clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Best Week 1 college football games

Adam Kramer lays out the five best games to bet in college football’s opening weekend

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Syndication: Palm Beach Post Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK

Nick Saban has a new contract. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

In what has become a yearly ritual, Alabama’s board of trustees approved a new deal for Saban that runs through February 2030. Over the course of that deal, he will make an average of $11.7 million per year. (Well, at least until this deal is torn up and a new one is put in place 18 months from now.)

Earlier this offseason, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart signed a contract that would pay him an average of $11.2 million per season. Saban, who is now 70 years old, is once again the highest paid coach in the sport. And he’s still an absolute bargain.

I have written this column, or something like it, over the years. Those words came long before the coaching market flipped on its axis. Saban was a steal at $4 million, $7 million, $10 million and certainly now.

At Alabama, Saban has a record of 178-25 and an astonishing 103-16 mark in the SEC during his time in Tuscaloosa. Since his debut season in 2007, the Crimson Tide have won 12-or-more games in 11 of 14 years, which is remarkable.

Saban’s teams have appeared in the national championship in nine of his 15 seasons, winning six titles. This stat, more than any other, is hard to wrap your head around.

This year, it’s possible Saban adds to this number. Alabama is the favorite to win the College Football Playoff at + 175. His team is also -145 to win the SEC.

He’s produced Heisman winners, and enough trophies to fill up the constantly evolving football complex. But all the accolades seem to pale in comparison to the impact he’s had on the school.

Enrollment rates and other non-football metrics are what really highlight Saban’s value. He isn’t just the greatest college football coach to ever pace a sideline or yell red-faced at an official: He’s one of the best business decisions in the history of collegiate athletics.

Alabama will open the season against Utah State on Saturday. The Aggies were a quality team and story in 2021, winning 11 games. Saban’s team is a massive 39.5-point favorite.

The Buffet: The Five Best Games of the Weekend

1. No. 2 Ohio State (-17, 58.5) vs. No. 5 Notre Dame

It’s a big number, and it’s gotten larger in the last seven days. Yes, the most exciting game of Week 1 has a spread north of two touchdowns. If you have read the previews on this very website up until now, you know how I feel about the Buckeyes. And the more I hear about the defense, specifically the defensive line, the more excited I get. For Notre Dame, I’m curious to see what we get with the offense. Sophomore Tyler Buchner, a former four-star recruit, has talent. Still, this will be a challenging environment to thrive in early on. While the Notre Dame offense will have its work cut out, the defense must find a way to slow down Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud. Godspeed.

2. No. 3 Georgia (-17, 52) vs. No. 11 Oregon

This is the proper time to play Georgia. Really, it is. And Oregon, at least on paper, is the right kind of team to make this game weird. Defensively, the Ducks should have one of the top 10 units in America. The issue, however, is scoring points, and Georgia, despite losing 15 players to the draft, has some incredible depth on that side. Still, I’m curious what we get from Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett. He won a national championship, although he struggled during a large part of that game. Does Oregon have the pieces to frustrate the QB once again? And can the Ducks find enough on offense to keep up? Not going to lie, the under is looking juicy. Oh, and Bo Nix is a great deal of fun to watch. I am curious to see what we get from the former Auburn QB.

Adam Kramer’s ranks the top five games to watch every week on To get access to the full article, our 350-page College Football Betting Guide and all of’s content, click here.