The Week 11 edition of Straight Shots is going to focus on one team and one team only. Because there’s only one college football team the world needs to be worrying about right now.
Before I reveal who that team is, I want to share a story with you.
Saturday was a “you do this for me, I’ll do this for you” type of day with my girlfriend. During the day, she gave me my time to sit back, relax, watch football and drink my beer like I always do.
In return, she wanted a date night. I complied because after all, happy her equals happy me – even if it meant that the night slate was rendered to scrolling box scores.
As a direct result of my volume of betting, I’m an emotional rollercoaster on Saturdays. This weekend was no different, except for the fact that my largest bets of the day were all on the night slate. Lucky me.
I learned a valuable lesson, though. It’s all about trusting the bet and not following it. I have to say, sitting through dinner and then a three-hour James Bond movie – only checking the scores every hour or so – was quite relieving.
And in the end, I went 3-1 on the night. Which, believe it or not, would have been the same record had I sat watching compulsively.
The moral of it all, you ask? Take a backseat every once in a while. College football, the NFL, NBA, whatever, isn’t as important as going out and experiencing life itself with those you love.
Now that you’re out of tissues, let’s get down to business with the one team in the country you need to paying attention to.
The University of…North Carolina?
But Brian, this is a college football column. You must be confused with college basketball season tipping off.
North Carolina is a legit force to be reckoned with the remainder of this college football season. Sitting at No. 12 in the AP Poll, the Heels will likely find themselves hovering around that number in the College Football Playoff poll as well.
They will handle Virginia Tech on the road this Saturday and then North Carolina State the weekend after that, finishing the regular season at 11-1 and booking a date with Clemson in the ACC Championship game.
Now here’s where I have an opportunity to convert my college football prowess into money. Saturday night I was curious what North Carolina’s college football championship odds were sitting at so I logged on and checked them out.
66/1. Sixty-six to freaking one.
I took it on the spot. Laid $100 of the money I had already won from Carolina’s obliteration of Miami earlier that day on a UNC future. I know it sounds like an immaculate long shot, but let me break down how there’s no way I lose this bet.
Obviously, the whole operation hinges on Carolina going 12-1. Barring catastrophic upsets to VT or NC State, that means beating Clemson in the ACC Championship game, probably handily (double digits). It would be close, but the committee can’t select one-loss Clemson over one-loss North Carolina if Carolina beat Clemson — the same way the committee would never select a one-loss Notre Dame over a one-loss Clemson.
The head-to-head factor would be too much to overcome and it’s not like Clemson destroyed Notre Dame or Florida State.
Next, Stanford has to beat Notre Dame. Two-loss Notre Dame won’t get in the CFP and neither will a two-loss Pac-12 champ (there aren’t any Pac-12 teams with one loss).
The third and toughest hurdle UNC needs to clear is the Big 12’s foursome. Oklahoma State is 10-0 but still plays Baylor and Oklahoma. Baylor, now 8-1, still has Oklahoma State and TCU on the road and closes out with Texas. 9-1 TCU still has to go to Oklahoma and Baylor. 9-1 Oklahoma closes with TCU and at Oklahoma State for their annual Bedlam game.
North Carolina would need carnage between those four teams. Specifically, they need:
• Oklahoma State to beat Baylor and lose to Oklahoma.
• Baylor to beat TCU (and lose to OSU or Texas).
• TCU to beat Oklahoma.
Assuming a one-loss or undefeated Big 12 champion gets a playoff spot either way, that leaves the Big Ten — who still has Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan, and Michigan State still alive — plus Alabama and Florida from the SEC.
We’ll keep this simple. Alabama is the easy No. 1 seed as they should handle Florida in the SEC Championship game —effectively knocking out Florida with two losses.
From the Big Ten, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Iowa are all ahead of UNC in the AP Polls and two-loss Michigan is lurking as well. North Carolina is best benefitted with Ohio State beating both Michigan State and Michigan over the next two weekends.
The 10-0 Hawkeyes have only Purdue and Nebraska left on their schedule. Both of those are very winnable, but Iowa still kinda sucks. And a loss to Nebraska (on the road) would effectively end the Hawkeyes’ CFP chances before they even reach the Big Ten Championship. Either way, if Iowa heads to Indianapolis unscathed they’ll get run by Ohio State.
If these more-than-capable scenarios play out, North Carolina would likely be sitting in a group with Houston, Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Iowa, and the winner of Oklahoma/Oklahoma State as the only undefeated or one-loss teams in the CFP polls.
Ohio State and Alabama are CFP locks if they win their conference championships. As well as the one-loss (or undefeated Oklahoma State) as the third team/Big 12 champion.
That leaves the AAC’s Houston, Iowa (who won’t get in without running the table), UNC, and Clemson fighting for a final playoff spot.
You tell me: Can the committee honestly leave the Tar Heels out of that final spot? I mean, this is exactly how Ohio State got into the college football playoff last year.
The answer is they can’t. And thus, I’m going to get rich when the Tar Heels tear through the remainder of the college football season.
Feel free to hop on with me.