2011 BCS National Championship Odds: Alabama, OSU or Boise State?
Summer training camps for college football teams are not far away and already sports fans are debating who will play for the crystal football come January. Las Vegas threw gas on the fire when it released official odds for teams to reach the 2011 BCS National Championship Game.
The preseason favorites obviously got the best odds and the top of the board is full of familiar faces.
But are there odds which may surprise people? Who are the heavy favorites? Does your team rank among the favorites?
Look inside to find out.
Alabama - 4/1
The Crimson Tide got the lowest odds in the BCS pool. The defending national champions return their Heisman Trophy winner and retain one of the nation's best defenses despite the losses of Rolando McClain and Terence Cody.
To no one's surprise, the likely preseason number one team is the odds-on favorite to win it all again.
Ohio State - 11/2
Ohio State is next on the odds list. The Buckeyes, coming off their first Rose Bowl victory in 13 years, return most of their starting lineup on both sides of the ball and look prime for another run to the BCS title game if they can avoid a Big Ten slip up.
Most odds project them to the be preseason number two.
Boise State - 8/1
Boise State received the best odds ever for a team outside of a BCS conference. The Broncos, coming off an undefeated season and a win in the Fiesta Bowl, will likely open as a Top Five team in the preseason polls.
Early season games against Virginia Tech and Oregon State may give them enough juice to climb to number one or two.
A little help from other clubs and the Broncos could return to the desert for the 2011 BCS title game.
Florida - 12/1
The odds bestowed on Florida speak to Vegas' confidence that the Gators can make it back to the title game for the third time in five years despite losing Tim Tebow.
The Gators also need to break in other players to replace Aaron Hernandez, Riley Cooper, Maurkice Pouncey, Brandon Spikes, and others.
Despite the roster overhaul, Vegas likes their chances. Regardless of the odds, 2010 will be a serious test for Urban Meyer and his staff.
Southern California - 12/1
New staff? No problem for the Trojans, says Vegas, which instilled USC with the lowest odds of any Pac-10 team to make it to Glendale in January.
Matt Barkley returns for his sophomore season with a Trojan team that is now under the control of Lane Kiffin.
The turmoil at Oregon opened the door for USC as conference favorites. Can the Trojans parlay it into a title?
Texas - 14/1
Texas is a strong favorite to win the title in 2011 but like Florida, the Longhorns must break in a new quarterback. Garrett Gilbert takes over for the departed Colt McCoy.
Gilbert was the quarterback who stepped in for the injured McCoy in last year's title game. The Longhorns' season, and their ability to get back to the title game, will rest heavily on Gilbert's development.
Nebraska - 15/1
Nebraska, which was seconds away from preventing Texas from a title game berth a year ago, checks in with pretty good odds of making its first title game since their 1997 national championship.
The Cornhuskers have to fill the monster void left by Ndamukong Suh, but Bo Pelini's defense is a wrecking crew and should keep Nebraska in contention in the Big 12 where a number of contenders will experience significant turnover.
Zac Lee's return, in contrast to new quarterbacks at Texas and Oklahoma, could have a big effect this season.
Oklahoma - 16/1
The Big 12 theme continues with Oklahoma, which received the third lowest odds of any Big 12 team. The Sooners now belong to Landry Jones who picked up significant playing time last season when Sam Bradford went down to injury.
If Jones can shorten his learning curve, he will give the Sooners a leg up at least in the Big 12 South and give Oklahoma its second shot at a title in the last three seasons.
Miami - 18/1
The buzz is certainly getting louder in South Beach after the Hurricanes' very positive 2009 season.
Now, expectations are that Jacory Harris and company will take the next leap in 2010. The Hurricanes will travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State in Week Two of the season. That game will serve as a championship barometer for both teams.
TCU - 18/1
TCU got the short end of the stick following its Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State. Had the Horned Frogs won the game, they could be looking at the third lowest odds.
Instead, even though TCU should have a good spot in the preseason polls, they ended up with a bit more of a long shot odd. Head coach Gary Patterson has stated a national title is the goal of his program regardless of starting position.
Virginia Tech - 18/1
The Hokies have long been just on the outside looking in on a BCS title game despite more than a decade of success.
These Hokies will be tested early with a neutral site game against Boise State. That game will determine if either team has a shot at making it to Glendale.
Iowa - 20/1
To the surprise of some, the Hawkeyes were given 20/1 odds despite their Orange Bowl victory and an 11-2 record last season.
The Hawkeyes return as top contendors with their starting quarterback and best defensive player. In some circles they stand as the favorite over Ohio State. Nevertheless, I expected Iowa to be higher up on this list.
Oregon - 20/1
Despite all the turmoil the Ducks have experienced this offseason (including the season-long suspension of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli) the team checks in with the second best odds in the Pac-10.
It is going to be an interesting, if not difficult, season for Ducks head coach Chip Kelly. The Ducks have their work cut out for them.
Penn State - 20/1
The Nittany Lions too will break in a new quarterback this year following the graduation of Daryll Clark. That makes their placement at 20/1—the same as a more veteran club Iowa—a bit surprising.
Numerous projections have Penn State finishing in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten, let alone top 14 odds to win it all.
Notre Dame - 65/1
The oddsmakers clearly were not impressed with the hiring of Brian Kelly and his ability to turn the Irish ship around in one year. Kelly will work with either redshirt sophomore Dayne Crist, who is coming off ACL surgery and missed spring practice, or true freshman Tommy Rees.
That uncertainty combined with stock-dropping years under Charlie Weis has the Irish as a very long shot to win it all.