Here is an early look at our predictions for the first ever College Football Playoff this season! That right, say goodbye to the BCS and hello to the football version of the Final Four.
<p>After all the college football controversies surrounding the BCS over the past decade or so, it is a brand new landscape for the sport this season with the introduction of the brand new College Football Playoff. Granted it consists of only four teams, meaning that there will still probably be some controversy regarding the teams left out, but that is still better than just two teams decided by an often tough to understand system in recent years.<br /> <br /><img src="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks-pictures/Oregon%20vs.%20Arizona.jpg" width="200" height="250" alt="Oregon Ducks" title="Oregon Ducks" style="float:right" />This season there will be a 13-person selection committee releasing a Top 25 ranking similar to the AP Bowl and ESPN/USA Today Poll beginning in midseason, and the top four teams in that poll at the end of the season will be the teams advancing to the College Football Playoff semifinals, which will rotate across two major New Year’s Day bowl games every year. This season, the national semifinals will be the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. <br /> <br />That same committee will seed the top four poll finishers at the end of the year, with the top-seeded team facing the fourth-seeded team in one of the semifinals and the second seed facing the third seed in the other semifinal. The two winners will then square off in the National Championship Game in Arlington, TX on January 12th, 2015. <br /> <br />And even though it is only July and we have not yet even reached the Major League Baseball All-Star break, we are already here to help you with your <a href="/picks/college-football/">college football picks</a> with our brazen early predictions on both the national semifinals and on the championship game. <br /> <br />We predict that there will be three undefeated teams this season that will comprise three-fourths of the football version of the Final Four, and as you will see in a bit, we do not expect the top two seeded teams entering the playoff to meet in the championship game and we are predicting the lone playoff participant with a regular season loss to go on to win the championship! <br /> <br />So without further ado, here are our predicted top four teams at season’s end with our predicted records for each team entering the College Football Playoff, as well as our predictions for each of the final three games. <br /> <br /><strong>1 – Oregon Ducks (13-0):</strong> The Ducks are bringing back <a href="/picks/college-football/college-football-picks-pac-12-likely-come-down-oregon-ucla/40511/">nine starters from one of the best offenses in the country with one being quarterback Marcus Mariota</a>, and that includes returning the entire offensive line. That could make this Oregon offense even better than its other explosive offenses of recent seasons because of its experience, and that is a scary thought for the rest of the Pac-12. The Ducks also have great speed on defense, although the Ducks remain undersized on that side of the ball and can still be overpowered by physical offenses. Luckily for them, the most physical team in the conference Stanford could be in line for a down year and the Ducks get them at home this season. A win there could just about guarantee an undefeated regular season and we then like Oregon to complete that perfection with a win in the Pac-12 Championship Game most likely vs. UCLA or USC in Santa Clara. <br /> <br /><strong>2 – Florida State Seminoles (13-0):</strong> The defending champions went undefeated last season, in fact having one of the most <a href="/picks/college-football/college-football-picks-florida-state-heavy-favorite-win-acc/40462/">dominating regular seasons in college football history while winning every game by double-digits</a>! They now return the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Jameis Winston, an NFL-ready wide receiver in Rashad Greene, and NFL-ready tight end in Nick O'Leary and five seniors including four starters on the offensive line. Yes they lost two running backs to the NFL in Devonta Freeman and James Wilder, but they have another senior stud back in Karlos Williams waiting in the wings. The defense returns seven starters with the linebackers taking the biggest hit with two moving on to the NFL, but the rest of the defense is dominant enough to carry the load until the linebacking situation gets solidified. And the schedule is favorable again with the Noles’ probable only remote threat Clemson having to travel to Tallahassee. We do think that the weaker ACC schedule will delegate Florida State to the second seed though provided Oregon goes undefeated in the Pac-12. <br /> <br /><strong>3 – Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1):</strong> While a lot has changed with the playoff structure this year, one thing that does not figure to change for many years to come is the SEC Championship Game winner getting a virtual automatic bid into the playoff. The Crimson Tide were probably the <a href="/picks/college-football/college-football-picks-can-anyone-end-state-alabama-s-sec-dominance/40516/">dominant team in the conference last year and simply ran into an Auburn team that lived a charmed life</a>. Look for the Tide to avenge that loss this year with quite possibly the best set of running backs and wide receivers in the conference, as well as the usual great combination of size and speed on defense. The Tide have to replace quarterback A.J. McCarron, but the great depth at the offensive skill positions with running backs T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry as well as receivers Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones, not to mention an NFL-sized offensive line should make the quarterback transition easier. We are predicting Alabama for third because we could easily see it losing one game inside the SEC, but this may end up being the best team in the country. <br /> <br /><strong>4 – Ohio State Buckeyes (13-0):</strong> Granted we are not big fans of the Big Ten, but if the Buckeyes win a big road game vs. Michigan State, which we think they <a href="/picks/college-football/ncaa-football-picks-ohio-state-favored-big-ten-title/40489/">will to avenge their first loss in the Urban Meyer era in last year’s Big Ten Championship Game</a>, then we have them pegged as the third unbeaten team in the nation this year. That would force the committee’s hand to include Ohio State in the playoff, though note that we would seed an unbeaten Ohio State fourth behind a one-loss SEC Champion. The biggest key to perfection for Ohio State this year will be improvement on defense, and the Buckeyes at least have more experience on that side of the ball with eight returning starters including the entire defensive line. <br /> <br /><strong>National Semifinal #1 </strong><br /><strong>(1) Oregon over (4) Ohio State:</strong> We mentioned that Oregon’s biggest Achilles Heel is lack of size on the defensive side of the ball, and Ohio State does have an offensive line capable of manhandling the Ducks’ defensive line. In the end though, we feel that this contest will come down to team speed, and while we concede that the probable Ohio State edge in the trenches would be a concern, we simply feel that Oregon’s humongous edge in speed on both sides of the ball would ultimately prove to be too much for the Buckeyes to overcome. Thus, look for the Ducks to remain undefeated to advance to the National Championship Game, although this contest should be their toughest challenge to this point. <br /> <br /><strong>National Semifinal #2 </strong><br /><strong>(3) Alabama over (2) Florida State:</strong> Let us first flash back to last season, when Florida State destroyed all of its regular season opponents, destroyed Duke in the ACC Championship Game, and then when <a href="/picks/college-football/college-football-picks-auburn-tigers-vs-florida-state-seminoles/36293/">faced with a huge leap in class in the final BCS Championship Game vs. Auburn out of the SEC</a>, probably would have lost if not for a game-changing 100-yard kick-off return for a touchdown. Well, we again expect the Seminoles to struggle with this jump in class after beating up on out-classed ACC foes all year, except that this Alabama team will probably be better than last year’s Auburn team and as long as the Crimson Tide get just decent quarterback play from whoever wins that job, they should prove too much and put an end to a long Florida State winning streak. <br /> <br /><strong>National Championship </strong><br /><strong>(3) Alabama over (1) Oregon:</strong> Oregon may enter this contest sky high and undefeated, but for the first time all year the Ducks will be facing a defense whose speed can actually match that of the high octane Oregon offense. Also, the matchup of the Alabama super-sized offense line vs. the Oregon under-sized defensive line looks like a severe mismatch in favor of the probable three-seeds. So again, while the system has changed, look for the SEC Champion to emerge triumphant in the first College Football Playoff National Championship. </p>