Cocknfire has been doing some great work lately on discussing why a sixth consecutive national championship for the conference is unlikely. Of course, this time last year no one had Auburn as the team carrying the league's torch, so the unexpected is always out there.
The guys out in Las Vegas are supposed to be smart about these things, so why not take a peek at the odds on next year's national champion. Where do those guys think the SEC stands?
At the moment, Oklahoma is the favorite with 7/2 odds. However, Alabama clocks in right behind the Sooners with 15/2 odds. In that light, the bookies seem to think the SEC has a great shot at a sixth title. It goes on further from there, too. LSU has the sixth-best odds at 12/1, followed shortly thereafter by (stifle your laughter, folks) Florida with 15/1.
Here would be a great time to remember how odds work. They're not based entirely on objective analysis. They're also based on trying to get fools and their money parted from one another. Giving Florida the eighth-most likely odds of anyone in the nation is a great example of that. Amateurs might see Florida, look at recruiting rankings, think fondly of Will Muschamp's YouTube antics, and place a wager on UF. However, it's a team with a new head coach, two new coordinators, a quarterback with a broken psyche, a brutal schedule, and will transition from the spread to the pro-style offense. If those Gators win a title, the world might just end 11 months ahead of schedule.
So having said that, the Vegas guys actually seem to have as high an opinion of the Big 12 and Big Ten as the SEC. While they can't match the SEC's three in the top nine (with The Field being third), the Big 12 does have three in the top 12, and the Big Ten has three in the top 13. I had to catch myself when putting that together though—remember, Nebraska is in the Big Ten next year.
Here are the odds for all the SEC teams, with poor Kentucky and Vanderbilt being one of the 72 teams included in The Field:
- Alabama: 15/2
- LSU: 12/1
- Florida: 15/1
- Arkansas: 30/1
- Georgia: 50/1
- Ole Miss: 50/1
- Mississippi State: 50/1
- South Carolina: 50/1
- Auburn: 70/1
- Tennessee: 125/1
That has to be one of the worst odds given to a reigning national champion in recent memory. No one is giving Auburn any shot at a repeat, and with so many key players leaving, it's not hard to understand why. What surprises me some is that South Carolina is tied with Georgia and the Mississippi schools when the Gamecocks have eight home games and see Alabama rotate off the schedule.
Of course, that's splitting hairs a bit. I'm not sure South Carolina can win the conference title, much less the national title. Of course, I'm the genius who picked Auburn fourth in the SEC West last year. What do I know?