The college football season is just around the corner, and here are my predictions for the 2021 season.
The ncaa football win totals 2021 is a prediction of the number of wins for each team in the upcoming season.
I published my revised 2021 SP+ rankings two weeks ago, but creating those rankings is just half of the fight. You’ll also want to look at the predictions if you want to get the most out of your perspective of the next season.
Below is a data dump of win predictions for each FBS conference, including each team’s average overall and conference win totals, chances of ending with no more than one regular-season loss (for use in assessing national championship aspirations), and probabilities of achieving six or more victories — meaning bowl eligibility. On the current William Hill win futures, I’m also adding each team’s estimated chances of covering/pushing.
Jump to a meeting: Independents | AAC | Sun Belt | MWC | MAC | C-USA | SEC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | ACC | Independents | AAC | Sun Belt | MWC | MAC | C-USA
The following are the chances of ending with a 0-1 record (only teams with probabilities of 0.5 percent or above are included): Alabama has a 48 percent approval rating, Georgia has a 32 percent approval rating, Texas A&M has an 18 percent approval rating, Florida has a 13 percent approval rating, Ole Miss has a 2 percent approval rating, Auburn has a 0.9 percent approval rating, and LSU has a 0.8 percent approval rating.
Alabama is a 100 percent favorite, Georgia is 99.9%, Texas A&M is 99.7%, Florida is 99.5 percent, Ole Miss is 91 percent, Auburn is 89 percent, LSU is 87 percent, Tennessee is 86 percent, Kentucky is 80 percent, Missouri is 67 percent, Mississippi State University is a public university in Mississippi. is 66 percent, Arkansas is 48 percent, South Carolina is a state in the United States. is 14 percent, and Vanderbilt is 9 percent.
SEC: AVERAGE PROJECTED WINNERS IN 2021
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Tennessee and LSU are the most intriguing teams in terms of predictions. Beyond the usual SP+ (and lots of other measures) “bet the under on the top teams and the over on the worst teams” chances, the best odds SP+ has to give are selecting Tennessee over 6 and LSU under 8.5.
Both predictions go against the grain of common thinking. Tennessee’s coaching search was a shambles (due to the possibility of an NCAA probe) and the transfer portal was clogged with players going in and out. Meanwhile, the overwhelming consensus is that LSU will improve significantly from last year’s dreadful championship defense.
To be honest, the thought of betting on any of those selections gives me the creeps. Let this serve as a reminder of two things, at the very least: (1) Despite all of the change, Josh Heupel’s first Tennessee team has a fairly solid foundation of skill (particularly if he finds a starter quarterback at some point), and (2) LSU still has a lot of issues to address before it can recover.
Ohio State is a university in the state of Ohio has a 29 percent chance of ending with a 0-1 record, Wisconsin has an 18 percent chance, Penn State is a university in Pennsylvania. has a 7% chance, Iowa has a 4% chance, Michigan has a 3% chance, Minnesota has a 3% chance, and Indiana has a 0.5 percent chance.
Ohio State 99.9%, Wisconsin 99.5 percent, Penn State 98 percent, Iowa 96 percent, Minnesota 94 percent, Michigan 94 percent, Indiana 80 percent, Nebraska 74 percent, Maryland 66 percent, Michigan State University 47 percent, Purdue 38 percent, Northwestern 36 percent, Illinois 18 percent, and Rutgers 18 percent.
AVERAGE PROJECTED WINS IN 2021 FOR THE BIG TEN
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Northwestern is the most intriguing team. The Wildcats of Pat Fitzgerald don’t always get along with SP+. Their propensity to win one-score games at a higher rate than other teams appears to give them an additional victory or two above what SP+ predicts. In 2015, they were rated 75th while going 10-3. However, it’s worth noting that they don’t always go above and above.
Northwestern has had four losing seasons in the last ten years, with the most recent being a 3-9 campaign in 2019. Plus, with so much to replace in 2021, including a particularly good quarterback in Peyton Ramsey, 78 percent of last year’s receiving yards, three-quarters of a good secondary, and retired defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz, it may take one of Fitzgerald’s better coaching jobs to get the Wildcats to 7-5 or better, even with the usual dose of close-game magic.
Oklahoma has a 51 percent chance of ending with a 0-1 record, Iowa State University has a 16 percent chance, Texas has a 3% chance, Oklahoma State University is a public university in Oklahoma City has a 2% chance, and TCU has a 0.6 percent chance.
Oklahoma has a 100 percent chance of winning, Iowa State has a 99.7% chance of winning, Texas has a 95 percent chance of winning, Oklahoma State has a 92 percent chance of winning, TCU has an 84 percent chance of winning, Baylor has a 66 percent chance of winning, West Virginia has a 61 percent chance of winning, Kansas State University has a 45 percent chance of winning, Texas Tech is a university in the state of Texas has a 41 percent chance of winning, and Kansas has a 0.3 percent chance of winning.
AVERAGE PROJECTED WINS FOR THE BIG 12 IN 2021
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TCU is the most intriguing team. The Horned Frogs of Gary Patterson were a popular choice in last week’s Big 12 Best Bets, and it’s easy to understand why. With two great rookies who seemed to connect late last season and a defense that is as strong as it has ever been, TCU has a decent shot of returning to the top of the league. With +2000 conference championship odds, it’s a good idea to put down some “just in case” money.
However, the TCU offense has averaged only 75.0 offensive SP+ over the last three seasons, and with a top-30 strength of schedule, there’s a possibility they’ll stay in. 500-ville. In 2021, anything from 5-7 to 11-1 would not surprise me.
Washington has a 19 percent chance of ending with a 0-1 record, USC has a 13 percent chance, Oregon has an 8 percent chance, Utah has a 6% chance, Arizona State University has a 6% chance, and UCLA has a 1% chance.
Washington 99.5 percent, USC 99 percent, Oregon 99 percent, Arizona State 98 percent, Utah 96 percent, UCLA 85 percent, Washington is a state in the United States. 68 percent, California 59 percent, Oregon State University 20%, Stanford 18%, Colorado 18%, Arizona 2%
WINS PROJECTED FOR THE PAC-12 IN 2021
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Stanford is the most intriguing team. Now, since SP+ and the line disagree, I’m not calling Stanford interesting. No, I’m announcing it because both Vegas and SP+ believe that the Cardinals will have a difficult season. It’s an odd occurrence for a club that has only had one losing season in the previous 12 years and finished 4-2 last year against an all-Pac-12 slate.
So, what’s the backstory here? After finishing 4-8 in 2019, the Cardinal won four of their first six games in 2020, but only by a combined 10 points, including a 21-point loss to Oregon. They improved their SP+ ranking from 88th to 60th, but their returning production is currently 123rd. They’ll now play a top-15 schedule with seven teams predicted to finish in the top 30. Even a squad that outperforms expectations (now ranked 64th) may struggle to finish higher than 6-6.
Clemson has a 67 percent chance of being undefeated, North Carolina is a state in the United States. has a 22 percent chance, Miami has a 15% chance, Virginia Tech is a university in the state of Virginia has a 2% chance, and Louisville has a 0.8 percent chance.
Clemson is favored by 100 percent, North Carolina is favored by 99.7%, Miami is favored by 99.6%, Virginia Tech is favored by 93 percent, Pitt is favored by 84 percent, Louisville is favored by 83 percent, Boston College is a public university in Boston, Massachusetts is favored by 80 percent, NC State is favored by 78 percent, Wake Forest is a place where you may relax and is favored by 62 percent, Virginia is favored by 58 percent, Florida State University is favored by 56 percent, Georgia Tech is a university in Atlanta, Georgia. is favored by 34 percent
ACC: AVERAGE PROJECTED WINNERS IN 2021
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Virginia Tech is the most intriguing team. This team is another example of “narratives vs. statistics.” Justin Fuente seems to be on the hot seat after finishing 19-18 in the previous three seasons, although SP+ saw last year’s squad as especially unfortunate.
SP+ ranked the Hokies as a 7-4 team rather than a 5-6 team, based on my postgame win expectation figure, which throws all of a game’s important predictive data into the air and says, “With these stats, you could have expected to win this game X percent of the time.” They lose standout running back Khalil Herbert but still have enough talent to be projected as the No. 33 team. They’re only expected to be underdogs in three games and, with better bounces, have a good chance of winning seven or more.
Liberty has a 6% chance of ending with a 0-1 record, BYU has a 5% chance, Notre Dame is a Catholic university in the United States. has a 4% chance, and Army has a 0.6 percent chance.
Liberty is favored by 99 percent, BYU is favored by 96 percent, Notre Dame is favored by 95 percent, Army is favored by 88 percent, UConn is favored by 0.9 percent, UMass is favored by 0.6 percent, and NMSU is favored by 0.1 percent.
AVERAGE PROJECTED WINS FOR INDEPENDENTS IN 2021
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Notre Dame is the most intriguing team. Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish were rated No. 4 in SP+ before into last year’s ACC title game. Unfortunately, poor performances against Clemson and then Alabama in the College Football Playoff pushed them to 16th place. They lost the games by a combined 41 points, although SP+ considered it a best-case scenario, with the anticipated result being closer to a combined 74-point loss. This, coupled with a No. 125 return production rating and a midseason stretch of games against opponents rated sixth, 19th, 33rd, 14th, and 11th, indicates South Bend is in for a poor year.
But, for the Irish, what does “down” truly mean? Is an 8-4 record (or worse) realistic for a club that has won double digit games in five of the last six seasons? Is SP+ underestimating the Irish, as Notre Dame supporters say on Twitter all the time? We will have to wait and see.
Cincinnati has a 22 percent chance of ending with a 0-1 record, UCF has a 10% chance, Memphis has a 5% chance, Houston has a 4% chance, and SMU has a 1% chance.
Cincinnati 99.7 percent, UCF 99.7 percent, Memphis 95 percent, Houston 95 percent, SMU 86 percent, Tulane 66 percent, Tulsa 60 percent, ECU 39 percent, Temple 27 percent, USF 10%, Navy 4%
AAC: AVERAGE PROJECTED WINNERS IN 2021
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Temple is the most intriguing squad. Last year, Temple crumbled under the weight of testing-and-tracing problems and bombed out to 1-6 and 105th in SP+, as I noted in the Group of 5 Best Bets. Because SP+ isn’t set up to account for any COVID-19 problems, the Owls are projected to finish 105th in 2021, although they still have a good chance of winning more than three games against a poor schedule. If last year’s performance was skewed, this seems to be one of the safest plays on the table.
However, if you watched Temple last season, you know that picking the Owls to win any games is a risky idea. It was a disaster.
South Carolina’s coast has a 32 percent chance of ending with a 0-1 record, Louisiana has an 18 percent chance, Appalachian State University has a 6% chance, and Troy has a 1% chance.
Coastal Carolina is favored by 99.9%, Louisiana is favored by 99.5 percent, Appalachian State is favored by 98 percent, Troy is favored by 87 percent, Georgia State University is a public university in Georgia. is favored by 57 percent, Georgia Southern University (Georgia Southern) is favored by 43 percent, Arkansas State University is a public university in Arkansas. is favored by 28 percent, Alabama’s South is favored by 15 percent, Texas State University is a public university in Texas. is favored by 9 percent, and ULM is favored by 1 percent.
AVERAGE PROJECTED WINS FOR THE YEAR 2021 IN THE SUN BELT
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Troy is the most intriguing team. Local media selected the Trojans to finish last in the Sun Belt East this year, and I’m not sure why. In 2020, they lost four one-score games, including a crazy 42-38 slugfest against Coastal Carolina, who was suddenly powerful. They were a healthy 72nd in SP+ last season and will return around 20 starters this season. They should still be behind Coastal and App State in the East’s standings, but SP+ views them as the division’s clear No. 3.
However, Troy must win its winnable early games. The Trojans are favorites in six of their first seven games (including their Oct. 2 trip to South Carolina, if you’re curious how SP+ feels about the Gamecocks), but just one of their final four.
Boise State University has a 4% chance of ending with a 0-1 record, Wyoming has a 4% chance, San Diego State has a 2% chance, Nevada has a 2% chance, and San Jose State has a 0.6 percent chance.
Boise State is favored by 96 percent, Wyoming is favored by 94 percent, SDSU is favored by 92 percent, Nevada is favored by 91 percent, Hawaii is favored by 82 percent, SJSU is favored by 82 percent, Fresno State University is favored by 75 percent, Air Force is favored by 75 percent, Colorado State University is favored by 52 percent, New Mexico is located in the United States. is favored by 26 percent, Utah State University is a public university in Utah. is favored by 25 percent, and UNLV is
MWC: AVERAGE PROJECTED WINNERS IN 2021
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Utah State is the most intriguing squad. Gary Andersen’s rehiring was always a poor decision. The Aggies went from 11-2 and 21st in SP+ to 1-5 and 118th in only two years. In that respect, beginning replacement Blake Anderson’s debut season at 3.5 wins makes sense. The schedule, on the other hand, is light, and Anderson has brought in enough transfers, including a couple from his former position at Arkansas State, to give them a good chance of rebounding.
Toledo has a 5% chance of ending with a 0-1 record, Buffalo has a 1% chance, Ohio has a 1% chance, and Western Michigan has a 0.8 percent chance.
Toledo 98 percent, Buffalo 90 percent, WMU 87 percent, Ohio 86 percent, Ball State is a university in the state of Indiana 77 percent, EMU 72 percent, CMU 71 percent, Miami is a city in Florida (Ohio) 52 percent, Kent State University is a public university in Kent, 38 percent, NIU 14 percent, Akron 3%, BGSU 3%
AVERAGE PROJECTED WINS FOR 2021
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Western Michigan is the most intriguing team. WMU, like Troy, is in the camp of “what am I missing here?” The Broncos haven’t had a losing season since 2013, improved from 90th to 62nd in SP+ last season, and return the majority of what might be a top-50 offense this fall. They’re favorites in nine games, and SP+ predicts they’ll go 9-3 or better rather than finish below a 6-win over/under line that should be at least one victory higher.
Marshall has a 3% chance of ending with a 0-1 record, FAU has a 3% chance, UTSA has a 2% chance, and UAB has a 1% chance.
FAU has a 96 percent chance of winning, Marshall has a 94 percent chance, UTSA has a 91 percent chance, UAB has an 88 percent chance, Mississippi State University has a 67 percent chance, FIU has a 64 percent chance, WKU has a 47 percent chance, MTSU has a 43 percent chance, Texas’s northwestern region has a 40 percent chance, Charlotte has a 39 percent chance, Rice has a 37 percent chance, Louisiana Tech is a university in the state of Louisiana has a 36 percent chance,
AVERAGE PROJECTED WINS FOR C-USA IN 2021
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Old Dominion is the most intriguing team. I understand why ODU is predicted to finish 128th overall. After finishing 1-11 in 2019, the Monarchs changed coaches and didn’t play any games last autumn, dropping to No. 125 in SP+. All things considered, they return a fair portion of 2019’s output, but they seem to be starting from scratch this autumn. However, I like head coach Ricky Rahne’s efforts to improve the skill level of the team — both via good recruitment and his use of the transfer site — so I can’t completely endorse betting on the under. We’ll have to wait and see.
The best bets college football win totals 2021 is a list of predictions for the upcoming college football season.