Bama Fresh off Another Title The Way Too Early | Road To California
by Jarvis Mahogany Scores & Statson
The confetti is not even cleaned up in the Mercedes Benz- Stadium after a fantastic all-SEC championship game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Tide fans are on cloud 9…again… and Georgia fans are still stunned. And while many will think it's too early to look at next year bettors are of a different variety. Once the overtime ended that game was won or lost and it was time for many to look at odds for next year's College Football National Championship. Shortly after conclusion odds started trickling out for contenders to next year's throne.
Here are a few favorites going into next season and where their odds opened at to win the 2018 National Championship. Odds are from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of January 9th, 2018.
Alabama: 5/2 (+250)
In what should be a shocker to nobody Alabama is the early favorite to repeat as champions. The Crimson Tide are led by all world coach Nick Saban and as long as Saban is around Alabama will seemingly always be in the national title conversation. Initial looks at their schedule show it looks manageable as well so making them the favorite makes sense.
They will have a few issues to work out including what to do at quarterback after freshman backup Tua Tagovailoa took over for an ineffective Jalen Hurts and led the Tide on a legendary comeback. Don't be surprised if you find Hurts in another uniform down the road. The Tide will also return 4 of their 5 starting offensive linemen so look for a continued ground and pound approach.
" This time one quarterback, Jalen Hurts, led the Crimson Tide into the championship game and another, freshman Tua Tagovoila, directed a second-half comeback in Monday night's 26-23 overtime win over Georgia"...
Saban's crew will also have some work to do on the defensive end including replacing coordinator Jeremy Pruitt who is leaving to take over the head job with the Tennessee Volunteers. They will also have to replace Rashann Evans at linebacker who looks to have his name called in round 1 of the NFL draft. Early NFL draft defections should also take a toll on the Tide with guys like Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The hard thing for others to replicate chasing Alabama is the overall depth. Even when they lose players, there seems to be a line of blue-chip prospects ready to jump in and take their place.
Clemson: 6/1 (+600)
ACC Champion and semi-finalist Clemson checks in 2nd at +600. The Tigers will return quarterback Kelly Bryant in addition to having highly recruited incoming freshman Trevor Lawrence battling Bryant for the job. The Tigers will have to travel to Texas A&M, as well as rivalry games with Florida State and an improving South Carolina.
The Tigers will have some replacements to choose though as the Tigers are losing 3 offensive linemen. In addition, early NFL entrants could have the Tigers searching to replace people on their elite defensive front. Clemson made its mark this season with defense and will do everything in their power to reload that unit.
"We just all knew," Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley said of Tagovailoa.
Hard to see much value at only 6-1 on a Tigers teams that lacked big-play-ability and is losing a lot of their line production on both sides of the ball.
Georgia: 8/1 (+800)
This season's runner-up should be back among the favorites next year. The Bulldogs may have come up short this season but Kirby Smart is building something special in Athens and with the #1 ranked recruiting class thus far looks to keep the Bulldogs in the playoff conversation for years to come. Outside of a trip to Baton Rouge to face the LSU Tigers, the Bulldogs have a decent schedule lined up for next year that avoids the Tide until potentially the SEC title game.
The Bulldogs will return quarterback Jacob Fromm who led them to the title game in only his freshman year but will have to replace two of the running backs in the stable with both Sony Michel and Nick Chubb moving on to play on Sundays. They will return D'Andre Swift to the backfield and have some additional pieces both on the team and incoming.
Roquan Smith will be a big decision on the defensive side of the ball as the Butkus winner has first-round NFL draft potential should he choose to go pro.
Ohio State: 8/1 (+800)
The team that just missed out when Alabama made the final four is among the favorites heading into next year. The Buckeyes are similar to the others listed above in that they reload annually with star-studded recruiting classes. The Buckeyes will get a chance to make their case early in a showdown against TCU. Win that and their Big 10 schedule sets up nicely.
They will need to replace long-term quarterback J.T. Barrett as well as the bulk of their offensive line but Dwayne Haskins appears to be waiting in the wings and Urban Meyer generally has offensive lineman raring to go. The wide receiving corps will also remain intact for whoever lines up behind center.