Will Alabama and Clemson Return to the National Championship?
We’re now close to the start of the 2016 college football season, and you may be wondering who will qualify for this year’s College Football Playoff — and whether Clemson and Alabama can return to the final once again. Let’s take a look at some of the favorites to make it into that national final — as well as a few other interesting predictions for the coming year. Find the latest NCAAF betting odds here.
Way too Early: Will Alabama and Clemson Return to the National Championship? And Other Predictions
Clemson is the favorite right now to win the 2017 national championship. After all, Deshaun Watson will return at quarterback, as will most of the offense. Right behind them, though, is the Alabama Crimson Tide. Clemson sits at 6-1, but the Tide are at 7-1. Even though they lose key players on both offense and defense, bettors and oddsmakers appear to have faith that Nick Saban can reload once again and dominate the SEC.
Behind them? Oklahoma, one of the CFP semifinalists, is at 10-1, as running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine are returning, as is quarterback Baker Mayfield. Baylor is right behind them at 12-1.
The teams at 15-1 are even more interesting: Tennessee, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Florida State. It is odd to see Tennessee in the same list as the rest of those teams, but the Volunteers were a young squad last year that held a lead late against Oklahoma and a couple of other contenders, only to see the lead evaporate late. Bettors and oddsmakers are banking on the Vols maturing and becoming a real contender.
The top Group of Five contender is Houston (30-1), and if the Cougars had not suffered that mystifying loss at Connecticut last year, it would have been extremely difficult for the CFP committee to keep them out of the semifinals. At the same odds sit Oregon, Ole Miss, USC, Iowa, Florida and 2016 semifinalist Michigan State. The Spartans lost quarterback Connor Cook to graduation, but it is unwise to underestimate Michigan State under Mark Dantonio.
Here are some other odds for the 2017 CFP title:
TCU, UCLA, Oklahoma State 40-1
Georgia, Utah, Arkansas 50-1
Washington, Auburn, Miami (FL), Wisconsin 75-1
Northwestern, West Virginia, Washington State, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Nebraska, The Field (100-1)
Texas, Mississippi State, Arizona 150-1
Virginia Tech, Texas Tech 200-1
Penn State, Missouri, BYU 250-1
San Diego State, Georgia Tech, Boise State, California 300-1
How about some other predictions?
Will Lane Kiffin return as a head coach?
Well, he left Tennessee after one year to run to USC, but they fired him after just 3 ½ seasons. He has done well as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, but is that him or the talent? I think he’s more likely to need one more season with the Tide, but then he could emerge for a Pac-12 vacancy.
Can North Dakota State beat Iowa?
In 2015, no one thought Iowa was for real — and they did eventually fall out of the CFP semifinals by losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. This year, they play rival Iowa State in Week 2 — and then they take on five-time FCS national champion North Dakota State. Could this be a trap game for a team still suffering from disappointment last year?