Ohio State ended the 2014-2015 college football season with two surprising victories, upsetting Alabama in the College Football Playoff Semifinal and beating Oregon in the CFP National Championship. If the Buckeyes are able to repeat in 2015-2016, they won’t be doing so as underdogs.
A month and a half after winning the title, the Buckeyes are considered to have the best chance to do so in 2016. The latest betting odds have them listed as 4/1 favorites to win next year’s national championship.
Urban Meyer’s team will be returning its top players from the championship run. Ezekiel Elliott will return, after rushing for at least 220 yards in his final three games. Not only will quarterback Cardale Jones come back, but the player he replaced, J.T. Barrett, will also be on the team. Linebacker Darron Lee and defensive end Joey Bosa will be back, on the other side of the ball.
The team that’s favored to meet Ohio State in the title game didn’t even make the playoffs this past season. TCU was left out of the top four, finishing sixth in the final College Football Rankings. The Horned Frogs went 11-1, and some felt they should have been selected over the Buckeyes. TCU had the second-best offense in the country, and quarterback Trevone Boykin is set to return as a top Heisman Trophy candidate.
Alabama finished the regular season as the No.1 team in the nation, and they’ll be a title contender, once again. Quarterback Blake Sims and wide receiver Amari Cooper are gone, but head coach Nick Saban has brought in reinforcements. ESPN ranks the Crimson Tide's 2015 recruiting class as the best in the nation. Meanwhile, Lane Kiffin returns to run an offense that appeared to overachieve in 2014.
Oregon and Florida State are still considered to be among the best teams in all of college football, but they won’t have an easy time playing as well as they did last year. With Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota heading to the NFL, the Seminoles and Ducks both have big shoes to fill at quarterback.
USC brings back star quarterback Cody Kessler, and added a stellar recruiting class. Head coach Steve Sarkisian enters his second season at the helm, and will have an experienced roster, particularly on the offensive line. A rather unimposing schedule should help put the Trojans in the playoff picture.
Michigan’s odds might be more in contrast to how they performed last year than any other team. The Wolverines went 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten. Having hired Jim Harbaugh as their head coach, they rank tied for 17th with 40/1 odds.
Nine SEC teams have odds of 50/1 or better. Seven teams with odds of 50/1 or better finished the regular season outside of the top 25 CFP rankings.
Below are betting odds to win the 2015-2016 College Football National Championship. All odds are courtesy of Bovada.lv.
Ohio State 4/1
Michigan State 25/1
Florida State 28/1
Notre Dame 28/1
Mississippi State 40/1
Arizona State 50/1
Texas A&M 50/1