Should you bet on a non-Power Five team to make the college football playoff?

Even if his team achieves perfection in the common season, Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell may not obtain an invite to the four-team College Football Playoff, a system that serves as the sport’s unique nation membership. Only the elite want apply.

It’s apparent one thing is incorrect with the system, and one thing wants to change.

“I’ve long, long been an advocate of expanding the playoff,” VSiN’s Brent Musburger mentioned. “I think the little guys should get a chance.”

The Cincinnati youngsters might be the better of the little guys this season. The Bearcats return 14 starters, together with star quarterback Desmond Ridder, from a team that was sitting at 9-0 final yr when playoff invitations have been handed out to Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

It has been a comparable story yr after yr. The four-team playoff is actually rigged to stop groups from outdoors of the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12) from taking part. Cincinnati competes in the American Athletic Conference, a part of the Group of Five, a well mannered label for the lesser conferences.

Cincinnati Bearcats
The Cincinnati Bearcats battle to attain the playoffs due to the four-team format.
Getty Images

BetMGM lists Cincinnati at 100/1 odds to win the nationwide championship, however the fact is the Bearcats face odds deeper into triple digits merely due to the excessive hurdles they have to clear simply to get into the exclusionary playoff.

Outside of the ordinary favorites — Alabama (5/2), Clemson (9/2), Ohio State (6/1) and Oklahoma (8/1) — solely a handful of groups are price consideration on the college football futures board, the place Cinderellas and sleeper groups wouldn’t have a life like path to the playoff.

“I think Iowa State could climb into the mix,” Musburger mentioned. “How’s that for a shock? I’m a huge, huge fan of [coach] Matt Campbell, and I think the Cyclones could be the surprise of the college football season.”

Iowa State of the Big 12 is posted at 25/1 odds. Some different Power Five contenders price a look are Georgia (5/1), Texas A&M (30/1), LSU (35/1), Notre Dame (40/1), Oregon (40/1), North Carolina (50/1), Texas (50/1), USC (50/1) and Wisconsin (50/1).

Ohio State and Alabama
Ohio State and Alabama are each yearly frontrunners to make the playoffs.
Getty Images

Paul Stone, a Texas-based college football handicapper and VSiN contributor, mentioned he ranks Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia and Oklahoma as the prime 5 groups in his energy rankings. He additionally provides Iowa State, Texas A&M and maybe the Pac-12 champion a shot at the four-team playoff.

“If you want to look down the board a little bit and buy a lottery ticket, then I’d take a small shot on Utah at 150/1,” Stone mentioned. “The Utes will be greatly improved at quarterback with Baylor grad transfer Charlie Brewer. Plus they return a lot of experienced players on both sides of the ball and have one of the game’s most underrated coaches in Kyle Whittingham.”

Utah has a favorable Pac-12 schedule. Aside from enjoying at USC, the Utes get house video games in opposition to Arizona State, Oregon and UCLA.

The backside line is the college football futures board is presently a boring possibility for the betting public.

Since the inception of the four-team playoff at the finish of the 2014 season, 20 of the 28 playoff spots have gone to 4 groups — Alabama (six), Clemson (six), Ohio State (4) and Oklahoma (4). The solely different team with a number of appearances is Notre Dame (two). The different six spots went to Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, Oregon and Washington.

Iowa State
Iowa State is a team to contemplate for the playoffs this yr.
AP

If Cincinnati breaks by way of this yr, it could be the first Group of Five team to attain the playoff. Fickell scheduled highway video games in opposition to two Power Five opponents — Indiana on Sept. 18 and Notre Dame on Oct. 2 — and the Bearcats should win each plus run the desk to have any playoff shot.

An expanded playoff can’t come quickly sufficient for many bettors and bookmakers. A 12-team playoff plan that was proposed in June may ultimately spark extra curiosity in a stale college football system.

“The 12-team model obviously creates a level of inclusion that currently does not exist,” Stone mentioned. “Most fans love the underdog and the David versus Goliath stories, and the expanded playoff will give teams like Cincinnati and Boise State a shot at the Alabamas and Clemsons of the world.”

A 12-team playoff, nonetheless not less than three years away, would open new alternatives for small-conference groups and set off extra various betting motion on lengthy pictures.

“I think it’s pretty universal that we’re all looking forward to the playoff expanding,” mentioned Vinny Magliulo, VSiN oddsmaker and veteran Las Vegas bookmaker. “There has not been as a lot play in the college football futures e-book. The NFL futures have taken extra motion.

“A bigger playoff will mean terrific business. When we get to the 12-team playoff, you have room to maneuver and it will definitely increase the wagering handle for the college football futures.”

Musburger’s cash is on a team from Ohio this season, but it surely’s not Cincinnati.

“If I had to pick one team right now to win it all, I would take the Buckeyes,” Musburger mentioned. “Hey, ask [Michigan coach] Jim Harbaugh how hard it is to beat Ohio State.”

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