[B][I]CFB notebook: Fisher makes jump to Texas A&M
December 1, 2017[/I][/B]
The saga over whether Jimbo Fisher would stay or leave ended Friday when he submitted his resignation to Florida State officials and accepted Texas A&M’s offer to become that school’s new coach.
Florida State officials formally announced Fisher’s departure later Friday.
“Coach Fisher did an exceptional job as both an assistant coach at FSU and in the challenging role of successor to the legendary Bobby Bowden,” Florida State president John Thrasher said in a statement. “I believe Texas A&M is getting one of the best coaches in college football.”
Fisher, 52, had been hoping to coach the Seminoles on Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe but Florida State officials pushed for a decision. At the same time, Texas A&M regents on Thursday reportedly approved Fisher as coach of the Aggies during a meeting.
[B]–Less than one week[/B] after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Ohio State senior quarterback J.T. Barrett is a game-day decision for Saturday’s Big Ten title game between the eighth-ranked Buckeyes and No. 4 Wisconsin.
Barrett, who had the procedure done last Sunday after aggravating a right knee inury when he was hit on the sidelines in last Saturday’s game against rival Michigan, has been undergoing 15 hours of treatment per day in hopes of returning to the field Saturday.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Barrett’s week of treatment has been “very positive,” but added that the quarterback’s health situation is still “very delicate.”
[B]–Former Tennessee Volunteers [/B]head coach Phillip Fulmer took over as athletic director after John Currie was placed on leave with pay, the university announced.
“I am confident that Phillip understands the need to support our student-athletes and our commitment to excellence in all athletic programs,” Chancellor Beverly Davenport said in a statement. “I appreciate his willingness to serve during this critical time. No one better understands the storied history of Vol athletics and its deep connection to alumni and fans, and I believe he will be a unifying presence for all of us committed to the university’s success.”
The whirlwind of events with Currie out as Tennessee AD after just eight months on the job and Fulmer in came after the Volunteers backed out of a hiring agreement with Greg Schiano following a public backlash and campus protests.
[B]–The NCAA [/B]hit the Ole Miss football team with more punishment, including an additional year from playing in the postseason in 2018.
Ole Miss will be banned from playing in a bowl again next season and the Rebels also received additional scholarship deductions in the ruling the university received from the NCAA committee on infractions. The university previously self-imposed a bowl ban for this season when it received a notice of allegations in February.
Because of the two-year bowl ban, NCAA rules state Ole Miss players could become free to transfer elsewhere without sitting out a season.
[B][I]Playoff Takeaways: Sooners make it easy for CFP committee
December 2, 2017[/I][/B]
There are plenty of reasons to leave Ohio State and Alabama out of the College Football Playoff.
But the rules say the selection committee has to pick four teams so one of them is most certainly getting in.
In the fourth year of the playoff, the selection committee faces its toughest choice yet. A real controversy, one with no particularly good answer. The committee will let everyone know which four teams will be playing in the New Year’s Day semifinals on Sunday. Three will be easy: Defending national champion Clemson, Southeastern Conference champion Georgia and Big 12 champ Oklahoma are getting in.
Then it’s … Alabama? Or Ohio State?
Two of college football’s blues bloods, biggest brands and historically successful teams. Also, two teams many fans love to hate. No matter the committee’s decision there will be complaints of favoritism and conspiracy theories.
Did you know Ohio State’s athletic director, Gene Smith, is on the committee? He is recused when the Buckeyes are discussed, and you can bet there will be a lot of discussion about `Bama and the Buckeyes.
The lobbying started immediately after the Buckeyes handed Wisconsin its first loss of the season, 27-21, in the Big Ten title game Saturday night.
Alabama coach Nick Saban was on ESPN’s ”SportsCenter” making his pitch: ”I think you have to look at the whole body of work. The entire season. If you look at it like that I think our team gets strong consideration and is very deserving to be in the playoff.”
At almost the same time, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was accepting a Big Ten championship trophy in Indianapolis, touting his team: ”We have two wins over two top-four teams (Penn State was No. 2 when the Buckeyes beat it). We’re the conference champions. We deserve a shot.”
The case for and against each:
Alabama (11-1, CFP No. 5)
– The Crimson Tide always win the eye test. No team has a more talented and deeper roster.
– Alabama’s only loss was by 12 at Auburn (10-3), a team that even after losing the SEC title game to Georgia will probably finish in the committee’s top 10.
– Other than the Auburn game, Alabama’s only real challenge came at Mississippi State. The Tide won by eight at Texas A&M, but the Aggies’ scored in the last 20 seconds to make that look closer than it was.
– Alabama’s best victories will be against LSU (9-3) and Mississippi State (8-4). They are likely the only teams Alabama beat that will be ranked Sunday. LSU was 17 last week.
– Alabama did not win its division, let alone its conference. That was not a problem last year for Ohio State, but those 11-1 Buckeyes had victories over three top-10 teams and a three-point loss on the road to another top-10 team.
Ohio State (11-2, CFP No. 8)
– The Buckeyes do just fine with the eye test, too.
– Ohio State has victories against three teams (Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State) that are all likely to be ranked ahead of Alabama’s best victory.
– The Buckeyes are Big Ten champions and selection committee protocol directs the committee to use championships won as something of a tiebreaker if teams are similar.
– The Buckeyes not only lost twice, but both loses were by double-digits, including a 31-point drubbing at Iowa (7-5).
– Did we mention that the Buckeyes lost 55-24 to Iowa?
Strength of schedule, according to Sagarin ratings.
Alabama, 54th toughest in Division I.
Ohio State, 42nd before playing Wisconsin.
Last season Ohio State became the first team to make the playoff without winning its conference. This season the Buckeyes are trying to become the first team with two losses to get in. If Alabama gets in, it will be the first time two teams from the same conference get in. And while the SEC has typically been the best or close to the best conference in college football, this has not been a season in which it has stood clearly above the rest.
Ohio State got in last year without winning the Big Ten and the league champion, Penn State, did not. What is the committee’s appetite for leaving two Power Five conferences out of the playoff (sorry, Pac-12)? It should not matter. The committee is charged with picking the best four teams. But can’t help but wonder if it plays into the thought process.
[B]GOING HOME A CHAMPION[/B]
All signs pointed in this direction so it was no surprise when, after Scott Frost was done leading Central Florida to the American Athletic Conference championship, he was announced as Nebraska’s next coach.
The Knights are unbeaten and likely heading to the Peach Bowl as the highest-ranked champion from outside the Power Five conferences. No doubt some fans will wonder why UCF doesn’t get a chance to play in the final four, but the schedule lacks big nonconference wins. It might not be fair, but unless the playoff expands it will always be a long shot for the teams outside the Power Five.
TCU’s lose could open up a spot in the New Year’s six for a team that has not been talked about much since the rankings started coming out. Washington was 13th last week, right behind Stanford and TCU, which both lost. Unless TCU (10-3) stays ahead or the committee reconsiders Notre Dame (9-3) the Huskies (10-2) could be headed to the Cotton Bowl.
Here’s how the New Year’s Six could shake out.
[B][I]4th Quarter Covers – Week 14
December 3, 2017[/I][/B]
Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the championship college football weekend in early December.
Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.
USC (-3½) 31, Stanford 28:[/B] The Pac-12 championship spread bounced around from -3 to -4. The Trojans seemed to have a clear edge early with a 17-7 lead late in the second quarter and a dominant production edge but Stanford managed to complete a touchdown drive 34 seconds before halftime to trail by three. That remained the margin through three quarters with matching touchdowns before USC had the game’s only turnover. Stanford didn’t score directly after that fumble but it shifted the field position. The Cardinal eventually reached the red zone on the next possession but failed going for it on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard-line. USC seemingly put the game away going 99 yards to lead by 10 with just over four minutes remaining but Stanford connected on three deep acrobatic catches including two on 3rd-and-long plays while also managing to recover a botched snap. The Cardinal eventually hit the end zone on a great Kaden Smith catch for 28 yards with two minutes remaining. That score locked up the underdog cover in most scenarios as USC recovered the onside kick and conservatively tried to run down the clock. With 37 seconds to go USC faced 4th-and-2 from the Stanford 32-yard-line. There was certainly no need to attempt a long field goal and punting seemed to be the common choice but the Trojans ran a pass play with Josh Falo getting the first down and running for 15 yards, finishing one tackle short of breaking through to the end zone. The Cardinal again lost by just three to narrowly cover most spreads despite a 501-343 yardage edge for the Pac-12 champion Trojans.
[B]Troy (-1) 32, Arkansas State 25:[/B] Troy led 24-13 halfway through the fourth quarter with a kickoff return touchdown and a 100-yard interception return touchdown offsetting an eventual 293-606 yardage deficit. Arkansas State had some late fight however with the Sun Belt title on the line. The Red Wolves completed a 93-yard touchdown drive in just over three minutes, trailing by five with 2:56 remaining after missing the 2-point-conversion. Arkansas State didn’t recover the on-side kick but used its timeouts and forced a quick punt getting the ball back with still well over two minutes remaining. The Red Wolves completed a big 3rd down play near midfield and then struck for a 39-yard touchdown pass to take a one-point lead, again missing on the conversion but it was enough to put Arkansas State in position to win and cover on the late week prices. Brandon Silvers and the Troy offense completed a big 4th down play en route to scoring on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds to go to steal the win back while claiming a share of the Sun Belt title.
[B]Florida Atlantic (-10½) 41, North Texas 17:[/B] The Owls dominated early and led 34-0 early in the third quarter but the Mean Green were briefly a threat to steal the cover, closing to 34-17 in the fourth quarter. Florida Atlantic converted 3rd-and-11 and 3rd-and-6 plays on the way to a late touchdown drive, aided by a face mask penalty to push the margin from 17 to 24 points to ensure the favorite cover.
[B]UCF (-6½) 62, Memphis 55:[/B] The spread on this game was steady at 7 the majority of the week despite closing at 6½ at many outlets. The Knights took charge early with a 24-14 edge but then had three consecutive turnovers including interceptions at the one-yard-line and in the end zone as Memphis scored 17 points to take a 31-24 halftime lead. UCF again established control with a 48-34 edge with about 10 minutes to play after settling for a short field goal to go up by 14. Memphis broke a 66 yard run a few plays later and then forced the first punt of the game from the Knights. Memphis tied the game seven plays later and had the opportunity to win in regulation but missed on a long 51-yard field goal try. Both teams scored with ease in the first overtime. Central Florida took three plays to post seven in the second overtime and the struggling defense sealed the perfect campaign with an interception two plays after Memphis had converted a huge 4th-and-7 play. Most left with a push and the ‘over’ on one of the higher totals in college football history was easily cleared.
Toledo (-20½) 45, Akron 28:[/B] The Rockets claimed the MAC title with a 38-0 edge in the third quarter but the Zips clawed back for a backdoor cover. Akron scored touchdowns surrounding the shift to the fourth quarter but Toledo scored on one play to put the margin back to 31 points. Akron scored with six minutes to go and again with 20 seconds to go to lose by only 17.
[B]Ohio State (-3½) 27, Wisconsin 21:[/B] The Big Ten championship proved to be the most exciting of Saturday’s four power five championship games and the spread results were mixed. Ohio State led 21-10 at the half with Wisconsin’s offense completely shut down but getting a pick-6 and a field goal off a fumble to stay in the game. The Badgers played better defense in the second half and managed to climb to within three points after an early fourth quarter score and a successful two-point conversion that came after a lengthy delay to repair the field in Indianapolis. The Buckeyes reached the red zone and opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 at the 13-yard-line. J.T. Barrett was initially stuffed behind the line of scrimmage but escaped to narrowly get the needed distance. A few plays later the Buckeyes opted to go the conservative route and kicked a 20-yard field goal on 4th-and-1 at the 3-yard-line for a six-point advantage, even with a common spread on the game though lines from 6½ to 3½ proved possible. After both teams punted Wisconsin had the ball back with nearly three minutes to play but were burned by a costly holding penalty and eventually wound up intercepted on 4th-and-20 as six points remained the final margin.
Florida State (-25½) 42, UL-Monroe 10:[/B] Jimbo Fisher left the Seminoles before this game but the impact on the massive spread was minimal. UL-Monroe scored 10 points in the third quarter to make it a game, trailing only 21-10. Florida State would close the game with three more touchdowns however to sneak by the heavy favorite spread while keeping the nation’s longest bowl streak alive.
[B][I]College Playoff Primer
December 3, 2017[/I][/B]
The College Football Playoff is set with the semifinals to be played on New Year’s Day. No. 1 seed Clemson will take on fourth-seeded Alabama at the Sugar Bowl in a rematch of the last two games played in the CFP finals.
The other semifinal will feature second-seeded Oklahoma, the winner of the Big 12 Championship Game, against No. 3 Georgia, which exacted revenge on Auburn with Saturday’s 28-7 win as a two-point favorite in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened Alabama as the +200 ‘chalk’ to win the CFP finals. Clemson was given +220 odds, followed by Oklahoma (+275) and Georgia (+350, risk $100 to win $350).
The Westgate opened Oklahoma as a 2.5-point ‘chalk’ vs. UGA, and sent out Alabama as a one-point favorite over Clemson. South Point opened the Sooners at two and Alabama-Clemson at pick ‘em. I made both OU and Clemson three-point favorites.
As of 4:00 p.m. Eastern, most Vegas shops had Lincoln Riley’s squad listed as a 1.5-point favorite, but most offshores had OU favored by one point. The Mirage and a few offshore spots had the game at pick ‘em.
In fact, the Mirage also had Alabama-Clemson at pick ‘em, but most other books had the Crimson Tide favored by 1.5 points.
Alabama beat Clemson by a 45-40 count in the CFP finals two seasons ago, but the Tigers garnered a backdoor cover as 6.5-point underdogs on a Deshaun Watson TD pass with 12 seconds remaining. Dabo Swinney’s team avenged that defeat with last year’s 35-31 win in the finals as (again) a 6.5-point underdog thanks to another last-second TD pass from Watson, setting up a rubber match of sorts in this year’s semifinals at the Superdome in New Orleans. This game will kick at 8:45 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
OU and UGA will collide at 5:00 p.m. Eastern in Pasadena. The Sooners have won eight consecutive games, going 5-1 against the spread in their last six outings. They’ve been single-digit ‘chalk’ three times, producing a 3-0 straight-up record and a 2-1 ATS mark. Meanwhile, Georgia won outright by a 20-19 count at Notre Dame in its lone games as an underdog (+5.5).
UGA is ranked fourth in the nation in total defense, second at defending the pass, 12th in run defense and fourth in scoring ‘D,’ limiting foes to 13.2 points per game. The Bulldogs have won three in a row both SU and ATS since suffering their lone loss, a 40-17 defeat at Auburn.
Oklahoma is No. 1 in the country in total offense, third in passing yards and fourth in scoring with a 44.9 PPG average. Baker Mayfield has completed 71.0 percent of his passes for 4,340 yards with a 41/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Although the injury report has Georgia RB Sony Michel listed as ‘questionable’ due to a knee injury sustained vs. Auburn, second-year head coach Kirby Smart told the media Sunday, “Everything looks good. A little bit of soreness. He should be good to go.” Michel has rushed for 948 yards and 13 TDs while averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
On New Year’s Day at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Auburn will take on unbeaten UCF. Scott Frost was in Lincoln today (12/3/17) to greet his new Nebraska team, but he will stay on to coach the Knights in the postseason. As for AU’s Gus Malzahn, Arkansas was expecting an answer from him at some point today as to whether or not he would leave the Tigers to take a lucrative deal with the Razorbacks, who hired him from Springdale High School (in Arkansas) as their offensive coordinator more than a decade ago.
One offshore released Auburn as an 8.5-point favorite.
There are two other games on New Year’s Day: Michigan vs. South Carolina at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, in addition to LSU vs. Notre Dame at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The Fighting Irish defeated LSU 31-28 at the 2014 Music City Bowl to avenge a blowout loss at the Sugar Bowl during Charlie Weis’s tenure when Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell were the starting QBs.
On Dec. 30 at the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Mississippi State and Louisville will collide. In what I have found to be a surprise, it appears that there hasn’t been that much interest from other schools in Bobby Petrino, so at this point it looks like he’ll be still at U of L going into 2018 (although that obviously could change). The Bulldogs won’t have star QB Nick Fitzgerald (lower-leg injury) or head coach Dan Mullen, who is busy on the recruiting trail for his new team, the Florida Gators. RBs coach and special-teams coordinator Greg Knox will serve as MSU’s interim head coach.
Also on Dec. 30, Iowa State will play a true road game against Memphis at the Liberty Bowl. The Tigers lost an instant classic in the AAC Championship Game, coming up on the wrong end of a 62-55 double-overtime thriller at UCF. If Malzahn doesn’t go to Arkansas, most speculation points to Washington State’s Mike Leach or Memphis coach Mike Norvell being the Razorbacks’ next targets.
In the Orange Bowl, Wisconsin will also play a true road game at Miami. The Badgers lost a 27-21 decision to Ohio St. at the Big Ten Championship Game, while Miami got smashed by Clemson in Charlotte at the ACC Championship Game.
A few offshore books had Wisconsin installed as a six-point favorite vs. the Hurricanes.
Washington and Penn State will square off at the Fiesta Bowl. One offshore had the Huskies listed as six-point ‘chalk.’
Ohio State will face Southern California at the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29.
[B]**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**[/B]
— Georgia LB Natrez Patrick was arrested early Sunday morning in Barrow County outside of Atlanta on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. Patrick, who served a four-game suspension earlier this season, has 35 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and three QB hurries in nine games this year. UGA had yet to comment on the matter when this story was filed late Sunday afternoon.
— In the three-year history of the CFP, underdogs have produced a 6-3 spread record with five outright victories.
— Clemson owns a 4-0 spread record with three outright wins in its two CFP appearances.
— Washington star WR and special-teams phenom Dante Pettis (leg) is ‘questionable’ vs. PSU.
— A CBSSports.com report on Sunday indicated that Arkansas made an offer to Gus Malzahn worth about $50 million and an average of $7.1 million per year. He made a $4.75 million at Auburn this season. We’ll see if AU steps up with an extension offer.
— According to a Lafayette Daily Advertiser report from Tim Buckley on Sunday, Louisiana (formerly known as UL-Lafayette) has fired Mark Hudspeth after seven seasons. Hudspeth had the Ragin’ Cajuns rolling early in his tenure, guiding them to four consecutive 9-4 seasons that were capped by wins at the New Orleans Bowl. Louisiana finished 4-8 in 2015 and 6-7 in ’16 when it lost 28-21 to Southern Miss at the New Orleans Bowl. The Ragin’ Cajuns finished 5-7 this year.
[B][I]Opening Line Report – Bowl Games
December 4, 2017[/I][/B]
When the South Point posted the first College Football Playoff lines in Las Vegas on Sunday, sharp money showed up on Alabama at pick ‘em vs. Clemson in the Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m., ESPN). Chris Andrews, sports book director at the South Point, was happy to take that action and moved the line to Alabama -1.
Other Vegas books opened Alabama as the slight chalk, the Westgate SuperBook hanging -1 and CG Technology going -2, and the Crimson Tide are now laying points at every shop in town.
Andrews thinks the betting market has it wrong.
“I really thought Clemson should be the favorite, but I opened pick, let them (sharp bettors) take me where they want to go, but I’m comfortable needing Clemson,” Andrews said. “If I go into the game needing them, that’s fine with me.”
There are many observers among the mainstream (non-gambling) college football punditry who questioned the Selection Committee’s decision to invite to Alabama to the playoffs, suggesting the Tide are in the final four because of reputation, not so much their 2017 resume. Andrews offered a similar notion regarding the betting line.
“This is probably one of those situations where we’re thinking of the historic Alabama rather than the current Alabama,” Andrews said. “I just think Clemson’s better than them right now.”
He added, “Alabama’s been exposed a little bit. It’s probably not Nick Saban’s best team. I predicted the Auburn win (over the Tide two weeks ago, 26-14). I just thought they weren’t that great of a team this year. They rely on (quarterback) Jalen Hurts an awful lot, their defense has clusters of injuries in linebacking, and if you look around the pros there’s tons of linebackers for Alabama, so it’s always been a key part of their defense.”
Over at CG Technology, sharp money grabbed Clemson +2, prompting a move to +1.5. But it’s likely that those early bettors were shopping for the best number, rather than expressing an opinion on the game, Jason Simbal, vice president of risk at the sports book operator, said.
Simbal, in fact, said his bookmaking team’s power ratings had Alabama a 3.5-point favorite, but that’s not a number they wanted to offer on a game certain to attract immediate high-volume action, particularly since betting opened Sunday as gamblers lined up to make their NFL wagers.
“In a normal week, where you’re not going to get a ton of attention on the game right away and nobody’s going to really bet it till the day of, you can hang 3 or 3.5 there,” Simbal said. “But in this case, it’s hard to hang that number because so many people are going to be betting this right away, fans and sharps alike, that you have to build in the perception.”
This, of course, is the third season in a row in which Alabama and Clemson will have met in the postseason. Clemson has covered the spread in the previous two meetings, winning outright 35-31 as 6.5-point dogs in last season’s championship game, and cashing as 6-point dogs in a 45-40 loss two years ago.
“I thought Alabama would be a really small favorite, but I’m hesitant to bet against Clemson in a big spot,” Simbal said. “Athletically, they have the ability to keep up with Alabama, one of the few teams that can do that, so we’ll see how they do without Deshaun Watson. If I had to bet that game I’d probably take Clemson.”
[B]Rose Bowl – Georgia vs. Oklahoma (-1)
Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
The early Rose Bowl betting sentiment has been on underdog Georgia, as the line opened between Oklahoma -2 and -2.5, before drifting to -1 at most shops and even to pick ‘em at MGM Resorts.
CG opened Oklahoma -2.5 but moved to -1.5 after writing a sharp money-line play on Georgia.
The most appropriate number on this game is Oklahoma -1.5, Andrews believes, although he opened -2.
“If a wiseguy bet me -2, I would have gone right to -3, and conversely, if a wiseguy bet me +2, I would have gone to 1,” Andrews said. “Just in that area off an opening number, you move things a little more quickly.” While no respected money showed up on either side, an abundance of smaller bets on the dog prompted the South Point to move to Oklahoma -1.
“We didn’t have any big bets on the dog, but it was just kind of trickling in,” Andrews said, “so it looked like at this point in time, people were either going to bet Georgia or they were going to pass.”
Simbal, though, expects most casual bettors to back Oklahoma as game day approaches.
“I think we’re going to end up needing Georgia because the public is in love with Oklahoma,” Simbal said. “(Baker) Mayfield is a pretty popular player and they’ve been so hot ever since the Iowa State loss, and in hindsight that Iowa State loss wasn’t as bad as we thought at the time.”
[B]Here’s a peek at some other intriguing bowl matchups:
Cotton Bowl – USC vs. Ohio State (-6.5)
Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
There’s a consensus on the Cotton Bowl, as Ohio State -6.5 is the number being dealt throughout Las Vegas, with no action significant enough for early adjustments.
[B]Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Penn State (-3)
Dec. 30, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN[/B]
Penn State’s been as high as -4.5 and as low as -2 offshore, but the line has settled at a field goal in Vegas.
[B]Orange Bowl – Wisconsin (-6.5) vs. Miami
Dec. 30, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN[/B]
Respect for the Big Ten continues, with the Badgers listed as substantial favorites in what’s essentially a home game for Miami.
[B]Outback Bowl – South Carolina vs. Michigan (-10)
Jan. 1, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN2[/B]
There’s been a strong early move on Michigan, as the Wolverines opened -7 at the Wynn and have been bet to between -9.5 and -10 around town.
[B]Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Central Florida vs. Auburn (-10)
Jan. 1, 12:30 p.m. , ESPN[/B]
Doubt abounds around unbeaten Central Florida as they take a major step up in class. Auburn can be found for -9.5 at some betting locales.
[B]Citrus Bowl – LSU (-2.5) vs. Notre Dame
Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET, ABC[/B]
Wiseguys are on LSU early, driving the line at the Wynn to Tigers -2.5 after Notre Dame opened the 1-point chalk. LSU is laying as many as 3 at some shops.
[B][I]CFB notebook: Texas A&M hires Fisher away from Florida St.
December 4, 2017[/I][/B]
Texas A&M officially confirmed the hiring of Jimbo Fisher as its head football coach with a 10-year, $75-million contract on Monday morning ahead of his introductory press conference.
Fisher, who led Florida State to a national championship in 2013, resigned on Friday from coaching the Seminoles after eight seasons to join the Aggies.
The 52-year-old Fisher was introduced by Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward during a news conference in College Station.
“I know I come in here with great expectations,” Fisher said. “We’re going to be driven to be the very best every day. We’re going to strive for excellence every day.”
Only Alabama’s Nick Saban ($8.1 million average) would be higher paid than Fisher ($7.5 million average) with Clemson’s Dabo Swinney ($6.75 million) close behind.
Fisher had an 83-23 with the Seminoles and won the 2013 BCS national championship with a 14-0 record, but he grew frustrated with Florida State officials over the failure to improve football facilities.
–Florida State officials[/B] planned to meet with Oregon head coach Willie Taggart about the university’s job opening, according to multiple reports.
Taggart was recruiting in Arizona on Monday morning, including an in-home visit with four-star quarterback commit Tyler Shough. The 41-year-old Taggart, a Florida native, is the favorite to replace Fisher.
The Seminoles have not had a face-to-face meeting with Taggart about their vacancy but have met with his agent Jimmy Sexton. Taggart reportedly was offered a four-year, $20 million extension by Oregon over a week ago but has not signed it yet. Fisher made $5.7 million this season at Florida State.
Taggart was hired at Oregon in December 2016 and went 7-5 in his first season after the Ducks were 4-8 the year before he arrived. He replaced Mark Helfrich after spending four seasons at South Florida, where he was 24-25 record overall after going 18-7 in his final two seasons with the Bulls.
[B]–New Arizona State football coach Herman Edwards[/B] displayed the passion for which he is known during his introductory press conference.
Arizona State made it official and hired Edwards as its 24th head coach on Sunday night. While Edwards hasn’t coached since being fired by the Kansas City Chiefs following the 2008 season, the 63-year-old showed he had plenty of fire on Monday.
“Football ignites my soul,” Edwards said. “It’s what makes me go. This is what I do. I’ve done this my whole life.”
Edwards has been a studio commentator for ESPN since his last coaching job with the Chiefs from 2006-08. He also was the coach of the New York Jets from 2001-05. As an NFL head coach, Edwards owns a 54-74 regular-season record. He was 39-41 with the Jets, who reached the playoffs three times in his tenure.
[B]–Pittsburgh junior Quadree Henderson[/B], a speedy wide receiver and kick returner, announced he will enter the NFL Draft.
Henderson was a consensus All-American as a return specialist in 2016, when he led the country with three kick returns for touchdowns and was third with a 15.8-yard punt return average.
The 5-foot-8, 190-pounder had a more difficult time making an impact in 2017, slowed early in the season by injury. He rushed for 251 yards on 36 carries and caught 17 passes for 186 yards. He scored twice on punt returns.
His seven return touchdowns — four on kickoffs — are a Pitt record. NFLDraftScout.com has listed Henderson as No. 10 among wide receivers in the 2019 class.
[B][I]Armadillo: Wednesday’s List of 13: A quick scan thru the bowl schedule……. [/I][/B]
13) UCF is getting ten points from Auburn in the Peach Bowl, the same stadium where Auburn just lost the SEC title game. Auburn’s coach just signed a $49M contract to stay on the Plains.
Central Florida is 12-0; two years ago, they were 0-12. Great season, but then their coach took the Nebraska job about 45 seconds after they won the AAC title game. Scott Frost and his staff will still coach their bowl game, but only because he needs the three hours of national TV exposure to remind people he is now the highly-paid coach of Nebraska.
12) Iowa State-Memphis is a good bowl between two upstart teams who had excellent seasons, and surprise!!!— neither coach has bolted yet.
Matt Campbell actually re-upped with the Cyclones, though contracts don’t always mean that much in today’s world. Mike Norvell is in his second year at Memphis; he could still wind up being a candidate at Tennessee, since just about everyone else already has been, but he also signed a contract extension this week to stay at Memphis.
11) Florida State is -15 over Southern Miss in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport; they’re hiring Willie Taggart as coach, but likely he won’t coach the bowl game. Now Derwin James, FSU’s best defensive player, has declared for the NFL Draft and is skipping the bowl game. Lay 15 points here at your own risk.
10) Holiday Bowl has long been the bowl with a tradition of wild, high-scoring games, so fitting that Mike Leach coaches there. Washington State-Michigan State is quite a contrast as far as coaches’ personality, with the offbeat Leach and the gruff Mark D’Antonio matching wits.
When he was at Texas Tech, Leach won ’04 Holiday Bowl 45-31 as an 11-point dog over Cal.
9) Normally, UAB-Ohio U wouldn’t catch my attention, but what a job UAB coach Bill Clark has done. UAB dropped football- they didn’t field a team the last two years, but due to outcry from alumni, they brought the team back this year and now they’re bowling in the Bahamas.
Meanwhile, while Nebraska fired their coach and hired Scott Frost, one of their old coaches, Frank Solich, has gone 88-67 at Ohio U— he went 58-19 as Nebraska’s coach but that wasn’t good enough. Bobcats are only 2-6 in bowls under Solich.
8) Kansas State-UCLA could be Bill Snyder’s last game as coach at K-State. Snyder is 78 and had a cancer scare last year— the job he’s done at K-State (209-110-1) is impossible to overstate.
Before he got to the Little Apple (K-State is in Manhattan, KS), the Wildcats were a joke, going 26-82-3 the previous 11 seasons— they were the welcome mat of college football. Snyder fixed all that, made them respectable, won a lot of games. Their stadium has been named after him for over a decade now.
7) There is a bowl called the “Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl”; it is played in Houston. Problem is, the Sports & Outdoor Bowl is in a domed stadium, where the Texans play.
Missouri-Texas are playing in the indoor Outdoors Bowl; Mizzou started this season 1-5 but won its last six games. Tigers fired their defensive coordinator during the 1-5 start; their OC just left for another opportunity, which could complicate their bowl preparation.
6) Fresno State went 10-28 the last three years, so they hired former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who was Aaron Rodgers’ college coach. Fresno is 9-4 this season; they get their second trip to Hawai’i in two months when they play Houston in the Hawai’i Bowl on Christmas Eve, after a full day of NFL games. There is no NFL game that night, so hopefully this will be a fun game.
5) New Mexico State is in a bowl game for the first time since 1960— good for them!!! Aggies are playing Utah State (also the Aggies) in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson.
New Mexico State was 11-49 the last five years; great year for coach Doug Martin.
4) SMU won’t have to go too far for their bowl game; Mustangs are playing Louisiana Tech in the Frisco Bowl, being played in the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility, which is roughly 25 miles from the SMU campus.
Louisiana Tech won its last three bowls, scoring 35-47-48 points. SMU is in its first bowl in five years.
3) Since 1999, Utah is 13-1 in bowl games, 9-1 under Kyle Whittingham. Utes lost six of their last eight games this year after a 4-0 start- they head to Dallas to play West Virginia in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, played in the old Cotton Bowl stadium.
2) Boise State won six of its last eight bowl games, winning the Las Vegas Bowl three years in a row, from 2010-12; Broncos are back in Vegas this year, playing an Oregon team whose coach just jumped ship after one year, for the greener pa$ture$ of Florida $tate. Ducks lost the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl, 38-8 to BYU.
1) Marshall vs Colorado State in a bowl game in Albuquerque is a little weird; Thundering Herd won its last five bowl games- their last bowl loss was in 2004. Colorado State won 27-24 on this field October 20. Do kids get excited about going to a bowl in Albuquerque?
1a) Which raises the question I raise every year; what is the worst bowl game to go to?
— Pinstripe Bowl, played in the Bronx, where it is almost always damned cold.
— Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, where it often snows.
— Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit can’t be that much fun, but at least the game is indoors.
— Playing Navy in Annapolis probably isn’t that great a trip.
[B][I]CFB notebook: Florida State hires Oregon’s Taggart
December 5, 2017
Less than a week after Jimbo Fisher resigned from Florida State to take the head coaching position at Texas A&M, the Seminoles hired former Oregon coach Willie Taggart as their new coach, the school announced on its website Tuesday.
Taggart, 41, replaced Mark Helfrich at Oregon last season and guided the Ducks to a 7-5 record and an upcoming trip to the Las Vegas Bowl to face 25th-ranked Boise State.
A Florida native, Taggart spent four seasons as the coach at South Florida from 2013-16, going 24-25, and was the coach at Western Kentucky (16-20) for three seasons prior to that.
Oregon made an attempt to retain Taggart even before the Florida State job opened up, offering a one-year extension on his contract that runs through the 2020 season to boost the value of his five-year deal to $18 million, former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy reports.
McMurphy also cited sources saying returning to his home state of Florida was a factor in Taggart’s decision.
[B]–Florida State[/B] safety Derwin James has declared for the NFL draft and will not play in the Seminoles’ upcoming Independence Bowl matchup against Southern Mississippi, the redshirt sophomore announced.
James is projected as a first-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com.
[B]–Central Florida [/B]hired Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel as its head coach.
The 39-year-old Heupel, who is finishing his second season at Missouri, replaces Scott Frost at the position. Frost, a former Nebraska quarterback who coached UCF to a 12-0 record and an American Athletic Conference championship, was named the Cornhuskers’ coach last weekend.
The Knights are expected to have Frost and his staff on the sideline for the team’s game in the Peach Bowl against Auburn on Jan. 1.
[B]–Rice[/B] is finalizing a deal to hire Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren as its next head coach, multiple outlets reported.
Bloomgren has coached the offensive line for the Cardinal since 2011 and been the team’s offensive coordinator since 2013. Before coming to Stanford, Bloomgren, 40, spent four seasons coaching with the New York Jets.
Rice finished 1-11 overall and 1-7 in Conference USA this season.
[B]–Memphis coach Mike Norvell [/B]agreed to a five-year, $13 million extension, the university announced.
The new deal runs through the 2022 campaign. According to USA Today, the $2.6 million average salary will make Norvell the highest-paid coach of the non-power conference programs.
Norvell, 36, is 18-7 in two seasons with the Tigers, including 10-2 this year.
[B]–An emergency protective [/B]order was issued against Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson on Monday in Cleveland County (Okla.) District Court, accusing him of rape.
No charges had been filed as of Tuesday morning, but a hearing was scheduled for Dec. 18.
Anderson, through a statement issued by his attorney, said the allegation is “patently false.”
According to The Oklahoman, the accuser, who wrote in her statement that she is “scared” for her safety because Anderson knows where she lives, is a University of Oklahoma employee.
Anderson, a redshirt sophomore, has a team-leading 960 yards and 11 touchdowns.
by 1 1/2
by 3 1/2
(+3 1/2); Under[/B]
[b]Saturday, December 9[/b]
[B]ARMY (8 – 3) vs. NAVY (6 – 5) – 12/9/2017, 3:00 PM[/B]
Top Trends for this game.
ARMY is 16-36 ATS (-23.6 Units) when playing with 2 weeks or more of rest since 1992.
ARMY is 14-35 ATS (-24.5 Units) after a bye week since 1992.
ARMY is 83-111 ATS (-39.1 Units) in non-conference games since 1992.
NAVY is 166-123 ATS (+30.7 Units) in all games since 1992.
NAVY is 166-123 ATS (+30.7 Units) in all lined games since 1992.
NAVY is 20-9 ATS (+10.1 Units) when playing on a Saturday over the last 3 seasons.
NAVY is 57-34 ATS (+19.6 Units) in games played on turf since 1992.
NAVY is 79-42 ATS (+32.8 Units) in road games in non-conference games since 1992.
Head-to-Head Series History
ARMY is 2-0 against the spread versus NAVY over the last 3 seasons
NAVY is 1-1 straight up against ARMY over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Army is 8-3 this season, winning six of last seven games; they ended a 14-game losing streak to Navy LY, beating Middies 21-17. Underdogs covered six of last eight meetings in this great rivalry. Cadets can win the Commander-in-Chief trophy for first time in 21 years with a win here; they lost last game 52-49 to North Texas, three weeks ago. Navy lost five of its last six games after a 5-0 start; Middies are 2-3-2 vs spread as a favorite this year. Army is 3-2 as an underdog. Five of last seven Army games went over total; four of last six Navy games stayed under.
[B]ARMY @ NAVY[/B]
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Army’s last 5 games when playing Navy
Army is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Navy’s last 5 games when playing Army
Navy is 14-1 SU in its last 15 games when playing Army