We’re just weeks away from the opening kickoff of the 2022 college football season. While you’re getting your Week Zero best bets and parlays figured out, don’t forget to check out the futures market if you’re looking for a long-term sweat. Below I’ve provided my best bets to win each of the Power Five conferences this year.
Despite all of the NIL and transfer portal drama, the biggest acquisition that the Canes made in the offseason was bringing in head coach Mario Cristobal. From what I’ve heard and read, Miami faithful are juiced about the hire and have big expectations for him to return the program to its former glory.
Tyler Van Dyke will take the snaps for Miami this season, and he’s coming off of a decent year with the 7-5 Hurricanes. He threw for 2,931 yards with 25 touchdowns (27th) and boasted the 11th-highest QBR (80.1) in the nation.
This play is also a fade of the Clemson Tigers (-120 via PointsBet). I, and most of the college football world, were very underwhelmed with the play of D.J. Uiagalelei in his first full year under center. Furthermore, Dabo Swinney lost both of his coordinators in Tony Elliott (Virginia) and Brent Venables (Oklahoma). Let’s ride with an upset pick in the ACC and lock in #17 Miami at +550.
Bet: Miami (+550 via PointsBet)
As we approach the start of the 2022 campaign in Austin, Texas, there’s still a quarterback competition. Either Quinn Ewers or Hudson Card will get the nod, but honestly, I don’t care too much about who’s taking snaps. The star of the show, and maybe the most exciting player to watch in the Big 12, will be Bijan Robinson. The junior running back went for 1,127 yards (5.8 ypc) last year with 11 touchdowns. He’s going to be a force behind an experienced offensive line for the Longhorns.
Oklahoma is a slight favorite at +210 (via Caesars), but I lean towards them having a somewhat down year with the departure of Lincoln Riley (and Caleb Williams, Mario Williams, and a decent amount of the coaching staff). While I’m down on the Sooners this year, I’m excited to see Brent Venables bring some defense to the conference… at least until they make their way to the SEC. I’m going to take #18 Texas with the plus-money payout here.
Bet: Texas (+290 via DraftKings)
C.J. Stroud was not sharp in the early going of the 2021 campaign, at least relative to what we’re used to out of Ohio State quarterbacks. However, as the season progressed, so did Stroud. The then-sophomore signal-caller finished the year with 4,435 passing yards and 44 TDs, compared to just six interceptions. He also led the nation in QBR at 91.6. Stroud will also welcome back Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who hauled in 95 receptions, nine touchdowns, and recorded 1,606 yards.
While the Buckeyes will run into some fierce opponents in the conference in Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, and Michigan, I think this high-powered offense will be too much. I don’t love laying -200 odds on a futures play, but I don’t expect anyone to knock off #2 Ohio State.
Bet: Ohio State (-200 via FanDuel)
Dan Lanning, two-time national champion coach (2015, 2021), is set to take the helm for Oregon this year after Mario Cristobal’s departure. Most recently, he coached at Georgia as a linebacker’s coach from 2018-2021. Lanning inherits a transfer quarterback in Bo Nix, who comes over from Auburn, and still has two seasons of eligibility left. One of the first moves for Lanning was to name Kenny Dillingham as offensive coordinator of the Ducks. Dillingham was the O-coordinator at Auburn when Nix was a freshman and won SEC Freshman of the Year in 2019.
I think Nix is going to tear up the lowly PAC-12 this year. His experience, a familiar play caller in Dillingham, and a substantially inferior defensive conference in the PAC, Nix is going to put up some big numbers in 2022. I like taking a shot with #12 Oregon to win the PAC-12.
Bet: Oregon (+300 via FanDuel)
While the SEC offseason was fueled with tons of drama, one quote stuck out to me most from the man himself, Nick Saban. The Tide head coach was on a local radio station a couple of weeks ago and stated, “Last year, we had kind of a rebuilding year.”
If you can pull off a 13-2 record in a retooling season, then I’m eager to see what the finished product is going to look like in 2022. Alabama is ranked #1 overall, receiving 54 out of the 66 first-place votes from the preseason Coaches Poll (Georgia 6, Ohio St. 5, Texas 1).
While quotes and polls are nice, I want to highlight the two key playmakers that will return for the Crimson Tide and make a major impact. 2021 Heisman winner Bryce Young will come back for his junior year, and he amassed 4,872 yards last season with a 47/7 TD/INT ratio. On the defensive side, Will Anderson Jr. is coming off of a year where he led the country with 17.5 sacks and made 57 solo tackles. The Tide have National Championship ambitions, so I think they will win the SEC relatively easily. Even though we’re laying juice, I still think this is the right play.
Bet: Alabama (-130 via PointsBet)
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