It’s ridiculously early to be making College Football Playoff National Championship predictions, but then again, we dream about these things. So, why not put them down on paper?
In no particular order, here are the teams I think are most likely to win the National Championship in 2017.
I know it’s a boring choice as they’re almost always THE choice, but considering their history, this is a logical decision. Alabama’s track record speaks volumes, so it really should come as no surprise that we would once again predict success for them in the College Football Playoff.
Alabama will still be faced with a starting quarterback situation, but that didn’t faze them last year and it likely won’t again. Even with the QB situation and Derrick Henry riding off into the sunset with the Tennessee Titans, the offense is dangerous and powerful enough to carry the weight.
Alabama also lost six starters on defense, but when we consider who Nick Saban’s staff recruits every year, this shouldn’t be a concern. The new additions are never lacking in talent, and when we look at the development of other players in the past, we know it will only go up from here.
Does it get old selecting Alabama as a front runner every year? Maybe. Is it really possible for them to make the playoff three years in a row? Potentially. Something could always go wrong for the Crimson Tide – which many are predicting – but to overlook this team might be a mistake.
I had high hopes for Oklahoma in the playoff last year, but unfortunately they just didn’t have enough in them to get past Alabama. However, this year could be a different story. It won’t come easy for the Sooners, but it appears they have the momentum to return to the National Championship picture thanks to their returning talent in the backfield.
Oklahoma has an offensive line to replace, but combine their monster of a quarterback, Baker Mayfield, and the rushing duo of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, and their offense doesn’t look too shabby. Their defense, however, has some key spots to fill – Charles Tapper and Eric Striker, to name a few.
The challenging part for Oklahoma comes with their nonconference treacherous schedule, which features Ohio State at home and Houston on the road. As far as conference play, TCU, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State could all pose a challenge for the Sooners, but even with their loss of firepower, I still think they’ll shine in the Big 12 and the College Football Playoff.
Surprise! Last year’s No. 1 seed makes the list this year. Shocking, right? When we look at the ACC, two teams stand out: Florida State and Clemson. Now if you’re a Tarheel fan you might say otherwise, but that’s an argument for another day.
If a team from the ACC lands a spot in the playoff, it will likely be FSU or Clemson – this makes their matchup on October 29 all the more important. I think Clemson will find their way to the playoff once again.
Yes, Florida State has 11 returning starters on offense (including Dalvin Cook), a top defense and a home field advantage against Clemson this year. We know the Tigers will be inexperienced on defense, but offensively, they’re golden.
Two words: Deshaun Watson. Doesn’t that trump everything? I am joking, of course, but we can’t forget Watson is a dual-threat and easily one of the nation’s top quarterbacks – he’s already the favorite for the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. These two teams are really neck-and-neck in my book, so it will be interesting to see how their matchup plays out.
I can’t help but chuckle at the Harbaugh/Saban feud happening right now. I also can’t help but add Michigan to this list. Michigan is expected to perform well in the regular season and, who knows, maybe even win the Big Ten championship. They are making moves and taking over.
The Big Ten is an intriguing conference to look at it this year, considering Ohio State had 12 players chosen in the NFL Draft, Michigan State lost quarterback Connor Cook, and Iowa…well they’re just Iowa. I am still waiting to see if last year was just a “one good season and you’re done” kind of thing.
Like Alabama, Michigan has a quarterback issue, but I don’t see that as major problem when you have Wilton Speight or John O’Korn, either of whom could easily be refined into a competent starting quarterback. But in reality, you don’t need an elite quarterback to win the National Championship – something Alabama proved last year with Jacob Coker – as long as you are able to get the ball to the guys who can make the plays.
I've heard the word “overrated” thrown around in regards to the Wolverines, but with Michigan’s Top-10 defense and offensive depth, I have a feeling we’ll see them make a playoff run. Their downside? They have to travel to Ohio State and Michigan State.
Attend the College Football Playoff National Championship
I could see one (or two) of these teams in the College Football Playoff National Championship – if so I expect at least a high-five, round of applause or promotion. All jokes aside, what’s awesome about the National Championship game is that no matter who is playing, it’s still one of the most entertaining and exciting sporting events of the year. What’s even better is that you can be there and have the best seats in the stadium, hospitality and more.