With weather more befitting Thanksgiving Day than Memorial Day, I woke up Sunday morning wondering if I should grill burgers and dogs or make a pot of chili.
With thoughts of chili came thoughts of autumn, and that led to me watching “Halloween 4” and eventually, yes, thinking about college football.
That was only heightened when my friend Justin texted me a bunch of college football futures lines on the amount of regular-season wins in 2021. Hey, it’s never the wrong time to think of college football, right?
With summer just beginning to bloom, even if Mother Nature seemed to miss the memo over the weekend, it seems like football is eons away. But in reality, we have less than 100 days to go before the start of the season, and that’s how I justified taking a deep dive into these.
I’m not promoting betting or throwing big money on anything I say. I can’t even keep a glass coffee table clean or remember to buy windshield wipers, so my crystal ball isn’t always … well … crystal clear at all.
But if you are a betting person, here’s a few to think about courtesy of me and my buddy Justin, an avid sports fan and the biggest movie connoisseur I know.
Remember, these are regular-season win totals, and the numbers come from DraftKings. Also, I will not be doing West Virginia and its number of 6.5. That column will come much closer to the fall.
Alabama and Clemson (11.5) — under: I grouped the Tide and the Tigers together as likely the two clear top-dog programs in the country along with Ohio State. Basically, you’re betting on whether either will have an undefeated season or not, and as routine as Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney can make it look at times, unbeaten seasons are tough to come by.
Not to mention, both teams were gutted by the NFL draft. Clemson would seem to have the better chance, playing in an Atlantic Coast Conference that was tragically bad last season, but the Tigers open against Georgia, close at South Carolina and have some potentially tricky league games along the way.
And even in the bloated and overrated SEC, games at Florida, at Texas A&M and at Auburn give the Crimson Tide three tough contests, all on the road. You wouldn’t make much of a living betting against Saban and Dabo, but I’m going to do it here.
Florida State (5.5) – over: OK, admittedly a bit of a homer call as a lifelong ‘Noles follower. But look at the schedule. FSU has struggled in recent seasons with FCS/low-tier FBS opponents, but you’ve got to think that Jacksonville State and UMass are wins while a home game against Notre Dame and road trips to North Carolina, Clemson and Florida are likely losses.
That leaves home games against Louisville, Syracuse, NC State and perpetually-overrated Miami and road trips to Wake Forest and Boston College to find four more wins. I like Mike Norvell and I think he starts to turn it around this year.
Michigan (7.5) – over:
- I mean, the Wolverines either hit the over or it’s just plain over for Jim Harbaugh right? Michigan opens with three straight home games — Western Michigan, Washington and Northern Illinois — and two of those sure seem like gimmes.
Then you’re looking for six wins in home games against Rutgers, Northwestern and Indiana and road games at Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State, Penn State and Maryland if you consider Ohio State a loss, which I do. I think the Wolverines get to eight. That would make bettors happy. The brass in Ann Arbor? Probably not so much.
Northwestern (6) – over:
- I would never, ever bet against Pat Fitzgerald.
Ole Miss (7.5) – under:
- I would never, ever bet on Lane Kiffin.
South Carolina (3.5) – over:
- Eastern Illinois, East Carolina, Troy and Vanderbilt. Not a mathematician, but that seems like four to me.
Oklahoma (11) – under:
- I really like Spencer Rattler. A lot. I think he’s the next great one at OU (I know, mighty thin limb I’m stepping on here). But again, it goes back to that undefeated thing, and there are some Big 12 teams — Iowa State in particular — with some big momentum, and the league had as much if not more parity than any Power Five conference last year. I say the Sooners get tripped up at least once, and with the number at 11, that’s all it would take to tie.
Iowa State (9.5) – over:
- Breece Hall, Brock Purdy and Charlie Kolar are back. So is coach Matt Campbell. And the schedule says if the Cyclones can navigate a potentially tricky home game against in-state rival Iowa, they should be favored to win their first 10 before a road trip to Oklahoma. I really, really like this team and I think Campbell is on the shortest of short lists of the best coaches in the country. The Cyclones took a big step by making it to the conference title game a year ago. Don’t be surprised if they take yet another this season.
Appalachian State (9)
- – OK fine, I’ll do the Mountaineers. Look for them to contend for a conference title next year.