Ranking the Worst Conferences in NCAA Football Odds
Even though the Power 5 conferences have the inside track at shots at the college football playoff, there are five other conferences in the Football Bowl Series division in College Football betting. Theoretically, any of the teams in these conferences could qualify for the playoff, but the less difficult schedule that these teams have in their conferences (as well as an unwillingness of many power 5 teams to schedule the best teams in these other conferences) means that it’s harder to climb those rankings. Let’s take a look at some of the weaker conferences in the NCAA’s bowl teams.
Let’s Get To Ranking the Worst Conferences in NCAA Football Odds
The Sun Belt
The top four teams in this league are Arkansas State, Troy, South Alabama and Louisiana-Lafayette. Arkansas State has earned a reputation for steady play in this conference, and UL-Lafayette is returning from a strong season. South Alabama continues to grow as well. However, this conference also has Georgia State, New Mexico State, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State and Idaho – some of the worst teams in the nation. Those foes really drag down the strength of schedule.
The Thundering Herd of Marshall is the class of this conference, as they rose fairly high in the rankings in 2014 but never got close to cracking the top four for the playoff. Why? Teams like North Texas, Rice and UT-San Antonio mean that the strength of schedule is ridiculously poor. That makes life tough for Marshall as they pursue their goal of becoming a more successful football program over time.
Northern Illinois is a couple of years down the road from its top-20 finish, but teams such as Toledo, Bowling Green and Ball State always lurk on the edge of the national rankings. Ball State won 10 games in 2013 but experienced a slight dropoff in 2014. Central Michigan, Akron, Buffalo and Ohio U. all have a chance at qualifying for bowls this season as well.
Boise State has never been able to make the jump from the lower tier of FBS conferences into the power 5, despite surprising Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl several seasons ago, so its blue turf is still a staple of the Mountain West. Utah State, San Diego State and Fresno State are all teams that can upset power 5 teams. Colorado State, Nevada, UNLV and San Jose State could make this conference even stronger if they could push past six wins into bowl eligibility.
American Athletic Conference
Losing Louisville was a blow to this conference, but they did add East Carolina, which along with Central Florida, East Carolina and Cincinnati comprise the class of the conference. UCF is always likely to win 10 games, and Cincinnati is always tough. Houston lurks as an underrated offensive power. However, at the bottom of the conference you’ll find Tulsa, still a moribund program, as well as newcomer Tulane that is still looking to get its footing. SMU is coming back from a 1-11 finish in 2014 but has a new head coach in Chad Morris, Clemson former offensive coordinator, so this conference should continue to climb.