The finish to the college football season was a bit anticlimactic. Georgia scored early and often en route to a 65-7 win over an overmatched Texas Christian team that looked more like the team that went 5-7 a season ago rather than the one that made a surprising run to the national championship game.
The next couple of months will be about finalizing the rosters of the national contenders, with key players leaving to enter the NFL Draft as well as through the transfer portal.
According to the college football playoff odds, Georgia (+300), Ohio State (+650), Alabama (+650) and Michigan (+800) have the best odds to win the national title.
Georgia Still the One
Sure, Georgia will be losing some key pieces of an undefeated team that won back-to-back national titles. However, having five defensive players selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, along with receiver George Pickens and running backs Zamir White and James Cook making impacts as rookies, didn’t stop the Bulldogs from running the table.
Freshman Branson Robinson ran for a pair of touchdowns in the title game, sophomore tight end Brock Bowers had 152 yards on seven catches, and freshman Bear Alexander had two sacks so the future is in good hands.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) January 10, 2023
Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, and Southern California are among the teams expected to be in the running for next season’s College Football Playoff field.
Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams of USC, Michigan running back Blake Corum, Georgia tight end Brock Bowers and Florida State defensive end Jared Verse are among the high-profile players returning in 2023.
Williams, who threw for 4,537 yards with 42 touchdowns and five interceptions, is listed by the sportsbook as the current Heisman front-runner with +300 odds.
North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (4,351 passing yards, 43 TD passes) is priced at +850 followed by Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (4,641 passing yards, 31 touchdowns).
The top non-quarterback listed is Penn State running back Nick Singleton at +3300 followed by Michigan’s Corum at +4000.
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Pulling for the Underdogs
A season ago, it was Cincinnati crashing the party and this year it was TCU making it all the way to the national title game.
While Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, and Clemson are familiar names to those who follow the recent history of the College Football Playoff, which teams could be the latest to make a run at a national title?
Washington is already drawing plenty of love as is Penn State and Florida State. The Seminoles are loading up on transfers.
Naturally, the journey of Deion Sanders in his first season at Colorado is going to get plenty of attention.
Crunching the Numbers
Everybody knows that Georgia completed a 15-0 season. However, let’s look at which teams were the most reliable in the eyes of those who bet online.
Tulane, the surprising winner of the American Athletic Conference title, was 12-2 against the spread (ATS) while Oregon State went 11-2 to post the best mark among teams from Power-5 conferences.
Penn State (9-3-1 ATS), Tennessee (10-3), TCU (10-4-1) and Kansas State (9-4-1) were other overachievers.
On the other end of the spectrum, Colorado, Miami (the one out of the ACC) and Stanford all went 2-10 against the college football lines.
USC led the way by going over the total 11 times, followed by Arkansas, Houston, Ohio State, and UCLA all finishing 10-3 against the total.
Just one of Kentucky’s 13 games finished under the total.
Ready to Rumble
While some of the heavyweights will have some soft non-conference schedules, there are some games in early September that should generate some excitement.
Florida State and Louisiana State, both likely to be top-10 teams, will meet in Orlando on Sept. 2. On the same day, Florida and Utah will play in Salt Lake City. They played an exciting game that was won by Florida 29-26 in the 2022 season opener.
The Deion Sanders era at Colorado will begin with a matchup against a TCU team fresh off a run to the national title game.
On the Move
There are some intriguing players who will be suiting up elsewhere in 2023.
Quarterbacks Sam Hartman and Devin Leary of Wbake Forbest and North Carolina State are now at Notre Dame and Kentucky, respectively.
Georgia added former Missouri receiver Dominic Lovett while Travis Hunbter is one of many Jackson State players following Sanders to Colorado.
Florida State landed two of the top 10 transfers according to the 247sports.com transfer database. Virginia cornerback Fentrell Cypress and South Carolina tight end Jaheim Bell are now at FSU.
Michigan added former Nebraska linebacker Ernest Hausmann while cornerback Denver Harris moved from Texas A&M to LSU.
When it comes to incoming freshmen, the top-rated player is soon-to-be Texas quarterback Arch Manning.
Miami (cornerback Cormani McClain and offensive tackle Francis Maulgoa), Alabama (safety Caleb Dobwns and edge rusher Keon Keeley), and USC (quarterback Malacbhi Nelson and Zachariah Branch) all signed multiple top-10 players.