Michigan, Cincinnati, Georgia, OK State Favored For Conference Titles

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Jim Harbaugh Michigan Football
Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines listens in on a huddle during the Michigan Football Spring Game on April 1, 2016 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The 2021 College Football Playoff rankings are likely to change after the final weekend when the four-team field is selected. A few contenders find themselves in virtual “must-win” situations with conference championships on the line.

No. 1 Georgia is expected to make the playoffs no matter what happens in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs are 6.5-point favorites over No. 3 Alabama.

The betting odds and recent history suggest that Georgia will end the Crimson Tide’s playoff chances. A defeat at the hands of Georgia would give Alabama an 11-2 record. No two-loss team has ever been selected to CFP. 

Both No. 2 Michigan and No. 5 Oklahoma State are favored in their respective conference championship games. No. 4 Cincinnati is a heavy favorite to win the AAC title. If all three teams win Saturday, they will likely join Georgia in the final College Football Playoff picture.

Michigan is favored by 10.5 points over No. 13 Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Wolverines will make the playoffs with a conference title.

Oklahoma State is a 5.5-point favorite over No. 9 Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game. If the Cowboys are conference champs with a 12-1 record, they would almost certainly jump a two-loss Crimson Tide team. 

The CFP selection committee won’t be able to keep an undefeated Cincinnati team out of the field, especially if Alabama has multiple losses. The Bearcats enter Saturday’s matchup against Houston with a perfect record as 10.5-point favorites. 

Alabama could very well upset Georgia, forcing the CFP committee to make some hard decisions. The Crimson Tide are second among all teams with +650 odds to win the national championship. Georgia is an odds-on -220 favorite since it is considered a lock for the postseason.

Michigan is third with +850 national title odds, followed by Oklahoma State (+1400) and Cincinnati (+1600). No. 6 Notre Dame (+2500) remains in contention, but the Fighting Irish are idle this weekend and need help from the underdogs in the conference title games.

No. 7 Ohio State (+10000) and Iowa (+10000) are technically still alive with almost no chance to even make the CFP field.

Jim Harbaugh Michigan Football

Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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