As you can see from the above graphic, we are calling for 4 conference champions to earn bids to the 2nd College Football Playoff. The defending National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes are reloaded and look to run the table again.
We also see Alabama winning the SEC again, which would earn them a return trip to the Playoff. Yes, a bunch of starters depart, but Nick Saban has landed the top recruiting class for 5 years running and should reload the machine.
The Pac-12 is surging and is approaching the SEC in terms of top-notch talent AND depth. We are calling for Southern California to win back the city title from UCLA, and win the conference. The Pac-12 champ will most likely earn a bid due to the league's strength, but can an 11-2 champ make the playoff? This question may have to be answered this season by the Selection Committee. I feel an 11-2 Pac-12 champion outweighs an 11-1 SEC division runner-up. We shall see soon enough.
Our 4th playoff spot goes to Baylor Bears, despite everyone else in America picking TCU to win the Big 12. 18 returning starters is the most Art Briles ever had, and behind top offensive/defensive lines, a stable of skill players, and an easy first 8 games, the new quarterback Seth Russell will be fully acclimated in time for November's season-defining games.
The next line of contenders are teams that are one win away from taking these four teams places. One swing game can spring these teams into the Final Four: TCU, Michigan State, Auburn, Georgia, Oregon.
Some darkhorse teams to keep an eye on: UCLA, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Arizona State.