NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 7 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
Let me preface this by saying that, like most Americans, I like as much scoring as possible in my sporting events. That said, I believe the most entertaining college football game this weekend will not be from a Power 5 conference but from the American Athletic with No. 10 Central Florida putting the nation's longest winning streak on the line at Memphis.
To no surprise, this has the highest total of the week by far at 81 points, up from an open of 76.5. The Knights opened at -3.5 and are now -4.5. Central Florida is one of 11 FBS unbeatens remaining and has won 18 straight games. It has won every game this year by at least 20 points and has yet to score fewer than 38 - and that was when Coach Josh Heupel took the foot off the gas in a 38-0 win over FCS school South Carolina State in Week 2.
UCF is fourth in the country in scoring at 48.6 points per game and has a quarterback in McKenzie Milton who would start for just about every other school in the nation except maybe Alabama and Ohio State (some hyperbole, but you get my drift). The junior has thrown for 1,983 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for 215 and five. Man, Hawaii is really churning out quarterbacks of late!
Could Central Florida crash the playoff this year? That's going to be a problem even if it's unbeaten again because UCF's nonconference schedule is ranked 125th. The Knights "lost" a game against Power 5 North Carolina because of Hurricane Florence. UCF does have two ranked schools still remaining on the schedule, though, in Cincinnati and South Florida - although whether those schools are ranked by then is questionable.
Memphis coach Mike Norvell is one of the better offensive minds in the business, and his Tigers are 11th in scoring at 46.2 points per game. Memphis has a good QB in Arizona State transfer Brady White (he doesn't run at all) but largely wins with a rushing attack that's eighth nationally at 274.5 ypg. Both of Memphis losses this year (Navy, Tulane) were on the road. The Tigers have killed everyone at home - albeit a weak schedule.
Memphis visited UCF in last year's AAC title game and it was a 62-55 double-overtime thriller for the Knights. Those 117 points were a record for an FBS conference championship game and the teams combined for 1,479 yards. Memphis had a chance to win at the end of regulation but missed a 51-yard field goal. Milton threw for 494 yards and five scores and rushed for 68 and a TD. I'm not saying there will be 117 points and nearly 1,500 yards again … but I'm not saying there won't be.
Here are notes for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
No. 22 Texas A&M at South Carolina (+2, 52.5): I suppose you could say the Aggies are still in the SEC West race, but their one conference loss was to Alabama, and I think we can all agree that the Tide aren't losing two SEC games this year (if any). A&M knocked off No. 13 Kentucky last week, 20-14 in overtime. A third-down sack in OT was huge as it pushed UK way back, and it missed the field goal. Oddly, the Wildcats didn't have an offensive snap in Texas A&M territory until overtime. It snapped Texas A&M's six-game losing streak to AP Top 25 teams. South Carolina is middle of the pack in the SEC East. The question here is who starts at quarterback. It will be Jake Bentley (sprained MCL) if healthy. He wasn't last week vs. Missouri, and fifth-year senior Michael Scarnecchia made his first start and was 20 of 35 for 249 yards and three scores in a 37-35 win. Will Muschamp says Bentley's his starter if healthy, and he's expected to be, but also hinted that Scarnecchia has perhaps earned a bit of playing time regardless.
Hawaii at BYU (-11.5, 56.5): Total has risen three points. One of the best turnarounds so far this season has occurred at Hawaii, which was just terrible last year but is 6-1 in 2018 and leads the Mountain West's West Division. The Rainbow Warriors are one of the top passing teams in the country thanks in large part to sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald. He missed last week's 17-13 win over Wyoming with an undisclosed injury but is expected here. McDonald has put up video game numbers in his six games, throwing for 2,100 yard and 24 touchdowns to just two interceptions while rushing for 227 yards and two scores. The old, fun run-and-shoot Hawaii is back! Of course, this a nonconference game with BYU as an independent. The Cougars are one of the nation's worst offenses, averaging just 21.2 points and near the bottom in both passing and rushing. How did this team win at Wisconsin? Not sure Kalani Sitake survives if BYU misses a bowl again.
UCLA at California (-7, 52.5): What the heck has happened at UCLA? If you have never been to that campus, I highly recommend. Any male high schooler/prospective football player in the world would want to go there with that scenery (both natural and female). There's just no reason the Bruins should be 0-5 playing with that advantage and in talent-rich L.A. It's the program's worst start since 1943 and already the Chip Kelly buzz is gone. The Bruins have lost more conference games this year (two) than Kelly did in any of his four seasons as the head coach at Oregon. UCLA will be looking to end an 11-game road Pac-12 losing streak when it heads north to Berkeley. The Bruins' last road win in Pac-12 play came on Nov. 21, 2015, at Utah. I still think Kelly will turn things around eventually just like Scott Frost will at Nebraska. The Bears started 3-0 against a weak nonconference schedule and got ranked but have lost back-to-back conference games. Cal has won eight of its last 10 games against UCLA in Berkeley and it's Homecoming there.
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