To show just how unlikely a TCU run to the College Football Playoff was at 200-1 starting the season, it’s worth looking at which teams currently stand an equal chance of winning the national championship in 60 minutes next year. According BetOnline.ag, six teams have a +20,000 chance of being the kings of college football in 2023, which is the exact equivalent of 200-1. Each of these teams qualified for bowling this season, and one even won the New Year’s Six-Six game last season.
Next in line
The Tulane, NC State, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Baylor, and Louisville sextet are an oddly placed six. Green Wave obviously stands out among this group as it beat USC at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Trojans had Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, and without either of their two losses to Utah, they are in this year’s CFP instead of Ohio State. The losers of the Cotton Bowl have a 12-1 chance of being crowned champions next season. Heck, this Utah team that has beaten USC twice and has star quarterback Cameron Rising returning to Salt Lake City in the fall has a 50-1 odds. Tulane is one of six people who are four times as likely to lift the title.
Riding the green wave
Tulane’s route may be the most likely of the six. Cincinnati shattered the Group of Five bubble in 2021, allowing the Green Wave Conference team two games away from the title. Yes, the Bearcats have clearly been outclassed by Alabama. They didn’t get either kicking ass like TCU received from Georgia on Monday evening. The Bulldogs are the shocking favorites to take three peats at 3-1 odds.
Looking at the rest of this sextet, NC State has aspired to a New Year’s six in the underdog ACC this season, and it’s really hard to see how in one off-season the Wolfpack can pull it all together. Mike Gundy from Oklahoma he is an experienced coach who has had his team dance around four teams in the playoffs several times. The Cowboys have never been stuck landing, and in the Big 12 with Texas and Oklahoma for at least one season, don’t bet on a TCU-like breakthrough. You can reject Louisville. The Cardinals lost their head coach to Cincinnati in the offseason and have no recruiting capacity or roster to make any major attack. Baylor is in the same boat despite the 2021 campaign where he won the New Year’s six game.
Can Arkansas return Razor-back to glory?
If Tulane isn’t there the most direct route to the CFP among those six, I believe it is Arkansas, purely due to the Razorbacks playing in the Southeastern Conference. The rise from Fayetteville could be similar to what we’ve seen in Tennessee this season. The win over Alabama cemented the Volunteers as true contenders for the mid-season title. Arkansas plays almost all of the SEC heavyweights in the regular season, and his yearlong crossover game should be a walkover against Vanderbilt. While it may seem unlikely how Razorbacks will now make it into the CFP, TCU’s odds were exactly the same before his Chase after Cinderella.