How Conference Races Are Shaping Up

November 9, 2017 by Staff

Army secured a contractual bid to the Armed Forces Bowl with its sixth win of the season against Temple on October 21. But where does everybody else stand in their shot at a bowl, or better yet, a division or conference title? Let's take a look at the betting odds for the college football games this week.

American Athletic Conference

UCF (8-0, 5-0) is undefeated and is currently the highest-ranked Group Of Five school in the College Football Committee rankings at No. 18. The East division leaders still have a showdown with USF (8-1, 5-1) looming on November 24.

Memphis (8-1, 5-1) leads the West division. SMU (6-3, 3-2) is one loss behind and goes to Memphis on November 18. Houston can still get in if Memphis loses its final two games and SMU loses 1 while the Cougars win out.

UCF is a 27.74-point pick by the Congrove Computer Rankings over visiting UConn on Saturday while Memphis and South Florida are idle. SMU is a 6.60-point underdog at Navy. Houston is idle.

Preseason Championship Game Projection: USF vs. Tulsa.


There's no need to get deep in the woods in the ACC variables. Clemson just needs to beat Florida State on Saturday, or have N.C State lose at Boston College, to claim the Atlantic. The Coastal is Miami's to lose and the 'Canes would have to drop all 3 remaining games to play their way out of their first-ever ACC championship appearance.

Clemson is a 12.81-point at home over FSU; N.C. State is a scant 0.06-point favorite at BC, and Miami gets a 2.10-point nod from the computer to take down Notre Dame.

Preseason Championship Game Projection: Florida State vs. Georgia Tech

Big Ten

Ohio State and Michigan State are both 7-2, 5-1 and face-off in Columbus on Saturday with the Buckeyes installed as heavy favorites by the oddsmkaers, and even bigger favorites by the Congrove Computer Rankings' weekly picks. The computer likes OSU by 20.45, but it also liked the Buckeyes by 15.63 at Iowa and they lost by 31.

Wisconsin only needs to knock off Iowa at home on Saturday to clinch a fifth conference title game appearance in seven years. The Badgers last won the Big Ten title in 2012. Wisconsin is the 9.95-point computer choice over Iowa.

Preseason Championship Game Projection: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin

Big 12

A huge showdown this Saturday has TCU visiting Oklahoma as a 7.59-point underdog. Both schools are 8-1, 5-1. The ten team league plays a round robin schedule of 9 conference games and everyone has 3 league tilts remaining which keeps several teams mathematically alive.

Preseason Championship Game Projection: Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State


FAU and FIU were projected to finish 4th and 5th, respectively, in the East. Instead, the Owls are 1st and the Panthers are 2nd and meet on November 18 in Boca Raton. ODU was picked to finish first, but is just ahead of Charlotte at the bottom of the division after a 6-0 win over the Miners last Saturday.

North Texas leads the West over UAB. The Mean Green were picked to finish 5th and the Blazers were supposed to finish last. North Texas has a 1-game lead and the head-to-head advantage of having defeated UAB 46-43 in Denton earlier in the year.

FAU, FIU and North Texas are all favored to win their respective games this week but UAB is a big underdog at UTSA. The Owls are a 5.55-point pick at Louisiana Tech; the Panthers are favored by 1.88 at home over Old Dominion; the Mean Green are a 13.34-point choice over visiting UTEP; the Blazers are on the wrong side of a 21.12-point computer line at the Roadrunners.

Preseason Championship Game Projection: Louisiana Tech vs. Old Dominion (Note: The two projected division winners are a combined 7-11 over-all and 3-7 in the conference.)


Toledo was cruising along at 8-1 overall and 15th in the Congrove Computer Rankings (CCR Top 130) until Wednesday night's 38-10 loss at Ohio. Akron was tied with the Bobcats atop the East until Tuesday night's 24-14 loss at Miami (Ohio). Toledo already has a win over its closest competitor in the West division, Northern Illinois. It's looking like Toledo and Ohio will have a rematch in Detroit to decide the MAC title.

Toledo is at BGSU next Wednesday while Ohio heads to Akron next Tuesday.

Preseason Championship Game Projection: Toledo vs. Ohio

Mountain West

Boise State is back on top in the Mountain division while surprising Fresno State is enjoying a dramatic turnaround in Jeff Tedford's first year as head coach of the San Joaquin Valley men. The Bulldogs, 1-11 and 0-8 a year ago, are 6-3 overall and 4-1 in conference play.

Boise State is a slim 1.52-point computer favorite at Colorado State on Saturday; Fresno State is a 4.68-point pick at Hawaii.

Preseason Championship Game Projection: Colorado State vs. San Diego State


Washington leads the North by a game over Washington State and Stanford, but the Huskies are a 0.12-point underdog at the Cardinal on Friday night. Washington State edge Stanford last week 24-21 in Pullman. The Huskies and Cougars play their annual Apple Cup rivalry game in Seattle on November 25.

USC has a one-game lead in he loss column over both Arizona schools and owns head-to-head victories over both. Thus, a win this week at Colorado clinches the South for the Trojans and USC is favored by 6.29 to do so.

Washington State is only a 2.90-point favorite at Utah.

Preseason Championship Game Projection: USC vs. Stanford


Georgia has already clinched the Eastern half of the conference while Alabama leads the Western half. Both face tough games this week with Georgia visiitng Auburn and the Tide rolling into Starkville to face Mississippi State. The Congrove Computer Rankings actually have Georgia as the underdog to the Tigers by a whopping 0.29 points. 'Bama is a 14.85-point favorite at Mississippi State.

Auburn still has a shot at the Western division title as it gets home-field advantage in the annual Iron Bowl rivalry game with Alabama on Thanksgiving weekend.

Preseason Championship Game Projection: Alabama vs. Florida

Sun Belt

Arkansas State is the only Sun Belt team without a conference loss while Appalachian State and Troy are just a game behind. The Red Wolves don't face the Mountaineers but host the Trojans on December 2.

Arkansas State is on the right side of a 6.28-point computer line at South Alabama on Saturday, and Troy is favored by a whopping 30.90 on the road at Coastal Carolina. Appalachian State rolled 27-6 over Georgia Southern in Boone on Thursday.

Preseason Champion Projection: Appalachian State, Troy (co-champs)