An unusual story in the world of sports betting may be a far-fetched possibility for the Aggies, but it isn’t impossible.
Long odds are still odds, right?
The long college football off-season sometimes brings with it some unexpected narratives and, in recent days, it appears that one has sprung up in Las Vegas sports books around the Utah State Aggies. If a few bettors are to be believed, Blake Anderson’s team could be much bigger players on the national stage than anyone would expect. In fact, they could be… national champions?
That’s pretty heady company for a program which just won its first outright conference title since 2012, but is the big swing as ludicrous as it seems on its face? Ohio State, Alabama, Texas A&M and defending champion Georgia are all obvious contenders for next year’s College Football Playoff, but Utah State definitely looks out of place.
In theory, though, Cincinnati’s berth in last year’s CFP makes it a little easier to project a Group of 5 team to break through again. One of the biggest reasons the Bearcats were able to secure the bid in the first place was fortunate non-conference scheduling, with a big September road win over then-ninth-ranked Notre Dame to spearhead an undefeated regular season.
Coincidentally, Utah State just happens to have a road date on September 3 against the team which knocked Cincinnati out of last year’s Playoff: The Alabama Crimson Tide. While you can expect that Nick Saban’s vaunted team will be both a top-five squad and big betting favorites heading into the game, crazy things happen in college football all the time.
Should Utah State shock the Tide, they’ll also get a chance to tally another potentially big non-conference win on the road against rival BYU on September 29. Add to that a conference schedule with road games at Boise State, Colorado State and Wyoming… well, even if FPI gives Utah State a zero-percent chance of running the table, one can dream, right?
As for the other outliers, that Cincinnati-esque path to the top four is a little harder to see right now. UCF plays a pair of ACC foes, Louisville and Georgia Tech, at home, while North Carolina State travels to East Carolina and hosts Texas Tech. Oklahoma, meanwhile, travels to Nebraska while hosting Kent State and UTEP.
If nothing else, the Aggies know they have a few backers willing to put money behind how good they think the team can be.