Perennially-powerful Alabama may have been denied their second straight national championship a year ago, but the Crimson Tide are back again as the prohibitive betting odds-on favorites to win the 2018 national championship under polarizing head coach Nick Saban.
However, seeing as how each of the last four seasons has produced four different national champions, it’s certainly not a lock that the Tide will bag this coming season’s national championship hardware. Thankfully, that’s where I come in with my expert look at a pair of title contending teams that could potentially beat out Alabama – and everyone else – in their quest to bag the 2018 national championship.
2017 College Football National Title Odds & Picks
Odds as of July 26.
|TEAM||OPENING ODDS||UPDATED ODDS|
|Alabama CRIMSON TIDE||3-1||5-2|
|Ohio St BUCKEYES||8-1||3-1|
|Florida St SEMINOLES||8-1||8-1|
|Penn St NITTANY LIONS||25-1||20-1|
|Oklahoma St COWBOYS||20-1||40-1|
|Notre Dame FIGHTING IRISH||60-1||40-1|
|Miami FL HURRICANES||30-1||50-1|
|Virginia Tech HOKIES||40-1||60-1|
|Kansas St WILDCATS||30-1||80-1|
|West Virginia MOUNTAINEERS||50-1||100-1|
|TCU HORNED FROGS||60-1||100-1|
|Washington St COUGARS||60-1||100-1|
|Boise St BRONCOS||100-1||100-1|
|Texas A&M AGGIES||100-1||100-1|
|NC State WOLFPACK||100-1||200-1|
|Georgia Tech YELLOW JACKETS||100-1||200-1|
|North Carolina TAR HEELS||100-1||300-1|
|Michigan St SPARTANS||100-1||500-1|
|Minnesota GOLDEN GOPHERS||100-1||300-1|
|Mississippi St BULLDOGS||200-1||300-1|
|South Florida BULLS||300-1||300-1|
|Arizona St SUN DEVILS||200-1||500-1|
|San Diego St AZTECS||1000-1||500-1|
|Wake Forest DEMON DEACONS||300-1||1000-1|
|Texas Tech RED RAIDERS||300-1||1000-1|
|South Carolina GAMECOCKS||300-1||1000-1|
|Duke BLUE DEVILS||500-1||1000-1|
|Central Florida KNIGHTS||1000-1||1000-1|
|Western Kentucky HILLTOPPERS||1000-1||1000-1|
|Colorado St RAMS||1000-1||1000-1|
|Boston College EAGLES||500-1||2000-1|
|Iowa St CYCLONES||500-1||2000-1|
|Oregon St BEAVERS||500-1||2000-1|
|California GOLDEN BEARS||500-1||5000-1|
|Tulsa GOLDEN HURRICANE||1000-1||5000-1|
|East Carolina PIRATES||1000-1||5000-1|
|Tulane GREEN WAVE||1000-1||5000-1|
|Rutgers SCARLET KNIGHTS||1000-1||5000-1|
|Illinois FIGHTING ILLINI||1000-1||5000-1|
|Louisiana Tech BULLDOGS||1000-1||5000-1|
|Army BLACK KNIGHTS||1000-1||5000-1|
|Air Force FALCONS||1000-1||5000-1|
|New Mexico LOBOS||1000-1||5000-1|
|Utah State AGGIES||1000-1||5000-1|
|Nevada WOLF PACK||1000-1||9999-1|
|FIELD (all others)||1000-1||1000-1|
|Ole Miss REBELS||80-1||XX|
The Favorite Pick To Win: Alabama +310
By now, everyone knows that Alabama loses a ton of talent, mostly on the defensive side of the ball every year. Apparently, it’s not much of a problem for the SEC powerhouse as they keep replacing their departed stars with more, five-star talent.
Gone from last season’s squad are All-American defensive end Jonathan Allen and All-American linebacker Reuben Foster, along with fellow linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. In addition to those stars, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and tight end O.J. Howard also went in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.
Again though, the Tide have a bunch of other athletically-gifted players waiting in the wings on the defensive side of the ball and may have their best quarterback of the Saban era in dual-threat signal-caller Jalen Hurts, a player that showed poise beyond his years as a fresh-faced freshman a year ago.
The Tide will also pound the ball down their opponents throats with their 1-2 running back combination of Damien Harris (1,136 yards) and Bo Scarborough (834 yards). Whether you love them or loathe them (like me), the Tide will contend for the national championship again in 2017, even if they’re not quite as dominant as they’ve been in recent seasons.
The Smart Pick To Win: Penn State +2000
I’m just gonna’ come right out and say it. The Penn State Nittany Lions got robbed out of a berth in the four-team playoffs a year ago if you ask me. No matter though, James Franklin’s squad should be major players in the chase for this coming season’s national championship.
Penn State has two legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates in elusive running back Saquon Barkley (1,94 yards, 18 Tds) and fearless quarterback Trace McSorley (3,614 yards, 29 Tds) and they’ve got a bunch of other elite talent on both sides of the ball, including tight end Mike Gesicki and free safety Marcus Allen, a pair of players that also look like sure-fire NFL performers at some point in the near future.
The Nittany Lions have a very manageable schedule in 2017 if you ask me and I believe they’re poised for big things this coming season after getting the short end of the stick a year ago despite winning the Big Ten and beat playoff participant Ohio State.
The Long Shot Pick To Win: Washington +2800
For me, I’m really a bit stunned that Washington is the ninth favorite on the board when it comes to winning the 2018 national championship. First and foremost, the Huskies have a head coach in Chris Petersen that I believe is as good as any head coach in the country, including Nick Saban, Urban Meyer or anyone else you consider a great head coach.
Washington went 12-2 and reached the four-team playoff and even though they got smacked around in their 24-7 semifinal loss against Alabama, the Huskies look like they’re going to contend for the national championship again in 2017 for several reasons.
Washington has a pair of legitimate Heisman trophy candidates in quarterback Jake Browning (43 Tds, 9 INTs) and running back Myles Gaskin (1,373 yds, 10 TDs) and a front seven on defense that is as experienced as any in the country.
After finishing the 2016 campaign ranked a stellar eighth in scoring (41.8 ppg) and identical eighth in points allowed (17.7 ppg) I’m thinking Chris Petersen’s squad will have as good a chance of winning the 2018 national championship as any team in the nation.