With the 2012 College Football season getting underway next week, I thought now would be as good a time as ever to look at some of the more interesting win totals posted the online and Vegas sportsbooks.
Here’s a list of some of the more prominent programs that I feel are likely to go either Over or Under their futures odds this season. One important thing to remember when wagering on college football futures is that conference championship and bowl games do not count towards the win total. Going Over1. Oklahoma State (Over 8.5 wins)
– The Cowboys had a real breakthrough season for head coach Mike Gundy in his seventh year in Stillwater finishing 12-1 after a Fiesta Bowl victory over Stanford. Many thought OSU should have actually played for the BCS title, as LSU had already beaten Alabama during the regular season, but I was not one of those people and Bama more than proved they were the best team in the nation. With Gundy losing both QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon to the pros, many will be calling for a downward slide, but don’t be surprised to see another Top 10 finish. 2. Arkansas (Over 8.5 wins):
The Razorbacks likely would have been a popular pick to win the entire SEC had it not been for the dismissal of shameful head coach Bobby Petrino this past offseason. Their only two losses last season came to LSU and Alabama (both blowouts), who were obviously the two teams to play for the BCS Title. This year, they return QB Tyler Wilson (3638 yds, 24-6 TD-INT) and also get back RB Knile Davis, who missed all of 2011 after rushing for 1322 yards and 12 touchdowns after taking over the starting job midseason of his freshman year. They also get BOTH LSU and Alabama in Fayatteville this year. Their toughest road game will be at South Carolina on 11.10. I think the Hogs are capable of upsetting either of last year’s two title game participants, and if they do it will be double digit wins for John L Smith.3. Clemson (Over 8.5 Wins):
There is only one reason why this total is so low and that’s the ugly way the Tigers finished the season. It was that one bowl game (Orange) against West Virginia where the Tigers defense allowed a BCS Bowl record 70 points. While they do play ACC favorite Florida State on the road, their other two toughest games (Virginia Tech and South Carolina) are both in Death Valley. This is yet another team I see poised for double digits. They return all key playmakers on offense, where they averaged 33.6 PPG last season. 4. USC (Over 10.5 Wins):
Obviously this is a high number that doesn’t leave much margin for error, but I’m buying into the hype surrounding Lane Kiffin’s team this season as they will lose one game at most during the regular season. That game comes November 5th (same day as Alabama-LSU) vs. Oregon and is at home.The Trojans, while lacking depth (particularly on the defensive line), return 16 starters and 10 of the 11 players on the offensive side are likely pros. QB Barkley has an outstanding receiving corps led by Robert Woods and the offense was bolstered by the transfer of Silas Redd from Penn State. I expect no worse than an 11-1 regular season.
Staying Under1. Michigan (Under 9 Wins):
Granted, you’ll have to lay some significant juice to play Under both of the teams I’m putting on this list, but in each case it’s justified. In the case of the Wolverines, they largely overachieved last season as they avoided Wisconsin out of the Leaders Division and only broke through vs. Ohio State due to it being a transition year in Columbus. This year, they again avoid Wisconsin, but with Urban Meyer taking over in Columbus where Michigan has lost five in a row, that’s probably a loss. They also draw Legends Division co-favorites Michigan State and Nebraska in successive weeks. But the real story here is a far more challenging non-conference schedule, starting with a neutral site game vs. Alabama in the opener. After a likely bad loss there to start the season, they have a difficult matchup with Air Force and then two weeks later will be at Notre Dame. 2. Notre Dame (Under 8 Wins):
Give the Fighting Irish some credit. This is easily the hardest schedule in the nation and on paper this looks even more daunting than what the SEC teams will face week in, week out. They did win eight games last year and that was before the Bowl. But this year calls for road trips to Michigan State, Oklahoma and USC, with those last two both national title contenders. They also have home games against a pair of teams that were in BCS Bowl Games last season (Michigan and Stanford). They will start the season with a game in Ireland against Navy and will be without starting QB Rees. I can’t see Brian Kelly’s team winning more than seven games as Notre Dame has become one of the most consistently overrated teams in America year after year.