Avinash Kunnath: They'll be a playoff. Aside from Ohio State and maybe the TCU/Baylor winner, this is a year where I don't see many dominant teams anywhere in the country. The SEC will send their customary dueling banjo. The Big 12 cannibalizes itself similarly to the Pac-12 with the round robin. I sense a down year for the ACC. I can't imagine the Pac-12 eats itself alive that much--at most the best team in the conference has had two losses after the regular season. That should be enough for the playoff.
As for winning it? Nope. I thought a healthy Oregon would have won last year, but the Ducks are not better this season while Ohio State clearly is. USC has the most raw talent, but their defense isn't ready to win two in a row against the nation's best. UCLA means you have to rely on Rosen. Arizona and ASU have their various quirks. It's going to take a really special team to upset the Buckeyes, and I don't think they're in the Best Coast this year.
Nik Jam: The Pac-12 always seems to beat each other up, but I have a feeling whoever wins the Pac-12 South, should they beat Oregon (or whoever) in the Pac-12 Championship Game, should make the playoff even with two losses.
PerryScope: I think USC will indeed make the Playoff finishing 11-1 (8-1) with a loss at Autzen Stadium to the ducks. However I do not see them winning it all. Ohio State, Alabama, and TCU are all better teams in my opinion and I think the lack of experience of players and coaches will hurt the Trojans in the long run.
A.W. Johnston: Yes. The selection committee will lack what it takes to put in more interesting teams and I wouldn't be surprised to see all four major conference champions end up in the playoff once more (who's ready for an eight team playoff? I am!). I expect the Pac-12 and the SEC to be the most challenging conferences in football and the winner will come from one of those two. If USC does in fact make the playoff, I suspect they will end up falling short once again.
boomtho: This could be west coast homerism, but I have to think barring some super weird regular season where the Pac-12 champ has three losses, the Pac-12 champ will get into the playoff. However, I don't think any of the Pac-12 teams is talented enough to beat someone like OSU or Alabama this year.
KWBears: Nope, and nope. I think Arizona will be good this year, but not Top 4 good. Oregon is our conference's standard bearer, but that doesn't matter for the playoffs. It's about wins and losses. Their second week Michigan State matchup will be huge, but I'm not convinced that Adams will have all his wits together by then. So, if they lose there and at least one more time in the Pac-12 title game (which I'm predicting will go to the Wildcats), then they're definitely out of playoff contention. I think this is the season of the Big Ten conference, unfortunately for us.