So now the SEC has a potentially big problem. That's because Saturday's LSU at No. 18 Florida game was postponed with Hurricane Matthew battering the Sunshine State on Thursday and Friday. The weather should be fine Saturday in Gainesville, but obviously the area could be without power and there are travel issues and police needed elsewhere. It was the right move by the SEC.
The problem is that the game might not be made up, and it could matter big time in the SEC, in which divisional tiebreakers are based on winning percentage in conference games. Neither the Tigers nor the Gators have an open date left on the regular-season schedule. LSU is a game back in the loss column behind first-place Texas A&M and Alabama in the SEC West but still plays both. Frankly, Saturday's postponement might have worked out well for LSU as the team was expected to play without star running back Leonard Fournette again due to an ankle he sprained in August and keeps aggravating.
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Florida has a shot to win the SEC East if the Gators win out and Tennessee loses twice. UF's remaining SEC schedule is fairly easy. The two toughest games should be Oct. 29 in the annual Jacksonville Cocktail Party against unranked Georgia and Nov. 5 at No. 16 Arkansas. I can easily see UF running the table there. Tennessee could lose this week as a touchdown underdog at No. 8 Texas A&M and then next week at home, surely as an underdog, against No. 1 Alabama. So then what?
Circle Nov. 19. I always complain about SEC teams having a cupcake team lined up at the end of the regular season, but it might pay off this year. LSU is scheduled to host South Alabama on Nov. 19 and Florida hosts Presbyterian. Those little schools are just cashing checks and the SEC can step in and pay them off. LSU wouldn't like losing a home game and all that revenue, but maybe the SEC can help there too. I guess technically UF also loses a home game, but something will have to be done. The SEC surely isn't going to let the teams play opposite the conference title game (presuming neither is in it obviously) on Dec. 3. Would it let them play the following Saturday when only Army-Navy is on the schedule? The league says a conference game has never before been canceled due to natural causes. Florida and LSU have played every year since 1970.
Another SEC game, Georgia at South Carolina, was moved from Saturday to Sunday. I don't get why LSU-Florida couldn't do that. No. 23 Florida State at No. 10 Miami is going to be played as Miami largely avoided the hurricane. Here are some news, notes and any major line moves for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
Notre Dame at NC State (-2.5, 64.5): Sometimes I don't get line moves, and this is one of them as the Wolfpack opened as 1-point dogs -- the total has dropped three points too. There are no major injuries to report here. Does anyone think the Wolfpack deserve to be favored with wins over William & Mary, Old Dominion and Wake Forest and a loss at East Carolina? The Irish routed Syracuse 50-33 last week at a neutral site. It was the first game since Coach Brian Kelly switched defensive coordinators, and it didn't help much with the Orange putting up 489 yards. New coordinator Greg Hudson gave younger players more time and he subbed more frequently. I don't pick on my Friday update story, but I'm putting money down on the Irish here. Last year, the Wolfpack were 0-6 against bowl eligible teams.
No. 4 Michigan at Rutgers (+29.5, 53): This spread has risen 3.5 points, and that I get because Michigan is taking the highest lean on the board at some sportsbooks. There's not a ton interesting about this matchup in all honesty as the Wolverines are national title contenders and Rutgers should be in the American Athletic Conference instead of the Big Ten. What's moderately worth watching is that this is Michigan's first road game of the year. Have you ever heard of a team playing its first true road game as late as Oct. 8? I can think of a few who might not have played a true road game this late but at least away from home at a neutral site. The Wolverines did suffer a pretty significant, if under-the-radar, injury in last week's close win over Wisconsin as senior left tackle Grant Newsome was lost for the year to a knee injury. He will be replaced by Juwann Bushell-Beatty, who is from New Jersey. There are a handful of Jersey guys -- including star Jabrill Peppers -- on the UM roster as it has a bit of a pipeline there. Now if only Rutgers could keep the best ones. The Scarlet Knights' first-ever Big Ten win was against visiting Michigan two years ago. Bit of a different UM team now.
Texas Tech at Kansas State (-8, 68): This line has risen a point and the total dropped 4.5, and I believe I know why on both: star Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes is questionable to play. Mahomes, who had on pace to break the NCAA single-season passing record, left last Thursday night's 55-19 home win over Kansas in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return. Before the injury, the junior was 27 of 34 for 277 yards with four touchdowns. His backup, Nic Shimonek, finished 15 of 21 for 271 yards and four touchdowns in Mahomes' place. There's no question that Texas Tech is one of those systems where you can plug in a guy and he'll put up numbers, but Mahomes is considered a top NFL prospect.
TCU at Kansas (+28.5, 66.5): I'll stick with the Big 12 and a Texas team visiting a Kansas one. This total has dropped 2.5 points from its open. The news here is that Kansas is changing quarterbacks, replacing junior Montell Cozart with sophomore Ryan Willis, who did start eight games as a freshman. Willis has played in every game this year, but Cozart started them. KU has been outscored 135-47 in losing three straight games. At least basketball's Midnight Madness is only a week or so away. I actually think KU could cover this because TCU will be flat off last week's near huge comeback vs. Oklahoma.
No. 5 Washington at Oregon (+9.5, 68.5): The line has risen a point and the total dropped one. I touched on this game Monday so won't go into major detail, but it appears that the Ducks are replacing struggling quarterback Dakota Prukop with freshman Justin Herbert. Coach Mark Helfrich needed to do something with his sagging program at 2-3. During Oregon's 51-33 loss at Washington State last week, Prukop completed 14 of 22 passes for 132 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Herbert took over for Oregon's final possession and was 3 for 5 passing for 70 yards and ran for a 4-yard touchdown.
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