The leisure of the summer has ended, and school is in full swing, but College Football is back better than ever. Buckle in and experience the current era of the game for the last time.

During the long eight months of the offseason, the College Football world faced the absolute madness that is conference realignment. In 2022, historic blue-bloods Texas and Oklahoma shocked fans from all over the country when they announced their move from the offense-powered Big 12 to the SEC. While this move was shocking for many, it made complete sense. Joining the SEC would drastically increase both schools’ TV revenue and ticket sales. They would also reap the benefits of the SEC recruiting dynamic, which basically lures players to SEC schools because of the conference’s prestige.

This spring, Pac-12 powerhouses UCLA and USC announced a move to the Big 10 for the same reasons as Texas and Oklahoma. However, this move caused national outrage because those schools are located nowhere near the Big 10. This move would ruin geographic rivalries and make travel highly challenging for student-athletes. The move absolutely crumbled the Pac-12, which is notorious for featuring games after dark. Oregon and Washington, the following two teams in line, recently announced their moves to the Big 10. All but two of the teams, Oregon State and Washington State, have parted ways with the conference.

All these game-changing moves are slated for the 2024-25 season, meaning this will be the last season of what College Football has been this past century. Let’s dive into it and preview the final four-team College Football Playoff.

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So, who is going to take it home this year? The past two years have been dominated by the Georgia Bulldogs, who have won it all back-to-back. The season will test the Bulldog’s up-and-coming dynasty, as their starting QB, Stetson Bennett, has entered the NFL. Georgia has depth all around, but losing their leader may prove detrimental. Stetson’s five-star replacement, Carson Beck, seems unlikely to lead the team back to the title. While Georgia is currently the favorite by Vegas, I don’t see it happening three years in a row. The same can be said about the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are led by junior wideouts Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. While the weapons on offense are electric, new QB Kyle McCord looks unfit to take the reigns. In a Week 1 matchup against Big 10 bottom-feeder Indiana, McCord threw for only 239 yards and one interception. Teams with an established quarterback have a lot more to look forward to. Florida State’s Jordan Travis Jr. and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy are returning starters who looked electric in their Week 1 starts. Both QBs are surrounded by weapons similar to those of Ohio State and Georgia. Florida State also features an elite defense led by star edge rusher Jared Verse. Michigan features a well-rounded defense with above-average players at every single position. You can also consider teams with established QBs, such as Oregon, USC, Washington, and Notre Dame in the mix. There are still 10-11 more weeks of the season where a team can step up big time. Fans saw it last year with the Tennessee Volunteers and the TCU Horned Frogs. As of week two, you can expect the Seminoles and Wolverines to play on the big stage.

National Championship Prediction: Florida State 34, Michigan 20

If you want to make a more statistical pick, you can use these Vegas odds on the National Championship winner:

Ohio State+800
Florida State+1200
Penn State+1800
Notre Dame+3000
(Courtesy of BetMGM)

Daniel Hurson is a Sophomore member of the Multimedia Journalism class.