In the NFL, a Super Bowl favorite can be beaten any week. But in the NCAA, realistically a top contender probably only has a couple of games per season it might lose. Let's take a look at some of those possibilities.
Ohio State (+325 Bovada favorite to repeat)
Sept. 7 at Virginia Tech: Ohio State is a 17.5-point favorite, and wow that seems high. True, the Buckeyes players are going to be frothing at the mouth for payback as the Hokies handed Ohio State its only loss of 2014, in the Horseshoe to add insult to injury. But sometimes teams can get too amped up for revenge. And it's not like Tech is a lousy team, if not what it used to be.
Nov. 21 vs. Michigan State: Buckeyes are early 7-point favorites at 5Dimes for what should again be the Big Ten's most important game of the season. Mark Dantonio got the best of Urban Meyer in the 2013 Big Ten title game back when these schools were in different divisions. The Buckeyes romped 49-37 in East Lansing last season. Winner here should take the East Division.
Nov. 28 at Michigan: Gee, do you think new Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh and Meyer might have a bit of a rivalry going over the next several seasons? I'm not a fan of either program but I can't wait to see/hear the sniping here. Ohio State is an early 10-point favorite on the college football odds. Harbaugh will play the "underdog/no respect" card all week.
Sept. 5 vs. Wisconsin: Don't sleep on the Badgers even after they lost Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon. Corey Clement was a more-than-capable backup last season and probably will be the Big Ten's second-best back this year behind Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott. Plus the Tide will be breaking in whichever new quarterback they decide to start. Alabama is a 12-point favorite for the game in Arlington, Texas.
Oct. 3 at Georgia: Preview of the SEC Championship Game? Good possibility. Alabama is a rare underdog at +1 right now. Dawgs running back Nick Chubb against the Bama defense will be must-see TV.
Nov. 28 at Auburn: It's the Iron Bowl. What more needs to be said? Winner should take the SEC West. The Tide are 2-point favorites.
Sept. 19 at LSU: This is Auburn's first road game of the season. LSU will put up a much better fight this year after getting pummeled 41-7 on The Plains last year. The home Tigers are early 2-point favorites.
Oct. 24 at Arkansas: I'm a big Razorbacks guy this year as they might have the nation's top backfield. They also were peaking at the end of last year so this will be a much better team than the one Auburn rolled 45-21 in Week 1 last season. No line here yet.
Nov. 28 vs. Alabama: See above.
Oct. 10 at Kansas State: I'm going to say right now that I believe the Frogs are a bit overrated. People are too influenced by that blowout of Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl to close last season. TCU beat visiting K-State 41-20 in 2014. No line yet.
Nov. 21 at Oklahoma: This should be the toughest road test of the season for the Frogs and they are 4-point favorites. Last year's game was great, a 37-33 TCU home win. On fourth down from the TCU 22 late in the game, Sooners star freshman running back Samaje Perine was stuffed by linebacker Marcus Mallet for no gain. That was the game.
Nov. 27 vs. Baylor: The Frogs will be dying for payback here. They would have been solo Big 12 champions and made the College Football Playoff last year if not for blowing a 58-37 lead at Baylor with a bit more than 10 minutes to play. The Bears won on a 28-yard field goal as time expired in the comeback of the 2014 season. TCU is -6 for this one.
Florida State (+1600)
Oct. 10 vs. Miami: I think the Hurricanes program is on the right track and that was proven in a crushing 30-26 home loss to FSU last season. UM really deserved to win, but Dalvin Cook ran for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:05 left. Florida State has won five straight in the series but the gap is closing a bit. No line yet.
Oct. 24 at Georgia Tech: Rematch of the ACC Championship Game, won 37-35 by Florida State in Charlotte. Cook had 220 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in his first college start. Florida State scored on its final seven possessions. That was FSU's 29th straight win and the last for Jameis Winston. No line yet.
Nov. 7 at Clemson: Winner here almost surely will take the ACC Atlantic Division. Florida State has won three in a row in the series; Winston was suspended for last season's 23-17 overtime home victory. No line yet here. I think Clemson will be favored as long as Deshaun Watson is healthy.
Boise State (+15000)
Sept. 12 at BYU: OK, let me explain why the Broncos are on here as such title long shots. They are because I believe they can run the table against this schedule if they win these three games listed here. And should that happen, Boise State could crash the Top 4 of the College Football Playoff rankings and play in the national semifinals -- especially if it is the only unbeaten in the country. Boise thumped visiting BYU 55-30 last year.
Sept. 25 at Virginia: The Cavaliers aren't a great team but this won't be a piece of cake in Charlottesville. The game is the front end of a home-and-home series. Virginia comes to Boise in 2017.
Oct. 16 at Utah State: The Aggies are likely to be Boise State's toughest competition in the Mountain West's Mountain Division with Colorado State expected to take a step back. USU finished second to Boise State (with CSU) in the division last year. Boise crushed visiting Utah State 50-19 in 2014 but winning in Logan is tough.