NCAA Football News

Alabama vs. Mississippi State Complete Game Preview

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It’s been an awful few days for the No. 20 Mississippi State football team, which went from enjoying a 31-13 victory at Missouri on Thursday night to mourning the loss of a teammate roughly 24 hours later. 

Freshman defensive lineman Keith Joseph Jr. and his father, Keith Joseph Sr., died in a one-car accident Friday. Both had attended Pascagoula High School on the Gulf Coast and were en route to watch its game that night.

Mississippi State will host a memorial service honoring both—Keith Sr. was a linebacker for the Bulldogs from 1989-92—in Humphrey Coliseum on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. local time. The service is open to the public.

A moment of silence will be held before Saturday’s game against No. 3 Alabama, and Mississippi State players will wear a helmet decal honoring the Josephs with the letters “MJ.”

Head coach Dan Mullen was recruiting at a high school game when he got a phone call about the accident.

“The freshman group wanted to stay together,” he said during Monday’s press conference. “We made a game plan to meet and go to the dorms. My wife had all of the [freshmen] over to the house so they could be together. One of the things you see when you look at these guys, whenever they are in a tough situation, they are just 18-year-old kids who just lost a very close friend and family member. To keep them together, I thought, was really important.”

Sadly, Alabama has been through similar this season and wore a helmet decal with the number 28 against Tennessee after former Crimson Tide running back Altee Tenpenny died in a car accident.

Joseph Jr. was 18, his father 44.

Here’s everything you need to know for Saturday’s game:

Date: Saturday, November 14

Time: 2:30 p.m. CT 

Place: David Wade Stadium

TV: CBS

Radio:Crimson Tide Sports Network, MSU Sports Radio Network, Sirius 84, XM 84

Spread: Alabama minus-eight, according to Odds Shark

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Leonard Fournette's Family Reportedly Investigated for Potential NCAA Violation

LSU has reportedly launched an investigation into whether a short-lived website built around Leonard Fournette's catchphrase, BUGA Nation, constituted an NCAA violation.  

According to Josh Peter of USA Today, LSU has hired attorney Bob Barton to investigate the website, which was funded by the Fournettes and Paul Price, the family's manager. Peter's report indicates the site sold memorabilia with the "BUGA Nation" phrase but did not explicitly feature Fournette. The website ceased selling the memorabilia within 24 hours of its launch, which coincided with the opening week of the 2014 season.

Fournette could be subject to a suspension if his family is found to have committed an NCAA violation. The association's bylaws prohibit players, family members and associates from profiting off of a student-athlete's likeness. Even if Fournette was not directly named anywhere on the website, the "BUGA Nation" phrase is a matter of semantics; it's the equivalent of Deion Sanders selling items with "Prime Time" but not mentioning his name.

Fournette, a sophomore, is one of college football's best and most marketable players. He's rushed for 1,383 yards and 16 touchdowns thus far in 2015 and was considered a Heisman favorite before a shaky performance in Saturday's loss to Alabama. Because he's just two years removed from his high school graduation, Fournette would have no recourse if he's stripped of his eligibility. He would not be able to enter the NFL draft until 2017. 

Neither LSU nor the NCAA has commented on the investigation. 

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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4-Star Brian Robinson Commits to Alabama: Tide Continue to Make Case as RB U

Alabama landed a major commitment in the 2017 cycle when in-state 4-star running back Brian Robinson announced his pledge to the Crimson Tide via his Twitter account Monday evening:

The 6’1”, 213-pounder out of Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, gives head coach Nick Saban and his staff their third commitment at running back in the 2017 cycle.

Robinson joins 5-star Najee Harris and 4-star Cam Akers as touted 2017 backs who will compete for carries in the Tide’s backfield. Both Harris and Akers rate among the nation’s top five backs in the 2017 class.

While the competition at running back is sure to be intense, the fact that Alabama has been able to land three of the nation’s best backs is another signal that the Tide have emerged as the premier destination for top rushers. 

As Hillcrest head coach Sam Adams told BamaOnline’s Hank South, the allure of the Tide’s tradition at his position was a big factor in his star player’s decision. 

“I think it’s a combination of a lot of things,” Adams said. “I know being somewhat close to his hometown was important to him and his mom. Obviously with the history of the running back position at Alabama, that weighed in his decision. Part of it, too, is that pressure that seems to mount as you approach signing day your senior year. I think partly he just wanted to go ahead and get it over with.”

Since Saban has arrived at the Capstone, the Tide’s rushing attack has been one of the signature hallmarks of his teams. In fact, Alabama has signed at least one 4-star-or-better running back in each class since 2008. 

With the success the Tide have had at recruiting and developing players at running back during Saban's tenure, it's hard to argue against the case of calling Alabama the new RBU. 

Under Saban, Alabama's offenses have thrived on featuring talents such as Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.

Junior Derrick Henry, who has emerged as one of the leading Heisman Trophy candidates, is adding to the long list of recent Tide backs who have enjoyed dominant careers in Tuscaloosa.

Assuming Henry does like those predecessors and makes the jump to the NFL after this season, true freshman and former stud recruit Damien Harris is among the backs patiently waiting for a chance to fill his shoes moving forward.

In the current cycle, the Tide already have a pledge from 4-star running back B.J. Emmons—who is a 5’10”, 232-pound bulldozer.

Saban and his staff are also actively pursuing 4-star New Jersey star Kareem Walker, who attended last week’s game against LSU. 

With the stable already loaded in 2017, it’s clear that the Tide’s backfield will be stocked with talented rushers for the foreseeable future.

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Big 12 Football: Bowl Projections for Every Team

You like bowl projections? Bleacher Report colleague Bryan Fischer has you covered on a national scale. For the Big 12, however, it's time to take a closer look at how the postseason pecking order will shake out. 

The tough November slate featuring Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU has already produced one eye-opening result, which means more surprises are on the way. As such, the following bowl projections could be entirely different this time next week. 

The additional thing to remember is bowl selection beyond the playoff and New Year's Six slot does not have to mirror final conference standings; it only determines the order in which the games select their conference representatives. 

With that in mind, here are the Big 12's bowl predictions after 10 weeks in order of selection. Note that in our projections we do not include the Heart of Dallas Bowl for non-qualifier reasons. 

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SEC Football: Bowl Projections for Every Team

We've reached mid-November, and that means we've reached the home stretch in the race for the best bowl games associated with the SEC.

One-loss Florida has already clinched the SEC East, Alabama has the inside track for the West, and the two could meet in the SEC Championship Game in a de facto national quarterfinal if they stay unblemished down the stretch. 

Who will make the College Football Playoff? How about the "New Year's Six" bowls?

Our SEC bowl projections based on record, projection and the bowl tie-in flow chart are in this slide show.

A reminder: There is no limit on teams from the same conference making New Year's Six bowls, and the SEC places teams in the "pool of six bowls" after the Citrus Bowl gets its choice. Because of the possibility of more than two teams being placed in the New Year's Six bowls, not enough SEC teams are projected to be bowl-eligible to fill all of the SEC's slots, leaving the Camping World Independence Bowl out of the mix for an SEC team. Of course, if there aren't enough bowl-eligible teams nationwide, bowls could choose 5-7 teams if they receive waivers from the NCAA.

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Big Ten Football: Bowl Projections for Every Team

With the first week of November down and just three weeks of the regular season remaining, college football's bowl season is right around the corner.

And just as it did a year ago, when Ohio State won the inaugural College Football Playoff and Michigan State and Wisconsin won New Year's Day games, the Big Ten figures to play a prominent role in this winter's postseason slate.

Through 10 weeks, seven Big Ten teams already find themselves bowl-eligible, four of which remain in contention for this year's College Football Playoff. With four weeks remaining until the announcement of this year's bowl pairings, five additional Big Ten teams still have a chance to get to the six wins required to become postseason eligible, which gives the conference a shot at having double-digit teams appear in bowl games for the second consecutive year.

Exactly how many teams from the league will become bowl-eligible and where they will be spending their postseasons this winter will be determined in the coming weeks.

With that in mind, let's take a look at where each Big Ten team is currently projected to land this bowl season.

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North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. Florida State Seminoles Odds, Football Pick

Florida State is 6-2 in its last eight games against North Carolina State, but the Wolfpack are 3-0 against the spread over the last three meetings and a lopsided 9-1 ATS over the last 10. Coming off their second loss of this season, the Seminoles, now in salvage mode, host a pesky rival in North Carolina State Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee.

Point spread: Seminoles opened as 10.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 30.6-30.2 Seminoles

 

Why the North Carolina State Wolfpack can cover the spread

The Pack just picked up an ACC road victory with a 24-8 decision at Boston College last week. State led 14-0 at the half and 24-0 late into the game before allowing the Eagles to avoid the shutout with a touchdown with just over a minute to go. On the day, North Carolina State outgained BC 351-285, and 65 of those Eagles yards came on a meaningless drive at the end of the game.

With the victory, the Wolfpack and their ninth-ranked defense are bowl-eligible; now what they need is a couple of quality victories from here on out—they host North Carolina in the season finale—to earn themselves a nice bowl bid, something better than the St. Petersburg Bowl.

 

Why the Florida State Seminoles can cover the spread

Playing without starting quarterback Everett Golson, Florida State just suffered a 23-13 loss at Clemson that eliminated the Noles from any kind of title contention.

Florida State grabbed an early 7-0 lead with the help of a long Dalvin Cook scoring run and took a 13-13 tie into the fourth quarter, but it gave up the last 10 points of the game—the final seven coming on a Tigers touchdown and extra point with just over two minutes to go. However, the Seminoles did hang on for the cover as 12-point road dogs.

FSU started this season 6-0 before getting upset at Georgia Tech. The Noles then beat Syracuse 45-21, covering at 17 points. On the year, Florida State is 4-2 ATS when favored by 17 points or less.

 

Smart pick

The Seminoles won this matchup last season 56-41, but North Carolina State led that game throughout and covered as a 16-point home dog. As of now, Florida State is not quite the team it was that day, while N.C. State is improved. And Golson, still recovering from that concussion, is still questionable to play. Take the Pack here, plus the points.

 

Betting trends

The underdog is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 games in this matchup.

North Carolina State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games on the road against Florida State.

Florida State is 9-1 straight up and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games in November.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, and 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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Updated College Football Fact or Fiction Heading into Week 11

Many of our questions have been answered as we head into Week 11 of the college football season. However, some big questions remain.

Will any SEC coaches be fired during or immediately after the season? Is Corey Coleman a Heisman finalist?

Watch as Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Barrett Sallee, Michael Felder and Adam Kramer answer the tough questions in the video above.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

NCAA Football Rankings 2015: Week 11 Top 25 Standings, Playoff Predictions

The first College Football Playoff rankings were announced Nov. 3 amid controversy after they included the one-loss Alabama Crimson Tide.

There will be no talk of overrated Alabama this week.

The Crimson Tide dismantled the No. 2 LSU Tigers, 30-16, in Week 10, and will surely move up from No. 4 when the rankings are released Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.

Coming in at No. 1 in the first poll were the undefeated Clemson Tigers, followed by LSU, the Ohio State Buckeyes and finally Alabama.

It's safe to say LSU will no longer be in the top four, and Alabama will surely move up. The big question is: Who will slide in at No. 4?

Let's take a look at the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday and make a prediction for the next CFP top four before the rankings are released:

 

There was quite a bit of shake-up in the poll with five undefeated teams going down in Week 10, and there should be in the next CFP poll as well. In this projection, LSU falls out, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish move in and Alabama leaps Ohio State despite the Buckeyes defeating the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Week 10.

Here is a breakdown of each team, and why they are projected where they are:

 

Notre Dame Fighting for No. 4

The Irish move into the playoff because LSU not only lost, but was embarrassed by Alabama. They also held serve in Week 10 with a 42-30 road victory against the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Notre Dame was ranked fifth in the opening polls due to a 7-1 record at the time with a formidable schedule ranked 19th in the RPI. The lone defeat came on the road at the hands of No. 1 Clemson.

According to the RPI rankings, only Northwestern has a tougher schedule than Notre Dame among top-25 RPI teams. The Irish's last five opponents have a combined record of 36-8, with half of the losses coming via Notre Dame.

Two victories over AP Top 25 teams in the Temple Owls and Navy Midshipmen help Notre Dame's case as well.

There will be a strong push from the 9-0 Oklahoma State Cowboys after they crushed the previously unbeaten TCU Horned Frogs, 49-29, in Week 10. While impressive, it was OSU's first win against a ranked opponent, which should help keep the Irish one spot ahead of the Cowboys.

 

Ohio State Eyes No. 3

Poor Ohio State. All it does is win, yet the Buckeyes can't claim the top spot.

Last year's national champs were a unanimous No. 1 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, and all they've done this year is start the season with nine straight victories.

However, they haven't come easy. Ohio State had two straight one-possession victories over the unranked Northern Illinois Huskies and Indiana Hoosiers earlier in the season. In Week 10, the Buckeyes led unranked Minnesota 21-14 with two minutes remaining before scoring a late touchdown to win by 14.

The CFP committee was obviously more impressed with Clemson and LSU's undefeated resumes at the time of the first rankings, and it will be a similar case once again when the second edition is released.

A quarterback controversy between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones had cooled a bit until Barrett was suspended in Week 10 following an arrest. He will start in Week 11, per Austin Ward of ESPN.com, but any instability at that position could lead voters to wonder if this is a team that will struggle against top-caliber opponents.

Speaking of those, Ohio State hasn't played many this season. It has the 93rd-ranked schedule according to the college RPI, with their toughest opponent being—you probably didn't guess it—the Western Michigan Broncos.

College football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who played quarterback at Ohio State, even thinks one-loss Alabama should be ahead of the undefeated Buckeyes:

Ohio State may very well run the table, but if Clemson and Alabama do the rest of the way as well, the Buckeyes won't grab a top-two spot in the rankings. The good news for them, as they showed last year by winning the national championship ranked No. 4, is that all you have to do is get in the playoff and anything can happen.

 

Alabama Rolling at No. 2

As previously noted, Alabama did everything in its power in Week 10 to prove it belonged in the top four.

The Crimson Tide may have received a jolt from their head coach Nick Saban prior to the game, after he went off in a press conference saying the rankings mean nothing. The only thing in his mind that does mean something is playing hard and winning every game the rest of the season, per FOXSports.com:

The only reason we have it is for folks like you to have something to talk about and write about…and ask questions about, which you do a nice job of, incidentally…Until the end of the season, I don’t have anything to say about it…It doesn’t mean anything other than your team has done well enough to have a chance to create an opportunity for itself if they can finish the season the right way…

By easily handling LSU, Alabama proved it is a much-improved team since a Week 3 loss to Ole Miss. Like Notre Dame, Alabama has played a strong schedule, coming in at 20th in the RPI.

Wins against three current AP Top 25 teams are on their resume, and if they finish undefeated with an SEC championship, they'll likely have two more.

Like it or not, Coach Saban, the Crimson Tide will be in the top two of the CFP, and that's where they'll stay.

 

Clemson Tightens Grip on No. 1

For all the talk of Alabama's hot streak and the tough schedules some one-loss teams are dealing with, Clemson has them all beat.

The Tigers have the highest strength of schedule rank among all undefeated teams, at 26. They also have the most impressive win of the four playoff teams in Notre Dame.

You won't find too many who will argue with Clemson taking hold of the top spot, including its head coach Dabo Swinney, per ESPN.com: "I've been voting us No. 1 for three weeks," Swinney said after the Tigers defeated the No. 19 Florida State Seminoles in Week 10. "Y'all are just catching up."

The Tigers don't have any negatives going for them right now. They've won all nine games on their schedule, have a quarterback in Deshaun Watson who leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in passing yards and touchdowns and boast a defense that has allowed the second-fewest points in the ACC.

Clemson has already clinched the ACC Atlantic division and a spot in the conference title game. The schedule softens up a bit as they wind down with games against the Syracuse Orangemen, Wake Forest Demon Deacons and South Carolina Gamecocks.

If they take care of business, the only thing stopping them from claiming the top CFP spot is the winner of the ACC Coastal division, which currently is the No. 17 North Carolina Tar Heels.

If you haven't "caught up" by now, it's time. Clemson is for real, and it is about to prove it.

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How Former WR Jamarcus King Became the No. 1 JUCO CB Recruit

For someone who didn't play cornerback in high school, Jamarcus King has turned into a player who could one day dominate the position at the FBS level.

Representing Prichard, Alabama, King was a wide receiver at Blount High School before continuing his football career at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas. Upon arrival at Coffeyville, former defensive backs coach James Colzie III, now the defensive coordinator at the University of British Columbia in Canada, decided to test King's talents on the other side of the ball.

"I'd played [cornerback] maybe five or six times in high school, but I was just out there playing around," King said. "When I got to Coffeyville the summer of 2014, the coaches said they were going to move me to cornerback.

"I was like, 'Cool.' Anything to get me on the field and not have to redshirt."

Turns out, King was better than expected at the new position. And after a freshman year full of postseason accolades, King is now the nation's top-ranked junior college cornerback and a wanted target by several FBS programs.

King, a 6'1", 180-pound cornerback, has 17 reported offers—Miami being the latest on Friday—and is looking into securing a full official visit schedule. He will visit Baylor this weekend and is looking at potential visits to Tennessee, Louisville, Auburn, TCU and Miami. King originally verbally committed to Auburn in June but decommitted in September to explore additional options.

A shutdown defender, King has excellent size and makeup speed to play the position. In 11 games, King has 37 tackles, three interceptions and a team-high 10 pass breakups, according to the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference website. He was a first-team all-KJCCC cornerback and also a second-team NJCAA All-American last season.

"I cover the fade ball very well," said King, who has been clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.45 seconds. "I give all the credit to my DB coaches. Coach Colzie and [former defensive coordinator] Coach [Mitchell] Pate molded me to a cornerback."

The transition from receiver to cornerback, King said, wasn't as difficult as some may think. Instead of escaping from an island, he now has to contain the island. Both positions battle for the football in the air. Both positions rely on quickness, speed and athleticism.

And both positions require an athlete to play smart—either that, or become a highlight on a Hudl tape.

"I think with me, being a smart receiver helped," King said. "You've got to know your routes and how to beat the DB. Once I got to the other side of the ball, I could tell what routes receivers were running. You've just got to make the play first.

"For me, it was quick and simple. But again, I had great coaching."

And with that, FBS schools are hoping King will give them his verbal commitment soon. He said he hasn't made official visit dates for any school outside of Baylor, but he knows he's looking for a team that will allow him to be a playmaker.

King added that even though he decommitted from Auburn, the Tigers are still very much in contention. A decision, however, won't be rushed.

"I want to go to a team that has good D-linemen who get to the quarterback," he said. "That'll give me a good chance to catch picks. I want to be at a place that throws a lot in the conference. The recruiting process is tough, but I want to make the right decision."

 

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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4-Star WR Tren'Davian Dickson Flips Commitment from Texas Back to Baylor

The Baylor Bears regained a crucial in-state commitment Monday evening, flipping record-setting wide receiver Tren'Davian Dickson from the Texas Longhorns.

Dickson, a senior at Navasota High School, cancelled plans to play in Austin four months after joining the class, according to Gerry Hamilton of ESPN. He initially pledged to Baylor before his junior season and backed off that verbal pact in February, but Dickson now returns as a centerpiece for the Bears' 2016 recruiting efforts. 

The 6'0", 171-pound playmaker, rated 22nd nationally among receivers in composite rankings, was the top-rated commit in Texas' 2016 class. Without him on board, the Longhorns fall to 56th overall in composite class rankings and sixth among college football programs in the Lone Star State.

Dickson is No. 2 in terms of talent currently committed to Baylor. Only 5-star offensive tackle Patrick Hudson grades out higher in composite rankings.

Texas, carrying a 10-12 record under head coach Charlie Strong, no longer holds a single commitment from players considered top-20 prospects in state composite rankings. In contrast, LSU's top-ranked recruiting class includes three top-20 talents from Texas.

It's a difficult loss to take for the Longhorns, who could have capitalized on Dickson's advanced abilities early and often next season. He previously voiced concern about potential widespread coaching staff changes.

“The stability of the program (is the biggest question mark),” Dickson recently told EJ Holland of 247Sports. “Just people talking about is (Charlie) Strong going to be there? Is (Jay) Norvell going to be there? Is he still going to coach receivers? Is (Shawn) Watson still going to be the offensive coordinator? All that kind of stuff.”

Clearly, swirling uncertainty is an issue Texas must contend with on the recruiting path. It seems that element at least slightly contributed to this decision from Dickson, who provides Baylor with another premier offensive piece. 

The 4-star standout caught 90 passes for 2,166 yards and 39 touchdowns as a junior. That scoring total set an all-time national high school record.

Dickson's eye-popping 2014 production was preceded by a strong sophomore campaign. He hauled in 13 touchdowns that season and has averaged more than 20 yards per catch since 2013.

Baylor now holds pledges from four of Texas' top 40 overall 2016 prospects, including versatile running back Kameron Martin. Quarterback Zach Smith, the No. 15 pro-style passer in composite rankings, tossed 65 touchdown passes during his past two seasons. 

The Bears lead college football with 57.4 points per game this season, spurred by a passing attack averaging 357 yards per contest. True freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham, an Elite 11 finalist last year, could emerge as a national star down the stretch and attract increased interest from young offensive weapons.

Baylor has built an impressive supporting cast for its quarterbacks throughout Art Briles's tenure, headlined by former 4-star recruit and 2015 Heisman Trophy candidate Corey Coleman.

The Bears add Dickson to an explosive group that's well-equipped for sustained postseason contention while weakening the future offensive outlook of an in-state rival.

 

Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Tyler via Twitter @TDsTake.

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

TCU is 3-0 against Kansas since joining the Big 12 three seasons ago, but the Jayhawks have covered the spread in each of those contests as big underdogs. Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth, Kansas will go off as a huge dog against what will be a mad Horned Frogs outfit.

 

Point spread: The Horned Frogs opened as 43-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 55.4-3.4 Horned Frogs

 

Why the Kansas Jayhawks can cover the spread

Kansas, in its first season under new head coach David Beaty, is 0-9 straight up and 2-7 against the spread, but when you start at the bottom with nothing, it takes time and a lot of hard work to grow. The Jayhawks just lost at Texas last week 59-20, missing on the cover as 28-point dogs, although they only trailed the Longhorns 24-14 at the half before letting that game get out of hand.

On the day, Kansas came up with 426 yards of offense, 192 on the ground, although much of that came in catch-up mode. And four turnovers didn't help. Also, Texas scored three times on big plays—two long offensive scores and once on a fumble return.

It's difficult to find a silver lining for the Jayhawks at the moment other than, perhaps, to say things can't get any worse.

 

Why the TCU Horned Frogs can cover the spread

TCU started this season 8-0 but ran into a buzz saw last week and lost at Oklahoma State 49-29. The Frogs fell down 7-0 four minutes into the game, later trailed 35-9, pulled to within two scores with just over two minutes to go but ultimately came up short.

TCU eventually racked up 663 yards of offense, but Heisman candidate quarterback Trevone Boykin threw four interceptions. Meanwhile, the Frogs defense gave up five touchdowns through the air, four of them from 48 yards and longer.

The loss dropped TCU into third place in the Big 12, but it's not dead yet; the Frogs still get a shot at Oklahoma and get Baylor at home, while the first-place Cowboys still have to play both the Sooners and Bears as well.

 

Smart pick

This is one of those times when the outcome isn't in question; TCU might come out breathing fireballs after losing last week, while Kansas is just terrible. But that spread is 10 points out of whack, and at some point you'd think the Frogs will call off the dogs. The smartest play here is probably the pass.

 

Betting trends

Kansas is 0-3 SU and 3-0 ATS in its last three games against TCU.

TCU is 12-1 ATS in its last 13 games at home.

Kansas is 0-20 SU in its last 20 games on the road.

 

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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College Football Top 5 Running Back Rankings Heading into Week 11

Everyone has got their list of top players at a specific position. We're going to break down our list of the top college running backs heading into Week 11.

Whom does Barrett Sallee rank as his No. 1? Who are in his top five? Do you agree with his list?

Find out in the video above as Stephen Nelson and Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee break down their list of the top running backs for Week 11.

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J.T. Barrett Fined, Has License Suspended 180 Days After OVI Arrest

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett settled his OVI case Tuesday morning by agreeing to pay a $400 fine while having his driver's license suspended for 180 days.

Austin Ward of ESPN.com passed along the details of the punishment. The Columbus Dispatch provided video of comments Barrett, 20, made during the court appearance:

"I just want to apologize to my family, the Ohio State football program and Buckeye nation," Barrett said, via Bill Landis of Cleveland.com.

The sophomore quarterback was cited Oct. 31 during the Buckeyes' bye week after failing a breathalyzer test, according to ElevenWarriors.com (via USA Today). He was also suspended for the team's victory over Minnesota last weekend as a result of the incident.

Barrett had just taken over the starting job from Cardale Jones before the situation thrust Jones back into the starting lineup. Head coach Urban Meyer confirmed Barrett will regain his spot atop the depth chart with his suspension over, barring a bad week of practice, per Brent Yarina of BTN.com.

He's fortunate nothing more serious occurred when he got behind the wheel that night. Hopefully, it's a lasting learning experience as he turns his focus back toward football this week. The undefeated Buckeyes will square off with Illinois on Saturday.

 

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Arkansas Razorbacks vs. LSU Tigers Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

LSU owns three wins in the last four rivalry meetings with Arkansas, but the Razorbacks are 3-0 against the spread over the last three meetings, 7-1 ATS over the last eight. Two teams coming off polar-opposite outcomes meet when the Tigers and Hogs battle for the Golden Boot down in Baton Rouge Saturday night.

 

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

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 33.8-26.1 Tigers

 

Why the Arkansas Razorbacks can cover the spread

The Hogs own a three-game winning streak, after pulling out a crazy 53-52 overtime victory at Ole Miss last week. Arkansas, as a seven-point dog, went punch-for-punch with the Rebels all day, never trailing by more than seven points, forcing overtime on a Brandon Allen touchdown pass with less than a minute to go.

The Hogs then converted a 4th-and-25 on a wild lateral/run-for-your-life to stay alive, and they won the game on a second-chance two-point conversion.

Arkansas racked up 605 yards of offense on the day, as Allen went off for 442 yards passing and six touchdowns, without an interception. The Razorbacks also dominated time of possession by a lopsided 41-19 margin.

So since a three-game losing streak back in September, Arkansas is 4-1 both SU and ATS.

 

Why the LSU Tigers can cover the spread

LSU started this season 7-0 but just suffered its first loss, a 30-16 decision at Alabama last week. The Tigers went down 10-0 in the second quarter, rallied to tie the score at 10-10, but just didn't have an answer for Tide running back Derrick Henry, who ran for 210 yards and three scores. LSU hoped to put a stranglehold on the SEC West; now the Tigers have to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and forge on.

Prior to that, LSU had covered three games in a row, at 16 points over Western Kentucky, six points over Florida and 20 points over South Carolina. And the Tigers aren't dead yet; with three wins to end the season, all three against quality foes, they could still earn enough cred to sneak into the College Football Playoff if other cards fall right.

 

Smart pick

This game sets up beautifully for bettors who believe in reversals of fortunes. Arkansas just pulled off a crazy, yet draining, victory last week, while LSU just suffered a disheartening defeat. But oftentimes in college football, and in life, what's up one week is down the next, and vice versa. Take the Tigers here, on the rebound.

 

Betting trends

Arkansas is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games after winning as an underdog.

Arkansas is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games against LSU.

LSU is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games at home in November.

 

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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Odds, Football Pick

Not only is Notre Dame 8-1 overall on the season and part of the College Football Playoff conversation, but it's also 7-2 against the spread despite its status as a big favorite of the betting public. The Fighting Irish face a big number for Saturday's date with 3-6 Wake Forest in South Bend.

 

Point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as 27-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 36.0-15.4 Fighting Irish

 

Why the Wake Forest Demon Deacons can cover the spread

Wake Forest lost a couple of recent games to North Carolina and North Carolina State in non-competitive fashion but cashed in last time out, losing 20-19 to Louisville but covering as an 11-point home dog. The Deacons actually led the Cardinals 10-0 in the first quarter and 19-10 just before halftime, but allowed Louisville to score the final 10 points of the game.

On the day Wake Forest only generated 266 yards of offense and committed five turnovers, but the Demon Deacons defense held the Cardinals to 317 total yards and just 68 yards on 42 rushing attempts.

Wake has struggled on offense all season, averaging less than 19 points per game, but its defense ranks 33rd in the country overall, while giving up just 23 points per game. And that last figure is slightly skewed because it allowed 50 points to the Tar Heels.

 

Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread

The Irish just survived a two-game road trip through the state of Pennsylvania, topping Temple two weeks ago 24-20, then pounding Pittsburgh last week 42-30.

And that game wasn't as close as that final score might indicate. Notre Dame took a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game on a DeShone Kizer touchdown pass and never trailed, pushing its lead to 21-3 at the half and 42-17 midway through the fourth quarter, before allowing the Panthers to score a pair of meaningless touchdowns.

On the day Kizer hit on 19 of 26 throws for 262 yards and five touchdowns without a pick, while freshman running back Josh Adams, playing in place of an injured C.J. Prosise, ran 20 times for 147 yards.

So Notre Dame has still only lost one game this season, and that came by two points in the rain at Clemson a month ago. And that loss doesn't look too bad now, considering the Tigers have risen to become the top-ranked team in the land.

 

Smart pick

The Irish are very likely to win this game; the only unknown is the final margin. But Notre Dame has only won once this season by as much as it's favored for this game, while Wake Forest has only lost once by that margin. The Deacons own a decent defense, and they're probably getting a few extra points on the spread, playing in South Bend. Take Wake here, plus the points.

 

Betting trends

Notre Dame is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games at home in November.

Notre Dame is 5-0 SU and ATS in its last five games at home.

Wake Forest is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games on the road.

 

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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings 2015: Records for Top 25 Teams and Week 11 Standings

Every week there is a lot of debate over the college football rankings, but Week 10 reminded us that none of it matters until the end of the season.

The weekend was littered with upsets and the first losses for previously undefeated teams. This threw a wrench in the College Football Playoff plans for a few programs while giving new life to some otherwise-forgotten squads.

Of course, we still know any changes to the rankings are only temporary considering the fluid nature of the sport. Those on top this week could drop a game Saturday, and we will be right back where we started. 

With that said, here is a look at the latest Associated Press poll heading into Week 11.

The first change in the AP poll comes at the top, with Clemson taking over the No. 1 spot from still-undefeated Ohio State. While the College Football Playoff committee had the Tigers on top of their initial rankings prior to the weekend, the media voters didn't change until the 23-13 win over Florida State.

Although Clemson didn't cruise to victory like some predicted, the squad looked impressive in all phases of the game, and quarterback Deshaun Watson finished with 297 passing yards and 107 rushing yards to lead his team to victory.

Now the challenge is keeping the current ranking, something Albert Breer of NFL Network doesn't think will be too difficult:

Still, Clemson has been known in the past for getting in its own way. Head coach Dabo Swinney discussed this aspect:

As long as the Tigers can avoid a terrible loss in one of the next four games (including the ACC Championship Game), they should easily be one of the four teams in the playoff.

Another slight riser in the polls this week was Alabama, who is clearly now the top team in the country with a loss. The Crimson Tide used their physicality to defeat previously unbeaten LSU, knocking their SEC West rival down the standings as well.

In a battle of highly touted running backs, Derrick Henry rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns, while Leonard Fournette ended up with just 31 yards on 19 carries. The Alabama offensive and defensive lines owned the fight in the trenches and came out with a solid 30-16 victory.

Opposing fans can argue about the Tide losing a game at home to Ole Miss, but it's clear from what we have seen that this is a Top Four team.

Even with this battle of elite SEC squads, arguably the biggest result of the day came out of the Big 12. TCU and Oklahoma State represented a matchup of undefeated squads, although most believed it would be an easy Horned Frogs victory. They had the talent to almost make the CFP last season and were out for revenge this year.

As usual, things didn't go according to plan, as Oklahoma State forced four turnovers and ended up with a 49-29 victory. ESPN's Todd McShay represented a common mindset after the game:

Mason Rudolph threw five touchdown passes to keep the Cowboys undefeated and up to No. 5 in the AP poll, a spot not too far off from where they will likely be in the next CFP rankings. With home games against Baylor and Oklahoma still on the schedule, they certainly have a chance to play their way into the playoff.

On the other hand, TCU will have to win out just to have a chance at a championship, and even then it could be difficult. The Horned Frogs have not had a great schedule to this point, and adding a loss really hurts the resume. It will take some help from the rest of the contenders in order to avoid another disappointing end to the season.

Add in Michigan State's terrible loss against Nebraska, along with Memphis and Toledo both losing their first games of the year, and this was a crazy week that will play a big role in deciding the College Football Playoff.

If you thought the madness was over, remember the top three teams are all on the road in Week 11 and upsets are always possible. Any result can greatly impact the standings as well as the race to the national championship.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for year-round sports analysis.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Clemson Tigers vs. Syracuse Orange Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

Clemson stands unbeaten on the season, but it's also only 3-4 against the spread over its last seven games. Syracuse, meanwhile, is only 3-6 on the season but 4-1 ATS at home. The top-ranked Tigers are big road chalk for Saturday afternoon's bout with the Orange at the Carrier Dome.

 

Point spread: The Tigers opened as 26.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 41.4-13.4 Tigers

 

Why the Clemson Tigers can cover the spread

Clemson won its 12th game in a row last week and clinched a spot in the ACC title game with a 23-13 victory over Florida State. The Tigers trailed the Seminoles at the half 10-6, but they won the second half 17-3.

On the day, Clemson outgained FSU 512-361 and racked up 215 yards on the ground, as both quarterback Deshaun Watson and running back Wayne Gallman hit the century mark. The Tigers allowed just one Florida State touchdown on a 75-yard Dalvin Cook run on the first series of the game. After that, the 'Noles managed just a pair of field goals.

Two weeks ago, the Tigers won at North Carolina State 56-41, and just before that, they mauled Miami 58-0. Clemson has won the ACC's Atlantic Division but knows it must win out, and probably impressively, to make the College Football Playoff.

 

Why the Syracuse Orange can cover the spread

Syracuse began this season well enough with three straight victories, and while it's lost six in a row since then, it's covered half those games. Last week, the Orange lost at Louisville 41-17, although that game was a little closer than that score might let on.

Syracuse actually led well into the second quarter 10-7, and after falling behind, it had a chance to pull within one score midway through the third. But a missed field goal gave the Cardinals a short field, and they took advantage, putting the game away.

The Orange couldn't quite hang on for the cover last week as 17-point dogs and missed on the cover against Florida State two weeks ago. But in Week 8, they covered against Pitt as nine-point home dogs, and in Week 7, they covered at seven points at Virginia.

 

Smart pick

Clemson has outgained every opponent this season, many of them by large margins, and has won three games by at least 31 points. Meanwhile, Syracuse has been outgained in every game except one this season.

However, the Tigers are coming off a big emotional victory over Florida State and could be due for a letdown, while the Orange have been a good bet at home. Syracuse probably won't win this game, but the smart bet here is with the home dog, plus the points.

 

Betting trends

The visiting team is 3-0 ATS in the last three games in this matchup.

The total has gone under in Clemson's last three games against Syracuse.

Syracuse is 4-1 ATS in its last five games at home.

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings 2015: Power Ranking All 128 Teams for Week 11

The start of November lived up to its billing, giving us the most impactful weekend of games to this point in the 2015 season. This included five of 11 unbeaten teams going down as well as several other notable teams falling, thus affecting their chances at a division or conference title as well as a shot at the College Football Playoff.

Those teams and many more have moved around quite a bit in the Bleacher Report power rankings.

Bleacher Report's power rankings are comprised of an average of five sources: B/R's weekly Top 25, the Associated Press Top 25, the Amway Coaches Poll, ratings guru Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings and the author's personal rankings for every FBS school. The top 50 teams are broken down individually, while the rest of the 128 FBS teams are summarized in a few easy-to-digest chunks.

Check out where everyone ranks after the first week of November, and then give us your thoughts in the comments section.

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SEC Football Q&A: Will LSU and Alabama Both Make the College Football Playoff?

The latest edition of the Game of the Century in Tuscaloosa went the way of the home team, with then-No. 4 Alabama topping former No. 2 LSU 30-16 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.

The loss shook up the SEC West, because not only does Alabama now hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Tigers, but it also gave Alabama control of its division-title destiny after Ole Miss lost to Arkansas in overtime earlier in the day.

How will the Tide's win over LSU impact the College Football Playoff? Could both LSU and Alabama make it?

That question and more in this week's edition of SEC football Q&A.

Say it with me, and say it with feeling: "Two teams from the same conference will not get into the College Football Playoff."

That is, of course, unless there really are no other viable options.

Is that the way it should be? Of course not. Winning a geographically determined conference doesn't make a team elite, and losing one—by no means—should exclude a school from being one of the top four teams in the country.

That's the way it is, though.

Conference championships matter in the eyes of the selection committee. ESPN.com's Ryan McGee—who went through the mock selection process each of the last two years—told me a few weeks ago on my SEC: Smothered and Coveredpodcast that it's the most important factor.

The committee simply won't project champions during its midseason rankings, which is why it delivers funky rankings like last week's that had two SEC teams and the first rankings last year that included three teams from the SEC West.

If LSU were to win out, finish 11-1 and not play in Atlanta, it would be behind all undefeated and one-loss Power Five conference champs, as well as Notre Dame. At the very worst, the Big 12 champ, ACC champ (likely Clemson) and Big Ten champ (Ohio State, Michigan State or Iowa) will have one loss.

Stanford and Notre Dame each have one now and play each other later this month. Either Notre Dame will win and finish 11-1 or Stanford will play in the Pac-12 Championship Game against one-loss Utah. Simply put, there's way too much traffic in front of LSU right now, and that jam won't be cleared up prior to the end of the season.

LSU's best hope is for Alabama to get upset and for the Tigers to win out, otherwise the playoff is a pipe dream.

 

Without a doubt. Not just SEC Coach of the Year but National Coach of the Year.

Think about the tire fire of an offense Jim McElwain took over at Florida. The offensive line was a mess due to graduation and unexpected attrition, the only experienced quarterback—dual-threat Treon Harris—was a square peg McElwain tried to fit into a round hole in his pro-style offense, and Demarcus Robinson was the only established playmaker outside.

He solved all three problems in his first six games. The offensive line came together, Will Grier established himself as a star, and the trio of Robinson, Brandon Powell and Antonio Callaway all made major impacts at receiver.

Then, the 12-to-6 curveball crossed his plate in mid-October, when Grier was suspended for a year after violating the NCAA's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Through it all, Florida has stayed the course. Its only loss was the week of Grier's suspension, when Harris fought tooth and nail on the road against LSU. Has it been pretty? Not always. Last week's 9-7 win over Vanderbilt was downright ugly.

Style points shouldn't count for McElwain in the race to be named National Coach of the Year. He inherited a mess with the Gators, had more problems arise midseason and can call himself and his team "champions."

Sorry, Jim Harbaugh.

I have given Texas A&M and head coach Kevin Sumlin the benefit of the doubt quite a bit over the last couple of years, and it's getting to a point where I'm running out of patience.

The offense has so much potential, but quarterbacks have regressed in each of the last two seasons, and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital falls in love with east-west plays about as fast as Kenny Chesney switches college football team allegiances. Luckily for Aggies fans, Spavital might be on his way out after the season, according to a report from Jeff Tarpley of GigEm247.com.

The defense, while improved, still struggles against the run. The Aggies have given up a conference-worst 218.33 yards per game on the ground and were just gashed last weekend by Auburn, which gained 311 yards on the ground. If Texas A&M can't stop the run, it can't force teams to pass and play into its own defensive strength: the pass rush.

It's getting to a point where there needs to be some sort of progress toward a division title for Sumlin, otherwise that $5 million contract he agreed to in December 2013 will look comparable to the New York Mets paying Bobby Bonilla $1.19 million through 2035.

Sumlin needs to legitimately contend for the SEC West next year, otherwise he might be stuck in "good but not great" territory for the rest of his college coaching career.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter, @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

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