College Football BCS National Championship Odds
by Dave Schwab - 7/27/2011
The 2011 college football season does not get underway until the beginning of September, but the debate over which team will win this year’s national title is already in full swing. As with any new season, there are a couple of early front runners, but upon closer review of the futures odds to win the college football BCS National Championship this season as provided by Bodog, there is value to be found throughout the posted numbers.
The Sooners are not only Bodog’s favorite, they are at the top of just about every major preseason poll and the No.1 pick of a number of college football experts to win it all. The primary reason they are favored is that Bob Stoops’ team has 16 starters back from last season’s 12-2 squad. The offense features QB Landry Jones, who threw for close to 4,300 yards last season, and WR Ryan Broyles, who was on the receiving end of 118 of those passes for 1,452 yards and 13 TDs. With Nebraska off to the Big Ten, Oklahoma’s path to the BSC title game just got that much easier as it is easily the class of the Big 12 this year.
Pedigree could be the reason for the favorable odds for the Crimson Tide. A team from the SEC has won the national title the last five years straight, including Nick Saban’s 2009 Alabama team, so it stands to reason that someone from this conference will be ranked first or second in the BCS standings at the end of the year. The Tide are as good a pick as any, with 10 starters returning on a defense that was ranked third in the nation in points allowed in 2010. They will have to replace some skill positions on offense, but with players like QB A.J. McCarron, RB Trent Richardson, and WRs Darius Hanks and Marquis Maze ready to step up and take their place, the drop off in talent will not be that steep.
Head Coach Jimbo Fisher enters his second season at the helm with probably one of the deepest and most talented Seminoles teams in the past 10 years. Starting on offense, QB E.J. Manual takes over for the departed Christian Ponder, and he brings a level of athleticism the team has not had at that position in quite some time. He will be surrounded by running game that has as many as five different backs that can effectively run the ball. The entire receiving corps is back from last season, including Bert Reed, who led the team with 56 receptions for 589 yards. However, he is poised to put up some much bigger numbers this season. Florida State will be tested early with Oklahoma coming to Tallahassee on Sept. 16. Beyond that, the rest of the competition in the ACC should provide little resistance to the Seminoles’ path to the BCS title game.
If Alabama stumbles this season, LSU should be right on the Tide’s heels to take their place. Head Coach Les Miles returns nine starters on offense and seven starters on defense from a team that went 11-2 last season while beating Alabama and coming very close to knocking off Auburn. QB Jordan Jefferson is back to lead the offense and preseason all-American candidate CB Morris Claiborne will anchor the defensive secondary. The Tigers will know where they stand right off the bat with an opening day showdown against Oregon in the ‘Cowboys Classic’ in Dallas on Sept.3. The real test could be a Nov. 5 trip to Tuscaloosa to tangle with Alabama in a possible winner-take-all contest. If the Tigers can come away with victories in these two games, they could very well be on the way to the BCS title game this season
The Cornhuskers will play their inaugural season in the Big Ten as the odds-on-favorites to win the conference title at 8/5. Their main competition for the top spot should be Wisconsin, which is the second-favorite at 13/5. Nebraska returns seven starters to a defense that gave up just 17.4 points per game, including DT Jared Crick and DE Cameron Meredith up front and CB Alfonzo Dennard in the secondary. It also returns seven starters to an offense that averaged close to 250 yards on the ground and over 30 points a game. RB Roy Helu is gone, but the Cornhuskers have a number of backs, including Rex Burkhead, that are more than capable of filling the void.
West Virginia 25/1
The Mountaineers are coming off a disappointing 9-4 campaign in 2010, but are extremely optimistic about their chances to turn things around behind an offense that returns eight starters from last season, including QB Geno Smith. He should be able to flourish in new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen’s system, which focuses heavily on the pass. They will need to quickly reload on defense with just four starters returning from last year, but the team’s depth on this side of the ball should not make the process too difficult. The main reason West Virginia offers solid value as a longshot is a favorable schedule that could potentially lead to an undefeated regular season. It would have to get by a nonconference game against LSU at home on Sept. 24, which is a potential loss, but the Mountaineers should be favored in the rest of the games they play.
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