Since 2005, The Southeastern Conference has won eight National Titles in football. Although it has only been won by four different teams, the dominance is still there. Every season, the SEC is the hot pick to win the National Championship. It might seem unfair or even repetitive, but the facts are still there: the SEC is dominant. Yes, the Big Ten and ACC have won titles in the last few years, but, honestly, people need to pick favorites and take a chance in their predictions. This article will consist of my picks and favorites. I will rank every conference in order of their chances to win the National Championship. Sorry SEC, you’re always the top pick. Let’s look hard for other favorites. And besides, if no one steps up, you will be there to win again.
Favorites : Ohio State, Michigan | Sleepers: Iowa, Michigan State
The Big Ten is looking pretty interesting. Illinois upgraded their coach, Iowa is coming off their best season in forever, Northwestern is looking strong again, Maryland is reloading with a new coach, Penn State is transitioning from the Hakenberg reign at QB and Minnesota is getting their stadium back. Okay, let me be serious - Minnesota is transitioning as well. There are so many things to look forward to, but when it comes to the National Title picture, Ohio State and Michigan are looking pretty strong. Jim Harbaugh was making waves with the Satellite camps during the off-season - he even went deep into recruiting regions of the ACC and SEC. This man is bold. But Ohio State is looking strong even without the media frenzy and uniform propaganda. America will focus on these teams, I get it, but Michigan State has something to say about it. The Spartans are proven winners - they have beaten Ohio State and Michigan on multiple occasions in the past few years. While these three teams are fighting, Iowa will be licking their chops waiting for the winner. The Big Ten will be very competitive this season. Game On!
Favorites: Clemson, Florida State | Sleepers: Pittsburgh, Louisville
Clemson and Florida State have been the ACC’s representatives in the CFP in the past two seasons. Honestly, I’m proud. I didn't expect the ACC to be so dominant when it really matters the most. When I first started watching college sports, I watched the ACC; I grew up in Maryland so I was in the ACC Country. It’s 2016 and now I cheer for the Big Ten. Despite the ACC slapping Maryland in the wallet a few years back, I still want to see the ACC succeed - and succeeding is what’s happening right now. Florida State and Clemson are loaded on every side of the ball. It’s hard to walk into their stadiums and win.
Besides those two powerhouses, the ACC can really produce some very good teams. North Carolina is trying to replace Marcus Williams but, nevertheless, the Tar Heels are going to win. Louisville has to face FSU and Clemson this season. Despite their hard games, the Cardinals will be a force to reckon with. Pittsburgh is coming back to form. Their logo has switched to the “Pitt-Script." And weirdly, the best team in Pennsylvania won't be Penn State. Good for you Panthers, America will be watching.
Favorites: Stanford, Washington | Sleepers: Oregon, Washington State, UCLA
The Pac 12 will be the most competitive conference this season. Stanford is the favorite and it's obvious - their running back is an all-purpose yards machine. Christian McCaffrey will have Heisman written all over him. Fine, that probably won't change, but honestly, what could change is Stanford’s post-season plans. Washington and Washington State will be very good teams. The funny thing is, America won't know it until conference upsets start to occur. Washington State won the same amount of games as Oregon last year. And they won more games than USC and UCLA. Their rival Washington is looking dominant as well. The Huskies could turn out to be Chris Peterson’s Power 5 version of Boise State. If you go down south, USC and UCLA are aiming to ruin seasons and win games at all costs. And, of course, we can’t talk about the Pac 12 without talking about Nike University. The Oregon Ducks are always primed to win.
This conference is loaded - loaded so much, that this conference might not make it to the CFB National Title game due to the fatigue of a hard conference season. Or, they could have the advantage of playing in very competitive games.
Favorites: TCU, Oklahoma | Sleepers: Oklahoma State, Texas
If a tree falls in the forest and nobody's there, would the tree make a sound? If a conference has no conference title game, would the conference have favor in the CFB Playoff selection room? The jury is still out on that question. The Big 12 has missed the CFB Playoff once and made it once. The lack of a Conference title game is one of the reasons why. TCU will be the best team in Texas. Baylor is about to be wiped from the face of the earth with sanctions (just wait on it). Texas will be good, but not good enough to win the conference. Oklahoma State will be overshadowed by Oklahoma. There will be good games, that will always happen in the wild wild west. But when it comes to a National Title conversation, TCU and Oklahoma will be legit contenders.
Group of Five & Independents
Favorites: Houston, Boise State, Notre Dame | Sleepers: BYU, Cincinnati
In the New Year's Six bowl games, there’s an automatic spot for teams that do not play in the ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten. So if you really want to watch a wild race, watch teams in five different conferences fight for one major bowl spot. But isn't this article about National Title chances? Yes, it is. Houston has a chance to be in the College Football Playoff this year - they start the season with Oklahoma as their first opponent. Yeah, that’s a bold move. But the Cougars have a great chance of winning the game on paper and on the field. Notre Dame is still an independent, they just join the Big Ten already. And yes, Notre Dame has a chance to compete in the CFB Playoff. The Irish are always primed to win since Brian Kelly walked into South Bend.
Boise State and BYU are looking very strong as well. No matter who walks out, the Group of Five race is very interesting.
Which Conference will Produce a National Champion?
The ACC or the Big Ten are my picks to win the National Title. The ACC has two heavy favorites: while up north, the Big Ten can be won by three National favorites, the Big 12 is looking weak when it comes to conference play. The Pac 12 will be a fight, which would result in fatigue or too many losses on someone’s resume. The group of five conferences is always the wild card.
And besides, if no one wants to takes the trophy, the SEC will do it...again.
Lead Photo Credit: Counse via Flickr Creative Commons