The College Football season is almost here and here are our conference championship picks. We have predictions on all five major conferences as well as a couple of others.
The 2014 College Football season kicks off in a few weeks on October 28th, so it is time to finalize out college football picks for the conference championship futures, which are available at 5 Dimes.
Naturally we have selections on all five of the major conferences, and we also added our championship predictions for the smaller American Athletic Conference (AAC) and the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Unfortunately we are rather chalky with many of our selections this year with the exception of the Big 12, but on the other hand although our other selections are all short-priced, not all of them are the actual favorites to win the conference.
Granted we are not fans of actually betting on futures that are less than 10/1 odds, and with that in mind we only have one real wager on these selections, but by selecting shorter priced teams in most of these conferences, that only fortifies the point that there is no real future value to be found in those conferences this year.
Then again many bettors do not mind as much taking shorter odds despite tying up their money for about four months, and for those players, most of these selections should be right up their alley.
So with no further ado, here are our college football conference championship selections for 2014, accompanied by their current odds at 5 Dimes.
ACC – Florida State Seminoles -270: Although we personally would not put real money on a -270 favorite, it would be one of the biggest upsets ever if the defending national champions do not repeat as ACC champions. The Seminoles simply have too much team speed on both sides of the ball for the rest of the ACC, and with Heisman winner Jameis Winston back at quarterback and the best set of offensive skill position players in the conference, including NFL-ready players at wide receiver (Rashad Greene) and tight end (Nick O'Leary), we would not be at all surprised if Florida State is again undefeated heading into the new college football version of the Final Four. The only threat may come from Clemson, but the Seminoles get the Tigers at home this year after winning 51-14 at Clemson last season, and remember that the Tigers lost Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant and Roderick McDowell.
Big Ten – Ohio State Buckeyes +120: To be honest, we are not at all high on the Big Ten and we would have preferred to take a shot at a big price here. However, it appears that Ohio State simply has fewer holes than any other team in the conference, and since we feel that Michigan State got a bit lucky last season winning many close games that could have gone either way, it basically left us no choice but to select the favored Buckeyes. After all, Ohio State is still a perfect 24-0 in the regular season in two years under Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes return a Heisman Trophy candidate and duel threat at quarterback in Braxton Miller and they are full of talent and experience on the defensive front seven, which was not the case last year when the defense was a weak link and lacking in experience.
Big 12 – TCU Horned Frogs +1400: This is one conference where we are taking a big swing looking for a home run as we think that all of the favorites have discernable weakness and we expect improvement from the TCU offense, which may be all that is needed to win a watered down conference as the Horned Frogs’ defense is already legitimate and one of the best in the country. Yes the offense was about as exciting as watching grass grow during a dismal 4-8 season last year, but Coach Gary Patterson has brought in two co-offensive coordinators from programs that had potent offenses in Doug Meacham from Houston and Sonny Cumbie from Texas Tech, so major improvement can be expected. Besides, these odds are good enough to present interesting hedging possibilities late in the season.
Pac-12 – Oregon Ducks +105: Not only do we expect the Ducks win the Pac-12 this season and finally beat Stanford after getting upset by the Cardinal each of the last two years, but we actually foresee Oregon being undefeated and being ranked first in the country heading into the national Final Four! The Ducks return nine starters from probably the most prolific offense in the country including their own Heisman Trophy candidate in Marcus Mariota at quarterback. Also, they do not face USC during the regular season this year (although they could might in the Pac-12 Championship Game) and they get that aforementioned Stanford team that does not figure to be as good as the teams that beat the Ducks the last two years at home this time around in Eugene. And while the defense may be undersized against more physical teams, it is amazingly fast and can outrun the finesse offenses of the Pac-12.
SEC – Alabama Crimson Tide +155: We still feel that Alabama had the best team in the country last season, and the fact that the Florida State Seminoles had such a tough time putting away Auburn in the final BCS Championship Game ever only re-enforced that belief. However, the Crimson Tide ran into a team of destiny and suffered their first loss in the final game of the regular season to that Auburn team on that miraculous touchdown return on a missed field goal on the game’s final play in the Iron Bowl. We would not read too much into the Tide’s upset loss at the hands of Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl because it was fairly obvious that Alabama was disinterested with its national title hopes dashed. Now the Tide are loaded at running back and wide receiver again, they have an NFL-sized offensive line and the defense figures to be as great as usual. If Alabama just gets competent play from the quarterback that wins the job of replacing the departed A.J. McCarron, the Crimson Tide are our choices to win the first ever College Football Playoff this season.
AAC – Houston Cougars +300: The Cougars are the third choice in the conference behind the two co-favorites Central Florida and Cincinnati, who are both listed at +180. Sure the Cougars lost their last five games last year following a 7-1 start, but Houston had a very young team that was supposed to be a year away anyway, and now that year is here! The Cougars return a nice 17 starters on the offense and defense combined, including sophomore quarterback Willie O'Korn , who while inconsistent has some nice moments as a freshman, a legitimate All-American candidate at wide receiver in junior Deontay Greenberry and nine starters on what was an excellent defense. And while facing Central Florida would probably have been the AAC Game of the Year, those two teams actually do not face each other this season, which is one less obstacle for the upstart Cougars to overcome.
MAC – Toledo Rockets +280: The Rockets are also the third choice in the conference behind favored Bowling Green (+130) and second choice Northern Illinois (+275). Now Toledo may not be a world-beater and it will not be a BCS-Buster like Northern Illinois was two years ago and would have been again last year if not for a loss to Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game, but we are only talking about winning the MAC here and the Rockets appear to have lost less than other conference frontrunners, including the two current favorites. You see, Northern Illinois lost quarterback Jordan Lynch while Bowling Green lost its head coach Dave Clawson, but in addition to that, Buffalo lost the fifth overall pick in the NFL Draft in Khalil Mack while Ball State lost another excellent quarterback in Keith Wenning. Toledo did lose running back David Fluellen, but the Rockets do return 16 total starters including four on an excellent offensive line, and that could be enough to win the conference.