Predicting the Top NCAA Football Odds Conferences Winners
College football is full of talented teams from all divisions, but there is no doubt that the Power 5 Conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC) are, by far, the most dominant footballers in the league. Ahead of the 2015-2016 NCAAF season, here are our predictions about who has the best college football betting odds of becoming the champions in the Power 5 college football conferences.
Here are our Predictions for the Top NCAA Football Odds Conferences Winners
Big 10, Conference Winner Pick: Ohio State
The Ohio State Buckeyes are the defending national champions and they are not going anywhere. The Bucks bring back three QBs—Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Millers—who all have the arms to exploit any defense, while their excellent coaching and experience also gives them a lot of depth enough to win it all in the Big 10. Michigan State is impressively 24-3 in the last two seasons, and with QB Connor Cook coming back, the Spartans should also feature strongly in 2015. Wisconsin, coming off an 11-win season, also figures to be in the Big 10 mix. Still, the Buckeyes are simply too good, so they should be able to come out of this conference with the title.
ACC, Conference Winner Pick: Clemson
In spite of losing Jameis Winston to the NFL draft, Florida State has a second-best recruiting class in 2015, hence should still have a good team to make another deep run for the 2016 Playoffs. However, after dominating the ACC and going unbeaten in the conference over the past two seasons, the Seminoles won’t be having it easy, as Georgia Tech (coming off an 11-win season) is looking solid, while Clemson (coming off a 10-win season) is also looking alarmingly dangerous with a Top-10 recruiting team.
Granted, it is going to be a tough battle and it doesn’t look like we will be having a zero or one loss record in the conference. But when all is said and done, I believe Clemson (led by the talented Deshaun Watson) will stand tallest in the conference, mainly because of they will be playing FSU at home in 2015—a game which I believe they’ll win.
Big 12, Conference Winner Pick: TCU
Under two-time coach National Coach of the Year, Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs will be the team to beat in the Big 12. Making their case for an undefeated 2015-2016 season, TCU brings back a whopping 15 starters, including a solid Heisman Candidate in Trevone Boykin. For Baylor, losing QB Bryce Petty will certainly take a sting out of the their offense, but with 18 starters coming back (including a promising QB in Seth Russell), the Bears should still pack a nasty bite in 2015. Not to be left out of the conversation, the two Oklahoma teams won’t be pushovers, but in the end, the Big 12 title will come down to TCU and Baylor, as was the case last year.
More specifically, the showdown between on the Frogs and Bears on Nov. 27 in Fort Worth will be the key determiner of who takes it all in the conference. After the Bears rallied from behind in the last four minutes of last year’s showdown to beat the Frogs (and ultimately cost TCU a chance for a Top-4 finish), I don’t see Patterson’s boys making the same mistake twice. On the basis of choosing the Frogs over the Bears in this year’s showdown, TCU (who were impressively 12-1 SU and 11-2 ATS in 2014) are thus my pick to win this conference.
Pac-12, Conference Winner Pick: Arizona
Arguably the best conference in 2014, the Pac-12 is likely to once again provide plenty of entertaining matchups in 2015. Last year, the Oregon Ducks were clearly the best team, followed by a strong contention among Utah, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona and Arizona State, who were all equally impressive in the course of the season. But with Oregon’s biggest piece, QB Marcus Mariota, gone to the NFL, and UCLA also missing QB extraordinaire Brett Hundley, the winner of this conference will most likely come from the remaining five teams mentioned above.
Now, of the five teams, USC will be a stubborn group and a legitimate contender for the conference title, as they enter the season with a Top-3 recruiting class and QB Cody Kessler, whose numbers were very close to those of Mariota in the Pac-12 last year. The trio of Stanford, Utah and Arizona State will most probably serve the purpose of bloodying the fight in conference, ensuring that no team in the Pac-12 finishes with a zero or one-loss record. Oregon, even with the loss of Mariota, will still be good enough to battle USC for a second place finish, but as far as my Pac-12 pick goes, Arizona has the best chance to take it all.
Besides the obvious fact the Wildcats have a solid defensive unit built around the nation’s best defender, Scooby Wright III, the Wildcats have a reliable QB in Anu Solomon and a great coach in Rich Rodriguez, who led the program to a first 10-win season in 16 years. So, although USC and Oregon can realistically upset the Arizona pick and I don’t see a Top-4 finish in this landmine-filled conference, I’ll stick with the Wildcats as my early NCAA Football pick in the Pac-12.
SEC, Conference Winner Pick: Auburn
The SEC is not a place for “small teams” to make their mark, but the Arkansas Razorbacks are a surging team (rising from 3-9 in 2013 to 7-6 in 2014) and they could be a darkhorse in this season’s SEC title game. This is evidenced by the way they dominated Ole Miss and LSU, and suffered close losses to Missouri, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Alabama, which could have all easily ended up differently.
The Georgia Bulldogs are the other team to watch, considering they’ll have the advantage of playing in the weak SEC East Division and they have 11 starters back in 2015. Not to forget, the Dawgs have a beast of a runner in Nick Chubb (rushed 219 times for 14 TDs and 1,547 yards last year as a freshman).
Missouri (because of the Maty Mauk factor), Ole Miss (boasting of the services of WR Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche in the defensive line), LSU (budding talent in tailback Leonard Fournette) and Mississippi State (lethal combo of Dak Prescott and D’Runnya Wilson) also figure to be in contention in the conference. But at the very helm of SEC competition, Alabama and Auburn will most likely be the strongest of competitors.
Losing is not a word frequently associated with Alabama’s coach Nick Saban, and it is not going to start this year. The presence of T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry should be able to make sure of that, alongside the talented members of Alabama’s No. 1 recruiting class of 2015. The Crimson Tide are missing two key players in QB Blake Sims and WR Amari Cooper, which will see them get banged up a bit and limit their eventual numbers. And for that reason, they are likely to be upstaged by the Auburn Tigers, who I predict to go all the way to clinch a top-4 finish in the nation because of the following reasons.
First, All-SEC quarterback Jeremy Johnson has the potential of leading the team in the absence of Nick Marshall. Secondly, former Florida coach and Broyles Award finalist Will Muschamp is a defensive maestro, hence should be able to revolutionize the Tigers as their new defensive coordinator. Thirdly, the Tigers the team proved that they have the skills to win against big teams last year. In the SEC title game, I therefore go with Auburn taking on Georgia, a game in which the Tigers’ solid front seven will stop Georgia’s Chubb, earning Auburn the conference title.