|NCAAF Futures|| |
|Alabama Crimson Tide||+225||+225||+199|
|Ohio State Buckeyes||+600||+500||+500|
|Texas A&M Aggies||+2800||+1400||+2300|
Previewing the field
Looking at the odds for the upcoming season, the bookies believe that it'll be the usual four teams in the hunt for the championship this year too.
Alabama Crimson Tide, reigning champions Georgia Bulldogs, the Ohio Buckeyes, and the Clemson Tigers remain the top four teams among the bookies but it's the finalists from last season who stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of odds.
But one team stands out above the rest for me and that's the Ohio State Buckeyes, who narrowly missed out on the Playoffs last season and should be even better in 2022/23.
C.J. Stroud - remember the name.
The Ohio quarterback finished his Rookie season as fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting with 4435 passing yards and 44 touchdowns for the season and returns for his sophomore season looking to improve on those numbers and his performances.
We saw him massively improve throughout the season, with his accuracy notably improving as the season progressed and the Buckeyes looked more and more dangerous as an offensive unit.
He also arguably had the stand-out performance of the season among quarterbacks in the league, with his brilliant showing at the Rose Bowl living long in the memory.
Stroud completed 80.4% of his passes for 573 yards and threw six touchdowns during the win over Utah in Pasadena but what made it even better was the fact he was without top targets Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson for the game, who were preparing themselves for the NFL draft instead.
But that performance proved just how good this team could be next season even without some of their top prospects, especially if Stroud can continue to shine in a starring role now that he is more settled.
Ohio State Buckeyes
to win NCAAF Championship 2023
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As mentioned, the loss of Wilson and Olave is likely to be a big miss for the Buckeyes this season but if their Rose Bowl performance was anything to go by then they should be okay.
Junior-to-be Jaxon Smith-Njigba made one hell of a statement with a record-breaking 15 catches and three touchdowns in that game and is one to watch for the upcoming season if he can maintain that chemistry with Stroud throughout the campaign.
Running-back TreVeyon Henderson is also back after an excellent freshman season in which he rushed for 1248 yards and 15 scores.
Ultimately the Buckeyes are expected to return six starters from an offense that finished the previous season first in the nation with 561.5 yards per game. Their recruiting class ranks fourth nationally so the likelihood is that they will be able to find another elite group on that side of the ball for the new season.
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This year the biggest concern for Ohio was their defense in big games. They struggled in defeats to Michigan and Oregon and despite the brilliant offensive performance at the Rose Bowl, they conceded 45 points in that game despite their victory.
Coach Ryan Day has looked to solidify their defensive team, by bringing in former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to the coaching staff.
Knowles is believed to be earning almost $2 million per year after spending time with the Cowboys and turning them into one of the best defensive teams in the country recently.
Ohio will be bringing back about seven starters to their team and they're expected to welcome true freshman CJ Hicks to their team, the number one ranked linebacker recruit in the country.
Knowles has the ability and resumes to prove he can turn this team into a defensive beast and despite a less than favorable schedule this year in comparison to last, they look to be one of the teams to beat this season.
It's very possible that with their additions in the off-season plus the development of their returning stars of last season, the Buckeyes should have a really solid regular season and push them right up in the seedings for the playoffs.
With a guaranteed improvement on defense thanks to Knowles, they'll no longer be overmatched against the other three big sides in the league and will fancy their chances of success no matter who is on the field with them.
At +600 with BetUS sports betting, they're definitely worth a bet for the championship this season.
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