If you looked at the AP Top 25 rankings and saw Mississippi State at No. 1 and then looked at the point spread for their game this week, you might wonder – has any No. 1 ranked team ever been such a big underdog?
It’s a great question and the answer is that the Bulldogs, as 9.5-point underdogs at Alabama this weekend in college football betting, are the biggest regular-season dogs in 20 years.
[ Online shop Bodog usually has the best college football underdog lines – but they are giving more respect to the Bulldogs – see the latest line ]
When oddsmakers give points to a top-ranked team, it’s usually in the playoffs or a bowl game.
Since 1998, the Odds – VSB
NCAA football database shows only 11 cases where a top seed was an underdog. Five of those games happened in national championship games and BCS title games. Three more occurred in conference championship games.
Matchup Report | Predicted Score: 27-26 Mississippi State
Only three times in that time period was a No. 1 seed an underdog in the regular season. This is the biggest spread by far. LSU got 5.5 points against Alabama in 2011, while Miami (+2.5 in 2002 vs Florida) and Ohio State (+3 vs Texas in 2006) were the only other regular-season cases.
The biggest spread was 11.5 points for No. 1 Oklahoma in the 2001 Orange Bowl. They defeated Florida State 13-2. Two other games had 10-point spreads for the top-rated schools, most recently Alabama was 10-point chalk against No. 1 Notre Dame in the 2013 BCS Championship Game.
Interestingly, the past two times this situation has occurred, Alabama was the school getting love from oddsmakers. Alabama also defeated No. 1 LSU in the 2012 BCS final.
Overall, in those two games when Alabama was favored against a No. 1 team, they outscored the top seeds 63-14. Can they do the same this week against SEC-rival Mississippi State?
|04/01/1999||Tennessee||Florida State||Tennessee||5.5||23-16 Tennessee||1999 Fiesta Bowl (national title game)|
|03/01/2001||Oklahoma||Florida State||Oklahoma||11.5||13-2 Oklahoma||2001 Orange Bowl (national title game)|
|09/09/2006||Texas||Ohio State||Ohio State||3||24-7 Ohio State|
|01/12/2007||Missouri||Oklahoma||Missouri||3||38-17 Oklahoma||Big 12 Championship Game|
|07/01/2008||LSU||Ohio State||Ohio State||4||38-24 LSU||BCS Championship Game|
|06/12/2008||Florida||Alabama||Alabama||10||31-20 Florida||SEC Championship Game|
|10/01/2011||Auburn||Oregon||Auburn||1||22-19 Auburn||BCS Championship Game|
|09/01/2012||LSU||Alabama||LSU||2.5||21-0 Alabama||BCS Championship Game|
|07/01/2013||Notre Dame||Alabama||Notre Dame||10||42-14 Alabama||BCS Championship Game|