NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 10 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
On my Monday NCAA Opening Line Report, I promised to address Florida's firing of Jim McElwain with the expectation that some sportsbooks would offer a prop on his replacement. And indeed, BetOnline has . I won't even get into whether UF should have fired McElwain (yes), although I am intrigued how the players will respond this week under interim coach Randy Shannon - the former Miami head coach.
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How bad are things at UF right now? Missouri is easily the second-worst program in the SEC after Vanderbilt, yet the Tigers are 3.5-point home favorites this week . I would take the Gators in a big way there because they are still way more talented. Plus, all reports I have been reading are that there's an entirely new attitude at practice, in a good way. Shannon also has made a change at quarterback, turning to Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire. Many thought he would be the guy from Week 1. Zaire replaces redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, who was benched in three of six starts.
As for the favorite to replace McElwain, it's current Central Florida coach Scott Frost at -130. That would a be home-run hire as Frost is good-looking, charismatic and a great offensive mind (before UCF, he learned at Oregon under Chip Kelly). He has turned the Knights into probably the best Group of 5 program in the nation this season. Frost is a former star Nebraska quarterback, and that job might come open too. He was born in the state so might feel a pull that he can't resist, although Florida is one of the Top 10 jobs in the country, maybe Top 5. Nebraska is barely Top 5 in the Big Ten (yeah, history but the state isn't exactly chock full of recruits).
Second-favorite is current Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen at +450. He was hired for that job from his former role as Florida's offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. And first-year UF athletic director Scott Stricklin was Mullen's boss in Starkville. Mullen wanted this job when then-AD Jeremy Foley hired McElwain - reportedly Mullen and Foley didn't have a great relationship. Mullen has hit his ceiling at Mississippi State, which is also one of the worst jobs in the SEC. He'd take the UF gig in a second.
Current Memphis coach Mike Norvell is +700 and is a rising offensive star but is in just his second season as a head coach. Syracuse's Dino Babers, Kelly and Oregon's Willie Taggert are each +1000. I've read that Taggert was Florida's first choice. He's a south Florida native who was at USF until leaving after last season. Taggert has said he's happy where he is, but what else would he say? Kelly is currently the +450 favorite for the Tennessee gig. There's some overlap on a few coaches for that job and Florida's. Some other interesting names on the Florida prop: Bob Stoops (+1400), Lane Kiffin (+2000), Meyer (+20000) and Steve Spurrier (+20000). If I had to make a guess today, it would be Mullen. He has proven he can mold quarterbacks, and that's the No. 1 priority in Gainesville right now. The UF ties can't hurt.
Here are some notes and any major line moves for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order. Rankings from the new College Football Playoff Top 25.
No. 14 Auburn at Texas A&M (+15): This opened with the Aggies at +12.5. I believe this is the watershed game for embattled A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. First off, if the school is going to fire him it probably happens soon because Florida is open and Tennessee will be. That's competition. I'm sure you know that A&M tends to start fast under Sumlin and then fades. The Aggies appear in the midst of that with two losses in their past three. They played well in a home defeat vs. Alabama on Oct. 7, but last week's 35-14 home beatdown by Mississippi State is unacceptable. If Auburn wins by something like that amount, Sumlin is gone. However, the Tigers will be without running back Kamryn Pettway for an extended period of time with a fractured scapula. Pettway ran for a team-high 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns last season but has been in and out of the lineup this year due to injuries. Auburn, which can't get caught looking ahead to No. 1 Georgia next week, has another terrific back in Kerryon Johnson.
No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 11 Oklahoma State (-2.5): Four of the past six years, the Bedlam game has determined the Big 12 champion. This had been played at the end of the regular season in recent years but was moved up with the Big 12 title game returning. The conference didn't want these two potentially playing in back-to-back weeks. OU was a big winner in the first College Football Playoff in landing at No. 5. The committee rewarded the Sooners for their win at Ohio State, which the AP and USA Today polls did not. It's probably Baker Mayfield's last real chance to steal the Heisman Trophy from Saquon Barkley or fast-rising J.T. Barrett. Pokes coach Mike Gundy, incidentally, is +2000 to take the Florida job.
No. 19 LSU at No. 2 Alabama (-21): What makes the first Saturday of November always one of the best days of the year in college football is this rivalry game. LSU fired Les Miles last season in part because he couldn't beat Alabama any longer. New coach Ed Orgeron at least kept it close in 2016 in a 10-0 home defeat. LSU probably wins the SEC West with a victory here because it obviously would own the head-to-head with Alabama, and the Tigers already beat Auburn. LSU would be solidly favored in its final three games (vs. Arkansas, at Tennessee, vs. Texas A&M). LSU hasn't been this big of a dog since 1994 vs. Florida when it lost 42-18 at +27. I will be taking the points here, but I can't see LSU winning.
Oregon at No. 12 Washington (-17.5): This has the biggest line move on the board as UW opened at -24.5. The Ducks can only play spoiler in the Pac-12 North Division at this point, but they may get starting QB Justin Herbert back. He broke his left collarbone (non-throwing shoulder) on Sept. 30 vs. Cal but was seen at practice this week working at times with the first-team offense. Through September, he ranked No. 8 nationally with a passer rating of 172.92. Taggert is keeping quiet on whether it will be Herbert or true freshman Braxton Burmeister, who is more of a running threat. Washington could get caught looking ahead to next Friday's huge game at No. 21 Stanford.
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