While the LSU Tigers became the first team besides Alabama or Clemson to win the NCAAF Championship since 2014 when Ohio State won it all, if you’re expecting a repeat in Baton Rouge in 2020, you’d better think again.
My Top 5 NCAAF Championship Favorites for 2020
Not only will LSU be hard-pressed to win consecutive national championship, but I don’t see the Tigers even reaching the four-team College Football Playoffs. However, if you want to know which teams I believe do stand the best chances of winning the 2021 national championship, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started with my top five favorites to win it all this coming campaign.
- NCAAF Championship Odds: +230
While the Tigers were man-handled in their humbling 42-25 championship game loss against Joe Burrow and LSU last season, Dabo Swinney’s team should be right back in the championship mix for a handful of reasons, starting with the play of gifted quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The expected first pick in next year’s NFL draft has led the Tigers to a phenomenal 29-1 record the last two seasons while throwing 66 TD passes and just 12 interceptions the last two seasons combined. While Clemson must replace a handful of elite performers that are off to this year’s NFL draft, Clemson gets as much elite talent coming in every year as any team in the nation. With Lawrence under center and a boatload of talent at the skill positions, I like Clemson to reach the CFP in 2020 at the very least.
Ohio State Buckeyes
- National Championship Odds: +350
The Buckeyes are coming off an unbeaten regular season (13-0) and even though they came up short in their CFP semifinal loss to Clemson, I think Ohio State is in great shape to contend again this coming season.
Yes, the Buckeyes lost some immense talent in defense end Chase Young and cornerback Jeffrey Okudah among others, but Ohio State has a flat-out star in quarterback Justin Fields. The former five-star recruit for Georgia had a campaign for the ages in passing for 3,723 yards with 41 TD tosses and just three interceptions while rushing for an additional 484 yards and 10 scores.
There’s work to be done in the secondary and you just don’t replace a talent like Chase Young like it’s nothing, but in the end, I love what Fields brings to the table and I believe head coach Ryan Day is clearly up to the challenge of bringing a national championship to Columbus.
- NCAAF Championship Odds: +1800
Florida has won 21 games the last two seasons while pulling off back-to-back New Year’s Six bowl victories under widely-respected head coach coach Dan Mullen. More importantly, Florida is loaded on the offensive side of the ball and the o-line returns four starters from last season’s team that put up a healthy 33.0 points per game (37th).
Defensively, Florida finished 10th overall and eighth in points allowed (14.4 ppg) while ranking inside the national top 20 against the pass and run. Don’t look now, but Florida is gaining on all of their SEC rivals, Alabama and LSU included.
Alabama Crimson Tide
- National Championship Odds: +550
Sure, Alabama failed to reach the CFP for the first time since its inception back in 2014, but the Crimson Tide are brimming with talent on both sides of the ball and expected to contend for the national championship again in 2020. Alabama lost a bunch of elite players to this year’s NFL draft including tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. and wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs II among others. Still, that happens to the Tide each and every year and it’s never stopped Nick Saban from fielding another winning team the following season.
Alabama will need to identify their new starting quarterback following the graduation of star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Mac Jones appeared in all 12 games as a sophomore last season, but he’s going to be pushed by five-star recruit Bryce Young.
If Jones or whoever starts under center is simply competent, then the Tide could turn to their powerful rushing attack to put points on the board. Defensively, I don’t care who Saban suits up. His defenses are always elite, so that should be the least of anyone’s concern. Defense, Nick Saban’s peerless coaching and what should be another elite defense leads me to believe Alabama will challenge for it all.
- NCAAF Championship Odds: +800
The Bulldogs might have come up short in their quest to reach the four-team College Football Playoff a year ago, but I believe they will be right back in the championship mix in 2020 for one huge reasons – they routinely shut their opponents down!
Georgia went 12-2 last season and has won 44 games in four seasons under head coach Kirby Smart, the former defensive coordinator at Alabama. The Dawgs have won 11 games or more in each of the last three season while reaching the CFP in 2017.
Georgia will have to replace starting quarterback Jake Fromm and star running back D’Andre Swift among others, but the Bulldogs brought in former Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman to start and they also claimed their second No. 1 ranking in recruiting in the last three years this offseason.
If Georgia plays defense anywhere near the level they’ve consistently played at under Kirby Smart and Jamie Newman succeeds at passing the rock better than Jake Fromm, I believe Georgia could easily find themselves in the CFP for the second time under Smart!