Each year various football magazines and website on the internet forecast what are supposed to be the Top 25 teams going into the season. That's fine and good, but how does that help you as a football bettor?
Granted, it's great to know who the best teams are coming into a new season, but in today's world, does anyone not have Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia in their Top 3? Or Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State and Texas in your Top 10?
But here is the deal, if you are making futures bets on your college football predictions at online sportsbooks, wouldn't you prefer to know who is likely to win the national championship this season? Or who will be the conference champions for 2019 and heading to quality bowl games?
Of course, you would and that's what we are here to do, tell you who finishes where when the season ends, not when it begins. Here is our list and of the Top 25 when the season ends, based on what we know about each team. Of course injuries, over and underperformance will alter various aspects that we cannot control, but here is what it should look like.
1) Alabama 2) Clemson 3) Georgia 4) Michigan 5) Oklahoma 6) LSU 7) Ohio State 8) Florida 9) Utah 10) Texas 11) Washington 12) Notre Dame 13) Texas A&M 14) Michigan State 15) Penn State 16) Syracuse 17) Oregon 18) Auburn 19) Nebraska 20) TCU 21) Iowa 22) Mississippi State 23) Iowa State 24) Virginia 25) Central Florida
The Final Four Invites
With Alabama, Clemson and Georgia at least head and shoulders above the rest of college football in terms of talent and coaching, penciling this contingent into the college football playoffs as this has the feel of a "gimme putt".
The four spots, as usual, is more wide open. Michigan is in the best position to snag the final bid, with a veteran squad returning and Ohio State, Penn State and the Big Ten West at least a notch below according to our NCAAF predictions.
If Oklahoma were again to win the Big 12, they will be in the conversation. While this could be a breakout season for Utah, the Utes lack the pedigree and the Pac-12 has lost their mojo nationally. With no Oregon or Stanford to contend with, not even sure a one-loss Utah would be viewed good enough to make the Final Four.
Super Six Bowl Participants
With the Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl hosting the national semi-finals, that leaves the Rose, Cotton, Orange, Sugar bowls to bring in the other first-class teams of college football.
It should be noted that the best teams don't always fill out the rest of the spots, with rules in place to take particular teams based on the final BCS polls or regional draw for attendance if applicable.
If Oklahoma goes over Michigan and the Wolverines won the Big Ten, we are forecasting Jim Harbaugh's club against Utah in the Rose Bowl.
LSU would be a natural fit for the Sugar Bowl against either Ohio State or Notre Dame. Florida to the Sugar Bowl would be a rating winner and if by chance the Sooners don't reach the college football playoffs, they would slide in nicely here.
If Oklahoma lands in one of the two bowls scenarios mentioned, that would leave Texas for the Cotton if they reached the Big 12 title game again and they could run into Washington, Oregon or possibly the Fighting Irish. What would the most fun and give the Cotton Bowl some juice is if Texas A&M was a strong 9-3 in the regular season and they faced the Longhorns.
Best Stories For The Rest of the Top 25
In the Big Ten, Nebraska and Iowa (possibly Wisconsin) will fight for the West Division. Iowa State and TCU will try to sneak by Texas to reach the Big 12 title tilt. In the ACC, we have Virginia winning the Coastal Division over Virginia Tech and Miami for the right to get crushed by Clemson.
Always remember what looks right in August is not how things work out, especially when it comes to betting football, but it's the journey that counts.