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Predicting Each Conference Champ For The 2024 CFB Season

The upcoming season will place a greater emphasis on conference titles due to expanding the College Football Playoff to 12 teams.

Conference champions will now receive automatic byes, guaranteeing a spot for the champions of the Power 4 conferences (Big Ten, SEC, ACC, and Big 12) and the highest-ranked champion from the Conference USA, Mountain West, Sun Belt, AAC, and MAC.

As a result of these new rules, let's delve into my conference championship picks.

Conference USA: Liberty Flames -190

Conference Champ Pick Liberty Flames
Liberty Flames

The Liberty Flames are the overwhelming favorite to win the Conference Title. In Jamey Chadwell's first season as the head coach, he led the team to a Conference Title with 13 wins.

They are looking to build off this successful season to make it to the new look 12-team College Football Playoff.

The team will also have quarterback Kaidon Salter returning, who had an impressive season, passing for 2,875 yards with 32 passing touchdowns and only six interceptions, gaining 1,089 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground. Additionally, the leading rusher for the Flames, Quinton Cooley, who ran for 1,401 yards, will be returning.

The team's defense may not be considered elite, but it doesn't have to be with Liberty's impressive offense, which ranks No. 9 in scoring.

Mountain West: Boise State Broncos +135

Conference Champ Pick Boise State Broncos
Boise State Broncos

After parting ways with Andy Avalos, interim Head Coach Spencer Danielson led the Broncos to a 3-1 record. Danielson's interim title was removed after a Mountain West Title game victory.

The team strengthened its roster by adding former USC quarterback Malachi Nelson through the transfer portal. Additionally, running back Ashton Jeany, who amassed the 11th most rushing yards (1,347), is set to return for the upcoming season. The team is also bringing back four out of five starters on the offensive line.

However, the Broncos' defense needs improvement. It finished as the No. 55 scoring defense (allowing 25.14 points per game) and the No. 71 total defense (allowing 385.1 yards per game).

Sun Belt: Appalachian State Mountaineers +330

Conference Champ Pick Appalachian State
Appalachian State Mountaineers

The Mountaineers have the fourth-most returning production in the Sun Belt from a nine-win team.

They are also bringing back their head coach, coordinators, and quarterback, Joey Aguilar. Aguilar returns after passing for 3,757 yards, the seventh most in the nation and the fourth most returning passing yards. He also won Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year honors and Second-team All-Sun Belt (2023).

The Mountaineers' schedule includes trips to Clemson in week two and Louisiana in week seven, which are the highlights of the 2024 slate.

Big Ten: Ohio State Buckeyes +145

Conference Champ Pick Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State had a remarkable offseason in high school recruiting and through the transfer portal, setting the Buckeyes up as strong contenders for the national championship.

They added quarterback Will Howard, running back Quinshon Judkins, and safety Caleb Downs through the transfer portal. They also brought in Jeremiah Smith, the nation's top high school receiver.

Additionally, they retained many key starters, including receiver Emeka Egbuka, running back TreVeyon Henderson, defensive linemen JT Tuimoloau, Tyleik Williams, and Jack Sawyer, defensive backs Denzel Burke, Jordan Hancock, and Lathan Ransom, and offensive linemen Josh Simmons and Donovan Jackson.

The Buckeyes' schedule is manageable. They have dates to Oregon and Penn State but also get Iowa, Nebraska, and Michigan at home.

SEC: Georgia Bulldogs +190

Conference Champ Pick Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia Bulldogs

The upcoming schedule is the toughest Georgia has faced under Kirby Smart. They have away games against Kentucky, Alabama, Texas, and Ole Miss, as well as neutral site and home games against Clemson and Tennessee.

Despite the challenging schedule, the Bulldogs' potent offense should help them navigate it. The team is set to return eight starters, including quarterback Carson Beck, from an offense that averaged 40 points per game. However, they will be without superstar tight end Brock Bowers and offensive linemen Amarius Mims and Sedrick Van Pran-Granger.

While Kirby Smart's defense has always been one of the nation's best, they have lost key players such as defensive backs Kamari Lassiter, Javon Bullard, and Tykee Smith to the NFL Draft.

AAC: Memphis Tigers +230

Conference Champ Pick Memphis Tigers
Memphis Tigers

They have the third-most returning production in the AAC from a team that went 10-3 and 6-2 in conference play.

They are headlined by the AAC's top-scoring offense, which has seven returning starters. Quarterback Seth Henigan leads the Tigers, being the all-time leading passer, with two of the top AAC wide receivers in Roc Taylor (1,083 yards) and Demeer Blankumsee (901).

Additionally, running back Mario Anderson from South Carolina, who ran for 707 yards last season, has been added via the transfer portal.

The offensive line has questions after losing three starters – left tackle Makylan Pounders, center Jacob Likes, and right guard Davion Carter – leaving significant holes in the roster.

On the defensive end, the Tigers must take a step forward, having allowed the 9th-most yards (452.3) and the 37th-most points per game (30.0). Veteran kicker Tanner Gillis will enter another season with the Tigers after hitting 47-of-49 extra points and 10-of-13 field goals.

MAC: Miami (Ohio) RedHawks +240

Conference Champ Pick Miami (Ohio) Redhawks
Miami (Ohio) Redhawks

After posting an 11-2 record and winning the Mac title, the Redhawks are in a key spot to win back-to-back conference titles.

Quarterback Brett Gabbert is set to return for his sixth year of college football after his season ended early due to a leg injury. However, he was still playing at a solid level, throwing for 1,634 yards, 14 touchdowns, and only five interceptions before his injury. They are also set to return four offensive linemen and many weapons for Brett Gabbert to use in the passing game.

They return the ninth-most production in the country and the most in the Mac, along with six starters back on a defense that led the Redhawks to the Mac title. They posted the No. 8 scoring defense (15.93 points per game) and the No. 26 total defense (330.4 yards per game). They were even better in the conference, holding Mac teams to 11.1 points per game and 4.4 yards allowed per snap.

ACC: Clemson Tigers +360

Conference Champ Pick Clemson Tigers
Clemson Tigers

There is a debate between Clemson and Florida State regarding which team is the top team in the ACC.

One factor favoring Clemson is the departure of key players from Florida State, the reigning ACC Champion. DE Jared Verse, WRs Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson, RB Trey Benson, and QB Jordan Travis have all left for the NFL Draft.

Last season, Clemson had the most snaps played by freshmen in the nation (3,991). Despite this, they finished the season strong, winning their last five games and achieving a 9-4 record.

Clemson also has a favorable schedule, with only a visit to Florida State in week six, home games against NC State, and a matchup against Georgia in Atlanta in week one.

Big 12: Oklahoma State Cowboys +1000

Conference Champ Pick Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State Cowboys

The Cowboys are ranked 26th in ESPN FPI's rankings, which is way too low. The Pokes are returning the fourth-most production in the nation; apart from that, production is the nation's top offensive line, having experience and production with over 200 starts played together.

Ollie Gordon II is back for another season; he saw success behind this offensive line, rushing for a league-high 1,732 yards, winning the Doak-Walker Award, and finishing seventh in Heisman voting. Quarterback Alan Bowman is set to make his return for his second season in Stillwater and his seventh year of college football.

The only thing that could hold back the Pokes is its defense. In 2023, the defense ranked 122nd in total defense but is set to return ten of its eleven starters from the previous season, and defensive coordinator Bryan Nardo is back for his second season. If Nardo can get right the ship with his defense, Oklahoma State could surprise many people.


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