College Football's New Look


This week, envisioned how the inaugural College Football Playoff might play out. Beginning with the 16 best teams in the nation, as chosen by our own mock selection committee of 13 college football experts, we whittled the list to eight, to four, and to two. Today, we reveal our choice for the favorite to win the four-team playoff: Florida State.

The Seminoles return 14 starters from last season's national championship team, but most importantly, they return the best player in the country in the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Jameis Winston.

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The Star

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- So which Jameis Winston do you think will play for Florida State this fall? Will it be the quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy? Or the 20-year-old who thought he could walk out of Publix with $32 of seafood?

Do you like your college heroes without a flaw? Or should we allow them to grow up in private? And if we do allow them to grow up in private, should we write off shoplifting dinner as an immature stunt? Don't most of us learn not to take something without paying for it pretty early on?

When Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher talks about Winston, doesn't he sound as if he's describing Andrew Luck?

"His ability to retain information and process it and get it out is ridiculous," Fisher said.

For a redshirt sophomore? Or for anybody?

"Anybody," Fisher said. "I mean, he's at an elite level that way. To me, it's the secret to him."

Is there another quarterback who could walk into the first day of spring practice after playing baseball for weeks and have maybe -- maybe -- four passes hit the ground? "He said he'd been throwing two or three days a week," Fisher said, "but he ain't been with his guys. ... A couple of guys had a few mistakes at the end, just a hair tired, and all of a sudden, you could just feel his energy. The last four plays were: Bam! Bam! Bam!"

So is Winston an idiot off the field and a savant on it? Is that something Florida State can live with? Is that something the rest of us can live with? Does the name Johnny Football mean anything to you? Didn't we just have Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III playing college football? What changed? Is college football destined to have all its best quarterbacks make dumb off-field decisions?

If we all ask very nicely, do you think Winston will grow up?

Editor's note: Florida State and Alabama were the two teams left standing in our playoff series. The Seminoles and Crimson Tide each have a steady hand in head coaches Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban, respectively, to navigate their paths to the championship game.

The Leader

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban once had a reputation as being the most difficult employer in college coaching. The hours are long; lunches are not. Saban is demanding and not always polite when he demands it.

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