Takeaways: Picks for the 2014 playoff 

January, 7, 2014
Jan 7
8:42
AM ET
Levonte WhitfieldJayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsLevonte "Kermit" Whitfield could be Florida State's next star wide receiver in 2014.
PASADENA, Calif. -- So long, BCS. Hello, College Football Playoff.

That’s where we begin the BCS version of Takeaways, after witnessing the Florida State Seminoles beat the Auburn Tigers 34-31 in a tremendous final game to send off the BCS.

Who will be the first participants in the final four? Will FSU or Auburn return? Will there be a surprise team (hint: I have one from the left coast)? Which team is the SEC's best chance, and will it get two teams in?

Other Takeaways include a potential pitfall for the playoff selection committee, the next Jameis Winston storyline and where Louisville and Penn State go from here.

1. A look ahead at the 2014 playoff

Who ya got? Here's a sneak peek at my early picks for the four-team bracket.


1. Florida State Seminoles
If you bring back the Heisman winner to a national championship team, chances are you're going to again be a factor. FSU will have plenty to replace, including important defensive leaders such as linebacker Christian Jones and nickelback Lamarcus Joyner. But Jimbo Fisher's past four recruiting classes have been ranked an average of fourth, according to RecruitingNation, so talent gets replaced with more talent. Plus, Fisher seems to have hit home runs with his new staff hires, particularly defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

Oh, and then there's another year of Winston (before what our NFL draft experts believe will likely be his No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 NFL draft). Perhaps we will learn just how good he is if top targets Kelvin Benjamin, Rashad Greene and Nick O’Leary turn pro. With third-leading receiver Kenny Shaw exhausting his eligibility, 5-foot-7 true freshman Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield, whose fourth-quarter 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown played a critical role in Monday night's outcome, could be the next star receiver in the offense.

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