A lot can still happen before the start of the 2016 college football season, but various sportsbooks like Mybookie.ag have released preliminary NCAA football lines on futures to win the Power 5 Conference titles. As the first two years of the College Football Playoff have proved, you have to win your major conference title to reach the national semifinals.
Closer Look at the 2016 College Football Betting Odds to Win Conference Title
The favorite to win the ACC is Clemson, which is the defending conference champion, at +145. Really the only competition that the Tigers are likely to have is from Florida State, which is +235. Those teams play in the same Atlantic Division, so whichever school wins their head-to-head matchup probably wins the ACC title over the weaker Coastal Division opponent in the ACC title game. The Seminoles bring back every single offensive starter. Star tailback Dalvin Cook had surgery to clean up his right shoulder but is expected to be ready for the start of camp in August. Incumbent quarterback Sean Maguire also sat out the spring while recovering from a broken ankle but should be fine for fall camp. This year’s Clemson-FSU game is Oct. 29 in Tallahassee. Clemson won last year at home 23-13. Tigers star QB Deshaun Watson rallied the Tigers from a 10-6 halftime deficit with three long second-half scoring drives. He threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Deon Cain, Greg Huegel kicked three field goals and Wayne Gallman came through with a game-sealing score.
Ohio State is the +160 favorite to win the Big Ten but the Buckeyes lost so much talent off last year’s club. The defending conference champion is Michigan State, which is +550. Coach Mark Dantonio faces a major rebuilding job this coming season, having to replace quarterback Connor Cook, a three-year starter, and three starting offensive linemen. Fifth-year senior Tyler O’Connor will finally get his chance to start at quarterback. The Spartans bring back six starters on defense including likely 2016 All-American Malik McDowell, a tackle.
In the Big 12, Oklahoma is the +115 favorite. OU’s backfield returns intact, with quarterback Baker Mayfield and tailbacks Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon leading what should be an explosive offense. Mayfield is a top Heisman candidate. An interesting line is Baylor at +600 in the wake of the scandal at the school that led to the firing of Coach Art Briles. He has been replaced by former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe.
Stanford is the +280 favorite in the Pac-12 — the Cardinal are defending champions. They bring back 2015 Heisman Trophy finalist and running back Christian McCaffrey but must replace starting quarterback Kevin Hogan, who won 36 games in his college career. Either senior Ryan Burns or sophomore Keller Chryst will have to win that job this spring. USC, the team Stanford beat in last year’s Pac-12 title game, is the +350 second-favorite.
And finally on college football lines, Alabama is the +160 favorite to win the SEC. But of course the defending national champions are. They always are. Ole Miss has beaten Alabama the past two years but is +1100 to win the SEC. Will the Rebels even be eligible for postseason football in 2016? There’s talk the NCAA might hammer the program in the wake of major violations, including a postseason ban in 2016. Mississippi State was the most recent SEC football team to be punished with a postseason ban, in 2004, by the NCAA following a series of recruiting violations.