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Final Four Consensus Picks

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The first season of the four-team playoff in college football will keep things wide-open heading into January. We polled our stable of handicappers looking for their views on who will make the inaugural “Final Four,” as defending champion Florida State and Alabama are two of the front-runners to win the National Championship. However, the Seminoles and Crimson Tide weren’t the overwhelming favorites among the panel, as Pac-12 favorites Oregon and UCLA were selected by several handicappers to win it all.

Who will raise the AFCA National Championship trophy in January? A handful of VegasInsider.com’s handicappers give their opinion on who will win the title, starting with the defending champions from Tallahassee.

Florida State

James Manos - Their ACC schedule is very manageable as they get a young Clemson team at home in week 4 and FSU is off a bye. They must play Louisville on the road on a Thursday but get a bye prior to that game as well. The ‘Noles play Florida and Notre Dame but get both those games at home and the Seminoles have the stifling defense to contain both of those mediocre offenses. FSU has a confident leader in quarterback Jameis Winston and the best combination of offensive line and defensive line in the country. They could conceivably, with their hype, high preseason ranking, and Heisman trophy candidate, lose to Notre Dame and still garner a playoff spot.

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Oregon


Joe Nelson - With the Pac-12 playing nine-conference games plus a conference championship game, even a one-loss champion in the conference appears to be a safe bet for inclusion in the four-team playoff field. Oregon has failed as the conference favorite the past two seasons, but this is an elite program that gets most of its toughest games at home this season. If Oregon beats Michigan State early in the season, they would have a big trump card in comparisons with the potential Big Ten champion if the resumes are similar and Oregon could even make a strong case for inclusion as the Pac-12 champion with two losses in some scenarios if there are few undefeated teams nationwide. The toughest road game for Oregon is at UCLA this season and a loss in that game could potentially be avenged in the conference championship which could also provide a boost for the case for the Ducks.

Alabama

Stephen Nover - Defense and running back depth are enough for the Crimson Tide. Finding another game manager to replace A.J McCarron won't be that difficult especially given the weapons Alabama has. The last time the Crimson Tide ended a season with consecutive losses under Nick Saban was 2008. The following year they went undefeated and won the national championship.

UCLA

Greg Smith - QB Brett Hundley might win the Heisman. They have 18 returning starters and will have one of the top offenses in the country. But most importantly, the Bruins defense could be their strongest asset. Bringing back almost the entire defensive line, opponents will have their work cut out. Also, their schedule seems very nice this year, with three of their toughest games, Oregon, USC and Stanford...all at home. I believe Jim Mora will out-coach teams in the playoffs and win the National Championship.

2015 National Championship Odds

Florida State 18/5
Alabama 6/1
Oregon 7/1
Auburn 10/1
Oklahoma 12/1
Georgia 13/1
UCLA 14/1
Ohio State 20/1
South Carolina 23/1
LSU 25/1
USC 28/1
Michigan State 30/1
Baylor 30/1
Wisconsin 30/1
Florida 35/1
Ole Miss 45/1
Michigan 50/1
Stanford 65/1
Notre Dame 75/1
Clemson 80/1

NCAA Football Playoff Predictions
Playoff team #1 Playoff team #2 Playoff team #3 Playoff team #4 Champion
Andy Iskoe Oregon Florida State Wisconsin Auburn Oregon
Antony Dinero Florida State Alabama Oregon Oklahoma Florida State
ASA Florida State South Carolina Oklahoma Alabama Florida State
Brian Edwards Oklahoma Florida State Michigan State Alabama Oklahoma
Dave Cokin Michigan State Oklahoma Alabama UCLA UCLA
Greg Smith Florida State Alabama UCLA Michigan State UCLA
James Manos Florida State Alabama Oklahoma Wisconsin Florida State
Jimmy Boyd Florida State Alabama Oregon Oklahoma Alabama
Joe Nelson Florida State Alabama Oregon Oklahoma Oregon
Joe Williams Oregon Florida State Alabama Baylor Oregon
John Fisher Florida State UCLA Baylor South Carolina Florida State
Kevin Rogers Florida State Michigan State Alabama UCLA Michigan State
Kyle Hunter Florida State Alabama UCLA Georgia Alabama
Marc Lawrence Alabama Florida State Oregon Oklahoma Oregon
Mark Franco Florida State Alabama Michigan State Oregon Alabama
Mike Rose Florida State Alabama Michigan State Wisconsin Alabama
Pat Hawkins Florida State Oregon LSU Alabama Alabama
Scott Pritchard Florida State Alabama Oregon Ohio State Florida State
Stephen Nover Oregon Michigan State Baylor Alabama Alabama
The Prez Alabama Clemson UCLA Oklahoma Alabama
The SportsBoss Florida State Oregon South Carolina Baylor Florida State
Tony Stoffo South Carolina Oregon Florida State Oklahoma South Carolina
Vince Akins Florida State Alabama Oregon Georgia Alabama

  
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