Ohio State close to becoming odds-on favorite to win College Football Playoff
Ohio State continued its recent dominance of Michigan last weekend, beating the Buckeyes for the 15th time in the last 16 years. The Buckeyes turned it on after a close first quarter, outscoring the Wolverines 42-14 over the final three frames to hammer That School Up North 56-27.
That victory entrenched the Buckeyes as the team to beat this season, according to the oddsmakers, leading to Ohio State’s odds to win the national championship falling to +150.
The CFP selection committee ranked the Buckeyes No. 1 last week, and as long as Ohio State remains the top team in the nation in the committee's eyes, they will be the favorite to win it all. There is a sizable gap between the top three teams in the country and everyone else, so whichever team earns the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff will have a significant advantage over the other two currently undefeated teams.
That makes college football's championship week incredibly important for reasons beyond the obvious.
While Ohio State, LSU and Clemson have likely done enough to earn a spot in the CFP even with a loss on Saturday, all three teams want to lay claim to the top seed to avoid the other two best teams in the country.
Which team is in line to earn the No. 1 seed after championship week?
Defending national champion Clemson is stuck in the No. 3 hole due to its weak conference, and the Tigers would need Ohio State and LSU to both lose to earn the No. 1 seed.
The Tigers do have the easiest conference title game of the weekend, though, as they are favored over ACC Coastal champion Virginia by a whopping 28.5 points on Saturday night. The ACC Atlantic champion has won this game each of the last eight years, and Clemson has claimed four consecutive crowns.
Dabo Swinney’s Tigers won the last two ACC championship games by a combined score of 80-13, so there is little chance of Clemson losing, but they need some help to be the top seed.
LSU, however, could surpass Ohio State as the No. 1 team in the country with a dominant win over Georgia in the SEC championship game. The Tigers were ranked No. 1 just two weeks ago, and they have the most impressive resume in terms of the quality of their victories.
LSU became the first team in the history of college football to beat four teams ranked in the top 10 this season, and it boasts the likely next Heisman Trophy winner in Joe Burrow.
However, oddsmakers are somewhat down on this team, placing LSU behind Ohio State and Clemson in terms of favorites to win the national championship.
Who will earn the last spot in the CFP?
There are four teams in contention for the final spot in the College Football Playoff entering championship weekend. Georgia has the lowest odds of the four remaining teams as the Bulldogs are the only team of the group that controls their own destiny. A win over LSU in the SEC championship game would guarantee Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs a spot in the final four, paving the way leaving the other three teams out of contention.
Utah is considered to have the edge over the Big 12 champion for the final spot in the CFP, and the Utes’ odds reflect that sentiment. They are 20-1 to win the CFP, and they might stand the best chance of knocking off Ohio State due to their outstanding front seven. The Utes have the No. 1 run defense in the country by every conceivable metric, and that led to Utah quickly moving from -2.5 against Oregon to -6.5.
Oklahoma and Baylor are vying for the Big 12 championship at noon on Saturday, but the winner will likely need some help to reach the CFP.
The Sooners’ struggles in recent weeks have undermined their chances to earn the benefit of the doubt in the eyes of the selection committee, and the Bears’ terrible non-conference slate means that this team has no chance to earn the nod over Utah. Along those lines, Baylor is 150-1 to win the national championship this year.