College Football: Possible BCS Championship Senarios

It’s a no-brainer that the winner of the #2 Michigan - #1 Ohio State match-up will play in the BCS National Championship Game on January 8th. Who the other contender will be is a much harder to predict. Both teams in the championship game will be determined by the BCS Standings, but the criteria appear to change each year.

This season’s BCS formula comprises three factors that equally contribute to the rankings:

1: Harris Interactive College Football Poll, The Harris Poll uses an average rating from 114 poll participants (former players, coaches, administrators and current and former members of the media).

 2: USA Today Coaches' Poll, the USA Today Coaches’ Poll is comprised of 63 head coaches at Division I-A institutions. 3: An average of six computer rankings, the computer rankings use six different sources, and discard the high and low rating for each team to get an average.


After last weekend, the current BCS standings are:



Ohio State
























Notre Dame


















West Virginia


















So who are the leading contenders for the #2 spot?


At #3, USC is in control of its own destiny. The Trojans have two tough match-ups versus #15 California and #5 Notre Dame, while also facing cross-town rival UCLA. If USC wins out, they should finish at the #2 spot due to their strength of schedule.

Current odds on USC at

To win the National Championship +642

To play in the BCS Championship Game +255


Florida’s chances are hurt by the remainder of their schedule against unranked opponents Western Carolina and Florida State. The Gators hope that #7 Arkansas can win its two remaining games over Mississippi State and LSU to reach the SEC Championship Game. A SEC title win against a one-loss Arkansas team, would add a quality win to the Gators resume, but even that might not be enough to pass USC or the Ohio State/Michigan loser in the standings.

Current odds on Florida at

To win the National Championship +992

To play in the BCS Championship Game +480

Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish are a distant fifth, and would need several breaks to have a shot. Not only will Notre Dame have to win on the road against #3 USC, they would also need Florida to lose one of their three remaining games.

Current odds on Notre Dame at

To win the National Championship +2001

To play in the BCS Championship Game +850


Rutgers playing for the National Championship? It’s hard to put that in a sentence, but the Scarlet Knights could get the coveted #2 spot even though it’s a long shot. The “most likely” scenario being: Rutgers beats #8 West Virginia on the road, #3 USC loses to #15 Cal, USC then defeats #5 Notre Dame, #7 Arkansas beats #4 Florida, and the Ohio State/Michigan game is a blowout. Rutgers is ranked second by the computer rankings, but lack of name recognition, schedule strength and  playing in the less-competitive Big East might foil their championship aspirations, even if they finish undefeated. Even with their perfect scenario, the loser of Ohio State/Michigan might still get invited to a rematch for the National Championship.

Current odds on Rutgers at

To win the National Championship +2286

To play in the BCS Championship Game +800


With a win over lowly Mississippi State this weekend, the Razorbacks will clinch the SEC West and will face Florida in the SEC Championship Game. Before heading to Atlanta for the conference championship, Arkansas host the eleventh-ranked LSU Tigers, who are widely considered the best two-loss team in the nation. A victory over LSU, combined with an SEC Championship Game win over Florida, will give the Razorbacks two additional quality wins. While Arkansas needs a lot of help, a BCS Championship birth isn’t out of the realm of possibility. If all the contenders currently ranked ahead of Arkansas lose, it would be very difficult to omit a one-loss team that went undefeated in the toughest conference in the country from the Championship Game.

Current odds on Arkansas at

To win the National Championship +1595

To play in the BCS Championship Game +900

The Ohio State/Michigan Loser

The top two teams in the nation currently stand head and shoulders above the competition in the BCS Standings. Several scenarios could unfold that result in a rematch of “The Game” for the National Championship on January 8th. For instance, if this weekend’s 103rd meeting between the Big Ten rivals is decided by a slim margin or comes down to a last second winning score, the losing team may not drop far enough in the rankings to be supplanted in the #2 spot. Even if the win is decisive, the other contenders all face major challenges on the remainder of their schedule that could easily result in a loss. While an Ohio State/Michigan rematch might be a nightmare for the NCAA, the current system doesn’t have any safeguards in place to prevent this from happening.

Current odds on Ohio State at

To win the National Championship +108

To play in the BCS Championship Game -400


Current odds on Michigan at

To win the National Championship +339

To play in the BCS Championship Game +194


What are our players betting this week at the Pinnacle Sports book?


Michigan +6.5 +106 v. Ohio State 

Only once in 11 games has Ohio State won by less than 17 points. The top-ranked Buckeyes have crushed their opponents with the combination of stingy defense (allowing less than 8 points per game) and the Troy Smith-led offense, who now has 26 touchdown passes to just four interceptions. 

Michigan opened as a 6.5-point underdog. With record-setting volume early in the week, the line has moved between +6.5 and +7. This is the second time Michigan was an underdog this year – the Wolverines were 5-point dogs to Notre Dame, before routing the Irish 47-21. 

One reason for the higher trading in this game (aside from the obvious #1 vs #2 match-up) is that different approaches to handicapping clearly favor different selections. In the BCS Computer rankings, 5 of the 6 programs rank Michigan #1, which would clearly favor playing the Wolverines plus the points. Most of these rankings weigh strength of schedule as much, or more, than margin of victory. 

Michigan has had the tougher schedule, making an 11-game stretch with no losses better on paper than Ohio State’s 11-0 run with blowouts against slightly easier opponents. On the other hand, if you place a substantial weight on margin of victory, you might favor Ohio State instead.  


California +6 -105 v. USC 

Similar to the Michigan-Ohio State game, this match-up also has huge BCS implications. If the Trojans win out, they will almost certainly play in the championship game. The Bears opened at +3.5 (-105) and USC backers quickly bet this up. The line spiked as high as -6.5 (-105) before California money started flowing. While the sharps have not played this game, the public has favored USC by a three-to-one margin. 


Indianapolis -1 -103 v. Dallas 

Any undefeated NFL team with 6 or more wins will be a “public team” until they lose. The Colts this year (and last) will continue to take public money, no matter how often they fail to cover, and no matter how often they barely squeak out another win. This week, the public has favored the Colts by an eight-to-one margin. Despite the public backing, our opener of Dallas -1 (+100) has moved two points to favor Indy, but the sharps are mostly on Dallas.

by: Anthony White - - Email Us

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