College Football 2022 Kickoff: What to Watch

It’s almost time for the College Football Kickoff! Are you ready?

Key Points

– There is plenty to watch as the college football season kicks off in late August.

– Some major changes could be coming to college football.

It’s College Football Kickoff Time!

The college football season gets underway at the end of August and will take us straight through to the end of the year. Along with the NFL, college football makes up the most-watched and most-bet sport in the U.S.

Teams will begin their preparations for the upcoming season beginning in early August. Fans and bettors would be wise to do the same. Read on as we help you prepare for the college football kickoff: what to watch.

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CFP Favorites

Heading into the new season, bettors can get into the college football futures market and wager on the College Football Playoff (CFP) national champion. 

As it has been for the past several years, the CFP champion market has been dominated by four teams – Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Clemson. The Crimson Tide, winners of six national titles in the last 12 years, are the overall favorites heading into this new season. The other three are among the top-5 favorites.

Only five FBS programs have four or more appearances in the CFP. Four are the programs previously mentioned. The fifth is Oklahoma, which will have a new head coach in Brent Venables, the former Clemson defensive coordinator. 

Keep in mind that of the last 16 college football national championship games, an SEC program has won 12 times.

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Conference Realignment

It started last year with the announcement that Texas and Oklahoma would be moving from the Big 12 to the SEC. It wasn’t long after that Cincinnati, BYU, Houston, and UCF were announced as replacements for the Longhorns and Sooners.

The Sun Belt took on a bunch of new teams, including FBS’s newest program – James Madison. The Dukes have been an FCS power for most of the past decade and make the jump from FCS playoff team in 2021 to full Sun Belt Conference member.

This year, the big news is the announcement that the two FBS programs located in Los Angeles – USC and UCLA – will leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten. It is unlikely that any other programs will announce any moves during the season, but once it ends – look out. Anything could happen.

Did you see our 2022 NFL betting preview? Go take a look.

NIL Year 2

Name, Image & Likeness legislation has opened up the flow of cash to athletes. There are now college football millionaires. They have cars, gear, bling, endorsements…you name it. It’s all possible now.

Jaden Rashada, a quarterback at Miami, is believed to have received the largest NIL deal so far. Rashada (6-4, 185), who is from California, will receive a package worth $9.5 million.

That number is not typical as the average NIL deal in NCAA football pays an athlete somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,000 to $5,000.

New Coaches

Venables, of course, is now at Oklahoma. The Sooners won six straight Big 12 titles before falling to third last year. Oklahoma has produced double-digit wins in six of the last seven seasons and will enter the new season as a +200 favorite to win the conference. 

Venables replaces Lincoln Riley who left to take the head job at USC. It is reported that Riley signed a 10-year contract worth somewhere around $110 million. The Trojans went 4-8 last season and Clay Helton was fired in-season. The addition of Riley has made USC a +200 favorite to win the Pac-12 crown.

If you take a closer look at college football betting trends, you’ll know that coaches can play a huge part. Emotions and other factors mean more in the college ranks.

Mario Cristobal jumped from Oregon to Miami, his alma mater. Cristobal went 35-13 in four seasons with the Ducks. He is tasked with making the Hurricanes a contender once again in the ACC. Oddsmakers like his chances as Miami is given +500 odds to win the conference. Clemson is the -140 favorite.

Brian Kelly takes over at LSU and Billy Napier gets his Power 5 shot at Florida. Dan Lanning moves from Georgia’s defensive coordinator to Oregon head coach and Sonny Dykes takes over at TCU. They are all just a few of the 29 new head coaches in FBS this season.

Coaches that Need Wins

Scott Frost is from Nebraska and won a national championship as the Cornhuskers quarterback. In four years as the program’s head coach, he has 15 wins. That isn’t going to cut it, but the Huskers were close last season. All nine losses came by nine points or less. Nebraska is actually listed at +1800 to win the Big Ten at most places where you find betting odds.

Bryan Harsin was lured away from his alma mater, Boise State, to take the reins of the program at Auburn. Harsin and the Tigers started okay last year at 6-2, but then went on to lose five straight including their bowl game.

There was talk of Harsin being let go after a disappointing 6-7 start, but one thing is for sure. Another six-win season and Harsin will be out. The Tigers are not expected to do well. They are given +15000 odds to win the SEC and many experts have them pegged to finish last in the SEC West Division.

Sleepers

Last year, it was Cincinnati that captured the attention of fans and bettors around the nation. The Bearcats ended up 13-1 and became the first Group of 5 team to play in the CFP. Don’t expect Cincy to do it again as they must replace several NFL draft picks. And offshore sportsbooks know this!

USC, however, is a longshot at +2000 to win the national title. Don’t put anything past the Trojans new head coach. Riley went 55-10 at Oklahoma and played in the CFP. The Trojans went wild in the transfer portal and will have the necessary talent to get it done. They will have to win the Pac-12 first.

Texas moves into Year 2 of the Steve Sarkisian era. The Longhorns went 5-7 and lost to Kansas last year. They will have a new QB in former Texas HS standout Quinn Ewers and they’ll have the best running back in the country in Bijan Robinson. The ‘Horns are an even longer shot to win the CFP at +8000.

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