In the ACC the early on favorite is the defending National Champions and number 1 ranked Florida State Seminoles. The one big question is what team in the conference can compete with them? The Clemson Tigers lost key play makers Tahj Boyd and Sammy Watkins to the NFL, Virginia Tech lost Logan Thomas and North Carolina lost Eric Ebron. The Atlantic Coast Conference also welcomes in two new teams this year with Syracuse and Louisville. The only team we believe has a shot at them will be the Miami Hurricanes.
Out west in the Pac 12 this could be a four or five team fight to the finish as we expect Oregon, Washington, Stanford to compete in the North while Arizona, USC and UCLA to battle it out in the South. The conference could come down to the Pac 12 title game where two of the top quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley could square off to gain a spot in the 2014 playoffs. Our one key concern for the Bruins is there schedule that includes Texas, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, USC and Stanford to end the regular season.
Over in the Big Ten, the conference welcomes both Maryland and Rutgers but we don’t expect much from either team in the East division. We want to think this division will be a four team race between Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State but our expectations are low for the Wolverines. Then you still have the Nittany Lions who are still in elgible for the postseason. This leaves it up to two teams with the key deciding factor being quarterback Braxton Miller. In the West division our early favorites are Wisconsin but the Iowa Hawkeyes will be the team to watch as they don’t have to face in the division as they don’t have Ohio State, Michigan State or Penn State on their schedule.
The second to last conference the Big 12 might be a two team race between Oklahoma and Baylor. The Sooners finished strong last year knocking off Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. That doesn’t have us convinced though that they will top the Bears as the Bears will enter the 2014 with Bryce Petty at quarterback. Petty has the makeup to be one of the top quarterbacks in the country and possible be in play for the Heisman. The darkhorse in the division in our eyes is the Texas Longhorns.
The last conference the SEC is the strongest from the top to the bottom with as many as 10 teams having the opportunity to play in the SEC title game. The early favorites to represent the conference is the Alabama Crimson Tide led by Nick Saban. The team fell late last season on what might have been one of the greatest plays to end a game of All-Time. If the team would have pulled that game out against Auburn we might not even be debating who wins this conference. The other teams to watch include the Georgia Bulldogs, South Carolina Gamecocks and are sleeper the Florida Gators. The best way to put it is the two teams out of the running this year are the Kentucky Wildcats and Arkansas Razorbacks.
ACC Champion - Florida State
Big Ten Champion - Ohio State
Big 12 Champion - Baylor Bears
Pac 12 Champion - Oregon Ducks
SEC Champion - Alabama Crimson Tide
This is where I am glad we aren’t on the committee as you have only four spots for these five teams as well as any other teams that might have played themselves into contention. When we looked at all five schedules played by these teams this season the Crimson Tide are in, Florida State as they could run the table, Oregon Ducks and the Baylor Bears. Ohio State could be the team out as a weak out of conference schedule against Navy, Virginia Tech, Kent State and Cincinnati will come back to bite them.
National Champion: Alabama