The odds makers are busy setting lines for not only next week but are keeping an eye on which schools will be summoned by the playoff . Let's analyze the schools that are in contention.
1. Alabama (10-1 SU, 6-5 ATS) +240 - The Tide rolled over little Charleston Southern 56-6 and you can be rest assured Nick Saban was not happy with the pair of field goals allowed by his stellar defense. So let's stop the nonsense. Alabama is the true No. 1 team in the nation despite the fact that the Clemson Tigers remain undefeated.
Pick a dome, stadium, field or parking lot half way between Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Clemson, South Carolina and let's call the game a pick'em only as long as you're taking the action. I highly doubt you will see anyone's hard earned dinero coming in on the Tigers unless you give them a head start. We cannot pretend any longer. This Alabama defense is historic which more than mitigates a somewhat tepid passing game on the offensive side of things.
2. Clemson (11-0 SU, 6-5 ATS) +400 - Though it is unfair for a team to lose their lofty perch at the top the college football rankings for doing nothing more than defeating a weak conference opponent, as the Tigers did to Wake Forest last week, it is nonetheless impossible to ignore another more deserving team any longer. Clemson has had an outstanding season and defied all expectations but they are not better than Alabama and probably wouldn't beat a handful of teams in the top 10. There, I said it! Honesty lends such sweet, merciful freedom. I can breathe again!
Despite my protestations to the contrary the Tigers will most likely remain in the top spot to the bitter end with South Carolina next week and an ACC championship game already slated against North Carolina. Both winnable games.
3. Iowa (11-0 SU, 6-5 ATS) +2500 - The Hawkeyes may not have covered the college football odds last week but they stayed unbeaten and defeated Purdue soundly enough to finally break on through from the periphery to the top four. Iowa has a better record and a larger margin of points scored versus points allowed than the highly touted Big Ten giant-slayers Michigan State. The Hawkeyes travel to Cornhusker Country next week where they will finish the regular season undefeated and await their opponent in the conference title game that will tell the tale of whether or not they are included in the field of four.
4. Michigan State (10-1 SU, 4-7 ATS) +5000- To the victor go the spoils which is exactly why the Spartans burst the playoff bubble with their shocking 17-14 win over the Buckeyes. Michigan State is the perfect illustration of why it is better to lose your only game early rather than late in the season. All things being about even, including regular season record, the Committee wants to see the best teams at the end of the season compete for a national championship not those that may be on the decline. MSU fits that bill.
5. Oklahoma (10-1 SU, 8-3 ATS) +1000 - The Sooners didn't exactly cover themselves in glory with their ever so narrow 30-29 victory over No. 18 TCU considering the Horned Frogs were operating without two of their most potent offensive weapons in Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson. However, Okie did go into the second half without quarterback and Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield after he was struck with a helmet-on-helmet hit by TCU's Ty Summers who was summarily ejected. They got the job done by batting away TCU's two-point conversion at the end of the game that would have upset the No. 5 ranked Sooners.
Those who have backed Oklahoma throughout the season in their college football picks have made a sound return on investment despite the failed cover on Saturday as the team has cashed in eight of 11 opportunities. If they can defeat their intrastate rivals Oklahoma State in Stillwater next week then it would be hard to argue that this school does not belong in the playoff tournament.
6. Baylor (9-1 SU, 5-5 ATS) +6600 - The only thing better than winning at home by a point is winning by double digits on the road which is exactly what Baylor did last week as they snapped Oklahoma State's undefeated record and propelled themselves right up the college football rankings. Unfortunately for Baylor their lone loss was to the team directly ahead of them, Oklahoma, and though Baylor's Week 12 win was more impressive than the Sooners' narrow win at home over TCU they must beat Texas next week and cross their fingers that Oklahoma loses to the Cowboys.
7. Notre Dame (10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS) +650 - Stop your bellyaching Irish fans. My opinion will not be shared by the people that matter and Notre Dame could very well remain at the No.4 spot when the Committee speaks early this week. Yet I cannot make a case for ND after their listless 19-16 win over Boston College on a neutral site. Now granted that neutral site was not exactly neutral as it happened to be Fenway Park located only miles from BC but beating a 3-7 team by three measly points? C'mon Irish, you're better than that! Based on your schedule I'm beginning to wonder. All Futures Odds provided by 5Dimes