After close to three months full of shocking upsets, legendary individual performances, and games we won’t forget, we finally reached the point in the 2016 college football season where we can accurately separate the national title contenders from the pretenders. Needless to say, quite a bit has changed since the first month of the season.
Teams like Florida State, Houston, Stanford, and Louisville — all thought to be among the top national championship contenders in the country — have proven to be pretenders. Then there are teams such as Penn State, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Oklahoma State, who all came out of nowhere to emerge as potential national title contenders if things break right for them over the next couple of weeks.
As we head into college football rivalry weekend, the Alabama Crimson Tide seem well on their way to defending their 2015 College Football Playoff (CFP) national championship. But do the oddsmakers in Las Vegas, who prove to be extremely accurate in their projections, agree? Here’s a look at the teams they give the best odds to win the 2016 CFP National Championship Game.
6. Michigan (10-2)
Odds: +2800 (28-1)
Michigan’s national title hopes took a major hit following their loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes in one of the best games in college football history last weekend. For the Wolverines to have any hope at back-dooring their way into the CFP, they will need Wisconsin, Washington, and Clemson to all lose this weekend, and then hope that the selection committee deems them to be more worthy of spot than teams such as Colorado, Penn State, or the winner of the Oklahoma/Oklahoma State game.
5. Wisconsin (10-2)
Odds: +2200 (22-1)
With their win over Minnesota last weekend, the Badgers secured a berth in the 2016 Big Ten Championship Game where they will face Penn State. With a win over the Nittany Lions, Paul Chryst’s team will walk away with a conference title while strengthening their case for inclusion in the 2016 CFP. That said, they will likely need some help to earn one of the four CFP spots. Barring any surprise decisions from the selection committee, the Badgers will need Washington or Clemson to lose their conference title games to land a spot in the four-team playoff.
4. Washington (11-1)
Odds: 1000 (10-1)
As of today, the Huskies control their own CFP destiny. If they win their game this weekend against Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship Game, they will ensure that they make their first appearance in the four-team playoff. If they end up losing to Colorado on Friday night, though, their chances at making the CFP and winning the 2016 college football national championship will immediately fly out the window.
3. Clemson (11-1)
Odds: +600 (6-1)
Out of every contender, Clemson may have the smoothest road to landing a spot in the CFP. With a win this weekend in the ACC Championship Game (they play Virginia Tech), the Tigers will have a spot (and likely the No. 2 seed) in the four-team playoff locked up. From there, Dabo Swinney’s squad will have the added benefit of having one of the best big-game quarterbacks in the country (Deshaun Watson) and the experience of coming up just short in last year’s CFP title game to Alabama.
2. Ohio State (11-1)
Odds: +260 (2.6-1)
There is a very good chance that the Buckeyes will land a spot in the CFP without even winning the Big Ten East title. If the CFP selection committee truly wants take the best four teams in the country, then they will have to include Urban Meyer’s squad, thanks to their win over the Michigan Wolverines this past weekend.
1. Alabama (12-0)
As of today, the Crimson Tide are the heavy favorites to win the 2016 CFP national championship. Regardless of how their matchup with Florida in the SEC Championship Game plays out, Alabama has already done enough to ensure they land a spot in the four-team playoff. This means that everything is set up perfectly for them to make a run at winning their fifth national title in eight years.