College Football Playoff Predictions

The College Football Playoff isn’t even a decade old and it already has to adjust for a global pandemic. To be fair, the model itself doesn’t appear to be changing much – four teams will still compete in a tournament, with seeding set by the College Football Playoff committee. The semifinals will be at great locations this year; the historic Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. As far as the rankings, the first will come out Tuesday, November 17. The Playoff Selection show itself will be Sunday, December 20. That leaves one question – who will be in?

CFP prediction 1

1. Clemson

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence gets engaged

We’re highly expecting yet another undefeated regular season for Clemson. Their shortened schedule (with the Citadel being their only true out of conference game) leaves very few threats. Notre Dame is the only opponent that really jumps out as a test for Clemson, and while this will be a talented Notre Dame squad behind Ian Book’s leadership, it simply won’t be enough to cut it. The usual suspects like Pitt and Syracuse could provide a scare, but Trevor Lawrence’s talent and a great supporting cast (eyes on Etienne for best Running Back in college) mean they will waltz to another College Football Playoff appearance, where they’ll beat Alabama in yet another matchup but lose the title game to our next team.

2. Georgia

Kearis Jackson - 2020 - Football - University of Georgia Athletics

Of all four teams we have projected to make the playoff, Georgia returns the most overall production (65%) with 10 starters. Plus, Jamie Newman is not only a Heisman candidate but a proven baller with experience carrying a roster further than it should’ve gone. So, what happens when he is on an already good roster? We predict a national championship. Georgia has been criticized for an unimaginative offense, but we believe bringing in Todd Monken as OC will help them finally piece together both sides of the ball, as LSU did last year on their undefeated championship run. Georgia doesn’t exactly have an easy schedule, and we predict them dropping 1 in the regular season to Alabama, but we think they’ll win the SEC title game and every game afterward.

3. Oklahoma

Oklahoma football: The level Spencer Rattler is searching to reach

Seems like OU is always the fourth seed, doesn’t it? We don’t predict that changing this season. Spencer Rattler has all the makings of yet another elite OU QB, and he already has some experience in Lincoln Riley’s system. The loss of Kennedy Brooks (who announced he’s opting out) certainly hurts the diversity of OU’s offense, but Jeremiah Hall can help open up the offense. Oklahoma State is the biggest threat on OU’s schedule and we predict them or Iowa State gets a win over the Sooners this season, but we ultimately expect Riley’s coaching, an elite QB in Rattler and a top of the league passing game to bring the Sooners to another College Football Playoff appearance (but yet another semifinal loss).

4. Alabama

Najee Harris - Football - University of Alabama Athletics

This will be an interesting year for Alabama. We just hit the first 2 year title drought for the Crimson Tide since 2013-2014. They’re QB situation is interesting, with Mac Jones coming back as the projected starter but high school phenom Bryce Young waiting in the wing. The Tide’s defense looks airtight, so most questions are on the offensive side of the ball, and Najee Harris and DeVonta Smith are pretty powerful answers. We think the Crimson Tide will go undefeated in the regular season but lose the SEC title game to Georgia. This sets them up for a rematch with Clemson, and a strategic Dabo will exploit their few weaknesses (likely via Etienne) to scrape past them.

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SidelinesSports.Net Preseason Top 25

This is far from a traditional college football season. Four FBS conferences are confirmed not playing, with potentially more on the way. But, at the very least, we should hopefully get some football. With that being said, the moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived; our Preseason Top 25! Note: We have ranked all teams for the preseason poll because of the uncertainty regarding who will play. Starting Week One, only teams playing games will be ranked.

preseason top 25

1 Clemson 540
2 Alabama 509
3 Ohio State 454
4 Georgia 445
5 Florida 426
6 Oklahoma 397
7 LSU 392
8 Notre Dame 343
9 Oregon 324
10 Penn State 323
11 Auburn 316
12 Texas 257
13 Wisconsin 251
14 Oklahoma State 248
15 Texas A&M 198
16 UCF 192
17 Minnesota 179
18 Michigan 174
19 North Carolina 157
20 Cincinnati 120
21 Memphis 109
22 USC 96
23 Appalachian State 90
24 Virginia Tech 68
25 Utah 60

Others Receiving Votes:

Iowa 57
Arizona State 47
Iowa State 46
Kentucky 45
Tennessee 43
Miami (FL) 35
Louisville 32
Boise State 31
Baylor 27
Kansas State 19
SMU 16
Washington 13
TCU 11
Texas Tech 8
Navy 7
West Virginia 7
Mississippi State 6
Pittsburgh 5
Maryland 4
Indiana 4
Duke 3
Florida State 3
Michigan State 3
BYU 2
Virginia 2
Air Force 2
Army 2
Tulane 1
UAB 1

What do you think? Who’s too high? Who got snubbed? Follow us on Twitter at @Sidelines_SN!