College Football Playoff shakeup: Big Ten, SEC make biggest push

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October 4th, 2019

The Clemson Tigers remain the favorite to win their second consecutive College Football Playoff despite a near defeat to the unranked North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday. The Tigers came away with a one-point victory on the road, as Heisman hopeful Trevor Lawrence turned in another ho-hum performance (18-of-30 passing, 206 yards, one touchdown).

While the Tigers remain atop the odds board, several other teams saw their championship odds improve after Week 5.

The Big Ten is a force

The Wisconsin Badgers didn’t experience any odds movement after a 24-15 home win against Northwestern, but they still come in at +2000 as the Big Ten team with the second-best chances of winning the CFP.

The Ohio State Buckeyes surged ahead to improve from +900 odds to +500 after they annihilated Nebraska, 48-7, on the road. The Buckeyes are the third favorite to claim the national title—behind Clemson and Alabama (+275)—and next face No. 25 Michigan State at home.
The Buckeyes should come away with their sixth-straight win Saturday, but the schedule becomes tougher in the second half of the season. They’ll battle Wisconsin at home October 26 and host another Big Ten team hot on their trail in November.

The No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions might have a shot against Ohio State, but it won’t matter much for their College Playoff hopes if they can’t get past No. 14 Iowa, No. 19 Michigan and Michigan State in October. Penn State is undefeated, with wins against Idaho, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Maryland. The Nittany Lions' championship odds moved from +8000 to +4000 over the weekend, after they handed Maryland an embarrassing 59-0 loss in College Park.

The 4-0 Iowa Hawkeyes also jumped from +10000 to +7000 but may come back down after their road appointment with Michigan on Saturday.

The SEC is still mighty

The SEC boasts Alabama and Georgia as favorites to earn a CFP national title, while Auburn isn’t too far behind at +3000. The team that took the largest leap after Week 5, however, is No. 10 Florida, which went from +10000 to +5000 after its fifth win.

The Gators haven’t played the stiffest competition, but it’s all about to change Saturday, when they host No. 7 Auburn. The Tigers’ outlook isn’t promising, either, with games against No. 5 LSU (+1000) and No. 3 Georgia. The Bulldogs were lifted to +800 odds from +900 following their 23-17 standoff against Notre Dame.

Other notable movers

The Texas Longhorns already have one loss to LSU, but moved up from +10000 to +6000 after the Longhorns snuck past Oklahoma State, 36-30. The chances of Texas getting into the playoff are slim, but it’s not out of the question if the Longhorns can get past No. 6 Oklahoma (+1300) on October 12.

Another team that made a surprising push on the odds board is Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons sit at +10000 with a 5-0 record and may just shock the ACC if they can get past Clemson. The Tigers look beatable, and Wake Forest has a chance to prove it against the Tigers on November 11. Even if the Demon Deacons somehow made it to the CFP, the journey would likely come to an end in the semifinal against one of the powerhouses.

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