No Group of Five school has taken part in the College Football Playoff since the four-team postseason system began in 2014. But, the Cincinnati Bearcats are threatening to end that streak this year, as the American Athletic Conference powerhouse is rapidly improving its national championship odds — even if sportsbooks aren’t yet recognizing that fact.
The Bearcats officially jumped into the playoff conversation on Saturday with a convincing 24-13 win at Notre Dame.
Bearcats becoming national championship threat
Cincinnati (4-0) jumped out to a 17-0 lead early and never trailed in beating the Fighting Irish. The Bearcats moved up to No. 5 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, while Notre Dame (4-1) fell to No. 13.
Oddsmakers are still questioning whether Cincinnati will make the College Football Playoff, let alone their chances against the likes of Alabama or Georgia if they get there. The Bearcats now have national championship odds of +4000 at FanDuel Sportsbook, the same number they posted last week.
Those odds are the same as undefeated Big Ten schools Iowa (5-0) and Penn State (5-0), who rank third and fourth in the AP Poll, respectively. The Nittany Lions will visit the Hawkeyes in a critical showdown this coming Saturday, with the winner likely solidifying themselves as a playoff contender.
Alabama (5-0) and Georgia (5-0) continue to dominate the AP Poll and the national championship odds. The Bulldogs remain at No. 2, but picked up nine first-place votes – compared to just four last week – after dismantling Arkansas 37-0 on Saturday. Alabama retained its No. 1 ranking with a 42-21 win over Mississippi. The two SEC schools stand as co-favorites to win the national championship at FanDuel, with both fetching +175 odds.
Oregon loss could end Pac-12 playoff hopes
Oregon (4-1) fell from No. 3 to No. 8 in the AP Poll after losing 31-24 to Stanford in overtime. The loss may end any hope of the Pac-12 sending a team to the College Football Playoff, though FanDuel still gives the Ducks a +5000 chance of winning the national title this year.
|AP Poll Rankings – Week 6 (Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Record||National Championship Odds|
|No. 1 Alabama||5-0||+175|
|No. 2 Georgia||5-0||+175|
|No. 3 Iowa||5-0||+4000|
|No. 4 Penn State||5-0||+4000|
|No. 5 Cincinnati||4-0||+4000|
|No. 6 Oklahoma||5-0||+1400|
|No. 7 Ohio State||4-1||+1000|
|No. 8 Oregon||4-1||+5000|
|No. 9 Michigan||5-0||+3000|
|No. 10 BYU||5-0||+20000|
The rest of the AP top 10 features four teams coming at playoff contention from very different angles. Oklahoma (5-0) sits at No. 6, after winning a third straight one-score game – this time, a 37-31 victory over Kansas State. The Sooners rate as a +1400 pick to win the national championship this season.
Ohio State (4-1) moved up to No. 7 with a blowout win over Rutgers. With their only loss coming to Oregon, the Buckeyes could still win the Big Ten and, potentially, make the College Football Playoff. FanDuel gives Ohio State strong +1000 odds of winning the national championship despite its loss.
No. 9 Michigan (5-0) ranks below three other Big Ten teams, but FanDuel gives the Wolverines relatively tight +3000 odds of winning the title. Meanwhile, independent BYU (5-0) moved up to No. 10 in the AP Poll, but remains a +20000 long shot to win the national championship, as they face a narrow path to the College Football Playoff.