler alert: You may be surprised at a few that made the list.
1. Yes, you have to start with Alabama
College football has not had a repeat national champion since 2011-12. Alabama last performed the feat, and there's tangible reason to believe the Tide could double up again. Read more.
2. Baylor Bears
With an explosive offense (again) and a rebuilt defense, the Bears are near the top of the list of schools with a shot at sweeping through the CFP. Read more.
Clemson narrowly missed out on a national title in 2015, but Deshaun Watson's return and the overall strength of Dabo Swinney's program means the Tigers have a chance to finish the job in 2016. Read more.
FSU is two years removed from a national title, which it followed with a trip to the playoff. With Dalvin Cook returning and a stockpile of talent, the Noles could be poised for a big 2016. Read more.
Doubt Tom Herman and his Cougars all you want. The reality is, Houston has the horsepower and schedule to run the table and shock the nation with a CFP title in 2016. Read more.
6. LSU Tigers
Sure, 2015 went off the rails for LSU. But 2016 looks awfully good for the Tigers, who boast a loaded depth chart and play a challenging schedule. And oh yeah, they have Leonard Fournette. Read more.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh may make news in the offseason for recruit sleepovers, tweaking the SEC and his love of Judge Judy, but he's built a team that's already capable of winning it all. Read more.
Notre Dame has three quarterbacks who could start in 2016, but no matter who earns the job, he will lead an Irish team with the talent to make it into the College Football Playoff. Read more.
Oklahoma stumbled in the 2015 College Football Playoff. Don't bank on the Sooners stumbling again; led by QB Baker Mayfield and maybe the nation's best secondary, OU is a major 2016 threat. Read more.
Stanford loses some key contributors, but returns Christian McCaffrey, has the depth to overcome QB Kevin Hogan's departure and ... did we mention that McCaffrey guy? Read more.
Tennessee stumbled to a 2-3 start in 2015, plagued by shoulda, woulda, coulda losses. The 2016 Vols are stocked with enough depth and star power to be a legit CFP front-runner. Read more.