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By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
I can feel it coming.
This is that wonderful time of year for college football fans.
If the upcoming college football season is a dinner out, this is the moment your name and reservation are called. This 5-course meal of a college football season is to be presented in just a few weeks, so before we dive into the meal let’s appetize the season with some win total discussion.
Win totals are a great brain exercise that accomplish the following for an average Joe Schmoes like us betting the board on CFB:
- Thinking big picture: It’s easy to get lost in the daily board of games and keep a narrow mindset with a lot of your picks once the season gets going. You get trapped betting the same teams, chasing random teams and it can ugly fast. Taking a bigger picture look at a team’s full schedule gives a little better perspective towards what a team has in front of them this fall and where the road gets easier or harder.
- Knowing what’s ahead: When you bet CFB games, you go in with the understanding that these are teams full of 18-21 years old players who hear and see the noise, live on social media and aren’t equipped with blinders that athletes of the past were. For this reason, win totals give you a deeper knowledge of team’s schedule and what week to week life will be like for them, so you avoid “trap games”, “look ahead spots” and can accurately bet on teams when it counts the most and when you’re getting their best and most focused effort.
- A Wee Bit O’ Research: if nothing else, let’s get a few more tidbits thrown into our brains on each team so we’re 10% more knowledgeable and equipped to bet the board like a maniac every Thursday-Saturday this fall.
With that, allow me to highlight some team win totals for the 2022 season that had me raise an eyebrow this summer:
Clemson – Over/Under 10.5 wins
The Tigers join Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia as the only other CFB teams with 10.5 wins as their over/under, so the praise from Vegas is there. Still, for a team that went 10-3 last year and ended up in the Cheez It Bowl, you start to wonder if the Clemson bubble is slowly leaking towards an out-and-out burst. The step down from Trevor Lawrence to D.J. Uiagalelei is clear, and it hinders the offense. With the rest of the ACC gaining ground, a trip to Notre Dame and tougher ACC home opponents than 2021, I have a hard time seeing Clemson get to 11 wins.
The Play: UNDER 10.5
Texas – Over/Under 8.5 wins
Is Texas back? Coming from this Austin resident who’s seen it all since their National Championship days of VY and Colt McCoy, I’m here to say they are unequivocally NOT back. Nope. Not even a little. What they are is newly inspired, as Coach Steve Sarkisian has indeed won over the locker room and captains despite a historically bad 2021 campaign. Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers is ready to take the helm and with yet another impressive recruiting class, Sark’s “clean house and change it all” mentality will be on full display. I expect lots more from the offense this fall, a couple of newly recruited DB’s who can actually cover, and 9 wins from UT. No Big 12 title. Hopefully the Texas boosters will keep this coach around.
The Play: OVER 8.5 wins
Miami – Over/Under 8.5 wins
In lieu of my Clemson take, the other side of the coin is that teams like The U have gained ground on the Tigers. The Mario Cristobal hire seems to be a great fit early on, and with QB Tyler Van Dyke coming into his own there is lots of hope for a past dynasty to restore some past glory. You have to figure that on points alone the Cristobal-Van Dyke combo will run numbers on the bottom feeders in the ACC, and with a soft start that will have them 3-1 after 4 games, you have to like their chances of getting to 9 wins.
The Play: OVER 8.5 wins
Michigan – Over/Under 9.5 wins
Oh, Michigan – the most teasing of all college sports franchises presents so much hope, optimism, and positivity. They FINALLY put together a season in 2021 that capped itself appropriately with a win over Ohio State, but beyond that it was playoff embarrassment that makes you wonder if the Harbaugh era just plateaued right in front of our eyes. They’ve lost their defensive coordinator that created so much fury in 2021, and they lack the firepower to knock off the Buckeyes again. This season has letdown written all over it. Sorry, Maize and Blue faithful.
The Play: UNDER 9.5 wins
Florida – Over/Under 7 wins
Had to touch on the SEC – it’s quite obviously Alabama or Georgia’s conference, but I will add myself to the list of AR15 believers. With Emory Jones out the path is clear and open for Anthony Richardson to thrive and show off his dual threat style. Billy Napier is in and I personally like the breath of fresh air from Dan Mullen. This total has teetered between 7 with some juice and 7.5. While the schedule is decidedly brutal as is life in the SEC. They have some soft home games at the Swamp in the middle of the season and finish with Vandy and FSU. I’ll try my luck at 7 wins with juice knowing a push is on the table.
The Play: OVER 7 wins.
Hawaii – Over/Under 4 wins
A bonus pick for every degenerate gambler’s late-night college football fix in paradise. I won’t stand for the Hawaii slander. In fact, I stand firmly against it. The Rainbow Warriors brought back the LEGEND Timmy Chang to take the helm and that man commands respect at this program. I count at least 6 winnable games for Hawaii, and taking the trip out for road games can always lead to some lackluster efforts.
The Play: OVER 4 wins