NCAA Football News

Arizona State Sun Devils vs. UCLA Bruins Betting Odds, College Football Pick

Arizona State is 0-4 against the spread this season and just 1-7 ATS over its last eight games stretching back to late last season. Were the Sun Devils overrated coming into this campaign? And after getting blown out by USC at home last week, things don't get any easier for Arizona State as it heads to Los Angeles to take on UCLA on Saturday evening at the Rose Bowl.


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

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 38.1-22.2 Bruins


Why the Arizona State Sun Devils can cover the spread

ASU is 2-2 on the season but is coming off a puzzling effort last week, a 42-14 loss at home to Southern Cal. The Sun Devils fell down early and had a chance to cut into the lead and gain some momentum just before halftime, but a fumble was returned 94 yards for a Trojans defensive score. Another fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave USC another touchdown and ASU never recovered.

On the day, the Sun Devils outrushed the Trojans 182-76 and held a 32-28 edge in time of possession, but four turnovers and two missed field goals did them in.

Arizona State had won its previous two games, albeit against Cal-Poly and New Mexico, by a combined score of 69-31. If it can just eliminate the mistakes, the Sun Devils might be ripe for a bounce-back effort this week.


Why the UCLA Bruins can cover the spread

UCLA is 4-0 SU and 2-1-1 ATS following last week's 56-30 victory at Arizona. The Bruins spotted the Wildcats the first touchdown of the game, then scored the next four to take control. On the day, UCLA racked up 497 yards of offense, ran for 213 yards and turned three Arizona turnovers into touchdowns. That seems like a good way to win a football game on the road.

Freshman quarterback Josh Rosen threw for 284 yards and two scores without a pick, which was a welcome improvement after his performance against BYU two weeks ago.

The Bruins opened this season with a 34-16 victory over Virginia, although they gave up the cover as 18-point favorites when they allowed a meaningless score with three minutes left in the game. They then beat UNLV 37-3, covering at -32.

UCLA took a hit last week when it lost linebacker Myles Jack for the season to a knee injury, but it's next-man-up for the talented Bruins in their quest for a division title.


Smart pick

At first glance the outcome of this game might seem obvious, but sometimes obvious is a bad bet. And one of the worst things bettors can do is base bets solely on what happened last week. If this game were lined before the season started, UCLA might only be favored by four or five points. The Bruins might still win this game, but the smart choice here is with Arizona State, plus the points.


Betting trends

The total has gone over in Arizona State's last five games against UCLA.

Arizona State is 0-6 ATS in its last six games.

UCLA is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games.


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

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4-Star WR Stephen Sullivan on Top 6: 'I Love Everything About Each School'

Two weeks ago, Donaldsonville, Louisiana, 4-star receiver Stephen Sullivan discussed being slightly overwhelmed with finding a college home and preparing for early high school graduation. The process went to the next step for him Monday when he announced his top six via Twitter.

Sullivan announced a top six, in no particular order, of LSU, TCU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn and Tennessee. The nation's No. 12 wide receiver chose those six schools out of a reported baker's dozen.

Now, it's time to trim even further. It's a decision he's looking forward to but also one he's not expecting to be a cakewalk.

"I feel that it's going to be a pretty hard one, knowing that every school is a great school," Sullivan said. "I love everything about each school. I'm also building a great relationship with each coach, so I feel that it's going to be pretty hard."

The decision comes with additional news that Florida State, which two weeks ago Sullivan said would receive his first official visit, is out of the running and will not get a visit after all. Sullivan confirmed with Bleacher Report via text on Monday that he's yet to finalize which school will get his first visit, but a decision could come very soon.

At 6'6" and 230 pounds, Sullivan is a big, physical receiver who relies on his size, athleticism and strength to make plays downfield. Sullivan would be a major asset at whichever school he attends—and he plans on making a decision in time to join the winning school for spring workouts. Sullivan said he has taken enough credits to graduate high school.

Of his six schools, five represent the SEC. LSU fans will be happy to know Sullivan is still considering the Tigers, as he decommitted from the program in August. He decommitted to explore other options, but the overall atmosphere and camaraderie on campus, however, keeps Sullivan interested in the program. He's maintained solid relationships with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, receivers coach Tony Ball and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson, as well as head coach Les Miles.

"With LSU, every time I go there, it's like family," Sullivan said. "They already treat me like I'm a player there."

The only non-SEC school of the half-dozen may be the school to watch. Sullivan has been a major target for TCU, and he would be the program's top-ranked commit if he made his verbal pledge there.

Sullivan has good relationships with TCU offensive analyst Hudson Fuller, as well as offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and outside receivers coach Rusty Burns. Additionally, prognosticators have chosen TCU as the winning school in Sullivan's 247Sports Crystal Ball.

"TCU's been good to me," Sullivan said. "Coach Fuller is like another brother to me. To be honest, I've been there on unofficials three or four times, and I've never been disappointed."

The next few weeks will give Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn and Tennessee opportunities to win him over, at least for an official visit. Sullivan has six favorites, which means one school will get left out of an official visit—assuming he takes all five of his officials.

And when it's time for him to make a decision and transition into the college life, expect Sullivan to be a competitor early. Per, Sullivan has 26 catches for 414 yards and seven touchdowns this season after recording 57 catches for 987 yards and 11 touchdowns his junior season.


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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Meet College Football's 2015 Dark-Horse Playoff Contenders

If there's one thing the month of September has taught us, it's that we should take everything that we've talked about over the past eight months, crumple it up and throw it in the garbage. 

Then again, that's the beauty of this thing we call college football. Its only predictable quality is that you never know who's going to emerge and who's going to tank. 

Although the 2015 season is still young, enough games have been played that a handful of playoff dark horses have emerged. But, by the same logic, that means there's still more football to be played. September playoff dark horses could be gone by November. Conversely, teams we never would have predicted to be in the Final Four conversation could lead it. 

In the meantime, let's look at which teams won September with huge games and/or individual performances and then what their season looks like moving forward. Below we examine teams that are undefeated and weren't picked to win their respective division and/or conference to start the season. 


Dark Horses


The Pac-12 South division was supposed to be monopolized by the city of Los Angeles. After clubbing Oregon 62-20 in Week 4, though, Utah officially introduced itself to the divisional and Pac-12 title race.

And, potentially, the playoff field as well. That's not bad for a team that was projected to finish fifth in the Pac-12 South. 

The Utes aren't a consensus Top 10 team yet—Associated Press voters ranked the Utes 10th, while the coaches poll ranks them 12th—which is peculiar given they provided college football with its most eye-opening win of the 2015 season so far, as Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports explains: 

Michigan State, a strong team that got some legit support for No. 1 this week in the polls, barely escaped against the Ducks a few weeks ago, and that game was in East Lansing. Utah's season-opening win against Michigan also is looking a lot more impressive when you consider how the Wolverines have looked since, especially on Saturday when they smashed No. 22 BYU.

Truth is, no one has two wins any more impressive than what Utah has.

Utah is at least hovering around the Top 10—it also received one first-place vote in the AP poll. Nevertheless, UCLA remains the South division (and Pac-12) favorite. 

Certainly, the win over Oregon was impressive, but the season-opening victory over Michigan looks better and better by the week as well. The one-two punch of quarterback Travis Wilson and running back Devontae Booker makes the ground game go, and Wilson is effective enough at passing the ball to maintain offensive balance. 

Utah hasn't quite caught UCLA, which makes the Utes a trendy dark-horse pick.'s Pac-12 bowl projections still have the Bruins in the Final Four. But Utah is creeping up. The Nov. 21 game in Salt Lake City looks far more interesting now. In the meantime, Utah has tough games against Cal, USC and Arizona. 

Just don't ask head coach Kyle Whittingham about the playoff just yet. 

"Don't even go there," Whittingham said Monday, according to Matthew Piper of the Salt Lake Tribune."That's not even in the realm of our thought process."



Oklahoma's Week 2 win over Tennessee has lost a lot of shine lately. Thanks to a heartbreaking loss to Florida—just the latest in a disappointing trend for the Vols—Tennessee's breakout season looks over before it ever truly got started. Beating Tennessee might still be the Big 12's best nonconference win, and that does count for something, but it's not by nearly as wide a margin as it once was. 

Still, grabbing the W in Knoxville launched Oklahoma into the Big 12 title picture with Baylor and TCU. That part hasn't changed. The Bears have yet to be tested, and the Frogs' defensive attrition has been evident in the past two weeks against SMU and Texas Tech. The perceived gap between the projected top two teams in the Big 12 heading into the season and Oklahoma has definitely shrunk. 

The Sooners defense has still been hit-or-miss, an extension of a problem from last year. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops put together an outstanding game plan against Tennessee but couldn't follow that effort up the next week against Tulsa. (Golden Hurricanes head coach and former Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery continues to be nightmare fuel for Oklahoma.) 

The biggest difference for the Sooners in 2015 has been quarterback Baker Mayfield. The former Texas Tech signal-caller gives this offense an extra boost in confidence and improvisation that has taken it to the next level. There's simply no coaching against what Mayfield can do with his feet when he extends the play. And there's no shortage of playmakers for him, either. 

Looking ahead, the Sooners catch the right breaks schedule-wise. Three of their five toughest games on paper (excluding the neutral-site rivalry game against Texas) are at home: West Virginia, Texas Tech and TCU. 

November could not only be critical for Oklahoma but could very well decide the Big 12 title race in a matter of weeks. Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU all play one another within a month's time. For the Sooners specifically, the Nov. 14 road trip to Baylor could be the game of the year. The Bears have had OU's number lately, and a win in Waco could go a long way to transitioning this team from a playoff dark horse to a legitimate option. 



When you have arguably the best player in college football, it immediately boosts your chances of winning. And LSU has running back Leonard Fournette, the current odds-on favorite to win the Heisman, according to

Anything and everything you need to know about the Tigers' 2015 season—their offense, identity, playoff hopes and more—is neatly packaged in a 6'1", 230-pound weapon of mass football destruction. 

“He fits in very comfortably with some of the elite running backs that we’ve had here,” LSU head coach Les Miles told Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer

Fournette is averaging about 210 yards per game and won't face a run defense capable of slowing him until Florida in mid-October. So long as quarterback Brandon Harris can be a complementary running threat and competent enough passer—LSU ranks last in the SEC in passing offense, but Harris is seventh in passer rating—it's OK that the offense goes through Fournette. 

LSU operates like a team from a previous era: outstanding running attack, sound defense and not too many explosive plays (at least in the passing game). If it works, it works, and so far, it has worked. 

If the Tigers find themselves in the 11, 12 or 13-win echelon by season's end—they were picked to finish third in the SEC West—it will be in large part because of Fournette. That would bode well for his Heisman chances as well. 


Next Ones Up


The Wildcats are a surprising 4-0, and not just any 4-0, either. Wins over Stanford and Duke look incredible now that the Cardinal have defeated USC and the Blue Devils have topped Georgia Tech. Northwestern has to be the Big Ten West favorites at this point, right? The question remains whether this team would be able to stand up against Ohio State or Michigan State. It faces neither in the regular season. The Michigan game should be another good test. 


Texas A&M

The Week 1 win over Arizona State is far less impressive now that the Sun Devils have shown they're capable of being housed more than once. The come-from-behind win against Arkansas showed the run defense is still a work in progress, too. That could be troublesome with Mississippi State, Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU still on the schedule. The month of October is just brutal for the Aggies. 


Bonus: Memphis

We'll look the other way on part of the aforementioned "dark horse" criteria for Memphis, the preseason American Athletic Conference West favorite, for one important reason: The Tigers reside outside the Power Five. If there are any "playoff crashers" remaining, Memphis has the best chance to assume that role. 

However, the Tigers are 4-0 and still outside the two major Top 25 polls. That should tell you far this team still has to go before it's even remotely in the playoff conversation, let alone seriously involved. 

But what separates Memphis from, say, Temple or Houston is that it has a monster game at home against Ole Miss on Oct. 17. There are only three opponents standing in the way of this being a matchup between undefeated teams—for Memphis, South Florida (Oct. 2) and for Ole Miss, Florida (Oct. 3) and New Mexico State (Oct. 10). Assuming the Tigers and Rebels can get through Week 5 unscathed, the stage should be set for a game worthy of at least some national attention: 

Memphis gets a bye before facing Ole Miss, so there would be no lack of preparation or enthusiasm. If the Tigers beat a potential Top Five team, you can be sure they'll quickly enter the outside playoff discussion. Memphis would have to go undefeated to remain a valid playoff contender, but it would have a quality win like no other Group of Five team. Assuming Ole Miss' season doesn't burst into flames, that is. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. All stats courtesy of

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The Parallels Between 2014 Florida State and 2015 Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With his Monday press conference winding down, Urban Meyer was ready to get started on his afternoon activities. So as soon as the Ohio State head coach saw the direction that what he thought would be the final inquiry of the day he was headed, he seized the opportunity to address it directly.

"Does it feel like more of a grind this year than maybe you thought it might?" the reporter asked.

"Oh, I imagine you're leading to the fact that there are expectations that are so high?" Meyer responded, rewording the question to acknowledge the elephant in the room that the Buckeyes haven't been playing as well as many thought they would be through the first four games of their national title defense.

"Exactly," the reporter replied.

From there, Meyer didn't mince words.

"I could tell you no, but I think so," Meyer said. "First you're winning pretty soundly, playing pretty good. And the expectation level—you say, 'Well, back when you played Alabama, back when you played [Oregon in the national championship].'

"But this is a different team. Different time."

This year's Ohio State squad isn't the first to find that out the hard way.

After all, it was just a year ago that defending national champion Florida State found itself seemingly underachieving, despite returning several key pieces from its title team while facing a relatively manageable schedule.

One month into the Buckeyes' turn at defending their crown, the similarities between the two teams' respective national national championship defenses are too glaring to ignore.


Slow Starts

Through the first four weeks of the 2014 season, the Seminoles found themselves in the exact same position Ohio State does at the moment. With a 4-0 record to its credit, FSU sat at No. 1 in both major polls with the bulk of its conference schedule still ahead.

But just like the Buckeyes, the Seminoles' top billing had more to do with what they had accomplished the season before than it did what they done in the prior four weeks.

Because in wins over Oklahoma State, The Citadel, Clemson and North Carolina State, Florida State hardly looked like the nation's No. 1 team. The Seminoles beat their first four opponents by point differentials of seven, 25, six (in overtime) and 15, respectively, a far cry from the dominance they asserted during their run to the 2013 national title.

"I'm not really concerned," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said following his team's 56-41 win over North Carolina State on Sept. 27. "I think we're getting better in a lot of ways."

As for the Buckeyes, Meyer has been more willing to admit to his team's shortcomings thus far, which have included an 18-point victory against Virginia Tech, a 38-0 shutout of Hawaii, a 20-13 win over Northern Illinois and a 26-point best of Western Michigan.

Sure, Ohio State's first four wins have been more impressive from a point differential standpoint than the Seminoles' were a season ago, but the Buckeyes have admittedly not played up to their own standards through the first third of the regular season.

That rang especially true in Ohio State's closer-than-expected win over Northern Illinois on Sept. 19, which saw the Buckeyes offense commit five turnovers and give the Huskies two opportunities to drive the field late in the game with a chance to tie or take the lead with a touchdown.

After being bailed out by a second-half pick-six by linebacker Darron Lee, members of the OSU offense admitted they weren't playing like the nation's top-ranked team.

"Right now, we're not the No. 1 team in the country," running back Ezekiel Elliott said. "We definitely have the potential to be, but right now, with the way we're playing, we're not."

Technically, the Buckeyes still are the nation's No. 1 team, and based on having entered the season with pole position, that likely won't change—at least in the AP Top 25 and USA Today Sports Coaches Poll—unless Ohio State endures an actual loss, not a moral one. But through four weeks, the Buckeyes have hardly played to their potential, especially on offense, where inconsistencies have become commonplace in the past month.

And just like last year's Seminoles, a lot of those struggles can be pinned on one position in particular.


Quarterback Conundrums

At no point last season did Florida State face a quarterback controversy like the one Ohio State has dealt with, but there are similarities in the drop in production that both teams have seen from their respective signal-callers.

For the Seminoles, the disappointing quarterback play came by way of reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, who spent his sophomore season marred in controversy and even suspended for FSU's September matchup with Clemson. The distractions off the field for Winston appeared to lead to issues for him on it, with his completion percentage, yardage total and touchdowns all taking a dip from 2013 to 2014, while his interceptions increased from 10 as a freshman to 18 as a sophomore.

"I think we all learn from our experiences," Fisher stated after Winston threw three interceptions in a 42-31 win over Louisville in late October. "I think he continues to grow as a person, as a player and in all aspects of his life."

Meyer, meanwhile, has been more upfront about his disappointment when its come to the play of his quarterbacks, with neither Cardale Jones nor J.T. Barrett grabbing hold of what's been an unprecedented quarterback competition between two key figures on last year's title team.

Through the 2014 regular season, it was Barrett who was the Heisman Trophy candidate—he ultimately finished fifth in voting—before a broken ankle in the Buckeyes' regular-season finale opened the door for Jones to win three consecutive postseason games en route to the national title.

After not announcing who his starter for 2015 would be until the Buckeyes' season opener against Virginia Tech, Meyer has stuck with Jones as his No. 1 quarterback through the first four games of the season despite benching him mid-game in the second and third weeks.

Barrett, however, failed to seize his opportunities to jump back in the starting lineup and currently possesses a season stat line of 21-of-38 passing, 193 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

"Someone has to beat someone out," Meyer said as he explained why he was sticking with Jones in the starting lineup after Barrett finished the Buckeyes' battle with Northern Illinois. "You don't anoint people, 'Let's give that guy a shot.' Every time I hear that, I guess that person's never coached for a living."

In a way, Meyer was rewarded for his patience last weekend, with Jones putting together his best game of the season in Ohio State's win over Western Michigan on Saturday. But despite throwing for a career-high 288 yards and two touchdowns, Jones missed on several opportunities downfield due to underthrown balls, something that wasn't lost on his head coach.

"Fundamentally, he wasn't sound," Meyer said of Jones, who he estimated threw six underthrown passes against the Broncos. "So that's just something you've got to work on."

But for the first time all season, the Buckeyes' quarterback conundrum seems to have quieted. What that will mean for Ohio State moving forward remains to be seen.


Uncertainty Ahead

How much the Buckeyes can improve between now and the end of the year is to be determined, although it's worth noting that last year's Ohio State squad didn't begin to hit its stride until it approached the postseason. Like last year's Seminoles, the Buckeyes will likely benefit from a favorable schedule, which may not see them face a ranked opponent for more than another month.

With games against Indiana and Maryland to start the Big Ten campaign, followed by a home matchup with Penn State and dates against Rutgers, Minnesota and Illinois, the Buckeyes may not be truly challenged until a Nov. 21 meeting with second-ranked Michigan State. Even then, that matchup comes in Columbus, giving the Buckeyes the added benefit of playing the highly anticipated matchup on their own home field.

But Ohio State's seeming cakewalk through October and the better part of November could also be a double-edged sword for the Buckeyes. Look no further than the precedent the College Football Playoff committee set with Florida State a year ago, slotting the Seminoles third in the first four-team tournament, despite FSU being the only team in the playoff with an undefeated record.

Based on the criteria set forth for the committee, it became clear that quality wins were what mattered most in its seeding process. And with two ranked opponents—as well as another one in a potential Big Ten Championship Game—ahead, those could come few and far between for Ohio State this year.

Of course, it also didn't help the Seminoles' case that despite playing a lesser schedule, they found themselves in a number of close calls. Heading into the ACC Championship Game, Florida State won its final three regular-season games by a combined 12 points, all in matchups against unranked opponents.

"We look at their body of work, whether they’ve controlled the games, compared them to those around them," Arkansas athletic director and College Football Playoff committee chairman Jeff Long said as he explained why the Seminoles were slotted third despite their status as the undefeated reigning national champions.

With two-thirds of the 2015 season left, there remains plenty of time for the Buckeyes to change their course and begin to take advantage of their schedule by posting eye-popping point differentials. Through four weeks, however, Ohio State appears to be headed on a similar path as last year's Florida State team, which ultimately lost to Oregon in their semifinal matchup in the Rose Bowl.

But if there's one difference between this year's Buckeyes and last year's Seminoles, it's that Meyer, unlike Fisher, is owning the situation rather than running from it.

"I think that's natural, yeah. I could tell you no, but I think so," Meyer said of this season having been harder than even he expected it to be. "That's my job—I'm watching it very closely."


Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Texas A&M Aggies Betting Odds, Football Pick

Texas A&M is 2-1 against Mississippi State since joining the Big 12 three seasons ago, but the Bulldogs won last year's meeting and have covered the spread in the last two matchups. In a game that could separate contender from pretender in the SEC West, the Aggies host the Bulldogs Saturday night in College Station.


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

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 25.6-23.5 Aggies


Why the Mississippi State Bulldogs can cover the spread

The 'Dogs are 3-1 both straight up and against the spread on the season after last week's 17-9 win at Auburn. Mississippi State led 14-0 at halftime on a pair of Dak Prescott touchdown passes, and the Bulldogs defense limited the Tigers to three field goals on the day. MSU was outgained 389-326, but came up with key stops, including a pick deep in the red zone, to secure the victory.

Prescott has now completed 67 percent of his throws this season with seven touchdown passes against zero interceptions, while the Mississippi State defense has held foes to less than 15 points per game.

Three weeks ago, against its toughest foe so far, the Bulldogs rallied to within a two-point conversion of LSU at 21-19, missed it, but covered as a three-point home dog. Prescott and the MSU stop unit have a chance to keep this week's game close, too.


Why the Texas A&M Aggies can cover the spread

The Aggies are 4-0 this season, and 3-1 ATS, after outlasting Arkansas in overtime last week in Arlington 28-21. A&M tied the game on a touchdown and two-point conversion with three minutes to go, then won it on a defensive stop after quarterback Kyle Allen's second touchdown pass of the game to Christian Kirk in the first extra period.

Aggies backers actually got lucky last week when A&M kicker Taylor Bertolet missed a 38-yard field on the last play of regulation. By winning via the touchdown in overtime, the Aggies covered as six-point favorites.

Texas A&M won its first three games while averaging 46 points per in the process. The Aggies might not hit that mark this week, but even 28 might be enough to cover.


Smart pick

Last year the Aggies started 5-0 and rose to the ranks of championship contenders, then lost in Starkville 48-31. This year, A&M might have revenge in mind. And while that doesn't always work out, this might be a good spot for it. The smart money here sides with the Aggies.


Betting trends

The total has gone under in Mississippi State's last six games against the SEC.

Mississippi State is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games in October.

Texas A&M is 1-4 SU and ATS in its last five games at home in October.


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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Jake Fromm Names Top 2: Which School Is Best Fit for 2017 4-Star QB?

Georgia quarterback recruit Jake Fromm is just a month into his junior season at Houston County High School, but collegiate possibilities are already playing a big role. 

The 6'3", 220-pound passer holds more than a dozen scholarship offers, including a few from SEC squads. He pointed to a pair programs from the conference as key contenders during his discussion with David Johnson of 247Sports. 

"I would have to say that Ole Miss and Alabama are my top two," Fromm told Johnson. 

Both teams extended an offer this spring, identifying him as a premier prospect based on underclassman evaluation. Opportunities in Tuscaloosa and Oxford stand out on a list that also features SEC foes South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

Beyond the conference, Fromm claims offers from Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Nebraska and Miami, among others. With all three 5-star quarterbacks now committed in the 2017 recruiting cycle, Fromm is a coveted commodity.

Rated ninth nationally among pro-style passers in class composite rankings, Fromm has flourished as a starter. He completed 63 percent of pass attempts last season, per MaxPreps, throwing for 3,629 yards and 31 touchdowns. 

During his past 18 games, Fromm was largely dominant. He posted 41 scores and just nine interceptions during that span, solidifying his status as a promising prospect. 

Alabama and Ole Miss currently carry intriguing playmakers at the position in 2016 classes, but both coaching staffs aim to enhance depth with big additions down the road. Fromm fits the bill for either team.

Ole Miss landed Elite 11 MVP Shea Patterson, who is rated No. 1 overall among 2016 quarterbacks, while Alabama holds a commitment from dynamic 4-star Texas talent Jalen Hurts.

The Crimson Tide appear to be trending toward mobile quarterbacks with Hurts and 5-star 2015 signee Blake Barnett, but Fromm is at his best between the tackles. He operates most effectively from the pocket, utilizing quality decision-making and precise touch while pushing passes downfield. 

Alabama hosted him on campus earlier this season. Fromm was in Tuscaloosa to see the Crimson Tide face Ole Miss. The Rebels claimed victory, leading to a rise in national polls.

“It was awesome, the atmosphere of the game was incredible,” he told Hank South of 247Sports. “It was hard, because both teams I’m looking really hard at."

Though South Carolina still seemingly plays a role in this recruitment, the Gamecocks look like a somewhat distant third. Just like on the field, Alabama may also be a stride behind its conference rival in this race.

"I really have to say I like Ole Miss," he told Johnson, who also reported the Rebels have Fromm atop their 2017 quarterback board.

His on-field characteristics are slightly reminiscent of Patterson and current Ole Miss starter Chad Kelly. Fromm can excel in improvisational settings and move around if needed, delivering darts when provided a slice of space to operate.

The path to playing time won't be an easy process at either school, so he must ultimately seek out an offensive attack that suits him well and looks stable for the future. Right now, that edge goes to Ole Miss.

"It's exactly what I do in high school," Fromm told Johnson. "It's the same tempo, same pass options. It's almost identical."

Fromm will soon have a chance to assess the situation in person. He plans to visit Oxford in the coming weeks for the first time since a July camp, per Johnson, targeting games against Texas A&M (Oct. 24) and LSU (Nov. 21). 

Expect him to reach a decision some time after this season, setting the stage for Fromm to become the face of whichever recruiting class he joins. The SEC is his likely destination, with Ole Miss at least momentarily standing out as a slight favorite.


Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.

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SEC Football Q&A: Can Georgia Beat Alabama and Run the Table?

It's hard to believe it, but here we are with one month of the college football season already in the books. 

The first month of the season brought the college football world plenty to discuss, including Tennessee head coach Butch Jones' inability to close, Georgia's surprise surge and an SEC West that's about as jumbled as it can get through four weeks.

We'll hit the burning questions that have popped up during the first month of the season in this week's SEC Q&A.


That's a big "if," because while Alabama has a loss on the books, the teams that typically give Alabama trouble are those with mobile quarterbacks and those that can stretch the field deep.

Georgia has neither.

With that said, though, it should be a tough battle between Georgia's running backs and offensive line versus the vaunted Alabama front seven. It's the toughest test of the season for Georgia, by far. 

If the Bulldogs clear that hurdle, yes, winning out would be a legitimate possibility. 

It's hard to draw up a scenario in which Georgia would be underdogs for the rest of the regular season, and it could be the favorite in the SEC Championship Game in the Georgia Dome depending on what the matchup is and how rosters look at that point.

With that said, though, this is the same program that got run by a very mediocre Florida team last year, lost to Vanderbilt in 2013, lost at home to 6-6 South Carolina in 2007 and seemingly has that one "uh oh" moment every single season.

As long as head coach Mark Richt can avoid that, Georgia should be able to run the table after the Alabama game. That's much easier said (or written) than done, though.

Ultimately, I think it'll be a nonissue. 

Alabama will have success slowing (not stopping) running back Nick Chubb and making Georgia one-dimensional. While quarterback Greyson Lambert has been marvelously efficient over the last two weeks, throwing just two incomplete passes, he'll be harassed by Bama's front seven and make a couple of mistakes, and Georgia will suffer its first loss of the season.


Come on.

I know Tennessee head coach Butch Jones hasn't learned how to close the door in the SEC, lets the moment get too big for him in big situations, is 1-12 versus ranked opponents in two-plus years in Knoxville and has a remarkable lack of trust in his passing game.

But at least he's in big situations.

Is Tennessee going to live up to the hype—which I was partially responsible for building? 

Probably not.

The Vols are 2-2 (0-1 SEC), don't boast an offense that's anywhere close to championship-level, and trusting Jones to do the right thing at this point seems like an exercise in futility.

With that said, though, they only have one loss in conference, still get Georgia at home the week after the Bulldogs host the always-physical Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida's cross-division schedule (Ole Miss, at LSU) is incredibly daunting.

The Vols will need some help, but an SEC East title is certainly not out of the question, provided Jones evolves and the passing game improves. 

Even if it doesn't, what's the worst-case scenario for Tennessee? An 8-4 regular season? Maybe 7-5 if you factor in an upset along the way?

That's still progress for Jones, who finished the regular season last year 6-6. No, it's not a gigantic leap, but it's still progress.

You don't fire your coach while he's still showing improvement if you're Tennessee—a program that was spinning its wheels for years prior to his arrival.


Irrevocably exposed is probably a bit strong. Exposed for those 60 minutes? Sure.

That should be concerning for Texas A&M fans, but not something that changes their impression of the 2015 Aggies overall. Give credit where credit is due. Arkansas' offensive line is top-notch, and running back Alex Collins—who ripped off 151 yards and a touchdown against the Aggies—is one of the SEC's best backs.

It was a stretch to think that Texas A&M's defense would suddenly become one of the SEC's best over the course of defensive coordinator John Chavis' first offseason in College Station. That wasn't—and shouldn't—be the expectation.

It wasn't a great showing for Texas A&M, sure. It gave up three scores in the red zone to Arkansas, and the Hogs converted five of their 10 third-down opportunities. But two turnovers were nice, and the "bend but don't break" attitude of the defense is still a massive step forward from last year's crew, which shattered early and often.

Texas A&M will be fine.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Statistics are courtesy of CFBStats.comBarrett 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.

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Arizona Wildcats vs. Stanford Cardinal Betting Odds, Analysis, Football Pick

Stanford owns the upper hand in the recent series with Arizona, winning five of the last six meetings straight up and going 4-2 against the spread. Coming off a convincing Pac-12 road victory, the Cardinal head home to host the Wildcats Saturday night.


Point spread: This game was off the board early in the week at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 26.9-21.8 Cardinal


Why the Arizona Wildcats can cover the spread

The Wildcats opened this season with three straight victories but fell victim to the ESPN College GameDay curse last week, losing 56-30 to UCLA. After committing two turnovers through its first three games of this season, Arizona turned it over three times in the first half Saturday, which led to three Bruins touchdowns. The Wildcats also lost quarterback Anu Solomon to a head injury in the second quarter, and while they rallied briefly early in the second half, they only traded punches from there.

By the end, though, Arizona had ground out 353 yards rushing against UCLA, as backup quarterback Jerrard Randall ran for 128 yards, including 39 on his fourth long touchdown jaunt of this season.

The Wildcats also welcomed All-American Scooby Wright back to action last week, after he missed the previous two games with a knee injury. However, the linebacker suffered a sprained foot and will be out this week.

Solomon's status for this week is uncertain, but if he can't go, Randall, while not a great passer, is dangerous. If the Wildcats can tighten up on defense and avoid the turnovers, they could keep this one interesting.


Why the Stanford Cardinal can cover the spread

After opening this season with an upset loss at Northwestern, the Cardinal have won and covered three straight games, including a 42-24 victory at Oregon State last week. Stanford only led the Beavers by four points at the half but scored the first two touchdowns of the second half, later clinching the cover as a two-touchdown favorite when Barry Sanders bolted in from 65 yards out early in the fourth quarter.

On the night, the Cardinal outrushed OSU 325 yards to 111 and won time of possession by a 35-25 margin.

Two weeks ago Stanford upset USC in Los Angeles 41-31, taking that game outright as a nine-point dog, and just before that it beat Central Florida 31-7, covering at minus-20.

The Cardinal needed a good effort from the running game last week, with quarterback Kevin Hogan nursing a sore ankle, and they got it. This week they go against an Arizona defense that just gave up almost 500 yards, including 213 on the ground, to UCLA. And Stanford loves to grind out drives.


Smart pick

Solomon's injury creates a large mystery factor for this contest. Randall can run, but throwing the ball is another story. Ultimately, the team that makes the most stops on defense will probably cover this game, and that team is more likely to be Stanford.


Betting trends

  • Stanford is 5-1 straight up in its last six games against Arizona.
  • The total has gone over in Arizona's last five games.
  • Arizona is 7-2 against the spread in its last nine games in October.


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

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Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs Betting Odds, Analysis, Football Pick

The last time Alabama went off as an underdog on the betting line, it upset Tim Tebow and Florida in the SEC Championship Game in 2009. But the Crimson Tide might go off as underdogs this week, as they are visiting Athens for the first time since 2008 to take on Georgia between the hedges Saturday afternoon.


Point spread: This game opened as a pick 'em, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 23.1-19.7 Bulldogs


Why the Alabama Crimson Tide can cover the spread

Alabama bounced back from that SEC-opening loss at Ole Miss to blank Louisiana-Monroe last week 34-0. The Tide didn't do a whole lot offensively on the day, gaining a total of 303 yards, but the defense limited the Warhawks to 92 yards, just nine of those on the ground.

Alabama came up one score short of covering the spread as a 37-point favorite, but as it's done many times before under head coach Nick Saban against inferior opponents, it didn't really appear interested in covering.

The Tide opened this season with that 35-17 drubbing of Wisconsin, easily covering at minus-13, and then defeated Middle Tennessee 37-10, just missing the cover at minus-34. They then lost to the Rebels 43-37 even though they outgained and outrushed Ole Miss that day. Five turnovers did them in.

Alabama is a national championship contender but can't afford another conference loss. So the Tide will throw everything they've got at the Bulldogs on Saturday.


Why the Georgia Bulldogs can cover the spread

The Bulldogs are off to a 4-0 start to this season after dispatching Southern last week 48-6. UGA, as a 48-point favorite, led by that score after three quarters and then called the 'Dawgs off, eschewing the cover. Georgia outgained the Jaguars 532-184, as Nick Chubb chugged for 131 yards on the ground and quarterbacks Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey combined to complete 20 of 24 passes for 271 yards and two scores without a pick.

The Bulldogs are also already 2-0 in SEC play, with a 31-14 victory over Vanderbilt, just missing the cover at minus-18, and a 52-20 rout of South Carolina, easily covering at minus-16.

Georgia gets 'Bama at home for the first time since 2008 and, with a division title in mind, will want to make the most of that opportunity.


Smart pick

Short point spreads don't usually come into play, but these two teams are close, and this game could be decided by a point or two. So while Georgia is sure to be fired up for this one, the smart money probably rolls with the Tide.


Betting trends

The total has gone over in Alabama's last five games against Georgia.

Alabama is 0-3 against the spread in its last three games on the road in October.

Georgia is 11-1 straight up in its last 12 games at home.


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

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Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Indiana Hoosiers Betting Odds, College Football Pick

The last time Indiana beat Ohio State on a football field, none of the current players on either team were alive. But the Hoosiers, who have lost 20 times in a row to the Buckeyes, are 4-0 against the spread over the last four meetings. Indiana takes its shot at the defending national champs Saturday afternoon in Bloomington.


Point spread: Buckeyes opened as 17.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 43.9-24.1 Buckeyes


Why the Ohio State Buckeyes can cover the spread

OSU is off to a 4-0 start to this season after beating Western Michigan last week 38-12. The Buckeyes led 14-0, gave up a long touchdown pass for a score, then scored the next 17 points of the game to take control. Ohio State piled up 511 yards of offense, 223 on the ground, although ultimately it couldn't cover as heavy home chalk.

So far this season, the Buckeyes' best performance came in the toughest spot: a 42-24 victory at Virginia Tech. But the beginning of the Big Ten season might provide an emotional kick as OSU shoots for a second consecutive conference championship and the berth in the College Football Playoff that will probably come with it.

Finally, Ohio State is 14-0 SU and 9-5 ATS on the road under head coach Urban Meyer.


Why the Indiana Hoosiers can cover the spread

IU is also off to a 4-0 start to this season, and 3-1 ATS, after winning at Wake Forest last week 31-24, covering as a three-point road favorite. The Hoosiers took a 7-0 lead eight minutes into the game and never trailed, eventually building a 31-10 advantage, before allowing the Demon Deacons to score twice in the last six minutes.

Indiana out-rushed Wake 211-99, held the ball for almost 32 minutes and didn't turn the ball over even once; that's how you win games and cover spreads on the road in college football.

Despite the long losing streak in this series, the Hoosiers have actually given the Buckeyes several good games over recent seasons. Last year, at the Horseshoe, Indiana led 20-17 midway through the third quarter, before giving way, easily covering as a 36-point dog. If the Hoosiers can get a running game going, convert some third downs into firsts and avoid the turnovers, they could keep this one interesting too.


Smart pick

Indiana is off to a great start, while Ohio State just hasn't looked like the powerhouse it's supposed to be in the last few weeks. But the bottom line here is the Buckeyes are the better team, playing on the road, where the spread is more amenable. The smart money here resides with OSU.


Betting trends

Ohio State is 15-0 SU in its 15 games against Indiana.

Ohio State is 18-0 SU in its last 18 games.

Indiana is 5-1 ATS in its last six games.


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

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Purdue Boilermakers vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Odds, Football Pick

Michigan State owns the recent rivalry with Purdue, winning each of the last six meetings, but the Boilermakers have covered the last three meetings and are 5-2-1 against the spread over the last eight. MSU and Purdue open their Big Ten slates Saturday afternoon in East Lansing.


Point spread: The Spartans opened as 24.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 31.8-21.1 Spartans


Why the Purdue Boilermakers can cover the spread

The Boilers are off to a 1-3 start to this season after suffering a tough 35-28 loss at home to Bowling Green last week. Purdue tied the score at 28-28 with eight minutes to go on a David Blough-to-Gregory Phillips 62-yard touchdown connection and had a chance to take a lead on its next drive but missed a 32-yard field goal. The Boilers then allowed the Falcons to drive for the winning score in the last half-minute, aiding in their own demise with a pair of personal foul penalties.

Purdue kicker Paul Griggs also missed a 20-yard field-goal attempt in the first half. So that's at least six points they missed out on, which might have come in handy, as the Boilers missed on the cover as four-point home dogs.

On the day, Blough, a redshirt freshman making his first career start, hit on 29 of 39 throws for 340 yards and two scores against one interception.

With 15 starters back this season, the Boilermakers are hoping to make some progress in their third season under head coach Darrell Hazell.


Why the Michigan State Spartans can cover the spread

In their quest for a berth in the College Football Playoff, the Spartans are 4-0 after dispatching of Central Michigan last week 30-10. MSU led 17-0 before the Chippewas hit the board and put the game away with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

The Spartans didn't exactly shine last week and came up one score short of covering as 25-point home favorites. But they outrushed CMU 181-55 and could have covered if they hadn't committed a pair of defensive penalties on the Chippewas' only touchdown drive of the day.

Michigan State hasn't put everything together in one game yet this season; if they do this Saturday, this game could get ugly.


Smart pick

Michigan State is probably going to win this game; the only matter is the final margin. But playing at home means the spread is probably inflated against the Spartans, and that victory over Oregon three weeks ago doesn't look as good now as it did then after what Utah did to the Ducks last week. If the Boilers can put up 20 points, they'll have a good shot at the cover. The smart money here may have to hold its nose, but the play is Purdue.


Betting trends

Michigan State is 6-0 straight up in its last six games against Purdue.

Purdue is 1-6 against the spread in its last seven games.

Michigan State is 0-4 ATS in its last four games.


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

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Texas Longhorns vs. TCU Horned Frogs Betting Odds, Analysis, Football Pick

Texas once dominated the rivalry with Texas Christian, winning 24 straight meetings from the 1960s into the 1990s, but since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 they're 2-1 both straight up and against the spread in the series. TCU hosts the Longhorns for homecoming in Fort Worth Saturday afternoon.


Point spread: Horned Frogs opened as 18.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 41.3-21.6 Horned Frogs


Why the Texas Longhorns can cover the spread

UT is off to a 1-3 start to the season, its worst in 60 years, but the last two losses have come by a total of four points, including a 30-27 decision against Oklahoma State last week. The Longhorns trailed 14-3 early, rallied to take a 27-24 lead, but with less than a minute to go in a tie game their punter botched a snap, setting the Cowboys up for the game-deciding field goal.

On the day, Texas ran the ball 42 times for 171 yards while the defense held OSU to 103 yards on 46 carries. That's 2.2 yards per carry.

Two weeks ago the Longhorns rallied from 21 points down against Cal to pull within one point with a minute to go, but missed the extra point. Head coach Charlie Strong is catching flak for his team's lack of progress, but he's only in his second season. If the 'Horns could just put the brakes on the mistakes and penalties, they could begin to turn their ship around.


Why the TCU Horned Frogs can cover the spread

After outlasting Texas Tech last week 55-52, the Frogs are 4-0 so far in their quest to earn a berth in the College Football Playoff. TCU came within a half-minute of a soul-crushing upset, but running back Aaron Green caught a tipped pass in the back of the end zone on a 4th-and-goal to save the day. The Frogs outgained the Red Raiders by 150 yards (although the defense didn't exactly impress) and won the time of possession battle by a 35-25 margin.

Since a somewhat lackluster performance against Minnesota in the season opener TCU has racked up 70, 56 and 55 points, respectively.

The Frogs are filling holes on defense at the moment, but as long as quarterback Trevone Boykin and his offensive line are healthy, they'll always have a chance to simply outscore opponents.


Smart pick

The worm has turned for these two teams, relative to one another; the Frogs are now national championship contenders while the Longhorns are rebuilding. But TCU is coming off an exhausting effort last week, its defense is depleted and playing at home means the spread is probably inflated. If Texas can stop shooting itself in the foot, it could keep this one close enough to cash.


Betting trends

Texas is 1-5 ATS in its last six games.

Texas is 17-1 SU in its last 18 games on the road in October.

TCU is 8-0 SU in its last eight games against the Big 12.


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

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Clemson Tigers Betting Odds, College Football Pick

Notre Dame will play almost anybody anytime anywhere, but the road is a tough task for any team, including the Irish, who are only 10-8 straight up and 7-11 against the spread over their last 18 true road contests. They're headed for a good test this week, as they go to Clemson to take on the Tigers Saturday night down at Death Valley.


Point spread: This game opened as a pick'em, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 23.2-21.9 Fighting Irish


Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread

The Irish are off to a 3-0 start to this season, 2-1 ATS, after mashing Massachusetts last week 62-27. Notre Dame only led by a point late into the second quarter, but it scored 41 unanswered points on its way to the cover as a 28-point favorite. The Irish, with redshirt freshman DeShone Kizer running the show at quarterback, racked up 681 yards of offense, 457 on the ground, as C.J. Prosise came up with his third-straight 100-yard effort.

Two weeks ago, in Kizer's first-ever start, Notre Dame knocked off Georgia Tech 30-22. So through two career starts, the youngster has completed 29 of 43 passes, with just one interception.

To have success on the road in college football, a team needs to do several things, prominent among them being to run the ball effectively and play good defense. This Irish outfit can do both.


Why the Clemson Tigers can cover the spread

Clemson is also 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS this season, and had last week off. Two weeks ago, the Tigers opened ACC play with a tough 20-17 victory at Louisville, and while they caught some flak for a lackluster performance, and missed on the cover as five-point road favorites, they did outgain the Cardinals by 130 yards and outrushed them 202-19. And one of Louisville's touchdowns came on a kickoff return.

Clemson opened this season with a 49-10 win over Wofford, covering at -34, then beat Appalachian State 41-10, covering at -18.

The Tigers make their hay at Memorial Stadium, where over the last four-plus seasons they're now 28-2 SU and 18-12 ATS. And with the extra week off, they and their raucous home fanbase should be riled up for this one.


Smart pick

Clemson is great at home, while Notre Dame is an iffy proposition on the road. And sending a very young, albeit talented, quarterback into a place like Death Valley is risky. The smart take here is the Tigers, the home team at a short spread.


Betting trends

Notre Dame is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games in October.

Notre Dame is 0-3 ATS in its last three games on the road.

The total has gone under in six of Clemson's last seven games.


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

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Ole Miss Rebels vs. Florida Gators Betting Odds, Analysis, Football Pick

Ole Miss boosters must absolutely love head coach Hugh Freeze—not only are the Rebels a national championship contender, but they're 27-15 against the spread since he took over. This week Ole Miss hits the SEC road for its first meeting with Florida in seven seasons Saturday afternoon at the Swamp.


Point spread: The Rebels opened as 6.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 25.7-18.3 Rebels


Why the Ole Miss Rebels can cover the spread

The Rebs are off to a 4-0 start to this season (3-1 against the spread) after beating Vanderbilt last week 27-16. Ole Miss dominated most of the game, eventually outgaining the Commodores 472-322, and while Vandy kept it close, the Rebs made the key plays at key times, including a blocked punt and a red-zone stand that resulted in a missed Commodores field goal.

Ole Miss opened this season with blowout wins (and covers) against Tennessee-Martin and Fresno State and then pulled the big upset on the road of Alabama, which propelled it into the national championship conversation. And if the Rebs can win in Tuscaloosa, why can't they win in Gainesville too?


Why the Florida Gators can cover the spread

Florida, playing its first season under new head coach Jim McElwain, is also 4-0 this season (3-1 against the spread) after rallying to top Tennessee last week 28-27 and win outright as a one-point home dog. The Gators trailed 27-14 in the fourth quarter but scored two touchdowns in the last five minutes—the second on a 63-yard Will Grier-to-Antonio Callaway scoring play on 4th-and-14 with a minute-and-a-half to go—to steal the victory.

Florida went 5-of-5 on fourth down and had luck on its side, surviving Tennessee's last-second field-goal attempt.

The Gators opened this season with a 61-13 nuking of New Mexico State, covering as five-touchdown favorites, beat East Carolina 31-24 and then opened SEC play with a tough 14-9 victory over an improved Kentucky team, covering as three-point favorites on the road. So this young team seems to be adapting well to the new coach's systems.


Smart pick

Ole Miss is the better team here with big things in mind for this season, and it showed maturity by avoiding a letdown after the upset of Alabama. Florida, meanwhile, is coming off an emotional, come-from-behind rivalry victory and could be ripe for one of those letdowns. The smart money here is with the Rebs.


Betting trends

  • Ole Miss is 5-0 against the spread in its five games against Florida.
  • The total has gone under in six of Ole Miss' last seven games on the road.
  • Florida is 6-1 straight up and against the spread in its last seven games.


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

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College Football Rankings 2015: Week 5 NCAA Standings and Top 25 Team Records

The Top 25 for Week 5 reflects a Week 4 that wasn't nearly as straightforward as fans anticipated. 

Oregon—the top-ranked Pac-12 team heading into the season—was not only defeated by Utah, but thoroughly dominated. The Utes blew out the Ducks 62-20 and moved into the Top 10, according to the latest AP Poll.

UCLA proved that it can still be a top team without Myles Jack at linebacker with a 56-30 win over Arizona, and No. 3 TCU avoided an upset bid from Texas Tech in Lubbock. 

Here's a look at how the rankings shook out heading into a Week 5 slate that should cause an even bigger shake-up among the college football hierarchy. 


Week 5 Storylines to Watch

Game of the Week: No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia

The Alabama Crimson Tide find themselves in an unfamiliar situation this week. According to Odds Shark, they will be a two-point underdog when they go between the hedges to play the Bulldogs. As Gil Brandt of noted, it's been a while since the Tide have been the underdogs:

It's understandable why the Tide have been forced into the role. Georgia has been nothing short of dominant in its first four games this season, while Alabama recently lost to Ole Miss. 

However, counting Alabama out in this one would be a mistake. The Tide are in a do-or-die situation. If Nick Saban's squad picks up its second loss, a College Football Playoff berth and SEC title are pretty much out of the question. 

Despite the one in the loss column, the Tide are still No. 1 in the country in an important metric. Football Outsiders' F/+ rankings, which take into account various advanced metrics, still have Alabama as the best team in college football. 

Georgia isn't too bad according to the metric, either. The Bulldogs' play has them ranked No. 7 according to Football Outsiders. The highest-ranked opponent they've played, however, comes in at No. 41 (South Carolina). For comparison, Alabama has already played the No. 19 team in the country in F/+ in Wisconsin and lost to the No. 3 team in F/+ in Ole Miss. 

Georgia is a strong team. Nick Chubb has played lights-out, and the Bulldogs certainly passed every test thus far. Saturday's test comes with a whole lot more gravitas. Will it be a crowning moment for the Bulldogs at home, or will the Tide keep their CFP hopes alive?

Either way, this has to be considered the biggest matchup of the week. 


Potential Playoff Team to Watch: No. 15 Oklahoma Sooners vs. No. 23 West Virginia

There's still plenty of time for a team to move from the middle of the pack to a playoff favorite. One such team that has a shot at starting that run this week is the Oklahoma Sooners. 

Remember in 2014 when TCU went from middling Big 12 team to conference co-champions and one of the conference's biggest threats to make the playoff? It was in large part due to a revamping of the offense with a new Air Raid attack to complement an already-stifling defense. 

Fast-forward to 2015, and the Oklahoma Sooners are in position to make a similar leap this season. Oklahoma brought in offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley to give the offense a shot in the arm, and he's done just that. Baker Mayfield has already thrown for over 1,000 yards through three games in Riley's system, while Samaje Perine continues to pace the running attack that is averaging 182.3 yards per game. 

Even though the Sooners already have a win over a Top 25 team in Tennessee on their resume, West Virginia might be their toughest test to date. Dana Holgorsen has his squad playing really well outside of the conference, and it's led to blowout wins over Georgia Southern, Liberty and Maryland. 

Holgorsen shared his thoughts on West Virginia's understanding of its matchup with Matt Keller of

I’m anxious to get into Big 12 play. We know what we’re getting into at Oklahoma. We understand the history and tradition and their winning percentage and the success they have had. We have a lot of these games coming up in the next month. I think we are prepared as well as we can possibly be. I look forward to getting in there and seeing what happens.

Make no mistake, West Virginia is a live dog here. Odds Shark has the Mountaineers pegged as a touchdown underdog. Their dynamic offense makes that an interesting line. 

However, Oklahoma has a real chance to make a statement here. Between TCU's struggles with injuries and the fact that Baylor has yet to play anyone of merit at this point, the waters of the Big 12 have been muddied since the beginning of the season. 

The eventual league champions might be beating the Mountaineers in Norman on Saturday. 


Upset Watch: Texas Tech at No. 5 Baylor

Featuring a lightweight lineup of SMU, Lamar and Rice, the fact that Baylor's nonconference schedule is the most plush in college football is not a well-kept secret. The Bears are consistently listed as a playoff contender this season, but they have yet to be truly tested. 

That's about to change. 

You remember the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the team that came one miracle tipped-pass touchdown away from upsetting then-No. 3 TCU last week. Now they get a chance to bounce back against a Baylor team that will once again be more than happy to trade explosive plays with them all game. 

Josh Norris of NBC Sports noted both teams' general lack of interest in possessing the ball for long periods of time:

The over/under in this contest is 88, per Odds Shark. That means the folks in Vegas expect a shootout. While the Bears might be the 15-point favorite, Texas Tech's offense is no joke. It ranks No. 3 in Football Outsiders' offensive S&P+ numbers. 

In a game where neither defense will be able to stop the opposing offense, crazy things are bound to happen. Last week, the Red Raiders found themselves on the bad side of those crazy things. This week, it wouldn't be shocking to see them catch a few breaks. 

With Baylor relatively untested so far this season, those breaks might be enough to see them get challenged this week. Few teams can keep up with Baylor's ability to put points on the board. The Red Raiders appear to be up to that challenge and could make things interesting when the game gets into the fourth quarter. 

A win for Tech would cause a major reshuffling in the CFP picture, as it would show the Big 12 is once again fairly wide open at the top.

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Florida vs. Ole Miss Complete Game Preview

The No. 25 Florida Gators are ranked in the Associated Press poll for the first time since 2013, but unless they upset No. 4 Ole Miss in the Swamp on Saturday, their stay won't last more than a week.

The Rebels own one of the two strongest wins in college football this season (the other being what Utah just did to Oregon) after thoroughly beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa two weeks ago. They didn't look as sharp against Vanderbilt in Week 4, but that can be forgiven considering where the Commodores landed on the schedule.

Florida, meanwhile, beat Tennessee for the 11th consecutive time in dramatic fashion in Week 4, converting five fourth downs and erasing a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit. Receiver Antonio Callaway caught the game-winning 63-yard touchdown from quarterback Will Grier with less than 90 seconds left on the clock.

It was a stunning home debut for head coach Jim McElwain in SEC play. But Ole Miss won't be as gracious to the Gators if they struggle to move the ball for 50-plus minutes. Everything they did well in spurts against Tennessee must be done well from start to finish.

Otherwise, the magic will subside.


Date: Saturday, October 3

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium; Gainesville, Florida


Line: Ole Miss -7, according to Odds Shark

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Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State Complete Game Preview

Texas A&M repeated history with a second straight comeback win over Arkansas in Arlington last weekend.

It hopes to avoid repeating history when it hosts Mississippi State on Saturday.

The Bulldogs roasted the Aggies in Week 6 last season, rebounding from an early 7-0 hole by running up 28 consecutive points and eventually leading by as much as 38 in a 48-24 win.

The loss was A&M's first of the year after a 5-0 start and knocked the Aggies from No. 6 to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll. Worse than that, it started their descent over the second half of the season, which started so promising but ended with five losses and a trip to the Liberty Bowl.

Can Kevin Sumlin's team exact revenge? LSU did in Week 2 after losing to the Bulldogs last season. But Dan Mullen's team rebounded with a solid win at Auburn and now finds itself at No. 21 in the AP rankings, contending for another SEC title.

Here's everything you need to know for gameweek.


Date: Saturday, October 3

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Location: Kyle Field; College Station, Texas

TV: SEC Network

Line: Texas A&M -7, according to Odds Shark


Note: All advanced stats via SB Nation's Bill Connelly. All recruiting info refers to 247Sports' composite rankings.

Begin Slideshow

College Football Rankings 2015: Power Ranking All 128 Teams for Week 5

We've reached the end of the first month of the 2015 college football season, and more than two dozen of the 128 teams at the FBS level have yet to lose a game. On the other end of the spectrum, through four weeks we also have seven schools (from six different conferences) that have yet to claim victory.

And in between are a lot of teams moving in either direction. How do they all rank from top to bottom? That's what the power rankings are for.

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 month, and then give us your thoughts in the comments section. 

Begin Slideshow

The College Recruitment of Rob Gronkowski

Mike White vividly remembers the first time he realized that Rob Gronkowski would play professional football.

Despite covering him as a senior tight end, the veteran Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter didn't experience that light-bulb moment until he witnessed the eventual Super Bowl champion pick up a basketball during the winter of 2006. 

"When I saw Gronkowski on the court, that's when my jaw dropped," White said. "I'm watching the guy in warm-ups, and his athleticism was off the charts."

Already standing approximately 6'6" and 250 pounds, the Woodland Hills High School star delighted onlookers with an arsenal of awe-inspiring slams. White looked on as Gronkowski unleashed a 360-degree pregame dunk, sending an intimidating message to opposing players.

"It's a quarter into the game, and I turned to my wife and said, 'See that kid? He's going to be in the NFL,'" White said. "Did I know he was going to be this good? No. I don't think anybody did."

While Gronkowski's football abilities ultimately attracted attention across America, his athletic prowess transcended the game at an early age. He also anchored the lineup of his high school baseball squad, batting cleanup.

The 26-year-old NFL All-Pro affectionately known as "Gronk" wowed folks long before he landed on top of everyone's fantasy football rankings. 247Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons recalls the buzz that surrounded the Buffalo product who transferred to a Pittsburgh-area powerhouse for his final high school campaign.

"Gronkowski was absolutely one of those guys whom some people looked at and saw an offensive tackle because of his size. He probably could have been a first-round pick at offensive tackle if he wanted to do that, but he was just so uniquely talented," Simmons said.

"You knew he was going to be a force in some capacity," he added. "It was just a matter of whether he was going to be a force as a pass-catcher or more of a line-of-scrimmage presence."

Now known for his reliable hands and record-setting production as a receiver at the position, opportunities through the air were rare for Gronkowski as a senior at Woodland Hills. He caught just eight passes in 2006, though he still managed to score four touchdowns and earn a spot in the Post-Gazette's "Fabulous 22" for his overall impact on games. 

That season nearly never occurred for the three-sport standout. The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League ruled Gronkowski ineligible shortly after his August transfer from Williamsville North High School in Williamsville, New York. 

The WPIAL initially declared his transfer to be motivated by athletic reasons. That decision was reversed less than a week later, clearing the way for Gronkowski to make an immediate impact at Woodland Hills.

His skills as a receiver were well-understood, despite offensive production that pales in comparison to the 324 receptions Gronkowski has racked up since New England drafted him 42nd overall in 2010.

Woodland Hills invested in a JUGS passing machine before Gronkowski's senior season, and the tight end quickly took ownership of it.

"Their football coach [George Novak] tells this story all the time. They had just bought it and went away to camp for a week. Before practice, Gronkowski would stand close to it and catch every pass," White said. "Then he'd get closer and tell them to turn it up as fast as it could go. He would just sit there and catch everything."

Tim Kish, an assistant college football coach since 1978, spearheaded Arizona's recruitment of Gronkowski. While he admits most players of that stature often end up playing on the offensive or defensive line, a Wildcats staff led by head coach Mike Stoops never doubted Gronkowski would make his biggest impact in the aerial attack.

"We anticipated he'd be successful. We just didn't know how good he could be," said Kish, who now coaches linebackers at Oklahoma. "He's a unique and rare athlete."

Beyond the physical tools, Kish admired Gronkowski's attitude. 

"He's got tremendous passion to play the game. He's fiery-competitive. Rob doesn't like to lose at anything, but at the same time, he's a happy-go-lucky guy after the game," he said.

This demeanor makes Gronkowski an endearing professional athlete, one who comes off at times as a big kid. Football fans have become accustomed to watching him dominate the red zone and the dance floor

He carried similar exuberance into the recruiting process.

"He was a guy who would enjoy the campus visits," Simmons said. "Pictures would emerge of him with coeds. He'd refer to himself as 'The Big, Bad Gronk' sometimes. The personality was always there, and that was clear from the beginning. In a lot of cases today, his persona would maybe raise some red flags, but he's managed it so well that if anything, it's a positive with him."

The younger brother of two FBS football players, Gronkowski followed their footsteps as another collegiate prospect in the family. 

His profile grew rapidly, due in large part to a dominant junior season at Williamsville North. Gronkowski earned second-team All-State honors in New York that year, wreaking havoc at tight end and defensive end. 

Considered a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, he was rated fourth nationally among tight ends and 84th overall in the 2007 class' composite rankings. Arizona was hardly alone in its pursuit of the premier talent. 

"He had 45 to 50 scholarship offers," Kish said. "We got our foot in the door with him, and he came out to campus. I think Rob looked around the university and saw it was a beautiful situation with great weather. He knew we were throwing the ball all over the place at the time and that he'd have an opportunity to compete to play right away."

Gronkowski verbally pledged to Arizona in January 2007, midway through a basketball season that saw him average a double-double per game. His decision didn't come with much fanfare or a memorable announcement ceremony but managed to send Kish into a personal celebration.

The Wildcats finished the season a few weeks prior, and the coach was enjoying an offseason trip with his family. He was chopping wood behind a cabin in the White Mountains of northern Arizona when the call came.

It was Gordon Gronkowski and his fourth-born son. Rob was ready to commit.

"Probably everybody in the White Mountains could hear me screaming after that conversation," Kish said. "It was a scream of excitement. We were so thrilled to get him on board. It was huge."

Gronkowski chose Arizona over dozens of options, including top contenders Clemson, Syracuse and Ohio State. He would play just two seasons for the Wildcats, catching 75 passes for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Back surgery cost Gronkowski his entire junior campaign, though it didn't prevent him from declaring early for the NFL draft. He ultimately landed with the Patriots and quickly developed into a primary target for future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. 

Gronkowski now seems well on his way to Canton. He holds the NFL tight end record for most consecutive seasons with at least 10 touchdown grabs and became the all-time single-season positional leader with 1,327 receiving yards in 2011.

"He's had a major impact on the position," top-ranked 2016 tight end recruit Isaac Nauta said. "A lot of college coaches bring him up during conversations because they know plenty of prospects nowadays want to be the next Gronk."

But is there a "next Gronk" in college football recruiting?

Kish isn't so sure.

"I don't know if we'll ever see another one just quite like him," he said. "An athlete who looks like that and moves like that in high school is incredibly rare. Those kinds of players often end up moving to a different position. A decade ago, and obviously still today, Rob proves how unique he really is at tight end."


Editor's note: Throughout the 2015 football season, Bleacher Report will continue a series on the college recruitment of today's biggest sports stars. For previous installments, see below:


Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue. Recruit ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake. 

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Texas Longhorns vs. TCU Horned Frogs Complete Game Preview

Trying to avoid a third straight loss, the Texas Longhorns travel to No. 4 TCU on Saturday in hopes of pulling off a big-time upset.

Both the Longhorns and Horned Frogs found themselves in similar situations in their Big 12 debuts. Each highly competitive game came down to the wire, with the entire narrative of the season hanging in the balance.

The difference is Gary Patterson's squad got it done. With under 30 seconds to go, Aaron Green bailed out Trevone Boykin with a diving touchdown catch off a deflection, keeping the Horned Frogs' early College Football Playoff hopes alive.

Texas, on the other hand, botched its second straight shot at overtime against a talented team. One week after a missed extra point cost the Longhorns against Cal, punter Michael Dickson fumbled a snap that allowed Oklahoma State to chip in the game-winning field goal.

It's been a brutal sequence for Charlie Strong and his team, who have yet to play a team that's lost. The Horns have found their quarterback in Jerrod Heard, but the team's inexperience has been a tragic flaw thus far.

Can the Horns finally get it right in one of the nation's most unforgiving environments? Or will TCU stomp out yet another upset attempt?


When Texas Has the Ball

Now three games into the Heard era, it's pretty clear what Texas wants to do on offense. The question is whether the Horns can get it done if one of their top linemen sits.

With Heard at the helm, the Longhorns have gone to a full-fledged spread attack. As evidenced by Heard's 10.9 yards per attempt (No. 2 in the nation, per, they want to push the ball down the field and gets their athletes, namely Heard himself, into space.

That approach has worked well for the Horns, who had two touchdowns called back against Oklahoma State. Well, at least until Kent Perkins came out of the game.

With the right tackle out of the game, the Cowboys absolutely teed off on Heard for five sacks, including two on the final drive. The combination of Marcus Hutchins and Tristan Nickelson was simply no match for OSU's talented defensive ends.

Texas experienced similar results last season when Perkins went down against Kansas State. He left early in the first quarter, and the Horns were shut out 23-0 and finished with 90 rushing yards on the day.

Per Strong, Perkins is now considered day-to-day. If he misses this one, it might be enough for the TCU defense to get back on track.

As SB Nation's Kevin Trahan notes, Patterson's unit has been ravaged by injuries, attrition and a suspension. In its thrilling win over Texas Tech, safety Derrick Kindred was the only starter remaining from last season's Peach Bowl.

The Horned Frogs are still getting into the backfield with 10 sacks, but missed tackles and lapses in coverage have been a real problem. As Heard and the Horns showed us against Cal, it doesn't take much for them to make a big play. 

How Patterson addresses that will define the direction of this game.


When TCU Has the Ball

Patterson may be known for his defense, but it's his offense that will carry this team through the early part of the season.

Since moving to a spread attack last season, the Horned Frogs have averaged an incredible 47.5 points and 557.4 yards per game. Boykin has been the engineer of the offensive renaissance, accounting for 6,268 yards of offense and 57 touchdowns since the start of the 2014 season.

Though this season, Boykin's sharing the spotlight. Receiver Josh Doctson went bonkers against the Red Raiders, reeling in 18 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns, while the tailback Green is enjoying a breakout of his own.

A week ago, you might have thought this group could put up 100 on the Longhorns. Strong's team had given up 4.8 yards per carry heading into last week's matchup with Oklahoma State and was offering very little resistance on the back end to boot.

But the Longhorns buckled down against the Pokes, harassing Mason Rudolph into three turnovers, including two that were returned for touchdowns.

The turnaround was sparked by the resurgence of Hassan Ridgeway (more on him later) and the insertion of freshmen corners Holton Hill, Kris Boyd and Davante Davis. Speaking to the media on Monday, Strong said (h/t ASAP Sposts) he really liked the energy they brought to the field:

You bring in the two freshmen with Boyd and Hill and even Davante, so we played all freshman corners . . . We're just going to continue to play a lot of guys and just let them play, because what happens when they play and you play enough of them, then they play with a lot of energy, and they enjoy being out there, and they'll compete, and then you don't have to worry about just sitting there worrying, hey, can I really depend on that person. Just let them play. They'll get it done.

Hill, who returned the interception for the touchdown, has a chance to be an X-factor in this one against Doctson. TCU's beastly 6'3" receiver abused Quandre Diggs last season and has since made his case as the best receiver in the country.

At 6'2", Hill's a much better matchup than Diggs because he can press and then run with Doctson. He can't be expected to handle TCU's top threat by himself, but the young corner has the ability to force Boykin into looking elsewhere. From there, it's up to Texas' pass rush to get after the Horned Frogs' star quarterback.


Key Player for Texas: DT Hassan Ridgeway

Hassan Ridgeway has been mentioned in this spot before, and he showed why last week. Now healthy, he's a game-changer for the Longhorns.

Ridgeway finally broke through against the Pokes, recording his first sack of the season and returning a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown. Most of all, the push he created up the middle finally closed the wide-open running lanes the Horns were giving up. As a result, the defense held OSU to 2.2 yards per carry, by far Texas' best showing of the season.

It took a while, but this the Ridgeway we expected all offseason. Now that he's worked his way back into shape, Strong is really impressed with what he's seeing:

What happened the first two [games] is just during the preseason camp he was just working back getting into shape and had a couple of nagging injuries. But then you watch him go out there and play this past week against Oklahoma State and had just a great game.

As Texas' best defensive lineman, Ridgeway will have to keep it up if the Horns have any chance of slowing down the Horned Frogs.


Key Player for TCU: DE Josh Carraway

In a game where we should see a ton of points, the team that gets the most from its defense will have the edge. For TCU, that means Josh Carraway has to come up big.

Oklahoma State had success spying, blitzing and mixing up coverages against Heard. But this TCU defense is much less experienced than what Mike Gundy has at his disposal. If Patterson asks too much of his guys, it could just as easily expose this team to the big play.

Given Texas' issues at tackle, the best course of action would be to try to turn Carraway loose. Even if Perkins plays, he'll be on a bad knee ,and lateral movement has never been his strong suit at 325 pounds.

And should Carraway get to match up with Hutchins or Nickelson, he's going to have a field day getting hits on Heard.


Prediction: TCU 35, Texas 31

The Horned Frogs aren't 18.5 points (per better than Texas right now, but there's no reason to believe Boykin will drop this one at home.

Assuming at this stage that Perkins can play, the Longhorns are more than capable of moving the ball on this TCU defense. The back seven is young and inexperienced, while Heard's just two weeks removed from a 527-yard performance. He'll bounce back, as will the rest of an offense that had two touchdowns called back last week.

Still, this is TCU's offense at home. The Horned Frogs have won their last nine games at Amon G. Carter Stadium, averaging over 51 points per game in those victories.

Texas' young offense will continue to fight and show improvement, but it'll be another tough loss for Strong's team.


Unless otherwise noted, all stats and information courtesy of and

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