College Football Thoughts After Another Crazy Weekend

Pelini
Pelini
Is Pelini in any trouble in Lincoln? I think he has to be.

The Ohio State Buckeyes may be feeling the karma of 40 years ago when you really think about it. It was forty years ago that unbeaten Michigan hosted the unbeaten Buckeyes. As was typically the case in those days, the game was for the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. OSU was ranked number one in the country while Michigan was number four.

The game ended in a 10-10 tie and left the decision of who goes to the Rose Bowl in the hands of the ten Big Ten athletic directors. Back in those days, the conference had a rule that only the champion of the conference could go to a bowl so someone was going to be left out.

Despite the fact that Michigan dominated the game especially in the second half, they lost quarterback Dennis Franklin to a collarbone injury. The injury was ultimately the reason in the eyes of most Wolverines’ fans as to why the athletic directors chose Ohio State. The Buckeyes went to Pasadena and beat Southern Cal while Michigan stayed home.

OSU dropped in the polls after their poor performance at Michigan and as a result, Notre Dame claimed the national title by beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The Buckeyes finished second in the polls while Michigan finished fourth.

Meyer
Meyer could go unbeaten again and be left out of the BCS Title game.

Forty years later, Ohio State may themselves on the outside looking in as they continue to pummel Big Ten competition. Head Coach Urban Meyer’s team is scoring almost 50 points per game and will no doubt finish unbeaten. They have Indiana at home and then finish at Michigan where the Wolverines are struggling.

If both Alabama and Florida State keep winning the Buckeyes will not be receiving an invite to the final BCS National Title Game. Regardless of how many points they score and how much they beat teams by, there’s nothing Meyer or anyone else in Columbus can do about it.

Although there is a similarity between the two events spread 40 years apart, OSU will still go to a bowl game unlike Michigan who couldn’t. Either way, you can’t help but feel the frustration emanating from the Ohio State campus already. There are still a few weeks to go, but it isn’t looking good for the Buckeyes’ hopes of a national title.

The team most likely now to face Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game is Michigan State. The Spartans took advantage of five Nebraska turnovers and beat the Cornhuskers 41-28 in Lincoln. The MSU defense was a little more human giving up a 100-yard rushing day to Amir Abdullah but the Spartans still did more than enough get the win.

The Spartans need a win either at snake-bitten Northwestern or home against Minnesota to clinch the Legends’ Division and those won’t be easy by any stretch. Despite a win at Michigan last week, I have to believe there will be questions raised about Bo Pelini staying the head coach at Nebraska.

#7 Auburn got a late gift from two Georgia defensive backs and knocked off the Bulldogs to keep their BCS hopes alive. The Tigers will have a week off before hosting rival Alabama in the Iron Bowl. A win over the Tide would be huge on a number of levels for Gus Malzahn’s team which has made an amazing turnaround in just one year.

#4 Stanford was upset by surging USC last night 20-17. The loss more than likely knocks the Cardinal out of the BCS and gives Oregon control of the Pac-12 North. In a matter of 10 days, Stanford went from a BCS shoo-in to not even playing in a BCS game. There is still a lot time for things to happen however.

Four Rivalry Games That I Find Enticing on Saturday

Winston
Winston
I expect Winston and the Seminoles to roll over Miami.

Four rivalries highlight my selections for Saturday. Some will be slugfests while others will be shootouts. See if you like my thinking.

Miami at Florida State (-21) – I honestly have no clue how Miami is ranked in the top ten but hey, it is what it is. Everyone from one side of this country to the other has FSU covering in this game and I can’t for the life of me find a reason to disagree. Al Golden is doing a really nice job in Miami and his team can flat-out run the football at a clip of over 200 yards per game.

The problem is that this Seminole defense is absolutely flying right now. They are more disciplined and detail-oriented than ever and it is showing. FSU is giving up just 13 points per game and to be really fair, some of those were garbage points scoreddd late by opponents.

The only way the Canes pull this off is by creating turnovers, running the ball effectively and QB Stephen Morris has to be efficient and error-free. I just don’t see those things happening. The Noles have too many athletes on both sides of the ball and this Jimbo Fisher team just seems different. I like Florida State to cover… Like everyone else I guess.

Georgia (-3) vs Florida – The last time these two both entered on losing streaks I’m pretty sure cars were just starting to roll off the assembly line. I refuse to call this game anything other than the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party” because that’s what it is and I’m not falling into the political correct world here.

The Gators will hang their hopes on their defense which continues to be pretty good despite a rough outing at Missouri. They rank eighth in the nation in points against and they will need every bit of that to contain Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense. The Bulldogs also will be getting running back Todd Gurley back and I think he could be the difference.

The one area the Gators could find an advantage is in special teams where Georgia struggles. Even if Florida gets a score off of special teams, I think the Goergia offense will be too much. I like the Dawgs to cover.

Gardner
Gardner must take care of the ball for the Wolverines to have a shot against Michigan State.

Michigan (+5) at Michigan State – The Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy heads back to East Lansing. Both teams have their respective fates in their hands in terms of a Legends’ Division title and the Spartans could grab a really firm hold with a win and a fairly weak schedule down the stretch.

The Spartans boast the nation’s top defense which is giving up 12 points per game. Last week in Champaign, the MSU offense found its’ groove for the very first time in scoring 42 on the Illini.

Michigan has had an odd season needing late-game heroics to beat lowly Akron and UConn while scoring at will Notre Dame and Indiana. This game always comes down to two things; who runs the ball better who takes better care of the ball. It’s that latter issue that really worries me if I’m Michigan. QB Devin Gardner can be a turnover-machine and that could play right into the hands of Sparty.

I like MSU to win, but I expect it to be within the line so take UM.

North Carolina (-5) at North Carolina State – Let’s get right to the heart of this one. The Tar Heels can throw the ball at will. The Wolfpack run the ball a little better than UNC does. They both give up around 25-27 points per game. North Carolina’s Bryn Renner is the better QB so take the Heels to win a shootout in Raleigh.

College Football Review; So Long Lane Kiffin

Kiffin
Kiffin
Lane Kiffin was fired as Coach of the Trojans following an embarrassing loss to Arizona State.

For many years Lane Kiffin was perceived as a person who was not exactly the most honest and friendly guy in the world of coaching. Ask the Oakland Raiders or Tennessee Volunteers and they can probably confirm those suspicions. As of early Sunday morning, the USC Trojans can claim they probably know of his short-comings as well as the University fired him following the team’s blowout loss to Arizona State.

Far be it for me to defend Lane Kiffin but USC officials actually told Kiffin to find his own way home from LAX at 3am. The team went on ahead while the fired coach found his own way. Athletic Director Pat Haden has always been known to be a stand-up guy but if he is the person responsible for Kiffin being left at the airport then shame on him.

Former assistant and Ole Miss Head coach Ed Orgeron has been named the interim coach and former Trojans’ player Jack Del Rio has been tabbed as a top candidate for the job. He is currently the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.

I was surprised Kiffin was even hired in the first place at USC considering his less than stellar reputation but they hired him anyway. Perhaps he has been a stooge all along put in place just to help the Trojans get through some NCAA sanctions. Either way, I’d be surprised to see Kiffin get a head job any time in the near future.

The Southeastern Conference has long prided itself as one of the great defensive conferences in the nation but that trend seems to being dying a swift death. Two weeks after Alabama and Texas A&M had a track meet in College Station, LSU and Georgia staged one of their own in Athens with the Bulldogs winning 44-41.

Murray
Murray proved that Johnny Manziel isn't the only QB putting up big numbers in the SEC.

Not to be outdone were the Aggies who were hanging 45 on Arkansas while giving up 33 to the Razorbacks. So what gives? Well, it appears to me that the offensive skill positions in the SEC have caught up to the defensive skill positions at least for the time being. If you look at defenses like Bama, LSU and Georgia, they all suffered heavy losses through the NFL Draft and are playing lots of young and inexperienced guys.

To me, it’s nothing more than a cyclical thing. It won’t be but a few more years when we are watching 13-10 slugfests in the Deep South again.

Oregon and Stanford appear to be headed for yet another epic Pac-12 showdown on November 7th. The top two teams in the conference both put serious whippings on their opponents on Saturday with the Ducks beating Cal 55-16 and the Cardinal beating Washington State 55-17.

What could be shaping up could be very interesting for the final year of the Bowl Championship Series. Although it’s still early in the season, one of those two will eventually suffer a loss. We know Alabama will probably need to lose twice to lose a shot a the title game. That, or there need to be unbeaten teams in both the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

The point of the matter is that regardless of who wins the showdown in November, the loser is still not out of any discussion regarding the national title game unless one significantly blows out the other. There are many factors that could alter things but as for right now, the Oregon-Stanford game could end up being the biggest game of the season.

Until the next biggest game of the season happens of course….

Huge Conference Games Highlight My Picks for Saturday

Miles

 

Miles
The Mad Hatter Miles brings his unbeaten Tigers to Athens to play the Bulldogs.

Season Record 6-11, Last Week 2-2

The fact that Michigan didn’t cover last week wasn’t a huge surprise, but the fact that they needed a late comeback against UConn left me wondering how good this Michigan team really is. No concern for me this week as the Wolverines are off. I’ve learned my lessons with them but I’m still looking for some good action. Here are some games I do feel good about though.

LSU (+3) at Georgia – Scoring hasn’t been a problem for the Tigers who are averaging 43 points per game. The offense under former NFL coordinator Cam Cameron has been much more balanced but still relies on Jeremy Hill and the running game. Defensively, the Tigers will face a future NFL quarterback in Aaron Murray who will test them more than they have seen yet this season.

Georgia is no slouch is the scoring department with an average 40 points per game and will rely much more heavily on the passing game than LSU will. For me the question will be whether the Dawgs can play enough defense to slow down the Tigers. I also give the Tigers an advantage on special teams. The Tigers are 9-1 straight up in their last ten road games so I love them getting three.

Andersen
Gary Andersen gets a rude welcome to Big Ten play as his Badgers open at Ohio State.

Wisconsin (+7) at Ohio State – The Badgers are one goofy ending away from being unbeaten right now as they enter the Horseshoe in Columbus. Ohio State is coming off a 76-0 win over Florida A&M and will also get QB Braxton Miller back but it isn’t like Kenny Guiton struggled in his place. Urban Meyer claims he has ‘co-starting’ QBs which in my mind isn’t a good thing. Pick one and going with him.

The question will be whether the Badgers can slow down the Buckeyes on offense and they’ll use their running game in an effort to do that. OSU will load up and force Badgers’ QB Joel Stave to beat them. Wisconsin is 1-5 against the spread when they visit Columbus and I think that trend continues. Take the Buckeyes to win by ten or more.

Oklahoma (-3.5) at Notre Dame – If Devin Gardner of Michigan could tear up the Irish secondary then what will Blake Bell and Oklahoma do? The Irish survived against Michigan State last week but the offense they will see in the Sooners will be much more explosive than anything the Spartans could show.

The thing with the Sooners though is they run the ball as well as they pass and they are giving up just nine points per game. Irish QB Tommy Rees has to take care of the ball and must get the Irish into the end zone rather than settle for field goals. OU will be looking for revenge after their loss to Notre Dame last year in Norman. I like the Sooners to cover.

Virginia (+5) at Pitt – The Cavaliers had an impressive win to open the season over BYU before getting destroyed at Oregon. They bounced back with a win over VMI but now they face an offense in Pitt that scored 58 points against Duke last week. The problem for the Panthers is that they gave up 55 points to the Blue Devils.

The Cavs are 4-12-1 in their last 13 games against the spread and while I think they will be able to score on Pitt, I have concerns that they might not be able to score enough. In what should be another ACC shootout, I like the Panthers to win by more than five on Saturday.

SEC East Win Totals

Clowney
Clowney
Can Clowney lead the Gamecocks to the SEC East title?

Earlier this week in this spot I broke down the SEC West win totals. Today I venture across the South to look into the win totals for the SEC East. There is no question that in terms of overall strength, the West is the dominant force in the SEC.

Alabama is seeking a fourth national title in five years while LSU and Auburn have also recently won national championships. With that said, the East will not go quietly. Georgia and South Carolina are my favorites for the East Division, but Florida cannot be ruled out as a contender.

How much better will Tennessee be under a new coach? Can Vanderbilt repeat their success from last year? Will the strong recruiting class at Kentucky reap benefits right away? Will newcomer Missouri continue to be a threat to teams when they travel to Columbia?

This and more as I break down the East.

Florida 8.5 (-160 over/+130 under) – The Gators enter 2013 motivated by a humiliating Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville. QB Jeff Driskel is back but there are newcomers in the secondary and in the backfield. Florida has road games at LSU, Miami, Kentucky and Missouri and of course the neutral field game with Georgia. I’m going with the under here.

Murray
Murray is a top pro prospect and could lead the Bulldogs to an SEC title.

Georgia 9.5 (-150 over/+120 under) – If the Dawgs survive the first two games (at Clemson, home with South Carolina) then this could be a special year in Athens. QB Aaron Murray and a great backfield returns but the defense has holes to fill. They have favorable road games at Vandy, Auburn and Tennessee. I like the over for Georgia.

Kentucky 4.5 (+135 over/-160 under) – UK opens with two winnable non-conference games before running a four-game gauntlet in five weeks. The Wildcats play Louisville, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. The good news? Only South Carolina is a road trip. The other non-conference games include Alcorn State, Miami, OH and Western Kentucky. I think this will be an improved Wildcats’ team and I like the over.

Missouri 6 (-135 over/+105 under) – The Tigers have a great chance to be 4-0 with a very weak non-conference slate but then it gets tough. Much tougher. In October they have three straight games against Georgia, Florida and South Carolina with the latter two at home. They also have Texas A&M at home in November. Assuming they go 4-0 to start, I’ll take the over.

South Carolina 9.5 (-110 over/-120 under) – The Gamecocks return the best defender in college football in Jadeveon Clowney and have Connor Shaw back at QB. Other than a trip to Georgia in week two, the schedule is kind to Steve Spurrier and company. They get North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi State and Clemson at home. The week two contest will determine the East race and either way I like the over.

Tennessee 6 (-105 over/-125 under) – Butch Jones takes over the Vols with a good track record behind him at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Both of those programs were in great shape however compared to what he has in Knoxville. Tennessee has road games at Oregon, Florida and Alabama and home dates with Georgia and South Carolina. The other three non-conference games are winnable but I think Jones struggles in year one. Take the under.

Vanderbilt 7 (-125 over/-105 under) – The Commodores enter the 2013 season with high expectations. They come off a bowl win over NC State and a 9-4 record. They won’t sneak up on anyone this year and that could be the problem. Vandy has road games at Florida, at South Carolina and at Texas A&M. They have home dates with Georgia and open the season at home against Ole Miss in conference play. I like Vandy to get back to a bowl but it will be with six wins.

 

Bowl Season Is Go

With the exclusion of this weekend’s Army-Navy game, College Football’s regular season came to a close this past weekend.

Division champions – and co-champions – were crowned. Coaches were fired. Seniors made their final bow. And the Bowl Season officially began with the announcement of the 34 Bowl Games to be played and, of course, the BCS National Championship Game.

Alabama’s 32-28 win over Georgia in Atlanta confirmed what most have believed all season; the Crimson Tide will play in the National Championship Game, taking on an undefeated Notre Dame team that surprised everybody.

The weekend’s major talking point wasn’t Nick Saban’s side though. With a 44-37 double-overtime victory over Kent State on Friday night, Northern Illinois took the Mid-American Conference championship and a #15 berth in the BCS Rankings. Significantly, that #15 ranking was enough to see the Huskies into the Orange Bowl where they will meet Florida State, champions of the ACC. Cue massive uproar and BCS bashing.

Elsewhere in the BCS portion of Bowl Season, Stanford’s Pac-12 championship sets up a Rose Bowl clash with the unexpected Big Ten champion, Wisconsin.

Oregon and Kansas State, two sides disappointed to have faded away from the national title picture in the twilight of the season, will collide in the Fiesta Bowl.

Florida, runners up to Georgia in the SEC’s Eastern Division, will head to the Sugar Bowl to take on Louisville, who took a one quarter share in this year’s Big East.

Outside of the BCS games, the Capital One Bowl sees Georgia, runners up in the SEC, take on Nebraska, runners up in the Big Ten, in one of the more intriguing games on the schedule, and one that many think will be more interesting than at least three of the BCS games.

In the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Clemson, runners up in the ACC, face an LSU side that finished second in the SEC’s Western Division and played some solid football down the stretch.

In the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, to be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Oklahoma, runners up in the Big 12, will face a Texas A&M side that surprised many in its first season in the SEC, and not just because of that win over Alabama.

Across the 35 games there are plenty of talking points to be discussed, and over the next month and change CasinoReview will tackle as many of these as possible. Meanwhile, below we’ve provided you with a comprehensive list of the games including the opening favorites, point spreads and totals, all of which could see some serious action before it all ends on January 7.

 

Bowl Season Schedule

 

Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 15, 1 PM ET)

University Stadium, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Nevada (8-5, 4-4 MWC) vs. Arizona (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12)

Favorite: Arizona Spread: 8 Total: 73

 

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 15, 4:30 PM ET)

Bronco Stadium, Boise State University, Boise, ID

Toledo (9-3, 6-2 MAC) vs. #22 Utah State (10-2, 6-0 WAC)

Favorite: Utah State Spread: 9 Total: 59

 

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Dec. 20, 8 PM ET)

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA

San Diego State (9-3, 7-1 MWC) vs. BYU (7-5)

Favorite: BYU Spread: 3 Total: 52

 

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg (Dec. 21, 7:30 PM ET)

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL

Ball State (9-3, 6-2 MAC) vs. Central Florida (9-4, 7-1 CUSA)

Favorite:  Central Florida Spread: Total: 60

 

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 22, 12 PM ET)

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

East Carolina (8-4, 7-1 CUSA) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt)

Favorite: Louisiana-Lafayette Spread: 4 Total: 67

 

Maaco Bowl Las Vegas (Dec. 22, 3:30 PM ET)

Sam Boyd Stadium, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

#19 Boise State (10-2, 7-1 MWC) vs. Washington (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12)

Favorite: Boise State Spread: 6 Total: 46

 

Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Dec. 24, 8 PM ET)

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI

Southern Methodist (6-6, 5-3 CUSA) vs. Fresno State (9-3, 7-1 MWC)

Favorite: Fresno State Spread: 12 Total: 62

 

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Dec. 26, 7:30 PM ET)

Ford Field, Detroit, MI

Western Kentucky (7-5, 4-4 Sun Belt) vs. Central Michigan (6-6, 4-4 MAC)

Favorite: Western Kentucky Spread: 7 Total: 57

 

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (Dec. 27, 3 PM ET)

RFK Stadium, Washington, DC

#24 San Jose State (10-2, 5-1 WAC) vs. Bowling Green (8-4, 6-2 MAC)

Favorite: San Jose State Spread: Total: 49½

 

Belk Bowl (Dec. 27 6:30 PM ET)

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC

Duke (6-6, 3-5 ACC) vs. Cincinnati (9-3, 5-2 Big East)

Favorite: Cincinnati Spread: 10 Total: 56½

 

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (Dec. 27, 9:45 PM ET)

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA

Baylor (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) vs. #17 UCLA (9-4, 6-3 Pac-12)

Favorite: N/A Spread: EVEN Total: 74½

 

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl (Dec. 28, 2 PM ET)

Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

Ohio (8-4, 4-4 MAC) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt)

Favorite: Louisiana-Monroe Spread: 6 Total: 59

 

Russell Athletic Bowl (Dec. 28, 5:30 PM ET)

Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL

Virginia Tech (6-6, 4-4 ACC) vs. Rutgers (9-3, 5-2 Big East)

Favorite: Virginia Tech Spread: Total: 43

 

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Dec. 28, 9 PM ET)

Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX

Minnesota (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten) vs. Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5 Big 12)

Favorite: Texas Tech Spread: 12½ Total: 57

 

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 29, 11:45 PM ET)

Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX

Rice (6-6, 4-4 CUSA) vs. Air Force (6-6, 5-3 MWC)

Favorite: Air Force Spread: Total: 61

 

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (Dec. 29, 3:15 PM ET)

AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA

Arizona State (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12) vs. Navy (7-4)

Favorite: TBC Spread: TBC Total: TBC

 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 29, 3:15 PM ET)

Yankee Stadium, New York, NY

Syracuse (7-5, 5-2 Big East) vs. West Virginia (7-5, 4-5 Big 12)

Favorite: West Virginia Spread: Total: 67

 

Valero Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29, 6:45 PM ET)

Alamodome, San Antonio, TX

#23 Texas (8-4, 5-4 Big 12) vs. # 13 Oregon State (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12)

Favorite: Oregon State Spread: 1 Total: 60

 

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Dec. 29, 10:15 PM ET)

Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Michigan State (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) vs. TCU (7-5, 4-5 Big 12)

Favorite: N/A Spread: EVEN Total: 42½

 

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Dec. 31, 12:05 PM ET)

LP Field, Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt (8-4, 5-3 SEC) vs. North Carolina State (7-5, 4-4 ACC)

Favorite: Vanderbilt Spread: Total: 52

 

Hyundai Sun Bowl (Dec. 31, 2 PM ET)

Sun Bowl Stadium, University of Texas El Paso, El Paso, TX

Georgia Tech (6-7, 5-3 ACC) vs. USC (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12)

Favorite: USC Spread: Total: 66

 

Autozone Liberty Bowl (Dec. 31, 3:30 PM ET)

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
Iowa State (6-6, 3-6 Big 12) vs. Tulsa (10-3, 7-1 CUSA)

Favorite: Tulsa Spread: 2 Total: 52½

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31, 7:30 PM ET)

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

#14 Clemson (10-2, 7-1 ACC) vs. #8 LSU (10-2, 6-2 SEC)

Favorite: LSU Spread: 3 Total: 57

 

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl (Jan. 1, 12 PM ET)

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL

Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4 SEC) vs. #20 Northwestern (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten)

Favorite: Mississippi State Spread: Total: 52

 

Heart of Dallas Bowl (Jan. 1, 12 PM ET)

Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX

Purdue (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5, 5-4 Big 12)

Favorite: Oklahoma State Spread: 18 Total: 69

 

Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 PM ET)

Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
#7 Georgia (11-2, 7-1 SEC) vs. #16 Nebraska (10-3, 7-1 Big Ten)

Favorite: Georgia Spread: Total: 57

 

Outback Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 PM ET)

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

#10 South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. #18 Michigan (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten)

Favorite: South Carolina Spread: 4 Total: 48

 

Rose Bowl presented by Vizio (Jan. 1, 5 PM ET)

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

#6 Stanford (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12) vs. Wisconsin (8-5, 4-4 Big Ten)

Favorite: Stanford Spread: Total: 48½

 

Discover Orange Bowl (Jan. 1, 8:30 PM ET)

Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL

#15 Northern Illinois (12-1, 8-0 MAC) vs. #12 Florida State (11-2, 7-1 ACC)

Favorite: Florida State Spread: 13½ Total: 59½

 

All State Sugar Bowl (Jan. 2, 8:30 PM ET)

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

#21 Louisville (10-2, 5-2 Big East) vs. #3 Florida (11-1, 7-1 SEC)

Favorite: Florida Spread: 14½ Total: 47

 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 3, 8:30 PM ET)

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

#5 Kansas State (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) vs. #4 Oregon (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12)

Favorite: Oregon Spread: 8 Total: 79

 

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic (Jan. 4)

Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX

#9 Texas A&M (10-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. #11 Oklahoma (10-2, 8-1 Big 12)

Favorite: Texas A&M Spread: Total: 72

 

BBVA Compass Bowl (Jan. 5, 1 PM ET)

Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
Pittsburgh (6-6, 3-4 Big East) vs. Ole Miss (6-6, 3-5 SEC)

Favorite: Ole Miss Spread: 2 Total: 51½

 

GoDaddy.com Bowl (Jan. 6, 9 PM ET)

Ladd Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL

#25 Kent State (11-2, 8-0 MAC) vs. Arkansas State (9-3, 7-1 Sun Belt)

Favorite: Arkansas State Spread: 2 Total: 62

 

Discover BCS National Championship (Jan. 7, 8:30 PM ET)

Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL

#1 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. #2 Alabama (12-1, 7-1 SEC)

Favorite: Alabama Spread: Total: 43

College Football Championship Picks

Having handled Georgia Tech last weekend, Georgia now looks to upset Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

It’s championship weekend in College Football and CasinoReview has the inside track on who’s likely to take home titles and bolster their BCS hopes along the way.

 

Pac-12 Championship Game: #16 UCLA @ #8 Stanford

With the two teams battling it out for the Pac-12 championship meeting just one week earlier, it would be easy to dismiss the game as uninteresting and missable. Been there done that. But the Bruins’ trip to The Farm Friday night is anything but.

UCLA (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) has played tough for much of the season and will play tough this weekend despite losing to Stanford (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) last weekend.

Odds: Stanford is a 10-point favorite at home. Only Florida State has a larger advantage in any championship game this weekend. The over/under is 52.

Take: Stanford – While this game shouldn’t be written off just because the sides faced off last weekend, it’s hard to see the result being any different. The Cardinal has taken four straight from the Bruins, by an average of nearly 22 points. Take Stanford to cover the spread with the total going under.

 

SEC Championship Game: #2 Alabama vs. #3 Georgia

If you listen to most, Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) has one more hurdle to leap before heading to Miami to take on Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game. That has to have Georgia (11-1, 7-1 SEC) seething.

The Bulldogs are not traveling to Atlanta merely to make up the numbers. The side believes it has a real opportunity of knocking off the Crimson Tide and securing its first SEC championship since 2005.

Alabama was victorious the last time these two sides met (2008) but that win snapped a three-game Bulldogs winning streak.

Odds: Alabama is favored (-8) over Georgia, with the over/under at 51.

Take: Alabama – This might not be the cake walk some think it will be but Nick Saban will have his team ready to play in its first SEC title game in three years. The Tide will roll on, covering the spread. Take the total to go over.

 

Big Ten Championship Game: #12 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin

Wisconsin (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten) fulfilled bookies’ predictions by winning the depleted Leaders Division in the Big Ten and advancing to the championship game. The Badgers’ path to Indianapolis could be considered less than successful though, what with both Ohio State and Penn State finishing ahead of the Badgers.

Nebraska (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) meanwhile put forward a strong showing, holding off Michigan in the Legends Division, rewarding punters that took 3/1 preseason odds.

Odds: Nebraska is a 2½-point favorite, with the over/under at 48.

Take: Nebraska –The Cornhuskers bettered Wisconsin in September and will do so again, spoiling the Badgers’ hope of two straight titles. Take the Cornhuskers to cover the spread with the total going under.

 

Quick Picks…

MAC Championship Game: Both #12 Northern Illinois (11-1, 8-0 MAC) and #17 Kent State (11-1, 8-0 MAC) made some late season BCS noise before heading off to Detroit. The winner of this will truly be the best in the conference, going undefeated in conference play. Take Northern Illinois, winners of five straight and 16 of 19 all-time against Kent State.

CUSA Championship Game: Not the most glamorous of conferences, the CUSA will culminate with a close contest between Central Florida (9-3, 7-1 CUSA) and Tulsa (9-3, 7-1 CUSA), two sides that have played good conference football this season. Take Tulsa, winners of three straight against UCF, with home field advantage.

ACC Championship Game: In what may well be the least interesting of all six championship games, take #13 Florida State (10-2, 7-1 ACC) to defeat Georgia Tech (6-6, 5-36 ACC) who didn’t make this game on merit.

Rivalry Week in College Football: Saturday Games

#4 Florida visiting #10 Florida State is just one of the huge rivalry games on Saturday that will have a big impact on the BCS standings.

Following on from Thursday’s look at Friday night’s Rivalry Week games, CasinoReview returns with a lowdown of those rivalry games taking place on Saturday, some of which will have serious implications within the hunt for the National Championship.

 

#1 Notre Dame @ USC

The Jeweled Shillelagh won’t be the only thing up for grabs at the Coliseum on Saturday. Notre Dame (11-0) will look to remain perfect on the season, which should be enough to book the Irish a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. USC (7-4, 5-4 Pac-12) has owned the Irish in recent years and will be looking to resuscitate a disappointing year ahead of Bowl season.

Favorite: Notre Dame Spread: 4 Total: 46

 

Auburn @ #2 Alabama (“The Iron Bowl”)

Last week’s chaotic results washed away the Tide’s surprise loss to Texas A&M. A win over arch-nemesis Auburn (3-8, 0-7 SEC) will sew-up the SEC West, and send Alabama (10-1, 6-1 SEC) to the Championship Game in Atlanta next weekend, where Georgia lays in wait.

Favorite: Alabama Spread: 34 Total: 46

 

#5 Oregon @ #15 Oregon State (“The Civil War”)

Stanford’s upset win over the Ducks means it’s now very unlikely that Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) will be considered for the National Championship. In fact, Oregon’s division hopes are now in jeopardy and anything less than a win in this rivalry matchup against Oregon State (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12) will be disastrous. If the Ducks take the ‘W’, they’ll then have to hope UCLA knocks off Stanford.

Favorite: Oregon Spread: 12.5 Total: 64.5

 

#4 Florida @ #10 Florida State

Quarterback Jeff Driskell will start for Florida (10-1, 7-1 SEC) but the Gators will be up against the wall in this one, with bookies preferring the Seminoles. Florida State (10-1, 7-1 ACC) has beaten Florida two straight times, and will be looking to make it three in a row for the first time since 1998-2000. The winner of this one can expect to climb the BCS ladder.

Favorite: Florida State Spread: 7 Total: 44.5

 

Georgia Tech @ #3 Georgia (“Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate”)

Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC) has already booked its place in the SEC Championship Game, a win in which will most likely send the Bulldogs to the National Championship. This week is about taking home the Governor’s Cup though, something Georgia has done in 10 of the last 11 seasons. An upset win for the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech (6-5, 5-3 ACC) would send Georgia tumbling out of the national title conversation.

Favorite: Georgia Spread: 14 Total: 64.5

 

#12 South Carolina @ #11 Clemson

If Florida State falls to Florida and the Tigers defeat the Gamecocks, not only will Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC) take home Hardee’s Trophy but also the Atlantic Division, setting up a clash with Georgia Tech for the ACC championship. South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 SEC) has won the last three meetings between the sides though, making this anything but a dead cert.

Favorite: Clemson Spread: 4 Total: 61.5

 

#21 Oklahoma State @ #13 Oklahoma (“The Bedlam Series”)

Last year Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) took home the Bedlam Bell, snapping Oklahoma’s (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) eight-year hold on the trophy. This season, the Cowboys will look to keep a hold of it. The Sooners however are not out of the Big 12 title picture and need a win over their state rivals to keep pace with Kansas State, who owns the tiebreaker in the series.

Favorite: Oklahoma Spread: 9 Total: 72.5

 

#19 Michigan @ Ohio State

Michigan’s (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten) hopes of taking the Legends Division outright this year were extinguished by Nebraska’s victory over Iowa on Friday afternoon. Now the Wolverines will look to play spoiler and hand Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) its first loss of the season. A win for the Buckeyes and the undefeated season that comes along with it will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those playing for the postseason-banned school.

Favorite: Ohio State Spread: 4.5 Total: 54.5

 

Whilst those games will have some impact on the final BCS rankings and the National Championship hunt, a number of other games this weekend can determine whether teams will be Bowl eligible or not. There’s also bound to be some pure hatred flying around also. Don’t expect any of these to be pretty.

 

Illinois @ Northwestern

Illinois (2-9, 0-7 Big Ten) will hope to take home the Land of Lincoln Trophy for third straight year, securing its first conference win of the season in the process. Northwestern (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) will look to pile more misery on the so-far hapless Illini.

Favorite: Northwestern Spread: 18.5 Total: 50.5

 

Southern Mississippi @ Memphis (“Black and Blue Bowl”)

Southern Mississippi (0-11, 0-7 CUSA) seeks its first win of the year in Memphis (3-8, 3-4 CUSA). A rivalry game is as good a time as any to notch a debut victory.

Favorite: Memphis Spread: 3.5 Total: 51.5

 

Troy at Middle Tennessee (“Battle for the Palladium”)

A win will not only give Troy (5-6, 3-4 Sun Belt) the Palladium Trophy but also makes the side Bowl eligible. Middle Tennessee (7-3, 5-1 Sun Belt) will look to prevent that, particularly as it looks to remain in the hunt for the Sun Belt Conference title.

Favorite: Middle Tennessee Spread: 3 Total: 67.5

 

Mississippi State @ Ole Miss (“The Egg Bowl”)

A 7-0 start for Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3 SEC) fizzled out once the Bulldogs came up against ranked opposition. Now the side will look to win the Golden Egg Trophy, something Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5 SEC) – looking to become Bowl eligible – will try to prevent.

Favorite: EVEN Spread: EVEN Total: 54.5

 

Indiana @ Purdue

Purdue (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) is another side looking to become Bowl eligible. The Boilermakers will do so with a win over Indiana (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten), and take home the Old Oaken Bucket in the process.

Favorite: Purdue Spread: 6 Total: 62.5

 

Virginia @ Virginia Tech

Finally, Virginia Tech (5-6, 3-4 ACC) will look to become Bowl eligible with a win over rivals, Virginia (4-7, 2-5 ACC). History is on the side of the Hokies, who have won the Commonwealth Cup in eight straight seasons, and 12 of the last 13.

Favorite: Virginia Tech Spread: 10 Total: 49.5

Week 9 College Football Tips

A win for Landry Jones and the Sooners could potentially put Oklahoma back in the race for the National Championship, whilst putting a serious dent in Notre Dame's chances.

With five games left on the schedule for most schools, it’s time to get down to business. At present there appears to be five contenders (Alabama, Florida, Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame) for the BCS Championship Game, which means three teams need to be whittled away.

Whittling could begin this weekend as four of the top five sides facing ranked opposition on Saturday. A loss for any of those sides could be paramount to elimination from the title picture.

To help you navigate this veritable minefield of BCS implications, here are our picks for this week’s big games.

 

#5 Notre Dame @ #8 Oklahoma

They might not have met in 13 years, and Oklahoma (5-1, 3-1 Big 12) might not have hosted Notre Dame (7-0, 2-0 road) in 46 years, but this has big-time rivalry written all over it. The stakes are simple: whoever loses can wave goodbye to title hopes.

Oklahoma has been on a tear recently, averaging better than 50 points per game over the past three outings, but Notre Dame has made a season out of shutting down teams. The defense still hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown this year.

Odds: Oklahoma opened as 10-point favorites, a number that has stretched to 12. The over/under is 47½.

Take: Notre Dame – Oklahoma has been formidable of late but every time the Irish has come up against a team it shouldn’t beat’, it’s done exactly that. Yes, the Sooners have a potent offense but Notre Dame’s defense is so rock-solid, it’s hard to imagine Bob Stoop’s side getting a mass of points. There’s a big payout looming if the underdog Irish wins as well. Take the under.

 

#2 Florida Vs. #10 Georgia (Jacksonville, FL)

A win this week for Florida (7-0, 6-0 SEC) will all but send the Gators to the SEC Championship Game. They’ve already beaten LSU and South Carolina in consecutive weeks, and a win over Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC) – a team that lost to South Carolina – will leave just #12 Florida State as a potential pitfall on the schedule, and Florida is certainly better than the Seminoles.

A win for Georgia would set the cat amongst the pigeons, leaving the Bulldogs, Gators and Gamecocks tied up, having beaten each other. From that mess you can ascertain that whilst one of those teams will head to the SEC title game, nobody is likely to head to the National Championship game.

Odds: Florida is favored with the spread shifting from 3½ at opening to 7-points today. The over/under is 48.

Take: Florida – There’s no doubt that few expected Florida to ring up this sort of record, but the Gators have looked sharp for much of the season, and when they haven’t looked sharp, they’ve found ways to win. Georgia almost rolled over to the Gamecocks, putting little faith in the mind on any bettor that they’ll fare any better against Florida. Take the over; both of these sides will be able to put points on the board.

 

#11 Mississippi State @ #1 Alabama

The SEC West’s ‘Battle of the Unbeaten’ was supposed to take place next week when the Tide travels to LSU. Nobody told Mississippi State (7-0, 3-0 SEC).

The Bulldogs head to Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC) on Saturday looking to pull-off one of the biggest, and most important, upsets of the year. A victory over the Crimson Tide would really shake up the BCS standings and polls that have almost unanimously had Alabama inked into the BCS Championship Game.

Of course, a win over Alabama is much easier said than done. The Tide has looked tougher than ever over the last few weeks, dispatching of the likes of Tennessee and Mizzou without stopping for breath. Nick Saban’s side has the best defense in the country, something that could give Mississippi State – yet to play against ranked opposition – a rude awakening.

Odds: Alabama is favorites by 24-points. As large a difference as that is, Alabama has had no trouble winning by huge margins. That being said, they’re only 4-3 ATS this season. The over/under is 47½.

Take: Alabama – The only way Mississippi State could conceivably win the game is if Alabama is caught looking ahead to next week’s clash with LSU. Can you imagine a Nick Saban side doing that? Exactly. Take the over and Bama to beat the spread.

 

#14 Texas Tech @ #3 Kansas State

We mentioned in last week’s College Football Tips how Kansas State (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) had very quietly gone about its business. Now ranked #3, it’ll be tough for the Wildcats to do anything quietly.

Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) has had an excellent season, making the top ten in passing yards (10th) and points scored (4th) on the way to some big wins. A loss to Oklahoma is the only blemish on the team’s resume. A trip to Bill Snyder Stadium may change that.

Odds: Kansas State is favored by 7½-points with the over/under at 62½.

Take: Kansas State – There’s no denying that the Red Raiders’ prolific offense has been great to watch this season – especially that drubbing of West Virginia – but it’s time to wave goodbye to Texas Tech and its high ranking. The Wildcats really are one of the toughest teams in football, and a top ten defense is likely to ground the Raiders. Take the Wildcats to beat the spread and take the under on the total.

 

BCS Top 25 (Week 9 Fixtures)

#18 Clemson 42, Wake Forest 13 (Thursday)

Cincinnati @ #16 Louisville (Friday)

 

#11 Mississippi State @ #1 Alabama

#2 Florida @ #10 Georgia

#14 Texas Tech @ #3 Kansas State

Colorado @ #4 Oregon

#5 Notre Dame @ #8 Oklahoma

#7 Oregon State @ Washington

#9 USC @ Arizona

Duke @ #12 Florida State

Tennessee @ #13 South Carolina

Kent State @ #15 Rutgers

Washington State @ #17 Stanford

#20 Texas A&M @ Auburn

#21 Boise State @ Wyoming

#22 Michigan @ Nebraska

#23 Texas @ Kansas

#24 Ohio @ Miami (OH)

Michigan State @ #25 Wisconsin

#6 LSU (Bye)

#19 West Virginia (Bye)

Week 4 College Football Schedule Features Glut of Exciting Games

T.J. Yeldon and the 'beatable' Alabama are favored by nearly 50 points over Florida Atlantic.

Week 4 of the College Football season kicked off earlier this week with wins for Kent State, Boise State and Baylor. Now the real action gets under way with Saturday’s epic slate of games, featuring some exciting games to come out of the Top 25.

Ranked Games

We took a quick look at the ranked games yesterday, but let’s get down to business: who’s going to win?

#18 Michigan (2-1, 0-1 road) is a 6-point underdog against #11 Notre Dame (3-0, 1-0 home). The beastly Notre Dame defense looks too tough for Michigan, so go with the Irish to win outright. The last three meetings have been won by just 12 combined points. Take Michigan to beat the spread.

#6 Oklahoma (2-0, 1-0 home) is 14½ point favorites against #15 Kansas State (3-0, 0-0 road) and in all honesty it’s hard to look past the Sooners in this one. Take Oklahoma to win the game and beat the spread on the back of another outstanding performance from Landry Jones.

#10 Clemson (3-0, 0-0 road) has lost nine of the last 10 at #4 Florida State (3-0, 3-0 home) but took an impressive victory in Memorial Stadium. The Seminoles are 14½-point favorites, but expect the Tigers to beat that spread. Take Florida State to win outright though, in what should be a close encounter.

#22 Arizona (3-0, 0-0 road) has surprised everybody this season under first-year coach, Rich Rodriquez. The Wildcats will need to wait another week to register a fourth win – equally last season’s tally – as #3 Oregon (3-0, 3-0 home) will run away with this one. Arizona should just keep it within the 21½-point spread though.

Top of the Polls

Elsewhere in the Top 25 there are some intriguing matches to get involved in. Here’s a look at those at the very top of the list.

Florida Atlantic (1-2, 0-2 road) enjoyed some time in the spotlight this week thanks to DE Cory Henry’s comments suggesting #1 Alabama (3-0, 1-0 home) ‘can be beat’. Don’t expect it to be the Owls doing the beating though. The best the Sun Belt team can hope for is beating the pointspread, which sits at 49½ in favor of the Crimson Tide. As good as ‘Bama are, take the Owls to keep it a little closer than that.

#2 LSU (3-0, 0-0 road) visits an Auburn (1-2, 1-1 home) side that has been very disappointing this season. Losses to Clemson and Mississippi State were followed by an overtime win over everybody’s favorite upset machine, Louisiana-Monroe. LSU is 21-point favorites in this one, but a strong performance from Auburn should see them beat the spread. LSU will win outright.

#5 Georgia (3-0, 2-0 home) hosts Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1 road) in an SEC matchup that should follow the lines. Georgia is favored by 14½, and looks more than capable of beating a Vanderbilt team that’s not as good as Mizzou, who the Bulldogs knocked off in Week 2.

Elsewhere in the Top 25, expect #13 USC (2-1, 1-0 home) to rebound from last week’s loss to Stanford by beating California (1-2, 0-1 road) at the Coliseum and smashing the 16-point spread. #19 UCLA (3-0, 2-0 home) host an Oregon State (1-0, 0-0 road) side that beat Wisconsin last time out. This one should be a good game, and that 7½-point spread (in favor of the Bruins) may well be snapped by the Beavers on the way to an upset win.

#21 Michigan State (2-1, 1-1 home) will entertain Eastern Michigan (0-3, 0-2 road) in a bid to rebound from last week’s loss to Notre Dame. Don’t expect the Eagles to come out of this one with a ‘W’, but take them to beat the 31½-point spread. Sure, the Spartans are capable of putting up the points on the MAC’s basement team, but there are inklings that it won’t be as many as Purdue did last week.

Finally, if you’re still looking for some excitement, forget the rankings and tune into Syracuse (1-2, 0-0 road) versus Minnesota (2-0, 3-0 home) for the first Minnesota night game in forever. With the Orange entering the game as -1 favorites, this will be a close one, but it should be worth a shout taking the Golden Gophers to win outright. Minnesota 4-0? Who’d have guessed?