Here’s Bryan Armiento’s 2015 College Football Playoff Picks:
1. Ohio State
The Buckeyes will enter the season as the defending national champion and unanimous number one ranked team in the country. They return nearly everybody from last year’s national championship team and have three viable options at the quarterback position. If that wasn’t enough, they have the easiest road to the playoff as they only play one ranked opponent in the preseason top 25 and will get to play Michigan State at home. If Ohio State wins that one, they should find themselves in the playoff since they will be double digit favorites in every other game this season.
I really like this particular Auburn team on paper. Last season Auburn started off strong at 7-1 and stumbled late in the season, mostly due to their defensive struggles. The Tigers should improve in that area this season under defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Auburn will again have one of the more dynamic offenses in the country. They averaged over 35 points per game last season and may improve on that this year with Jeremy Johnson now starting at quarterback. Johnson is not the athlete Nick Marshall was but he is a more accurate passer and that should be beneficial with experienced receivers like Ricardo Louis and D’Haquille Williams returning. They will have to navigate through the gauntlet that is the SEC West but I think their collection of coaching and talent will allow them to come out on top.
I am not as confident in this pick but I do believe one of the four playoff teams will come from the Pac 12 and USC probably has the best combination of talent and experience in that conference. The Pac 12 south is probably the second deepest division in college football behind the SEC West and USC definitely has their work cut out for them. USC should have one of the better defenses in the Pac 12 and returns quarterback Cody Kessler, who is a Heisman trophy candidate this season.
4. Boise State
TCU is the second ranked team before the season begins and are a trendy pick to make the playoffs and possibly win the national championship this season. They should still win the Big 12 but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them slip up once or twice due to their many new players on defense and an improving Big 12. College Football should have a lot of parity this season and outside of Ohio State, there are not many teams that look dominant and have a schedule that will enable them to run the table. Many of the top teams could have multiple losses, which will enable a mid major team like Boise State to sneak into the playoff. Boise State returns almost everybody from last season’s Fiesta Bowl champion team and have a schedule that will enable them to finish the regular season undefeated.
Auburn over Ohio State
These are the two best teams in the country this season in my opinion and it should make for a high scoring national championship game. By this time in the season, Auburn would have had to navigate through a much more difficult schedule than Ohio State to get to this point. Ohio State did beat a battle tested Alabama team in the playoff last year but this Auburn team is more talented, at least offensively. This game will be a matchup of two of the best offensive head coaches in the game and Auburn will again win a national championship in Arizona like they did during the 2010 season.