2014 Preseason Award Projections: College Football Playoffs

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2014 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and the next fall’s stars could be the headline players next May for the 2015 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the postseason awards that are given out to the best of college football. To finish out this series, WalterFootball.com issues its predictions for the first Division I-A playoffs.

Semifinals:


Oregon vs. Auburn

Everybody is picking Alabama to retake the SEC, but I think the Crimson Tide is due for a setback. The program has lost so much talent to the NFL over the past few years, plus having to break in a new quarterback won’t help. I think Auburn is better suited to repeat as SEC Champions with Texas A&M and LSU both having the same quarterback issue as Alabama.

Is this the year that Oregon gets past Stanford? I think it is. The Cardinal has lost good talent from its defensive front seven and on offense. The Ducks have lots of talent returning on both sides of the ball along with a veteran quarterback. I think they’ll get over the hump in the Pac-12.

In this rematch of a title game from a few years ago, Auburn won’t have Cam Newton to lead the Tigers to victory. Nick Marshall isn’t as good, and Oregon has an edge with Marcus Mariota. I think the Ducks have a better defense that provides enough support for them to beat the Tigers in a shootout.

Winner: Oregon




Semifinals:


Baylor vs. Florida State

How far Baylor has come? From Big XII doormat to being a favorite to repeat as Big XII champion and make into the college football playoff. The program has grown to deserve a lot of respect. That being said, the Bears don’t have the talent on the defensive side of the ball to stop Jameis Winston and the Seminoles. Baylor would have to hope to win a shootout with its defense making a couple of splash plays to give Baylor’s offense an edge in possessions.

The Seminoles have a lot of talent all over their roster, and their defense could be just as good or better than it was last year. I think Florida State’s defense would force enough stops out of Baylor while the Seminoles’ offense would eventually overwhelm the Bears’ defense. Baylor has come a long way, but the Bears are not at the level to beat a National Championship-level team like Florida State.

Winner: Florida State




National Title:


Florida State vs. Oregon

A year ago, I picked Alabama over Oregon, and for the majority of the 2013 season, those teams looked like the best two in college football. However, both had some surprising losses, and that’s what I see happening with Florida State. I think the Seminoles could be similar to the 2009 Gators team that was loaded but eventually got upset. It happened to Alabama in 2008 and 2013 as well. It is just extremely hard to run the table and go undefeated two years in a row.

The Ducks have an offense similar to Auburn, and the Seminoles were fortunate they didn’t lose the National Championship last year. The Tigers’ offense gave Oregon’s defense a lot of problems. If Auburn had a decent defense, the Tigers would’ve won that game. I think the Ducks have a better defense than Auburn. Oregon has plenty of fire power on offense and a quarterback capable of winning a National Championship in Mariota. I think this is the year for the Ducks.

Winner: Oregon











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