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NCAAF Odds – Will the Tide Roll Again in 2016?

Matt McEwan

by Matt McEwan in News

Aug 1, 2016 · 5:55 AM PDT

As long as you’re not part of that strange breed that has interests outside of sports, you probably find the college football offseason darn entertaining. Monitoring transfers, grading recruiting classes, scrutinizing spring games, nitpicking fall camps: there’s hardly a dull moment. The word “offseason” barely applies.

Unless you’re one of the players, that is. They seem to have ample downtime to get themselves into trouble.

Of course, “trouble” is a relative term. Most of us were probably guilty of some similar “wrongdoings” in our youth, especially since the NCAA likely considers speaking your mind to be foul play.

Then there are cases like Baylor, which put the importance of football (or lack thereof) in a whole new light. But more on off-field-issues later.

As we near the opening of fall camps, each team’s picture on the field gets a little less hazy, and we can not only begin debating which school will claim the National Championship, but also which player will be awarded the Heisman Trophy. (Not that we haven’t already been doing it for the last six months.)

The reigning champ, Alabama, will open the season with a target on its back. But the Tide are going to play the role of the hunter as much as the hunted, since their roster actually looks better than last season. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before Bama erects a statue of Nick Saban, who has now won four national titles since 2009. (Oh, they already have, you say? That was quick. Well, maybe they can add a few feet to it?)

Whether Alabama is able to defend its title will probably not factor into the Heisman race. Sophomore receiver Calvin Ridley is their best hope but, as a wideout, he’s a long-shot for the award. Instead, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, LSU’s Leonard Fournette, and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey will headline the Heisman watch to open the season, with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield nipping at their heels.

Below, my colleagues (Eric and Sascha) and I tackle the National Championship forecast and take a deeper look at the race for college football’s biggest piece of individual hardware. But we don’t stop there. We also set the odds for almost everything related to the 2016 season, including Josh Rosen’s appetite for speaking his mind, who will dominate the country’s biggest rivalries, and a few other newsworthy topics.

Don’t believe me? Just look at how small your scroll bar is.

(MM = Matt McEwan; ET = Eric Thompson; SP = Sascha Paruk)

2016 College Football Odds and Props

College Football Playoff (CFP) Props

Odds to win the 2016-17 CFP/National Championship

Alabama: 6/1
Clemson: 15/2
Ohio State: 8/1
Oklahoma: 10/1
Michigan: 10/1
LSU: 12/1
Tennessee: 16/1
Stanford: 16/1
Florida State: 18/1
Notre Dame: 18/1
Ole Miss: 25/1
Michigan State: 25/1
TCU: 33/1
Baylor: 35/1
Georgia: 40/1
Oklahoma State: 40/1
USC: 45/1
Oregon: 45/1
Washington: 50/1
UCLA: 50/1
Houston: 60/1
UNC: 60/1
Iowa: 70/1
FIELD: 25/1

Last year’s finalists lead the charge to return to the National Championship in Tampa this year. Clemson will have almost all of their dynamic offense from last season back, including ACC player of the year Deshaun Watson. Alabama only returns 11 starters total, but having Nick Saban as coach is the ultimate equalizer. In fact, the top of the board is littered with quality coaches (Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh), Heisman hopefuls (Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook) and consistently strong programs. There should really be no surprises here. – ET

Odds to make 2016-17 CFP

Clemson: 7/5
Alabama: 3/2
Oklahoma: 3/2
Ohio State: 7/4
Michigan: 7/4
Florida State: 7/4
LSU: 14/5
Tennessee: 13/4
Stanford: 4/1
Notre Dame: 6/1
Michigan State: 7/1
Iowa: 8/1
Washington: 8/1
TCU: 9/1
Ole Miss: 9/1
Baylor: 19/2
Georgia: 10/1
Oklahoma State: 11/1
UCLA: 12/1
UNC: 12/1
Oregon: 14/1
Houston: 20/1
FIELD: 9/1

Odds at least one team from a non-Power 5 conference will make the 2016-17 CFP: 9/2

Notre Dame will largely carry the burden of fans hoping the Power Five conferences get shown up in the playoffs, but there are a few other teams who could make an interesting argument if they run the table, like Houston and Boise State. – ET

Odds that the winner of 2016-17 CFP finishes the season undefeated: 25/3

No team has finished the year undefeated in the two seasons since the playoff was put in place. The strength of the premier conferences makes going undefeated a tall task; and even if someone survives the regular season slate, they still need to win two more games against top teams. Clemson couldn’t get it done last year; can they learn from their mistakes? – ET

Odds at least one FBS team finishes the 2016-17 season undefeated: 5/1

The playoff also makes it hard to ignore any undefeated team, regardless of what conference they reside in. But a team like Boise State has such an easy schedule in front of them that they could run the table and still miss the CFP based on strength of opponent. – ET

Odds of a 2016 National Championship Game rematch (Alabama-Clemson): 21/4

Odds that the winner of 2016-17 CFP was ranked outside of AP’s preseason top-ten: 7/1

It’s actually not uncommon for those AP types to whiff on a national champion early. Both the 2010 Auburn Tigers and 2013 Florida State Seminoles were ranked outside the top-ten to start the year. – ET

Odds that the winner of 2016-17 CFP comes from the …

ACC: 4/1
Big Ten: 3/1
Big 12: 11/2
Pac-12: 9/1
SEC: 2/1
Mountain West: 90/1
FIELD: 12/1

Both the Pac-12 and Big 12 haven’t housed a national title winner in over a decade. It’s largely been an SEC parade since then, but the ACC and Big Ten should both spit out a powerful squad when all’s said and done. – ET

Heisman Props

Odds to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy

Josh Rosen. Image: Eric Chan (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
UCLA Heisman hopeful Josh Rosen. Image: Eric Chan

Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson): 5/1
Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford): 13/2
Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU): 7/1
Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma): 14/1
J.T. Barrett (QB, Ohio State): 16/1
Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA): 16/1
Dalvin Cook (RB, Florida State): 19/1
Chad Kelly (QB, Ole Miss): 19/1
Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia): 22/1
Samaje Perine (RB, Oklahoma): 25/1
DeShone Kizer (QB, Notre Dame): 30/1
Brad Kaaya (QB, Miami): 30/1
FIELD: 5/1

Three names – Watson, McCaffrey, and Fournette – jump off the page. All three play for serious national title contenders, and all three are the undisputed man in their offenses. Watson has the edge because, all else being equal, the Heisman goes to QBs. Also, he plays a weak ACC slate. Fournette’s tough SEC schedule – which saw him get bottled up in a few key games last year – put him slightly behind McCaffrey.

Mayfield has as much talent as anyone, but he and Perine will share the load at OU.

Barrett showed Heisman potential when he took over for Braxton Miller two years ago. Not so much last year when he split time with Cardale Jones. – SP

Odds that the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner will be a …

Quarterback: 2/3
Running back: 7/4
Wide receiver: 49/1
FIELD: 49/1

Derrick Henry broke the streak of five straight QBs last year, and a handful of running backs have a good shot to claim the award again this year. But the QBs are still chalk. No other position besides QB/RB has taken the award since Charles Woodson (CB/KR, Michigan) in 1997. – SP

Odds that the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner will be a …

Junior: 1/3
Sophomore: 5/1
Senior: 19/1
Freshman: 25/1

Everyone on the list above is a junior except Rosen, Perine, and Kizer, who are all sophomores. – SP

Odds on which of the following freshman QB will finish highest in Heisman voting:

Jacob Eason (Georgia): 7/4
Deondre Francois (Florida State): 7/4
Blake Barnett (Alabama): 4/1
Shea Patterson (Ole Miss): 10/1

Let’s be clear, all of these guys are longshots to earn Heisman consideration. Eason and Francois have the best chances to start, but neither is better than a toss-up at this point, and both play in run-heavy offenses: FSU is Dalvin Cook’s team; Georgia will be powered by Nick Chubb. Bama will be a run-first unit as well, and Barnett is in a four-way battle for the starting spot. (And he ain’t winning.)

That leaves Patterson, the top QB recruit in this year’s class. Chad Kelly has the starting role at Ole Miss on lock, but if he gets hurt, Patterson will take the reigns of a high-octane Ole Miss offense. That gives the baby-faced Toledo native an outside shot. – SP

Player Props

Over/under total touchdowns (rushing, receiving, returns) for LSU RB Leonard Fournette: 24.5

Over/under total touchdowns (rushing, receiving, returns) for Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey: 19.5

Over/under total touchdowns (passing and rushing) for Clemson QB Deshaun Watson: 50.5

Over/under total touchdowns (passing and rushing) for UCLA QB Josh Rosen: 31.5

There is a very good chance that the Heisman winner is in this group. If LSU is going to knock off Alabama, it’ll take everything Fournette has; 25 total touchdowns would be a good start. Meanwhile, Christian McCaffrey is the most electrifying back I have seen in college since Reggie Bush. I expect the Cardinal to score in every way possible this season, atoning for his lack of majors last year. – MM

Team Props

Odds on which school will have the most first-round NFL Draft picks in 2017

Alabama: 4/5
Clemson: 5/1
LSU: 7/1
Ohio St: 18/1
USC: 18/1
Stanford: 50/1
Oklahoma: 75/1
Michigan State: 100/1

Alabama’s roster is riddled with NFL-caliber talent, and Calvin Ridley and Bo Scarbrough aren’t even draft eligible in 2017. The Crimson Tide may not match Ohio State’s mark of three players in the top-ten, but they have a chance to top the five Buckeyes selected in the first round last year. – MM

O/U regular season wins

Alabama: 10.5
Clemson: 10.5
Houston: 10.5
LSU: 10
Michigan: 10
Ohio State: 10
Oklahoma: 10
Florida State: 9.5
Iowa: 9.5
Notre Dame: 9.5
Tennessee: 9.5
Stanford: 9.5
Baylor: 8.5
Michigan State: 8.5
Ole Miss: 8.5
TCU: 8.5
UCLA: 8.5
Oregon: 8

Over/under on sub-.500 teams in 2016-17 bowl games: 2.5

Last year, three 5-7 teams weaseled their way into bowl games (Nebraska, Minnesota, and San Jose State) as there weren’t enough .500-plus teams to fill the 80 slots. There aren’t going to be any new bowl games this year, but the odds of 80 teams finishing .500 or better aren’t great. We’re probably going to see at least a couple 5-7 teams luck out again. – SP

Conference Props

Odds to win the 2016 SEC Championship

Alabama: 8/5
LSU: 3/1
Tennessee: 7/2
Ole Miss: 9/1
Georgia: 10/1

“Alabama; the favorites? How shocking!” said a ghost from 1955 who hasn’t seen football since then. The perennial SEC powerhouse is once again favored, and once again expected to be pushed by LSU and Leonard Fournette. Tennessee could pull off a championship game stunner, as getting out of the SEC East shouldn’t prove too daunting. Only Georgia looks to stand in their way. – ET

Odds Tennessee will win the SEC East: 3/5

Odds to win the 2016 Pac-12 Championship

Stanford: 3/1
Washington: 7/2
UCLA: 4/1
USC: 6/1
Oregon: 6/1

The most wide open of the Power 5 conferences should see a close race to the finish between Stanford and college’s most exciting player, Christian McCaffrey; a young Washington team expected to make the leap; UCLA, led by true sophomore stud QB Josh Rosen; and the always-in-contention Ducks and Trojans. – ET

Odds to win the 2016 ACC Championship

Dabo Swinney. Image: LambeauLeap80 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. Image: LambeauLeap80

Clemson: 3/2
Florida State: 7/4
Louisville: 7/1
North Carolina: 9/1
Miami: 9/1

Not only will the Tigers and Noles be front and center in the ACC race, Deshaun Watson and Dalvin Cook will also command a ton of Heisman attention. But if Florida State is going to catch Clemson, they’ll need to find some consistent quarterbacking. – ET

Odds to win the 2016 Big Ten Championship

Ohio St: 7/4
Michigan: 7/4
Michigan State: 7/1
Iowa: 8/1
Nebraska: 10/1
Wisconsin: 14/1

One of college’s greatest rivalries will take center stage this year, as Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines look to beat the Buckeyes for the first time under Urban Meyer. The winner of that game will likely go on to win the Big Ten, unless Michigan State can play spoiler again. Iowa are favorites in the West, but whoever emerges will be sizeable dogs in the championship game. – ET

Odds to win the 2016 Big 12 Championship

Oklahoma: 5/4
TCU: 9/2
Baylor: 6/1
Oklahoma State: 7/1
Texas: 15/1

Transfer Baker Mayfield revolutionized the Sooner offense last season and led the team to the College Football Playoff. But a tough non-conference schedule means Oklahoma may have to run their Big 12 slate if they plan on returning the CFP.

Their instate rivals, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, will put up a big fight, though, and TCU is still going to be a tough out, even with Trevone Boykin gone. (They might actually play some defense this year.) Scandal-rocked Baylor isn’t long for the top of the Big 12 standings, but with Seth Russell and a bunch of dynamic talents returning, 2016 could be one last hurrah for the once burgeoning program. – SP

Rivalry Props

Odds Ohio State sweeps Michigan and Michigan State in the 2016 regular season: 7/4

Odds Ohio State loses to both Michigan and Michigan State in the 2016 regular season: 13/2

Image: Adam Glanzman (Flickr) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. Image: Adam Glanzman (Flickr)

The schedule lines up the way Ohio State wants it: they’ll meet the weaker Spartans on the road while the Wolverines have to come to The Shoe. J.T. Barrett will have to live up to expectations, though, if the Buckeyes want to sweep their Mitten State rivals. – MM

Odds Michigan sweeps Ohio State and Michigan State in the 2016 regular season: 7/3

Odds Michigan loses to both Ohio State and Michigan State in the 2016 regular season: 9/2

Michigan will have to go on the road to face its two toughest opponents in the Big Ten. It would take some sort of freak play, like a fumbled snap to a punter on the last play of the game, for Michigan to lose to the Spartans this year, though. That couldn’t happen, could it? – MM

Odds Alabama sweeps LSU and Auburn in the 2016 regular season: 5/4

Odds Alabama loses to both LSU and Auburn in the 2016 regular season: 9/1

I’m sure Bama would rather go into Auburn and get LSU at home, but if there’s a team that can overcome a tough schedule, it’s Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. – MM

Coach Props

Over/under on Power 5 coaches who will be fired or resign by Jan. 1, 2017: 4.5

Turning a team around in college football is much harder than in the pros, just don’t tell the Cleveland Browns that. As an unsuccessful team, you lose out on top recruits, and often enter every weekend severely outmatched in many areas. The only way out is extreme creativity and the right group of players. Many current coaches haven’t been so lucky.

Despite the difficult paradigm I just described, the powers-that-be at Power 5 schools don’t tolerate losing for long. Everyone wants the prestige – not to mention revenue – that comes with being a perennial power who makes a yearly appearance in a coveted bowl. – MM

Odds on which new head coach will finish the 2016 regular season with the most wins:

Jim Grobe (Baylor): 7/5
Kirby Smart (Georgia): 3/2
Mark Richt (Miami, Fla): 18/1
Will Muschamp (South Carolina): 25/1
Lovie Smith (Illinois): 28/1
Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia): 30/1
Dino Babers (Syracuse): 35/1

Odds to finish the 2016-17 season with highest ranking:

Jim Grobe (Baylor): 9/8
Kirby Smart (Georgia): 9/7
Mark Richt (Miami, Fla): 20/1
Will Muschamp (South Carolina): 50/1
Lovie Smith (Illinois): 80/1
Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia): 100/1
Dino Babers (Syracuse): 150/1

Jim Grobe is taking over a talented team at Baylor, but one that can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He’ll not only be judged on how the team progresses on the field, but also off of it.

Kirby Smart will have to rely heavily on running back Nick Chubb – who is still recovering from a knee injury – as he may be relegated to a true freshman at quarterback (Jacob Eason). Georgia will benefit from avoiding Alabama and LSU in their crossover games, though. If they can get by Tennessee and capture the SEC East, they should finish the year with a pretty low number next to their name. – MM

Odds Les Miles will be the head coach of LSU in 2017: 2/3

Odds Gus Malzahn will be the head coach of Auburn in 2017: 4/3

Odds Kevin Sumlin will be the head coach of TA&M in 2017: 3/4

Odds Charlie Strong will be the head coach of Texas in 2017: 1/2

Eric Draper [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
Charlie Strong, George W. Bush, and Rev. Jesse Jackson. Image: Eric Draper
Les Miles’ job is in Leonard Fournette’s hands. Fortunately for Miles, there may not be a better player in college football. (Now Fournette just needs to be that player against Alabama.)

Auburn’s National Championship appearance in 2013 seems like an eternity ago. Another 2-6 conference record will cost Malzahn his job.

Kevin Sumlin is 36-16 in his tenure at A&M, but he’s had to deal with the gruelling SEC West for too long, going 17-15 in the conference. His overall record will buy him some more time.

Charlie Strong has been asked to do a major overhaul in a very short period of time. Texas will show a little more patience with him, but not too much. The Longhorns need to become legitimate Big 12 contenders soon, or else Charlie will have a lot of time to paint with his buddy George W. – MM

Odds Art Briles will be a head coach at an FBS school for 2017: 3/5

Unfortunately, the way he overlooked a heinous sexual assault will be forgotten, as winning football games makes a school money. – MM

QB Battle Props

Odds to be Alabama’s starting QB in Week 1 (vs. USC)

Cooper Bateman: 5/3
Blake Barnett: 3/1
David Cornwell: 3/1
Jalen Hurts: 7/1

Odds to be Alabama’s starting QB in the final game of the season

Cooper Bateman: 15/8
Blake Barnett: 3/1
David Cornell: 3/1
Jalen Hurts: 11/2

By all accounts, all four are holding their own so far. Bateman has the most experience, which gives him the edge. Barnett was the highest-rated recruit and has the highest ceiling. Hurts is a longshot as a true freshman, but he’s also the quickest of the bunch and would give Saban another element on offense.

Saban has already indicated that he won’t be shy about switching things up in the early weeks of the season. Bateman’s experience won’t count for as much in the long run; he’ll have to perform in-game if he wants to hold onto the roll. Hurts’ potential to impress with his feet helps his chances down the road. – SP

Odds to be Notre Dame’s starting QB in Week 1 (vs. Texas)

DeShone Kizer: 5/6
Malik Zaire: 5/4
Brandon Wimbush: 100/1

Odds to be Notre Dame’s starting QB in the final game of the season

DeShone Kizer: 20/19
Malik Zaire: 8/7
Brandon Wimbush: 25/1

While Saban debates between four unknown options, Brian Kelly has a decidedly different dilemma, needing to pick between two absolute studs who have already proven themselves. Zaire wrestled the starting job from Everett Golson two years ago and wowed during the team’s 31-28 bowl win over LSU. But when Kizer took over for an injured Zaire early last season, he was arguably even better, leading the team to a New Year’s Six berth. (Though they lost 44-28 to the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl.)

Kizer is a slight favorite because he has more games under his belt. But Zaire is the more athletic, and with WR Will Fuller in the NFL, the Irish may need their QB to be equally productive with his feet as his arm. Wimbush will only get the nod if the other two get injured. – SP

Odds to be Michigan’s starting QB in Week 1 (vs. Hawai’i)

John O’Korn: 3/4
Wilton Speight: 5/3
Shane Morris: 19/1

Odds to be Michigan’s starting QB in the final game of the season

John O’Korn: 1/1
Wilton Speight: 9/7
Shane Morris: 15/1

O’Korn, a Houston transfer, is way more athletic than Speight, who is more of a game-manager. From his time with the Niners (and the Cardinal before), Harbaugh is used to having an athletic, play-making QB. He hasn’t hinted at who will start to open the year, but I see him favoring O’Korn’s potential versus Speight’s safety blanket. If O’Korn goes a little too gunslinger, Speight will finish the year under center. He already proved last year that he’s the better option than Morris. – SP

Odds to be Florida State’s starting QB in Week 1 (vs. Ole Miss)

Sean Maguire: 3/5
Deondre Francois: 3/1
Malik Henry: 7/1

Odds to be Florida State’s starting QB in the final game of the season

Sean Maguire: 4/5
Deondre Francois: 9/4
Malik Henry: 5/1

Given how much this team is going to pound the rock behind Dalvin Cook, Jimbo Fisher might not be asking too much from his QB on a weekly basis. That means returning starter Sean McGuire has a significant edge early, even if Fisher won’t admit it. If it turns out that the Noles needs more than just reliability from their pivot, the uber-talented Francois will get the first look. And if he plays like he did in the spring game, he won’t be coming out. – SP

Odds to be USC’s starting QB in Week 1 (vs. Alabama)

Max Browne: 3/5
Sam Darnold: 5/3

Odds to be USC’s starting QB in the final game of the season

Max Browne: 5/7
Sam Darnold: 3/2

Browne has the look and feel of a USC quarterback, and the pocket-passer has coach Clay Helton’s early vote. Darnold is a threat through the air and on the ground. Running a pro-set offense, USC hasn’t needed its QB to take off in quite some time, but times, they could be a-changin’ in Pasadena with Helton at the helm. – SP

Betting Line Props

Image: Matt Velazquez (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/]
Alabama head coach and four-time national champion Nick Saban. Image: Matt Velazquez (flickr)

Odds Alabama will be the underdog at kickoff for any game during 2016 season: 3/5

Last season saw Bama open as the underdog in a game for the first time since 2009. Depending on where you look, Bama is about a field-goal dog to LSU at the moment with the game in Baton Rouge. That game isn’t until November, though, and given recent history, which team do you think is more likely to stumble before then?

That said, games don’t often swing by more than a field goal and, even if Bama enters that one as the fave, the CFP could pit them against a team that’s rightful chalk. – SP

Over/under on biggest upset of 2016 college football regular season in terms of point spread at kickoff: 24.5 o/u

In 2007, Stanford beat USC as 41-point dogs. Just last season, Auburn narrowly avoided losing to Jacksonville State (27-20 OT) despite being about 40-point favorites. Upsets happen every season, but upsets like that are not a yearly occurrence. Anytime a team is more than three-touchdown chalk, you’re looking at a true David vs. Goliath. – SP

Over/under on biggest point spread for any game during 2016 college football regular season: 55.5

Last season, Savannah State set new records for underdoggedness (a word I just made-up) against Florida State in 2012. I don’t see any team quite that bad playing any team quite that good this year, but there will still be some hugely lopsided affairs, like Oklahoma State vs. Southeastern Louisiana. – SP

Over/under on highest over/under total for any game during 2016 college football regular season: 84

Scoring has been on its way up in college football, and the bookmakers have been trying to keep up. Since 2011, five games have had a game total of 83.5 or more, and all four hit the OVER! Will there be a game worthy of such a lofty total this season? – ET

Off-the-Field Props

Over/under number of Baylor football players arrested between Sept. 2, 2016 and Jan 10, 2017: 3.5

They’re the Cincinnati Bengals of college football. The number would skyrocket if we were considering former Baylor football players too. – MM

Odds Jim Harbaugh will wear pants that are not khaki in color for at least one game during Michigan’s 2016 season: 12/1

There are few certainties in this world: death, taxes, the SEC being good, and Jim Harbaugh in khakis. – MM

Odds Drake will appear on Michigan’s sideline during at least one Wolverine game this season: 3/4

If you’re a sports team with promise, you should already be expecting your patented Drake shout-out. I thought Drizzy was a Kentucky fan though … – MM

Odds Tom Brady attends a Wolverine football game during his four-game suspension: 5/3

He’ll have to ask Bill Belichick very nicely for permission first. – MM

Odds UCLA QB Josh Rosen will be suspended for at least one game during the 2016 season for a social media transgression: 9/5

There are a few things the NCAA gets really upset about: (1) sharing its revenue with the people who do the hard work, (2) players having an opinion, and (3) when the first two mix in anyway. Rosen is walking on thin ice here. – MM

Odds on which team will join the Big 12 next

BYU: 5/3
Houston: 5/2
Cincinnati: 5/2
Central Florida: 3/1
Memphis: 7/1
UConn: 8/1
Colorado State: 8/1
South Florida: 10/1

Using the word “next” team is a bit misleading, since the conference will add two teams to keep numbers even. Among the hopefuls, BYU has the strongest football pedigree, and that counts for a lot. They also have a huge following and would add a lot of new eyes to the conference. That equals $$$ in the long run. And that’s what this whole thing is about. The downside is increased travel for teams like West Virginia.

Houston’s bid is being supported by the other Texas schools in the conference. Those are powerful allies. The Cougars football renaissance isn’t going to hurt their hopes, either, nor will their proximity to most of the existing members.

Cincinnati is a bigger brand than Houston, but doesn’t have the same support nor the geographic advantage.

Central Florida represents another foray into a new market (like BYU) and the Knights’ football team has a history of success (though is in a bit of a downturn). USF is just Diet UFC.

UConn finds itself down the list for one simple reason: they really suck at football. Is their basketball prowess enough to get the invite? I don’t think so. – SP

Featured image: Thecoiner [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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