From academic failure and convoluted law suits to police investigations and controversial comments about religious denominations, the college football world has been on its heels this past week. You might be forgiven for thinking we were just days away from the new season, not three months.
Still, while the back pages and blogs are busy with campus rumblings, bettors are faced with the very real possibility that those all-important odds are just one headline from being completely overthrown.
With this in mind, BettingSports takes a look at the latest BCS National Championship odds (provided by Bovada), focusing on some of the angles that could have an impact on how this season plays out.
We start with the defending champions.
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Odds: 3/1 – Nick Saban’s national championship juggernaut continues to pace all schools when it comes to upcoming title odds. Winners of two straight and three of the last four college football championships, the Crimson Tide is way ahead of the competition, at least in the eyes of the sportsbooks.
One day after winning the 2012-13 National Championship game, Alabama was installed as the favorite to lift the crystal football once again with odds of 5/1. Those odds have subsequently shortened to 3/1 and continue to attract droves of bettors.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron and running back T.J. Yeldon find themselves high up the list of Heisman favorites, just two of the reasons much is expected of the defending champs.
While arguments about the SEC schedule continue to roll, so does the Crimson Tide.
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Odds: 13/2 – For some, Alabama’s championship this past January comes with an asterisk. Had Ohio State not serving an NCAA ban, the team would (in all likelihood) have taken the Tide’s spot in the title game by way of an undefeated regular season.
That line of thought opens up a host of arguments and counter arguments, but you can forget each and every one of them. The Buckeyes are eligible this season and they’re currently joint second favorites. Can Urban Meyer’s team prove last year shouldn’t be simply dismissed?
Quarterback Braxton Miller is second only to Johnny Manziel on the Heisman odds list, and another season like 2012 (2,039 yards passing, 1,271 yards rushing, 15 passing touchdowns, 13 rushing touchdowns, six interceptions) will see the junior and his team in contention come December.
Now if only somebody could quiet down OSU president E. Gordon Gee before he talks his school into another postseason ban.
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Odds: 13/2 – If there’s one team that could come down to Earth with a bang when football season kicks off at the end of August it’s the Aggies, at least from where BettingSports is sitting.
Currently joint second (with Ohio State) on Bovada’s list, Texas A&M might be living on last season a little too much. Sure, the Aggies went 10-2 (6-2 SEC) last campaign, were the only team to beat Alabama all year, destroyed the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl, and saw their quarterback named Heisman trophy winner, but that was all last season. Now Kevin Sumlin’s side needs to prove it can play consistently at such a high level.
While Johnny Manziel may be the favorite to lift the Heisman again this season, he faces the challenging task of coping with the spotlight while the Aggies will face a tough schedule. Those odds could blow-up so quickly.
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Odds: 7/1 – Undefeated through 10 games, the Ducks looked like a championship threat before being derailed by the Stanford Crimson. The Ducks are expected to come out of the Pac-12 again this season, but the Crimson (16/1) will be at their heels.
Oregon will need to adjust in the wake of head coach Chip Kelly heading to the pros. The Ducks went 46-7 (.868) in four seasons under Kelly, something that new coach Mark Helfrich and the Eugene faithful are only too well aware of. This has the potential to be a learning curve for both coach and team, which makes Oregon’s place at No. 4 on Bovada’s list a precarious one. Still, those odds have shortened from 8/1 since January as bettors support the Pacific Northwest school.
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Odds: 40/1 – Following January’s BCS National Championship game, runner-up Notre Dame was assigned 22/1 odds to win the title next season. Over the next four months that number slipped to 28/1.
News broke earlier this week that quarterback Everett Golson had been declared academically ineligible for the upcoming season. The Fighting Irish now find themselves staring at 40/1 odds.
“If Notre Dame played a more up tempo offensive style of game these odds may have been impacted a little more,” said Kevin Bradley, sportsbook manager at Bovada.
“Until we know more regarding their offense we will not go higher than 40/1 on a team that still has a lot of talent.”
Bradley makes a good point. Much of Notre Dame’s success came last year from a solid running game and a no-nonsense, tough-as-nails defense. Heisman runner-up, Manti Te’o may be in the sunnier climes of San Diego now, but the Irish still have a formidable defense and running the football will continue to be the Irish’s bread and butter.
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- The Louisville Cardinals are expected to top the newly rebranded American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East) with odds of 22/1 to win it all.
- With odds of 25/1 to win a national championship, the Clemson Tigers are Bovada’s top choice in the ACC.
- The Oklahoma State Cowboys lead the Big 12 pack, but with 33/1 odds of a title, few expect Mike Gundy’s side to be a true threat.
- Notre Dame (Independent), the BYU Cougars (Independent) and the Boise State Broncos (MWC) are the only teams from non-power conferences to break the Top 25 list. The Broncos are 100/1 to win the title while the Cougars are 200/1.
- The 2013-14 season kicks off on Thursday, August 29.