College football will look a bit different when Week 0 comes around in late August. New rules have been approved aimed at shortening games and the latest wave of conference realignment will take effect this year with four new faces in the Big 12 and more movement on the horizon.
What remains the same are the sport’s top teams. Georgia has the best odds to win the College Football Playoff, followed by Alabama and Ohio State — those three programs have combined to win six of nine championships in the CFP era.
The Bulldogs, back-to-back national champions, are favored to win their third straight title, though they’ll be challenged in the SEC by the Crimson Tide, the last team to defeat them. The Buckeyes similarly have to contend with Michigan in the Big Ten. And in the three other Power 5 conferences, the pressure is on the preseason favorites (USC in the Pac-12, Florida State in the ACC and Texas in the Big 12) to take home the conference title in order to bolster their respective playoff resumes.
Take a look ahead at the odds to win each Power 5 conference championship in 2023 with kickoff still a few months away:
SEC: UGA Favored to Beat Out ‘Bama for Conference Title
Odds to win 2023 SEC Championship:
Texas A&M +1200
Mississippi State +7500
South Carolina +9500
The Bulldogs are favored to win the SEC for the second season in a row even after they lost three first-round picks and quarterback Stetson Bennett to the NFL. Kirby Smart signed the No. 2 recruiting class to add to a stacked roster that will likely be led by Carson Beck, who will benefit from throwing to the duo of tight end Brock Bowers and receiver Ladd McConkey. Georgia was last seen thrashing TCU. 65-7. in the national title game for its 17th consecutive win, a streak that dates back to the 2021 SEC Championship. All indications are that UGA will be back in Atlanta again this fall.
The Crimson Tide have plenty of production to replace after losing quarterback Bryce Young and edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. from the first ‘Bama team to not win the SEC West since 2019. Nick Saban inked yet another top-ranked class, which includes two four-star signal-callers, and only adds to the fray under center, where Jalen Milroe appears to be the frontrunner to take over for Young.
LSU is waiting in the wings after it upset Alabama in Brian Kelly’s first year in Baton Rouge. Quarterback Jayden Daniels is back, along with most of the starters on offense, and Kelly hit the transfer portal hard to bolster the defensive front. In a testament to just how tough the SEC will be, the Tigers have the third-best odds to win their conference yet they’re tied for the fifth-best odds to win it all.
Big Ten: Buckeyes Have Best Odds to Unseat the Wolverines
Odds to win 2023 Big Ten Championship:
Ohio State +165
Penn State +500
Michigan State +9500
OSU is the preseason pick to win the Big Ten, which it hasn’t done since 2020. Losing to Michigan for the second season in a row did not keep the Buckeyes out of the CFP, though, where they narrowly lost to the Bulldogs in the semifinal. The successor to C.J. Stroud under center — either Kyle McCord or Devin Brown — will have a stacked group of skill-position players around them, headlined by receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.
Quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running back Blake Corum are both returning to Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines team, the back-to-back Big Ten champs. They ran the table in the regular season and return the majority of their defensive starters. Crucially, the biggest game of the season against Ohio State is back at The Big House this year.
Penn State, the last non-Ohio State or Michigan team to win the Big Ten, could push the conference powerhouses this season with sophomore quarterback Drew Allar taking over for Sean Clifford. The Nittany Lions also project to have one of the best defenses in the FBS.
Pac-12: Preseason Favorite Trojans Looking to End Five-Year Title Drought
Odds to win 2023 Pac-12 Championship:
Oregon State +1000
Washington State +3000
Arizona State +8500
Armed with Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and a deep receiver room, the Trojans are primed to return to the apex of the Pac-12. USC lost to Utah twice last year, in the regular season and conference title game, which spoiled its best shot at winning the league for the first time since 2017. In Year 2 under Lincoln Riley, the Trojans project to have one of the nation’s most explosive offenses once again, though it was their defense that ultimately doomed them down the stretch.
Quarterback Bo Nix, leading rusher Bucky Irving and top receiver Troy Franklin are all returning for the Ducks, but their defense and offensive line were decimated in the draft. Oregon recovered from its season-opening blowout loss to Georgia to win 10 of its final 12 games in its first year under Dan Lanning, capped off by a Holiday Bowl victory over UNC.
The Huskies welcome back Michael Penix Jr., one of the most prolific passers in college football, to a team that saw a seven-win bump last year after the hire of Kalen DeBoer. And Utah, which won the last two conference titles, has the fourth-best odds to make it three in a row. The Utes’ success hinges largely on the health of quarterback Cam Rising, who tore his ACL in the Rose Bowl.
The Pac-12 championship odds indicate that this is the most wide open conference in the Power 5 as USC has the longest odds of any favorite and four programs have +500 odds or better.
ACC: Seminoles Expected to Unseat Tigers Atop the Conference This Season
Odds to win 2023 ACC Championship:
Florida State +165
North Carolina +650
NC State +1500
Wake Forest +5000
Boston College +10000
Georgia Tech +10000
Virginia Tech +10000
The Seminoles had a breakthrough in Mike Norvell’s third season at the helm. Quarterback Jordan Travis led the turnaround and has been dubbed an early Heisman candidate with receiver Johnny Wilson back in the fold and running back Trey Benson alongside him in the backfield. FSU also boasts a projected top pick on its defensive front in Jared Verse. Florida State will vie for its first ACC title since 2014 when it made its first and only CFP appearance.
After a one-year hiatus, the Tigers returned to the top of the conference. Pittsburgh interrupted Clemson’s run of six straight ACC titles in 2021 but Dabo Swinney’s team bounced back and scored a resounding win over UNC in the conference championship after making a late-season quarterback change from D.J. Uiagalelei, who has since transferred, to Cade Klubnik.
Heisman Trophy candidate Drake Maye gives the Tar Heels a shot to win the conference. North Carolina began the season 9–1 before losing out, in part due to its league-worst defense. Maye, who also led the team in rushing last season, lost his top two receivers in the draft but replacements arrived via the portal.
Big 12: Longhorns Favored to Win Title in Last Season Before Conference Change
Odds to win 2023 Big 12 Championship:
Kansas State +470
Texas Tech +1200
Iowa State +4000
Oklahoma State +6000
West Virginia +7000
The Big 12 is even bigger this year with the additions of UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU. But two founding members — the Longhorns and Sooners, both entering their final seasons in the league before their move to the SEC — are still ahead of the pack in the betting markets.
Texas took a step in the right direction in its second year under Steve Sarkisian, going from sub-.500 to a bowl win. Now, the Longhorns are favored to win the conference for the first time since 2009. The team’s top receivers are back to help out quarterback Quinn Ewers, but the departure of running back Bijan Robinson is a major loss.
Oklahoma sputtered to its first losing season since 1998 after Riley’s exit. With quarterback Dillon Gabriel back, Brent Venables’s second year at the helm should go much smoother, though Gabriel did lose his leading rusher and his top two pass-catchers.
The Wildcats, the defending conference champs, have the next-best odds to repeat atop the Big 12. Kansas State, which edged out TCU in the conference title game, lost its leading playmakers on offense and its top cornerback from the program’s best team in a decade.
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