Spring football is in full swing, with Alabama’s annual A-Day game scheduled this Saturday. And across the country, FCS teams are in their truncated midseason and other conferences are gearing up for Spring football as well.
So, of course it makes perfect sense, before Fall enrollees even step foot on campuses, to speculate about who shall hoist next year’s trophy.
There are a few of these futures that I actually like a great deal too.
2021-2022 Championship Odds
Alabama Crimson Tide +350
Clemson Tigers +400
Georgia Bulldogs +400
Oklahoma Sooners +600
Ohio State Buckeyes +650
Iowa State Cyclones +2500
Florida Gators +2800
Notre Dame Fighting Irish +3300
USC Trojans +3300
Oregon Ducks +4000
Wisconsin Badgers +4000
LSU Tigers +5000
Miami Hurricanes +5000
Michigan Wolverines +5000
North Carolina Tar Heels +5000
Penn State Nittany Lions +5000
Texas Longhorns +5000
Texas A&M Aggies +5000
Washington Huskies +5000
Oklahoma State Cowboys +6600
Auburn Tiger s+8000
Arizona State Sun Devils +10000
Cincinnati Bearcats +10000
Kentucky Wildcats +10000
Alabama is the narrow favorite here at 3 1⁄2 to 1, with predictable contenders close on their heels. Alabama’s defense will be incredibly salty this season, and the offensive talent is potentially elite. The Tide have earned the bettors grace and benefit of the doubt, to be sure. But there are a whole lot of questions entering 2021: teams rarely lose half of their coaching staff and 89% of their offensive production and improve. There are too many questions here for my taste, frankly, even in a down year for the SEC — and especially at OC.
So, I’m actually going outside Tuscaloosa, as there are some others that seem better bets, dollar-wise.
Look at Ohio State sitting at 6 1⁄2 : 1 — this team is loaded, and a dedicated passing game may actually make the Buckeyes even better than last season. Their wide receiving corps is the best returning unit in the country, and the line talent and running game are beyond elite. In aggregate recruiting over the last decade, only OSU has brought in as much talent as ‘Bama.
See also, the Sooners at 6:1. OU’s renewed commitment to defense, with their vast talent on-hand, has to make the Dirt Burglars a good futures bet. They better get it this year though; Alex Grinch is surely off to his own job soon. And while Iowa State isn’t going anywhere, and Texas will be much better, OU should out-talent most of the teams they face. As usual, it is a 3-4 game schedule for the Sooners.
Another option here is predicated on whether UGA can find people to actually throw the ball to. The defense of course will always be elite, the running game is loaded, and if Kirby finally finds some wideouts to let JT Daniels take the top off, the Bulldogs are legit. They would actually be my favorite...if you can trust Kirby Smart 15 times in one season. And that is my biggest question mark for the Dawgs, and will always be.
For those into longer odds, my favorite dark horse is the Texas Longhorns. Sitting at 50:1, the Longhorns are loaded with some underrated veteran talent, and now bring in a dominating offensive scheme capable of riding the burnt orange to the playoffs. Yes, being down Sam Ehlinger is a loss, but Steve Sarkisian will always find triggermen and points; the UT special teams are elite; and the defense should be a much-improved unit. Hey, why not? A $20 bill could net you a $1000 with a few not-so-improbable breaks. And that’s why it’s called a gamble.
If you must bet against ‘Bama, take Ohio State, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Texas, and in that order.
Who to steer clear of? That’s easy. Dodge the rest of a rebuilding SEC, the choking Oregon Ducks, the poorly-coached and incontinent USC Trojans, Notre Dame decimated by graduation, the rest of an attrition-prone Big Ten, and a Clemson team with a whole lot of holes to fill, an improving ACC, and very little wiggle room on the depth-chart. One or two key injuries can send this squad to at least one L.