Since 2014, which was the first year of the college football playoff, only 10 programs have been selected by the committee for the playoff. There is very little parody when it comes to teams capable of winning the National Championship. The 2020 National Championship odds have been released, and I find some familiar names at the top and one team out west set to make a return to the national spotlight. Below are my top picks to win the title next January in New Orleans.
2020 National Championship Odds
Alabama Crimson Tide + 200
Tua Tagovailoa is back to lead the Tide and get redemption for the blowout loss to Clemson in the championship game last season. Tua is a Heisman Trophy candidate once again and has a loaded offense at his disposal. Najee Harris has waited his turn in the Bama backfield and should have a huge year. Jerry Jeudy is the best receiver in the country and will be a top NFL draft pick.
Alabama lost some key defensive players, but no one recruits like the Tide who have talented underclassman chomping at the bit for their opportunity. They also have a pathetic non-conference schedule with their toughest game against the Duke Blue Devils.
Clemson Tigers + 200
If the Tigers have a concern, it’s the loss of the most talented defensive front in recently memory. Clemson had three defensive linemen drafted in the first round of last months NFL Draft. It may take a few games for the defensive to gel, but to help with the transition they are blessed with the best defensive coordinator in the country Brent Venables.
On the other side of the ball, they have a star in quarterback Trevor Lawrence who has an incredible receiving core and a stud running back in Travis Etienne. The Tigers play Texas A&M, but it’s in Death Valley which should give them a huge advantage. Clemson does have to travel to Syracuse who beat the Tigers in 2017 and had them on the ropes last season before a comeback win.
Georgia Bulldogs + 900
The Bulldogs were embarrassed by Texas in the Sugar Bowl last season. They clearly were not mentally over the heartbreaking loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. The Dogs are one of the few teams in the country who can go toe to toe with Alabama and Clemson.
Underrated Quarterback Jake Fromm is back under center and has explosive weapons to work with. Georgia is again loaded at the running back position with D’Andre Swift posed for a great season. Georgia is one of the few SEC schools who are willing to play challenging games out of conference. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish come to Athens in September for a showdown between teams with National Championship aspirations. The SEC East title will be on the line in November when Georgia takes on the Gators in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. If you haven’t been the Florida/Georgia game is a must for any college football fan.
Ohio State Buckeyes + 1000
Ryan Day takes over at Ohio State as Urban Meyer officially retired from coaching after last year’s Rose Bowl. Day went 3-0 last season during Meyer’s suspension to start last season. The Buckeyes will also have a new defensive coordinator as former Michigan coordinator Greg Mattison decided to do the unthinkable and join the bitter rival.
The reason I’m high on Ohio State is the addition of quarterback Justin Fields who transferred in from Georgia after losing the quarterback competition to Jake Fromm last season. Fields is an electric athlete who should strive under Day and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich’s up tempo offense.
Running Back J.K Dobbins should help ease the transition for Fields to Columbus and take pressure of him early in the season. The Junior from Texas was inconsistent last season, but has the ability to dominate and may be the best running back available in a loaded 2020 running back class.
Their schedule ends with two massive games as Ohio State plays Penn State and then heads to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan. One game to keep an eye on is September 28th when Ohio State heads to Lincoln to take on Nebraska. The Cornhuskers should be improved and have dangerous quarterback Adrian Martinez.
Oregon Ducks + 3000
I was on Mario Cristobal’s staff at FIU for almost five years. We had the best run in program history with a conference championship and back-to-back bowl games. Looking back we probably had one of the best staffs outside the power five in recent memory.
Three current power five head coaches, multiple coordinators, sports agents and yours truly (one of the rising sports handicappers in the business). Cristobal and the Ducks coaching staff has done a tremendous job recruiting the west coast especially California which has greatly increased the talent on the roster. Oregon has a future first round pick at quarterback in Justin Herbert who has all the tools NFL scouts look for.
The defense is inexperienced and needs to come together quickly as Oregon has a massive opening game against Auburn in Dallas. The conference schedule is challenging as well with road games at Stanford, Washington, USC and Arizona State. If Oregon can make a run to the playoff, they will have earned it. If you have some extra cash to play with, there is some value with the Ducks.