We are a few days away from the start of the NCAAF season when Week 0 kicks off with Navy vs. No. 13 Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon in Dublin, Ireland. While my colleagues are busy with college football picks for the weekend ahead, I wanted to look further into the future. Not to Week 2, but all the way to January 2024.
It’s usually a fool’s errand to try and predict exactly which teams will play in which Bowl Games or which players will excel, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also fun and potentially profitable if we nail one of the wagers.
With no further ado, let’s get into my way-too-early college football predictions for a few upcoming seasons.
Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 2 Michigan
Full disclosure: I am a huge Wolverines fan, so if it sounds like a Michigan mark wrote this, that’s because one did.
Fandom aside, the Wolverines have qualified for back-to-back CFP Semifinal games with a loss to Georgia in the 2021 Orange Bowl and TCU in the 2022 Fiesta Bowl.
Regarding Georgia? They could just put five spots up for grabs and reserve one for the two-time defending national champions. FYI, Georgia is the NCAA football odds-on favorite to go for a three-peat to win the 2024 CFP at +225.
Michigan’s NCAAF Championship odds are at +900 after UM’s self-imposed suspension of head coach Jim Harbaugh for the season’s first three games.
Despite the coaching woes, the Wolverines return one of the best teams in football to face off against the 51st “strongest” schedule in the nation. Michigan has just two games against ranked opponents (PSU and OSU), and only the Penn State game is on the road.
Georgia is in the same boat with the 63rd-ranked schedule and should skate into the CFP for the fourth time in seven seasons.
Being the betting man that I am, I have to admit that if this matchup happens again, I don’t give the Wolverines much hope to beat the Bulldogs en route to a CFP Finals berth.
If you want to double down on this bet, the college football lines list the Bulldogs as -270 to make the CFP, while Michigan is +100.
Caleb Williams +550 to Win Heisman Again
According to the current Heisman Trophy odds, USC QB Caleb Williams is heavily favored to win his second-consecutive Heisman Trophy with +550 odds. He is the only player with better than 10/1, with his closest competitor being Jordan Travis at +1400.
USC made room for two more Heisman banners on the Peristyle.
Caleb Williams and who else? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/NhM4Uo60qj
— USC Analytics (@USCanalytics) August 22, 2023
Archie Griffin was the only player to win consecutive Heisman Trophies in 1974 and 1975. Now 68, Griffin has watched 11 contenders fail to win for a second-straight season after claiming the coveted award.
Among the players who have had a chance to repeat since 1975 are Billy Simms (1979), Ty Detmer (1991), Matt Leinart (2005), and Tim Tebow (2008). The most recent almost-winner was Bryce Young, who won the award easily in 2022 but finished sixth in the balloting last season behind Williams.
As far as futures bets go, Williams to win the Heisman again at +550 is better than most.
Will Arch Manning Start a Regular-Season Game?
After seeing the odds on the BetUS Sportsbook list Arch Manning as -150 not to start a game this season, I wanted to add something extra. His odds to start 1-3 games are +200, and they go all the way up to +500 for him to start 11-12 games.
Arch Manning textbook 📚
— Mr.Homewerk 📝 (@doyourhomewerk) August 14, 2023
While I do not expect the third-generation signal-caller to take over the reins from starter Quinn Ewers too early in the season, head coach Steve Sarkisian made it clear that Ewers is the QB1 and has +1200 odds to win the Heisman over guys like Bo Nix (+1600) and Michael Penix Jr. (+1600).
But things rarely go as planned, and I see a world where Manning does make at least a start or two this season.
While Manning may be getting extra attention because of his name, I’ve read about several unnamed coaches who think Ewers will be a bust, and Manning is the Longhorns QB to watch for.
Manning could be destined for big things sooner than many initially thought, and if true, he could net us a healthy profit in the college football betting market.