When it comes to contenders for the national championship in college football, at least in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the schools that have the best chance are Notre Dame and the members of the Power 5 conferences, as they have an overwhelming chance to convince the College Football Playoff committee that they deserve one of the four slots in the playoff in January. The Big 12, the Big Ten, the Pac-12, the ACC and the SEC are those five conferences, with Notre Dame as a powerful independent. In this article, we look at the 2019 college football conference favorites in each Power 5 conference to win.
2019 College Football Conference Odds & Betting Favorites
— Athlon Sports (@AthlonSports) July 10, 2019
Big 12: Oklahoma Sooners
- 2019 College Football Conference Odds: -125
Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray quarterbacked the Oklahoma offense the last two seasons — and they both won Heisman Trophies. Mayfield is now leading the surprising Cleveland Browns, who are the favorites to win the AFC North in the NFL this year, and Murray has been drafted to lead a similar miracle with the Arizona Cardinals. Now comes Jalen Hurts, who transferred in from Alabama after posting a 26-2 career record, to take over Lincoln Riley’s offense. The question marks for Oklahoma come on defense.
The big question will come when Oklahoma plays Texas (+250 to win the Big 12), with Tom Herman entering his third season coaching the Longhorns. Texas beat Oklahoma in the regular season in 2018 en route to winning 10 games but ended up falling to the Sooners in the Big 12 title game. If Texas can pull off the sweep — or make it to the Big 12 Championship and knock off the Sooners there — then the Longhorns would be back in football’s elite. How much rust does Hurts have after sitting on the Alabama bench last year? Can Sam Ehlinger lead the Longhorns to that sort of marquee win? If you like Texas here, you get a lot more value.
Big Ten: Ohio State
- 2019 College Football Conference Odds: +100
The defending conference champions have undergone significant change. Urban Meyer is gone, and Ryan Day is the new head coach. Day has Mike Yurcich working with him to ready Justin Fields, the Buckeyes’ graduate transfer from Georgia, to run the offense. Greg Schiano left on the defensive side, so Day hired two former Michigan assistants to lead that side of the ball. Nick Bosa went into the draft, but Chase Young will lead the Buckeye defense on the field.
Right behind Ohio State is Michigan (+200), but they can’t seem to beat Ohio State, and if you can’t beat everyone in your division, you can’t expect to win a title. Shea Patterson is an outstanding quarterback and has new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, coming in from Alabama, which will make the Wolverine attack better. Expect Michigan-Ohio State to determine the conference winner.
- 2019 College Football Conference Odds: +180
The Huskies are the favorites despite replacing 13 starters, including nine on defense. Keith Taylor, Elijah Molden and Kyler Gordon will face exposure at cornerback, with no real experience at that position. Jason Eason has transferred in from Georgia to run the offense. Will he perform better in pressure games than Jake Browning? Their schedule is gentle, with trips to Tucson, Boulder and Corvallis giving them easy Pac-12 road games.
Right behind the Huskies on the odds sheet are Oregon (+200), with Justin Herbert returning for his senior season leading the offense. The Ducks do open against Auburn, but win or lose, that will not affect their conference record. Oregon does need to replace wideout Dillon Mitchell, but their offensive line remains stout, and their defensive front might be the best in the conference.
- 2019 College Football Conference Odds: -600
The Tigers lost a lot of players to the NFL, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, but their recruiting remains solid, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence returns for his sophomore season, along with junior tailback Travis Etienne. So the offense should be solid. It also helps that there really is not a foil for the Tigers in conference play.
- 2019 College Football Conference Odds: -200
The Crimson Tide return Tua Tagovailoa to lead their offense in his junior year, and all of the other teams in the SEC West are down. Auburn offers a lot of value at +2800, but their cross-divisional games include Georgia and Florida, and Texas A&M plays at Georgia as well. What about those Bulldogs? Georgia (+250) seems like a lock to roll through the SEC East, but until they knock off the Tide when it counts, no one will take them seriously.