A new college football season is approaching and the sportsbooks have posted their futures odds on who they think will win the national championship and to the surprise of nobody, Ohio State is the favorite.
One of books with the fairest betting odds is 5Dimes, who provides an honest number and adjusts according, unlike some others. At the time of this article, the defending national champions were +370, which is a significant margin over second-rated Alabama at +900.
The Southeastern Conference is still considered the strongest league and the college football futures odds have eight teams from the SEC in the Top 20 for sports picks choices. After an unbelievable run of seven straight championships, the SEC has come up short the last two years and there are those who believe there are chinks in the armor and they might not even have a club in the Final Four let alone playing for the championship.
While that might be a little far-fetched to think the SEC will not have at least one as part of the postseason four-pack, it is no longer a given this conference is lock to lock up a spot in the Orange or Cotton Bowl semi-finals on Dec. 31st.
College football handicappers like myself will not be choosing any of the SEC squads for a futures wager because of something we are used to seeing in this conference, instability. Teams are breaking in new quarterbacks, there are new head coaches and quite possibly the most important aspect, coordinators and position coaches have been on the move.
Here is why I will not be wagering on any SEC teams to bring home the hardware in college football.
The Quarterback Positions Have Many Questions to be Answered
While it is generally accepted the best programs just reload, college football has gone the way of the NFL where you better have a good quarterback. Sure, Ohio State won using three different one's but who know they were all THAT GOOD!
This upcoming campaign, the favored Crimson Tide, Auburn (+1600), Georgia (+2700) and Ole Miss (+5000) are all introducing new quarterbacks. Given the surrounding talent of the first three teams mentioned, it is possible one could emerge and become a true stud.
However, Alabama no longer has the best offensive line in the conference, let alone the nation, which makes the transition less smooth. Auburn is the choice of several experts for college football picks to win the SEC, but besides breaking in a new signal caller, head coach Gus Malzahn has three other brand new skill position players who will be starting for the first time. Georgia might have RB Nick Chubb and others to ease the pressure with veteran offensive line, but Mark Richt brought in Brian Schottenheimer to run the Bulldogs offense. Besides that switch, what else has Georgia done to make anyone think they can win it all?
Ole Miss has to replace three-year starter Bo Wallace and while he was not perfect, coach Hugh Freeze wishes he still has eligibility. The rest of the offense looks good, but the defense took hits and there are those two trips into the state of Alabama.
LSU Coming Back, But Not All the Way Back Yet
Last season LSU (+2600) did not win 10 games for the first time since 2009. The years of supplying NFL talent, many of which who left before their senior seasons, caught up with them. Les Miles has done great recruiting work the past two seasons and the Tigers could well be back in the hunt even this season, but they will have to receive a great deal more from the quarterback position than what either Anthony Jennings or Brandon Harris produced and the spring results were inconclusive. Plus, LSU has to adjust with a different defensive coordinator in Kevin Steele.
The Rest of the Supposed Contenders
Arkansas was 7-6 last year and is on the upswing in the SEC and returns quite a bit of talent which coach Bret Bielema has brought in. Yet, do you really like the Razorbacks at (+5100) to not only win the SEC but two more playoff games?
Texas A&M (+6600 to Win Natl. Championship from Bet365) should be able to score in bunches again with QB Kyle Allen, who has talent aplenty around him. However, first-year DC John Chavis is one of the best in the business, but even he cannot perform miracles with this Aggies defense.
Tennessee (+7000) brings back 18 starters including QB Joshua Dobbs and is off its first winning season since 2009. While we like what coach Butch Jones is doing with consecutive Top 5 recruiting classes, it is still going to take time in Knoxville.
Talented teams throughout the SEC, but as of right now, not one without serious shortcomings, which is why I will pass on this league.