Breaking down early BCS title bets
With no clear favorite, Ohio State (8-1) and Oklahoma (40-1) offer value
The Southeastern Conference has claimed seven straight BCS championships, and its teams unsurprisingly dominate the early title odds for the 2013 season.
SEC teams appear in four of the first six slots in the current betting order, but the nation's best conference is no lock to make it eight in a row. Multiple schools from each of the other four power conferences appear in the oddsmakers' top 20.
Once again, let's look at the best early options among each tier. The top six teams in the betting order are all priced at 15-1 or less. A dozen more programs are standing below 50-1 odds, and the remainder qualify as long shots. Several teams have seen some early movement in the month since these prices opened.
Here's a look at the favorites, contenders and long shots to win the BCS title:
• Alabama: 3-1
• Oregon: 6-1
• Ohio State: 8-1
• Texas A&M: 12-1
• LSU: 15-1
• Georgia: 15-1
Alabama's price has crept down a bit since opening. The Tide could certainly win again, but this is not a team that should be treated as a dominant favorite at this point. Alabama is the first program since Nebraska in 1995 to record consecutive consensus national titles, and no school has won three straight since the 19th century. Possible on-field challenges include an offensive line down three NFL talents and a secondary, which was in training last season, that loses its two best players.
The real issue, though, may be complacency. Nick Saban's culture emphasizes the current season's team at the expense of program goals, so Alabama will have to deal with the hype and the target on its back without the benefit of drawing meaningful motivation from a mission to three-peat.