For the first time since 2005, there is a college football national titlist from a conference other than the Southeastern Conference. Accordingly, a rare case of the preseason odds not having an SEC at the top has defending National Champion Florida State favorite to repeat.
Only one SEC is among the top four and two in the top seven, though contenders eight through 10 hail from the powerhouse conference. With Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston leading a group of impressive returnees, the Seminoles are +550 to repeat.
Alabama, winner of three of the previous five crowns is next at +650. Led by superstar Marcus Mariota the Oregon Ducks are next at +700. Ohio State, whose run last year was cut short last year in the Big Ten Championship game is tied with defending SEC Champ Auburn at +1000.
The oddsmakers expect UCLA to become the elite team in Los Angeles as Jim Mora’s squad checks in at +1500 tying then with Oklahoma. Three SEC teams round out the Top 10 contenders with Georgia at +2000, LSU +2300, and South Carolina +2500.
Though the new four-team playoff system in theory gives a better chance for non-power conferences to contend BYU is the top favorite outside traditional BCS conference schools at +30,000.
Marshall is a consensus No. 23 team in the country but is part of “the field” in sportsbook odds. Other notable teams are Notre Dame is a major long shot at +4500 despite the return of Everett Golson who was suspended last year for academic reasons. One-time power Florida is +400 and Texas rebuilding in the post Mac Brown era is +5000.