The college football season is fast approaching as we get into the summer, and already the odds makers in Vegas are setting odds for the year to come.
Georgia and Alabama round out the top two teams coming back this season, setting up the SEC as the favorite to win what would be its 13 national championship in the last 17 years.
But which teams are ready to challenge those super powers and make a run for the College Football Playoff title? Here are the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.
Odds to win College Football Playoff National Championship
College Football Playoff odds: 45/1
Where Texas is right now: Steve Sarkisian was busy working the transfer portal this offseason, coming off a 5-7 debut in 2021, and signed up some major additions: 5-star in-state quarterback Quinn Ewers, wide receiver Agiye Hall, linebacker Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey, and tight end Jahleel Billingsley, among others.
The offensive additions are crucial when adding them together with lead back Bijan Robinson and receiver Xavier Worthy, a combination that could put Texas back in the Big 12 race this fall and put the program on surer footing ahead of the SEC move.
But the Longhorns still have questions on a defense that lacked difference-makers in the middle of the field, and face Alabama's all-world skill players in a major Week 2 test.
9. Notre Dame
College Football Playoff odds: 40/1
Where Notre Dame is right now: This looked like a playoff team most of last season, but a home loss to Cincinnati helped end that dream. Marcus Freeman enters his first full season as coach after ND hurriedly hired him after Brian Kelly bolted for LSU.
Freeman and the Irish are working off an already talented roster, and got off to a great start on the 2023 recruiting front. But up first is a Week 1 date at Ohio State that could set the tone for how Notre Dame looks down the stretch.
College Football Playoff odds: 40/1
Where Michigan is right now: Jim Harbaugh saved his job last fall (even if he tried to find a new one this winter), beating Ohio State, winning the Big Ten, and earning the Wolverines' first playoff berth. Now comes the hard part of consolidating those gains and moving forward.
He'll do it without the one-two punch both in the backfield and on defensive line with top playmakers heading to the NFL. Michigan needs to find answers rushing the pass and running the ball, but quarterback J.J. McCarthy is a potential star in the making.
College Football Playoff odds: 35/1
Where Oklahoma is right now: Perhaps no program in America underwent as much change on its roster than Oklahoma. Not ideal for first-year coach Brent Venables, who finally took the plunge after establishing a rock solid reputation as OU's and then Clemson's defensive coordinator.
Both of OU's starting quarterbacks — Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler — are gone, but Venables gets a more-than-capable replacement in former UCF signal caller Dillon Gabriel, an 8,000-yard career passer who reunites with offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby after the two had a very productive outing together with the Knights.
College Football Playoff odds: 25/1
Where USC is right now: USC made the move of the offseason, luring Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma to revive the Trojans' fortunes. It's been nearly 20 years since Troy won a national championship and Riley is tasked with making this offense more aggressive.
Adding former OU quarterback Caleb Williams and reigning Biletnikoff wide receiver Jordan Addison will certainly help, as will a bevy of other blue-chip offensive transfers, but USC needs to find answers on what was one of the worst defenses in the country a year ago before we put it anywhere near College Football Playoff contention.
5. Texas A&M
College Football Playoff odds: 22/1
Where Texas A&M is right now: Jimbo Fisher has national championship pedigree, and he may be on the verge of re-affirming it with the Aggies. A&M is coming off a solid 8-4 year that included a home W against a ranked Auburn and a huge upset of then-No. 1 Alabama.
And the Ags just signed arguably the best recruiting class in college football history. A&M may not cash in on all that potential right away, but it does have LSU transfer quarterback Max Johnson, a solid backfield, and a group of skilled receivers to pair up with what should be a ferocious defensive front for the next few seasons.
A&M has home dates against Miami, Ole Miss, and Florida, and goes to Alabama midseason. Any slip-ups there, and the Aggies could fall out of the running early.
College Football Playoff odds: 14/1
Where Clemson is right now: Usually winning 10 games (including a bowl) is a good year for most programs, but Clemson isn't most programs. This team lost three games a year ago, but won five straight to close out and get on better footing for 2022.
But there are two big elephants in the room: Dabo Swinney had to replace both his coordinators. OC Tony Elliott is now Virginia's head coach and DC Brent Venables is at Oklahoma. Clemson needs much better quarterback play if it wants back in the CFP race after DJ Uiagalelei passed for only nine touchdowns and threw 10 picks last season.
3. Ohio State
College Football Playoff odds: 9/2
Where Ohio State is right now: Shoddy defense and the nation's No. 1 ranked total offense defined Ohio State a year ago, and the Buckeyes have a chance to fix the first and maintain the second if all goes according to plan this fall.
Heisman finalist quarterback C.J. Stroud returns after an outstanding first season, and he'll have wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the team's leading receiver a year ago even with Olave and Wilson on the field, and lead rusher TreVeyon Henderson behind him.
Ryan Day also looked hard at a defense that helped lose games against Oregon and Michigan last year, and brought in Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State to patch it up. That means OSU should have a more aggressive, fast-moving, and defensive back-led defensive alignment this fall.
College Football Playoff odds: 13/4
Where Georgia is right now: The defending national champions should be back in the running this fall, but not without replacing some elite talent on what was a generational defense a year ago. Kirby Smart has dominated the recruiting trail and shouldn't have much trouble finding answers at those positions.
And the Bulldogs got some great news as quarterback Stetson Bennett announced he would return this season, with SEC Freshman of the Year tight end Brock Bowers coming back as one of the top receivers in the nation.
Georgia opens up against former DC Dan Lanning, now head coach at Oregon, but after the opener comes what looks like a more favorable schedule.
College Football Playoff odds: 2/1
Where Alabama is right now: If any team was as good as Georgia last fall, it was the Crimson Tide, who beat the Dawgs by 17 in the SEC Championship before losing the rematch for the national title.
As ever, Bama will have an exodus of talent leaving for the NFL. But if there's one thing Nick Saban has done every year, it's to replace blue-chip talent with even more blue-chip talent. Bryce Young — last year's Heisman winning quarterback — returns, as does Will Anderson, the linebacker who led college football in sacks and TFLs last year and is arguably the best single player in the nation.
And the Tide also scored some choice transfers: cornerback Eli Ricks, Georgia's leading wideout from a year ago in Jermaine Burton, and Jahmyr Gibbs, the former Georgia Tech back who is the nation's active leader in all-purpose yards.
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