College football is back! Who will be the four teams in the playoff? Not only will I be predicting that, but also the top 15 teams when the conference championship games conclude. Without further ado, here are my picks:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0): Is this a surprise? Alabama, even with a heated QB battle between Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts, will enter the college football playoffs undefeated.
2. Clemson Tigers (13-0): Clemson’s defense is absolutely terrifying, especially their defensive line, which is filled with numerous potential NFL stars. Also look out for Trevor Lawrence, their stud true freshman QB who will eventually beat out Kelly Bryant for the starting job.
3. Michigan State Spartans (12-1): You know who returns more starters than Michigan State? No one. With the talented Brian Lewerke leading the offense, a dominant defense and a favorable schedule which sees Michigan and Ohio State at home, the Spartans will win the Big 10 and reach the College Football Playoff.
- Loss: at Penn State
4. Washington Huskies (12-1): After a big season-opening win against Auburn, Washington will march through the Pac 12 and make the playoffs for the second time in three seasons while Jake Browning wins the Heisman trophy.
- Loss at UCLA
5. Texas Longhorns (11-2): Texas will be this year’s version of Miami, as Tom Herman in his second season with the Longhorns will lead them to their best season in a while.
- Losses vs. TCU, at Oklahoma State
6. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2): Urban Meyer will be missed against TCU, and the Buckeyes will be unable to beat the Spartans in East Lansing. However, the Buckeyes will still be a very good team, just maybe not by their standards.
- Losses vs. TCU, at Michigan State
7. Miami Hurricanes (11-1): Like last season, Miami will be undefeated late into the season. However, they have to travel to Blacksburg for a tough road game against Virginia Tech. A loss would likely keep Miami out of the ACC title game, likely hurting their chances at a college football playoff appearance.
- Loss at Virginia Tech
8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-2): Notre Dame is ranked 12th in the preseason poll. Will they finish higher or lower than that? Only time will tell.
- Losses at Wake Forest and at USC
9. TCU Horned Frogs (10-3): The Horned Frogs are one of the more underrated teams in the country. They’ll catch a lot of people’s attention after they upset the Buckeyes in Arlington.
- Losses vs. Texas Tech, at West Virginia, vs. Texas (Big 12 Title Game)
10. Georgia Bulldogs (10-2): Many people have Georgia finishing way better than this? Are we sure that they can be consistently dominant again? How will Jake Fromm fare without 2 star running backs by his side? An early road loss to a sneaky good South Carolina team will keep Georgia out of the SEC title game.
- Losses at South Carolina and at LSU
11. Stanford Cardinal (10-2): Bryce Love is one of the preseason Heisman frontrunners? How far can he take the Cardinals?
- Losses at Notre Dame and at Washington
12. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2): Trace McSorley will show the nation that he doesn’t need Saquon Barkley to be an effective force.
- Losses vs. Ohio State and at Michigan
13. Wisconsin Badgers (10-2): The Badgers have high expectations this season, but can they live up to them? The early season trip to Iowa won’t be easy. At home in the past two seasons alone, the Hawkeyes delivered big upsets over Michigan, Ohio State and were a last-second play away from doing the same to Penn State. I don’t trust Alex Hornibrook. Their loss to the Hawkeyes will keep them out of the Big 10 Title Game.
- Losses at Iowa and at Penn State
14. Virginia Tech Hokies (10-3): The Hokies dodged a bullet when they found out Josh Jackson would not be suspended.
- Losses at Florida State, vs. Notre Dame, vs. Clemson (ACC title game)
15. Florida State Seminoles (9-3): Coming off of a disappointing season, the Seminoles will bounce back nicely.
- Losses at Miami, vs. Clemson, vs. Notre Dame
National Title Game
Alabama vs. Clemson: Alabama vs. Clemson. College football’s version of Cavaliers-Warriors. Alabama and Clemson will again show why they are the two best programs in the sport. Watching Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence go at it would be fun. In this matchup, I would give Clemson the edge because of their amazing defensive line, giving the Tigers their second title in three years.