Hot Capper Ross Benjamin discloses his top 4 four choices for the upcoming College Football Playoffs, and he includes 3 other possible contenders. Read on to get his insight a his pick for National Championship.
Early College Football Playoff Predictions
We're entering week 12 of the 2016 college football season, and it's usually around this time of when the cream rises to the top. I'm going to look at my top 7 teams that have a realistic chance of reaching the 4-team College Football Playoff on New Year's Eve. These teams are listed below, and will be accompanied by each of their futures odds provided courtesy of TheGreek.
- Alabama (-150): I don't see any scenario in which Alabama isn't part of the 4 teams playing in the College Football Playoff on December 31st. The Crimson Tide are currently just one of 2 unbeaten teams still left, with Western Michigan being the other. They'll host UT-Chattanooga (FCS) on Saturday, and finish up its regular season in Tuscaloosa with their annual Iron Bowl game against Auburn. They've already clinched a spot in the SEC Championship game against either Tennessee or Florida. Somehow, if one of those opponents manages to upset Alabama, they're still a mortal lock to be one of 4 teams vying for a national championship.
- Ohio State (+250): The resurgent Buckeyes have rebounded nicely after suffering their only loss at Penn State, and then following it up with a flat performance during a slim 4-point home win over Northwestern. Their last 2 games have resulted in demolitions of Maryland and nationally ranked Nebraska by identical 62-3 scores. It will all come down to their regular season finale against Michigan in Columbus. By the way, since Urban Meyer became head coach in 2012, Ohio State is 32-2 at home, and that includes 19-1 versus Big 10 opponents.
- Clemson (+1200): Despite being upset by unranked Pitt last Saturday as a 22.0-point home favorite, Clemson still controls its own destiny. They're 2 remaining regular season games are at Wake Forest, and then home versus South Carolina. They'll be a sizable favorite in both of those contests, and another slip up is extremely unlikely. Then it's on the ACC Championship game against either Virginia Tech (7-3) or North Carolina (7-3). The Tigers already own quality wins over #3 Louisville, #17 Florida State, and #18 Auburn.
- Louisville (+800): If Louisville defeats Houston and Kentucky in their last 2 regular season games, I don't see how the playoff committee can deny them 1 of 4 spots. The Cardinals only loss came by 6 points at #5 Clemson. You can't help but think, Louisville's Heisman Trophy leading candidate quarterback Lamar Jackson won't enter the discussion in a tiebreaker scenario, and especially if given a choice between them or a team like Washington. They still have an outside chance of reaching the ACC Championship Game, but it would take Wake Forest pulling off a huge upset against Louisville this upcoming Saturday.
- Michigan (+1600): Even with their shocking upset loss to Iowa as a 24.0-point road favorite last Saturday night, Michigan can still determine its own fate. For that to happen, they'll need to go into “The Horseshoe” in Columbus and come away with a win. Then the Wolverines would need to avoid overlooking a very good Wisconsin team in the Big 10 Championship Game.
- Washington (+2000): The Huskies put themselves in a vulnerable position by losing at home to USC last Saturday. Even if they win out before the selection process takes place, their strength of schedule may ultimately cost them a berth when comparing them to other potential 1 loss teams. Besides, their regular season finale at red-hot Washington State (8-2) will assuredly be no easy task.
- Wisconsin (+2000): It's somewhat of a reach, but the Badgers are the only 2 loss team in the country I deem to have an outside chance. However, they're going to need a lot of help for that to transpire. Hypothetically, they'll need Michigan to knock off Ohio State, and in turn beat the Wolverines in the Big 10 Title Game. Even then it may not be enough. Additionally, Wisconsin would have to hope for Louisville, Clemson, or Washington to lose before the committee makes its final decisions.
Predicted National Semifinal Matchups
#1 Alabama vs. #4 Louisville: If I were to approximate what the college football odds would show if indeed this matchup occurs, my guess is Alabama will be anywhere between a 7.5 to 10.0-point favorite. Whatever the case, Alabama has feasted on opponent's turnovers all year, turning them into defensive touchdowns, or creating a short field for their offense. Heading into this week's action, Louisville has committed an alarming 24 turnovers during its first 10 games. That's extremely high for a team who's gone 9-1 thus far. They've got away with it up to now, but it will catch up to them in this potential matchup. If indeed this specific game occurs, I'll be laying the points with Alabama for one of my college football picks.
#2 Ohio State vs. #3 Clemson: My projected point spread on this possible game shows Ohio State as a 2.5 to 3.0-point favorite. Here's one of my college football predictions, never go against Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer in a big game. He's led Florida and Ohio State to a combined 3 national championships. If this game takes place, the Buckeyes will advance to take on Alabama in a rematch of the 2015 National Championship Game.
Pick: Ohio State
Championship Game Prediction
Ohio State vs. Alabama: My projected line on this contest would have Alabama as a 7.5 to 8.0-point favorite. I'm certainly not going to contradict myself at this juncture. Although Nick Saban's big game resume is also a sparkling one, I'll take Urban Meyer's Buckeyes plus the points, and make an additional smaller wager on the college football money line.
Pick: Ohio State