Let’s take a closer look at the betting odds for the four teams that I expect to participate in the system, while also predicting the eventual outcome of the semifinals and championship game.
I’m certainly glad that major college football has moved past the BCS era into this new way of doing things, but sports bettors need to be cautious in wagering on teams to win it all this season.
It’s hard for me to imagine that one conference will land two spots in the field, which is why I’ve chosen a single representative out of four different areas.
The Florida State Seminoles (+329) are the betting favorites to repeat as national champions, while the Alabama Crimson Tide (+660) occupy the second spot.
My final two teams to complete the field are the Ohio State Buckeyes (+1262) and UCLA Bruins (+1754).
Florida State will likely be favored in every ACC game that it plays this season—leading directly to the No. 1 overall seed among the four teams.
The Seminoles will take on the fourth-seeded Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl, as I simply don’t see the possibility of the Bruins playing a virtual home game in Pasadena.
No. 3 UCLA will have to travel to SEC country and take on No. 2 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
The Buckeyes are ready to take the next step in head coach Urban Meyer’s third year in Columbus, as quarterback Braxton Miller returns after accounting for 36 touchdowns a season ago.
Ohio State’s defensive line will prove to be too much for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston to handle, while its No. 3 recruiting class will contribute in a big way during Big Ten Conference play.
In the other semifinal, I believe UCLA is ready to take the next step under Jim Mora Jr., especially with signal-caller Brett Hundley returning.
The Crimson Tide have the most talented roster in the nation, but the Bruins have the athletes to match at every position.
Hundley will be protected by an offensive line that has five players with significant starting experience—something he’s never had during his time in Westwood.
UCLA will need that group to improve over the course of the regular season, as Ohio State expects to have one of the best defensive fronts in the country.
Myles Jack will prove to be the difference—coming off a 2013 campaign that had him win both Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year honors.