NCAA Football

Ted's Takes: Oregon Looking Like Playoff Team, the Rise of Shaq Thompson

Neither the Oregon Ducks nor Marcus Mariota clinched anything Saturday. But both entities confirmed their serious national presence, the Ducks for a spot in the first College Football Playoff and Mariota as a (in my view, the) leading Heisman contender.

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SEC Football Q&A: With Newfound Confidence, Can Florida Knock off Florida State?

We've reached November, and just like we all planned, Florida head coach Will Muschamp got his signature win.


Florida's 38-20 win over Georgia on Saturday afternoon in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party was one of the most surprising developments of the college football season—particularly considering the Gators threw just six passes and ran 60 running plays.

Is Florida back? What will Georgia running back Todd Gurley do now that the season appears to be lost? Can Mississippi State finish off its perfect season?

Those questions are answered in this week's SEC Q&A.


Let's not get carried away.

Sure, Florida looked good against the Bulldogs—particularly running backs Kelvin Taylor and Matt Jones, who combined for 389 rushing yards and four touchdowns. And yes, Florida State's rush defense hasn't been great this year. The Seminoles are giving up 148 yards per game while the Bulldogs are allowing 144.25.

Being one-dimensional against good teams gets you beat. Sure, the bruising rushing attack worked against Georgia, which likely expected at least something from freshman quarterback Treon Harris in the passing game. It won't in the long term, though.

Simply put, that identity has to be part of Florida's identity, not its entire identity.

Meanwhile, Florida State was busy on Thursday night producing the biggest comeback in school history, digging out of a 21-point hole on the road to beat Louisville 42-31. Louisville came in as the No. 1 defense in the country, which is something that FSU fans will certainly use as a selling point for their program without realizing that the "Granthamization" of that defense under first-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is still ongoing.

It was a good win for the Seminoles, not a great win or a sign of the offense fixing all of its problems.

Still, the 'Noles are a proven heavyweight with a full repertoire of knockout blows at their disposal while the Gators are nothing more than featherweight with one move at this point.

Give me the heavyweight all day, every day.



NFL folks will tell you it's the smart thing to do for his NFL future, and they're probably right. If you're a running back, you know your shelf life as a pro is limited in this day and age, and the fewer carries you get in college, the more you can get as a pro.

With that said, though, Georgia still has SEC title and major bowl aspirations, and Gurley can play a big part of that. If the Bulldogs win out and gets dominoes to fall around them, they still could enter the Georgia Dome as a two-loss team that would be 60 minutes away from making a "New Year's Six" bowl.

That counts for something. After all, his teammates are the same guys whom he worked with all offseason for the past three seasons, the same guys he spends several hours of days with even when they aren't on the field and the same guys who are depending on him.

That counts for something.

I don't buy the idea that Gurley should hang up his cleats right now simply because Georgia's season might—might—be lost. He and his team still have room to improve, and that starts now and will continue when Gurley comes back for the Auburn game next week.


I'm not sure Mississippi State is being written off as quickly as you think it is, but there's certainly a sentiment out there that the Bulldogs' magical run will be coming to an end soon.

I'm part of that group.

Mississippi State's defense didn't exactly set the world on fire two weeks ago on the road at Kentucky when the Wildcats racked up 401 passing yards against the Bulldogs. Last week against Arkansas—not exactly the world's most explosive passing team—quarterback Brandon Allen racked up 238 passing yards and was picked off in the end zone by Will Redmond with 15 seconds left to preserve the win.

These aren't exactly two of the SEC's best teams, and they had a reasonable amount of success against the top-ranked Bulldogs.

Looming is an Alabama offense that is loaded with talent. Can anybody on Mississippi State's roster cover Amari Cooper? Nobody else has this year, so it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Mississippi State starts a trend.

It's a raucous environment inside Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, and Mississippi State certainly has looked beatable—even at home. 

It's more skepticism than anything else.


Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a co-host of the CFB Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays, 9-11 a.m. ET) on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Texas A&M Football: Why Jake Spavital Needs to Be Replaced as Aggie OC

The Texas A&M offense is struggling to string together drives and score points right now. Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital needs to have his play-calling duties removed in order to right the offensive ship in Aggieland. 

In 2013 the Aggies were known as a team with an explosive offense but a porous defense. They started out the 2014 season off well on the offensive side of the ball but have regressed horribly during the last four games. 

The Aggies are currently 6-3 on the season and are staring a 6-6 regular-season record in the face if they cannot get their offense in gear. Spavital has contributed to these offensive struggles. 

The offense no longer resembles what fans have come to expect from a program under head coach Kevin Sumlin. If Sumlin wants to compete for conference titles at Texas A&M, then he is going to have to find a better offensive coordinator. 


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Michigan Wolverines vs. Northwestern Wildcats Complete Game Preview

Michigan (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) bounced back from a big road loss to instate rival Michigan State to defeat hapless Indiana, 34-10 on homecoming. Brady Hoke now takes his team on the road to face Northwestern (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten) needing at least two more victories to gain a bowl bid. A win versus Northwestern is crucial—Michigan’s final two regular-season opponents (Maryland, Ohio State) have a combined record of 13-4. A loss may signal the end of the Brady Hoke era.

The drama between these two programs extends beyond the field. Michigan has targeted Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips as a possible replacement for David Brandon, who resigned on Friday.

If Michigan poaches Phillips, will he bring football coach Pat Fitzgerald along with him to Ann Arbor? Fitzgerald has been a target of Michigan during past searches.

With Northwestern football facing an uncertain future in the wake of its players voting to unionize, the loss of Phillips and or Fitzgerald would be devastating.

Michigan’s running game showed life last week and will need a repeat performance versus Northwestern as Brady Hoke continues his quest to save his job.


Date: Saturday, November 8, 2014

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

Place: Ryan Field (47,330), Evanston, Illinois

Series vs. Northwestern: Michigan leads series 55-15-2

Television: ESPN2

Radio: Michigan Sports Network, Sirius (113), XM (195)

Spread: Northwestern by 2 via Odds Shark

Live Stats: University of Michigan Statbroadcast

Last Meeting vs. Northwestern

Last season, Michigan suffered a 1-4 record during November with its sole victory coming over Northwestern 27-19 in a triple-overtime thriller. The Wolverines forced overtime with a critical field goal in poor weather as regulation time expired. 

(Information according to University of Michigan Wolverine Football game notes.)

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College Football Playoff 2014: Final Predictions for Week 11 Rankings

The Week 11 College Football Playoff rankings will be released by the selection committee on Tuesday, and fans from schools all around the nation are waiting in anticipation for the second top 25 poll.

Undefeated programs Mississippi State and Florida State were able to keep their respective records perfect, but a battle toward the top of the standings between Auburn and Ole Miss has guaranteed turnover in the poll.

Here are the final predictions for the College Football Playoff Week 11 rankings, the Associated Press and Bleacher Report Top 25 polls and a breakdown of the team most likely to go undefeated.



The Team Most Likely to Go Undefeated

The battle to stay unbeaten between Mississippi State and Florida State will likely be the determining factor in which team ends the season as the No. 1 seed in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

While the Bulldogs are the No. 1-ranked team in the nation right now, their upcoming schedule is brutal compared to the one the Seminoles will navigate for the remainder of the season.

Mississippi State hosts UT Martin in Week 11, but travels to Alabama to play the Crimson Tide in Week 12. As if that wasn’t a big enough test for the Bulldogs, the program travels to Ole Miss to play the Rebels in the final game of the regular season.

Staying undefeated will be tough for Mississippi State. As Matt Chatham of pointed out, via, the Bulldogs also have to think about the SEC Championship:

Unfortunately, they also have one of the toughest roads ahead in college football, with road games against two of the current top six teams in the rankings, Alabama and Ole Miss. A potential SEC championship matchup … if they’re able to make it to that point…would likely be against a talented Georgia team with running back Todd Gurley. Sheesh.

On the other hand, Florida State’s victory over Louisville in Week 10 was the team’s last ranked opponent on the schedule. Over the next three weeks, the Seminoles play Virginia, Miami (FL) and Boston College. The three aforementioned opponents have gone a combined 16-11 this year.

The biggest remaining test for FSU will be the regular-season finale against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium. While the Gators were able to pull off the huge upset over Georgia, the program is still 4-3 this season.

Led by defending Heisman Trophy and National Championship winning quarterback Jameis Winston, Florida State has the inside lane to stay unbeaten. If Mississippi State takes a loss in any of the remaining games on the schedule or in the SEC Championship, the Seminoles will make the playoffs as the No. 1 seed.

For a team that started the season slow, Florida State’s run to the top will continue to be an incredible sight.


*Stats via

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Can Michigan State Really Replace Ohio State as Big Ten's Power Program?

Rankings mean nothing—at least, not for the next four weeks or so. They certainly don't mean anything ahead of Ohio State's trip to East Lansing to take on Michigan State this Saturday in what is both the Big Ten game of the year and possible playoff elimination game. 

Though Michigan State ranks ahead of Ohio State in every major poll, the Buckeyes don't identify themselves as underdogs. The Vegas line suggests it's almost a toss-up game, with the Spartans being a mere three-point favorite, according to Odds Shark. That's a line that would change in Ohio State's favor if the game was being played in Columbus. 

In any case, Ohio State offensive lineman Taylor Decker doesn't consider the Buckeyes an underdog, either by point spreads or mentality.  

It's also an interesting stance considering Ohio State actually hasn't won a Big Ten title since 2009, though the 2012 undefeated Buckeyes would have been a favorite had they not been serving a postseason ban for "Tattoo-gate." 

2013 was supposed to be Ohio State's year, but instead the Buckeyes lost to the Spartans in the Big Ten title game. Michigan State went on to win the Rose Bowl over Stanford as part of the program's rise to dominance, while Ohio State lost to Clemson in the Orange Bowl and, later, quarterback Braxton Miller to a season-ending shoulder injury. 

All that is in the past, though. The winner of Saturday's game will have the upper hand in the Big Ten East Division and a possible inside track to the playoff conversation at year's end. 

And if Michigan State wins, it's time to talk about the Spartans as the Big Ten's power program. In many ways, Michigan State has been doing the same things as Ohio State, but without being the national brand for the past several years. 

As of this week, head coach Mark Dantonio hasn't lost a Big Ten regular-season game since Nov. 17, 2012 (23-20 to Northwestern). That's a streak of 13 straight games. (Ohio State has won its last 20 regular-season games against Big Ten opponents.)

The Spartans are tied with Ohio State with the most wins over the past four years. In that span, Michigan State is 2-1 against the Buckeyes. 

In addition to great winning percentages, both programs have top-tier head coaches—Dantonio and Urban Meyer—and an in-demand coordinator—Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman. 

The only real difference between the two has been on the recruiting trail, with the Buckeyes obviously having the edge. Ohio State has landed the top class in the Big Ten and finished in the top 10 nationally, according to 247Sports, in six of the past seven years. 

(*Did not participate in postseason play)

Michigan State, meanwhile, has only finished in the Top 25 nationally using those same recruiting rankings twice in the same span. 

But that speaks to how good of a job Dantonio and his staff have done at developing talent. It's also beginning to translate into players like defensive end Malik McDowell committing to the Spartans. McDowell, the first 5-star player to sign with Michigan State since William Gholston in 2010, has played in all eight games this season. He certainly looks like the future of Michigan State's D-line.

Though known for defense, Michigan State has improved dramatically on offense. The Spartans actually enter Saturday's game with a nearly identical scoring offense as Ohio State (45.5 points per game compared to 45.6 points per game). However, the Buckeyes have a slightly more efficient offense, as noted by

Similarly, the Buckeyes have a slightly better scoring defense than Michigan State (19.9 points per game allowed vs. 20.3 points per game allowed), though the Spartans are considered the more efficient defense as noted by the same Football Outsiders numbers.

On paper, Michigan State and Ohio State are as even as they get. 

With both programs in the Big Ten East, Michigan State and Ohio State will play each other on a yearly basis. Though Michigan is the common rival and the traditional measuring stick for both, Michigan State-Ohio State could be budding into the Big Ten's newest and best rivalry, if you will. 

Even if neither coach will acknowledge it.

Michigan has fallen on hard times while the Spartans and Buckeyes have thrived. Michigan State has already quashed the "Little Brother" label given to it by former Wolverines running back Mike Hart in 2007, Dantonio's first year. Since losing to Michigan that season 28-24, Michigan State has won six of the last seven in that series. 

Ohio State, one of the Big Ten's premier and historic programs, would seem to be the last big hurdle between Michigan State and a potential College Football Playoff appearance, barring an upset between now and early December. 

It would also be the moment Michigan State affirms its place atop the Big Ten. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All stats courtesy of unless noted otherwise. All recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports

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Rapid-Fire Prediction on Remainder of Big 12 Season & Playoff Implications

The Big 12 has a logjam near the top of the conference. Five teams are battling for a conference championship; with no conference title game, the playoff chances become even harder.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Adam Kramer predict what will happen the rest of the Big 12 season.

Who will win the Big 12?

Watch the video and let us know!

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NCAA Football Rankings 2014: Full List of Week 11 College Standings and Polls

Feel free to soak in and digest the latest batch of NCAA football rankings as soon as possible, because they will go poof in a matter of days.

Such is life in this season which ends with the inaugural College Football Playoff. No team is immune to an upset on a week-to-week basis, not with an ever-spreading parity and a heightened importance to each game.

The Week 11 polls predictably saw some major movement thanks to a number of eyebrow-raising results, so kudos once again to the pollsters tasked with staying on the ball in a timely manner.

Below is a look at the rankings fresh out of the oven, with a breakdown of the biggest movers after the jump.


Week 11 College Football Top 25 Rankings

AP Poll can be viewed at

Amway Poll can be viewed at

B/R Poll can be viewed at


Analyzing Top Risers and Fallers

Riser: UCLA

Brett Hundley and the UCLA Bruins have been one difficult program to figure out this season. 

The team started out on shaky footing, not exactly blowing out Virginia, Memphis or Texas. No worries, though, as the team blew away former No. 15 Arizona State 62-27—then lost two in a row, including one game to unranked Utah.

Of course, the team then took down unranked California and Colorado by a combined five points. 

Obviously none of this was enough to inspire loads of confidence from pollsters, but they did think enough of last week's 17-7 upset of former No. 12 Arizona to make the Bruins one of the week's highest risers.

In that contest, Hundley threw for 189 yards and a score and added another 131 yards on the ground, part of the Bruins' 271 yards and a score in that category. The Bruins defense showed up, too, limiting a previously strong Wildcats rushing attack to just 80 yards on a 2.6-per-carry average.

"Today was the first game that I felt defensively like we did what we were supposed to do on every play," UCLA coach Jim Mora said, per The Associated Press (h/t "Don't pop a gap. Just do your job. Trust your teammate. We did that. You saw the result. ... It was a big win for us, and it keeps us alive, and that's what we're after."

Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register reveals why Hundley finally looks like the Heisman contender most thought he should be:

So is this a sign of a major return to form for the Bruins? Perhaps, but a brutal schedule with Washington, USC and Stanford to close the season will reveal all. Hundley's play will need to hover at its current level, and a defense that ranks 77th in the nation with an average of 27.7 points per game allowed will need to remain strong for the Bruins to keep their momentum.

For now, Hundley and Co. can just bask in a sudden rise in the court of public opinion.


Faller: Georgia

Simply put, the Georgia Bulldogs did not show up in a historic-rivalry showdown, got punched in the mouth repeatedly and opted to stay down on the mat rather than get up and fight.

“They lined up and gave us a good ole butt-whipping," defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt said, per's Jeff Barlis. "They run the power and the zone, things you see every day in practice."

The Florida Gators used the Bulldogs for practice all right, rushing for a whopping 418 yards and five touchdowns.

Quarterback Treon Harris attempted six passes.

The sad part is that the Bulldogs actually got a somewhat-strong performance out of quarterback Hutson Mason, who threw for 319 yards and a score. Nick Chubb was once again a force on the ground in place of the absent Todd Gurley, rushing for 156 yards and a score on a 7.4 average.

Yet none of that really matters when the defense collapses in on itself in such a manner.

It is hard to understand how this is the same Georgia team that took down a ranked Clemson squad to start the season, or the one that shut out Missouri. Or even the same one that kept the elite Arkansas rushing attack in check back in mid-October.

Regardless, the Bulldogs have a simple go of it in three of their remaining four games this season, the lone exception being when Auburn comes to town. Should the Bulldogs play as they did last weekend, that one will be a massacre.

For the time being, the SEC East belongs to Missouri. If Mason and his team do not put the knee-slapper behind them in a hurry, the season will be lost.


Stats and information via unless otherwise specified.


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Virginia Cavaliers vs. Florida State Seminoles: Odds, College Football Pick

Florida State owns a 24-game winning streak, including eight in a row to start this season, but is just 2-6 against the spread this year as it battles fired-up foes and tough point spreads almost every week. After avoiding an upset last week at Louisville, the Seminoles host Virginia for homecoming in Tallahassee Saturday night.


Point spread: Seminoles opened as 21.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 47.0-27.0 Seminoles


Why the Virginia Cavaliers can cover the spread

The Cavaliers started this season with four wins and five covers through their first six games, although they've been slowed recently thanks to tough losses to Duke and North Carolina. Earlier this year, Virginia gave UCLA a tough game in a 28-20 loss, beat Louisville, gave BYU a tough game out in Provo and won at Pitt.

The Cavs also outgained both the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels in defeat. For the season, Virginia ranks a bit pedestrian on offense but 28th overall on defense and 20th against the run.


Why the Florida State Seminoles can cover the spread

The Seminoles seem to be able to turn the juice on whenever needed. Last week, FSU trailed the Cardinals 21-0 late in the second quarter but rallied to score 42 of the last 52 points of the game for a 42-31 victory and cover as a four-point road favorite.

Quarterback Jameis Winston threw 48 times in come-from-behind mode, three of which went for interceptions, but also made several big throws, three for scores, including one that iced the cover with two minutes to go. By the numbers, the 'Noles don't overly impress; they just keep winning games.


Smart pick

While Florida State has shown the ability to turn its game up a notch whenever needed, they've also needed to do so several times this season. And playing at home means the point spread is probably inflated toward the 'Noles. So the smart pick here is with underdog Virginia, plus the points.


Betting trends

  • Virginia is 4-8 ATS in its last 12 games when playing Florida State.
  • Florida State is 4-2 ATS in its last six games when playing at home against Virginia.


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds-tracker app.

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Texas A&M Aggies vs. Auburn Tigers Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

After a promising start to this season, Texas A&M hit the skids, losing three games in a row straight up and four in a row against the spread. The Aggies stopped that slide last week with a win over Louisiana-Monroe, but still couldn't cover the spread. Things don't exactly get easier this week when A&M hits the SEC road to play the defending conference champion Auburn Tigers Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.


Point spread: The Tigers opened as 14.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 45.2-40.0 Tigers


Why the Texas A&M Aggies can cover the spread

Kenny Hill made a big splash earlier this season, taking over at quarterback for the departed Johnny Manziel, but his recent two-game suspension forced the Aggies to go with freshman Kyle Allen last week. And it worked, at least enough for a 21-16 victory, putting a halt to a three-game losing streak.

A&M seemed to have lost its way with those three straight losses, although those did come against Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama, three pretty good teams. The Aggies opened this season with five straight wins, piling up a bunch of yardage and points. If they can just regain a little of that earlier momentum, they could keep this one close.


Why the Auburn Tigers can cover the spread

At 4-1 in SEC play, the Tigers still think they can win a second straight conference championship. They've got a little work left to do, and they might need a little help, but with two straight wins following the loss to Mississippi State they're still alive. Two weeks ago Auburn beat South Carolina 42-35, and last week it won at Ole Miss 35-31.

The Tigers put up 500 yards of offense on the supposedly stout Rebels defense, including 248 yards on the ground. On the season, Auburn is outrushing foes by 154 yards per game. Finally, the Tigers have been good bets in this spot recently, going 5-1 ATS in their last six SEC home games and 6-2 ATS over their last eight games as home favorites.


Smart Pick

Auburn is still playing with a chance to make this year's College Football Playoff; Texas A&M isn't really playing for anything. And beating a 3-5 UL-M team by five points doesn't inspire much confidence. So the smart money here resides with the team that's going to win the game, and that's the Tigers.


Betting Trends

  • The total has gone under in four of Texas A&M's last five games
  • The total has gone under in four of Auburn's last six games


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

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Oregon Ducks vs. Utah Utes: Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

The Oregon Ducks look to keep their playoff hopes alive when they visit the Utah Utes in a key Pac-12 matchup Saturday.

The Ducks have won four games in a row both straight-up and against the spread since suffering their only defeat of the season at home to Arizona, and they will face a Utah team coming off a tough 19-16 overtime loss at Arizona State last week as a 6.5-point underdog.


Point spread: Ducks opened as 9.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 40.9-28.4 Ducks


Why the Oregon Ducks can cover the spread

Oregon knows there is no margin for error the rest of the season in order to stay in the hunt for the school’s first ever national championship. The Ducks are poised to move into the top four after Ole Miss lost last week, and they certainly need to continue winning in order to stay in that position at the end of the season.

Other teams from major conferences, like Alabama from the SEC and TCU from the Big 12, have big games on tap this week, as well, and they know they cannot afford to lose at this point. Oregon routed Stanford 45-16 last week as a seven-point home favorite and has won all of its games during the winning streak by at least 12 points.


Why the Utah Utes can cover the spread

The Utes are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games as home underdogs, with the latest cover coming in a 24-21 victory against USC two weeks ago. While the Ducks are a much better team than the Trojans, Utah has shown a unique ability to hang in there and cover against tough opponents. Case in point, last week the team lost by a field goal on the road to the Sun Devils but still beat the 6.5-point spread for its fourth straight cover.

The Utes had not lost since Washington State stunned them 28-27 at Rice-Eccles Stadium as a 13.5-road underdog on September 27. That loss to the Cougars remains Utah’s lone non-cover this season, as the team is an impressive 7-1 ATS on the year.


Smart Pick

Oregon is just 1-3 vs. the line in its last four games as a road favorite and 1-3 ATS in the past four meetings with the Utes, who upset the Ducks 17-13 as three-point home underdogs the last time they hosted them back in 2003. Utah’s defense keeps the team in games, and that’s exactly what will be needed against a high-powered Oregon squad.

The two losses the Utes suffered this season have been decided by a combined four points, which is a big turnaround from last year, when three of their last four setbacks saw them fall by 12 points or more. Utah should be able to stay within double digits here at home against the Ducks, so take the Utes to cover and possibly pull off the upset.


Betting Trends

  • The total has gone UNDER in five of Oregon's last six games on the road
  • Utah is 4-1 SU in its last five games at home


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

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Oregon Ducks vs. Utah Utes: Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

The Oregon Ducks look to keep their playoff hopes alive when they visit the Utah Utes in a key Pac -12 matchup Saturday...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Odds, Analysis

The only two unbeaten teams in Big Ten Conference play will meet Saturday night in East Lansing as the Michigan State Spartans host the Ohio State Buckeyes. Both teams are riding six-game winning streaks into this rematch of last year’s Big Ten title game, with Michigan State going 4-2 against the spread during that stretch and Ohio State posting a 5-1 mark versus the line.


Point spread: Spartans opened as two-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 30.4-29.6 Buckeyes


Why the Ohio State Buckeyes can cover the spread

The Buckeyes have won eight of the last 10 meetings with the Spartans, going 6-3-1 ATS in those games. They have scored 50 points or more in five of the six games during their winning streak, covering the spread each time. In a 55-14 rout of Illinois last week, Ohio State rushed for 296 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries, with four different players picking up more than 40 yards.

The Buckeyes beat the spread easily as 28-point favorites following their lone non-cover over the past two months, which occurred in a 31-24 overtime win against Penn State the week before as 13.5-point favorites. Ohio State is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games as an underdog, covering five in a row as a road dog.


Why the Michigan State Spartans can cover the spread

Michigan State has won 12 straight home games, going 7-3 ATS in their past 10 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans will have an extra week to prepare for the Buckeyes following a 35-11 rout of intrastate rival Michigan two weeks ago as 16.5-point favorites. They should also have a mental edge after beating Ohio State in the last meeting, which was a wild back-and-forth affair to determine the conference championship.

Michigan State scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull off a 34-24 win over the Buckeyes for the Big Ten title as a 5.5-point underdog and should be able to draw from that experience in playing them again at home.


Smart pick

While the Spartans have a 12-game home winning streak, 10 of those contests had them as double-digit favorites. One of the two games that saw them as single-digit favorites during that stretch came earlier this year in a 27-22 victory against Nebraska. Michigan State closed as an 8.5-point favorite in that game and did not cover the spread.

Six of those games came against non-conference opponents, and the Spartans are just 3-7 ATS in their past 10 home games versus Big Ten foes. Ohio State has won three of its last four games as a road dog, the last coming at Wisconsin last year, 21-14. This game has a similar feel, so look for the Buckeyes to pull off the upset.


Betting trends

  • The total has gone over in five of Ohio State's last six games on the road.
  • Michigan State is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games.


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds-tracker app.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Arizona State Sun Devils: Odds, Analysis and Pick

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish must enjoy their trips out west, considering they're 7-2 against the spread in their last nine games visiting Pac-12 teams.

The Arizona State Sun Devils, meanwhile, may be on their way to another Pac-12 Championship Game, but they've also been a bit overrated at home recently, going just 1-4 ATS over their last five games in Tempe. So the Golden Domers might have the betting trends on their side when they hit the field at Sun Devil Stadium Saturday afternoon.


Point spread: Sun Devils opened as one-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 35.3-32.9 Sun Devils


Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread

The Irish are 7-1 straight up and 5-3 ATS and could be undefeated if not for that offensive pass interference call that negated a game-winning touchdown against Florida State a couple weeks ago. Notre Dame outgained the Seminoles by almost 150 yards and outrushed them 157-50. Last week, the Irish outlasted Navy 49-39, although they couldn't quite cover as 14-point favorites.

After a year off, quarterback Everett Golson is having a fine season with 22 touchdown passes against seven interceptions and seven touchdowns on the ground. Notre Dame is now 17-2 SU and 11-7-1 ATS in games Golson has started. Finally, the Irish beat the Sun Devils last year without Golson 37-34 down at Cowboys Stadium.


Why the Arizona State Sun Devils can cover the spread

The Sun Devils own first place in the Pac-12 South after last week's 19-16 overtime victory over Utah. ASU got some help from the Utes in the form of a missed field goal in the overtime, but it also outgained Utah 444-241. Quarterback Taylor Kelly didn't look great in his second game back after missing time with a foot injury, but he made a couple of key throws, and the running game came up with 239 yards.

So since getting blown out by UCLA, the Sun Devils have beaten, in succession, USC, Stanford, Washington and Utah, three of which were ranked at the time. Also, while Arizona State lost to Notre Dame last year, that game was tied at 27-27 with less than four minutes to go.


Smart pick

Arizona State may own an edge on offense, but Notre Dame, despite losing leading tackler Joe Schmidt, still owns the edge on defense. And Golson provides the playmaking factor that gives the Irish the overall edge in this matchup. So the smart money goes with the Golden Domers.


Betting trends

  • Notre Dame is 4-2 ATS in its last six games on the road.
  • Arizona State is 1-5 ATS in its last six games at home.


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds-tracker app.

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Conference Swap: Where Would Florida State Finish in the SEC West?

Florida State remains undefeated and one of the top four teams in the nation, according to the College Football Playoff committee, but what would happen if it was placed in a much tougher conference race?

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee debate how FSU would do if it was placed in the SEC West.

Do you think Florida State would still be undefeated in the SEC West?

Watch the video, and let us know!

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Kansas State Wildcats vs. TCU Horned Frogs Betting Odds, College Football Pick

Two of the top teams in the Big 12 will square off in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday when the TCU Horned Frogs host the Kansas State Wildcats. The Horned Frogs have lost the last two meetings with the Wildcats, who are riding a five-game winning streak and have covered the spread in their last six games since starting the season 0-2 versus the line.


Point spread: The Horned Frogs opened as six-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 52.0-36.0 Horned Frogs


Why the Kansas State Wildcats can cover the spread

Kansas State has been tremendous as a road underdog over the past few years, going 13-1 against the spread in its last 14 games under that scenario. In addition, the Wildcats are 17-4 ATS in their past 21 road games against Big 12 opponents, which is a testament to head coach Bill Snyder and how he approaches conference games.

Snyder’s team still has a shot at making the four-team playoff, but this is a must-win game with TCU ranked higher. The Big 12 as a conference does not have one team among the top four and will count on other schools ranked higher than its best to fall. All Kansas State can do is keep winning and hope everything falls into place at the end.


Why the TCU Horned Frogs can cover the spread

It may not have been a pretty win for the Horned Frogs, but beating West Virginia 31-30 on the road last week remains an important victory at this point of the season. TCU did not cover the spread against the Mountaineers as 3.5-point road favorites. However, that was the team’s first non-cover of the year after starting out 7-0 ATS.

The Horned Frogs even managed to cover in their lone loss of the season, staying within a touchdown of Baylor in a 61-58 setback nearly a month ago. While TCU has lost the last two meetings with the Wildcats, last year’s meeting was extremely close. The Horned Frogs lost 33-31 on a Kansas State field goal with three seconds left but still covered as 12-point road underdogs.


Smart Pick

It’s hard to go against Snyder’s team in this spot as a tough road dog, but the Wildcats have played only two games away from home this year, winning both of them by a combined five points. The last one came at Oklahoma three weeks ago and resulted in a 31-30 upset victory as seven-point underdogs.

This is a slightly smaller spread for Kansas State but arguably a better opponent, as TCU also beat the Sooners earlier this season 37-33 as a 3.5-point home dog. The Horned Frogs are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as home favorites and 4-0 versus the line in their past four home games against conference opponents. They will use home field to their advantage here with a win and cover.


Betting Trends

  • Kansas State is 5-0 SU in its last five games
  • TCU is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

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Georgia Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats: Betting Odds, Analysis and Pick

Georgia owns four straight victories over Kentucky and six wins in the last seven meetings, but the Wildcats are 4-2 against the spread the last six times they've battled the Bulldogs. In their quest to return to the SEC Championship Game, the Bulldogs will try to fend off the upset bid of the Wildcats Saturday afternoon in Lexington.


Point spread: Bulldogs opened as 13-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 37.5-21.0 Bulldogs


Why the Georgia Bulldogs can cover the spread

The Bulldogs had won five games in a row before running into a fired-up Florida team last week and losing 38-20. Georgia took an early 7-0 lead but allowed the game-turning play on a fake-field-goal touchdown halfway through the second quarter.

However, there's little excuse for giving up 418 yards rushing. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs are only a game behind first-place Missouri in the SEC East, and they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Tigers thanks to their 34-0 victory in Columbia a few weeks ago.

Georgia's defense ranks 22nd in the country overall, so last week might be regarded as an anomaly. Finally, the Bulldogs outgained the Wildcats last year, 602-211, on their way to a 59-14 victory in Athens, covering as 26-point favorites.


Why the Kentucky Wildcats can cover the spread

At 5-4, the Wildcats need just one more victory to become bowl-eligible for the first time in four seasons. Kentucky has struggled in recent weeks, losing to LSU, top-ranked Mississippi State and, last week, Missouri, 20-10. But earlier this season, the Wildcats took Florida to overtime and beat South Carolina.

They also gave MSU a tough game, pulling to within 38-31 with two minutes to go, only to blow the cover as 14-point dogs by allowing a kickoff return for a score. Last week Kentucky held Mizzou to just 320 yards of offense, coming within a field goal of a push as seven-point dogs.


Smart Pick

Georgia will be looking to bounce back after last week's debacle against Florida and stay in the race in the SEC East. Kentucky, on the other hand, hasn't yet proven it can stay with the big boys of the SEC on a weekly basis, losing its last three games against the tougher schedule by an average score of 35-15. So the smart choice here is with the Bulldogs, minus the points.


Betting Trends

  • Georgia is 2-4 ATS in its last six games when playing Kentucky
  • Kentucky is 4-2 ATS in its last six games when playing Georgia


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

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Clemson Tigers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons Betting Odds, College Football Pick

Clemson owns a five-game winning streak in the series with ACC rival Wake Forest, going 4-1 against the spread in that span and winning those games by an average score of 39-12.

The Tigers also own a five-game winning streak this season. Clemson can push both those runs to six games when they take on 2-6 Wake Forest Thursday night in Winston-Salem.


Point spread: The Tigers opened as 20-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 37.9-17.1 Tigers


Why the Clemson Tigers can cover the spread

The Tigers just beat Syracuse 16-6, so they're 5-0 straight up and 3-2 ATS since losing that game to Florida State in overtime back in September. Two weeks ago, Clemson outgained Boston College by 135 yards in a 17-13 victory over the Eagles, and last week the Tigers outgained the Orange by 205 yards. In fact, the Tigers have outgained and outrushed six of eight opponents this season.

Clemson isn't its usual explosive self on offense yet this year; after averaging over 40 points per game the last two seasons, the Tigers are averaging more than a touchdown less this season. But Clemson's defense, which was pretty good last year, is even better this year, ranking second in the country overall and 10th vs. the run.


Why the Wake Forest Demon Deacons can cover the spread

Let's be honest: The Demon Deacons are not a good team at the moment. They've lost four games in a row, a couple in non-competitive fashion, while getting beat up on the stats sheet. However, they have covered four spreads this season, including as underdogs against Utah State, Louisville and Boston College—all of whom are 6-3 at the moment.

Last week Wake Forest trailed the Eagles 17-0 early, but rallied to within 23-17 with six minutes to go before running out of gas. The Deacons have been forced to go with freshman John Wolford at quarterback, and while he's thrown 13 interceptions, he's kept that to three over the last three weeks. The Wake Forest defense also ranks a respectable 40th in the country overall. With Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson out with a finger injury, perhaps the Deacons can keep this one close.


Smart Pick

Clemson is tough against the run, and Wake Forest can't run. And relying on a guy who barely showed up on the preseason depth chart to spark a passing game is asking a lot. The Tigers, despite some injuries, will win this game, and in this spot, the winner is likely to cover the spread. So the smart betting choice here is with Clemson, minus the points.


Betting Trends

  • Clemson is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 games on the road
  • Wake Forest is 0-5 SU in its last five games when playing Clemson


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

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Baylor Bears vs. Oklahoma Sooners: Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

The Oklahoma Sooners will be out for revenge when they host the Baylor Bears in a key Big 12 matchup on Saturday. The Sooners lost 41-12 at Baylor last year and have alternated wins and losses in their past five games, snapping a three-game skid against the spread with a 59-14 victory at Iowa State last week as 15.5-point favorites.


Point spread: Sooners opened as three-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (Line updates and matchup report).


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 46.3-38.9 Bears


Why the Baylor Bears can cover the spread

The Bears covered the spread in last year’s meeting as 16.5-point home chalk and find themselves as underdogs this time around despite the fact they are in similar positions. The only difference is that last season Baylor was unbeaten going into the Oklahoma game and this year the team has one loss.

The Sooners may be a slightly better team than the one the Bears crushed in 2013, but they are still below them in the College Football Playoff rankings. Baylor still controls its own destiny to some degree with a matchup against Kansas State in the regular-season finale, so beating Oklahoma again here could put the Bears in position to make the four-team playoff if they win out.


Why the Oklahoma Sooners can cover the spread

The Sooners have won 21 of the last 23 meetings with Baylor but both losses during that stretch have taken place in the past three years. Oklahoma is coming off one of its best games of the season against the Cyclones, with quarterback Trevor Knight throwing for 230 yards and two touchdowns, as well as running for 146 yards and three more scores.

Knight was not the starting signal-caller last year against the Bears, instead it was Blake Bell, who is now a tight end for the Sooners and struggled mightily with just 150 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Knight has thrown for more than 300 yards in Oklahoma’s last two home games and will be the X-factor here.


Smart Pick

Baylor is 3-1 straight-up and ATS in its last four road games and 5-2 SU in its past seven games away from home against Big 12 opponents. Combine that with the Sooners going 3-7 vs. the line in their last 10 home games against conference foes, and the Bears look like an attractive play.

Oklahoma’s defense will obviously face a big test in trying to stop Baylor, which West Virginia somehow managed to do three weeks ago in a 41-27 upset at home as an eight-point underdog. However, the Bears are 7-1 ATS in their last eight trips to Norman and should be able to pull off the upset as a road dog.


Betting Trends

  • Baylor is 4-1 ATS in its last five games when playing Oklahoma
  • The total has gone OVER in five of Oklahoma's last five games


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

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Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers: Odds, Analysis and College Football Pick

The Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers will both be looking for their fourth straight wins when they meet Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Alabama has won the last three meetings with LSU, including the last one at Tiger Stadium 21-17 two years ago, but it did not cover the spread as a 7.5-point road favorite. In fact, the Crimson Tide have also failed to cover their last five games overall as road chalk.


Point spread: The Crimson Tide opened as six-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (Line updates and matchup report).


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 32.5-27.4 Crimson Tide


Why the Alabama Crimson Tide can cover the spread

This is crunch time for Alabama, especially with the College Football Playoff rankings initially showing the team outside the top four at No. 6. The Crimson Tide have to be disappointed with that ranking but still have plenty of time to do something about it.

This is a must-win game for them though, especially considering Mississippi State has already beaten the Tigers on their home field. Alabama had a week off to get ready for LSU and has proven itself when needed this season.

When critics complained that the Tide did not score enough after a 14-13 win over Arkansas on October 11, they rolled Texas A&M 59-0 the following week. Alabama is very dangerous when motivated.


Why the LSU Tigers can cover the spread

The Tigers are 3-0 against the spread (ATS) in their last three games as home underdogs and have won 19 of their past 21 home games overall. However, one of those two losses came against the Crimson Tide. This is a young LSU team that has continued to grow as the season has progressed, covering the spread in each of the games during its winning streak. That includes a 10-7 victory against Ole Miss two weeks ago as a 3.5-point home underdog.

The Tigers are also coming off a bye week and know how important this game is even if they are already out of the running for the four-team playoff. They would love nothing more than to end Alabama’s shot at a national championship.


Smart Pick

The point spread is exactly where it should be for this game, with the Crimson Tide favored by nearly a touchdown. Alabama has covered just two of the last five meetings, with three of them decided by four points or less. But the two the Tide did cover were blowouts, including a 38-17 victory last season as a 14-point home favorite.

LSU has outscored its last two opponents by a 51-10 margin at home, with the defense really stepping up. The Tigers will need to play their best game defensively to hang with Alabama, so expect a maximum effort here if they do not end up with the win.

The under is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings and 3-0-1 in LSU’s last four games as a home underdog, and those trends should continue here in a low-scoring game.


Betting Trends

  • Alabama is 22-3 SU in its last 25 games.
  • LSU is 3-5-2 ATS in its last 10 games when playing Alabama.


All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark; all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates, and get the free odds tracker app.

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