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Which Teams Will Make the Inaugural College Football Playoff?


In a little over a month college football returns with a long weekend of kickoff games around the country, with four months of hard hitting action to follow.

The new season will lend itself to historical significance as the days of the BCS are washed away with a new championship format.

Upon the completion of the regular season, four teams will be selected to take part in the first ever College Football Playoff, a mini-tournament to decide which side deserves to be crowned champions.

The 2015 installments of the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will serve as semifinals, with both games being played on January 1.

The winners will meet in the College Football Playoff National Championship, to be played at AT&T Stadium in North Texas on January 12.

With the new format in place, college football fans and experts are asking one question: which school will be first to lift the new College Football Playoff National Championship trophy?

At the time of writing, the Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida State Seminoles – the last two teams to go home with the old crystal football – are the co-favorites to win the first national championship under this format.

Bovada, the leading online sportsbook, has each team listed at 11/2 to win the championship.

The Tide has actually gained ground on the ‘Noles, who were considered the favorite for much of the offseason.

The Oregon Ducks (7/1), Oklahoma Sooners (9/1) and Auburn Tigers (10/1) round out the tentative top five.

See the extended list of college football futures here

But football futures aren’t the only bets being placed ahead of the upcoming season.

Bettors are also being offered the opportunity to bet on whether a select few schools will make the four-team College Football Playoff.

Looking at the listed odds, Florida State (-250 yes, +170 no) is the team most expected to be playing in either the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl.

The defending champions will face a heap of pressure as they look to repeat last year’s undefeated season, but playing in the ACC will make things a little easier. That and the fact that being the defending champ will carry some clout with it come ‘discussion’ time.

Alabama (-130 yes, -110 no) is the only other side to be awarded shorter odds for making the playoff than not making it.

Nick Saban’s team was heartbroken following last year’s late season catastrophes. Will the side, which won three championships in four years between 2009 and 2012, bounce back and make history?

The Ohio State Buckeyes (EVEN yes, -140 no) are the only other side to earn at least even odds in the yes column, according to Bovada.

After an undefeated season in 2012, Urban Meyer’s side fell short late in the season last year, failing to take advantage of its first year of eligibility. Can the Buckeyes get out of the Big Ten, and will the Big Ten be strong enough to warrant a berth in the playoff? These are questions people in Columbus, Ohio, will be asking for a while.

The rest of the list features a who’s who of college football heavy hitters.

Oregon (+120 yes, -160 no), Oklahoma (+170 yes, -250 no) and Auburn (+170 yes, -250 no) are expectedly towards the shorter end of the list.

Meanwhile, the Florida Gators (+600 yes, -1000 no), USC Trojans (+550 yes, -1100 no) and South Carolina Gamecocks (+400 yes, -600 no) are at the riskier end of the spectrum.

You can see the full list below.

There’re still a lot of unknowns heading into the new championship format, most notably which tangibles will voters favor and how much will the ‘eye test’ play into things. That means any bet you place now is merely a shot in the dark.

But then, with 32 days to go until kickoff, what’s wrong with a little guesswork?

Bet on the College Football Playoff

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Thursday, August 28. Betting Sports will have continued coverage throughout the season.

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