Heading Into Spring, All Eyes On the Alabama Crimson Tide


Heading Into Spring, All Eyes On the Alabama Crimson Tide

Most college sports fans aren’t thinking about the 2021-2022 College Football Season. Instead, they’re spending time pondering the 2021 March Madness tournament.

After all, the NCAA had to cancel the 2020 Men’s College Basketball Tournament. Why not spend the rest of February and all of March concentrating on the glory that is college hoops?

But not everyone is into basketball. As great as the tournament is, and it's excellent, it lasts for three weeks. Most sports fans have learned that college football, like big brother NFL, is a 365-days a year sport.

Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Notre Dame, the four teams that made up this past season’s College Football Playoff, head to the field in March to start the quest for this season's NCAAF Championship. Of the four, two of the squads are national title contenders.

The other two are pretenders to wear 2022’s college gridiron crown. So as we head into the in like a lion out like a lamb month, let’s pause from the hoops' madness and think about the four contenders that have what it takes to win the title and the top four overrated teams to take home the trophy.

Defending champion Alabama heads the list of Top Four

Alabama Crimson Tide

Bama loses players every year. Yet every year, Nick Saban manages to recruit enough great players to make it to the playoff. This season, Saban brings the best recruiting class in history to Tuscaloosa. No coach has ever recruited four 5-star players, nine 4-star players, and a 3-star player that has already enrolled. Also, Bryce Young, the top overall quarterback recruit from 2020, starts in 2021.   

Georgia Bulldogs

The Dawgs may take a bite out of Bama in the 2021 SEC Championship. This past season, UGA underperformed by losing a couple of games. Or, maybe, they overperformed by losing just two games. As long as signal-caller J.T. Daniels stays healthy, Georgia rolls, ala the Crimson Tide, to the SEC title match. If they manage to upset Clemson on Sep. 4, even if Alabama beats them in the SEC Championship, the Bulldogs grab a College Football Playoff bid.

Clemson Tigers

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables should field one of the best defenses in college football. Almost the entire starting unit returns. So Venables has a lot with which to work.

The offense should be in great hands even though quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne bolted for the NFL. In college football, everything starts with the lines.

Clemson’s offensive line returns three starters, and Dabo Sweeney once again had one of the best-recruiting classes in the nation. Whoever carries the pigskin will have success running behind the Tigers' offensive line.

Also, quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei rocked it when Lawrence had to take time off due to a COVID positive. Last season, Uiagalelei completed 66.7% of his passes, threw for 914 yards, and tossed 5 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Oklahoma Sooners

Head coach Lincoln Riley is known for fielding top offenses led by fantastic quarterbacks. In his first season as a Sooner, Spencer Rattler didn’t produce the stats Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts did in their seasons under Riley.

But Rattler improved big time the more experience he got. In his first three games, Rattler threw 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. In Oklahoma’s final seven starts, Rattler tossed 15 touchdowns and 2 picks.

Oklahoma’s returning quarterback is the main reason to feel bullish about their title chances. Another reason to like Oklahoma is that they head into 2021 with a vastly improved defense.

The Sooners shut down their opponents’ ground games last season, ranking third against the rush. This season, defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s unit could dominate against the rush and pass.

If you decide to back the Sooners, look for a sportsbook operator who uses free bookie software from someone reputable. The odds on Oklahoma to win the title are around +800. Individual bookmakers are often more flexible with their odds, meaning you could ask for better odds and are more likely to get them through a pay per head agent.  

Ohio State leads the list of most overrated teams

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ron Day replaces quarterback Justin Fields with one of the top prospects in the 2020 class, C.J. Stroud. Day has had success with quarterbacks in the past. So Stroud should play well enough for the Buckeyes to be a good team.

However, rival Michigan figures to have a good season as well. So will the Indiana Hoosiers, the Michigan State Wolverines, Wisconsin Badgers, and the Penn State Nittany Lions.

The rest of the Big Ten will be better while the Buckeyes will be worse. This season, Ohio State losing at least two games is more than probable.  

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

It isn't easy to like Notre Dame this season. The team returns 5 starters on offense and 6 starters on defense. That's not horrible, and the recruiting class is decent, but this season the Fighting Irish face Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, USC, North Carolina, and Stanford. Cincinnati, Wisconsin, USC, and North Carolina have Top 10 talent.  

LSU Tigers

On paper, Louisiana State should be much better in 2021 than they were in 2020. Most teams are when they return 19 starters. For LSU, though, the jury is out because even though they return many starters, those starters must prove they can play well enough to challenge Alabama, Georgia, and the rest of the SEC.

Texas A&M Aggies

In 2020, Jimbo Fisher fielded his best Aggies squad yet. A&M, though, could have trouble in 2021. The defense will be good, no doubt.

The offense could be a mess. Quarterback Kellen Mond is gone. So are three starters along the offensive line. Bama, UGA, Auburn, and even LSU will field offenses that post close to 30 points or more each game. If the Aggies can’t keep up on the scoreboard, they won’t win enough games for a College Football Playoff bid.

If you’re looking to back a team early to win the College Football National Championship, concentrate on the four we list here. Fans who love to support underdogs should consider the North Carolina Tar Heels, Iowa State Cyclones, and USC Trojans.

All three offer great odds and return players at critical positions. Iowa State could have a couple of Heisman Trophy contenders in quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall.  

While you’re enjoying the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, don’t forget that March is here, and April is right around the corner. Soon, Alabama, Clemson, and the rest of college football’s title contenders will get back to work in their quest for the 2022 College Football National Championship.