Top 5 Contenders for the NCAAF National Championship – Best College Football Teams in 2021

| May 3, 2021 3:39 am PST

Alabama rolled over its competition in 2020. After putting together a historic year under the guidance of Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide are unquestionably the betting favorite to repeat.

As for the other NCAAF National Championship contenders, four teams come to mind.

For a quick check-in on these programs, along with defending champs, let’s jump into a discussion about the best teams in college football next season.

2022 NCAAF National Championship Odds

Alabama+260
Clemson+450
Ohio State+650
Georgia+700
Oklahoma+800

We can trim the list of sincere NCAAF National Championship contenders down to five teams. Once you scroll past the Sooners odds at the best college football betting sites, there’s a considerable drop-off to the next tier.

Considering the absence of parity in the FBS, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Since the College Football Playoff was initiated, Alabama and Clemson have been chosen for the CFP every year but one. Ohio State and Oklahoma aren’t far behind with four CFP appearances apiece.

The four aforementioned teams have accounted for six of the seven National Titles since this “final four” thing was put in place.

Alabama Crimson Tide

  • 2021 Recruitment Class Rankings: 1
  • 2020 Record: 13-0
Bryce Young

Despite watching an abundance of Nick Saban disciples get plucked in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Bama comes back roaring in their quest for another unblemished season.

Bryce Young is set to take over for Mac Jones at the helm and is receiving rave reviews in Tuscaloosa.

Trailing only Spencer Rattler on the Heisman Trophy betting sheet, the top dual-threat QB from the 2020 Class was like a human joystick during his illustrious career at Mater Dei.

Waving goodbye to the likes of Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle doesn’t seem so bad knowing John Metchie is returning and five-star prospect Jacorey Brooks is arriving.

Anyone worried about replacing Alex Leatherwood or Landon Dickerson on the front line, know that Alabama landed JC Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer – the top two offensive tackles in the entire 2021 class.

Want to hear something scary?

The Crimson Tide signed seven five-star recruits, or as many as Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma, and Texas – combined.

Clemson Tigers

  • 2021 Recruitment Class Rankings: 5
  • 2020 Record: 10-2

D.J. Uiagalelei is ready to ready to push forward. Thrust onto the scene when Trevor Lawrence was unavailable, the 6’4” 250-pound freshman shined during relief.

D.J. Uiagalelei – Two Starts in 2020
Opponent Completions Attempts Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Passer Rating
Boston College 30 41 342 3 (1 rushing) 0 159.3
Notre Dame 29 44 439 3 (1 rushing) 0 164.7

Possessing all the tools to lead Clemson to an ACC title, the question is can Uiagalelei march the Tigers back to the CFP?

He won’t have Travis Etienne to lean on and Clemson’s top-two receivers have both moved on. What D.J. will have is a bevy of high-ceiling recruits that’ll help replenish what was a star-studded supporting cast.

Will Shipley reminds a lot of scouts of Christian McCaffrey, while Jake Briningstool, the #1 tight end prospect in the country, is already turning heads at camp.

Best of all is Clemson has the luxury of returning everybody on defense.

Dabo has never returned more than eight defensive starters. During their current run of six straight trips to the CFP, Clemson’s average number of returning starters on defense has been just 5.3.

A much-anticipated season opener against Georgia sets the stage for how Tigers season will unfold.

Ohio State Buckeyes

  • 2021 Recruitment Class Rankings: 2
  • 2020 Record: 7-1
Ryan Day

The only team outside of Alabama with at least five 5-star recruits, the Buckeyes are well-positioned to maintain their supremacy in the Big Ten.

The difference here is while the Buckeyes also sent their QB and RB to the NFL Draft, Ohio State’s top two top receivers are back in the huddle.

With true freshmen Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. both pushing for snaps, along with Jaxon Smith-Njigba emerging, Jameson Williams entered the transfer protocol to avoid getting lost in the shuffle.

Even so, this is an incredibly loaded wide receiving corps that is going to alleviate pressure as the offense transitions from Justin Fields to…

Exactly who will Ryan Day turn to as his new pilot is still the biggest question in Columbus.

Redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud currently has the leg up, but another RS freshman (Jack Miller) is certainly in the equation.

And don’t count out true frosh Kyle McCord throwing his hat in the ring as we move closer to the fall. Day is yet to tip his hand and appears eager to let the competition play out.

Following a spring game in April, the Ohio State head honcho offered the following about his trio of candidates.

“This was just a very small glimpse at a bunch of guys taking some reps, but there’s a body of work that needs to be built from that first spring practice all the way through that first game that still is yet to be written. They’ve learned a lot, but now the race is on over the next few months to figure out who can make the next strides so that they’re further along.”

Georgia Bulldogs

  • 2021 Recruitment Class Rankings: 4
  • 2020 Record: 8-2
JT Daniels

A 4-0 spurt as the Bulldogs starter has put any questions to bed regarding who will be under center in Athens in 2021. The transfer from Southern Cal won’t be looking over his shoulder and has full trust from Kirby Smart.

DawgNation’s very own Mike Griffith has kept close tabs on Daniels throughout the spring and is confident he’ll be ready to ball out in the upcoming season.

“Daniels, essentially, and likely effectively, will be running a Pro-Style spread offense with Air Raid principles from the line of scrimmage. Next up for Daniels is a trip back to California to work alongside NFL quarterbacks under the direction of renowned quarterback guru Jordan Palmer.”

Working against the junior QB is the fact that he’ll be without his top target after George Pickens suffered a torn ACL during a spring practice.

However, the door swings wide open for rising sophomores Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Arian Smith to see elevated roles. Kearis Jackson and Jermaine Burton can be depended on as well.

What could help take the Dawgs over the top is if tight end Darnell Washington pans out to the guy many thought he would be.

The massive target (6’7,” 265 pounds) is a five-star recruit from Las Vegas who finally got his feet wet with a splash in the Peach Bowl.

With Tre’ McKitty out of the picture, Coach Smart is intent on making sure Washington is a big part of the game plan.

“He’s a great target he’s a big target, he’s an athletic guy. He is a weapon. We have to find ways to be able to utilize him both in the passing game and in the run game because he’s a weapon in both.”

Oklahoma Sooners

  • 2021 Recruitment Class Rankings: 10
  • 2020 Record: 9-2

Oklahoma is a little behind these other behemoths when it comes to the evaluations of their incoming freshman, but Lincoln Riley used other avenues when it came to restocking his roster.

Riley inked five transfers in all, including a trio from the University of Tennessee set to provide major impacts right away.

Wanya Morris saunters into Norman to assume the role of protecting Spencer Rattler’s blindside, while Eric Gray fills a void in the backfield on the heels of Rhamondre Stevenson being drafted.

The Vols top recruit in the class of 2020, safety Key Lawrence, was sharp as a true freshman and will immediately boost the play of the Sooners secondary.

All three of these Vols-turned-Sooners were part of 247sports.com’s top-10 in their transfer rankings for 2021.

Heisman Trophy front-runner Spencer Rattler flashed his capabilities in 2020, demonstrating that his arm strength and mobility are off the charts.

I don’t want to overhype this guy, but the only NFL comp I can think of is Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes.

After dedicating his efforts to improving his leadership and communication skills, this “Rattler” is going to a big bite out of Big 12 defenses in 2021.

Betting on the 2022 College Football National Championship

It’s a long way away from the second Monday in 2022, but it’s not too early to start betting on college football online. Specifically, who wins the Natty.

I am holding off on any tickets on Clemson and Ohio State, although Georgia and Oklahoma have captured my attention.

You may not be fond of Alabama’s +260 National Championship odds, but that number is only going to shrink until somebody knocks the Tide off.

Speaking of knocking the Crimson Tide off, that’s a perfect segue to my college football sleeper team in 2021.

Penciled in for a date with Alabama on September 4th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, keep an eye on the Miami Hurricanes. Should “The U” find a way to sneak past Bama in their opener, the floodgates could burst wide open for D’Eriq King and his crew.

After spotting the Canes at +5000 and +5500 to win the National Championship, I found Miami (FL) lurking at +6600 at BetOnline.

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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