If you’re a college football betting enthusiast, then you know that it’s never too soon to get started formulating your betting plan for a brand new season. With that thought in mind, I’m going to offer up my expert opinion on just which conferences stand the best chances of being represented in the new, four-team playoff system whose inaugural voyage left critics and supporters alike, pleasantly surprised. Before we look ahead to the coming 2015 season and ensuing 2016 national championship playoffs, let’s take a look back at some of the past BCS champs starting in 1998 and the league’s they represented in an effort to predict the likely participants in next season’s national title tilt.
Season – School
- 1998 Tennessee
- 1999 Florida State
- 2000 Oklahoma
- 2001 Miami
- 2002 Ohio State
- 2003 LSU
- 2004 USC
- 2005 Texas
- 2006 Florida
- 2007 LSU
- 2008 Florida
- 2009 Alabama
- 2010 Auburn
- 2011 Alabama
- 2012 Alabama
- 2013 Florida State
- 2014 Ohio State
Possible SEC National Playoff Contenders
- Alabama +650
- Auburn +1500
- Georgia +2500
- Mississippi +1500
This power-packed conference has won 10 of the 17 national championship games that have taken place since 1998. Depending on which side of the SEC fence you sit on, you’re either jumping for joy – or totally bummed out – that the Big Ten’s Ohio State Buckeyes surprisingly snapped the SEC’s dominant, eight-year run of producing national champions despite narrowly earning a playoff berth as the No. 4 seed over other one-loss teams like Baylor and TCU.
No matter how you feel about the SEC, one thing’s for sure. With at least a half-dozen teams all looking like possible playoff participants in 2015, the SEC will likely have the some of best odds of being represented in the coming season’s national championship clash.
Possible Big 12 National Playoff Contenders
- TCU +550
- Baylor +1200
The Big 12 will have one team that is expected to finish in the top four nationally and another that very well could – after both programs fell just short of doing so a year ago. TCU is led by a 2015 Heisman Trophy candidate in dual-threat quarterback Trevone Boykin and possesses an offense that can put points on the board in the blink of an eye. I’m expecting the Horned Frogs to be as elite as any team in thee country next season.
The Baylor Bears will have to overcome the loss of quarterback Bryce Petty, but they have one of most innovative offensive coaches in the game today in Art Briles, so I suspect the Bears will score their fair share of points while playing their usual brand of entertaining football all season.
Possible Big Ten National Playoff Contenders
- Ohio State +300
- Michigan State +1500
- Wisconsin +5000
Well, it looks like the Big Ten will have two and possibly three legitimate title contenders in 2015, starting with reigning national champion Ohio State. With a trio of outstanding quarterbacks, an elite running back – and one of the nation’s best recruiting classes, the Buckeyes look like a virtual lock to reach the BCS playoff.
Both, Michigan State and Wisconsin will have to overcome the losses of key figures from their respective 2014 rosters, but both could be one or two-loss teams that have a chance.
Possible ACC National Playoff Contenders
- Florida State +2500
- Clemson +1500
- Georgia Tech +5000
Florida State will be in a bit of a rebuilding mode after losing Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, but the Seminoles are brimming with talent and have a great head coach in Jimbo Fisher – even if you don’t like him.
The Tigers (10-3) have recorded double-digit win totals in each of the last four seasons and will enter the 2015 season as one of the favorites to win the ACC with Florida State likely taking a slight step backwards because of the departure of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston among others. If talented quarterback Deshaun Watson can return to form following ACL surgery and consistently put the ball in the hands of his skill position playmakers, the Tigers could even contend for a playoff berth, though that might be stretching it a bit right now.
The Yellow Jackets (11-3) overachieved in winning 11 games last season and now, they’ll enter the 2015 campaign as the favorite to win the ACC’s Coastal division. Georgia Tech was very impressive in beating nationally-ranked Georgia 30-24 during the regular season before handing Mississippi State and gifted quarterback Dak Prescott a humbling 49-34 loss in the Orange Bowl. The bad news for Georgia Tech is that the Yellow Jackets will have an entirely new starting pair of running backs and will have to overcome the loss of All-American linebacker Vic Beasley.
Possible Pac-12 National Playoff Contenders
- Oregon +2000
- USC +1200
Oddsmakers and Oregon fans everywhere are apparently expecting the Ducks to not miss a beat despite losing Heisman Trophy-winning signal-caller Marcus Mariota, but I’m inclined to think otherwise. I expect Oregon to struggle in year one ‘A.M.’ (after Mariota).
The Trojans have as much talent as any team in the country. Now, if the Trojans can show some maturity in big games, they could find themselves in contention to make their first national championship game appearance since Pete Carroll was leading the program a few years back.
While the SEC has had a bit of a monopoly as far as reaching the national championship, I think times are clearly changing a bit, not just for the SEC, but for all of the conferences, both big and small. No longer will the SEC be guaranteed a BCS title-game berth for one or even two teams, but in today’s parity-laden times, tams from coast to coast feel like they all have a legitimate shot – and rightfully so. While I do like at least one SEC team to reach college football’s new final four, I’m also going on record to say that I like one team from the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences to round out the 2015 BCS playoff lineup.
Sure, the SEC probably has more quality teams than any other conference in the country – and I think non-SEC based voters are sick and tired of seeing the SEC over-saturate avid collegiate gridiron fans’ consciousness. So remember… you heard it here first. One team from the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 will all reach the 2015 four-team BCS playoffs.