The new season is upon us and 2016-2017 may provide a repeat of last year. Alabama lost a lot of talent off of last year’s National Championship team however at Alabama they do not rebuild, they reload. The offensive line should punish defenses and provide gaping holes for a bevy of runners to field running room. However, the Tide may have lost too much from last year’s title team to repeat. Clemson on the other hand is looking to capitalize on having Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson back for another year. Watson will have to put up a ton of points week after week because the Clemson defense will not be as stout as last year. Michigan has been everyone’s preseason darling but may still be one more Harbaugh recruiting class away from making it to the final 4.
LSU returns nearly everyone this year and it definitely helps having a beast at running back that LOVES the college experience. LSU gets both Ole Miss and Bama on their home turf which could be the big difference when it’s all said and done. LSU will represent the SEC in the playoffs this year and eventually bring the trophy back to Louisiana. What better way to boost the community than to bring a trophy home and give the great fans of Louisiana something to cheer for. LSU National Champion - +900
Florida State returns an entire offense from a team that was tough to stop last year. This consistency will help the Seminoles play for a National Championship this year but unfortunately for the ACC fans out there, the SEC takes another crown this year. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield will march the Sooners back to the big 4 but they will not survive the semifinals again this year. The fourth spot is really up for grabs and could go in one of several directions. If UCLA or Stanford can survive a tough schedule this year, they will represent the Pac12 in the final 4. Notre Dame has had several issues in the offseason to deal with which will prove to be too much to overcome, leaving them on the outside looking in again this year. Tennessee will represent the other half of the SEC in the SEC title game and if they do not get embarrassed they could give the SEC two representatives in the final 4. If Houston can somehow beat the Sooners week 1, look for them to play spoiler and crash the party!
National Championship Play – LSU +900 Darkhorse Play – Florida State +1600
Other Props – Ohio State will NOT play in Final 4 Odds: -210; Oklahoma WILL play in the Final 4 Odds: +160; Heisman winner Leonard Fournette Odds: +500
AAC will be Houston’s to lose, returning 8 defensive starters and reloading on offense. South Florida will make a run at the title with Marlon Mack carrying the mail but ultimately the Cougars are too deep and well coached not to take this Conference title. Current Line is even money Houston takes the title.
ACC on the outside looking in appears to be a two horse race between Clemson and Florida State. Based on earlier projections, the pundits will be shocked if one of these two teams isn’t the conference champ however, keep Louisville on your radar because Lamar Jackson is going to turn some heads and put up some monster games this year. Louisville is getting a huge price to win the conference so feel free to dabble on that if you’re so inclined.
Big 12 is Oklahoma’s to lose and gets to take advantage of a down year for Baylor, a rebuilding unit in Texas, a civ like defense in West Virginia and inexperienced offensive unit at TCU. Oklahoma State will be a tough out because of all the returning starters but ultimately the Sooners win the conference title. Current odds are Oklahoma -150.
Big 10 will be a changing of the guard year. The Wolverines are loaded from top to bottom and Ohio State lost nearly everyone but the water boy to the draft. It’s now or maybe never for Michigan to get a title back to Ann Arbor and continue to build the brand while winning the recruiting battle across the country. Iowa’s defense will be tough but big picture this is the year Michigan fans have been waiting for a long time. Current Line has Michigan at +150 to bring the hardware home.
Conference USA is really up for grabs this year. Throw a dart at the list of teams if you’re so inclined. If forced to make a selection the lean would be on the ultimate dark horse Rice. Rice is returning a ton of starters and current price is +1800. Good money for a random wager.
The MAC will be another up and down battle across the board and Western Michigan will be looking to survive a tough non-conference schedule. As long as their confidence doesn’t wane they will have enough in the tank to compete for the West Division title and play for the Conference title. Kent State on the East side will be a tough out this year after being the Conference doormat last year. Kent State takes the Conference Title and pays you a handsome +1200.
The Mountain West will more than likely come down to Boise State in the Mountain Division and San Diego State bouncing back after a bad year last year to represent the West Division. Boise State returns to form and brings home a title at a decent price of +140.
The Pac12 will be the most exciting brand of football you will watch all year. The trick will be for anyone on the East Coast to stay awake to see these high flying games. Christian McCaffery (Stanford) will once again be a human highlight real but he may not be able to go at it alone. If you asked a few years ago will Washington State ever be back, the answer may have been no. But the Cougars are back and appear to be in a good position to take the North Division. Utah will be a tough out on the South side of the division but “Chosen” Rosen and the UCLA Bruins will represent the South. UCLA is the play to take the Conference crown at a decent +400 price.
The SEC will once again be the premier conference in all of college football and will ultimately be a playoff weekend every weekend for the majority of the teams within the conference. As mentioned LSU takes the Conference Title but Tennessee, Ole Miss, Georgia and Arkansas will all be tough outs week after week. Alabama will look to repeat but has lost too much from last year’s dominant defense. LSU is currently +250 to take the title.