The 2021 college football season calendar officially has turned to July as summer camps are just weeks away and the first official kickoff is less than two months out. For many teams, this offseason was more turbulent than most as the transfer portal was altered and seniors were allowed an extra year of mobility due to COVID.
With each and every conference being impacted, let’s take a look at two I have my eye on and where the value remains for a team to come away its champion.
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Entering the season at 17-13 during his time at ASU, head coach Herm Edwards is in win-now mode; as he should be. With arguably the most dynamic quarterback to ever play for the Maroon and Gold, Jayden Daniels, the Sun Devil offense showed flashes of its potential last season, scoring 116 points over its final two games including 70 on Arizona.
The defense, now co-coordinated by head recruiter Antonio Pierce, will return all 11 starters and is as good 2-deep as I can recall ever being from a talent standpoint. Corners Chase Lucas and Jack Jones Jr anchor this unit who should be must-watch television if it can stay healthy for the majority of the season.
While trips to BYU, Utah, and a much-improved Washington don’t do this team any favors, a win at one or two should be enough to win the South, from where anything can happen at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Pick: Arizona State +400
The east division in the BIG 10 should remain in the control of Ohio State, with most of the region’s talent heading there once again. The west, however, is where I see the value.
Despite going 4-3 in last year’s truncated season, Wisconsin had to deal with a litany of COVID-related issues including losing their starting quarterback, Graham Mertz, after their 2nd game. It’s worth noting in his two starts before (both wins), Wisconsin put up an average of 47 points per game, both being on the road.
Not only do the Badgers get back Mertz, now a junior, but they also return their leading rusher in Jalen Berger and their top two receivers in Jake Ferguson in Jack Dunn.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Badgers return eight starters including leading tackler Jack Sanborn, who along with Leo Chanel, make up one of the best linebacking cores in the country.
All in all, Wisconsin will be favored in every game this season except Notre Dame and will get all their most difficult BIG 10 foes at home. If Wisconsin can find its way into the BIG 10 title game, opportunities to hedge should be rampant.
Pick: Wisconsin +600
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TJ Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from TJ, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.
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