The chances of a Group of Five team reaching the College Football Playoff this season are slim. The four-team bracket will likely be filled with the typical blueblood Power Five programs. However, if one G5 was to make it, the college football betting odds say Cincinnati has the best shot.
The Bearcats have +1100 odds to make the CFP, the same as Miami and LSU. You have to go down to Boise State at +5000 to find the second-best odds for a G5 team to reach the playoffs. The third-best odds are Louisiana at +6600, and Coastal Carolina and UCF are +8000.
With Cincinnati and UCF leading the way, the AAC has developed into the strongest Group of Five conference, although the Mountain West may argue against that, and the Sun Belt is on the rise. And as realignment hits college football with Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, the trickle-down effect of how it impacts a conference like the AAC will be fascinating to watch.
Will the AAC stay intact? Will it lose teams? Will it add teams?
After a 9-1 season that included a No. 8 spot in the final College Football Playoff rankings and ended with a 24-21 loss to Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Cincinnati is the heavy favorite to win the AAC at -225. Behind a strong defense that allowed 16.8 points per game last year and an offense led by the 2020 AAC Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Desmond Ridder, the Bearcats are easily viewed as the top team in their conference and a top team in the country as well with a No. 8 ranking in the AP Preseason Top 25.
They are the first non-P5 team to be ranked in the preseason top 10 since Louisville was No. 9 to start 2012.
Cincinnati hosts UCF (+400) and Tulsa (+1600) while avoiding Memphis (+1200) and Houston (+1200).
There is a dropoff after those top five teams with SMU at +2500 and Tulane at +5000. Then there are the absolute longshots of East Carolina (+8000), Navy (+15000), South Florida (+25000), and Temple (+25000).
AAC Champion Odds
*As of Aug. 17
East Carolina +8000
South Florida +25000
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