First college football Top 25 is out, conferences announce season schedules

Justin Fields of the Ohio State Buckeyes prepares to pass against the Clemson Tigers.
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NCAAF

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

There is not yet any guarantee that the 2020 college football season will happen due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. UConn, for example, has already cancelled its entire season. But there also isn’t any guarantee that it won’t happen. Thus optimism has to be the option for now, and it is the option FBS coaches have taken. The first coaches poll of the year was released on Thursday, and there were absolutely no surprises in the top two spots. In fact, the only surprise might be that Clemson and Ohio State did not sweep the first-place votes.

Preseason poll

*first-place votes in parentheses

1. Clemson (38)
2. Ohio State (17)
3. Alabama (4)
4. Georgia
5. LSU (6)
6. Oklahoma
7. Penn State
8. Florida
9. Oregon
10. Notre Dame
11. Auburn
12. Wisconsin
13. Texas A&M
14. Texas
15. Michigan
16. Oklahoma State
17. USC
18. Minnesota
19. North Carolina
20. Utah
21. UCF
22. Cincinnati
23. Iowa
24. Virginia Tech
25. Iowa State

Unsurprisingly, Clemson and Ohio State—who battled in in the semifinals of last season’s College Football Playoff—are the top two title favorites. The Tigers lead the way at +225, while the Buckeyes are next at +300. The third through fifth favorites also continue in the same order as the coaches poll (Alabama at +500, Georgia at +800, and defending champion LSU at +1000).

Not coincidentally, Clemson and Ohio State also boast the top two Heisman Trophy contenders. Trevor Lawrence of the Tigers is a +375 favorite, just ahead of Ohio State’s Justin Fields (+400).

Conference-only schedules

Fields and the Buckeyes will kick off their 2020 campaign on Thursday, Sept. 3 at Illinois and they have an earlier-than-usual showdown against Michigan on Oct. 24. Those were among the games that were announced when the Big Ten proposed its new season-long schedule on Wednesday.

That conference’s scheduling model has been dubbed Jenga 41, paying homage to the popular game that involves stacking wooden blocks on top of each other. The 41 references the fact that flexible scheduling is being used to the extent that 41 of the Big Ten’s 70 games could be eventually moved to a pair of bye weeks that are currently being allocated to all teams.

“Issuing a schedule does not guarantee competition this fall will occur in the Big Ten conference,” conference commissioner Kevin Warren said in an interview with Yahoo Sports. “We felt collectively that this was the next logical and methodical step forward in our process to be able to, at least, put some planning in place for our fall sports season. This is a day-to-day journey together. That’s the best way I can say it. I feel good today to proceed tomorrow. That’s how we’ll look at this. I have to evaluate every item on a daily basis.”

With a few exceptions, the Big Ten and all other FBS teams will play conference-only schedules this season in order to minimize travel. That means non-conference rival games like Florida vs. Florida State, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Notre Dame vs. USC, and Clemson vs. South Carolina, plus more unusual meetings such as Georgia vs. Virginia, Miami (FL) vs. Michigan State, Virginia Tech vs. Penn State, and Texas Tech vs. Arizona are cancelled.

Among the game lines that are currently available is Michigan vs. Ohio State, which has the Buckeyes as -11.5 favorites. Be sure to check out our weekly college football expert picks for every FBS game this year.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
Unibet

$100

Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 No Sweat First Bet

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $1,000!

Get refunded if you lose up to $1,000

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at fanduel.com/sportsbook.

BetRivers

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Win $200 if Any NBA Team Hits a Three Pointer!

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NBA game

Win $200 in free bets if any team hits a three pointer

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$150

Bet $5 & Win $150 If Your First Moneyline Bet Wins!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on the pre-game Moneyline in any sport

Win $200 if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 in Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,250

Get a $1,250 risk-free bet

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Place your first bet of $10 or more

If your first bet loses, you’ll receive a refund up to $1,250 from Caesars in free bets

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Get $200 if Any NHL Team Scores A Goal

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NHL game

Win $200 in free bets if any teams scores a goal

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Free Bets

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$200

Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

Underdog Fantasy

$100

First deposit is 100% matched up to $100 with Underdog Fantasy

Sign up for a new account with Underdog Fantasy

Make your first deposit

Every dollar (up to $100) will be matched! Deposit $25, get $50; deposit $100, get $200, etc

Must be 21+ to play. Terms & conditions apply