2018 Season Preview: Conference Champs, College Football Playoff Picks From the Eleven Warriors Staff

By Andrew Ellis on August 25, 2018 at 8:10 am
Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State are the Vegas favorites heading into the 2018 season.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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It's not the most appealing slate, but the college football season technically kicks off today. I'd venture to guess that most everyone is pretty excited that the fall is nearly upon us and the Buckeyes will take the field in one week against Oregon State.

The opening weekend – which is still being referred to as "Week Zero" – only features a handful of games but still serves as a reminder that the season is underway. Five games are in the books today and the teams include Colorado State, Hawaii, New Mexico State, and Rice. Not a whole lot to get excited about, but the real fun starts next week with a handful of Thursday games including Northwestern hitting the road to face Purdue.

2018 NATIONAL TITLE ODDS
SCHOOL ODDS (JAN) ODDS (AUG)
ALABAMA 5/2 19/10
CLEMSON 6/1 3/1
GEORGIA 8/1 9/1
OHIO STATE 8/1 10/1
WASHINGTON 30/1 12/1
MICHIGAN 10/1 14/1
OKLAHOMA 18/1 16/1
PENN STATE 12/1 25/1
WISCONSIN 25/1 25/1
TEXAS 25/1 28/1

The national championship odds have once again gone through some major changes dating back to January. According to Vegas Insider, the Buckeyes check in with the fourth-best odds to take home the crown behind only Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia.

This time there's there's four Big Ten programs listed among the teams with the top-10 strongest odds. The Buckeyes are joined by the Wolverines, Nittany Lions, and Badgers. Penn State's odds have plummeted since January, Michigan's have gone down a little, and Wisconsin has held steady.

Last week the staff members here at Eleven Warriors took their best shot pegging the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner. This weekend we are back at it again and predicting the season's power five conference champions as well as the College Football Playoff. 


Jason Priestas

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: Oklahoma • PAC 12: Stanford • SEC: Georgia

College Football Playoff: Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson, Stanford

National ChampionClemson

Ramzy Nasrallah

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: Oklahoma • PAC 12: Washington • SEC: Alabama

College Football Playoff: Clemson, Ohio State, Washington, Alabama

National Champion: Alabama

Chris Lauderback

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: West Virginia • PAC 12: Washington • SEC: Alabama

College Football Playoff: Alabama, Clemson, Washington, Ohio State

National Champion: Alabama

Johnny Ginter

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Penn State • Big 12: Oklahoma • PAC 12: Washington • SEC: Alabama

College Football Playoff: Alabama, Penn State, Washington, Clemson

National ChampionClemson

Dan Hope

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: Oklahoma • PAC 12: Washington • SEC: Alabama

College Football Playoff: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Washington

National Champion: Clemson 

Clemson is yet again one of the favorites for the College Football Playoff.
Clemson's defensive line should be the top unit in the country for 2018. Via Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Webb

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: Oklahoma • PAC 12: Washington • SEC: Georgia

College Football Playoff: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia

National Champion: Clemson over Georgia

Andrew Lind

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: Oklahoma • PAC 12: Stanford • SEC: Georgia

College Football Playoff: Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State, Stanford

National ChampionClemson over Georgia

Kevin Harrish

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: Oklahoma • PAC 12: Washington • SEC: Georgia

College Football Playoff: Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama

National Champion: Clemson over Georgia

Kyle Jones

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Wisconsin • Big 12: TCU • PAC 12: Washington • SEC: Georgia

College Football Playoff: Clemson, Wisconsin, Washington, Georgia

National Champion: Clemson

Andy Vance

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: Oklahoma • PAC 12: Stanford • SEC: Alabama

College Football Playoff: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma

National Champion: Ohio State over Alabama

David Wertheim

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: West Virginia • PAC 12: USC • SEC: Alabama

College Football Playoff: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia

National Champion: Alabama over Ohio State

Andrew Ellis

Power Five: ACC: Clemson • Big Ten: Ohio State • Big 12: West Virginia • PAC 12: Washington • SEC: Georgia

College Football Playoff: Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama

National Champion: Georgia over Clemson


There's a whole lot of the usual suspects in this year's submissions. Everyone's got Clemson taking home the ACC crown, and that's probably not a surprise with Florida State coming off a down year and the Hurricanes not yet on the Tigers' level. The PAC 12 is expected to come down to Washington or Stanford, but there is a USC pick sprinkled in as well.

The Big Ten's East Division may be the best in the country this season, and that's why I think most would say the conference could be the most intriguing one to watch. With all the talk regarding Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and even Michigan State, people seem to be discounting Wisconsin a little bit. Alex Hornibrook is a fairly average quarterback, but if he can take the next step then the Badgers have a real shot at the playoff.

Paul Chryst is very likely to field the best offensive line in the country. Seeing them go up against Clemson's front four would be a sight to behold. Though that would obviously spell bad news for Ohio State's playoff aspirations. 

I'm just not sure what to make of the Big 12. Oklahoma has to replace Baker Mayfield, but Kyler Murray is a playmaker and Rodney Anderson should be one of the best running backs in America. West Virginia's offense will again be a force with Will Grier and some of the nation's top pass-catchers. TCU was the only program to finish in the top-20 in total defense in 2017. And I have no idea how Texas has the 10th-best odds to take home the national title.

Let the games begin. Who are your picks for this season's playoff?

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