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Alabama and Ohio State Extend Favored Streak: 50 Games And Counting…

Nov 17, 2018 10:09 PM EST
  • The Alabama Crimson Tide join the Ohio State Buckeyes as the only two current college football teams to be favored in at least 50 consecutive games.
  • The longest streak over the past 40 years belongs to the Tide, who were favored in 72 games between 2010 and 2015.

Alabama is undefeated and oh so close to a fifth College Football Playoff appearance, while Ohio State’s win the past Saturday over Michigan State puts the Buckeyes at 9-1 and tied with Michigan atop the Big Ten East.

When Alabama heads to The Citadel this Saturday, it will be the 50th consecutive game the Tide has been favored in — the second-longest active streak in the nation … behind Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been favored in 51 consecutive games, including their upcoming game against Maryland.

Here are the longest active favored streaks in college football:

If you want to zoom out and look historically, the Alabama teams of the early 2010s hold the longest streak over the past 40 years, according to college football historian and insider Phil Steele. The Tide were favored in 72 consecutive games between Jan. 7, 2010 and Sept. 26, 2015.

Right before the streak began, Alabama was listed as an underdog in the 2009 SEC Championship Game against Florida. It ended when the Tide were listed as underdogs to Georgia in Athens on Oct. 3, 2015.

The question for Alabama and Ohio State now is when will either be listed as an underdog again, breaking their active streak?

Here are their remaining schedules heading into bowl season with projected point spreads from our very own Collin Wilson:

Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Consecutive games as a favorite: 51
  • ATS record over that streak: 23-27 ATS (46%)
  • ATS record as a double-digit favorite: 18-22 ATS (45%)

The Buckeyes were last listed as an underdog in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship against the Oregon Ducks.

Ohio State beat Oregon, 42-20, as a 5.5-point underdog. It was the Buckeyes’ third straight game listed as an underdog: They were underdogs to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship (+4, won 59-0) and in the College Football Playoff semifinals against Alabama (+7.5, won 42-35) before that.

But the Buckeyes’ current streak might be short lived.

After Ohio State travels to Maryland, the Buckeyes will face Michigan in Columbus.

Wilson, who uses his betting power ratings to project point spreads, has Michigan as a 1-point road favorite over Ohio State, while the lookahead line from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has the Wolverines as 3.5-point favorites.

Alabama Crimson Tide

  • Consecutive games as a favorite: 50
  • ATS record over that streak: 29-20 ATS (59.2%)
  • ATS record as a double-digit favorite: 23-16 ATS (59%)

The situation in Tuscaloosa is a little different than it is in Columbus.

Assuming that Alabama will be listed as a favorite in its three-to-five remaining games (depending on its College Football Playoff status), when exactly is the next opportunity for the Tide to be an underdog?

I took a look at their schedule through 2023 and consulted with Collin to get his two cents on the matter.

Collin contended that the next time the Tide will be listed as underdogs could either be on the road at Auburn in a season that the Tigers are competing for the Playoff — or potentially in an SEC Championship environment, say, against Georgia.

Plus, there’s always a chance Nick Saban retires and the rest of the country pops champagne, but I wouldn’t count on that anytime soon.

Alabama has two neutral-site, non-conference games worth highlighting over the next few seasons: Against USC at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in 2020 and against Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in 2021. Both could be spots for the Tide to be listed as an underdog. (Maybe.)

Aside from those two, road games at Auburn in 2019 and at LSU in 2020 are a couple of realistic options while not taking into consideration postseason games.

Other Notable Streaks

As a researcher at heart, this got me to thinking how other college football dynasties stacked up against the current streaks of Ohio State and Alabama.

What follows is by no means a complete list, but it is a compilation of notable streaks over the past 40 years in which these college football powerhouses were listed as favorites.

Did I miss any? Drop @ActionNetworkHQ or me (@EvanHAbrams) a line and let us know. (And sorry Notre Dame fans, you didn’t make the list.)

Let the banter begin!

Florida State Seminoles

  • 54 games (1997-2001)
  • 31 games (1992-1994)

Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • 39 games (1998-2001)
  • 39 games (1994-1997)
  • 20 games (1997-1998)

USC Trojans

  • 36 games (2007-2010)
  • 25 games (2005-2006)
  • 23 games (2003-2004)

Oklahoma Sooners

  • 34 games (2002-2004)
  • 32 games (2006-2008)

Michigan Wolverines

  • 33 games (1985-1987)

TCU Horned Frogs

  • 32 games (2009-2011)

LSU Tigers

  • 28 games (2006-2008)

Oregon Ducks

  • 27 games (2009-2011)

Boise State Broncos

  • 25 games (2010-2011)
  • 23 games (2015-2017)
  • 22 games (2003-2004)

Miami Hurricanes

  • 24 games (1989-1991)
  • 20 games (2000-2002)

Ohio State Buckeyes

  • 22 games (2006-2007)

Georgia Bulldogs

  • 22 games (2013-2015)

Texas Longhorns

  • 20 games (2008-2009)
Credit:

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski

USA TODAY Sports

Follow Evan Abrams on Twitter
@EvanHAbrams

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