2022 College Football Win Totals: 7 Teams In Store For Big Changes

Written By Brett Gibbons on May 24, 2022
College football win totals

Earlier in May, FanDuel Sportsbook released their 2022 college football win totals, including most Power Five teams with the exception of Baylor and Iowa State. Which teams are expected to take the biggest steps forward with their college football odds? Which are projected to slide backward?

This past offseason was rife with transfers and coaching movement; the 29 head coaching changes was the most since 2015. The mobility didn’t live in the background — it dominated headlines and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. With so much change to roster and coaching staff construction, there’s bound to be movers in the win column.

Keep an eye out later this offseason for conference-by-conference analysis for a more in-depth look at each of the following teams.

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College Football Win Totals: 3 Biggest Risers

USC Trojans (+0.458)

Few teams got a bigger facelift than USC this offseason. After years of seriously underwhelming and coaching musical chairs, the Trojans seem to have their guy. In comes head coach Lincoln Riley, star quarterback Caleb Williams, top receiver Jordan Addison, and a host of new coordinators and players. USC landed the nation’s top transfer class, per 247Sports. Given their 4-8 finish in 2021, it’s not surprising to see them chalked up for a 5.5 increase for their 9.5-win total (over -160).

However, is O/U 8.5 wins more realistic? The Trojans will certainly grace preseason rankings, but Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings are bearish, slotting them 51st (5.9). ESPN’s FPI isn’t as skeptical, but USC ranks 37th in that department (7.6).

USC’s schedule is favorable. Its toughest game comes at Utah, but the rest of the Pac-12 South leaves much to be desired. Out-of-conference opponents are handled at home, including Rice, a Fresno State team that’s in a total rebuild, and Notre Dame in Week 13.

  • Forecast: I think FPI and the SP+ rankings are a bit too pessimistic with USC. Riley, Williams & Co. have proof of concept at Oklahoma. This is a lateral move — some may even say a step backwards — into the Pac-12. When considering their schedule, there’s really two games that stand out to me as probable losses, Utah and Notre Dame (but even that one’s late in the year at home). They ease into the schedule, which should help with the transition. Hence, 10 wins in the first year of this regime is ambitious.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (+0.375)

Scott Frost and Nebraska became the punchline of the college football world in 2021, inventing new ways to lose ballgames. They set an NCAA record with every single one of their nine losses coming by one score. The Huskers were quite literally a bounce or two away from being a 7-5 team and ranked dead last in luck (-3.4!). Given the competitive nature of their season (they took Ohio State and Oklahoma to the wire), Frost was given one more chance. Changes were made via the transfer portal, switching out maligned quarterback Adrian Martinez for ex-Texas starter Casey Thompson.

FanDuel projects Nebraska for 7.5 wins (over -140) this coming season — up from three wins a campaign ago. It avoids Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State, but its schedule is packed down the stretch, finishing out against Minnesota, at Michigan, vs. Wisconsin, and at Iowa.

The SP+ doesn’t like Huskers in any of those games, meaning to hit over their 7.5 wins, they’ll likely would have to go 8-0 to begin the season. With an early stint against Oklahoma, a game on the road at Purdue that’s not to be overlooked, and even a Week 0 opener in Dublin, the Huskers would have to be flawless.

  • Forecast: “Flawless” and “Nebraska” haven’t gone together since the Tommie Frazier days. Thompson mitigates the risk factor carried with Martinez, but you’re also sacrificing some big-play potential (granted, he is a step up). The rankings seem to like the Huskers quite a bit, and they landed 247’s seventh-ranked transfer class, but to either be perfect through eight games or to upset one of those final four teams is a tall task.

Related: Opening Week 1 college football lines

Texas Longhorns (+0.292)

Death, taxes, and lofty expectations for the Texas Longhorns. Despite signing six transfers, Texas has the eighth-ranked transfer class per 247Sports (for reference, the average number of signees among the top 10 classes is 11.8). That class is highlighted by five-star Quinn Ewers, who comes over from Ohio State and forced a transfer out from incumbent starter Casey Thompson. Stud receivers Isaiah Neyor (Wyoming) and Agiye Hall (Alabama) as well as tight end Jahleel Billingsley (Alabama) also come to Austin.

Typically, recruiting classes don’t make a ton of impact in their first season, but the Longhorns’ bunch will have an opportunity. Last year’s offensive line was abysmal and there are plenty of openings; in response, they went out and signed the top OL class (per 247), including two five-stars.

FanDuel Sportsbook slots them for 8.5 wins (over -110) — an improvement from their 5-7 finish a year ago.

  • Forecast: I’ve been the first one to jump on the opposing side from the “Texas is back” argument for years. But even I can’t escape the hype surrounding this new and improved roster. Defensively, the Horns have a long way to go, but this offense should be more stable and go toe-to-toe with anyone. To go over 8.5 wins, teams either have to make a run in their conference or sweep their out-of-conference slate; in Week 2, Texas hosts Alabama so the latter is out the window. However, if there’s a year for Texas to run the conference, it’s in the wake of Lincoln Riley’s departure and a serious hit to the rosters of Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Iowa State. It’s doable. Side note: Prepare to get your Xavier Worthy for Biletnikoff Award bets in.

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College Football Win Totals: 4 Biggest Fallers

Iowa Hawkeyes (-0.208)

Not only is Iowa projected for a 2.5-game slide, but the juice heavily favors under 7.5 wins (under -165). The Hawkeyes return 76% of team production this coming season (a top-20 mark), including All-American cornerback Riley Moss. According to ESPN’s FPI, Iowa possesses the 16th-most difficult schedule in the nation, and that’s likely to blame for a bearish outlook on the team wins. Another concern for oddsmakers likely is the departure of running back Tyler Goodson, who was the backbone of their offense last season.

Second-order win totals — a metric developed by the aforementioned Connelly to estimate postgame win expectancy and compare to the actual outcome — said Iowa out-performed their win total by 2.3 games, good for the fifth-most in FBS. This can be attributed to turnover and injury luck and other factors that may classify a game as “flukey.”

Iowa lands both Ohio State and Michigan from across divisions, with the former being a road game in Columbus, Ohio. The Hawkeyes also have a road split with Purdue and Minnesota late in the year, but they handle rival Wisconsin at home.

  • Forecast: Iowa is one of just 19 teams in the FBS to return its head coach, both coordinators, and its quarterback, which is something to be said. Spencer Petras is likely the ninth-best Big Ten quarterback at least, but continuity is good for teams. Thus, 7-5 seems like the absolute low-water mark for this team. Thanks to recency bias with the famous North Dakota State upset at Kinnick (2016), South Dakota State is going to get a lot of public action in Week 1. I don’t buy it. I also don’t quite understand the projected seven wins here.

Ole Miss Rebels (-0.208)

Out is 2021 Heisman contender Matt Corral and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. That right there is enough to safely forecast a 2.5-game reel. What saves the Rebels is the nation’s second-best transfer class per 247Sports, highlighted by running backs Zach Evans (TCU) and Ulysses Bentley (SMU), and 1,000-yard receiver Jaylon Robinson (UCF). Lane Kiffin brought in the prodigy Charlie Weis Jr. to call the plays on offense — son of Charlie Weis, the former Notre Dame and NFL coach — the youngest coordinator ever in the SEC (28).

College football win totals also had a damning report for Ole Miss (O/U 7.5 wins — over -165). According to postgame win expectancy, the Rebels chalked up 1.8 wins over expected — good for 10th-most in the nation. That isn’t to discredit last year’s record, but it can be used to reasonably set expectations for the team as a whole moving forward.

However, traversing the SEC West with road games at Texas A&M, Arkansas, and LSU tempers expectations. They also have an SEC East draw against Kentucky, a potential top-10 team at the end of the year.

  • Forecast: Yes, I know I left off a big-name transfer. The hype around Jaxson Dart is about as warranted as all his USC predecessors, namely J.T. Daniels. He hasn’t shown it yet and it’s not to be ignored that backup Luke Altmyer shows a lot more pop. Will Dart even be the starter this season? He ran with the twos in spring ball where he went 11-for-30 and threw two picks.

Michigan State Spartans (-0.208)

Michigan State loses their two biggest playmakers in Heisman finalist Kenneth Walker III and wide receiver Jalen Nailor (NFL). When the ball was taken out of Walker’s hands last season, Michigan State’s sputtered, best highlighted in a 56-7 dismantling to Ohio State (Walker had six carries for 25 yards). So, what does this unit look like in 2022? Oddsmakers say not as good as it was this past season.

FanDuel Sportsbook slots the Spartans for 7.5 wins (over -110), a notable step down from their 10 regular season wins in 2021. A strong transfer class (ranked 15th by 247Sports), a strong head coach in Mel Tucker, and being another one of just 19 teams to return a head coach, both coordinators, and quarterback. In comes ex-Wisconsin running back Jalen Berger, who is expected to take over the bell cow role. They’re just on the outside looking in the top 15 in ESPN’s FPI and SP+ (No. 16 in both).

However, playing in the Big Ten East and pulling a West draw of Wisconsin doesn’t help their case. A total of 7.5 wins indicates a very competitive season.

  • Forecast: A road trip out west to Washington could be a tricky spot despite a seriously underwhelming team last season. The Huskies have a more talented roster score according to 247, and they have three weeks to get the glue together with their new coaching staff. However, SP+ only has Michigan State as not favored in four games in the preseason, putting them at 8-4.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (-0.208)

The 2021 Oklahoma State Cowboys roster and staff was stripped for all of its parts and returned to Stillwater. Outbound is Jim Knowels, one of the top defensive coordinators in the nation, and two defensive All-Americans. The Pokes bring in Derek Mason for their DC opening, a satisfying replacement, but hopes of another 11-1 season seem to be scant.

According to luck ratings from a season ago, Oklahoma State was the eighth-luckiest and slotted in as the 63rd-most consistent team in the nation. The inverse of Nebraska, Oklahoma State won their entire non-conference slate by a score each (Missouri State, Tulsa, and Boise State… yikes) and picked up another two wins by a single-score against Oklahoma (who just imploded down the stretch) and Texas. Luck definitely played into its 11-win regular season a great deal, and that’s reflected in the 8.5-win total (under -150).

The Pokes’ 53% returning production is concerning, but it’s only the fourth-lowest in the Big 12 (Iowa State, West Virginia, and Baylor). With nearly the entire conference in a hard reset year, the Pokes should only slide so far.

  • Forecast: Losing Jim Knowels to Ohio State can’t be understated. He took the fifth-most talented roster in the conference and turned them into the nation’s third-best defense in points per drive allowed. I watched Spencer Sanders almost intentionally throw games away (Bedlam) to be bailed out by a team that wanted to lose more. This isn’t to say the Pokes are going below .500, but that 11-win season feels more and more like an anomaly.

College Football Win Totals

College Football win totals below are from FanDuel and accurate as of May 24.

TeamWin TotalProj. %2021 Wins2021 Win %% Δ
Miami (FL)8.50.70870.5830.125
Penn State8.50.70870.5830.125
North Carolina7.50.62560.5000.125
Florida State6.50.54250.4170.125
Texas Christian6.50.54250.4170.125
Georgia Tech4.50.37530.2500.125
Ohio State10.50.875100.8330.042
Texas A&M8.50.70880.6670.042
Boston College6.50.54260.5000.042
South Carolina6.50.54260.5000.042
North Carolina State8.50.70890.750-0.042
Mississippi State6.50.54270.583-0.042
Oregon State6.50.54270.583-0.042
Texas Tech5.50.45860.500-0.042
Virginia Tech5.50.45860.500-0.042
West Virginia5.50.45860.500-0.042
Kansas State60.50070.583-0.083
Notre Dame9.50.792110.917-0.125
Wake Forest8.50.708100.833-0.125
Arizona State6.50.54280.667-0.125
Washington State5.50.45870.583-0.125
Oklahoma State8.50.708110.917-0.208
Michigan State7.50.625100.833-0.208
Ole Miss7.50.625100.833-0.208
Iowa StateOTBOTB70.583N/A
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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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