Numbers Game: Odds of National Title Contenders Finishing Undefeated

Before we hit the panic button on a scenario where 3 power conference teams finish undefeated, take a deep breath to realize there’s still a ton of football left to be played.  To help restore the peace, here are the odds of each team finishing unbeaten given their remaining schedule.

I’ve omitted Rutgers, Louisville, and Ohio from the undefeated equation since they won’t be in the title mix even if they run the table. However, it’s a real (although unlikely) possibilitiy Alabama, Kansas St, and Oregon run the gauntlet unblemished. To gain better perspective on the likeliness of each doing so, here are my projected odds on teams finishing 12-0, or in some cases 13. 

For each of the remaining games, the pointspread projection is included while the corresponding moneyline was used to calculate the probability of each team ending the regular season with a perfect record.  Contender and pretender doesn’t imply their title prospects but rather the mathematical possibility to finish out the year unbeaten.  Before Florida fans get themselves worked into a lather, understand the Gators are included in the pretender category for a reason. Unlike Oregon, Kansas St, and Alabama, Florida will need to win 2 games as underdogs to finish 13-0.

(odds to win the BCS National Title are courtesy of the Las Vegas Hotel and are current as of Monday 10/22)

Longshot

Mississippi State (300-1) : Odds to win the BCS National Title: (100-1)

Remaining Schedule

@Alabama (+24)
Texas A&M (Pk)
@LSU (+11.5)
Arkansas (-4)
@Ole Miss (-4)

Why they won’t run the table…

Quite simply put, it ain’t happening. Mississippi St is a nice story through their great start but remaining perfect headed into the SEC championship will require road wins at both Alabama and LSU where Miss St projects as double digit dogs in both games. Along with Bama and LSU, MSU still needs to beat Texas A&M and upend Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl to stay perfect. if they navigate through this schedule, no one’s keeping them out of the title game.

Pretenders

Oregon State (30-1) : Odds to win the BCS National Title: (40-1 listed as a member of the field)

Remaining Schedule

@Washington (-4.5)
vs Arizona State (-7)
@ Stanford (+4)
California (-11)
@ Oregon (+8)

Why they won’t run the table…

Oregon State came out of nowhere to enter the top 10 this season. As you can see, they weren’t even included on most sportsbooks futures boards before the year. Picked by many to finish last in the Pac12 North, Coach Riley deserves a ton of credit for the Beavers accomplishments.  However there’s a reason this team remains outside the top 20 in our Linemakers poll even at this juncture. Their talent isn’t good enough to carry them all the way through the regular season which includes a date against Oregon looming as the ultimate roadblock.

Notre Dame (22-1) : Odds to win the BCS National Title: (15-1)

Remaining Schedule

@Oklahoma (+9.5)
Pittsburgh (-14)
@Boston College (-15)
Wake Forest (-18.5)
@USC (+6)

Why they won’t run the table…

Simply put the Irish don’t have the offensive firepower to navigate road trips to both Oklahoma and USC. Inconsistent QB play has plagued them all year long and their secondary is a major question mark despite the 7-0 start. My remaining question for the Irish: where’s the signature win this season?

Why they could run the table…

Defense, defense, defense. Don’t let their address in South Bend fool you, this is a talented stop unit.  The Irish secondary isn’t elite but their physical D-line and LB corps makes enough plays to keep them competitive against their toughest competition. This weekend’s game will prove to be the ultimate litmus test for the Golden Domers.

Florida (15-1) : Odds to win the BCS National Title: (8-1)

Remaining Schedule

Georgia (-6)
Missouri (-20)
Louisiana Lafayette (-28)
Jacksonville State (-38.5)
@ Florida State (+3.5)
vs Alabama in SEC Titlte (+9)

Why they won’t run the table…

The Gators don’t have an offensive playmaker they can count on to make a big play in the clutch.  Look at their offensive outputs at home vs South Carolina and LSU; the final stat lines are major concerns for their end of the season road trip to Florida State

Why they can run the table…

No one has believed in the Gators yet, so why start now. This team has a ton of similarities to last year’s LSU Tigers’ squad that didn’t wow you on the stat sheet yet consistently found ways to win tight games with defense. If Jeff Driskel continues to develop and avoids the costly mistake, Florida has a shot in every game.

Contenders

Kansas State (4-1) : Odds to win the BCS National Title (5-1)

Remaining Schedule

Texas Tech (-6)
Oklahoma State (-5.5)
@TCU (-3.5)
@Baylor (-7.5)
Texas (-6)

Why they won’t run the table…

If Kansas State didn’t already have a target on their back within the conference, they do now. You have to love what Coach Snyder and Colin Klein are accomplishing but the Cats 5 remaining games are all losable if they’re not entirely focused each time they hit the field

Why they can run the table…

They won’t beat themselves. If you’re going to beat Kansas St, pack a lunch pail since it’s going to take a full 60 minute effort to upend this bunch. Every team on KSU’s remaining schedule is more than capable however each opponent is flawed. If anyone can exploit their opponent’s weaknesses, it’s Coach Snyder.

Oregon (3-1) : Odds to win the BCS National Title (9-2)

Remaining Schedule

Colorado (-45)
@USC (-2.5)
@California (-17.5)
Stanford (-17)
@Oregon St (-8)
USC in Pac12 Title (-9)

Why they won’t run the table…

Beating USC twice inside of a month will be no easy chore. The Trojans aren’t wowing the country with gaudy numbers but don’t forget they still beat the Ducks a year ago in Eugene. Oregon’s strength of schedule  remains a major concern because the Duck’s biggest win this year came against…Washington? Arizona St? No thanks.

Why they can run the table…

Oregon has one of the nation’s most underrated defensive units. The fixture for Oregon is their quick strike offense yet their defense is beefed up along the line to compete with power offenses they’ll enounter against USC, Stanford, Oregon St, and maybe Alabama.

Alabama (1-1) : Odds to win the BCS National Title (6-5)

Remaining Schedule

Mississippi State (-24)
@LSU (-7)
Texas A&M (-20)
Western Carolina (-52)
Auburn (-33.5)
vs Florida in SEC Title (-9)

Why they won’t run the table…

I had to dig deep here and the only possibility of a loss is the road game at LSU. Weird things can happen in Tiger country once the sun goes down

Why they will run the table…

LSU doesn’t have enough offensive firepower to push the Tide in Baton Rouge unless something strange happens. Alabama would be near double digit favorites against Florida or Georgia in the SEC title game so it will take a considerable upset to derail Roll Tide before they hit Miami to defend their national championship.

 

 

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