NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 13 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
Week 12 was pretty uneventful around the nation, with 10 of the top 11 teams in the College Football Playoff Top 25 all winning - the only one that didn't was then-No. 9 West Virginia, which torpedoed any shot the Mountaineers had of reaching the playoff.
To no surprise, then, not much change in this week's rankings. The Top 8 stayed the same: Alabama (11-0), Clemson (11-0), Notre Dame (11-0), Michigan (10-1), Georgia (10-1), Oklahoma (10-1), LSU (9-2) and Washington State (10-1). All of them play losable rivalry games this weekend (yes, I think the Irish could lose at USC; OK, Alabama probably can't lose at home to Auburn).
The only minor news was unbeaten Central Florida jumping Ohio State for No. 9, but it's just not going to matter for the Knights in terms of the national semifinals. The playoff is going to expand eventually, but it may not happen until ESPN's current contract is up. Six seems ideal: Every Power 5 champion and one Group of 5 school/Notre Dame.
The Buckeyes are in a bit of trouble sitting at 10th. They will certainly jump UCF in next Tuesday's poll should Ohio State beat Michigan, which it has usually done this century. However, OSU is a 4.5-point underdog (up from an opening of +3.5), ending the school's national-best streak of 51 straight games going off as a favorite. The last time it wasn't was in the national championship game against Oregon following the 2014 season, which the Buckeyes won. It's the first time OSU is an underdog against Michigan since 2011, which is the last time the Wolverines won in the series. I would take the 4.5, by the way.
There are just two CFP Top 25 rankings left: next Tuesday and then next Sunday, which is Selection Day. On updated potential semifinal odds, Alabama was -13.5 over Michigan and Clemson -11.5 over Notre Dame. I think both those numbers are too big.
Here are notes for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
No. 11 Florida at Florida State (+6.5, 52): This has one of the biggest line moves in the nation as the Gators opened at -3.5. This game means nothing from a national perspective but a ton to each of these schools, and I don't even mean simply for bragging rights. Florida State has made a bowl 36 straight years (the NCAA technically doesn't acknowledge that because the team's Emerald Bowl from the 2006 season was vacated due to academic fraud at the school), the longest run in the country. At 5-6, it's do or die to keep that going. Florida State has won the past five in this series, its longest run against the Gators. Florida has a solid shot for New Year's Six bowl if it wins - I've seen some projections with the Gators facing UCF in the Fiesta Bowl, which would be sweet for the Knights short of making the playoff because the Gators won't schedule UCF. A Florida loss could land Kentucky in a NY6 bowl assuming it beats Louisville on Saturday.
No. 24 Pittsburgh at Miami (-4, 47): This has dropped from an open of UM -5.5 and a total of 50.5. This has been a terribly disappointing season for the Hurricanes, who at 6-5 will land at some second-tier bowl regardless of what happens here. Things just got worse for Coach Mark Richt as the team's best receiver, sophomore Jeff Thomas, has been dismissed from the program. He led the team with 35 catches for 563 yards and also was a good kick returner. Richt seemed to have this program on the verge of national title contention this time last year. Now things are going downhill fast. Pittsburgh really has nothing to play for in a way because it already clinched a spot in the ACC title game. The Panthers enter on a four-game winning streak, all by double digits. Last year, UM was No. 2 in the CFP Top 25 when it visited Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving weekend and was upset 24-14. That started Richt's troubles.
Kansas State at No. 25 Iowa State (-13, 40.5): This could be the final game for KSU coach and College Football Hall of Famer Bill Snyder - most think it will be even though Snyder got a five-year extension this past summer. The guy is 79 and the program just isn't heading in the right direction with the Cats at 5-6 and needing this upset for bowl eligibility. Snyder returned from his first retirement in 2009 and KSU didn't make a bowl at 6-6 that year but has every season since. Most of the major media, including the Kansas City Star, surrounding the program has been calling for him to step down. There also have been reports of late that Snyder withheld players' bowl rings and scholarship checks as well as violated the NCAA's 20-hour weekly work limit on athletically related endeavors in the past. I'm sure this is getting leaked on purpose now to ensure a change. KSU might fall behind rival Kansas very soon as KU hit a home run in hiring Les Miles as its next coach. On the flip side, ISU coach Matt Campbell continues to raise his stock. Could be his final game with the Cyclones if some bigger program hires him and Campbell doesn't coach in the bowl game. Iowa State is trying to end a 10-game losing streak to the Wildcats.
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