NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 8 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
LeBron James is obviously one of the greatest players in NBA history, but he's also a visionary of sorts. He has taught his fellow stars how to control the narrative and decide for yourself where you want to go play. James kept signing one-year deals with the Cleveland Cavaliers with a player option in the second year just in case of injury. Kevin Durant has started to do that too. Stars have all the leverage in the NBA.
What does this have to do with college football? It had been players had zero leverage. They were under scholarship and had to do with the coach told them. Sure, players could transfer, but their current school could limit where and the transferring players had to sit out a year.
Things are changing, though. The new transfer rule instituted allows guys to decide their futures; as long as they haven't played four games that season they don't lose a year of eligibility (still have to sit out a year if haven't graduated but most guys do that now). Then there's this week's not surprising news that Ohio State star defensive end Nick Bosa said he was done with college football.
The junior, younger brother of former Buckeyes star and 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa, injured a core muscle in the third quarter of the Buckeyes' win over TCU on Sept. 15, had surgery to repair the injury on Sept. 20 and has since been recovering.
Could Bosa have made it back perhaps to play against Michigan, in the Big Ten title game and the College Football Playoff? Maybe. But, he's done more than enough for Ohio State, and Bosa wants to ensure he's healthy for all his pre-draft workouts this winter. Millions and millions of dollars are at stake here as Bosa could go No. 1 overall. If he got hurt again later this season, every spot he might slip would cost him a fortune. Ohio State fans are obviously miffed because this could cost them a national title - just like Kelly Bryant leaving Clemson earlier this year - but Bosa owes OSU nothing. This is a smart decision for him.
It also may open the floodgates. We've seen some high-profile guys like Christian McCaffrey skip a meaningless bowl game to prepare for draft workouts. Bosa's decision could trickle down to other top NFL Draft prospects not wanting to risk coming back from injury during the regular season; say, if their team can't win a conference title, why not just shut it down? Bosa wasn't going to play this Saturday regardless with No. 2 OSU a 12.5-point favorite at surging Purdue. That opened as high as 14.5.
Here are notes for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
Arizona at UCLA (-9.5, 57): Pretty meaningless Pac-12 game with Arizona at 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference and UCLA 1-5 and 1-2. However, this line jumped from Bruins at -5.5 with the news that star Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate will sit with an ankle injury. Tate hasn't been quite the supernova he was last year but still had thrown for 1,415 yards and 11 scores while rushing for just 112 (he had 1,411 on the ground in 2017) due to that nagging ankle problem. UA's starting QB will be Rhett Rodriguez, who is the son of former coach Rich Rodriguez. Have to say I'm surprised that Rhett is still in Tucson because things didn't end well for his pops at the school. It will be the first career start for Rodriguez, who completed 20 of 38 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown in last week's 42-10 loss to Utah after Tate was pulled. UCLA has ruled out ex-starting running back Soso Jamabo and former highly-touted linebacker recruit Jaelan Phillips each for the season due to concussions. UCLA has started to play better but would need to run the table for a bowl and that's not happening.
Colorado at No. 15 Washington (-16.5, 50): A week ago, this looked like a potential Pac-12 title game preview. I suppose miracles happen and it still could be, but not realistically for the loser after both lost last week. Both in theory still control their own destiny. CU has just one team currently ranked left on the schedule and that's home to No. 25 Washington State on Nov. 10. Washington's only ranked team left is the Apple Cup at Wazzu, although Stanford could be ranked by the time the schools play. We bring this up because of the injury status of two stars: Huskies running back Myles Gaskin, one of the best in school and Pac-12 history, and Colorado's Laviska Shenault, arguably the country's best receiver this year. Gaskin left last Saturday's OT loss at Oregon but it's looking pretty good for him. Shenault left the USC loss with a toe injury and his status is still up in the air. I give CU little chance of winning this game, but none if he's out.
No. 10 Central Florida at East Carolina (+21.5, 64.5): This spread dropped from an open of 25 and the total from 67.5. UCF is riding a 19-game winning streak and theoretically shouldn't be threatened here. Interesting this spread dropped because the Pirates are giving a kid his first career start at quarterback. That would be true freshman Holton Ahlers. The dual threat has seen action in five games, completing 13 of 28 for 144 yards and a TD while rushing for 248 yards and five scores on 38 carries. Ahlers, who is a local kid from Greeneville and had offers from Florida and Georgia, has accounted for all three ECU offensive touchdowns in American Athletic Conference play. Sophomore Reid Herring, who started the first six games, will shift to No. 2. Last year, UCF trashed ECU 63-21.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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