As the 2014 college football season marches along to its highly anticipated, brand-spankin'-new playoff system, speculation won't be in short supply about which teams will receive the four golden tickets to the postseason party that will decide a national champion. Here at BuckeyeXtra, speculating is a good thing, so much that we're happy to do it on a weekly basis.
As the 2014 college football season marches along to its highly anticipated, brand-spankin'-new playoff system, speculation won't be in short supply about which teams will receive the four golden tickets to the postseason party that will decide a national champion.
Here at BuckeyeXtra, speculating can be a good thing, so much that we're happy to do it on a weekly basis. Here are some current Fab Four picks, along with who's knocking on the door and who's poised to exit stage left.
>> COMING WEDNESDAY: The Dispatch's 2014 college football preview sectionTodd Jones, Dispatch college football writer
The top four
1. Florida State. Crab all you want, but Jameis Winston and the Seminoles have earned their spot atop the mountain.
2. Alabama. Nick Saban is frowning again, which means nothing has changed in Tuscaloosa: The Crimson Tide is loaded.
3. Oklahoma. The Sooners are primed again to make another run at a second national title under Ohio native Bob Stoops.
4. Oregon. The uniforms quack you up, but the Ducks will continue their serious run of success.
Michigan State. The Spartans will need to win at Oregon in Week 2 to help them overcome the Big Ten's reputation.
Ohio State. A redshirt freshman QB is the emergency replacement for the two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year.
The top four
1. Florida State. The reigning champion remains No.1 until further notice, especially since it's led by the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
2. Alabama. Can so many experts be so wrong? They say Bama bounces back this year, so let's go with it for now. But just like Ohio State, the Tide has a new quarterback.
3. UCLA. Oregon is getting a lot of love, but the romantic pick in the Pac-12 is the Bruins, with their terrific QB Brett Hundley and LB Myles Jack.
4. Oklahoma. The Sooners deserve this early nod just based on the way they owned Bama. But they also could be the first team out because there's been a lot of negative vibes since.
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Michigan State. Ohio State's (loss of Braxton Miller) is the Spartans' gain. If they can parlay with a win at Oregon, the vault could take them into the top four, at least until Nov.8.
Ohio State. The Buckeyes lost their superstar. Past that, they have a lot to prove to doubters, who more than anything want to see evidence they can play real defense again.
The top four
1. Florida State. The defending champ is a shoo-in unless its Heisman Trophy quarterback gets suspended for the season (like that will ever happen).
2. Michigan State. Get by Oregon and Sparty earns the "You play in the Big Ten so proceed directly to the playoff" card.
3. South Carolina. The Gamecocks will lose a game but will be considered undefeated because they play in the SEC.
4. Oklahoma. Bob Stoops is due to get through a regular season without hiccupping in a crowded room.
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Alabama. Crimson Tide have a new quarterback but same old Nick Saban.
Oregon. The echos of Chip Kelly's genius finally are fading in Eugene.
The top four
1. Florida State. Heisman Trophy Jameis Winston is back, and he has a tremendous supporting cast. Until the king is dethroned ...
2. Alabama. The Crimson Tide should be hungry after its end-of-the-year fade, and Nick Saban isn't bad at his job.
3. Oklahoma. A big year for Bob Stoops, who must prove that the strong end to 2013 wasn't a mirage and that the Sooners are truly back among the nation's elite.
4. Oregon. Marcus Mariota is a prime Heisman candidate, and the Ducks have to break through and win it all one of these years, right?
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Michigan State. The Spartans are the main beneficiaries of Braxton Miller's injury because that game Nov.8 now looks slightly less daunting. Their game at Oregon will be huuuuge.
Ohio State. Sorry, Buckeyes fans. OSU might very well overcome the loss of Braxton Miller, but the task just got a lot harder. Until J.T. Barrett and the offensive line prove themselves, the Buckeyes are on the outside looking in.
The top four
1. Florida State. Until someone knocks them off, Famous Jameis and the Seminoles are the team to beat.
2. Oregon. The Ducks have the toughest schedule among this bunch, so their footing will be tested.
3. South Carolina. The SEC has to be represented, of course, and the Gamecocks are new blood.
4. Oklahoma. The Sooners always manage to stub their toe, but the soft schedule almost makes it impossible.
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Michigan State. The Big Ten may be the Wet Sack Conference, but a win at Oregon puts Sparty in the hunt.
Auburn. With or without a suspension of QB Nick Marshall, the Tigers' magic potion has run dry.