Ohio State back in business

Updated National Championship odds: Ohio State back in business

Formerly top-ranked and defending national champion Alabama had been the betting favorite NCAAF to win another title this season, but the Tide were shocked at unranked Texas A&M over the weekend to fall to No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25 and to a +240 second favorite on the title odds behind new AP No. 1 team Georgia (+120). The Tide and Dawgs are likely to meet in the SEC title game in December.

Analysis & Predictions College Football 2021

However, let’s focus today on Ohio State, which is a +800 third-favorite to win the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes seemed like toast following a 35-28 home loss to Oregon on Sept. 11, but Ohio State has been crushing people since. The Buckeyes trashed Maryland 66-17 this past Saturday.

Quarterback CJ Stroud completed 24-of-33 passes for 406 yards and matched his career high with five touchdown passes. The redshirt freshman became the first Ohio State quarterback to throw for 400 yards, five TDs and zero interceptions in a game and just the second with back-to-back five touchdown performances.

Stroud currently ranks third nationally in quarterback efficiency (194.7), fifth in touchdown passes (18) and sixth in yards per game (339.8). In his last two starts – wins over Rutgers and Maryland – he has completed 73 percent of his passes (41-of-56) for 736 yards with 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s now a +500 third-favorite to win the Heisman Trophy behind Alabama QB Bryce Young (+170) and Ole Miss QB Matt Corral (+180).

Chris Olave’s two touchdown catches moved him into sole possession of third place on Ohio State’s all-time list with 29. The only two wide receivers with more are Devin Smith (30) and David Boston (34).  Chris Olave passed Ted Ginn Jr. in receptions, moving him into ninth all-time in Ohio State history with 141 for his career. The Buckeyes are off this week.

Oklahoma is the only other team below +2000 at +1400. The Sooners beat rival Texas 55-48 on Saturday in a wild game. Kennedy Brooks ran for 217 yards and two go-ahead touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 33-yard romp with 3 seconds left. The Sooners, who benched starting quarterback Spencer Rattler in favor of Caleb Williams, appeared to be trying to set up for a game-ending field goal when Brooks instead broke free for a sprint to the end zone.

Oklahoma overcame a 21-point deficit (trailed 28-7) to mark its largest comeback victory against Texas. The largest deficit overcome for an OU win in the series prior was 11 points in 1996 and again in 2002. The win was the Sooners’ 14th straight, good for the second-longest streak in the country. This is Oklahoma’s seventh win streak of 14 or more games in its history and its longest since winning 14 in a row in the 2016 and ’17 seasons (last 10 games of 2016 and first four of ’17). This is Oklahoma’s second 6-0 start in the last 10 years. OU started the 2019 season 7-0.

OU hosts TCU this Saturday in what could be a trap game. Coach Lincoln Riley says he hasn’t decided yet whether Rattler, who was the Heisman Trophy favorite entering the season or Williams will start at QB. Riley hasn’t previously or seriously considered a midseason quarterback change during his time at Oklahoma.

Rattler had an interception and a fumble in the first half as Texas jumped out to a big lead, so Riley made the switch to Williams. It paid off in a big way as Williams threw for 212 yards, rushed for 88 yards and had three total touchdowns. Oklahoma averaged 5.3 yards per play with Rattler in the game and 10.1 with Williams.

“Just like any position, I think we’ll look at the game plan versus TCU, continue to evaluate these guys as they practice and go with who helps us the most,” Riley said. “Feel like we have two guys in the room that are really good players and who we can win with, so we’ll keep eval(uating) it and keep trying to put the best people on the field that help us win and move the ball and score points.”

Williams was the No. 7-ranked recruit in the 2021 class. Rattler was a five-star prospect in the 2019 class.

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