QB Transfers Shake Up NCAAF Futures At Ohio State & Miami

Monday, April 1, 2019 3:53 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 1, 2019 3:53 PM UTC

All the major programs around the country are in the midst of spring football. Has anything changed on the odds to win next season’s College Football Playoff?

Normally in early April, fans of Auburn University are focused on spring football and not men’s basketball because the hoops team has never played this late in a season before. However, Coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers are in their first Final Four and take on Virginia in the first game of the national semifinals.

Rather doubt that Auburn’s football team will reach the College Football Playoff for the first time as Coach Gus Malzahn must replaced five starters on both sides of the ball, led by quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Auburn's 2019 schedule is again among the most difficult in the FBS with games against Oregon (in Dallas), at Texas A&M, at Florida, at LSU and home to Georgia and Alabama. That schedule has 7-5 written all over it, which likely would cost Malzahn his job. 5Dimes has Auburn at +5000 to win the national title. This year’s championship game is at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Not much has changed on the futures odds because, frankly, not much has happened around college football that would cause the odds to shift dramatically. Not like there’s free agency or trades. Clemson is +175 to repeat as the Tigers welcome back star quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He’s the +350 favorite at BetOnline to win the Heisman Trophy off that stellar performance in the title game rout of Alabama.

Clemson surely will open as the preseason No. 1 team in both major polls. The offense should be spectacular with Lawrence, tailback Travis Etienne and receiver Justyn Ross returning. The defense brings back just four starters.

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Alabama will be No. 2 in the preseason polls and is the +225 second-favorite to win another title for Nick Saban. The Tide are the only school to play in every College Football Playoff. Saban brings back 12 starters, led by QB Tua Tagovailoa, who is +500 for the Heisman.

Let’s take a look at two other schools whose fates are somewhat intertwined this season: Ohio State and Miami (Fla.).

The Buckeyes are +1000 fourth-favorites to win it all next season. Their new starting quarterback is one-time mega-recruit Justin Fields. He transferred from Georgia but was ruled eligible to play immediately. Fields, the No. 1 recruit overall in the Class of 2018, played largely in mop-up duty last year behind Jake Fromm, completing 27 of 39 passes for 328 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions.

In Columbus, he’ll replace record-setting QB Dwayne Haskins, who declared for the draft. OSU lost a lot of talent on offense, but the defense should be dominant with 10 starters back under new full-time coach Ryan Day. If Fields can live up to the hype, the Buckeyes will be in the playoff.

With Fields heading to Ohio State, another former top recruit, Tate Martell, transferred to Miami and he is eligible to play immediately. That’s huge because the Hurricanes had a great defense in 2018 but hugely disappointed because their quarterbacks stunk. The redshirt sophomore Martell threw for 269 yards and a touchdown while adding 128 yards and two scores on the ground for the Buckeyes behind Haskins last year. It would be a huge surprise if Martell doesn’t win the job over N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams.

Miami opens the season in Orlando on Aug. 24 as a 7.5-point underdog vs. Florida, but the ACC schedule is pretty friendly. The Canes don’t play Clemson and could be favored in every game, with the toughest tests likely at Pittsburgh and Florida State. UM is currently +7500 to win the national title. Is that likely? No, because Miami surely would have to beat Clemson in the ACC title game, but stranger things have happened.

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