NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 4 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
Obviously, the better a school recruits the better it should be on the field. There's a reason that Alabama and Ohio State are National Championship contenders each year: Nick Saban and Urban Meyer have no peers as recruiters and continually bring in five-star after five-star.
That said, schools never keep all their recruits in one class for whatever reason. Academic, off-field issues, etc. And now more and more players are transferring than ever before. It used to be that a transfer making a high-profile difference - like Russell Wilson at Wisconsin - was the exception rather than the norm. Nowadays, more and more kids are transferring and making major impacts.
For example, LSU has always had stellar recruiting classes but for some reason could never land a quarterback who worked out. The biggest reason the 2018 Tigers are unbeaten, No. 6 in the nation and have taken Ed Orgeron off the hot seat is because of Ohio State transfer quarterback Joe Burrow. He lost the OSU job to Dwayne Haskins and smartly decided to leave as Haskins isn't ever giving that job up as he looks like a future Heisman winner and No. 1 overall draft pick. Burrow's numbers aren't great at LSU, but he has done enough game management to lead his team to big wins over ranked Miami and Auburn.
Michigan fans were panicking after the Wolverines' Week 1 loss at Notre Dame, but Ole Miss transfer QB Shea Patterson has improved game-by-game since then and himself looks like a future first-round NFL pick. One of the Mountain West's top players this year has been Colorado State WR Preston Williams a former five-star recruit who did little at Tennessee before leaving. Another Tennessee transfer, former running back Jalen Hurd, leads Baylor in receiving (his new position).
Cal transfer Tre Watson leads Texas in rushing. Two of Florida Atlantic's stars are quarterback Chris Robison and receiver Jovon Durante - they are from Oklahoma and West Virginia, respectively. One of WVU's best defensive players has been USC transfer Kenny Bigelow.
The point being: Don't just pay attention to high school recruiting rankings as sometimes transfer recruiting can provide an even quicker fix. Here are notes for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
Nebraska at No. 19 Michigan (-17.5, 50.5): Line has dropped a point and total risen one. Frankly, the two head coaches, Scott Frost and Jim Harbaugh, were better quarterbacks at Nebraska and Michigan, respectively, than the schools' current starters - although I do like Patterson. The winless Cornhuskers are a mess under Frost, but he didn't inherit much and definitely had more talent at Group of 5 school Central Florida than he does at NU. The big question here is whether Huskers starting QB Adrian Martinez plays. He suffered a leg injury in the season-opening loss to Colorado and didn't play in last weekend's embarrassing loss to Troy. It does appear that the true freshman will return in the Big House. Martinez is the only scholarship quarterback currently on NU's roster available to play this season. His backup is walk-on Andrew Burch, and he was awful in the loss to Troy. Bet the farm on Michigan if Martinez doesn't go.
No. 7 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon ( +2, 56): This has one of the biggest line moves of the week as the Ducks opened at -2.5. Pretty sure I know why: Bryce Love. Stanford's star running back sat out last week's game against UC Davis, and I told you in this space that the Cardinal were going to sleepwalk through that one without Love and looking ahead to this one. They didn't come close to covering a near 30-point spread. Love will play here, and that's not a shock. I'm quite sure he would have last week if the opponent was any good. The Cardinal managed only 137 yards on 33 carries without him. In last year's 49-7 rout of Oregon, Love had 147 yards and two scores on 17 carries. This also will be the week we find out if Ducks QB Justin Herbert is a legit Heisman contender. He has thrown for 840 yards and 12 scores while rushing for another TD, but Oregon has played one of the worst schedules in the country. Herbert missed last year's Stanford game due to injury.
Arkansas at No. 9 Auburn (-30, 58): This spread opened at -27.5. What the heck has happened to the Arkansas program? I mean, I wouldn't want to have to go to the state of Arkansas if I didn't have to, but come on! The Hogs were 4-8 last year and fired Coach Bret Bielema even though he was owed a pile of money. Arkansas' hire of former SMU head coach Chad Morris was widely lauded as he's a terrific offensive mind and a stellar recruiter in Texas. Arkansas looks like the SEC's worst team thus far with losses to Colorado State and, stunningly, 44-17 last week at home to North Texas. North Texas! It was that school's first win over an SEC foe in more than 40 years. Cole Kelley started at quarterback for the Razorbacks but was replaced by freshman Connor Noland in the third quarter after throwing his fourth interception of the game. Hogs QBs were picked off six times total. It will be a new QB starting this week: Ty Storey. The junior was good in a Week 1 win over Eastern Illinois but pulled after two picks vs. CSU and didn't play at all last week. Could be a bit of a letdown game for Auburn after last Saturday's home loss in the final seconds to LSU. Now Auburn has to win out to have any shot at repeating as SEC West champion.
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