Mega Millions-Level National Title Odds
By Paul Myerberg // Apr 4, 2012
As you may have heard, the odds of pulling the winning ticket in a Mega Millions jackpot is 175,000,000 to 1. You are far, far more likely to win a gold medal at this summer’s Olympics than you were of picking six correct numbers last Friday. Not that the odds stopped me from buying a $5 ticket at my local convenience store, or prevented another risk-taker – as I witnessed while waiting in line – from stepping up to the teller and plopping down five crisp $100 bills. Do you have any idea how long it takes to print out 500 lottery tickets? To put the Mega Million odds in football perspectives, let’s consider one scenario: What odds would you give Hawaii to win every game for the next decade?
Saying that Hawaii remains in the Mountain West and that the conference does not add a title game, a decade-long winning streak would entail a 130-0 mark from 2012-2021. That’s all. Are the odds of that happening greater or less than your chance at buying the winning ticket for a Mega Millions jackpot?
Better yet: What odds would you give Akron to win the 2012 national championship? The gambling site Bovada currently has U.S.C. as its national title favorite, giving the Trojans 4-1 odds. After U.S.C. comes L.S.U., at 9-2, followed by Alabama, at 11-2, and Oklahoma and Oregon, both 10-1.
If U.S.C. is 4-1, what’s Akron – or any other bottom-feeding F.B.S. program? In all, Bovada lists 43 teams that it believes to be worthy of at least being included in the national title conversation. As Jason Kirk of SB Nation points out, Bovada was kind enough to list Oregon State, Boston College, U.C.L.A. and South Florida on this list, albeit at 200-1 odds.
There’s no way that U.C.L.A. wins a national title in Jim Mora’s first season. Putting $10 on 200-1 odds on U.C.L.A. ever winning a title under Mora, on the other hand, would be a nice and sensible bet. The Bruins do have a better chance at 14-0 than does Akron, or another woebegone program playing for three wins and pride, but 200-1 seems low.
So you’re saying that the Bruins have a chance? Yeah, U.C.L.A. has a chance. I’d put the odds at 1,000-1, not 200-1, but the Bruins do have enough talent, and now the coaching, to make an altogether unexpected run through the Pac-12. I’d list Boston College at 10,000-1. Oregon State at 2,500-1. South Florida at 900-1, if only because the Big East is eminently winnable.
But there are teams out there whose odds of winning the 2012 national title hover somewhere around taking home an Olympic gold medal – 22 million to 1, or thereabouts. Mega Millions odds? Not that bad, though the chances that the entire F.B.S. minus one of these teams is declared ineligible for the 2012 season, thereby giving the last team standing the default championship, is roughly 175,000.000 to 1. A short list:
New Mexico 50,000,000-1
Florida Atlantic 75,000,000-1
Would you waste your $5 betting on Akron to win on 125 million to 1 odds? Couldn’t hurt, I guess. South Alabama, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State and Massachusetts aren’t included in the field, as that bunch won’t be eligible for postseason play until 2013, but rest assured: each would be in Akron’s range. The chance that U.T.S.A., if eligible, would win the national title in 2012 is roughly a billion to one.
Tags: Akron, Army, Boston College, Buffalo, Duke, Florida Atlantic, Hawaii, Indiana, Memphis, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon State, South Florida, Texas-San Antonio, U.C.L.A., U.N.L.V.
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