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NCAAF national championship odds update: Ohio State still has a shot

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September 13th, 2021

Only two full weeks into the college football season, and we’re already starting to see separation between the contenders and the pretenders in the College Football Playoff National Championship future market.

Last week, I told you not to give up on Clemson, and the Tigers are still hanging in the top 5 on the odds board. This week, the same principle applies — don’t give up on the Buckeyes.

NCAAF Championship 2021/2022

Sun, December 5 2021, 10:56 AM

Alabama Crimson Tide


Georgia Bulldogs


Oklahoma Sooners


Ohio State Buckeyes


Oregon Ducks


Clemson Tigers


Texas A&M Aggies


Florida Gators


UCLA Bruins


Penn State Nittany Lions


Ohio State schedule ahead is soft

Does the loss to Oregon last weekend at the Horseshoe feel great if you have an Ohio State ticket? It does not.

But all is not lost, especially if redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud keeps getting better.

The road ahead for the Buckeyes is Charmin soft. Tulsa, Akron, and Rutgers, oh my? Not quite. Then comes Maryland and Indiana, before a showdown with No. 10 Penn State on Oct. 30. The closing four games are against a putrid Nebraska squad, Purdue, Michigan State, and Michigan, and the Buckeyes have taken the Wolverines down for the last eight seasons.

It's hard to imagine the Buckeyes on the outside of the top four at the end of the season, if they run the table, and the odds shift from +550 to +1000 makes sense.

One loss is fine, but two...

Oregon shoots up the board

For the big winners Saturday, I have less confidence.

And it's not just about the Ducks — it's about the crazy conference they play in.

Oregon moved from +8000 to +1400 to take the national title, but good luck predicting what is going to happen week-to-week in the Pac-12.

You don't even have to look that far back to see how up and down Oregon can be in any season. Last year, the Ducks lost to unranked Oregon State and Cal when they were favored by 13 and 9.5 points, respectively, then took down USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game as a slight underdog.

In 2019, the big setback was a loss to an Arizona State squad that went 4-5 in Pac-12 play. In 2018, Oregon defeated No. 7 Washington in overtime, and two weeks later got absolutely housed (44-15!) by an Arizona team that finished the season 5-7.

The Pac-12 isn't the best conference in the country, but it is the most entertaining. On any given Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, something wild can happen. Just last week, Colorado nearly stunned No. 5 Texas A&M (which slipped from +3300 to +4000 to win the national title) as a 17-point underdog, Cal almost pulled off a double-digit upset on the road at TCU, and Stanford humbled USC as a 17.5-point dog.

I'd be shocked if Oregon makes it the rest of the way without one or two losses.

Movers and shakers

The other game that caused a shakeup was Iowa's dismantling of Iowa State, and it was stunning to see the Cyclones remove four-year starter Brock Purdy late in the game.

The national championship odds moved as you'd expect. Iowa jumped from +15000 to +10000, and Iowa State fell from seventh on the odds board (+4000) to a nine-way tie for 13th (+10000).

UCLA also saw its odds sliced in half (+10000 to +5000), and the Bruins didn't even need to get off the couch. That move can probably be attributed to USC's disappointing home loss to Stanford, and UCLA looks like the favorite in the Pac-12 South.