We are officially under three weeks away from the 2021 college football season, and what perfect timing it is. The dead-spot of late summer in the sports world coupled with cities and states masking back up, fans everywhere are dying for some pigskin.

After a crazy 2020 season that saw the Tide take back the throne and a familiar cast of characters sit near the top as well, this year’s title hunt is poised to look very similar. For Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State, replacing first-round quarterbacks is the biggest question yet to be answered.

We’ve seen glimpses of the Tigers’ DJ Uiagalelei and Bama’s Bryce Young, but the Buckeyes presumed starter CJ Stroud has yet to attempt a pass at the collegiate level. All three are former five-star recruits and it should be an exciting exchange of power across the heavyweights of the college football landscape.

As for the point of this blog, I’m gonna share some of my favorite season win total plays for teams all over the country, so let’s hop right into it. All odds listed are via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Oregon o9 wins (-110)

9/4 H – Fresno State                                                    

9/11 A – Ohio State                                                     

9/18 H – Stony Brook                                                     

9/25 H – Arizona                             .                             

10/2 A – Stanford                                                      

10/15 H – California                                                        

10/23 A – UCLA                                                          

10/30 H – Colorado                                                          

11/6 A – Washington                                                      

11/13 H – Washington State                                                  

11/20 A – Utah                                                      

11/27 H – Oregon State

Two second half road losses in the COVID shortened 2020 season, including a last-minute touchdown given up to rival Oregon State changed what otherwise was a very solid season for the Ducks. Now second year OC Joe Moorhead, who’s gotten a full camp and a chance to fully implement his scheme, will run it back with one of the most talented and experienced skill position group in the country.

Anthony Brown will take over full-time at quarterback, and in limited action last year he showed a dual-threat ability with two touchdowns through the air, and two on the ground. Running back duo CJ Verdell and Travis Dye return as both leading rushers, and seven of the top eight receiving leaders from 2020 are back as well. On defense, potential #1 draft pick Kayvon Thibodeaux lines up in front of former five-star linebackers Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell. While the entire secondary does return from last season’s defense, it is worth noting that the Ducks did allow 28.3 ppg. If they can clean up some things on that end, I’m not even sure I see two losses on their schedule. The toughest game is obviously in Columbus week two, but outside of that, every other game is winnable at worst.

SMU o6.5 wins (-135)

9/4 H – Abilene Christian                                               

9/11 H – North Texas                                                       

9/18 A – Louisiana Tech                                                                              

9/25 A – TCU                                                                                    

10/2 H – South Florida                                                 

10/9 A – Navy                                                                                      

10/21 H – Tulane                                                       

10/30 A – Houston                                                                                 

11/6 A – Memphis                                                                             

11/13 H – UCF                                                         

11/20 A – Cincinnati                                                                        

11/26 H – Tulsa

Cruising into their fourth season under head coach Sonny Dykes, the Mustangs are coming off a 7-3 2020 season where they finished with the third best record in the AAC. SMU’s offense was 12th in the nation in yards per game and 16th in points per game in 2020, scoring 30+ points in eight games and 45+ points in four games.  

Replacing 3,000-yard passer Shane Buechele will be task number one. Four-star freshman Preston Stone and returning junior Derek Green are in the mix, but Oklahoma transfer Tanner Mordecai is trending towards starting the season as the Mustangs’ signal-caller. Top offensive threat and 1,000 all-purpose yard performer Ulysses Bentley returns to pace the backfield, and a very stout trio of Reggie Roberson, Danny Gray and Rashee Rice all are back to go along with other former Sooner Grant Calcaterra as the pass-catchers. A very veteran-heavy defense returns three of the top five tacklers from last season, including linebacker Delano Robinson. If the Mustangs can repeat the offense from last year with a new arm under center, they could be looking at a 7-1 record heading into a crucial stretch against Memphis, UCF and Cincinnati.

Clemson o11.5 wins (+125)

9/4 N – Georgia

9/11 H – SC State

9/18 H – Georgia Tech

9/25 A – NC State

10/2 H – Boston College

10/15 A – Syracuse                                           

10/23 A – Pittsburgh                                    

10/30 H – Florida State                                     

11/6 A – Louisville                                                         

11/11 H – UConn                            

11/20 H – Wake Forest                                   

11/27 A – South Carolina

Very obviously, replacing the #1 overall draft pick and top QB prospect since Andrew Luck and the most productive RB in conference history is quite a tall task. With the Tigers however, it’s turned into a reload rather than a rebuild in recent years, and this year is no different for the yearly playoff contenders.

The country was introduced to heir to the throne DJ Uiagalelei last season when Trevor Lawrence was out with COVID. Uiagalelei threw for 914 yards and accounted for nine total touchdowns with no turnovers in his limited action. Lyn-J Dixon and Kobe Pace will do their best Travis Etienne impression in the backfield, while five-star freshman Will Shipley looks to break into the rotation. The biggest weapon for the Tigers is preseason All-American wide out Justyn Ross returning from his neck injury. Pairing Ross with other receivers EJ Williams, Frank Ladson and Joseph Ngata will make Uiagalelei’s life much easier. This year’s defense might be Swinney’s most talented group ever. Two preseason All-American defensive linemen Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee set the tone for an extremely experienced and battle-tested back seven. This win total might just come down to week one when the Tigers face off with Georgia in Charlotte. If they make it through that, it’s pretty much a cake walk to the ACC title game.   

Pittsburgh u7 wins (+100)

9/4 H – UMass

9/11 A – Tennessee

9/18 H – Western Michigan

9/25 H – New Hampshire

10/2 A – Georgia Tech

10/16 A – Virginia Tech                                           

10/23 H – Clemson                                    

10/30 H – Miami                                     

11/6 A – Duke                                                         

11/11 H – North Carolina                            

11/20 H – Virginia                                   

11/27 A – Syracuse

2020 was a relatively up and down season for Pitt. A 6-5 campaign for the Panthers saw some big wins, like a 47-14 rout of Virginia Tech, but also saw a stretch of four straight losses in the middle of the season. I have my doubts that this team will take the next step needed to win over seven games in 2021.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett returns at the helm of the offense, and he’s coming off a 2020 that left a lot to be desired. He threw for 2,400 yards and 13 TDs, added eight scores on the ground, but did throw nine interceptions in eleven games. Running back Vincent Davis returns as the leading producer from last year where he had nearly 800 yards and seven touchdowns, while leading receiver Jordan Addison also returns after a 2020 with over 720 yards and four scores. The Panthers did lose second-leading receiver DJ Turner to the NFL and no other receivers on the roster had over 350 yards last year. On defense, Pitt will need to replace all four of their All-ACC performers, including first-team edge rushers Patrick Jones and Rashad Weaver. Right off the bat, I see four losses with Clemson, Miami, UNC and a visit to Blacksburg. That means they must be perfect in trips to Tennessee, Duke and Syracuse, along with home matchups with UVA and WMU, which I don’t see happening.          

Arkansas u5.5 wins (-115)

9/4 H – Rice

9/11 H – Texas

9/18 H – Georgia Southern

9/25 N – Texas A&M                             

10/2 A – Georgia

10/9 A – Ole Miss

10/16 H – Auburn                                                          

10/23 H – Arkansas – Pine Bluff                                                           

11/6 H – Mississippi State                                                      

11/13 A – LSU

11/20 A – Alabama

11/26 H – Missouri

Sam Pittman comes to Fayetteville for his first year as a head coach of this Arkansas team that desperately needs a change following some tough years. The 2020 campaign was far from memorable as the Razorbacks went 3-7 and lost their last four games.

Feleipe Franks departs as QB, leaving the spot to sophomore KJ Jefferson, who accounted for five touchdowns in 2020 in a small sample size. Top skill players return, with Trelon Smith in the backfield and Treylon Burks at WR1. Apart from those two, the depth just isn’t there for this offense that ranked 87th in points per game last season. The defense returns 10 of their top 11 contributors from 2020, however it was a group that didn’t perform very well. With another year of experience, this unit offers a lot of bright spots such as linebackers Grant Morgan and Bumper Pool who both racked up over 100 tackles last year. A very unfavorable schedule has the Razorbacks playing away from home against A&M, UGA, Ole Miss, LSU and Bama. Not pretty. They get Texas, Auburn, Miss St and Mizzou at home, but I think this team is at least another year away from breaking .500 again.

Penn State o9 wins (+125)

9/4 A – Wisconsin

9/11 H – Ball State

9/18 H – Auburn

9/25 H – Villanova                             

10/2 H – Indiana

10/9 A – Iowa

10/23 H – Illinois                                                          

10/30 A – Ohio State                                                           

11/6 A – Maryland                                                      

11/13 H – Michigan

11/20 H – Rutgers

11/26 A – Michigan State

One of the strangest 2020 seasons in the country, Penn State dropped their first five games of the year including losses to Maryland and Nebraska, but then finished the year on a four-game winning streak. My PSU bias aside, James Franklin’s team bouncing back is a pretty popular pick across the country. However, this total will definitely get a little dicey.

Every key offensive player returns for the Nittany Lions in 2021 outside of TE Pat Freiermuth. QB Sean Clifford is coming off a very bad season that seemed like there was a turnover every other drive. With new OC and QB guru Mike Yurcich running a full camp in State College, I expect Clifford to return to at least a semblance his 2019 self. The running back room could be the best in the country plain and simple. PSU has five legit backs that will all see time and bring something different to the table, including grad transfer John Lovett from Baylor and sophomore Noah Cain returning from injury that cut his 2020 very short. Jahan Dotson returns as the leading receiver, with 2020 Freshman All-American Parker Washington to compliment him in the slot. The front four is replacing three rushers in first-rounder Jayson Oweh, Shaka Toney and Shane Simmons. How the Lions replenish on the line will be huge, as the linebacker corps and defensive backfield are very strong, highlighted by leading tacklers Ellis Brooks, Jaquan Brisker and Brandon Smith. I honestly see this bet pushing at nine on the dot, but the value is there at +125. I expect a loss in Columbus and an undefeated home schedule, so this win total will come down to either a win on the road against Iowa or Wisconsin. I’m putting my money on one of those rather than a home slip up to Auburn or Indiana.

Follow me on Twitter for picks and tweets throughout the season!

      

                                  

Latest posts by Rudy (see all)