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Oregon & Washington in Top-10 CFP National Title Odds; Is the PAC-12 Back?

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The Oregon Ducks moved up the 2020 title odds when Justin Herbert announced he would return to school. But are they a good futures bet? Photo by John Martinez Pavliga (flickr) [CC License].
  • Oregon and Washington are both top-10 national title favorites according to one sportsbook.
  • The Pac-12 hasn’t put a team in the College Football Playoff since 2016-17 and hasn’t reached the title game since 2014-15.
  • Will 2020 be the year the Pac-12 returns to national relevance?

The College Football Playoff has been in existence for five years already, but it probably feels like an eternity to everyone in the Pac-12. The playoff system has been extremely unkind to the west coast, as just two Pac-12 teams have ever reached college football’s final four, only one has ever reached the title game, and none have hoisted the championship trophy.

Pac-12 History in the CFP

Year Pac-12 Team in CFP Result(s)
2014-15 No. 2 Oregon Won Rose Bowl (59-20 vs Florida St.)
Lost Nat’l Champ. (42-20 vs Ohio St.)
2015-16 None N/A
2016-17 No. 4 Washington Lost Peach Bowl (24-7 vs Alabama)
2017-18 None N/A
2018-19 None N/A

It’s been nearly 15 years since the Pac-12 won a national title (USC, 2004-05). Will the 2019-20 College Football Playoff finally be the year the Pac-12 breaks through?

Answers may vary, depending on which sportsbook’s oddsmakers you ask. At Bovada, only one Pac-12 team is even on the board. The oddsmakers at MyBookie, however, are a little more optimistic.

2020 CFP Title Odds for Pac-12 Teams

Team Odds at Bovada Odds at MyBookie
Washington Huskies OFF +1000
Oregon Ducks +3000 +1000
Stanford Cardinal OFF +3000
Washington State Cougars OFF +3000
Arizona Wildcats OFF OFF
Arizona State Sun Devils OFF OFF
Cal Golden Bears OFF OFF
Colorado Buffaloes OFF OFF
Oregon State Beavers OFF OFF
UCLA Bruins OFF OFF
USC Trojans OFF OFF
Utah Utes OFF OFF

Are Oregon and Washington Legitimate Title Contenders?

MyBookie is being a little too generous with their Pac-12 odds right now. Three of the last four title games have been contested by the same two teams — Clemson and Alabama — and they are heavy favorites to return in 2020.

College football has almost become the NBA in that sense, where Golden State and Cleveland could be penciled into the finals until LeBron James took off for Los Angeles.

The final F/+ Combined Ratings … had the best Pac-12 team (Washington) [ranked] ninth. Next best was Utah in 16th.

It’s not quite that bad in the college football ranks. Advanced metrics like the S&P and FEI Ratings indicate that there isn’t a world of separation between Alabama/Clemson and the secondary contenders.

But, unfortunately for the Pac-12, the secondary contenders don’t include any of its teams. The final F/+ Combined Ratings (which aggregate the S&P and FEI) had the best Pac-12 team (Washington) in ninth. Next best was Utah in 16th.

Oregon fans are likely feeling pretty good knowing that star QB Justin Herbert is returning, but the Ducks finished 42nd in F/+ last year. They scored seven total points in their RedBox Bowl-win over Michigan St. and they didn’t pull in a top-10 recruiting class in either 2017 or 2018.

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The Ducks are ranked 12th in Mark Schlabach’s initial top 25. That’s still best in the Pac-12, though, and four spots higher than Washington, a defense-first team that returns just two starters on that side of the ball.

Betting Advice

Do your bank account a favor and fade the Pac-12. No team in this conference has the talent or the coaching to compete with Alabama and Clemson.

It’s possible that no team in this conference has the talent or coaching to compete with UCF.

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