After years of BCS nonsense we finally have gotten our wish. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a start at the very least. The 2014 college football season will culminate in a four-team playoff and our friends at Bovada have the odds.
Will ______ make the four-team playoff?
Florida State Yes -250, No +170 – The defending champions have Jameis Winston back but also have lots of guys to replace. The schedule features Oklahoma State in the opener at Dallas, a home date with Notre Dame and a road trip to Miami.
Alabama Yes -130, No -110 – The Crimson Tide have to replace A.J. McCarron who started for what seems like forever. Road games include LSU, Tennessee and a neutral site game against West Virginia. The home slate features Florida, Texas A&M and Auburn.
Oregon Yes +120, No -160 – Could this finally be the Ducks’ year? They have two road games that concern me; at UCLA and the finale at Oregon State. They get Big Ten Champion Michigan State at home and the same goes for Stanford, Arizona and Washington. With Marcus Mariota returning at QB, the Ducks could be in prime position.
Ohio State Yes EVEN, No -140 – The Buckeyes will benefit by being in the Big Ten East where they get newcomers Maryland and Rutgers which should be wins. Home dates include Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, Indiana and Michigan. The road slate could be a problem as they open with an always troublesome Navy in Baltimore. They also must got to Penn State and Michigan State as well.
Oklahoma Yes +170, No -250 – The Sooners enter 2014 with high expectations following their huge Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. The schedule is favorable for a playoff spot with home games against Tennessee, Kansas State, defending Big 12 champ Baylor and rival Oklahoma State. The road slate features challenges in the Cotton Bowl against Texas, at Texas Tech and at TCU.
Auburn Yes +170, No -250 – The Tigers have a fairly favorable schedule with tough roads games only at Bama and Georgia. Auburn needs to replace studs like Greg Robinson, Tre Mason and Dee Ford.
LSU Yes +250, No -400 – The Bayou Bengals have what could be a brutal road schedule. They open with Wisconsin in Houston and then have road trips to Auburn, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Florida. They also have to replace Zach Mettenberger at quarterback too.
UCLA Yes +275, No -450 – Things are in place for a great run by the Bruins in 2014. They open at Virginia and their only other formidable road game is in Dallas against the Texas Longhorns. They get Oregon, Stanford, USC and Arizona at home. If this team stays healthy and survives some early road games then the sky is the limit.
When you look at this top eight, I think you throw LSU out immediately. Not because they are undeserving but because that schedule is just brutal especially for a team with a new quarterback regardless of his experience.
We have to expect that three of the four teams will probably enter with at least one loss. One or two unbeaten teams are possible. If that happens, it favors the SEC and Pac-12.
If I were you, I’d pencil in Oregon with their favorable schedule and Alabama because they’ll be able to survive one, maybe even two losses. Ohio State concerns me but they can survive a loss as long as it is to a ranked team who is having a good season. I’m still not overly confident in them though. FSU will make the playoff as long as Winston stays out of trouble.
From this list of eight, I will go with FSU, Bama, Oregon and Oklahoma with UCLA being a wild-card.