Expectations are high for the defending BCS champion Alabama Crimson Tide in 2013, naturally. Popular sports book 5Dimes has set the bar high as well, putting Alabama down for an over-under of 11.5 wins this season. That leaves the margin of error almost non-existent for the Tide, so circle that Texas A&M game early on folks. As if you didn't already have it singled out.
5Dimes released the win total marks for 18 other programs in addition to Alabama, and Beyond the Bets shared them. Alabama has the highest mark with 11.5 games while four other schools open at 10.5 wins -- Boise State, Louisville, Ohio State and USC.
Ohio State is coming off a 12-win season. The Broncos could be a pretty safe bet. Boise State won 11 games last season in what some might call a transition year. Not bad for a year of change in Boise. Louisville also could be a safe bet as the preseason favorite in the American, which loses Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC this season. The Cardinals won 11 games last season, capped by a sound victory over Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
USC seems like it could be a reach at 10.5 wins considering the Trojans were a huge disappointment last season and could be breaking in a new quarterback in 2013. The Trojans won just seven games last season and have won no more than ten games in any season since 2008. USC dodges Oregon (unless they meet in the Pac 12 championship game) but will play Stanford and Notre Dame along with rising UCLA this fall. And let's not just look past defensive minded Utah State and a road game at Arizona State.
Some other win total numbers...
Arizona State, 9.5 - The Sun Devils have not won nine games, let alone ten, since 2007.
California, 4.5 - Sonny Dykes takes over the program in need of offense. Cal won three games last season.
Central Florida, 8.5 - Tough bet. UCF could be in the American mix but road games against Penn State, South Carolina and Louisville make this a risky number.
Cincinnati 9.5 - Not exactly a challenging schedule. If they can open with two straight wins against Big Ten teams this becomes a viable number to work with.
Florida, 9.5 - Tread carefully Gator fans. Miami, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State all pose threats to the win total in 2013. My advice would be to stay away from this one.
Florida State, 10.5 - Florida State won 10 games last regular season.
Indiana, 5.5 - Kevin Wilson's Hoosiers are an intriguing team this season but Indiana has not won six games in a single season since 2007.
Michigan, 9.5 - The number for Michigan will always tend to be a little high considering how many people may bet on the Wolverines, but 9.5 looks like a pretty spot on number for 2013. Michigan gets Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State at home and the Wolverines should have three wins guaranteed heading in to October.
Missouri, 5.5 - Missouri won five games in their first year in the SEC. The 2013 schedule is not exactly cakewalk either. I'm leaning slightly toward the under right now. Barely.
Notre Dame, 9.5 - The Fighting Irish relied on defense to pick up 12 wins last season. There were some close calls and this year the Irish lose some key players on both sides of the football. I'm taking the under here.
Oklahoma, 9.5 - The Sooners have won no fewer than 10 games each of the past three seasons, and they have won a minimum of 10 games in all but three years under Bob Stoops. Taking the over here seems like a safe bet.
Penn State, 8.5 - Penn State won eight games last season, loses a lot of key defensive players and breaks in a brand new, untested quarterback in 2013. Seven or eight wins seems like a fair assessment, which makes the under the play here.
Pittsburgh, 5.5 - Not much is expected of the Panthers in their first year in the ACC. While moving to a new conference could bring some growing pains, the Panthers have won at least six games each of the past five seasons. I'll take the over but do so cautiously.
Texas, 9.5 - The Longhorns have not won more than nine games any of the past three seasons. Though the win total is trending upward in that time, this may be considered a risky number and I would personally stay away from this.
West Virginia, 5.5 - If there is any school worth taking the over on and feeling good about it, it may be this one right here. Sure, the Mountaineers were a colossal disappointment last season and they lost a lot of key cogs in the offensive machine, but West Virginia has won six games or more 11 straight seasons and the schedule sets WVU up for a minimum of three wins by the end of September. I'll put West Virginia down for six wins in a heart beat, although I admit it may not be much more than that.