Rivals national columnist Mike Farrell is here with his odds on some traditional powers winning it all over the next five years, 10 more unappreciated college football players since 2000 and the Mount Rushmore of Maryland football since 1980.
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It’s been way too long since some traditional powers in college football have won a national title. But fear not, with an expanded playoff on the horizon the chances will improve for most. Here are my odds for some of the biggest traditional CFB powers to win a title over the next five years.
Georgia — 3/1 odds: UGA hasn’t won a national title since 1980, but the Bulldogs could very well be the favorite this season. With a loaded offense returning and some holes on defense filled by the transfer portal this is arguably the most balanced team in the nation.
Oklahoma — 4/1 odds: Oklahoma isn’t far behind Georgia this year as we head into the season. With the way the Sooners are developing quarterbacks and how they own the Big 12, they have a great shot to break through over the next five years. Spencer Rattler leads a ridiculous offense and the defense should continue to improve.
Florida — 10/1 odds: Dan Mullen has things trending in the right direction for Florida and the Gators have a shot to win the SEC East a few times over the next five seasons and make the playoff.
Notre Dame — 12/1 odds: With the expanded playoff it won’t be easy for Notre Dame as the Irish will be ineligible for a bye without a conference tie-in. However, Brian Kelly has brought them close and they could be an elite quarterback away.
Penn State — 18-1 odds: The Nittany Lions showed they could get past Ohio State a few years ago and still got screwed out of the playoff. But if anyone is going to break through it’s James Franklin.
USC — 20/1 odds: Clay Helton isn’t a fan favorite, that’s for sure, but the talent at USC continues to roll in and the Pac-12 isn’t that deep. It’s unlikely, but you never know.
Texas — 25/1 odds: Steve Sarkisian has hopes up in Austin. Recruiting and offensive firepower shouldn’t be an issue. Can he get the team balanced enough to get past Oklahoma? That is the question.
Miami — 50/1 odds: The ‘Canes are coming off a great recruiting year and have shown signs of improvement last year under Manny Diaz, but getting past Clemson is a huge issue.
Michigan — 100/1 odds: This may even be too kind because the Wolverines have shown very few signs of being able to get past Ohio State, and things seem to be going backward.
Florida State — 700/1 odds: Florida State will be back, that’s bound to happen. But the chances of the Seminoles winning their division and uprooting Clemson are low right now, so anything beyond that is impossible.
Nebraska — 1,000/1 odds: Scott Frost has not been a success in Lincoln at all and the roster doesn’t have close to the talent to get out of the Big Ten West, much less to beat Ohio State.
Tennessee — 1,500/1 odds: The Vols haven’t won a national title since 1998 and are further away than anyone on this list with NCAA punishment coming and their inability to hire a coach who can win since the Phillip Fulmer era.
Let’s wrap up my look at some of the most underappreciated players since the year 2000 with the final 10 players. This gives me a nice, round number of 100 with still a ton of names left off the list.
QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois – The two-time MAC Offensive Player of the Year was a one-man wrecking crew in his two seasons as a starter in Dekalb, leading the Huskies to back-to-back conference titles. In those two seasons, he threw for over 6,000 yards, ran for over 3,700 yards and had 92 total touchdowns. He was simply unstoppable.
LB Tank Carder, TCU – The quintessential Gary Patterson defender, Carder was an immensely versatile linebacker, equally at home in coverage as he was stuffing runners and rushing the passer. A two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, Carder returned three of his four career interceptions for TDs, and led the Horned Frogs in tackles for three straight seasons.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State – In three seasons for the Beavers, Rodgers racked up nearly 5,000 yards from scrimmage and 51 TDs. He was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year as a freshman, and was even better as a sophomore, when he ran for 1,440 yards and 21 TDs. One of the biggest recruits in program history, he definitely lived up to the billing.
CB Damontae Kazee, San Diego State – Kazee was as good as they come during his Aztec career. The two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year had 17 picks, including 15 in his final two seasons, leading the conference in both INTs and passes defended during both his junior and senior seasons.
RB Ryan Moats, Louisiana Tech – An absolute beast for the Bulldogs, Moats’ junior season was something truly special: He had 1,774 yards rushing on well over 6 yards per carry and 18 TDs while constantly facing eight-man boxes. He led the WAC in yards from scrimmage in back-to-back seasons while winning the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year during that junior season before turning pro.
RB Andre Williams, Boston College – Williams was solid in his first three years at BC, but when Steve Addazio took over Andre2000 was born. In his senior year, Williams rushed 355 times for 2,177 yards and finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 2013. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry and scored 18 touchdowns even though everyone knew he was getting the ball.
RB Tre Mason, Auburn – In the same year Williams broke the 2,000-yard mark, Mason carried 317 times for 1, 816 yards and 23 scores after a 1,000 yard season as a sophomore. He finished sixth in the Heisman voting in 2013.
RB Mike Hart, Michigan – Hart rushed for more than 5,000 yards in his Michigan career after coming out of high school as a New York legend. He also caught 67 career passes and finished fifth in the 2006 Heisman voting after running for 1,687 yards.
QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame – People forget how good Quinn was at Notre Dame as a back-to-back Heisman finalist who threw for 69 touchdowns and only 14 picks in his last two years.
DT Nick Fairley, Auburn – Ask anyone in the know to name the second-best player on the 2010 Auburn national title team and they will answer Fairley, who had 24 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks that season.
And finally, I’ll continue my Mount Rushmore series with the four best players from Maryland since 1980.
LB EJ Henderson: Hands down one of the greatest players in program history, the two-time consensus All-American was the back-to-back ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior and he also took home the Bednarik and Butkus awards during his final campaign in College Park. He should be absolutely be mentioned among the all-time greats at the position, but he rarely is.
LB D’Qwell Jackson: Jackson carried the linebacking torch for Henderson and barely missed a beat. After playing alongside him during his first season, Jackson became the unquestioned leader of the defense as a sophomore, and went on to two All-American nods, three All-ACC nominations and the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2005. A tackling machine, he finished his career with 447 stops.
WR Jermaine Lewis: When he finished his career as a Terrapin in 1995, he was the ACC’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, and fifth in career touchdowns. Lewis was also an exceptional returner, and still holds all of the school’s receiving records. Stefon Diggs and others are bigger names but Lewis had the best college career.
QB/P Scott Milanovich: Milanovich was the rare player to earn all-conference honors at multiple positions, doing it at quarterback and punter. Milanovich is the Terrapins’ single-season and career leader in both passing yards and TDs. The end of his career was marred by a gambling scandal which saw him be suspended for three games during his senior season despite being found to have wagered less than 50 dollar on six different football and basketball games. Many think of Boomer Esiason when they think Maryland QB, but Milanovich had a better college career.