The 2021-22 College Football Playoff national championship game will be played Jan. 10, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and William Hill Sportsbook lists Alabama as the early +300 favorite to repeat, followed by Clemson (+400), Ohio State (+750) and Oklahoma (+750). The two semifinal games for next season are on New Year's Eve at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and Orange Bowl in Miami.
Coach Nick Saban's Crimson Tide won their sixth national title since 2009 (Saban's seventh career title including one at LSU) with Monday night's 52-24 rout of Ohio State in Miami. "I think we're the best team to ever play," Alabama quarterback Mac Jones said.
Offensively, he might be right as Alabama had a scary amount of talent on that side of the ball in Jones (third in Heisman Trophy voting), running back Najee Harris (fifth in Heisman voting) and receivers DeVonta Smith (won Heisman) and Jaylen Waddle.
The Tide averaged 48.5 points and 541.6 yards per game this season, but will have a new offensive coordinator – reportedly former Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien – with Steve Sarkisian now taking over as the head coach at Texas.
Smith set the SEC single-season receiving (1,856 yards) and touchdown (23) records and was named Offensive MVP of Monday's game in catching 12 passes for 215 yards and three scores despite leaving for good in the third quarter with a hand injury. Smith, Jones, Harris and Waddle all will leave for the NFL and all four should be first-round picks.
Alabama is expected to only bring four offensive starters back, but Saban simply will plug in other five-star recruits, led by QB Bryce Young. Sister site 247Sports ranked him as the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the Class of 2020 and No. 2 player overall. Young is the +600 second-favorite at William Hill to win the 2021 Heisman.
The Tide could bring back nine defensive starters. They open Sept. 4 against Miami (Fla.) in Atlanta, which is +5000 to win next season's national title and has a Heisman QB candidate of its own in D'Eriq King (+1400).
Clemson loses the likes of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, but freshman QB DJ Uiagalelei was spectacular in limited action when Lawrence was out due to COVID and is back. So are up to 10 defensive starters. The Tigers open with a huge game vs. Georgia (+1200 to win national title) on Sept. 4 in Charlotte.
It's quite possible that Clemson, not Alabama, opens as the preseason No. 1 team in the polls this summer. The Tigers won't have to deal with Notre Dame (+1500) in the ACC next season.
Oklahoma welcomes back quarterback Spencer Rattler, who is the +400 Heisman favorite. OU also should have running back Kennedy Brooks, a 1,000-yard rusher in 2019 who opted out this past season. The Sooners open at Tulane on Sept. 4 and have a cake non-conference schedule.
Ohio State says goodbye to Justin Fields, No. 1 wideout Chris Olave and top running back Trey Sermon (who was knocked out of the national title game injured very early), but Ryan Day also has a slew of five-star recruits to take their spots. The Buckeyes open at Minnesota on Sept. 2 and have a huge non-conference home game vs. Oregon on Sept. 11.
William Hill 2021-22 national championship favorites
- Alabama +300
- Clemson +400
- Ohio State +750
- Oklahoma +750
- Georgia +1200
- Notre Dame +1500
- Texas A&M +1800
The SportsLine Projection Model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up almost $7,900 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks since its inception five-plus years ago. It is a sizzling 24-14 on top-rated NFL picks this season, returning well over $800. The model also enters the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs on an incredible 120-78 run on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season.