NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 10 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
The first College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night, and there weren't any huge surprises but certainly there will be some disappointed coaches in places like Columbus, Orlando and Morgantown.
Clearly, the big winner was the SEC with Alabama at No. 1 (shocker), LSU at No. 3, Georgia at No. 6, Kentucky at No. 9 and Florida at No. 11. The Gators have no shot with two losses as they can't even win their own division but are looking good for a New Year's Six bowl if they win out. SEC haters can bitch all they want, but things are going to sort themselves out on Saturday with Alabama visiting LSU and Georgia at Kentucky. If the two favorites win, as I believe they will, then we have a Bama-Georgia SEC title game and rematch of last season's national championship thriller. If that happens, LSU and Kentucky have no shot at the playoff. One bad note for LSU fans: No team sitting at No. 3 in the first CFP Top 25 has ever made the playoff.
I was a bit surprised that LSU was one spot ahead of unbeaten Notre Dame, but, again, that really won't matter by Saturday night. I would be very nervous, though, Irish fans with your 80-mile trip to Evanston for your game against an ever-improving Northwestern side that should have beaten Michigan there earlier this season. Should the Irish win out, they are in no matter what. Mybookie.ag offers a prop on whether Notre Dame has a perfect regular season: Yes is +130 and no -170 (I would take no). The Irish are -9.5 on Saturday and I'm taking those points on Northwestern.
Michigan is sitting at No. 5, so Jim Harbaugh knows he's in should the Wolverines win out - and that all likely comes down to the regular-season finale at Ohio State. The Buckeyes are big losers, in my opinion, sitting at 10th. I almost wonder if the committee penalized Urban Meyer for all that went on with the Zach Smith thing. Even if OSU wins out, it's going to need help.
Oklahoma, sitting at seventh, probably gets a spot if it wins out. Good thing the conference title game has returned, though. Washington State at No. 8 might have a spot, too, although its remaining strength of schedule is weak as heck with the Pac-12 so down this year. I could see the Cougars jumped by the Buckeyes.
Joining Ohio State in the loser's category are unbeaten Central Florida at No. 12 and once-beaten West Virginia at No. 13. The committee chairman correctly pointed have yet to beat a team with a winning record. Well, they did Thursday night vs. Temple, although the Owls are now just 5-4 and nearly upset the Knights. UCF will get a slight bump on Nov. 17 vs. Cincinnati and Nov. 23 at USF and then presumably the AAC title game, but not enough of one to each the playoff barring utter chaos ahead of them.
Don't forget that Ohio State opened at No. 14 in the first-ever CFP Top 25, so I'm not ruling out WVU yet. They are at Texas on Saturday and still face Oklahoma, then possibly the Big 12 title game. That canceled game on Sept. 15 against NC State might come back to hurt the Mountaineers from a strength of schedule standpoint because the Wolfpack are actually pretty good.
Here are notes for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
Michigan State at Maryland (+2.5, 46.5): Really a meaningless Big Ten game, although both teams would get bowl eligible with a victory. What almost made this crazy was the fact the Maryland Board of Regents, clearly all drunk or high on something, recommended the school reinstate Coach D.J. Durkin on Tuesday even though it had been found he created a "toxic" atmosphere around his program that perhaps led the to death of Jordan McNair this summer from heatstroke. The board's decision was one of the most tone-deaf decisions I can remember. Clearly a bunch of rich white folks who just don't know anything about real life. Predictably, that led to a firestorm of criticism from all corners, and there was a good chance the Terps wouldn't have played this week because players were boycotting, etc. On Wednesday, school president Wallace D. Loh fired Durkin. Loh wanted to the whole time but basically had been told by the board he would be fired if he did that. So Loh canned Durkin and announced he would retire next June. That whole school needs an administrative overhaul. I do think the Terps play really well Saturday as they have rallied behind interim coach Matt Canada and this is a potential look-ahead game for Sparty as it hosts Ohio State next week.
UCLA at Oregon ( -10, 62): This has one of the biggest moves on both the spread (opened -13) and total (opened 57). I presume the spread is because the status of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert - the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft if he declares, and there's reportedly a realistic shot he will return to school - and receiver Dillon Mitchell isn't clear. Both are in the concussion protocol. Herbert had cleared it as of Thursday so it looks good for him, although that doesn't guarantee anything. If Herbert can't ultimately go, Braxton Burmeister will make his first start of the year. Mitchell seems less likely to play. He has 48 catches for 677 yards and four scores. The bigger story here is Chip Kelly's return to Eugene for the first time since leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. I'll be very curious how Kelly is received. Yes, he turned Oregon into a powerhouse but also left it a bit of a mess, which landed Kelly an 18-month show cause penalty from the NCAA.
Florida State at No. 21 NC State (-9, 53.5): The Wolfpack opened at -6.5. Apparently, new FSU coach Wille Taggart is all talk. He vowed major changes after FSU suffered the worst home loss in school history against Clemson last week, with Taggart saying some of his guys quit. I watched that game, and he's right. So, major lineup changes this week at NC State, right? Nope. Not a single notable change on the depth chart. Two players will miss the first half after being ejected vs. Clemson: starting WR Nyqwan Murray and reserve linebacker Zaquandre White. Starting QB Deondre Francois is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Would be a surprise if he didn't play; it would be James Blackman if not. At 4-4, FSU's record 36-year streak of bowl appearances is in major jeopardy if it doesn't pull the upset here. The Noles finish the year at No. 4 Notre Dame, vs. No. 22 Boston College and vs. No. 11 Florida. I think they could win one of those (BC) but not the two needed for six wins and bowl eligibility (if they lose Saturday).
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