College Football Playoff Predictions

Brandon Baker, Sports Writer

Now that high school football has started, it’s time for college football to take center stage. There are many things to be excited about this upcoming season. Like everyone else, I can’t tell the future, but that’s not going to stop me from making playoff predictions.

Playoffs: For the first time, college football has a playoff system. Although 4 out of 125 teams making the playoff isn’t much of an improvement, it’s still a start. The College Football Playoff committee says they will put emphasis on strength of schedule when deciding the four teams who make the inaugural playoff. With that being said, it should increase the quality of the regular season so you don’t see Oregon blowing out Central North Dakota State every week.

UCLA has a good shot at making the playoffs this season. The Pac-12 will have a good season with Oregon, UCLA, USC and Stanford all ranked in the top 15, according to Brett Hundley will be a Heisman candidate. In a league where it’s all about a high-flying offense, UCLA has the necessary defense. If UCLA wins their October 11th game against Oregon, consider the Bruins a lock to make the playoffs.

As much as I wanted to write about why Florida State won’t return to the peak of college football, I just couldn’t. Jameis Winston is a solid quarterback, and with a schedule as weak as theirs they should have no issue make it back. And what about their monster defense. They led all teams in scoring, giving up only 12.1 PPG, according to ESPN. Expect FSU to enter as the overall number one seed for the playoff.

When you think college football, you think Alabama. This is for a good reason, as Bama has dominated the football landscape in the past 5 years. Although it seems like the tides are changing (pun intended), Bama will still be a contender. Nick Saban is one of the most dominant college football coaches and an even better recruiter. Alabama boasts yet another number one recruiting class, as they have for the past three seasons, according to T.J. Yeldon is still one of college football’s premier backs, and Amari Cooper has a shot at the Heisman as a WR. Who needs a QB when you have that talent anyway?

Ranked outside the top 10, Georgia will have some work to do. With early games against Clemson and South Carolina, UGA will have early chances to make a statement. Even with Aaron Murray graduated, the Dawgs still have a four-headed monster in the backfield. Hutson Mason will shine under Mark Richt’s system. Major defensive recruits, like Lorenzo Carter, the third best DE (according to Yahoo), will also help UGA make a run for the playoffs.

This would set up Florida State vs. Georgia and UCLA vs. Alabama.

Notably, the Big 10 and Big 12 are missing a team. First of all, there isn’t a solid enough team in either conference to make a strong push, especially after Braxton Miller’s injury. Also, the SEC has too many strong teams to only have one team make it. The SEC’s dominance will continue.

FSU’s high power offense and brick wall for a defense would prove a hard time for UGA. UGA has the depth at RB to wear out the Seminoles’ front line, though. If that happens, watch for Hutson Mason to execute play action late. I don’t think that will be the case however. Jameis Winston should be able to find the holes in the spotty secondary all day and produce a late drive to give Florida State the win. FSU 35-UGA 31

The next game won’t be as exciting as the other though. Alabama’s staggering defense will oppress Brett Hundley and the UCLA offense all day. T.J. Yeldon will run rampant through the Bruins all day. Maybe UCLA can keep it close in the first quarter, but I just don’t see it staying close at all. Bama 42-UCLA 24

In the inaugural new look National Championship, Alabama squares off against Florida State. Alabama will try to run it early and often. Florida State will stuff and stifle Yeldon. This game will rely on the starting QB for Bama (whether it be Blake Sims or Jacob Coker). Famous Jameis won’t be able to slice up the defense with ease like he’s used to. In the end, the tide finds a way to roll. Bama 28-FSU 27