Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey will never admit it publicly, but I promise you that he's rooting for Associated Press No. 4 Alabama to upset No. 1 Georgia in Saturday's SEC Championship Game from Atlanta because if that happens, the SEC is getting both teams into the College Football Playoff. If Bryce Young doesn't have a horrible game vs. the Dawgs, he's also going to become the first-ever Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy as he's a -200 favorite. Alabama is +6.5 at Caesars Sportsbook, the biggest they have been underdogs in more than a decade.
With Ohio State being upset by Michigan on Saturday, that knocked Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud out of the Heisman Trophy favored role to a +400 second-favorite at Caesars. Stroud will not get to impress voters again with OSU not in the Big Ten Championship Game – Michigan opened as a 10.5-point favorite over Iowa. Heisman ballots are due next Monday and that's also when finalists will be announced.
Young had been favored much of the season. He led a miracle comeback win in the Iron Bowl over Auburn, 24-22 in four overtimes. Young hit Ja'Corey Brooks on a 28-yard TD pass to tie the game (after the PAT) with just 24 seconds left. He finished 25 of 51 for 317 yards and two scores with a pick. Stroud actually had better numbers against a better team (394 yards passing, two TDs), but Heisman voters like winners. Pretty amazing that no Alabama QB has won the Heisman.
The last time Alabama was an underdog in any game was on Oct. 3, 2015 at Georgia when it was +1 and rolled the Dawgs 38-10. The last time Bama was +6.5 or higher was the 2008 SEC Championship Game vs. Florida at +10, which Tim Tebow and the Gators won 31-20.
There will be two College Football rankings this week: Tuesday and then "Selection Sunday." Georgia will be No. 1 again Tuesday with the rest of the Top 4 in whatever order likely to be Cincinnati, Michigan and Notre Dame.
Ohio State's playoff hopes surely are dashed with that second loss. The Irish might actually catch a break in that they don't play a conference title game. Cincinnati is -11 at home in the AAC title game against Houston. The winner of the Big 12 title game between Oklahoma State and Baylor, with the Cowboys at -5.5, might need some help to get into the playoff. Maybe if one side crushes the other it could jump the Irish in the final rankings.
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