College Football Playoff: Each conference's best pretension contenders in 2018

Who are we betting on to win a inhabitant championship in 2018? 

The 130 FBS teams will contest for a College Football Playoff championship this season, even if there are usually a handful can indeed acquire a Playoff berth. Even fewer teams can win their semifinal matchup in possibly the Cotton Bowl or Orange Bowl, afterwards win again in a championship diversion in Santa Clara, Calif.

How many, we ask? We’re going to contend eight, that is fewer than a 10 teams we had on a list final season. That’s even fewer than a 11 teams has with contingency of 30/1 or improved to win a inhabitant championship. 

MORE: 2018 college football preview

Sporting News will exhibit a play projections this week, and a intensity pool for playoff teams is bigger. But you’ll usually need dual hands to count a series of loyal inhabitant championship contenders. Here’s the conference opinion during how we arrived during a projected contenders; we orderly them into teams that could win a inhabitant title, teams that could make a Playoff and intensity furious cards. We weren’t distant off final year.

Here’s a closer look: 


National title: Clemson 
Playoff contenders: Miami, Florida State 
Wild cards: Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Louisville

Why? Clemson has mislaid dual regular-season games in 3 years, and a Tigers lapse a defensive line that could have 4 first-round picks. Who can plea a Tigers? Florida State and Miami have a talent, though a Seminoles have a first-year manager in Willie Taggart and a Canes mislaid a ACC championship 38-3 final season. Virginia Tech is another probable challenger from a Coastal Division.

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Big Ten 

National title: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan 
Playoff contenders: Penn State, Michigan State
Wild cards: Northwestern, Nebraska 

Why? The Big Ten has 5 legitimate playoff contenders, something no other discussion can boast. Ohio State is a best inhabitant championship contender out of a conference, given Urban Meyer’s lane record in Columbus. How do we explain a rest of those picks? Wisconsin is loaded, and if there’s a year to mangle through, this is it. If Michigan creates a College Football Playoff, it means all came together for Jim Harbaugh opposite a heartless report — if Michigan can get by that, it can win it all. Penn State and Michigan State competence feel slighted, though both teams are entirely able of proof us wrong if they can tarry a Big Ten East. We were tighten to bumping both teams adult a line, though we’ll make them infer it.

MORE: 18 predictions for 2018

Big 12 

National title: Oklahoma 
Playoff contenders: TCU, West Virginia 
Wild cards: Texas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State 

Why? It’s usually like Clemson in a ACC and Ohio State in a Big Ten: Who’s going to step adult and kick Oklahoma? The Sooners are good adequate to keep it rolling with Kyler Murray during quarterback, and Lincoln Riley has a possibility to lead a module to a fourth true discussion championship. TCU and West Virginia are removing a many preseason love, and Texas and Oklahoma State can contest in this conference. Is this a year a Big 12 wins a initial Playoff game?

MORE: SN’s tip 25 QBs for 2018


National title: Washington 
Playoff contenders: Stanford, USC 
Wild cards: Arizona, Oregon

Why? This is a outrageous year for a Pac-12, that is entrance off an deplorable play deteriorate and that has been left out of a four-team Playoff twice. Washington can make that matter with a season-opening feat opposite Auburn. It’d outrageous for a Huskies, and for a conference. Stanford and USC are again a best bets out of a Pac-12 South, and Arizona, Oregon and UCLA will need to make transitions underneath first-year coaches.

MORE: SN’s tip 25 RBs for 2018


National title: Alabama, Georgia 
Playoff contenders: Auburn 
Wild cards: Mississippi State, LSU, South Carolina 

Why? If we aren’t picking Alabama-Georgia in Atlanta for a SEC championship, afterwards what are we picking? Both teams have a talent to get behind to Atlanta, to a College Football Playoff — and maybe even to a championship rematch. Alabama has mislaid one unchanging deteriorate diversion or fewer any of a final 7 seasons underneath Nick Saban, and Kirby Smart is following a Saban model during Georgia. Auburn is a many judicious choice to dissapoint that sequence though don’t bonus a gifted South Carolina group that gets Georgia during home early. We left LSU on while we wait to see what its quarterback plan will be.


National title: None 
Playoff contenders: Notre Dame 
Wild card: None

Why? Notre Dame is in a common mark in a pecking order: Brian Kelly and Co. have the talent and a report no one can impugn — but that means a Irish can’t remove some-more than one diversion but a discussion pretension to tumble behind on. That’s an extremely tiny window.

Group of 5 

National title: None 
Playoff contenders: UCF 
Wild card: Boise State 

UCF would have to go undefeated again to keep that loud-and-proud offseason review going, and a report that facilities Florida Atlantic, Memphis, UCF and a integrate of ACC teams is zero to sneeze at. But we’ll usually trust a Group of 5 group can make a Playoff when we see it.

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Add it all up, and that leaves 8 inhabitant pretension contenders, 11 Playoff contenders and 14 Playoff furious cards. The opening between a vital powers continues to boost by recruiting, and it would take a furious deteriorate to hit out Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Oklahoma — final year’s Playoff margin — from that race.

Plus, we have to cause in that a group has to win dual post-season games. That means depth, experience, NFL talent and coaching. The 8 teams we trust could reason adult a inhabitant championship prize have a best multiple of all those things. Will somebody else reason a prize up, or are we in for a few some-more reruns? You already know a answer to that.

If you’ve got a improved pick, afterwards twitter @BillBender92 and let him have it.

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