Phil Steele’s National Championship Criteria Fits 15 Teams For 2014

In 2012, college football guru Phil Steele started a process that he’s used each year since to predict the championship contenders for the upcoming season. In short, Steele uses a set of criteria from past title winners and contenders to determine what teams heading into the next season fit the mold.

Following is a brief overview of Steele’s thinking behind his process. I highly suggest visiting his website for an in-depth analysis of how he determines the teams that could potentially win the title each season. It’s a great read for any college football fan.

Naturally, we can not 100% accurately predict the stats that each team will have for the upcoming season so what I did for each previous National Title winner and contender was to look what they did the year prior to their great seasons in order to examine the teams coming into 2014 (used 2013 stats).

I used a combo of 24 different categories/stats from every National Title winner and contender from the last 22 years to come up with a list of just 15 teams that meet all of the criteria and in my opinion legitimately fit the national championship mode.

Heading into 2014, a total of 15 teams make Steele’s title cut. While it’s only his third year of predictions, Steele has correctly included the championship teams from the past two seasons – Alabama (2012) and FSU (2013).

Following are the teams that could potentially win the first College Football Playoff based on Steele’s criteria.

  • Alabama
  • Baylor
  • Clemson
  • Florida St
  • Iowa
  • Kansas St
  • Louisville
  • LSU
  • Michigan St
  • Ohio St
  • Oklahoma
  • Ole Miss
  • Stanford
  • USC
  • Wisconsin

One of the more talked about teams heading into the season that doesn’t fit Steele’s title criteria is UCLA. The Bruins were recently tabbed by Tim Brando to win the championship in 2014. Kirk Herbstreit is also riding high on Jim Mora’s squad.

Do you think one of these 15 teams will win the title? If so, which one?