Archived: College Football Title Odds: Teams that still have a chance

November 8, 2018

The reality is, only nine teams really stand a chance: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, UGA, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Washington State, and West Virginia.

The further reality is, it would take utter chaos for Washington State and/or West Virginia to land in the top four come December.

So you’re telling me there is a chance?

Regardless, let’s look at the nine teams that remain and break down some of their title hopes. We’ll focus on a few metrics, including FiveThirtyEight’s Playoff Probabilities, FPI, and ELO.

The Contenders

Alabama (#1, -280)

  • On To… Home vs. #18 Mississippi State
  • % Chance They Win: 85%
  • A Win Would… Further solidify them as maybe the best college team ever.
  • A Loss Would… Not eliminate them from the CFB playoff conversation. If they take care of business in the SEC championship game, they’re in regardless.
  • Anything Else? I’m a UGA grad and die-hard. I feel hopeless. After watching about 90% of all downs from Alabama and UGA, the DAWGS don’t stand a chance. Bama is that good.

Clemson (#2, +300)

  • On To… Away at #22 Boston College
  • % Chance They Win: 84%
  • A Win Would… Further solidify them as the team Alabama will most likely slaughter for the national title.
  • A Loss Would… Definitely ding them. While they’ll still be the favorites to win the ACC title and likely make the playoffs, the committee would likely NOT view a road loss to a strong ranked team as a death sentence. Their title odds would likely dip from +300 to +500-600 range.
  • Anything Else? One of the greatest on-going mysteries of life is how a doofus like Dabo Swinney is such a brilliant coach and recruiter. It’s right up there with how Stonehedge and the pyramids were built.

Notre Dame (#3, +1400)

  • On To… Home vs. Florida State
  • % Chance They Win: 89%
  • A Win Would… Mean nothing. Florida State sucks.
  • A Loss Would… Absolutely knock them out of CFB contention since Florida State sucks.
  • Anything Else? A Notre Dame loss would be the first step of the aforementioned “chaos” that would shake things up. Stranger things have happened, and if it was a road game, maybe FSU could cause rankings-bedlam, but not in South Bend, even with Ian Book’s injury. Brandon Wimbush is good enough to get the job done.

Michigan (#4, +800)

  • On To… Away vs. Rutgars
  • % Chance They Win: One Billion Percent
  • A Win Would… Not catastrophically drop their ranking.
  • A Loss Would… Catastrophically drop their ranking and be a sure sign that a zombie apocalypse was about to happen.
  • Anything Else? Would anything be goofier and more entertaining than a Jim Harbaugh vs. Dabo Swinney first round of the playoffs press conference? Feels like this needs to happen.

Georgia (#5, +1400)

  • On To… Home vs. #24 Auburn
  • % Chance They Win: 82%
  • A Win Would… Keep them in the CFB playoff hunt.
  • A Loss Would… Be completely maddening.  
  • Anything Else? From an analytics perspective at least, UGA has the best value. They’re #2 ELO and #3 FPI but only the fifth best title odds according to William Hill. Georgia’s main issue is likely having to beat Alabama twice to win the championship. Good luck with that. I bleed red & black and I know that’s not happening.

Oklahoma (#6, +2000)

  • On To… Home vs. Oklahoma State
  • % Chance They Win: 87%
  • A Win Would… Do nothing. Oklahoma needs Michigan and Georgia to lose. Nothing they can do at this point will move them past those two.
  • A Loss Would… Be more expected than not. These games are always a battle. Oklahoma gets scored on more than a porn star at a gang bang.  
  • Anything Else? Oklahoma is only +2000 because they’re Oklahoma. This isn’t a championship team. They’re entertaining. Their head coach is brilliant. They’re not beating Alabama, that doofus Dabo Swinney and Clemson, or UGA. They didn’t beat UGA last year and their team was better.

Washington State (#8, +7500)

  • On To… At Colorado
  • % Chance They Win: 72%
  • A Win Would… Not turn the PAC-12 into a complete and utter joke.
  • A Loss Would… Turn the PAC-12 into a complete and utter joke.
  • Anything Else? USC under Pete Carroll was like Nick Saban and Alabama circa 2014-16. Their dominance covered up the warts of a weaker conference.  Now, the PAC-12 is just weak. Nobody consider Washington State a true contender, including Vegas, who lists them at +7500 (which seems generous, they should be more like +7500000). WSU is 9 ELO and 25 FPI. Of the teams in front of them, maybe they’d have a competitive game against Oklahoma. That’s about it.

West Virginia (#9, +10000)

  • On To… Home vs. TCU
  • % Chance They Win: 77%
  • A Win Would… Boost their title odds to the +8000 range. West Virginia is a sleeper.
  • A Loss Would… Disavow what I just wrote.
  • Anything Else? West Virginia is the dark horse to sneak into the CFB playoffs. Once there, anything can happen (and by anything, I mean “Lose to Alabama”). They have plenty of hurdles to go, including a huge showdown against Oklahoma on November 23rd, but with Heisman candidate Will Grier, they just feel like a sleeper to keep an eye on.

Ohio State (#10, +1800)

  • On To… Away vs. #18 Michigan State
  • % Chance They Win: 59%
  • A Win Would… Not do much. As only a slight favorite to beat Michigan State this weekend, Ohio State is already over-priced at +1800. Plus they still have Michigan, the Big 10 title game, and if they survive all of that, two CFB playoff games.
  • Anything Else? Sure, Ohio State is more of a public team than West Virginia or Washington State, but why are their title odds so much better? Ohio State has a FPI of 6 and an ELO of 8, which explains some of it (West Virginia is 9 and 12, and Washington State is 25 and 9). Otherwise, they have too much in front of them and have looked to average (for their standard) to date to warrant that price.


  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017