The oddsmakers have spoken and listed the 32 college football teams with the best chance of winning a national championship in 2020.
If we utilize this metric to field a Top Ten there are nine games slated this season where one of Vegas’ top odds getters will square off with another. These are, at least from the safe shores of the preseason, the biggest games on tap for 2020.
A rematch of the 2014/15 CFP National Championship game and the 1957/58 Rose Bowl, Oregon has squared off with Ohio State nine times and never won. The Ducks knocked off a member of the Top Ten as recently as last season when they beat (5) Utah in the Pac-12 title game. The Buckeyes downed three such opponents, in consecutive appearances, last season – (9) Penn State 28-17 at home, (10) Michigan 56-27 in Ann Arbor and (10) Wisconsin 34-21 in the Big Ten championship. Ohio State and Oregon are slated to meet again next season, this time in Columbus.
A rematch of the 2018 and 2015 SEC title games and the 2017/18 CFP National Championship (all wins for Alabama), these two haven’t met during the regular season since 2015. The Crimson Tide lead the all-time series 40-25-4 and have won five-straight. Georgia beat two Top Ten teams last season, downing (8) Baylor 26-14 in the Sugar Bowl and upending (7) Notre Dame 23-17 at home. Alabama’s most recent win over a Top Ten opponent came on Dec. 29, 2018 when it dispatched (4) Oklahoma 45-34 in the Orange Bowl/CFP Semi-Final.
These permanent cross-division rivals have met consecutively since 1971. Since 2010, both teams have come into the contest ranked in the AP Top 25 eight of the ten meetings with LSU leading 5-3 in these games. On three of these occasions both teams were ranked in the Top Ten, the Tigers hold a 2-1 advantage. LSU went a jaw-dropping 7-0 vs. Top Ten opponents last season, downing (9) Texas, (7) Florida, (9) Auburn, (2) Alabama, (4) Georgia, (4) Oklahoma and (3) Clemson. Florida went 1-2 vs. the Top Ten in 2019, falling to (5) LSU and (8) Georgia but beating (7) Auburn. The Gators lead the all-time series 33-30-3.
A rematch of the 2017 SEC Championship (a 28-7 win for Georgia), the Tigers and Bulldogs (also permanent cross-division rivals) have clashed consecutively since 1944. Georgia leads the all-time series 60-56-8, has won three-straight and eight of the last ten. The Bulldogs haven’t fallen to a Top Ten opponent during the regular season since losing 40-17 at (10) Auburn on Nov. 11, 2017. The Tigers last win over a Top Ten foe came in the 2019 season finale, a thrilling 48-45 victory vs. (5) Alabama.
These two have met consecutively since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993. A rematch of the 1980 Fiesta Bowl (a win for the Nittany Lions), Ohio State leads the all-time series 20-14, has won three-straight and nine of the last 11. Penn State hasn’t bested a Top Ten foe since the 2016 Big Ten title game, a 38-31 win over then (6) Wisconsin. The Buckeyes haven’t lost to a Top Ten opponent in the regular season since Sept. 9, 2017 when they hosted (5) Oklahoma and fell 31-16.
A series that’s been played annually since 1944, Georgia holds a 52-43-2 advantage all-time vs. Florida and has won three-straight. Both teams were ranked in the Top Ten for the last two meetings: the (7) Bulldogs downed the (9) Gators 36-17 in 2018 and (8) Georgia edged (6) Florida 24-17 last season.
A rematch of the 2011/12 BCS Championship game, the Crimson Tide and Tigers have met consecutively since 1964. Alabama holds a commanding 53-26-5 lead in the all-time series. LSU’s win last season snapped an eight-game losing streak. Both teams were ranked in the AP Top 25 for the last 14 meetings, with both in the Top Ten on eight of these occasions. The last time one of the two wasn’t ranked at game time was in 2006 when unranked Alabama fell 28-14 at (12) LSU.
These two Tigers have met every year since 1992. LSU leads the all-time series 31-22-1, has won three-straight and seven of the last nine. Despite finishing 2019 with the big win over (5) Alabama, Auburn narrowly dropped games vs. (5) Georgia (21-14), at (2) LSU (23-20) and at (10) Florida (24-13) last season. LSU hasn’t fallen to a Top Ten opponent since Nov. 3, 2018 when it got blanked 29-0 at home by then (1) Alabama.
The Iron Bowl has been played annually since 1948, Alabama leads 46-37-1 but the two have split the last four, the home team winning on each occasion. In the last decade, the two have clashed as Top Ten opponents three times, Auburn sweeping these games: In 2010 (2) Auburn won 28-27 at (9) Alabama, in 2013 (4) Auburn beat (1) Alabama 34-28 at home, and in 2017 (6) Auburn hosted (1) Alabama and won 26-14.
Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference/College Football