NCAA Football News

College Football Picks: North Carolina Tar Heels at Miami Hurricanes Odds

Two contenders for this season’s ACC Coastal Division title square off this Saturday when the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Miami Hurricanes butt heads at Sun Life Stadium. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m., and this conference clash will be available on ESPN3.

North Carolina is coming off a big 28-27 upset of Virginia this past Saturday as a seven-point road underdog. The Tar Heels have now covered against the spread in their last three games. The total stayed “under” the 60-point closing line against the Cavaliers after going “over” in four of the Tar Heels' last five games.

The Hurricanes have won three of their last four games both straight up and ATS, including a 30-6 romp over Virginia Tech last Thursday as 2.5-point road favorites. The total stayed under the closing 47.5-point line in that game, and it has now stayed under in three of their last four contests.

 

North Carolina at Miami Betting Storylines

The Tar Heels’ back-to-back victories over Georgia Tech and Virginia have them in the thick of the division title race at 2-2 in conference play. They scored a total of 76 points in those two games, and on the season, this offense is averaging 37.4 points a game, which is ranked 20th in the nation. The problem has been a very inconsistent defense that is allowing an average of 41.3 points, which is ranked near the bottom of Division IA.

Marquise Williams has been the driving force behind the Tar Heels’ potent offensive attack. The versatile quarterback has thrown for 2,025 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 63.3 percent of his 270 attempts. He also leads the team in rushing with 497 yards on 108 attempts while tallying five scores with his legs. Against the Yellow Jackets two weeks ago, he threw for 390 yards and four touchdowns in a wild 48-43 last-second win.

Miami has relied on a balanced attack to average 31.3 points per game. The offense is averaging 242.4 yards through the air, and the ground game is adding another 187.4 yards per game. Brad Kaaya has also done a good job under center with 1,898 passing yards and 17 touchdown throws with a completion rate of 61.6 percent. Duke Johnson has already rushed for 1,036 yards and seven scores on 139 carries.

The Hurricanes defense has helped the cause by holding opponents to an average of 22.1 points a game. However, this unit did give up 28 points to Georgia Tech in an early October loss and 34 points the following week in a win over Cincinnati. This could be some cause for concern against the Tar Heels this Saturday afternoon.

 

North Carolina at Miami Betting Odds and Trends by Doc’s Sports

Point Spread: Miami -12

Total Line: OFF

Covers betting trends have the Tar Heels going 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win, and they are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 conference games. The total has gone “over” in four of their last five road games.

The Hurricanes are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 home games but just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against a conference foe. The total has stayed under in their last four ACC games.

Head-to-head in this Coastal Division clash, the road team has won four of the last six meetings SU, but the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five contests. The total has stayed under in three of the last four games.

 

College Football Pick: North Carolina at Miami Betting Prediction

I like Miami’s chances to get the SU win in this matchup, but covering a higher-than-expected 12-point spread will be a major challenge. The Hurricanes defense has already proved it can be scored upon, and the Tar Heels have had little problem lighting up the scoreboard this year. Take North Carolina and the points in what should be a very entertaining, high-scoring affair.

Take: North Carolina (+12) over Miami; Saturday, Nov. 1, 12:30 p.m. 

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Teams the College Football Playoff Committee Will Have the Hardest Time Ranking

The College Football Playoff selection committee will convene for the first time (ever!) this week and release its first batch of rankings Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Mississippi State and Florida State are the only unbeaten teams remaining from power conferences, which in that case makes the committee's job easy. If you've won every game you've played, you will probably find yourself at the top of the poll.

But behind Mississippi State and Florida State lies a group of 16 one-loss teams from power conferences, a gaudy number for this point of the season. The amount of teams in that cluster (and the divergent paths they have taken to get here) will make the committee's job far from easy once it gets past the likely top two.

But who will give the committee the hardest time during its first conclave on Monday? Factors such as injuries, suspensions, strength of schedule and timing could all complicate a team's resume.

Here are five teams that stick out.

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Auburn vs. Ole Miss Complete Game Preview

AUBURN, Ala. — Look how quickly perceptions can change in a loaded SEC West.

Heading into the 2014 season, this Saturday's matchup between Auburn and Ole Miss in Oxford looked like a tough road test for a higher-ranked Auburn team. Then, after the Rebels upset Alabama and the Tigers fell to Mississippi State the next weekend, Ole Miss looked like it would have the upper hand heading into the first Saturday of November.

Now, days after Auburn survived a scary shootout with South Carolina at home as Ole Miss fell to LSU in Death Valley—well, who can really call a surefire favorite in this one?

Both teams have their major strengths. Auburn's offense got back to its high-powered ways against the Gamecocks after a much-needed bye week, and Ole Miss's defense continues to be one of the fiercest in the country at stopping, creating and even scoring points.

But both teams are also coming off of shaky performances on the other side of the ball. The Tigers were torched through the air against South Carolina after what had been a solid start to the season, while the Rebels hit a brick wall offensively against LSU.

Before we get into the full breakdown of this matchup between two powerhouses that still have a good chance at a College Football Playoff spot, here is all the basics you need to know:

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Notre Dame Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Month of November

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — With talk about the controversial ending against Florida State and the chances of a one-loss Notre Dame team in the College Football Playoff swirling, the rest of Notre Dame football’s schedule has almost become an afterthought.

The Irish still have five games remaining, and they face their opponents in a five-week stretch following the recent bye week. It goes without saying, if Notre Dame wants to stake a legitimate claim to the one of the four playoff spots, it will have to win each of its remaining games.

Will the Irish do so?

Here are our game-by-game predictions.

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Watch 5-Star WR DaMarkus Lodge Toy with Defenders During 3-TD Performance

DaMarkus Lodge, a 2015 5-star wide receiver out of Cedar Hill, Texas, had a monster performance versus DeSoto High School, hauling in three touchdowns and totaling more than 200 yards receiving in the Longhorns' monster 62-45 win. 

Is this the best high school performance you've seen this year?

Watch the video, and let us know! 

 

Recruit star rankings via 247Sports unless otherwise noted. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Rivalry Decision: Does 5-Star DT Daron Payne Fit Better at Alabama or Auburn?

Daron Payne is a 2015 5-star defensive tackle recruit from the state of Alabama, per 247Sports. The two schools he is favoring are the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down where Daron would fit best. 

Which school do you think would be the better fit for Payne?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Samuel Chi's Mock College Football Playoff Standings: Week 10

The selection committee will unveil its first-ever College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday night. With that, all other polls and rankings will be rendered meaningless. 

Unlike the BCS standings, where a combination of polls and computer rankings are used, the committee's rankings are not mathematically projectable. Unless you can get inside the cranium (or the trash cans) of the 12 committee members, you will not know how they arrive at their respective rankings. In fact, since it's done by secret ballot, even their fellow committee members won't know how they voted.

But we'll press on with our own rankings, and come Tuesday night, we'll see how close they resemble what's put out by the committee. While the committee won't be projecting the New Year's Six bowl bids, we'll do that anyway as a public service.

  

The Rankings

(See methodology of standings)

 

The Playoff Teams

1. Mississippi State

The Bulldogs should be the undisputed top-ranked team. They are one of only three undefeated teams with by far the best resume of the trio. But Mississippi State is in no position to relax, as its toughest two remaining games—against Alabama and Ole Miss—are both on the road.

Projected bowl: Playoff at Sugar Bowl

 

4. Florida State

While FSU might be behind three SEC West teams in the standings, it's best positioned to run the table and snag a playoff berth. There's no question the defending national champs will have a chance to continue their repeat quest as long as they run through the soft underbelly of the ACC unscathed.

Projected bowl: Playoff at Rose Bowl

 

6. Oregon

The Ducks have had their mulligan but probably won't get a second one. Plenty of work still lies ahead, including next week's game against Stanford, which denied Oregon the Pac-12 North title the past two seasons. But the strength of the Pac-12 will work in the Ducks' favor and put them in the playoff if they manage to win the conference.

Projected bowl: Playoff at Rose Bowl

 

8. Notre Dame

For the time being, the Irish are just a hair ahead of the other contenders for the final playoff spot. They still have high-profile games against Arizona State and USC remaining, but they're susceptible to be bumped by another one-loss conference champion no matter how they finish.

Projected bowl: Playoff at Sugar Bowl

 

The First Four Out

2,3,5,7. Other SEC Teams

The SEC is angling to get a second team into the four-team playoff field. The path is open, but it's far from a foregone conclusion simply because all these teams still must face each other multiple times. The most likely scenario to produce a second SEC berth is for Georgia to win out and then upset an unbeaten or one-loss SEC West champion in the conference title game. 

Projected bowls: Cotton, Fiesta and Orange

 

9. TCU

For now, TCU is mere percentage points behind Notre Dame in our standings for the final playoff spot. The Horned Frogs actually should be able to leapfrog the Irish should they remain unbeaten the rest of the way. If they can get through the next two weeks without a loss—at West Virginia and home to Kansas State—they will be heavily favored to claim at least a piece of the Big 12 title.

Projected bowl: Cotton Bowl

 

10. Michigan State

The Spartans' beatdown of their cross-state rivals might've generated a lot of headlines, but that did little to improve their playoff prospects. MSU remains on the outside of the four-team field primarily because of its early season loss at Oregon and the weakness of the Big Ten.

Projected bowl: Fiesta Bowl

 

11/13. Kansas State/Baylor

The Big 12's lack of a signature win over a nonconference opponent will leave its champion scratching for a playoff spot. These two teams have an outside chance to steal a berth if the winner in their season finale ends up claiming the conference title in the event of a TCU stumble.

Projected bowl: Peach Bowl

 

Other Fun Facts

* Marshall, by virtue of being the only unbeaten non-power-five team, has seized the inside track to the group-of-five berth. East Carolina's strength-of-schedule advantage has been largely nullified at this point because of its power-five opponents' recent struggles. The only other teams in the mix are one-loss Colorado State and two-loss Boise State and Central Florida.

* The ACC might end up with more berths in the New Year's Six bowls than the Pac-12, Big Ten and/or Big 12 thanks to its tie-in with the Orange Bowl. Should Florida State earn a playoff berth as projected, a second ACC team will be taken despite the fact that no other conference team is ranked in the Top 15. Clemson is still favored for this bid, just ahead of Coastal Division leader Duke.

* With Ole Miss' loss at LSU, the dreaded circular three-way tie in the SEC West might've been avoided. Now, should there be a tie of three one-loss teams, head-to-head results likely will be enough to resolve the matter instead of having to dive deep into these procedures.

 

Follow on Twitter @ThePlayoffGuru

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Loss to Georgia Would Be the Final Nail in Will Muschamp's Coffin

It seems like every week is the biggest game of Florida head coach Will Muschamp's career, but this week's matchup with rival Georgia is undoubtedly the biggest game of his Florida head coaching career.

At least for this week.

The Gators sit at 3-3 (2-3 SEC) and have had two weeks to prepare for the Bulldogs. During the time off, Muschamp announced that true freshman Treon Harris will be the Gators' starting quarterback vs. the Bulldogs.

It's a panic move.

A prayer.

One last shot for Muschamp to save his season and Florida career before packing up the office.

Muschamp has already moved to the wrong side of the hot seat. Instead of fighting to stay employed, the stagnant offense and embarrassing loss to Missouri have relegated Muschamp to fighting to win his job back.

The dreaded vote of confidence came and went long ago, and athletic director Jeremy Foley has been relegated to simply supporting the program—you know, the one he's in charge of.

"At the beginning of the season we said we would evaluate the season as it plays out," Foley told reporters last week. "We will continue to do so. Our sole focus right now is supporting our coaching staff and players as they prepare for Georgia."

That's a relatively short-term statement concerning a long-term problem, which suggests that the Georgia game is the defining game of Muschamp's career.

I covered the pros and cons of firing a coach midseason last week. While firing a coach in the middle of the season generally is more of a PR move than one that actually carries some weight, a fourth straight loss to Georgia seems like it would do the trick and earn Muschamp the pink slip.

Muschamp is no dummy.

He knows that, while he has done quite a bit to change the image of the program off the field, the image of the team on the field has taken a drastic hit. Cleaning up the program off the field only goes so far if you're not winning on it.

"I appreciate it," Muschamp said on the SEC coaches teleconference last week. "I think Jeremy sees a lot of the things that are going on in the program, and certainly a huge part of that is winning games. That's not what we've done. Academically, socially, all of the things we've done within the program to change the culture have been outstanding."

A change in the culture was needed after, 31 Gators were arrested under former coach Urban Meyer from 2005-2010, according to the New York Times. Florida is, however, still in the business of winning championships, and that business is on the verge of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

This game against Georgia is the one that could finish it off.

Florida dominated the series with Georgia, winning 18 of 21 meetings from 1990 to 2010. When Muschamp got the job in 2011, the script was flipped. The former Bulldog linebacker has never beaten his alma mater, and another loss would leave him with nothing to hang his hat on.

The offense is a disaster, the program is not competing for division titles in what's a remarkably weak division, isn't beating its rivals and is on a seemingly endless downward spiral.

Georgia is Muschamp's last chance.

Even with a win, Muschamp may be let go after the season. A loss would be the final nail in the coffin. Whether he gets fired after the game or after the season, there'd be nothing left for Muschamp to sell to Foley.

No pressure.

 

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 cfbstats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

AP College Football Poll 2014: Official Top 25 Rankings and Week 10 Projections

A few more big changes were made near the top of the Associated Press Top 25, but there's really no need to memorize them at this point—they're bound to shake up again in Week 10.

Alas, an elite group of teams are starting to emerge as the biggest contenders for those four coveted College Football Playoff spots. With many of them either playing each other or having tough tests right in front of them, there is much more separation left to be made.

We'll begin to find out which schools have what it takes in Week 10, with Auburn's trip to Ole Miss the highlight of a weekend slate that will give the CFP committee plenty more to work on.

Here's a look at the latest AP Top 25 and predictions for this weekend's games.

Latest AP poll can be found here.

Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark, last updated Oct. 27 at 12 a.m. ET

 

Week 10 Top Games

No. 2 Florida State at Louisville

Week 10 just might present Florida State's toughest test until January when it is likely to be one of the final four teams left standing, as the Seminoles face Louisville on the road for a Thursday night affair.

A year ago, Florida State was brutally dominating every opponent it faced. In 2014, it's been anything but with three victories coming by six points or less and a now 23-game win streak being put on the brink against Notre Dame and Clemson.

Alas, the 'Noles are still unbeaten and an end-of-season slate featuring downtrodden rivals Miami and Florida appears like a cakewalk. That gives the Cardinals—dead set on proving themselves as an ACC newcomer—perhaps the best chances of ending their mighty reign.

That's showing in some early movement in Vegas, as WDRB's Rick Bozich noticed:

Louisville's pass defense could be one of the toughest Jameis Winston has faced in 2014. The Cardinals rank 10th in the nation in passing yards conceded per game. No matter what Louisville running back gets the ball, they find gaping holes and that should continue against a susceptible FSU run defense.

However, Winston has shown the innate ability to pick apart even the best of defenses over the course of 60 minutes. The hostile road environment will affect things early, but will matter little in the fourth quarter when Winston is rolling late once again.

Prediction: Florida State 38, Louisville 31

 

No. 4 Auburn at No. 7 Ole Miss

In the cutthroat SEC West, it's looking more and more like a one-loss resume will be enough to punch a ticket to both the conference title and the CFP while two defeats just won't cut it. 

That means Saturday's showdown between one-loss SEC West giants Ole Miss and Auburn is virtually a national title elimination game. Who said the playoff started on New Years Day?

The Rebels are still licking their wounds after their national title hopes were stunted considerably with a road loss against LSU in Week 9. But while most title contenders spend several weeks catching ground following a defeat, Ole Miss would be in the top five to stay with a win Saturday.

With the Egg Bowl against top-ranked Mississippi State looming, Ole Miss—unlike Auburn—controls its destiny in the division race as well. But the Rebels will face Auburn banged up, as Scout.com's Ben Garrett noted the injury toll against LSU:

Auburn is the last team you want to come into your house when things aren't going well for you, particularly on offense.

Bo Wallace struggled mightily against LSU, going 14-for-133 for 176 yards including a game-ending interception when a quick sideline throw—or even an incompletion—would've given Ole Miss a chance to tie it. Either way, scoring seven against a LSU defense Auburn hung 41 on isn't a good look with Gus Malzahn's offense coming to town.

Ole Miss will show its grit early and jump on the Tigers, but Auburn will take advantage of opportunities to get back in the game like it didn't against Mississippi State. In the end, Nick Marshall will deliver with a convincing late drive to keep Auburn in the thick of the CFP hunt.

Prediction: Auburn 27, Ole Miss 24

 

Stats courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tennessee Volunteers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Complete Game Preview

A year ago, Tennessee completed an improbable 23-21 come-from-behind win over South Carolina to give Butch Jones' first UT team its signature win.

The Volunteers are in desperate need of a repeat.

This time, it'll have to come in Columbia. But after running through a gauntlet of stingy defenses and after finding a quarterback in Joshua Dobbs that appears to be have resurrected a left-for-dead offense, the porous Gamecocks defense will be a welcome sight for UT.

However, that Carolina offense, led by senior quarterback Dylan Thompson, just put up 35 points in a loss on the road to Auburn, so the Vols have another challenge.

Tennessee currently sits at 3-5 on the season and winless in the league. The scenario sets up the Vols needing to win three of their final four games to become bowl-eligible.

In other words, the real season starts this week for UT.

Let's take a look at everything you need to know about the matchup with the Gamecocks.

 

Date: Saturday, Nov. 1

Time: 7:30 ET

Place: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina

TV: SEC Network

Radio: Vol Network, Gamecock IMG Sports Network

Spread: South Carolina by 8 points, according to Oddsshark.com.

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Chad Johnson's Advice to Cousin, Top 2016 WR: 'Don't Change Your Game'

Brandon Johnson is a top 2016 wide receiver from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Johnson, who has not committed yet, is the son of former MLB All-Star Charles Johnson and the cousin of former NFL star Chad Johnson. 

Bleacher Report caught up with the young wideout and discussed his recruitment, advice from Chad Johnson and some of his memorable plays.

Where will Johnson land?

Watch the video, and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Month of November

On the heels of a closer-than-expected victory against Penn State in double overtime, Ohio State's Big Ten title hopes—and by extension, its College Football Playoff aspirations—remain intact as the calendar turns to November.

With the Buckeyes already having two bye weeks this season, the month is jam-packed with five games for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.

Can Ohio State bounce back from a disappointing performance against the Nittany Lions and surge through a tough November slate? 

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NCAA Football Rankings 2014: Week 10 Standings and Analysis for Latest Polls

Everyone wants to know which teams are the best in college football, but the rankings are more of a mess than ever before.

At the end of the season, a committee will choose the four best teams in the country to compete in a playoff for the national championship. While many believed this would sort itself out, only three undefeated teams remain: Mississippi State, Florida State and Marshall.

As a result, we now have to examine the rest of the teams to see which are better among the one-loss programs. Each poll has its view, but here is a look at those squads ranked too high or too low in the latest set of rankings.

 

Too High: Alabama (No. 3 in coaches poll; No. 3 in AP poll)

Ole Miss lost a close game and dropped from No. 3 to No. 9, which is not completely out of line. However, it moved significantly behind Alabama, which continues to climb up the rankings.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com noted why this does not make sense:

The Crimson Tide completely destroyed Texas A&M, but the Aggies are not as good as we originally thought. The fact remains that Alabama has not beaten a single team ranked in the current Top 25 except for West Virginia, and that win came in August on a neutral field. 

Bleacher Report's Playoff Guru Samuel Chi provided a look at how the teams in the SEC West should rank:

While this sport is understandably all about what you have done for me lately, we should not forget about past wins and losses. Alabama has not beaten any of the top teams in the SEC and is only at this spot due to preseason expectations.

Alabama has upcoming games at LSU and home against Mississippi State and Auburn, so we will know a lot more about this team by the end of the year.

 

Too Low: Oregon (No. 6 in coaches poll; No. 5 in AP poll)

Oregon once again showed how explosive it can be offensively with a 59-41 win over Cal. Obviously, teams do not want to give up that many points, but the game was never in doubt. Marcus Mariota threw five touchdowns for the Ducks in the win.

In fact, the most notable part of his performance was the fact that he threw an interception for the first time all year. He now has 24 passing touchdowns and one interception.

In his weekly press conference, head coach Mark Helfrich discussed the way the team turned things around after the loss to Arizona:

(Players) came in disappointed, frustrated and looked each other directly in the eye and said, let's fix this together. There was no pout element to it at all. We can't sit here and say what if we had these receivers back or these offensive linemen back. We are who we are right now and our guys are competing their tails off.

The loss to Arizona hurt, but the Wildcats are a good team. Meanwhile, the Ducks have also earned dominant wins over UCLA and Michigan State, which is ranked above them in one poll.

Oregon has one of the more impressive resumes of all the one-loss teams and should be a top option for the College Football Playoff if it wins out.

 

Too Low: Nebraska (No. 16 in coaches poll; No. 17 in AP poll)

As long as Ameer Abdullah is playing well, it is difficult for anyone to beat Nebraska. 

Against Rutgers, the senior rushed for 225 yards with three touchdowns in a dominant win. Lisa Horne of Pigskin Grind was impressed by his effort:

The running back now ranks first in the country with 1,249 rushing yards, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. He was shut down by Michigan State in Nebraska's only loss (24 carries for 47 rushing yards), but few other teams in the nation have that ability.

Even with the loss, the Cornhuskers rank 12th in the nation in scoring and 22nd in scoring defense, beating opponents by 20.7 points per game. They lost to a talented Spartans squad but have been getting better every week and now look like one of the best teams in the Big Ten.

There probably will not be too many chances for Nebraska to prove itself against a top opponent, but this is a quality squad with the talent to beat almost anyone in the nation. The rankings should start reflecting that.

 

Too High: Clemson (No. 21 in coaches poll; No. 22 in AP poll)

The rankings do not include too many two-loss teams, but, for some reason, Clemson is one of them. This is a mistake based on what we have seen from the Tigers this season.

Clemson's losses came to two very good teams, but they came in the form of a 45-21 blowout to Georgia and an overtime loss to Florida State without starting quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. 

And the wins have not really made up for it, as the squad has struggled in each of its last three games and barely pulled out victories. The most recent win over Syracuse was low-scoring throughout:

Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com did not even want to watch:

Starting quarterback Cole Stoudt has two touchdowns and four interceptions in five full games this season. Nothing has indicated this is one of the best teams in the nation, and the squad should not be ranked in either poll. 

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Odds: Opening Week 10 Betting Lines and Totals

The Florida State Seminoles will be gunning for their 24th consecutive straight-up win when they take on their newest ACC conference rivals, the Louisville Cardinals, as early 8.5-point favorites at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.

No. 2 Florida State is just one of three FBS teams that remain undefeated this season. No. 1 Mississippi State improved to 7-0 this weekend to stay atop the AP Top 25 rankings, while No. 23 Marshall enters Week 10 with a perfect 8-0 record.

The 6-2 Cardinals are coming off a 30-18 win over North Carolina State, failing to cover as 19-point favorites. The victory moved Louisville to 4-0 SU at home, 2-2 against the spread, ahead of Thursday night’s Seminoles vs. Cardinals betting matchup at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Mississippi State takes on the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday night in an SEC matchup, with the Bulldogs pegged as early 14-point home favorites. The Bulldogs struggled to put away the tough Kentucky Wildcats last weekend, topping the Wildcats in a 45-31 slugfest. However, they disappointed bettors by failing to cover as 14.5-point favorites, dropping to 5-2 ATS on the season.

The Razorbacks are 0-4 against conference opponents this season but were dominant in a 45-17 win over UAB as 24.5-point favorites last weekend. The Razorbacks have produced mixed results in recent visits to Davis Wade, winning five of their last seven SU but covering in just one of their last six.

No. 4 Auburn will be looking to match No. 3 Alabama’s 7-1 record when they take on No. 7 Ole Miss as early three-point road underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.

While the Tigers are an impressive 15-2 SU in their last 17, they have been a shaky bet this season, going 1-4 ATS in their last five and 3-4 ATS overall.

The 7-1 Rebels tumbled from third spot in the national rankings this week after a shocking 10-7 loss to LSU as 3.5-point favorites. The loss ended Mississippi’s eight-game winning streak, SU and ATS. The Rebels are just 2-7 SU in their last nine home dates against Auburn, 3-6 ATS.

In other Week 10 college football betting action, No. 21 East Carolina is a seven-point favorite over Temple, while No. 24 Duke is an early 2.5-point road underdog against Pittsburgh, and No. 6 Notre Dame is a 13.5-point road favorite against the Navy Midshipmen.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Picks Week 10: Predictions and Odds for Top 25 Schedule

Another wild week of college football is fresh in the books, but it's never too early to take a glance ahead to an enticing Week 10 slate.

That's right, it's already Week 10. Freak out accordingly.

The precious gift that is the college football season is already two-thirds of the way through, and that's a crazy thought. But alas, the last month of the season will be the best yet with a number of College Football Playoff-impacting showdowns starting in Week 10. 

Many of the nation's elite face their toughest tests in the coming weeks, but we've learned over and over in 2014 that the unforeseen can and will happen every weekend. 

Here are the odds and some predictions for the Top 25 games in Week 10.

Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark, last updated Oct. 27 at 12 a.m. ET

 

Top Matchups in Week 10

No. 4 Auburn at No. 7 Ole Miss

The cutthroat SEC West just keeps producing premier matchups, which shouldn't be a surprise with four teams squarely in the CFP hunt. But recent reality checks and the calendars flipping to November have Auburn and Ole Miss desperate for a win entering Week 10.

The Tigers will head to Oxford, Mississippi, to face the Ole Miss Rebels in yet another Top 10 SEC showdown, only this one promises to have arguably the biggest implications of them all.

Another defeat following the LSU loss would crush the Rebels' still-very-much-alive playoff hopes. Auburn no longer controls its destiny in the SEC West, and another loss would plummet the Tigers from the playoff picture. 

While certainly dispirited, Ole Miss can look at Auburn—which lost two weeks ago but is still No. 4—for proof that it can turn things around, and FanSided's Patrick Schmidt noted there's still plenty of football left:

But having Auburn come to town is a recipe for disaster and exactly the matchup Ole Miss doesn't need with its offense struggling mightily.

The Rebels only manufactured seven points and were outgained by nearly 100 yards against a LSU team that conceded 41 to this very Auburn team a month ago. Ole Miss' stingy defensive front will make things tough for Auburn early, but the Tigers' speedy playmakers will get to the edge enough times to make the difference.

Bo Wallace should have somewhat of a bounce-back performance against a struggling Auburn secondary, but his offense isn't clicking enough to match the Tigers on the scoreboard. Nick Marshall will keep his team ahead until late and make the difference with a clutch, game-winning drive.

Prediction: Auburn 27, Ole Miss 24

 

No. 10 TCU at No. 20 West Virginia

Who would've thought that entering Week 10, a pair of purple-clad teams would be on top of the Big 12? 

Well, that's precisely the case with TCU and Kansas State only combining for one loss so far in conference play. But the Horned Frogs will have to prove their worth again on Saturday with a tough trip to face No. 20 West Virginia.

The Horned Frogs have absolutely exploded on offense as of late, going for 82 points against Texas Tech last weekend. That came after games against Oklahoma State and Baylor in which they amassed a combined 100 points.

Traveling to Morgantown, West Virginia, has proven brutal for the Big 12 elite, however. Baylor was knocked off as the nation's fourth-ranked team there, 41-27, back in Week 8.

West Virginia's defense will be a big step up from Texas Tech but will still be no match for TCU's potent offense. Trevone Boykin is gashing every opponent he faces, and he'll go off once again to outscore Clint Trickett and Kevin White.

Prediction: TCU 40, West Virginia 35

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College Football's Most Important Offers of the Week

Earlier this month, James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions suffered a huge blow to their 2015 recruiting class when quarterback Brandon Wimbushdecommitted and pledged to Notre Dame.

Since then, the Lions have been active on the recruiting trail, searching for a signal-caller to fill that void.

Last week, Franklin and his staff offered 3-star passer and Indiana commitment Tommy Stevens, according to Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.

Wiltfong also reports that Stevens was the first quarterback to receive an offer following Wimbush’s defection. The interest appears to be mutual, as Stevens immediately scheduled a visit to Happy Valley for last weekend’s game versus Ohio State.

The 6’4”, 200-pound Stevens has been committed to the Hoosiers since June.

According to Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star, Stevens visited Notre Dame earlier this month but stated that he was still 100 percent committed to Kevin Wilson and the Hoosiers.

He was in Bloomington last weekend for Indiana’s loss to Michigan State.

This development is huge for Penn State.

Stevens—who, according to MaxPreps, has accounted for 2,286 yards of total offense and 22 touchdowns this season—is a talented passer with prototypical size and enough mobility to scare defenses with his feet.

If the Lions can pull off the flip with Stevens, it would go a long way toward alleviating the blow of losing Wimbush.

 

2015 3-star DE Lands Ohio State Offer, Commits a Day Later

On Tuesday, Urban Meyer and his staff offered 3-star in-state defensive end Rashod Berry, who promptly committed to the Buckeyes one day later.

The 6’5” 230-pounder selected Ohio State over offers from Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan State.

Berry is a versatile athlete who could also play tight end in Columbus. 

“The (Ohio State staff) hasn’t told me what position I’ll play,” Berry told Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts (subscription required). “I really don’t know yet if it will be tight end or defensive end. I really like both of them. Whatever they want me to do is fine. If it’s possible I’d really like to play on both sides of the ball (in college).”

Berry is the 19th commitment in the Buckeyes 2015 class.

 

2015 ATH Heating Up 

Another versatile 2015 athlete whose stock is on the rise is 3-star Sunshine State standout Javarius Davis.

Three powerhouses have entered the race to land the services of the 5’9” 180-pounder from Jacksonville, Florida.

Georgia, Miami and Oregon are the newest offers for Davis.

The former North Carolina pledge was considered a lean to in-state power Florida. However, with the uncertainty surrounding the Gators program and the recent interest in Davis, expect his recruitment to blow up as signing day approaches.

 

2017 FSU Legacy Lands Bevy of Offers 

Perhaps the nation’s most popular recruit last week was 2017 4-star corner Stanford Samuels III.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. His father, Stanford Samuels Jr., was a standout defensive back at Florida State from 1999 to 2003.

The younger Samuels picked up offers from the likes of Georgia, LSU, West Virginia, Louisville and Miami, per Ryan Bartow of 247Sports.

While the Seminoles have yet to offer—and they stand to be a considerable factor if and when they do—the recent wave of interest is proof that Samuels figures to be one of the more coveted defensive backs in the 2017 cycle.

 

Best of the Rest 

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bowl Predictions 2014: Latest Projections for Top Matchups Entering Week 10

Week 9 of the college football season began with the promise of the College Football Playoff picture remaining stagnant, at least for a week. But on par with what has transpired all season long, we were sent for yet another loop entering Week 10.

After stepping up to the task in every game this season and emerging as the nation's third-ranked team, the Ole Miss Rebels couldn't continue their perfect 2014 on Saturday night. They fell on the road to No. 24 LSU, 10-7.

With a couple of one-loss SEC teams surging in Week 9, however, divisional foes are more than ready to step into that now-vacant CFP spot, with other conference contenders remaining very much in the hunt if the SEC's elite continue to take each other out.

Here's a look at the latest bowl predictions after Week 9 of the season.

 

Projected CFP Field

Mississippi State

The Mississippi State Bulldogs just keep rolling through their brutal SEC slate and should they make it through the rest of it unscathed, there's no doubt they'll enter the CFP on top of the rankings.

They took Kentucky's best effort in Week 9 and rose above it, inking out a 45-31 win over the Wildcats on the road. The Bulldogs will take a perfect 7-0 record into a home contest against Arkansas before facing Alabama and Ole Miss in two of their last four games.

If quarterback Dak Prescott continues his Heisman Trophy campaign with these sorts of numbers, per ESPN College Football, Mississippi State should like its chances of running the table:

While in-state counterpart and fellow 2014 surprise Ole Miss faltered to LSU over the weekend, Mississippi State is showing no signs of slowing up. Even with a loss in one of their last two games, the Bulldogs could crack the CFP without even making it to Atlanta for the conference title game.

With the resume Mississippi State has amassed to this point, it would be hard to argue a tight loss to Alabama or Ole Miss would be a death blow to its CFP hopes.

 

Florida State

Florida State has seemingly passed its two biggest tests of the season by topping Clemson in overtime and Notre Dame in an instant classic, but the Seminoles' road to the CFP is not completely paved just yet.

With a win over Louisville on the road in Week 10, however, they'll begin to see the light.

After last season's undefeated championship run, Florida State is on an incredible tear, as told by Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel:

While the Seminoles' performance last season was unforgettable, that doesn't matter at all in 2014. But although Florida State isn't the dominant presence it was a year ago, it has shown with a victory over an elite Notre Dame team that it belongs in the CFP conversation.

Don't expect Florida State to fall from the CFP conversation anytime soon.

 

Alabama

Ever since questions swirled about Alabama's dynasty being over after a loss to Ole Miss and an ugly win over Arkansas, the Crimson Tide have responded like their reputation would suggest.

Nick Saban's crew has looked absolutely unbeatable in each of the last two weekends. The Tide smashed Texas A&M 59-0 before traveling to Tennessee to beat the Volunteers 34-20.

Alabama looked like it was slipping from the SEC West picture after Ole Miss and Mississippi State's emergence, but the Rebels' loss to LSU opened things up. One more Ole Miss loss (it still has the Egg Bowl to play), and the Tide control their own destiny to get to Atlanta.

Glenn Guilbeau of USA Today did point out one issue in Alabama's resume:

Alabama may not have the signature wins that other SEC West teams can boast, but it will soon have the opportunity to change that. The Crimson Tide have Mississippi State and Auburn left to play before the season is over.

Once those games are finished, we probably won't see more than two SEC teams cracking the CFP rankings. But with how Alabama has looked as of late, it should be expected to be one of the two.

 

Auburn

Auburn's defense has some serious issues that could prevent the Tigers from being national title contenders, but the offense continues to pick up the slack.

The Tigers secondary was gashed for over 400 passing yards by South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson, but a dominant offensive performance led the way to a 42-35 Auburn win over the Gamecocks in Week 9.

It was just the type of performance Auburn needed after falling to Mississippi State the last time out. The Tigers were shown nothing is going to be easy from here on out, but they also proved sticking to the offensive game plan can keep them in any game.

Auburn still needs two Mississippi State losses to open up a trip to Atlanta, but that could very well happen, as the Bulldogs play both Alabama and Ole Miss. However, a loss in the Iron Bowl could take Auburn out of the picture entirely. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings 2014: Latest Standings and Predictions for Week 10

The twists and turns of the 2014 college football season just keep coming. Through nine weeks of action, we've seen the rise of several previously unranked teams and the fall of some projected juggernauts as the nation's rankings continue to shift.

Week 9 brought more unexpected results to the gridiron, as No. 10 LSU upset No. 3 Ole Miss in a defensive thriller, No. 1 Mississippi State was given a scare by Kentucky, and No. 5 Auburn just barely survived South Carolina. Looking ahead at the slate of games set for Week 10, we should expect more of the same.

Before the nation's top teams continue their bids for a College Football Playoff berth, let's first take a look at the updated standings and predict a couple of marquee Week 10 matchups.

Full CFB standings can be viewed at ESPN.com.

 

Week 10 Predictions

No. 4 Auburn at No. 7 Ole Miss

Here's a big-time matchup of two teams desperately looking to right the ship in an effort to attempt a potential late-season push into the College Football Playoff.

The Tigers were given a huge scare by the Gamecocks in Week 9. These teams were deadlocked in a back-and-forth affair that saw the game tied at 35 entering the fourth quarter. A Nick Marshall touchdown run ended up being the contest's difference-maker, but the final score was much closer than it should have been.

Auburn's offense is an efficient, well-oiled machine. The run-heavy scheme torched South Carolina's defense for 395 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Marshall's aerial attack was limited, but it was effective. The quarterback completed 12 of his 14 passing attempts for 139 yards and a score, increasing the Tigers' total offensive yards to an impressive 551.

Here's what Marshall had to say after the game, via SportsCenter:

South Carolina's offense was just as good against the Tigers. Quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for 402 yards and five touchdowns, and 119 rushing yards saw the Gamecocks total 535 yards of offense against Auburn.

The Tigers defense really needs to tighten up in Week 10 against an Ole Miss team that can put some points on the scoreboard when quarterback Bo Wallace is on point.

Speaking of Wallace, the Ole Miss quarterback struggled in Week 9, completing 14 of his 33 passing attempts for 176 yards, one touchdown and one interception. LSU does have a solid defense, but Wallace made some poor throws and bad decisions of his own along the way.

Dane Brugler of CBS Sports tweeted his reaction to Wallace's pick:

Wallace was also the team's leading rusher with 40 yards, as the Rebels' ground game couldn't get going. The team totaled 137 yards on the ground, but it took 34 attempts to reach that number.

Defense continues to be this team's strong suit, and it will be severely tested against a high-octane Auburn offense in Week 10. While Ole Miss has the ability to limit Auburn's scoring opportunities, Wallace must be more efficient against a defense that can be exploited.

This contest matches up the strengths of these two teams against each other. The upper hand will go to the more efficient offense in a close game.

Prediction: Auburn 27, Ole Miss 23

 

No. 18 Utah at No. 15 Arizona State

This matchup features two teams in need of a big win before very tough contests in Week 11. After the Utes and Sun Devils face off Saturday, their next games are against Oregon and Notre Dame, respectively. A win is essential in Week 10.

The Utes have survived some very close contests recently. In fact, over the team's last four games, it has a 3-1 record and a plus-10 point margin. In Week 9, the team came away with a three-point victory over USC due to a touchdown pass in the waning seconds of the game.

Here's a look at the Utes' thrilling win, courtesy of SportsCenter:

Utah's offense wasn't overly effective against the Trojans. Quarterback Travis Wilson completed 18 of his 32 passing attempts for 194 yards and a touchdown, while the team's ground game could only muster 3.3 yards per carry.

While the Utes defense allowed 264 yards and two scores to USC quarterback Cody Kessler, it kept the Trojans' ground game in check, allowing an average of just 2.7 yards per carry. That kind of defense could be huge against a struggling Arizona State offense.

The Sun Devils didn't move the ball very effectively Saturday, totaling just 285 yards of offense and just 14 first downs. Quarterback Taylor Kelly completed 14 of his 25 passing attempts for 180 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while the team's running game averaged just 2.4 yards per carry against Washington.

The Huskies had a chance to tie the game late against Arizona State, but quarterback Troy Williams' second interception of the game was returned for a touchdown by Armand Perry, sealing the game for the Sun Devils.

SportsCenter tweeted the game's dramatic conclusion:

Expect this impending contest to be a highly defensive struggle, as both teams are playing well on that side of the ball. Offensive fireworks will be few and far between here, as the offenses have struggled to find a rhythm of late and will continue to do so in Week 10.

These teams are very evenly matched coming into this contest, and we should expect a very close game. Arizona State's home-field advantage should play a huge factor in this one, as crowd noise in a hostile environment will make it even more difficult for Utah's offense to get it going.

Prediction: Arizona State 23, Utah 16

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College Football Superlatives from Kramer's Korner: Mad Hatter's Magic Reigns

It’s easy to get lost in the splendors of Les Miles, nature’s gift to college football.

He eats grass. He butchers the English language each and every week in spectacular fashion, creating enough words and phrases to fill an encyclopedia of malapropisms. He claps on the sideline as if he was programmed to do so, turning a simple gesture into robot art.

But as we marvel over these quirks time and time again, oftentimes the brilliance of LSU’s flamboyant head coach goes unnoticed. Despite Miles’ entertaining clashes with clock management—another quirk to toss on an enormous list—few coaches deliver more when thrown in the brightest spotlight imaginable.

His record while entering the fourth quarter behind on the scoreboard isn’t just impressive; it’s preposterous.

Les Miles is an amazing 24-23 after trailing in the 4th quarter. #MISSvsLSUpic.twitter.com/2wci8YW71D

— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 26, 2014

LSU’s 10-7 victory over No. 3 Ole Miss in Death Valley on Saturday was a culmination of Miles’ successful style and career. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. Yet, in its ugliness, it was strangely beautiful. And making an emotional win that much more special was the fact that Miles’ mother Martha had passed away the night before.

"After the game, I can't tell you the number of young men that threw their arms around me and said that they love me, which is as touching as anything I've had happen,” Miles said to The Times-Picayune. “They hand me the game ball, which I only accept on behalf of a great team. A team that really comes out and says we can be a whole lot better, we can improve and they go to work. You guys hear me say this, they're going to improve, they're coming, we're going to be special, this team is ambitious. So, I accept it. Martha Miles, this is a great night considering. I miss you, Ma."

What else can you say? There’s not much one can add to such poetry, although we wouldn’t expect anything less from Miles. Our deepest condolences, coach.

As for the rest of Week 9, here are the awards, takeaways, incredible moments in FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN history and deer—yes, deer—cameos that warrant your utmost attention.

 

 

Offensive Player of the Week: Trevone Boykin, TCU 

The nation’s most improved player by the widest margin imaginable only played three quarters against Texas Tech. That was all quarterback Trevone Boykin needed, although TCU still scored 82 points regardless. I suppose basketball season is right around the corner.

In only 45 minutes, Boykin threw for 433 yards and seven touchdowns. He also added seven rushes for 28 yards. For the season, Boykin has accounted for 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions. 

The player who struggled to find a position not long ago is now very much in the Heisman discussion. Seven touchdowns—or one every seven minutes or so—can help that case.

 

Dominant Defender: Joey Bosa, Ohio State 

Oftentimes in this section, we tend to focus too closely on numbers and not enough on pure impact on an individual game. Joey Bosa, Ohio State’s star, backflip-capable defensive end, delivered in both departments.

The sophomore finished the Buckeyes’ double-overtime win against Penn State with six tackles and two-and-a-half sacks. The numbers stand quite nicely without further context, although his final burst of raw power won the game for the Buckeyes.

On fourth down in the second OT, Bosa sacked Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg with the helping hand of Nittany Lions running back Akeel Lynch. In fairness to Lynch, there was absolutely nothing he could do here. No running back—not one—wins this battle. 

Given everything that was at stake for OSU, you might not see a more physically eye-popping play on defense all season.

 

Video Game Box Score

-Georgia Southern, in a single game, ran for 613 yards on 63 carries. Sure, it came against Georgia State, but please don’t let that away from this beautiful carnage. Three Georgia Southern players ran for 90 yards or more and seven (!!!) ran for 30 yards or more. That’ll be a rough defensive film session, I imagine.

-Ameer Abdullah is basically a weekly cheat code at this point. The Nebraska running back ran for 225 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries, although he wasn’t done there. Abdullah also caught two passes for 26 yards and finished with 341 all-purpose yards, a school record. What a fantastic player.

 

Anti-Video Game Box Score

-Pittsburgh did something so spectacularly woeful that we should celebrate with a parade. On its first five possessions against Georgia Tech, the Panthers fumbled five times and lost all five. To truly appreciate the absurdity of this, you must look at this drive chart. Scientists will study it for years to come.

Collect the whole set! pic.twitter.com/dyqxjvowrD

— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) October 25, 2014

-Michigan carried the ball 28 times for 65 yards against Michigan State on Saturday, which was good for an average of 2.3 yards per carry. When you total the past two seasons, the Wolverines have accounted for 17 yards rushing on 59 carries against their rival while being outscored 64-17. That’s not optimal.

 

Biggest Surprise

This was a first. I’ve seen a lot of outlandish football happenings—many of which have taken place this year—although I’ve never seen a facemask ripped off as if it were some sort of Broadway prop. I can now cross that off my bucket list (not that it was on it in the first place). 

That’s exactly what happened to freshman running back Leonard Fournette as he sliced through the Ole Miss defense. Serderius Bryant, doing anything in his power to bring him down, reached out and pulled this piece of equipment right off.

If you needed a reminder of how absolutely insane this game can be—and you probably don’t—you got one here.

 

Best Moment

For a moment, abandon all talks of hot seats, unmet expectations and the unknown still to follow. For right now, let’s give a little love to Tim Beckman for winning his first home conference game at Illinois. 

Illinois gets first @B1Gfootball home win under Tim Beckman, beating Minnesota 28-24. Beckman is 2-18 in conference in 3 years.

— David Woods (@DavidWoods007) October 25, 2014

Yes, that seems like a strange place to pull up a chair for “Best Moment.” But for a coach who has endured the lowest of lows, there’s something to be said about beating a 6-1 team in another lost season. This is by no means a plea to Illinois to keep its coach around for another year, not that the conversation should be abandoned entirely. 

Instead, it comes down to acknowledging and appreciating the effort made, even when the hopes for something greater are all but abandoned. We may scoff at Illinois coming away victorious, but a win of this magnitude will be celebrated in that locker room for quite some time. As it should.

Congrats on the win, Illinois, and I mean that with the utmost sincerity.

 

For the Highlight Reel: The FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN to Rule Them All

Sebastian Tretola is listed at 6’5” and 350 pounds on his Arkansas bio.

He is a guard who has found his way to the Razorbacks after stops at Nevada and Iowa Western Community College. His journey to get to this point—Week 9 of the 2014 college football season—has been long. But after throwing (yes, throwing) a touchdown pass against UAB, it has been fulfilled.

If you’ve read Superlatives before, you’re already well aware of how much we love and cherish large-men achievements. Tretola’s passing touchdown on fourth down doesn’t just warrant inclusion in this conversation. It’s the Holy Grail of FAT GUY TOUCHDOWNS.

Let’s put Bret Bielema and Sebastian Tretola in the Large Men Hall of Fame. Heck, let's make them the chairmen. Heck, here are the keys. It’s all theirs.

 

If the College Football Playoff Started Today... (or Why I Hate Your Team)

Things get a bit more real this week when the College Football Playoff selection committee reveals its first Top 25 on Tuesday. You will then respond by lighting your television on fire and throwing it through the nearest window.

Before they get to their first master reveal and your television is destroyed, however, here is what the College Football Playoff would look like if it happened right now. (Again, these are not projections. Feel free to be light the comment section on fire regardless.)

1. Mississippi State

2. Florida State

3. Auburn

4. Oregon

 

Five Leftovers to Chew on

1. The topic of “running up the score” has to be the most exhausted debate in football. Did TCU and Michigan State score more points than were necessary in Week 9? Of course they did. Should we crush them for doing so? Goodness no. There’s a magnificent way to prevent the score from being inflated. (You can play defense, you see.) Please stop this nonsense over feelings and instead hope said team being run up on decides to make a tackle instead.

2. Mississippi State running back Josh Robinson has gone from unknown entity to underrated weapon to full-blown star in roughly two months. His 198-yard performance was the fourth time he’s gone over 100 yards this season, and he’s averaging nearly seven-and-a-half yards per carry for the year. It’s not just the production, either. His bowling-ball-like style is a true pleasure to watch.

3. Speaking of running backs, where’s the buzz for Duke Johnson? The Miami running back has added size and looks like a different player entirely. To go along with these favorable physical additions, Johnson is already over 1,000 yards rushing while factoring in as a receiver as well. He’s already reached a career high in rushing yards, and after a 249-yard performance at Virginia Tech, Johnson is on the verge of a special season. As a result, we should probably start talking about it. 

4. The Pac-12 South is, without question, the most underappreciated division in college football. Colorado, even at 2-6, is one of the nation’s most improved teams. And in a year that the masses expected UCLA to roll right through its competition, Arizona State, Arizona and Utah are a combined 18-3. Do not count these three teams out of the College Football Playoff just yet, as weird as that sounds. With ample games to make an impression and a potential matchup with Oregon looming, nothing is off the table.

5. Dana Holgorsen has done a masterful job at West Virginia this season, and the hot-seat favorite before the year has seemingly flipped the script entirely. Although beating Oklahoma State this season isn’t a program-altering win, think about where these expectations were at the start of the year. With home games against TCU and Kansas State and road trips to Texas and Iowa State, there’s a very real possibility that the Mountaineers win out. Just like we all thought.

 

Deer of the Week

It gives me great pleasure to hand out this award, and it goes to a very deserving deer that decided to check out the Days Inn in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania before Ohio State and Penn State teed it up. He was obviously excited, and I don’t think I’ve stopped laughing at this even after 25 or so viewings. 

And you thought the biggest hotel story of the weekend was when Penn State fans reportedly used air horns in the middle of the night at Ohio State’s hotel. Oh, you were so wrong.

Move over, Josh Robinson. Your run has company.

 

Mascot of the Week

Where was Sparty going? Why was he going there? What happened next? I have so many questions, although I'm not sure I want to know the true answer.

Let your mind wander as a large fluffy object moves across your screen without context. It’s so much better that way. 

 

Anti-Mascot of the Week 

Another year, another batch of horrifying Famous Idaho Potato Bowl mascot images, videos and Vines. I’m not sure what we’ve done to deserve this, but he’ll see you in your dreams.

 

Official of the Week

Ron Cherry, the official who brought us, “He was giving him the business” years back, provided another worthy addition to his announcement library.

He certainly could have just signaled first down and been done with it. Of course he could have. But why do that when you can add in a magnificent clap and also improve a simple gesture?

It’s the little things that count, I suppose.

 

Press Conference of the Week: Part 1 

Mark Dantonio was oh so close to breaking character when asked about Michigan and the object the Wolverines apparently put into the Spartans' field before the game. He refused to do it, though.

Instead, he provided the most dad-like response imaginable when asked about it after the game. This is how you keep it PG-13 and still get your point across. Well done, sir. It was indeed shoved.

 

Press Conference of the Week: Part 2

Behold TCU head coach Gary Patterson’s opening statement following a game in which his team scored roughly 1,789 points. (They actually scored 82, as you know already, although his mood didn’t quite match that output.)

"It wasn't pretty," is something Patterson actually said and looked serious about doing so. If he's talking about the game itself, he's absolutely correct. If not, well, we're at a loss.

 

Fake Punt of the Week 

Sometimes the run-of-the-mill fake punt if not enough. That appears to be the Wisconsin mindset, which could explain why punter Drew Meyer incorporated a little Tebow-ian jump pass on fourth down into his repertoire.

We can only hope that the double-reverse jump pass fake punt isn’t far behind.

That was cool. Badgers pulled off a fake punt, jump-pass. Wisconsin leads 17-0 over Maryland in 2Q » http://t.co/lUjPf6DMQ6

— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 25, 2014

 

From the Peanut Gallery (Best Tweets of the Weekend)

Let’s check in and see how the day has gone for Maryland: pic.twitter.com/viauY2baYL

— Ryan Stites (@Brocktoon23) October 25, 2014

How prolific is @TCUFootball's offense this year? In yesterday's 82-27 romp over Tech, we shot all the pyro we ordered...for the season.

— Drew Martin (@TCU_Drew) October 26, 2014

"Oh, let me lick your tears. The tears of unfathomable sadness." pic.twitter.com/zdyRpoPsIN

— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) October 26, 2014

Nothing.

— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) October 25, 2014

BREAKING: There is a QB Controversy in Arkansas. pic.twitter.com/igXlQqySoL

— ESPNU (@ESPNU) October 25, 2014 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Chad Wheeler Injury: Updates on USC Star's Knee and Return

News for the USC Trojans just got worse. The Trojans lost a heartbreaker to the Utah Utes on Saturday night. On Sunday, the team found out they had lost star left tackle Chad Wheeler likely for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, per Zach Barnett of NBC Sports.

Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian lauded Wheeler's toughness and commitment to his teammates.

He clearly hopes Wheeler's teammates take some inspiration from their fallen teammate's valor. Looking ahead, the Trojans have four regular-season games left on the schedule.

At 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12, the Trojans can ill afford a poor finish to the season if they hope to have a chance at winning the conference and becoming bowl-eligible. Wheeler is a redshirt sophomore who has been a starter at left tackle since he arrived at Southern Cal.

In his stead, the Trojans are expected to turn to senior Aundrey Walker.

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