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Is Oklahoma a Good National Championship Bet with Jalen Hurts?

Oklahoma's Sooner Schooner on the field pre-game.
Will the Sooners gallop to the 2020 National Championship with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts at QB? Photo by John Silks [CC License].
  • Oklahoma may have landed its next great QB in Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts. 
  • The Sooners are well behind Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State in the 2020 National Title odds.
  • Should bettors take a chance on Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff futures?

Jalen Hurts is headed to Norman, Oklahoma.  There’s been an embarrassment of riches under center for the Sooners in recent years with Kyler Murray following Baker Mayfield, and now Hurts grabbing the torch.  Can Hurts win the Heisman like the two QB1s before him? That remains to be seen.

What is a sure thing, however, is Oklahoma’s National Championship hopes took a big bump with today’s news.

The reason for celebration is clear: Hurts gives head coach Lincoln Riley the dynamic QB he needs to compete at the highest level.  In two seasons as the starting QB at Alabama Hurts, combined for 61 touchdowns and over 6,500 yards of total offense.  This is a player that shifts the dynamic of a program upon his arrival.

BetOnline has title odds out for next season, and Oklahoma is high on the list, but there’s a gap between the Sooners and the top contenders.

2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Odds

Team Odds at  BetOnline (Jan. 16)
Clemson Tigers +200
Alabama Crimson Tide +275
Georgia Bulldogs +600
Ohio State Buckeyes +800
Michigan Wolverines +1600
Oklahoma Sooners +1600

Cinderella champions in college football are never likely.  Has it happened? Sure.  But the wise money is next year’s National Champion coming from this short list.  Clemson (+200) is returning the vast majority of the young team that just mopped the floor with Alabama in the title game. The Tigers deserve to be the favorites.

Following them are two teams from the SEC and then two teams from Big Ten.  That’s one important thing to consider here.  Like Clemson, Oklahoma has an easy road to the College Football Playoff.  Playing in the Big 12 makes for a conference schedule on the average-to-easy side. Out of conference, Oklahoma has a breezy schedule that includes home dates against Houston, South Dakota and Texas Tech and one road date at UCLA.

Alabama and Georgia have to duke it out in another potential SEC title game, while Ohio State and Michigan will play their usual regular-season rivalry game.

With the signing of Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma has as good a chance as any to finish with an invite to the four-team dance at the conclusion of the year.

One thing you’ll notice from five of the six teams listed in the odds above: a combination of Heisman-level QB play with a powerful offensive scheme.  Clemson with Trevor Lawrence, Alabama with Tua Tagovailoa, Georgia with Jake Fromm, and Ohio State with transfer Justin Fields all fit that criteria.  Only Michigan doesn’t have a star at QB or high-powered offense, but they’re likely to contend using a top-ranked defense.

Is Oklahoma a Good Bet to Win the CFP?

Cinderella stories may not happen in football, but that’s not to say the number-one seed romps in the College Football Playoff every year.  In fact, in five years the number-one seed has never won the title.  If Clemson were to run the table, they’d be the first to do it.

Alabama and the other contenders deserve attention, but Oklahoma has a reasonable chance to capture their first championship in the CFP era and they’re paying the right price to hop on board the bandwagon.

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