2023-08-26 14:30:00 EDT
The Georgia Bulldogs successfully defended their national title last year, becoming the first team to win back-to-back championships in over a decade. Can Georgia make a three-peat or some other team will knock them off their perch? The 2023-24 season will be the final with the four-team playoff format, so let’s see the biggest favorites to win the title and best bets for the college football championship in 2024.
Current odds for the 2024 College Football Championship Winner (top favorites):
1. Georgia Bulldogs
The Georgia Bulldogs displayed one of the most dominant performances in the championship game last year when they destroyed the TCU Horned Frogs 65-7. That’s two national titles in a row for the Dawgs, but can they win for the third consecutive time and become the first team to do it since Minnesota in the mid-30s? I think so.
Kirby Smart’s team is the biggest favorite to claim another title despite losing some key players such as quarterback Stetson Bennett and defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Both will continue their respective careers in the NFL: Bennett with the Los Angeles Rams and Carter with the Philadelphia Eagles. A battle for the new starting QB will take place as Georgia has five players to compete for the role. It seems that Carson Beck has the strongest chance of getting the job. Brock Vandagriff is also in the mix.
The Bulldogs have 13 returning starters and enough experience to go all the way for the third straight year. The All-American tight end Brock Bowers is back, linebacker Smael Mondon Jr, pass rusher Marvin Jones Jr, cornerback Javon Bullard, defensive lineman Mykal Williams, and CB Malaki Starks. With such a strong squad, I am backing Georgia for another great season. The odds for Georgia to win the college football championship are not great, but if you can more than double your investment in the best team in the country.
My Pick: Georgia to win the College Football Championship (+230)
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama had a chance to win back-to-back titles in 2021, but Georgia was better in the championship game. Last year, the Crimson Tide finished with an 11-2 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since the format introduction in 2014. Although it was deemed a bad season for Nick Saban’s side, Alabama returns with the best class in the nation, which consists of seven 5-star and 20 4-star players.
The 2021 Heisman Award winner, quarterback Bryce Young, was selected with the No. 1 pick overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2023 NFL Draft. Defensive end Will Anderson, the two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was the 3rd pick overall and joined the Houston Texans. Bama will have a new starting QB this season. Tyler Buchner transferred from Notre Dame and will compete with Jalen Milroe or Ty Simpson for a starting gig. Pass rusher Dallas Turner and cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstrey returned on defense, while Roydell Williams and Jase McClellan will lead a strong group of running backs. It’s not going to be the same without Young, but Tide has a solid chance to return to the playoffs.
My Pick: Alabama to win the College Football Championship (+625)
3. Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State was agonizingly close to defeating Georgia in the CFP semi-final tilt last year, but the Buckeyes’ last-second field goal was unsuccessful, and the Bulldogs snatched a 42-41 victory. After having the third-ranked class in 2022, they return with the seventh-ranked class this year. Still, the Buckeyes have a lot of talent on the roster, even though they lost QB CJ Stroud and tackles Dawand Jones and Paris Johnson Jr.
Stroud was the 2nd pick overall (Houston Texans) in this year’s NFL Draft, while Johnson Jr (6th pick overall) and Jones (4th round) went to the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns, respectively.
Ohio State will have one of the best wide receivers in the country, Marvin Harrison Jr, back to lead a high-octane offense. He will work with a five-star QB and former high-school teammate, Kyle McCord, but also with running back TreVeyon Henderson and tight end Cade Stover. Defensive ends J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer will lead the defense. Brian Hartline is hired as a new offensive coordinator, and if we see the aggressive approach the Buckeyes had last year, they could make a step forward and win the title. I like the Buckeyes better than Alabama.
My Pick: Ohio State to win the College Football Championship (+775)
4. Michigan Wolverines
Michigan won the Big Ten Conference in 2022, finishing above the rivals Ohio Buckeyes, but shockingly lost to the TCU Horned Frogs in the CFP semis. That was the Wolverines’ only loss of the campaign. They did lose nine players to the NFL Draft in 2023, but the good news is that quarterback JJ McCarthy returns with stars running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, who combined for over 2,400 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.
Michigan did a solid job in the transfer portal, bringing an All-American pass rusher Josaiah Stewart, who came from the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The team relied on its defense to beat Ohio State, and that D, which was the 5th best in the country with 13.4 ppg allowed, looks strong once again. Head coach Jim Harbaugh was linked with a move to the NFL in the past could of years, but if he stays, there is a high possibility the Wolverines will reach the playoffs.
My Pick: Michigan to win the College Football Championship (+900)
5. USC Trojans
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams, returns for USC after leading the Trojans to an 11-3 record in 2022. Williams will probably be the No. 1 pick overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, so he has another chance to bring his team to the college football playoffs. USC’s offense was the third-best in the country last season by averaging 41.4 ppg. However, head coach Lincoln Riley must improve his defense if he wants to make it to the playoffs, let alone go all the way. That D wasn’t even in the top 80 last year, as it allowed 27.9 ppg.
The Trojans lost WR Jordan Addison, who left for the NFL (Minnesota Vikings). Still, Caleb Williams will have plenty of his old receivers to work with, including Tahj Washington, Mario Williams, and Brenden Rice. USC had one of the best transfer classes this year. The team added WR Dorian Singer (Arizona), DT Bear Alexander (Georgia), and LB Mason Cobb (Oklahoma State). The road to the top of Pac-12 will not be easy, but the Trojans have three of the toughest four games at home, where they’ll welcome Utah, Washington, and UCLA. Consider USC one of the contenders to win the NCAA title this season.
My Pick: USC to win the College Football Championship (+1600)