- Two of the nation’s top-10 teams lost in stunning Week 4 upsets
- Defending national champion, LSU, and perennial Big 12 contender Oklahoma saw their National Championship odds take a major blow
- See what other teams stand to benefit most from the Sooners and Tigers’ losses below
Week 4 of the college football schedule opened in a big way on Saturday afternoon with two key results that were as bewildering as they were spectacular.
Kansas State provided the first surprise of the day with a dramatic come-from-behind win against No. 3 Oklahoma, 38-35, in Norman. Shortly after, the Mike Leach era began with a landmark victory in Baton Rouge, as Mississippi State toppled the defending national champions, LSU, 44-34.
The results will no doubt shake up next week’s college football rankings, but some re-shaping of National Championship odds has already taken place. On FanDuel, LSU slid from +3300 to out of the top-15 teams likely to win it at +10000. Oklahoma saw its odds get longer as well, and the Sooners fell from sixth (+2000) to eleventh (+5000).
2021 College Football National Championship Odds
FanDuel odds taken on September 27
Texas very nearly joined the Sooners and Tigers on Saturday, but rallied to beat Texas Tech in overtime, 63-56.
The Longhorns barely escaped with a win against a Red Raiders team that just snuck by FCS-Houston Baptist on September 12, but Texas actually moved from +3300 to +1600 odds to close the day. Texas A&M was given a similar bump after the Aggies narrowly beat Vanderbilt, 17-12, despite entering the day as one of Week 4’s heaviest favorites. A&M moved into the Top 10 and now sits at +2500 to win it all.
THIS TEXAS-TEXAS TECH GAME: pic.twitter.com/TtAsQ9Rv0T
— ESPN (@espn) September 26, 2020
Where The Sooners and Tigers Go From Here
Between the two, LSU has the tougher path forward. Redshirt junior quarterback Myles Brennan has patiently waited for his turn under center, but is without stud junior wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who chose to opt out of the 2020 season at the end of August. Brennan still has a talented group of pass-catchers to throw to and experience on his offensive line, but Chase is one of college football’s premier offensive talents.
LSU was also without top cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr., who missed the game due to a non-COVID illness, but the defense as a whole is still very much in transition after losing numerous players from last year’s team to the NFL, transfers, and opt-outs. The Tigers’ defensive scheme is also different under new coordinator Bo Pelini, who took over for longtime assistant and new Baylor head coach Dave Aranda.
Mike Leach needed exactly one game to set the record for most passing yards in the SEC
— Woody Wommack (@RivalsWoody) September 26, 2020
The Tigers have two weeks to get right against soft opponents in Vanderbilt and Missouri before their next major test at Florida on October 17. From there, LSU’s remaining schedule is challenging, and worthy of seeing the Tigers through to the College Football Playoff as a one- or perhaps even a two-loss team if one of their wins comes at home against Alabama on November 14.
Simply put, the Sooners have not been consistently tough on defense in recent years, and they didn’t do much to change that opinion against the Wildcats. Offensively, new starting quarterback Spencer Rattler looked sharp and in control for most of the game, but he also threw three interceptions. His final pick came on a particularly poor throw that was high-and-behind his receiver on Oklahoma’s final drive of regulation with a chance to win or send it to overtime.
The Sooners are going to have some soul-searching to do after dropping a game that they should have won handily. Kansas State announced shortly before kickoff that eight players expected to start or contribute in the matchup were scratched. Realistically, Big 12 teams not named Oklahoma or Texas won’t be given the same consideration when it comes to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, but they have to hold up their end of the bargain. OU could win back some favor by beating the Longhorns on October 10 and winning-out against the rest of its schedule with gaudy offensive totals.
The Favorites Going Forward
After Week 4, not much changed with the top-five teams favored to win the championship. The losses by LSU and Oklahoma only furthered the gap between that group and the rest of the field. Right now, the Sooners and Tigers look more like programs that are a year away from legitimately competing for a championship than they do contenders for a title this season.
Clemson, the top team in the nation and the favorite to win the championship this season, became a slightly more attractive play after the Tigers moved from +200 to +250. Florida finally has the look of a team that can bring some explosion on offense to pair with its traditionally tough defense, and the Gators moved to +1600. Georgia shook off a slow start to beat Arkansas 37-10, but slid from +1200 to +1600 odds.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.