3 Early Power 5 College Football Team Win Totals

Now that the NBA season is winding down and the spring games are in the rearview, I'm down to start focusing on the upcoming college football season. Supposedly, college football is easier to predict despite all the roster turnover.

With that in mind, let's drill down on three Power 5 college football programs that are trending in the right direction. My three favorite regular-season win totals entering 2023 include the Auburn Tigers, Michigan Wolverines, and Washington Huskies.

2023 College Football Team Win Totals

Auburn Tigers: 6.5 regular-season wins

First things first, I'm high on Auburn's new head coach Hugh Freeze. He is back in the SEC after Freeze's Ole Miss Rebels stint ended on a rough note. I'm not here to judge Freeze's past but I know he can coach football.

He coached Ole Miss from 2012-2016. Over that span, the Rebels were 39-25 with one 10-win season and 3-1 in bowl games. While at Liberty from 2019-22, Freeze went 34-15 and 3-0 in bowl games with one 10-win season.

The cupboard isn't bare for Freeze at Auburn

Per On3.com, the Tigers had the 6th-best haul in the transfer portal this offseason. They rank 28th in returning production, according to ESPN's college football guru, Bill Connelly.

Freeze poached senior QB Payton Thorne from Michigan State upon becoming Auburn's next coach. While in the Big Ten last season, Thorne ranked 9th in QB Rating (131.2) with a 19/11 TD/INT rate.

Throne's numbers were much better last season when former Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker was in his backfield. In 2021, Throne's QB Rating was 148.0 and he had a 27/10 TD/INT rate.

Walker had the 2nd-most rushing yards in college football and he scored the 2nd-most rushing touchdowns in the Big Ten (18). The Tigers don't have a running back as good as Walker in 2021.

Auburn's leading rusher from last season, RB Tank Bigsby, went to the NFL. However, Bigsby's replacement, RB Jarquez Hunter, led the SEC running backs in 2022 for expected points added per play (EPA/play).

Last, and least, SEC could have a down year. "Least" because this is the worst of all my angles for betting Over Auburn's regular season win total and the SEC almost never has a "down year".

Georgia's defense got gutted in the NFL draft and former QB Stetson Bennett went to the pros as well. Alabama lost Heisman-winning QB Bryce Young and RB Jahmyr Gibbs to the NFL.

At Georgia and Alabama, it's "reload not rebuild". But, I think there's an outside shot Auburn can make an SEC conference championship under Freeze within the next three years and seven wins for the Tigers is a lock.

BET: Auburn Tigers OVER 6.5 regular-season wins (-135) at DraftKings Sportsbook

Michigan Wolverines: 10.5 regular-season wins

In Jim Harbaugh I trust. When previewing The Game in 2022 between Ohio State and Michigan, I said this: "The further Ohio State gets away from the Urban Meyer era, the more the Big Ten becomes Harbaugh's."

That doesn't mean I'm anti-Ryan Day (Meyer's successor at Ohio State) but that I'm just super pro-Harbaugh. He's gotten crap for not being more of a CFP title contender.

Yet, the Wolverines won back-to-back Big Ten championships with 12 wins in 2021 and then won 13 games in 2022. Also, I'd argue this could be Harbaugh's best team at Michigan.

Per Connelly, the Wolverines have the 5th-highest return of production in college football this season. Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy had the highest EPA/play last year of any current Big Ten quarterback.

Furthermore, Michigan has the best backfield in college football. Wolverines senior RB Blake Corum was in the 2022 Heisman mix before getting injured in Michigan's 2nd-to-last regular-season game.

Corum was 2nd among Big Ten running backs last season in EPA/play and had the 2nd-most rushing TDs in the conference (18). His backup, junior RB Donovan Edwards, had the most yards per rush in the Big Ten in 2022 (7.1).

The Wolverines were 3rd in net EPA/play last season behind Georgia and Ohio State both of whom should take a step back in 2023. Also, Michigan was elite on both sides of the ball last season.

Michigan was 4th in defensive EPA/play in 2023 and only lost three defensive players to the NFL draft. Per OurLads.com and 247sports.com, the Wolverines have five 4-star or 5-star recruits starting on their defense.

BET: Michigan Wolverines OVER 10.5 (-105) regular-season wins

Washington Huskies: 9 regular-season wins

Washington's 2023 hopes rest with senior QB Michael Penix Jr. who tore his ACL twice at Indiana before transferring to the Huskies in 2022. Penix was 8th in Heisman voting last season and 2022 Pac-12 Second-Team All-Offense.

But, Washington coach Kalen DeBoer was sensational in his 1st-year on the job. DeBoar earned co-Coach of the Year honors in the Pac-12 last season. He guided the Huskies to an 11-2 record and beat Texas in the 2023 Alamo Bowl.

UW ranks 22nd in college football for returning production on both sides of the ball, per Connelly, including Penix and 2022 Pac-12 First-Team WR Rome Odunze. Washington is 11th in the transfer portal rankings from On3.com.

BET: Washington Huskies OVER 9 (+100) regular-season wins