Someone much smarter than us once said that if you really want to gauge a truly accurate, un-beholden preseason top 25, you look to those with the most on the line. While it's no secret that the coaches basically punt on their top 25 (lettings SIDs and the like handle the honors) and even the most steadfast members of the press likely don't have the opportunity to truly perform their due diligence week in-week out, the oddsmakers in Vegas have literal money on the line.
The earliest odds for the 2013-2014 college football national championship race didn't take long to come to light, and while Ohio State ends 2012 as the lone unbeaten in college football, given a light schedule, they'll very likely have to run the gauntlet again if they want a chance to finish where Alabama finished yesterday evening hoisting the Coaches' Trophy.
CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman was the first with next season's odds (courtesy of Vegas Insider RJ Bell):
2014 BCS Odds: Bama 3-1; Oregon 8-1; LSU 10-1; OSU 10-1; A&M 14-1, UF 15-1, FSU 15-1; ND, Lville, Clem 20-1, per @rjinvegas— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 8, 2013
Even with all Ohio State brings back, given how Texas A&M closed their season, it's a little bit surprising to see them behind the Buckeyes. And also given how many LSU Tigers declared for the draft today, it's somewhat curious Ohio State and/or A&M aren't ahead of them.
All in all, fourth is probably something most Ohio State backers can get behind. But what would've happened if the 2012-2013 Ohio State Buckeyes had faced national champion Alabama?
And finally: Bookmaker @andrewssports would make Alabama a 14-point favorite over undefeated Ohio State.— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) January 8, 2013
We'll always be left to wonder.
UPDATE: Bovada's odds are now out, and they cast the Buckeyes in a slightly more favorable light. Their sports book pegs the Buckeyes as having the third best odds to win it all in 2013-2014:
|Odds to win the 2013-2014 BCS National Championship|