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College football is a cyclical business. Players typically have four years of eligibility, coaches come and go as they please, and the recent additions of the transfer portal and NIL make it difficult to rise to the top of the sport. When a program does reach the pinnacle, it’s even more difficult to stay there.
Alabama has been a mainstay since the return of Nick Saban in 2007, while other schools have come and gone. Just eight teams have won a championship since, and Georgia just joined Clemson and LSU as the only teams to win multiple titles other than the Tide in that stretch.
The Bulldogs have seemingly flipped the balance of power on its head, and the odds for the 2023 championship reflect that. We’ll break down the teams at the top, those who are trying to knock them off the pedestal, and the teams with a glimmer of hope for making a run like TCU and Cincinnati before them. College football returns in August, but our work begins now.
Can the Georgia Bulldogs pull off a rare 3-peat by winning the 2023 college football playoff? It sure looks like a very real possibility. Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide may have something to say about that.
Curious about what your favorite team's chances are to win the 2023 CFP? Take a look at the latest title odds from the fine folks at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Latest Odds from FanDuel SportsBook
We all love college football because of the massive upsets that occur almost weekly. Week 3 certainly didn't disappoint in that department. Florida took down No. 11 Tennessee 29-16 thanks to an impressive performance from Trevor Etienne. That impressive win improved the Gators' national title odds to +200.
In another shocking upset, No. 15 Kansas State was upset on the road at Missouri. The Tigers overcame a 4-point deficit in the fourth quarter and ended up winning on a 61-yard field goal from Harrison Mevis! Wow!
Georgia and Michigan are still holding steady at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots after Week 3. The Bulldogs avoided a potential disaster with a 2nd half comeback over South Carolina. Michigan started out slow against Bowling Green, but pulled ended up pulling away for a 31-6 victory.
Georgia won their second consecutive national championship in a decisive victory over TCU that was a foregone conclusion before halftime. The Ohio State Buckeyes could have prevented that from happening by not allowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead to slip away against the Bulldogs in the Peach Bowl.
Georgia narrowly avoided the upset with a late touchdown from Stetson Bennett to Adonai Mitchell and then went on to trounce the Horned Frogs. TCU had defeated Michigan in their semifinal matchup, upsetting the Wolverines as 7.5-point favorites.
Six of the top seven teams in the final Coaches Poll will replace their starting quarterback in 2023, including three of the four playoff teams from last season. Let’s take a look at how that may be impacting the preseason odds.
Georgia holds the top spot ahead of Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and USC. The Bulldogs, Tide, and Buckeyes will each have a new starting quarterback after the departures of Stetson Bennett, Bryce Young, and CJ Stroud.
Michigan’s JJ McCarthy returns for his second year as the full-time starter in Ann Arbor with backup Cade McNamara transferring to Big Ten-rival Iowa this offseason. The Trojans bring back reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, who is heavily favored to win the award again in 2023.
Alabama and Georgia brought in the top two recruiting classes in the country according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Ohio State laid claim to the fifth-ranked class, with USC finishing 12th and Michigan landing 18th in the final rankings after signing day.
This marked the third time in the last five years that the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs have been atop the class rankings, as Saban and Kirby Smart have stacked class after class of blue-chip recruits to take the places of NFL Draftees.
Other programs at the top of the odds sheet are LSU, Clemson, Penn State, Notre Dame, Florida State, and Texas. The battle at the top of the ACC between Clemson and Florida State has brought some national spotlight to a conference dominated by the Tigers in recent years.
Penn State and Texas are still trying to break through and earn their first CFP berths after suffering tough losses in conference play the last few seasons. LSU surpassed expectations in their first season under Brian Kelly and will lean on experienced quarterback play to make noise in the difficult SEC West.
Several teams with experience in the quarterback position are looking to vault themselves into the top group of contenders. The Washington Huskies and Oklahoma Sooners come to mind.
Michael Penix Jr’s standout season in Seattle flew somewhat under the radar of the national football lens in 2022, while Dillon Gabriel managed just six wins in Norman during the first year of the Brent Venables era. The Sooners finished with the fourth-ranked recruiting class during the 2023 cycle.
North Carolina has managed to stave off the reported offers that were dangled in front of quarterback Drake Maye this offseason, and the Tar Heels’ schedule is soft in the middle. They’ll start the year with a neutral site, non-conference game against South Carolina and finish their season with road games at Clemson and NC State. If they can win two of those three games, the Heels could end up back in Charlotte for the ACC title game.
Speaking of the Gamecocks, Shane Beamer and company finished their season with wins against Tennessee and Clemson before losing to Notre Dame in their bowl game. South Carolina signed the #16 class in the 2023 rankings, including five-star athlete Nyckoles Harbor, and has built a lot of momentum on the field and recruiting trail that is worth mentioning at their low price in the current odds.
It’s difficult to bet on there being a surprise this season, given how wide the gulf is between the top four teams and the rest. The strategy we’re going to take in betting these preseason odds is to play a few teams among the favorites and contenders.
We'll also play a long shot who could ideally get into the playoff and offer a significant arbitrage opportunity come next January. Our early picks for the 2023 season to win the CFP are listed here:
JJ McCarthy and Blake Corum are back on the heels of a second straight Big Ten crown. The Wolverines finished 2022 in the top ten nationally in both scoring offense and defense.
The Trojans and Ducks also ranked in the top ten in scoring offense last season and welcome back their starting quarterbacks. Caleb Williams and Bo Nix will meet on the field for the first time on November 11 in Eugene.
The Tar Heels have their best chance in years to compete in the ACC, with Clemson transitioning quarterbacks and still recovering defensively from the departure of Brent Venables. Florida State’s rise in 2022 is worth noting, but getting UNC at these long odds with one of the best quarterbacks in the country is worth a small wager.
Since releasing the original piece in February, the top four teams favored to win the College Football Playoff have remained unchanged, aside from minor adjustments to their numbers. We also have odds to make the Playoff, which we’ll sprinkle in along with their title chances.
Georgia still leads the field with +215 odds to win the title, leading Alabama (+600), Ohio State (+650), and Michigan (+800). Georgia and Ohio State are the only teams with odds shorter than +100 to make the Playoff.
The Bulldogs are way out front with odds of -250 to make the top four, while the Buckeyes are -125. Michigan (+105) and Alabama (+135) are not far behind.
LSU has closed the gap to the frontrunners, now listed at +1100 and firmly in the fifth spot. The Tigers are +350 to emerge from a formidable SEC West and make the Playoff.
USC represents the lone Pac-12 team in the top 12. Their odds have remained the same from back in February, staying locked in at +1600, and the Trojans are +250 to qualify for one of the CFP bowls. This is the last year in the Pac-12 for both USC and UCLA before a move to the Big Ten in 2024.
The two teams slated to fight for the ACC crown in 2023, Clemson and Florida State, match one another with +1800 odds to win the title and are +320 to make the Playoff. When looking at the odds of winning the ACC, the Tigers (+145) lead the ‘Noles (+150) by a razor-thin margin.
To round out the top ten, the Texas Longhorns (+2200) and Penn State Nittany Lions (+2500) will seek to break through and make their first Playoff appearance before the format expands in 2024.
Texas is favored to win the Big-12, while PSU trails the Buckeyes and Wolverines in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions (+300) hold a slight edge over the Longhorns (+320) in terms of odds of being among the final four come Playoff time.
Have questions about the College Football Playoff? We've got you covered! We've compiled a list of all past college football national champions from 2000 to 2022.
|Year||National Title Winner|
For good measure, we've even included some of the most commonly asked questions and answers about college football. Check these out to impress your fellow sports-loving friends!
The college football team that has won the most national titles is the Alabama Crimson Tide, with a total of 18 national championships.
The winningest quarterback in college football history is Kellen Moore, who played for the Boise State Broncos from 2008 to 2011. He recorded a record of 50 wins and just 3 losses during his college career.
Joe Paterno of Penn State has the most wins in college football history. He amassed 409 wins during his tenure as Penn State's head coach from 1966 to 2011.
Nick Saban is the college football coach who has won the most national championships. He has won seven national titles in his career, including 6 at the University of Alabama (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020) and one at Louisiana State University (2003). Saban is widely regarded as one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, and his success has solidified his place in the sport's history.
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has won the most college football national championships of any conference. Since the establishment of the SEC in 1932, teams from the conference have won over a dozen national titles, including several won by legendary programs like Alabama, Florida, and LSU. The SEC is widely regarded as one of the strongest and most competitive conferences in college football, and its teams are consistently among the best in the country. The conference's dominance has made it a major player in the sport and a major source of pride for its fans and members.