Bovada: FSU, Bama Favorites For '14 Season
One offshore gambling site, popular because of its access in the United States, released 2014 season national championship odds this week.
Bovada lists Florida State at 4/1 to repeat as college football kings in the 2014-15 season, banking on the return of Heisman winner Jameis Winston.
Auburn (16/1), which lost to the Seminoles in the final BCS championship, isn't even in the Top 5, while in-state rival Alabama (13/2) has a decent shot at a fourth national title in six years, according to the book.
Oregon (9/1) and Ohio State (12/1) two teams that return senior quarterbacks on everybody's early Heisman lists in Marcus Mariota and Braxton Miller, round out the Top 5 along with Oklahoma (12/1).
Gamblers looking for value plays might take a flier on Michigan State (20/1) or Wisconsin (33/1).
For those interested in college football's version of a lottery ticket, UCF, which won the Fiesta Bowl and finished a 12-1 season in the AP Top 10 before losing offensive stars Blake Bortles and Storm Johnson to the NFL draft, are long shots at 100/1. They should be favored to win the AAC again next year with Louisville and Rutgers departing the conference, but may have a tough time garnering respect in a diluted league.
Pitt, which loses all-everything defensive tackle Aaron Donald and quarterback Tom Savage, but will deploy some exciting young offensive players in the ACC, goes off at 200/1. A $100 wager on the Panthers would yield $20,000 next January if they became national champions. And of course, if Pitt improbably goes from seven to 12 wins, but loses in the final, the bet would yield nothing.
Last year at this time, Auburn received 1,000/1 odds and nearly cashed.
Next year's College Football Playoff will feature four teams, which probably reduces the longshot odds slightly.
It's fun to look at the numbers and add it to the conversation about next year's national champion, but it's way too early to make predictions. We'll know much more in a month: The deadline for non-seniors to declare for the NFL draft is Jan. 15 and national signing day is Feb. 5. We can expect a few major coaching changes in that time as well (Louisville, Penn State).
Until then, it's difficult to predict. And it's tough to ascribe much value to college football national championship futures. Just look at this year's two participants: FSU started a much-hyped but little-known redshirt freshman at quarterback who won the Heisman and the national title, while Auburn came off a winless year in the SEC with a new head coach and a junior college transfer at quarterback.