Less than 24 hours after Georgia won a second straight national championship by blasting TCU 65-7 in the finals of the College Football Playoff, FanDuel opened the Bulldogs as +300 favorites to win it again next season.
UGA certainly has the schedule to get back to the CFP semifinals whether it wins in Atlanta on the first Saturday of December or not. Kirby Smart’s team has an insanely soft non-conference slate, including home games vs. UT Martin, Ball St. and UAB, in addition to a road game at Ga. Tech.
Georgia’s games against the SEC West are at Auburn and at home vs. Ole Miss. The Bulldogs get Kentucky and South Carolina in Athens, although they do have to travel to Knoxville to face the Vols on Nov. 18.
Smart’s team will be turning to a different quarterback with the departure of Stetson Bennett. There are three candidates to fill the large shoes of Bennett, the two-time MVP of the CFP finals. They’re Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton.
Beck, a four-star recruit out of Jacksonville Mandarin High School, arrived at UGA in 2020 and has two years of eligibility remaining. He has played in 10 career games, completing 36-of-58 passes (62.1%) for 486 yards with a 6/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In seven relief appearances in 2022, Beck connected on 74.3 percent of his throws for 310 yards and four TDs without an interception.
Vandagriff was a five-star recruit in the 2021 class who was ranked as the nation’s No. 17 overall player by 247Sports. He’s only seen playing time in four games, throwing three incomplete passes. Stockton, a four-star recruit in the 2022 class, just completed his freshman season. He didn’t play and used his redshirt year.
Whoever is under center, he’ll have the nation’s best tight end to target in Brock Bowers, who had seven catches for 152 yards and one TD against the Horned Frogs. Javon Bullard, who was the Defensive MVP of the CFP finals after making two interceptions, will also be back in 2023 along with a plethora of extremely talented players.
Alabama has the second-shortest odds (+500) to win the CFP. Like UGA, the Crimson Tide will be replacing an outstanding QB in Bryce Young, who won the 2021 Heisman Trophy. Nick Saban’s team will also have to replace Will Anderson, the heart and soul of the defense who is expected to be a top-five pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
The next-shortest odds belong to Ohio St. (+700), Michigan (+900), USC (+1200 or 12/1), Clemson (18/1), LSU (18/1), FSU (20/1), Penn St. (20/1), Notre Dame (25/1), Texas (25/1), Tennessee (30/1), Oregon (30/1) and Washington (40/1).
The Buckeyes are another team that has to replace an elite QB with the exit of CJ Stroud. Michigan, USC, LSU and FSU return some of the nation’s top signal callers in JJ McCarthy, Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Jordan Travis, respectively. Clemson will be going with Cade Klubnik, a five-star QB recruit in the 2022 class.
In Austin, Quinn Ewers and true freshman Arch Manning will compete for the starting QB spot. Notre Dame scored a big-time QB out of the portal in former Wake Forest signal caller Sam Hartman, who has a 110/41 career TD-INT ratio. Hartman has 12,967 career passing yards, 856 rushing yards and 17 rushing TDs.
As for the Vols, they have a sleeper Heisman candidate in Joe Milton, who has the size, speed and arm strength of a future first-round pick. Since transferring to Tennessee from Michigan before the 2021 campaign, Milton has appeared in 17 games, throwing 12 TD passes without being intercepted.
He also has two rushing TDs as a Vol. Milton looked terrific in a blowout win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl, throwing for 251 yards and three TDs.
The Ducks and Huskies return two of the nation’s top QBs in Bo Nix and Michael Penix, respectively. Another Pac-12 school, Utah, brings back a veteran QB (Cam Rising) who will be looking to lead the Utes to a third consecutive Pac-12 title.
Oklahoma and Utah share 50/1 odds, while TCU is at 60/1. Texas A&M has 80/1 odds. The following programs share 100/1 odds: North Carolina, Ole Miss, UCLA and Auburn.