Although every college football program has turnover issues, with graduating athletes or those opting to go pro, there are a chosen few whose allure to return for another season of greatness is too tempting to ignore. Let’s take a look at the top five teams returning players destined for another year of college football stardom and the corresponding national championship odds (in parentheses) from the best online sportsbooks, found over at Sportsbook Review.
- Clemson (+175) – The Tigers are slated by some of the best online sportsbooks, all found at Sportsbook Review, as the odds-on-favorites to return as national champions because they not only recruit the best young athletes but they retain their experienced veterans. Well, not all of them as the defensive front will see plenty of turnover but the offense will be very much intact with twin terrors in the backfield Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne calling Clemson home again next season. Freshman phenom Trevor Lawrence will be back as a sophomore sensation, which means Dabo has all the horses to be first over the finish line again next season.
- Texas (+1800) – Quarterback Sam Ehlinger will return as a Heisman candidate next season while premium target Collin Johnson will also be back to receive all those tight spirals from the talented passer. Safety Brandon Jones will anchor the secondary while linebacker Malcolm Roach will patrol the middle. All in all, this Longhorns team will be a dark horse to compete for a national title and could very well turn more than a few heads at season’s end.
- Oregon (+5000) – Justin Herbert eschewing the NFL draft in favor of another season at Eugene has Ducks’ fans euphoric. This is a huge coup for head coach Mario Cristobal and Oregon’s chances at unseating Washington as Pac-12 champs just got a whole lot better. In addition, linebacker and tackling machine Troy Dye announced he was also coming back for his senior season.
- Alabama (+230) — Nick Saban’s healthy crop of top-notch recruits keep the wheels spinning on the most successful college football program in history. However, whatever magical mojo emanates from Tuscaloosa keeps some of the Tide’s top talents coming back for more. This season is no different as Heisman Trophy candidate Tua Tagovailoa will return under center, but a few notables will be among the missing as left tackle Jonah Williams, center Ross Pierschbacher and running back Damien Harris look to make a mark at the next level. However, Tua will welcome back virtually everyone else from this year’s stellar offense while defensively the Tide remains strong, despite the departure of Quinnen Williams. Linebackers Terrell Lewis and Chris Allen will make immediate impacts after the former missed the entire season and the latter absent most of it.
- Oklahoma Sooners (+1200) – It’s unusual to see a team so high on this list that is losing its best player and starting quarterback, but although Kyler Murray may be headed to the NFL doesn’t mean that the Sooners will be without a talented QB. That’s because former Alabama starting QB Jalen Hurts is transferring to Norman and is eligible immediately. The Sooners’ defense also returns plenty of players and despite the fact that Oklahoma was porous on that side of the ball, all that experience plus a new DC in Alex Grinch will vastly improve that unit.