2022-23 College Football Playoff: Despite sitting fifth in rankings, Ohio State given much shorter national title odds than No. 3 TCU, No. 4 USC
Yesterday, we wrote that the big drama in Tuesday night's new College Football Playoff rankings was going to be which team was at No. 5 between Ohio State and Alabama. The school at 5 instead of 6 would be in the pole position to steal a spot in the national semifinals should either No. 3 TCU or No. 4 USC lose this week. The Buckeyes landed the No. 5 spot and they are taking massive action at Caesars Sportsbook to win the national championship despite just getting thumped at home by Michigan.
Since OSU's 45-23 loss on Saturday, the team that has gotten most money to win national title at Caesars is Ryan Day's club. The Buckeyes were as high as +5000 following the loss but now are all the way down to +750 third favorites, ahead of the Horned Frogs (+1200) and Trojans (+1200).
This will be the first time since 2017 there won't be a top-5 matchup during conference championship weekend. Southern Cal lost a wild shootout at Utah earlier this season but is currently -3 against the No. 11 Utes for Friday's Pac-12 title game in Las Vegas. TCU rallied past Kansas State 38-28 earlier this year but the No. 10 Wildcats are rolling entering the Big 12 title game Saturday in Arlington and are only +2.5.
History hints that Ohio State will not get in as 26 of the previous 32 teams in the top four in the second-to-last ranking have made the CFP. Five of the six that didn't make it lost in the final weekend.
The easiest path for the Buckeyes would be for USC to lose to Utah, because that would be the Trojans' second loss to the Utes this year and Utah isn't getting a playoff spot. ESPN's Football Power Index has the Trojans listed as the No. 14 team in the nation, below four three-loss programs and four-loss Texas, largely because the USC defense is so terrible.
What if only TCU loses this weekend among the top four? The playoff committee kept Ohio State ranked ahead of TCU when both teams were undefeated, a sign it may view the Buckeyes as the better team overall. If the chalk holds this weekend, Ohio State is likely headed back to the Rose Bowl.
No. 1 Georgia remains the -160 title favorite and No. 2 Michigan is +280 – both will get into the playoff even with upset losses Saturday. Alabama is +5000 and there are no other options. The final rankings come out on Sunday.
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