Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
No. 4 Ohio State (12-1)
Despite an odd loss at Penn State, Ohio State squeaks into the playoff field with a 12-1 record that includes wins over Michigan State and Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Quarterback Braxton Miller tops the 3,000-yard mark in total offense yet again, though he misses some playing time because of injury. The Buckeyes' offensive line, which remains a major question mark post-spring, is problematic enough to hinder the offense at times.
That makes a couple of games closer than they should be and contributes to the loss to the Nittany Lions. However, Ohio State's defense, anchored by its defensive line, provides the edge the team needs to keep winning.
No. 3 UCLA (12-1)
Jim Mora's team finally gets over the hump and beats Stanford, which the Bruins haven't done since 2008. UCLA also gets a nice early season victory over Texas in September. The stretch doesn't get easier with games at Arizona State and against Oregon, but Mora's team survives and advances.
Quarterback Brett Hundley is again the focal point of the offense and challenges Marcus Mariota as the best in the Pac-12. Though he doesn't make it to New York for the Heisman ceremony, Hundley gets the better of Mariota on Oct. 11.
The Bruins have veteran receivers and an offensive line. That gives them one of the best offenses in the country.
Sophomore linebacker Myles Jack has an even better season than his freshman campaign and earns consensus All-American status.
No. 2 Alabama (12-1)
As usual, the Tide pave their way to the end of the regular season as one of the best teams in the country. Though the team is breaking in a new quarterback, running backs T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry carry the load for the offense.
Alabama slips up in a Nov. 8 game at LSU, head coach Nick Saban proves Auburn's Gus Malzahn is not his kryptonite—at least not that year. The Tide returns to the SEC Championship Game, where it defeats a motivated Missouri team that gives Saban's group everything it can handle.
Wins over Texas A&M, Auburn and Missouri are enough to give the Tide the No. 2 seed in the playoff.
No. 1 Florida State (13-0)
It's tough to go undefeated. It's even harder to go undefeated two years in a row, no matter the perceived strength of the conference. Yet, the Seminoles reload around Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston and get through the 2014-15 season unscathed.
Winston doesn't win the Heisman two years in a row, but he makes it to New York after accounting for 4,000 total yards. The defense is again stocked with talent that makes moving the ball nearly impossible for opponents.
By predicting this, of course, we've officially jinxed the Seminoles. For that, please accept our sincerest apologies.