Sports writers predict 2nd College Football Playoffs

Sports writers predict 2nd College Football Playoffs

WITH THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON JUST WEEKS AWAY, DEBATE ON THE FOUR REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ENSUES. OHIO STATE WILL LOOK TO DEFEND THEIR TITLE AS NATIONAL CHAMPIONS AFTER DEFEATING OREGON IN THE FIRST-EVER COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF.

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Julius Kizzee

J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones are locked in a heated quarterback battle before the season, but Urban Meyer really cannot go wrong with whom he chooses. The Buckeyes were 5-0 against Top- 25 teams this past season, losing only to Virginia Tech.

The only loss I see for this team will be the last game of the season against the Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan Wolverines, but they will likely still receive a spot in the playoff.

Jacob Kemp

It’s hard to deny the defending champs a spot in the College Football Playoff when they return not just one quarterback, but three. With Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes have more than enough ammunition to take on a weakened BIG 10. However, the suspension of Joey Bosa could cause a hiccup early against an always-tough Virginia Tech squad.

There is the looming threat of the resurgent Michigan program led by Jim Harbaugh, but the Buckeyes should make it through unscathed.

Ashley Hickman

Ohio State will be a likely contender to win another title. They have incredible depth on their roster and have two great options at quarterback between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones. The test for this team will be how they respond to the pressure of a team with a target on their back.

Joshua Campbell, sports editor

The Buckeyes will trip up and lose to Michigan State at home this season, but will avenge their loss in the BIG 10 title game. Look for Barrett to retain his job as the starting quarterback and Ezekiel Elliott to run wild en route to winning the Heisman trophy. Their defense is completely stacked and will have several players selected in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft, beginning with Bosa.

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Jacob Kemp

In the opening game for the Tigers last season, quarterback Nick Marshall was suspended for the first

half. But Jeremy Johnson would go on to complete 12-of-16 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns in just the first half.

The hiring of former Florida Gator head coach Will Muschamp as the defensive coordinator may have been the hiring that could bring Gus Malzahn a championship.

Ashley Hickman

Auburn has a record of 16-0 under Malzahn when it allows less than 34 points in a game. The Tigers brought in Muschamp to run the defense and help keep this statistic true. Plus, with 6’5’’-quarterback Jeremy Johnson in the mix on offense, tossing to stud receiver D’haquille Williams, the Tigers should easily make the playoffs.

Joshua Campbell, sports editor

What Malzahn has accomplished since returning as the head coach has been nothing short of remarkable. He inherited a 3-9 team and brought them within mere seconds of being National Champions in his first season at the helm. This will be the first time in a while a Malzahn-coached team will be led by a true pocket passer, but do not let Johnson’s rocket for an arm fool you; he can run as well. The Tigers will be a force in the SEC and roll right into the playoff.

TCU

Jacob Kemp

The Horned Frogs return one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and Heisman-hopefuls in Trevone Boykin. Also, Gary Patterson has been one of the nation’s most underrated head coaches and an even deadlier defensive mind with his unique 4-2-5 defense. All of that combined with a soft schedule and without an extra conference championship game, the way is paved for TCU.

Ashley Hickman

The Horned Frogs’ offense is a huge threat that can put up large amounts of points. Boykin will return with most of his offensive weapons still in place, led by Josh Doctson, who scored 11 touchdowns last season. TCU’s schedule will also help with games against Oklahoma and Baylor being the only true tests.

Joshua Campbell, sports editor

TCU made a strong case to be the final representative in the College Football Playoff last season, but was edged out by eventual National Champion Ohio State. Had the Horned Frogs not blown a 21-point 4th quarter lead against Baylor on the road last season, they could have easily been starting this season as the reigning champs. With their matchup against Baylor at home this season, look for TCU to run the table and be the top seed in the playoff.

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Julius Kizzee

The Crimson Tide will be looking for another shot at the National Championship this year, with head coach Nick Saban having to replace a ton of talent once again. Even though Alabama always has an influx of NFL-caliber talent being piped through the ranks, it is always a challenge to replace past production for any program.

The Crimson Tide will have a their hands full this year with tilts against Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas and other college powerhouses. It will be up to Saban to keep his players focused on the task and make sure that they come to play week in and week out. The Iron Bowl against Auburn will likely decide their fate in regards to making the playoff.

Ashley Hickman

Alabama always has one of the best recruiting classes in the nation and this team is loaded with blue-chip prospects once again. The Tide must first replace Blake Sims at quarterback. Getting steadiness at that position again is vital to their success. As long as the Tide can replace their quarterback and get back to running the ball in any situation, they will make the playoffs once again.

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Julius Kizzee

Head coach Kevin Sumlin has never had a top-notch defense, giving up just under 30 points this past year, but adding John Chavis as the new defensive coordinator should help out drastically.

The offense will return three of four of their leading receivers from 2014, giving quarterback Kyle Allen a ton of weapons at his disposal. They could lose to either Ole Miss in week 8 or LSU in the last week of the season, but a one-loss team from the SEC West should make it in.

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Jacob Kemp

Usually picking the Trojans as one of the teams to finish in the top five is a death sentence, but not this year. Head coach Steve Sarkisian has the Trojans on the right track by focusing back on the defensive side of the ball; much like Pete Carroll did when he was at USC winning championships.

Look for the Trojans to make some major noise in the PAC 12, especially with a rebuilding Oregon after losing Marcus Mariota.

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Julius Kizzee

The X-factor for the Bears is their in-state foe TCU. If TCU can pull off the win at home against Baylor, this will be a different conversation. Barring a miracle in Fort Worth, Baylor will be walking into the title game unscathed.

The Nov. 27 tilt between the two teams will be the catalyst on who will represent the Big 12 in the Football Playoff.

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Joshua Campbell, sports editor

The Bruins are my dark horse candidate to represent the PAC 12 this season. They are being overlooked after losing quarterback Brett Hundley to the NFL, but true freshman Josh Rosen is as good as it gets.

He may be young, but he has a huge arm, quick feet and is very cerebral. UCLA has a ton of talent surrounding him, led by

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