The 2012 college football season begins in two weeks on August 30 and here is an update on the BCS Championship future odds.
We are now less than two weeks removed from the beginning of the 2012 college football season, which kicks off on Thursday night, September 30, and in an attempt to help you with your college football picks on the BCS futures, we are giving our take on the 10 current favorites to win the 2013 BCS Championship Game, as well as two massive longshots worth small fliers and finally our recommended future plays.
When Alabama defeated fellow SEC member LSU to win the title last year, it marked the sixth straight year that and SEC team has been the national champion, as no non-SEC team has won the title since Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns beat the USC Trojans in 2005. Will the streak by the SEC continue this year?
We say most likely yes, and we favor the team that lost the title game last year, the LSU Tigers. First, here is our look at the teams that currently have the 10 shortest odds to win the BCS Championship at 5 Dimes.
USC +330: We see no value here at all, as it is not even a given that USC with win the Pac 12 Championship. Yes, the Trojans could have the best passing attack in the nation with quarterback Matt Barkley and all of his top wide receivers back, and the entire starting lineup on both offense and defense is sprinkled with four-star and five-star recruits. However, because the sanctions that made the Trojans ineligible for the post-season last year also limited their scholarships, their depth is not as good as usual, and we think that will come back to bite them in the Pac 12 Championship Game, where we seed an ultra-talented but young Oregon team that will only get better as the year goes on using its amazing speed on both sides of the ball to wear USC down.
LSU +550: Now we are talking! The last time we saw the Tigers, their offense was thoroughly dominated by Alabama in a 21-0 loss in the BCS Championship, but just imagine how different that game would have gone if LSU has just a semblance of a passing game to stop the Crimson Tide from stuffing the run. Well, that makes the Tigers’ new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger without exaggeration the most important new starter in college football. He is the best pure passer LSU has had in many years and he gives them a chance to actually score some points when they face Alabama in the Game of the Year (again) on November 3rd. Of course, LSU being home for that game doesn’t hurt either. Granted, the defense took a hit when Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the team, but all that did was take this defense from being one of the best of all time to just being still one of the best in the country this season.
Florida State +600: Florida State does look like the class of the ACC this year, but is that really saying anything? In case you have forgotten, the last two ACC Champions have lost their BCS bowl games by scores of 40-12 and 70-33! Furthermore, we feel that the Seminoles are severely overvalued at this price, which is even too low to offer hedging possibilities down the road like some higher priced contenders coming up. Definitely pass on the Seminoles at this price.
Alabama +650: There is a very strong possibility that the two best teams in the country at the end of this season will be the same two teams that played for the championship last year, and that is despite so many players from what was truly one of the best defenses ever now being in the NFL. Alabama hit a rare home run last season leading the entire country in scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense and total defense. Even with many of those starters gone, the replacements were all blur-chip recruits by Nick Saban and most of them saw action as back-ups last year, so the defense is not totally young. The problem is that we seriously doubt the BCS Championship Game will have two SEC teams again this year, and this price does not make taking both LSU and Alabama on the futures worthwhile.
Oklahoma +1000: We do not like Oklahoma at this price either, as we do not think that the Sooners will even win the Big 12 this year. The Sooners were a disappointment last season, settling for a win over Iowa in the Insight Bowl, and while the Sooners do have the talent to win the Big 12 we see them losing two conference games this season to knock them out of BCS consideration. We think one loss will be on the road at West Virginia as the Mountaineers prove that they belong in their first year in the conference. Where is the other loss? Well, every year under Bob Stoops, Oklahoma loses one game it is not supposed to as a big favorite, so somebody will be this year’s Texas Tech.
Oregon +1200: We like the Ducks this year, and if USC is favored to win the Championship at +330, then we feel that there is value on Oregon at 12/1. Yes, the Ducks are young to start the year on offense with LaMichael James and Darron Thomas gone, but senior Kenjon Barber is ready to step right in after rushing for over 1800 yards as a backup the last two years and there are two fine young quarterbacks fighting for the quarterback job in Bryan Bennett, who played well as a freshman on the occasions he filled in for Thomas last year, and current freshman Marcus Mariota, who was very impressive in the spring game. The defense returns nine starters from a unit that ranked third in the country in sacks last year and permitted only 5.1 yards per play overall. This could be the best non-SEC team in the country still standing at year’s end.
Georgia +1600: We like the price on the Bulldogs considering that they are just one win in the SEC Championship Game away from being the possible favorites in the BCS Championship Game. The Bulldog could have the best passing game in the SEC this year with quarterback Aaron Murray and Georgia’s top five pass catchers in 2011 all coming back. Do not forget about the underrated Bulldogs’ defense either that ranked sixth in the country in total defense last year and returns its top 14 tacklers. Perhaps most importantly, Georgia looks to have the easiest path to the SEC title game, coming out of the weaker East Division and not facing LSU, Alabama or even Arkansas this year.
Arkansas +2800: We do not like Arkansas this season, as aside from the whole Bobby Petrino scandal, this team also has a tougher schedule than it did last year. While the Razorbacks were given a lot of credit for losing only to LSU and Alabama while going 11-2 in 2011, the fact is that they really did not have many other tough games and they got all of the tougher SEC teams besides the Big Two at home. This year, we see potential pitfalls on the road at South Carolina, Auburn and even Texas A&M.
Virginia Tech +2800: The Hokies struggled in major bowl games in the past as ACC champions, and last year they lost twice to the Clemson team that lost 70-33 to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Virginia Tech is not even the best team in their weak conference this year, as that honor belongs to Florida State. We shall pass.
Texas +3600: All you need to know about how we feel about Texas in 2012 is that we are predicting that the Longhorns are going ‘under’ their regular season total of 8½ wins! This team simply lacks the quarterback play to be taken seriously as a BCS contender.
Next, here are a couple of massive longshots that we feel will outperform expectations this season. There are not necessarily teams that are among the best in the county, but rather clubs that we think will be ranked in the top 10 with great records late in the year, thus keeping them in the BCS discussions and setting up some great hedging possibilities in their last few games.
Wisconsin +6000: No, we are not fans of the Big Ten, but in this case we are getting 60/1 on a team that could conceivably be undefeated heading into the Big Ten Championship Game if it can win on the road at Nebraska on September 29th, as that could be the only game that the Badgers will be underdogs in all year considering that they get Michigan State and Ohio State at home and they don’t play Michigan! Oh imagine the hedging possibilities at this price!
Oklahoma State +15000: The hedging possibilities could be even better by taking 150/1 on the Cowboys, who are not the best team in the Big 12 by any means but look to have the easiest schedule. In fact, because of that schedule, it would actually be an upset if Oklahoma State is not 6-0 entering their home date with TCU on October 27th, and they should even be small favorites there. They then get West Virginia at home also a few weeks later, so as amazing as it may sound, the Cowboys might not be an underdog all year until their second to last game at Oklahoma, the timing of which adds to the hedging options.
If you had 10 units set aside allocated to betting on BCS futures, this is how we would distribute them:
LSU +550 (5 units)
Georgia +1600 (2 units)
Oregon +1200 (2 units)
Wisconsin +6000 (½ unit)
Oklahoma State +15000 (½ unit)