by Mark Mayer | The college football season is roughly five weeks away and substantial movement in national title odds has started. Not so much at the top where Southern California remains the 7-2 favorite at the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook. But, there were odds changes in the next five teams.
Florida, Oklahoma and Ohio State each improved from 6-1 to 5-1. Georgia, which barely missed out on a BCS title bid last year, rose slightly from 6-1 to 7-1 as did defending national champ LSU (15-1 last week to its current 20-1). The biggest drop among teams considered title contenders was Texas Tech, which went from 75-1 to 50-1.
Other major movement on the Hilton board included Auburn (40-1 to 50-1), Illinois (60-1 to 75-1), Michigan (60-1 to 75-1), Louisville (500-1 to 200-1) and UCLA (300-1 to 100-1). Southern Cal, Oklahoma and Ohio State head the Hiltons list of over/under regular season win totals at 10½ apiece. The Buckeyes have made it to the national championship game the past two years.
The other schools projected to win at least 10 games during the regular season are Florida, Missouri and Boise State. Those in the 9½ bracket are Georgia, West Virginia, Clemson and BYU. An early matchup with national championship impact is the Sept. 13 clash in Los Angeles between Southern Cal and Ohio State. The host Trojans are currently a 5½-point favorite at the Hilton.
The college football season kicks off Thursday, Aug. 28 with 14 games. The marquee matchups include Oregon State at Stanford, Wake Forest at Baylor, North Carolina State at South Carolina and Vanderbilt at Miami, Ohio.
Here is the list of the 14 openers to begin the 2008 season:
Thursday, Aug. 28
Northeastern at Ball State
Texas-El Paso at Buffalo
Eastern Illinois at Central Michigan
Indiana State at Eastern Michigan
Hofstra at Connecticut
Jacksonville St at Georgia Tech
Vanderbilt at Miami, Ohio
Eastern Kentucky at Cincinnati
Charleston Southern at Miami, FL
Troy at Middle Tennessee
South Dakota St at Iowa St.
Wake Forest at Baylor
N. Carolina St at South Carolina
Oregon St at Stanford