Ahead of the summer off-season ahead of media days, pre-season rankings and fall training, the updated College Football Playoff National Championship odds have come out with notable changes to several programs that feature breakneck signing lessons and impressive catches from the transfer portal.
And just in case college football needs some extra spice ahead of the 2022 season, Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher delivered this week during a viral back and forth skirmish over a name, image, and likeness loophole making its way into recruiting. Fischer confirms that there was no cheating in getting into the highest rated signer class of all time, while Saban seems to be convinced that it wasn’t.
Either way, these two national title contenders will meet on the field in October in a game that could decide who wins the SEC West this season and who plays Georgia—or the surprise East winner—in Atlanta for a playoff spot.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, here’s an updated look at national championship odds coming out in the spring.
Wisconsin Badgers (+6000)
The first of three Big Ten programs with +6,000 or better odds of winning this season. Last fall, Wisconsin finished one win short of a league championship spot after recovering well from a slow start. The badgers welcome the return of the premiere running back Brelon Allen, a strong offensive front and several defensive playmakers who should rank among the top in the Big Ten in their respective positions. An early-season showdown in Ohio State will determine Wisconsin’s early value in a playoff race starting in September, but as long as that team can make it to the Big Ten title game with one loss or less, they can play for the Finals. four nods in December.
Michigan Wolverines (+6000)
Jim Harbaugh put it into words this week as he assessed his team’s performance last season after winning the conference and making it to the playoffs.
“They continually disappointed their opposition, skeptics and those who prayed for their downfall,” Harbaugh said.
So what did the Wolverines have in store for the encore? The bookies believe they are in a title fight, but the road will be tough with four regular season games against the top 25, including the all-important finale in Ohio State. The team is replacing its top three defensemen this year and has yet to decide who will lead the attack on the quarterback position between the current players. Cade McNamara and the talented JJ McCarthy.
Oklahoma Sooners (+5000)
Before Oklahoma enters the SEC very soon, the Sooners should still dominate the Big 12 Conference after their league-top streak ended last fall at Baylor’s hands. The 2022 campaign marks a new era in Oklahoma football. Brent Venables took over as head coach after Lincoln Riley’s unexpected departure to USC. Venables has been able to absorb several notable staff losses through the transfer portal with several notable signings of his own, including a UCF quarterback. Dillon Gabriel. With former guest Ole Miss Jeff Lebby while running the attack, Oklahoma is confident the program will remain powerful with a ton of production.
Texas A&M Eggies (+3000)
After beating Saban last season, it seemed like Fischer was beginning to realize he was in college football’s elite last fall. However, it was the highlight of a bad year for the team’s pre-season five, which never restarted the engine after that. Equipped with the highest signing class of all time according to the 247Sports Composite and a quarterback room that Aggie feels great in, this may be the season it all came together at College Station. This week Saban provided enough message board material to play around with the proverbial shoulder chip and show off.
Trojans USC (+2500)
From relative poverty (by program standards) to massive wealth, USC has reversed its outlook for the 2022 season thanks to a major roster improvement via the transfer portal courtesy of Riley. In no time at all, the Trojans signed with college football’s top transfer class, highlighted by the addition of five-star quarterback Caleb Williams, the reigning winner of Biletnikoff. Jordan Addison and several elite instant starters elsewhere in key locations. Earlier this spring, USC was not seen as a threat to the preseason title, and now the bookies have reversed course and named the Trojans the best team in the West and the fifth most likely to win it all.
Clemson Tigers (+900)
Clemson is ranked 4th on FanDuel’s list of most likely playoff champions leaving the spring, about the same spot where most other bookies placed the Tigers after Dabo Sweeney’s program failed to make the playoffs for the first time in six seasons last fall. Much of this was done against Clemson’s inconsistencies in an offensive tone. Trevor Lawrence as the Tigers’ passing game noticeably retreated, with DJ Uiagelelei in the middle. Clemson returns to arguably college football’s most furious defensive front, a group led by three picks early in the round, including Miles Murphy, who could win the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award if he’s a teammate. Brian Breeze makes no claims.
Ohio State Buckeyes (+500)
At +500, this could be the most valuable bet if you take on a preseason opponent to win it all. Ohio State has the best lineup in the Big Ten and is by far the biggest threat to the SEC’s dominance at the top of college football as Heisman finalist CJ Stroud returns to center, a sophomore sensation. TreVion Henderson in the rear and Jackson Smith-Njigba outside, one of the deadliest in the country. However, Ohio State’s elite status this fall will be determined by its defensive play. It depends on the new protection coordinator Jim Knowles and how quickly he can get the Buckeyes to comply with his requests for protection.
Georgia Bulldogs (+350)
If a Kirby Smart may keep this team hungry after winning the program’s first national title since 1980, the Bulldogs will play for a return trip to the college football playoffs to defend their equipment in December with another clash with Alabama. Yes, Georgia lost five first-round picks to their defense, but there are three (potentially more) players to be drafted on Day 1 on this comeback side of football, and several other future draft picks are hankering for a breakout campaign. How long can Stetson Bennett last as quarterback? As long as the majority of his shots are against the nation’s top tight group, passing to Georgia should be fine.
Crimson Tide of Alabama (+200)
Experts love Crimson Tide. The reigning SEC champions are favorites to win another championship title, and for the last ten years they have been at the top — or second — in preseason odds and rotated under Saban. Heisman winner Bryce Young and the league’s top quarterback Will Anderson are back, along with several instant transfers that should make up for Crimson Tide’s offensive losses. Alabama will be the favorite in every game this season and they have the talent to put on an unbeaten season. And with preseason win totals set at 11.5, that’s somewhat to be expected.
If there is any area that could stop Alabama’s national title hopes, the offensive line could be the culprit. If you watched the Alabama spring game last month, you saw Crimson Tide’s biggest weakness front and center, albeit with a small crowd. The offensive line brought in 12 sacks with multiple starters, and while adding Tyler Steen’s Vanderbilt pass would help, it’s an obvious underdog skepticism group stance for the defending SEC champions. It will take Young some time to work and get used to a brand new group of wide receivers, not to mention opening holes with Georgia Tech transfer Jameer Gibbs, who will be Alabama’s first-team running back.