National Championship Odds Here Comes Cincinnati

Updated National Championship Odds: Here Comes Cincinnati

No Group of 5 school has ever reached the College Football Playoff, but that may change this season with Cincinnati of the American Athletic Conference up to No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25 off a win over Notre Dame in Week 5, ending the Irish’s 26-game home winning streak. The Bearcats are still good long-shot value to win the national title at +10000 on the NCAAF odds.

College Football Playoff Odds 2021

Cincinnati beat the Irish 24-14 in the first top-10, regular-season matchup in program history. Star QB Desmond Ridder accounted for 323 yards of total offense (297 passing yards, 26 rushing yards) and three total touchdowns, tossing for a pair of first-half scores and putting the game away with a six-yard touchdown rush with five minutes left in the game. He’s a legitimate Heisman candidate and improved his career mark to 34-4 (.894) to remain the nation’s winningest active quarterback.

“If we do that and we go undefeated and we play 12 or 11 perfect games, whatever it is, as good as we can, and they still don’t put us in there, that’s not our call,” Ridder said of making the College Football Playoff. “We don’t have the call to make the playoff.”

Cincinnati forced three turnovers in the first half as the Bearcats jumped out to a 17-0 lead. The Bearcats have 11 takeaways over the last three games (8 interceptions and three fumble recoveries). Cincinnati is among the nation’s leaders in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score only 46.1% of the time (6 for 13).

The win over No. 9-ranked Notre Dame marked Cincinnati’s first-ever road win over a Top-10 team in school history. It was the first win over a Top 10 team since Cincinnati defeated No. 7 Rutgers, 30-11, on Nov. 18, 2006 at Nippert Stadium. It was also the Bearcats’ highest over a ranked team on the road, No. 14 Pitt in 2009. It also won 42-13 at No. 16 SMU in 2020.

It may have been the biggest win in school history.

“You’d have to ask the people who have been here a lot longer than me,” Coach Luke Fickell said. “I know it’s special. I know we’re really proud. I know it’s a step in the direction that these guys have worked for. I don’t want it to be a one-and-done type of thing and that this is the greatest ever. But there’s a lot more people who have spent a lot more time here and could give you a better lesson on that.”

UC opened as 28.5-point favorite this Friday at home vs. Temple and will be heavily favored in every game the rest of the regular season. If the Bearcats run the table, they probably will be in the playoff.

Notre Dame is now +15000 to win a national title and probably has no path to the playoff due to that loss. The Irish visit Virginia Tech on Saturday. Notre Dame has won 20-consecutive-regular season games against ACC opponents. Its last defeat against an ACC foe in the regular season came back in 2017 against Miami. Of those 20 wins, 15 were won by 10 points or more.

A big loser in Week 5 was Oregon, which was upset at unranked Stanford and is now +4000 to win a title. The Ducks scored 17 straight points to open the second half and take a 24-17 lead, and they were driving in Stanford territory with less than three minutes left in regulation. But two false start penalties moved the Ducks back and led to a punt, three penalties on Oregon’s defense led to Stanford scoring the game-tying touchdown to end regulation, and the Cardinal scored to open overtime while the Ducks were unable to answer.

It should be noted, though, that there have been seven College Football Playoffs, meaning 28 teams. Of those 28, only 11 were undefeated when they arrived and one of those was an Ohio State team that made it despite playing only six games during the 2020 regular season. Of the 11 undefeated, eight have been Alabama, Clemson or Ohio State. So one loss might not be fatal.  Oregon still has arguably the best win of the season, at Ohio State. That should keep the one-loss Ducks ahead of the one-loss Buckeyes and probably ahead of every other one-loss team.

Alabama remains the +140 title favorite after clobbering ranked Ole Miss and Georgia is a +160 second-favorite after dominating ranked Arkansas 37-0. Those two are on a collision course for the SEC title game and even the loser of that probably gets into the playoff if both are unbeaten entering.


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