- National title odds are turning into a few-horse race.
- Alabama vs the Field?
- Washington State is the PAC-12’s only hope, hilariously.
With the College Football Playoff Committee’s new rankings out, we’re edging into the part of the season where the national title race has taken shape. Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame will have to lose a bad game or run over a committee member’s dog to miss out. Also: can Washington State make it?
College Football National Championship Odds
For more line history, go to the National Championships Odds Tracker. Here’s the current odds:
Washington State is the PAC-12’s only hope
That puts the Cougars on par with UCF, who didn’t get into the Playoff last year despite going undefeated. These are not great odds. How did this happen?
In short, the PAC-12 ate itself again. Washington looked to be the early favorite, but after its Week 1 setback to Auburn, couldn’t afford the loss Oregon handed them. Oregon lost a tight game to Stanford in the early season and then collapsed after the Washington State game, losing to Arizona in miserable form. The W over Oregon gave Stanford a quality win, which didn’t mean anything because the Cardinal then lost to Notre Dame, Utah, and Washington State.
Washington State is hanging on by the skin of its teeth, with just one loss (USC) on its record. If they win out against Cal, Colorado, Arizona and Washington, and then win the PAC-12 title game, they’ll have a chance of getting in. That seems like an awfully tall order for an absolute roller coaster of a team, but it’s all the PAC-12 has left.
The Playoff Committee’s top four is dominant
Add up all those implied probabilities and you’re sitting at about 93.5%. This should teach you a few things: futures odds are always too short on the favorites, and the eventual national champion is almost certainly a team now ranked in the top four.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Alabama alone hoovers up 67% implied probability, and “Alabama vs the Field” bets have been available at roughly even odds since the preseason. There isn’t a system of parity in college football. The good teams will stay the good teams.
But hey: you get +5000 betting on Washington State, whose quarterback went to a Halloween party in Pullman dressed as himself. How can you turn that down?