NCAA Football News

UCLA Bruins vs. Utah Utes Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

Utah is 2-2 straight-up in its first four meetings with UCLA since joining the Pac-12 four seasons ago, 3-1 against the spread and a field goal from being 4-0. Two teams coming off tough losses but still clinging to hopes of a division title meet when the Utes host the Bruins Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City.


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

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 37.4-31.4 Bruins


Why the UCLA Bruins can cover the spread

UCLA had won three games in a row, averaging 39 points in the process, but gave up a late touchdown and lost in an upset last week at home to Washington State 31-27. The Bruins took a late lead on quarterback Josh Rosen's 37-yard scoring scramble but left too much time on the clock and allowed the Cougars to drive 75 yards in less than a minute for the deciding score.

On the night, UCLA outgained Wazzu by 130 yards and ran the ball for 214, but two early drives inside the Cougars' 5-yard line bogged down into two short Bruins field goals, and four points decided the game.

Two weeks ago, UCLA looked pretty good in a 41-0 victory over Oregon State, outgaining the Beavers by more than 400 yards. Then again, that was Oregon State. The Bruins are only 4-3 in Pac-12 play, but if they beat Utah this week and USC in the season finale, they win the Pac-12 South.


Why the Utah Utes can cover the spread

Utah started this season 6-0, lost at USC and then won two more in a row before losing last week at Arizona in overtime, 37-30. The Utes trailed early 10-0, and later 20-10, rallied back to take a 27-20 lead in the third quarter but then gave up a touchdown on the first play of the second overtime and couldn't reply in kind.

For the game, Utah outrushed the Wildcats 224-158 and won the time-of-possession battle by almost 15 minutes. Usually numbers like that result in wins and covers.

At 5-2 in conference play, the Utes trail first-place USC by a tiebreaker in the Pac-12 South. But with a win over UCLA and with help from the Bruins next week, Utah would play in the conference championship game.


Smart pick

UCLA owns an edge on offense, but Utah owns the edge on defense, especially against the run. And the team that has won the ground battle has won the last four meetings in this series. Take the Utes here, the home team at the short spread.


Betting trends

UCLA is 1-4 ATS in its last five games against Utah.

The total has gone under in five of Utah's last six games at home.

UCLA is 5-0 ATS in its last five games on the road in November.


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

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Power Ranking Top 25 2016 College Football Recruiting Classes

There's plenty to sort through on the 2016 college football recruiting trail less than three months shy of national signing day. While a significant collection of top-tier high school talent still remains uncommitted, elite classes were established a while ago and continue to add quality pieces.

Inevitable coaching staff changes and a frenzied span of official visits will ultimately help define the latter stages of this cycle, though we already have a strong indication of which programs are set to secure the country's most impressive prospect hauls in February.

Here's a look at our latest 2016 recruiting class rankings, favoring teams that prefer value over volume. This list may evolve into something quite different by the time signing day arrives, but for now it provides an indication of where things stand as this season enters its final stretch.


Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports composite rankings. 

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Sean Maguire Named FSU Starting QB over Everett Golson

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed Monday that quarterback Sean Maguire would get the start against Chattanooga over Everett Golson.

“(Maguire) will start this week,” Fisher told, via Sam Cooper of Yahoo Sports. “Yes, he will.”

Fisher later told reporters that Maguire will be the starter "moving forward."

Maguire replaced Golson Saturday against NC State after the Notre Dame transfer struggled, turning the ball over three times. Maguire took over and threw for 231 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, erasing a 10-point deficit and leading the Seminoles to a 34-17 win. 

Golson was the team's starter for the first seven games of the season but missed two contests after suffering a concussion and showed rust against NC State. Maguire has played well when called upon, meanwhile, throwing for 816 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. And he clearly was the better player Saturday.

“The energy grew," Fisher said of Maguire coming into the game. "He was being vocal, being a leader. And then all of our guys got that bounce and got some urgency and he was the spark. He made a couple really nice plays under pressure. The guys appreciated that.”

While a game against Chattanooga should be a gimme, the Seminoles close the season against Florida in a matchup that will have huge implications for the team's postseason status, which will truly put Maguire to the test. 


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Who's More Likely to Leave Alabama First: Lane Kiffin or Kirby Smart?

Coaching silly season is about to crank up, and the eyes of athletic directors around the country should be fixated on Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The Alabama Crimson Tide staff is loaded with future head coaches, including offensive line coach Mario Cristobal (who has been linked to his alma mater, Miami, according to CBS Miami), defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

The last two assistants are interesting for two very different reasons.

Smart has been on head coach Nick Saban's staff since Saban got the job in 2007, and he has served as Alabama's defensive coordinator since 2008. During that time, the Crimson Tide has never finished a season outside of the top 12 nationally in total defense.

Sure, Saban has his fingerprints on that side of the ball, but as Bleacher Report's Chris Walsh noted, the defense is all Smart.

"I think [they] see it as easier than it really is," Alabama Crimson Tide Sports Network and Reece's Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage told Walsh. "Alabama, though, subtly and within that building, I think there’s a high regard and appreciation for what Kirby does in terms of putting it all together."

Smart has established himself as one of the best coordinators in the country but has done nothing to suggest whether he's capable of running a program.

For Kiffin, it's about rehabilitating his image. 

The one-year Tennessee experiment and the next four-and-a-half years at USC tarnished his reputation due to his attitude, NCAA issues and the inability to lead a contending program despite loads of talent on the roster. He's still getting paid by USC, according to Michael Casagrande of, and is on the second year of a three-year deal in Tuscaloosa.

Who will get a head-coaching job first: Smart or Kiffin?

It's definitely Smart.

That's not to say that Kiffin won't get looks. He will. There were reports last week that he had interviewed for the vacancy at Maryland, which were later refuted (via: Even though he might not have technically interviewed, Kiffin's marketability at a school like Maryland that is fueled by Under Armour in a Big Ten that also features Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh and James Franklin seems like the perfect storm of college football fun.

Because Kiffin has another year on his deal and has an image problem rather than an experience problem, he's more likely to stick around and wait for the perfect fit and perfect team to take the next step.

Smart probably has to take the next step after this season, and the way the silly season is shaping up, he's going to find a nice landing spot.

Whether that's at a high-profile place like Virginia Tech, South Carolina or Missouri; or at a smaller school that is either already open or opens up after dominoes fall—like perhaps Houston or Memphis—there's bound to be something that tickles Smart's fancy.

Plus, a short stint at a smaller school will answer the one remaining question on Smart's resume: Can he be a head coach?

Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn answered this question in back-to-back seasons at Arkansas State in 2011 and 2012, before moving on to Ole Miss and Auburn, respectively. They both led their programs to various degrees of success early, which always helps stabilize programs.

Conversely, Will Muschamp jumped straight from being a hot-shot coordinator to a big head-coaching job at Florida, and was dismissed after just four years. Vanderbilt's Derek Mason looked completely lost in his first season at Vanderbilt after serving as Stanford's defensive coordinator for three years, but now he has a defense that's top 20 nationally in total defense and yards per play, and top five nationally in red-zone and third-down defense.

Even the best assistant coaches need to find their voice as head coaches. In a "win-now" business, that's more difficult to accomplish at a major program that expects immediate results.

Smart would benefit by finding a nice spot to slide that final piece into his coaching puzzle and then assess the coaching situation over the next few years at some of the SEC's big potential landing spots.

He essentially has two really attractive options outside of Tuscaloosa headed his way this offseason; take a leap to the big job if one of the big programs with a vacancy wants to take a chance on him, or jump at one of the smaller schools that either is open now or opens up later due to the coaching carousel.

Kiffin likely will only be attracted by the former, because the idea of him coaching a smaller school like Louisiana-Monroe—which just opened up—is about as likely as the NFL being able to accurately determine what constitutes a completed catch.

Smart seems like the most obvious choice to move on between the two, with Kiffin hanging around and being a little more selective with his next step.


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

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

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LSU Tigers vs. Mississippi Rebels Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

LSU owns 10 wins in its last 13 rivalry meetings with Ole Miss, and two wins in three tries with the current head coaches. But the Rebels are 2-1 against the spread over those last three meetings and 6-3 ATS over the last nine. The Tigers and the Rebels hook up for the latest edition of the Magnolia Bowl Saturday afternoon in Oxford.


Point spread: Rebels opened as 4.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 41.9-33.9 Rebels


Why the LSU Tigers can cover the spread

LSU is coming off consecutive losses that have knocked it from championship contention, but it can still salvage perhaps a New Year's Day bowl with a couple of victories to finish this regular season. Two weeks ago, the Tigers fell to Alabama 30-16, and last week they lost to Arkansas 31-14.

Louisiana State went down to the Razorbacks 21-0, rallied to within one score at 21-14 but faded from there. On the night, LSU gave up 440 yards of Arkansas offense, but almost half those yards came on three long Hogs scoring plays.

Prior to the loss to the Tide two weeks ago, the Tigers had started this season 7-0 SU and 4-3 ATS, outrushing every opponent. And last year LSU upset then-unbeaten Ole Miss 10-7 in Baton Rouge, outrushing the Rebs 264-137. If they can win the ground battle Saturday, the Tigers could win this game outright.


Why the Mississippi Rebels can cover the spread

Ole Miss had won back-to-back contests against Texas A&M and Auburn, outgaining those two by a combined 400 yards, but lost a crazy game against Arkansas two weeks ago 53-52 in overtime. The Rebs then had last week off.

Ole Miss went toe-to-toe with the high-powered Hogs, and led late, but gave up the game-tying score with just under a minute to go. Then, in overtime, the Rebs became the latest victim of college football's recent bout of lateral-happy craziness, giving up a first down on a 4th-and-25. Arkansas then scored, and an Ole Miss facemask penalty gave the Hogs a second chance on the two-point conversion, which they converted.

On the day, the Rebs racked up 590 yards of offense, 222 on the ground, but it's hard to coach against miracles. Ole Miss was ranked No. 3 in the country last season when it lost at LSU; perhaps the Rebs have a dose of revenge in mind for Saturday.


Smart pick

LSU deserved to lose to Alabama and Arkansas; Ole Miss beat the Tide earlier this season and did not deserve that loss to the Hogs. Also, LSU Heisman candidate running back Leonard Fournette has been held to a total of 122 yards rushing over the last two games. Ride the Rebs here, the home team at a reasonable spread.


Betting trends

LSU is 5-13 ATS in its last 18 games against Mississippi.

Mississippi is 5-15 SU in its last 20 games in November.

LSU is 17-2 SU in its last 19 games after a loss.


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 Playoff 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule for 3rd Rankings

Another wacky weekend of college football graced the 2015 season throughout Week 11, leaving the College Football Playoff selection committee with plenty of work to do before Tuesday night's reveal of their third rankings.

But while a number of would-be playoff contenders fell by the wayside and proved they aren't contenders after all, none of the teams in last week's Top Four did so. That could mean a repeat of last week's rankings, at least at the very top.


College Football Playoff Rankings Reveal

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET



Clemson Tigers

It wasn't pretty, but the Clemson Tigers did what they needed to do, overcoming the Syracuse Orangemen in a 37-27 victory to stay undefeated and remain the cream of the crop in college football.

It seemed to be guaranteed that head coach Dabo Swinney's squad would roll through the rest of the season undefeated once they beat Florida State in Week 10, but that may no longer be the case. While nobody on the remaining regular-season schedule is all that daunting, an ACC title-game clash with North Carolina could prove tough—the Tar Heels are dominating everyone they've stepped onto the field with in recent weeks.


Alabama Crimson Tide

After dropping an early-season contest at home to Ole Miss, almost anyone could recognize that Alabama needed to turn things around immediately and win out to make another appearance in the CFP. Well, the Crimson Tide are doing that.

They stomped Mississippi State into the ground on the road Saturday, winning 31-6 in a game many pegged as a big chance for the Tide to be upset. Running back Derrick Henry is sprinting his way to the top of the Heisman Trophy conversation, and bringing Alabama closer and closer to another national semifinal in the process.

Should Alabama avoid slipping up against the likes of Auburn and then Florida in the SEC title game, they'll most certainly be in.


Ohio State Buckeyes

The Ohio State Buckeyes didn't have a whole lot of danger on the majority of their schedule. Once they won the national championship last season, many folks knew they wouldn't step on the field with a team close to as talented as them until a late-season clash with Michigan State.

That's where the Buckeyes are headed for Week 12 as they welcome the Spartans to Columbus, once again sporting an undefeated record, as ESPN Stats & Info noted:

Even in the one season of Urban Meyer's reign in Columbus that they didn't start 10-0, they finished winning it all. But if they have those same aspirations for 2015, taking care of the Spartans at home will be a must before facing Michigan to end the season.


Notre Dame Fighting Irish

No matter what injuries or adversity seem to strike the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, they just keep trudging through their schedule and on the way to an appearance in a national semifinal.

Notre Dame outclassed Wake Forest on Saturday to win 28-7 and remain with just one loss on its record, which came against the top-ranked Clemson Tigers. The defense is proving dangerous, the offense is picking things up amid injuries and as long as they don't slip up at the end of the season against Stanford, they should be in.

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The College Football Week 11 All-Heart Team

It takes heart to survive the grueling month of November in college football.

Several teams learned that firsthand last Saturday in what turned out to be a day of survival for several ranked programs. One had to get an all-time performance from its determined quarterback to pull off a win. Another needed a ferocious comeback sparked by its former starting signal-caller, and yet another needed to turn to the bench when a disastrous loss seemed to be in the cards.

A few defenses put their collective hearts on full display with narrow wins—some with title implications, others with pure pride on the line. An entire team showed what it was made of with a tight win after one of the most eventful weeks a program could ever experience.

Here is the Week 11 All-Heart team made up of players and units that had the biggest game-defining performances in victories this past weekend. 

Of course, limiting an entire weekend of heart-filled performances to just a handful of names means some didn't get the extra spotlight this week. Tell us who you think showed the most heart in the comments below.

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B/R Recruiting Notebook: 3 Schools in Front for 4-Star RB Devwah Whaley

As a national top-five running back, Devwah Whaley is a wanted individual.

On Sunday, the 4-star prospect from Beaumont, Texas, announced that three schools lead the race for his verbal commitment, which is expected to come at the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2.

Whaley said Georgia, Arkansas and Texas are the front-runners. The 6'0", 210-pound running back is expected to be at Arkansas this weekend for an official visit. He visited Georgia in September and is still working out plans for a potential official visit to Texas. A visit could come in December, he said.

"I'm still wide-open at this point," Whaley said. "I took an unofficial [to Arkansas], but I didn't really get to do much or hang with the players. That's what I'm looking for, to get a better feel for everything and to get around the campus."

One school that seems to be losing steam is Texas A&M. The Aggies picked up a new commit in 4-star Trayveon Williams and now have two running back pledges in Williams and 3-star Rakeem Boyd.

"They aren't planning on taking three [running backs]," Whaley said. "I'm not saying A&M is out of the question, but they have two committed already. It is what it is."

Whaley's 247Sports Crystal Ball points to Georgia, and Whaley's a fan of the program and its direction. He said he enjoyed his trip in September and has thought about him and 4-star running back commit Elijah Holyfield being a one-two punch similar to Georgia's 2014 tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

"It'd be a cool deal," Whaley said. "Elijah's a good person. We hung out together at Dawg Night [in July]. We've gotten to know each other. He's a good football player. It would be pretty cool to make up the next Sony-and-Chubb combo." 

The winner of the Whaley sweepstakes gets a running back who rushed for 1,389 yards and 22 touchdowns for Central High School in his senior year. He rushed for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in his junior year. In those two seasons, Whaley showed his durability by rushing 416 times, including 234 as a senior.


Out-of-state school on watch for California ATH

Although many feel the race for Long Beach, California, 4-star athlete Jack Jones will come down to the two Los Angeles rival schools, USC and UCLA, Jones said that one out-of-state school has been showing the most interest.

Jones, the nation's No. 3 athlete, said Texas A&M has been the most active of the schools interested in him. He's being recruited to Texas A&M by tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Jeff Banks and receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.

"They've been talking to me every night," said Jones, a 6'0", 170-pound athlete who can play receiver, cornerback and be a solid returner on special teams. "They've been consistent, and they're telling me I can play both sides [of the ball]."

Choosing a school is one issue Jones has to worry about; deciding whether he wants to play receiver or cornerback at the next level is another issue. Jones has made official visits to Arizona State (week of Sept. 25) and Texas A&M (week of Oct. 2) and added that while he has an idea of the top contenders, he is in no rush to make any sudden moves.

"Everything is straight right now. It's all starting to slow down," Jones said. "I haven't thought about any other visits. They can get real tiring, but it's always fun to check out a new school."

Jones said a decision could come on national signing day, Feb. 3.


"Moose" watch: Race for Kansas DT continues

Lawrence, Kansas, 4-star defensive lineman Amani "Moose" Bledsoe tweeted a top six back in August that included Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oregon and UCLA. That half-dozen hasn't changed for the defensive end, and three schools are currently fighting for two available official visits.

Bledsoe visited Oregon in September and Oklahoma and North Carolina State last month. Kansas, Missouri and UCLA are hoping to host Bledsoe on upcoming official visits, and with new offers from Baylor and USC, Bledsoe said the final two visits are considered tossups.

"I'm going to take my time with it all," Bledsoe said. "I'm just looking for somewhere that I can fit in, somewhere where I can make an impact and develop as a player. I want to be the best I can be."

Bledsoe, a 6'5", 265-pound athlete who can line up in the trenches on both sides of the ball, said he hears most from Kansas and Oklahoma. The Sooners, in fact, lead Bledsoe's 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions.

Bledsoe said he is considering holding off until national signing day to make a decision. However, he isn't opposed to ending his recruiting process if he feels completely sold on a program.


Potential package deal with Georgia prospects?

Ellenwood, Georgia, linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse has nearly 20 reported offers, and while he admitted that he's still weighing his options, he said a decision could come with the help of another teammate.

Mbem-Bosse, the nation's No. 14 inside linebacker, plays for Cedar Grove High School and is a teammate of Antwaun Jackson, the nation's No. 9 defensive tackle. Mbem-Bosse said the idea of the two being college teammates isn't a foreign topic.

"We've talked about playing together at the next level," Mbem-Bosse said. "That's a conversation we have every day. But we'll just have to see how things work out."

Mbem-Bosse, a shade under 6'3" and 227 pounds, is being recruited as a linebacker but can also play tight end and wide receiver if necessary. He has offers from Auburn, Michigan, North Carolina State and a host of other programs. He's taken an official visit to North Carolina State and said he's considering a visit to Oklahoma this weekend, depending on his team's playoff schedule. Cedar Grove is three games away from a Georgia state championship.

"NC State was amazing. It was good to get out and see one of my former D-tackles, Quentez Johnson," Mbem-Bosse said. "With Oklahoma, I really like the staff there and the defense that they run. They run a 3-4 [defense] and just let their linebackers play football."


Sleeper alert: Texas RB rushes for 8 TDs in win

Replacing Chris Warren III isn't an easy task for any running back at Rockwall (Texas) High School in. Warren, now a freshman at Texas, rushed for 58 touchdowns and more than 4,100 yards for his high school career.

2016 running back Caleb Broach is doing his best to fill Warren's shoes and made a statement in a playoff win over the weekend. Broach rushed for 309 yards and eight touchdowns in the victory.

At 5'9" and 195 pounds, Broach has 1,347 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. His numbers are even more impressive considering that this is his first varsity season lining up at running back. Broach was a defensive back during Warren's time at running back.

Broach, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, according to his Hudl page, is still looking for his first FBS offer.


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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7-Step Drop: Barring a Miracle, Pac-12 Can Kiss the Playoff Goodbye

If we should learn anything from Ohio State’s magical run to the national title last season, it’s that we shouldn’t quite write anybody off until all is said and done and those semifinal matchups are announced.

That said, as we make the transition to Week 12 of the season, it might be about that time to bid adieu to the Pac-12’s already slim chances of getting a team into the Final Four in 2015. After a wild and tumultuous Week 11 out West, it looks likely that the Pac-12 will find itself out of the College Football Playoff just a season removed from sending a team to the inaugural title game.

The primary culprit is once again the surprisingly tense Oregon-Stanford rivalry. Over the past few years, dating back to the days of Jim Harbaugh and Chip Kelly, these two teams have been locked into a very close series that has seen one or the other end national and league title hopes for their opposite number on numerous instances.

Now we can add 2015 to the ledger in favor of the Ducks.

Vernon Adams Jr.’s return to the lineup has continued to pay dividends and made Oregon a legitimate Top 25 team, with the offense once again humming, as we’ve all been accustomed to. Maybe just as impressive on Saturday was the defense, though, which contained Stanford Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey better than most have (33 carries for 147 yards) and grabbed three turnovers from a normally protective offense.

Then there was the great play to essentially prevent overtime by linebacker Joe Walker, who knocked the ball away from Austin Hooper. While it was a valiant effort to storm back in the fourth quarter by the Cardinal, one can’t help but think they had this one slip through their fingers, first with early defensive miscues and then later by botching a pair of snaps.

It will be interesting to see where Stanford checks in on Tuesday in the updated committee rankings, but one can’t help but look at the rest of the college football landscape and think the team’s hopes of making the playoff were altered to Rose Bowl or bust.

The same could also be said for Utah, which fell in double overtime to an Arizona team beset by injuries and hoping to just make it to a bowl game. Wildcats quarterback Anu Solomon was injured once again and backup Jerrard Randall needed just one completion, the final one, to topple a Top 10 opponent at home once again under Rich Rodriguez.

The end result is the Utes don’t even control their own fate inside the rough Pac-12 South and will need a little bit of help just to make it to Santa Clara for the title game—something that looked like a lock two weeks ago.

Fans elsewhere will likely be able to take the double whammy of losses to the two contenders as a chance to lambaste the Pac-12’s overall strength. That would be a little misplaced, though.

Yes, there is no elite team in the conference this season. That doesn’t mean it’s weak. Ten out of the 12 teams may eventually wind up in a bowl game this year, and those fears of teams in the the league simply beating each other up have proved to be well-founded in 2015.

Put simply, the Pac-12 makes life harder on itself than other leagues with nine conference games, a title game and a general preference for playing a decent nonconference slate. That’s the toughest road to the playoff, period. It’s also a road of its own making.

Yes, the tough strength of schedule is an oft-brought-up source of pride among conference officials. But that same pride can lead to the league’s downfall when it comes to the College Football Playoff.

It didn’t trip up an elite team such as Oregon was last year with a special player leading the Ducks in Marcus Mariota. But with a robust middle class, the lack of a conference bully atop the standings and only fringe Heisman candidates, this simply wasn’t the season where everything could line up to put another team into the Final Four.

There’s an outside, outside chance Stanford could still be alive with convincing wins over Cal, Notre Dame and Utah to end the year and a little chaos elsewhere, but the chances of that happening seem remote as the sun rises on Nov. 16th.

Whatever slim chance the league has at the playoff likely rests on Baylor winning the Big 12 and going head-to-head with a two-loss Stanford, which could present the case to the committee that it scheduled like a true contender and won a tough league.

But again, the chances are slim to none that scenario plays out.

And that’s also OK. The Pac-12 had a great season last year, and the league is a good one this year. There should be no existential crisis like there was when the Big 12 was left out. There shouldn’t be any whining from Pac-12 fans. Just rebuild, regroup and move on.

Of course, in a twist of fate, the Pac-12 faltering this season when it comes to the playoff and getting left out of the Final Four likely opens door for the league that got passed over last year.

The Big 12, whether it be Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, is likely the biggest beneficiary of the chaos out West. Ex-Stanford athletic director and current Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby can likely breathe a small sigh of relief thanks mostly to his former school.

The season is not lost for the Pac-12 in either of these final few weeks. Stanford can play Final Four spoiler for Notre Dame (and solve a potential headache for the committee in the process). Utah and others are still vying to get to Pasadena on January 1, too. Placing two teams into the New Year’s Six is also a big financial carrot dangling out there as well.

The Pac-12 will still be involved in the postseason race, but maybe not as the league had once hoped. That’s OK. Sometimes that’s just how things break in a sport like college football.

The best part is, there’s always next season.


Stats of the Week

- Congrats to Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who rushed for 137 yards and four touchdowns, the first of which helped him surpass former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball as the FBS career leader in rushing touchdowns.

- Wake Forest’s Alex Kinal also broke an FBS record with his 323rd career punt against Notre Dame on Saturday. Talk about two different levels of success to break those two records...

- Washington State’s Luke Falk threw two touchdown passes, setting a Cougars single-season record with 35. 

- Iowa is 10-0 for the first time in school history, and quarterback C.J. Beathard is still undefeated (11-0) as the Hawkeyes starting quarterback.

- Missouri’s offense has not been great recently, but this note from St. Louis Post-Dispatch beat man Dave Matter indicated something incredible in the Tigers' game against BYU: "Missouri's 14 first-half first downs are more than it had in the entire game vs. Florida, Georgia & Vanderbilt."

- Per the school's official website, "KaVontae Turpin’s 49-yard punt return extended TCU’s nation's-best streak to 23 games with a first-quarter touchdown. That’s a Big 12 record and the nation’s second-longest streak since 1996."

- With a victory over Illinois, Ohio State has now won 30 conference games in a row, breaking the old record mark of 29 consecutive conference wins in the ACC by Florida State from 1992-95.

- Per ESPN Stats & Info, "No. 24 Houston is first team this season to win after trailing by 20 points in the 4th quarter (teams were 0-261 entering today)." 


Quote of the Week

"When you come to play Arkansas, I want you know that you're in a street fight. It's not going to come easy. We're going to play, and we're going to play longer than a lot of people want to play.” - Bret Bielema after beating LSU. 


Tweet of the Week


Play of the Week
LSU may have lost to Arkansas, but the Tigers executed this tip-drill to perfection:


Sound from Saturday


Pre-Snap Reads

TCU at Oklahoma

The Horned Frogs are beat up and looked downright embarrassed last week at Oklahoma State, where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Things won’t improve much with a trip to Norman, where the Sooners are playing as well as anybody in the country and are extremely tough at home. I’m not betting against a confident Bob Stoops right now, but this will be a little closer than some expect.


Baylor at Oklahoma State

Since dual-threat quarterback Jarrett Stidham has taken over the offense, the Bears simply haven’t been clicking like they once were. Part of that is because the strength of schedule is jumping up noticeably, but it’s also because of the Bears, too. I’m still not 100 percent sold on Oklahoma State, but at home and playing like they have been, the Cowboys should get a slight edge.


Michigan State at Ohio State

Will we see Ohio State finally live up to its potential? With Michigan State in town and all the lights on Columbus, I think we will. Big time. Not much needs to be said after that.


Bryan Fischer is a national football columnist at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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High School RB Cannot Be Taken Down No Matter What the Defense Throws at Him

We try to bring you a couple of crazy high school football videos every day here at Bleacher Report, but this one might take the cake.

Watch Trajon Duhart (Stafford High School, Texas) rush 10 yards downfield into traffic before reversing direction and...actually, words can't do this play justice. Just be sure to check it out in the video above.

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Michigan vs. Penn State: Complete Game Preview

The No. 14 Michigan Wolverines and Penn State Nittany Lions will square off on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania.

Michigan (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) must win to potentially set up a do-or-die Big Ten battle against rival Ohio State, which will host Michigan State. The Wolverines also need an Ohio State victory for that to happen, however.

Penn State (7-3, 4-2) will try to spoil Michigan's dream on senior day. Although the Nittany Lions have losses to OSU and Northwestern, they are undefeated at home in 2015.

According to Odds Shark, Michigan is a five-point favorite. ABC will broadcast the conference matchup, which is set for a noon ET kickoff.

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Notre Dame vs. Boston College Complete Game Preview

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Notre Dame football seniors closed out their careers at their home stadium Saturday with a 28-7 win over Wake Forest on Senior Day.

But the No. 4 Irish, sitting at 9-1, do get one more home game Saturday with the annual Shamrock Series matchup. Notre Dame and Boston College are set to square off at Fenway Park on Saturday night, and the Irish are the home team.

“We love these Shamrock Series games,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said. “We play great venues throughout the country, and this will be another great one in an iconic venue in Fenway Park. And the guys were really excited about playing in a stadium that has such great tradition.”

Boston College checks in at 3-7 overall. The Eagles have claimed wins over lowly Maine and Howard, plus a late-September victory over Northern Illinois. Since then, Boston College has suffered six consecutive losses, most recently a 24-8 setback against NC State on Nov. 7.

“We’ve got to keep grinding, keep building,” Eagles head coach Steve Addazio told reporters after the loss to the Wolfpack. “That’s what we’re working on right now. We’ve got a young football team right now out there. We play like a young football team.”


Date: Saturday, Nov. 21

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Place: Fenway Park in Boston


Radio: IMG College Sports, SiriusXM Channel 129

Spread: Notre Dame by 16, according to Odds Shark

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NCAA Football Rankings 2015: Analyzing Week 12 Polls, Top 25 College Standings

With only a few weeks left in the 2015 season, the college football world has a lot to work out before narrowing down four teams for the College Football Playoff. Well, Week 11 helped tremendously in that regard.

There were a number of teams previously mentioned in the same breath as other CFP contenders that proved they are no longer worthy, failing to overcome tough tests that would have proved their championship mettle. Meanwhile, other squads showed they'll be around down the stretch and are more than worthy of consideration.

Let's take a look at the Top 25 for the three major polls heading into Tuesday's reveal and talk about what it all means.

Where do we even begin?

Perhaps the ESPN College GameDay spectacle out in the Big 12 that was long looked toward would be a fitting start, the showdown between Oklahoma and Baylor in Waco, Texas, that essentially marked the Bears' first true test of the season. Baylor hung in, but couldn't match the Sooners as the game wore on and lost, 44-34.

While the loss undoubtedly takes Baylor out of the CFP picture just as TCU did a week before, it may be hard to discount the one-loss Sooners considering the way they've turned things around since their loss to Texas, as ESPN's Mike Greenberg observed:

Of course, Baylor was far from the only top-caliber team to fall flat Saturday with a chance to move closer to CFP contention.

A pair of Pac-12 teams also join the Bears in that regard. Both in the Top 10 entering the weekend, Utah and Stanford both suffered crushing defeats to give them two losses each on the season and spurn their fleeting CFP hopes.

You can kiss the conference's chances of making a national semifinal goodbye after that. ESPN Stats & Info noted how there isn't even a one-loss team in the fold:

Another top team threatened to join these squads in falling flat, with Oklahoma State coming closest to what would've been the most shocking defeat of them all. The unbeaten Cowboys trailed Iowa State big time, only to get it together and mount a huge comeback to top the Cyclones and stay undefeated.

Alabama joined Oklahoma State in staying in contention, but it did so in much more convincing fashion. The Crimson Tide stomped Mississippi State on the road, winning 31-6 and scoffing at folks who suggested this could be a trap game.

While other top teams struggle with poor schedules, you can't say as much about the Crimson Tide's slate, as Saturday Down South noted:

When it really boils down to it, Saturday's madness was just another week in the crazy college football season that has been 2015. Wacky results are becoming the norm, and teams tend to drop out of the CFP conversation week in and week out.

Don't expect Week 12 to be much different. 

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Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott Is Derrick Henry's Biggest Threat to 2015 Heisman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — One month into the 2015 season and on the eve of the start of Big Ten play, Ezekiel Elliott found himself facing a familiar topic of conversation with the paparazzi-like throng of reporters surrounding him on the Woody Hayes Athletic Center practice field.

But as opposed to four weeks prior, when the Ohio State running back's name was at the center of the Heisman Trophy discussion, Elliott was now being asked for his thoughts on LSU's Leonard Fournette, Georgia's Nick Chubb and even Indiana's Jordan Howard.

"Man," a visibly annoyed Elliott said, searching for an OSU spokesperson to save him. "I'm done."

It's possible that Elliott, who had rushed for 455 yards and five touchdowns in the Buckeyes' first four games of the season, was frustrated by an interview session that was meant to preview his team's matchup with Indiana turning into him being asked to play the part of pundit while talking about running backs whose statistics seemingly dwarfed his. Or maybe the St. Louis, Missouri, native was upset with his name already being left out of the way-too-early Heisman debate, after being anointed the front-runner following his run through the 2014 postseason.

Or perhaps Elliott just knew that his best football was still ahead of him.

Eight weeks after abruptly ending his interview session, Elliott still isn't the front-runner for college football's most prestigious award—that honor now belongs to Alabama running back Derrick Henry—but the Buckeyes back is once again a part of the conversation. As of last week, Bovada (via listed the reigning College Football Playoff MVP with the third-best odds (7-1) to win the 2015 Heisman, trailing just Henry (3-2) and Fournette (6-1).

After his 181-yard, two-touchdown performance against Illinois over the weekend, Elliott's Heisman hopes only grew, especially when coupled with Fournette's second consecutive game of having rushed for fewer than 100 yards.

"I know if I had my choice of any tailback in the country," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said in his postgame press conference following the Buckeyes' 28-3 win over the Fighting Illini, "I've got mine."

If he's going to make good on the preseason Heisman prognostications that made him a 6-1 favorite to win the award on the heels of his 696-yard, eight-touchdown stretch in Ohio State's three postseason games, Elliott still has some work to do. At the moment, Henry is the deserved favorite, having rushed for 1,458 yards and 19 touchdowns through the Crimson Tide's first 10 games of the season.

But while Henry has seen his Heisman campaign gain steam with back-to-back 200-plus-yard games against ranked opponents in LSU and Mississippi State, Elliott now finds himself in prime position to do the same. The third-ranked Buckeyes will be on the national stage for the next two—or possibly three—weeks heading into the Dec. 13 Heisman Trophy presentation, thanks to games against AP Top 25 No. 9 Michigan State, No. 14 Michigan and potentially No. 6 Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Currently ranking third in the nation with 1,425 rushing yards—just 33 fewer than Henry—Elliott still has possibly three games left to eclipse his Alabama counterpart, who leads the nation with 19 rushing touchdowns compared to Elliott's 16.

If history has been any indication, look for Elliott to make the most of his opportunity.

After all, it was this time a year ago that the 6'1", 225-pounder burst onto the national scene, helping carry the Buckeyes to the first-ever College Football Playoff with 448 rushing yards in Ohio State's final three pre-playoff games. That proved to be the start of a still-ongoing stretch that has seen Elliott rush for at least 100 yards in 15 consecutive games, helping land the junior at third on the Buckeyes' all-time rushing list (3,565 yards), despite having only been a starter for less than two full seasons.

"It's a blessing just to be compared to the great former running backs at Ohio State," Elliott said. "I just gotta give thanks to the O-line. I've basically had the same O-line since I started here. They make it easy for me, week in and week out."

This season hasn't seemed quite as easy as the end of last year did, with the eye-popping single-game totals for Elliott being further and fewer between. Elliott's lone 200-yard game of his 2015 campaign thus far came in a 274-yard, three-touchdown performance against Indiana that followed his aforementioned prematurely ended interview, and his 6.5 yards per carry are down from last year's average of 6.8.

But having rushed for at least 100 yards in each game this season, Elliott has provided a steadying force on a Buckeyes offense that has seen quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones rotate in and out of the lineup throughout the year. Neither Henry nor Fournette can claim that type of consistency this season, with both players having failed to reach triple-digit rushing totals on multiple occasions.

What's more is that Elliott appears to be taking his efforts to the next level, as evidenced by last weekend's big game in Champaign. If Elliott can continue with similar showings against the Spartans this weekend, a Michigan defense that ranks second in the nation and what could very well be a play-in game to the playoff against Iowa, he'll have as strong of a case as anyone when it comes to claiming the Heisman.

And unlike two months ago, that should give him plenty to talk about.


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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TCU Horned Frogs vs. Oklahoma Sooners Betting Odds, College Football Pick

Oklahoma is 2-1 against TCU since the latter joined the Big 12 three seasons ago, but all three games were close and the Horned Frogs covered the spread in two of those three meetings.

In yet another key game in the Big 12, the one-loss Sooners tangle with one-loss TCU on Saturday night in Norman.


Point Spread: This game was off the board early in the week at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.

Odds Shark Computer Pick: Sooners 46.4, Horned Frogs 45.0


Why the TCU Horned Frogs Can Cover the Spread

TCU just held off Kansas 23-17 despite playing the last three quarters without Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Trevone Boykin, who left the game with an ankle injury. TCU then went run-heavy, played a pair of backup quarterbacks, eventually built a two-score lead and held on from there.

The Frogs had chances to pull away, but three incursions inside the Jayhawks' red zone resulted in zero points—they were stopped on downs twice and threw a pick once.

Even on an off day, TCU gained 487 yards to the Jayhawks' 324, piling up 279 rushing yards compared to Kansas' 121. The Frogs also had an edge of almost eight minutes in time of possession.

If Boykin can't play this week, the Frogs will go with either senior Bram Kohlhausen or freshman Foster Sawyer. The former hit on 13 of 19 throws last week for 112 yards, while the latter ran eight times for 34 yards.

Perhaps the two of them, along with soon-to-be 1000-yard rusher Aaron Green, can combine to make up for Boykin's potential absence.


Why the Oklahoma Sooners Can Cover the Spread

OU is coming off a valuable victory last week, beating Baylor in Waco 44-34. The Sooners spotted the Bears the game's first touchdown, battled back to take a 14-point lead in the third quarter and later, after allowing Baylor to pull within three points with 10 minutes to go, iced the victory by embarking upon a 10-play, 78-yard drive that culminated in a short Baker Mayfield-to-Dimitri Flowers touchdown pass.

That gave Oklahoma a 10-point lead with less than five minutes left.

This was a night when the Sooners posted more yards (511-416), rushing yards (241-159), turnovers (3-1) and time of possession (34:54-25:06) than Baylor. And that's how you win games and cover spreads in college football.

Since taking a slap in the face from Texas six weeks ago, the Sooners are 5-0 both straight up and against the spread, winning those five games by an average of 38 points per outing.


Smart Pick

As of early this week, Boykin was considered questionable for this game, which probably means that even if he plays he'll be limited. Meanwhile, Oklahoma comes in hot and knows that if it wins its last two games, it wins the Big 12.

The smart money here sides with the Sooners.


Betting Trends

  • TCU is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games against Oklahoma.
  • Oklahoma is 5-0 SU and ATS in its last five games.
  • TCU is 1-4 ATS in its last five games on the road.


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

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Baylor Bears vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Betting Odds, College Football Pick

Oklahoma State owns 16 wins in its last 19 meetings with Baylor and a 5-2 straight-up and 6-1 against-the-spread tally in the rivalry between the current head coaches. But the Bears have won two of the last three meetings. In a big game in the Big 12, the undefeated Cowboys host one-loss Baylor Saturday night in Stillwater.


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: 53.4-37.9 Bears


Why the Baylor Bears can cover the spread

Baylor will be fighting for whatever championship hopes it still harbors after losing last week to Oklahoma, 44-34. The Bears, playing with their backup quarterback, trailed by 14 points midway through the third quarter and pulled to within three points with 10 minutes to go, but they could get no closer in suffering their first defeat of this season.

Two weeks ago, in its first game with young Jarrett Stidham behind center, Baylor won at Kansas State 31-24, and that game wasn't quite as close as that final score might indicate.

Last week's loss dropped the Bears into fourth place in the Big 12, but key games remain to be played. With a win this week and help from elsewhere, Baylor could still win its third straight conference title.


Why the Oklahoma State Cowboys can cover the spread

OSU survived a huge scare last week, coming from behind to beat Iowa State in Ames 35-31. The Cowboys fell down by 17 points in the first half, and still trailed by 10 heading into the fourth quarter, but backup quarterback J.W. Walsh ran for one touchdown, then threw a touchdown pass with three minutes to go to save Oklahoma State's bacon.

On the night, OSU outgained the Cyclones 497-411, went 11-for-17 on third-down conversions and won time of possession by almost 11 minutes.

Two weeks ago, the Cowboys upset then-unbeaten TCU 49-29, and just before that, they rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Texas Tech 70-53. So Oklahoma State is a dangerous outfit, even when it's down.


Smart pick

What comes around seems to go around in the Big 12, as year after year the various contenders seem to knock each other off during their late-season round robins. And that process has already begun this season. Baylor may be playing with its backup quarterback, but it's good enough to overcome that situation. And Oklahoma State has had to rally from large deficits against lesser foes in two of its last three games. The smart money here backs the Bears.


Betting trends

Baylor is 3-16 SU in its last 19 games against Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games in November.

Baylor is 6-14 SU in its last 20 games on the road in November.


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

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Michigan State Spartans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Odds, Football Pick

Ohio State holds the upper hand in the rivalry with Michigan State, taking nine of the last 11 meetings outright, and it has won and covered two of three meetings since the current head coaches took over. In the biggest game of the year so far in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes battle the Spartans on Saturday afternoon at the Horseshoe.


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


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 41.6-25.4 Buckeyes


Why the Michigan State Spartans can cover the spread

Michigan State bounced back from a brutal loss at Nebraska two weeks ago to beat Maryland last week 24-7, covering 14 points while playing three quarters without its starting quarterback. The Spartans took advantage of three first-half Terrapins turnovers to take a 17-7 lead into the locker room, topped the spread on a short Gerald Holmes touchdown run midway through the third quarter and clinched the cash by blanking the Terps from there.

On the day, Michigan State outrushed Maryland 141-107 and held the Terps to just 4-of-16 on third-down conversions. Spartans quarterback Connor Cook left last week's game with a sore throwing shoulder, but early indications are he'll play this week.

The only other time this season Michigan State played as an underdog, it beat Michigan at the Big House. And even though they needed a minor miracle to win that game, the Spartans were going to cover anyway as seven-point dogs. So going back a few seasons, Michigan State is now 6-1 ATS its last seven times out getting points.


Why the Ohio State Buckeyes can cover the spread

Ohio State remained unbeaten and avoided the trap spot with a 28-3 victory at Illinois last week, covering 17 points. The Buckeyes slowly wore the Illini down, scoring one touchdown in each quarter and beating the spread when Illinois muffed a punt early in the fourth, setting up a 10-yard Ezekiel Elliott score. OSU outgained the Illini 440-261 and outrushed them 283-20, as Elliott went off for 181 yards, his 15th straight 100-yard rushing effort.

Earlier this season, Ohio State lost five in a row ATS, dealing with some big spreads, but the Buckeyes are now 3-1 ATS over their last four games, as the defense has allowed a total of just 34 points.


Smart pick

On its way to the national championship last season, Ohio State played its best ball against its toughest opponents. Perhaps that's what the Buckeyes have in mind for their home stretch this season. Also, Michigan State's quarterback is nursing a sore throwing shoulder, and that doesn't sound good. So while the spread on this game is probably inflated by at least a field goal, the smart money here resides with Ohio State.


Betting trends

  • Michigan State is 2-9 SU in its last 11 games against Ohio State.
  • The total has gone under in eight of Ohio State's last nine games.
  • Michigan State is 8-1 SU in its last nine games on the road.


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

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Which College Program's NFL Alumni Are Having the Best Pro Season?

It’s hard to believe, but the 2015 college football season has entered its homestretch. Only three weekends remain before the College Football Playoff and the rest of the postseason bids are handed out. Before long, we’ll be discussing the 2016 NFL draft class and which players will make the leap to becoming professional standouts.

College football success doesn’t always translate into NFL stardom, and the league is full of players who were little-known in college but very successful as pros. For every Tom Brady—a sixth-round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2000 NFL draft—there’s a Trent Richardson, who was the No. 3 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2012 but is already out of football after three undistinguished seasons.

Figuring out which programs are excelling at the NFL level is, at best, an inexact science, but we’re going to give it a shot. We took the NFL’s top 10 players in this season’s passing yardage, rushing yardage, receiving yardage, tackles, sacks and interceptions entering Week 10’s games and looked at each player’s alma mater.

Here’s a look at the 10 FBS programs which are representing best at the pro level, at least statistically, this season. All stats were entering Week 10 and were taken from

Who are these programs? The answers could surprise you.

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AP College Football Poll 2015: Latest Rankings, Key Week 12 Game Projections

The top three teams in the Week 11 Associated Press Top 25 poll held steady in the newly released Week 12 rankings, but that was where the stability ended.

Four teams in the Top 10 lost, and and three teams moved into the Top 10 after a wild weekend of upsets.

Here is a look at the latest Top 25 poll and some predictions for a few key games in Week 12:

There are two matchups between Top 10 teams and another between two Top 11 teams. Here are predictions for those games and what they mean for the College Football Playoff.


No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 9 Michigan State Spartans

Ohio State was the unanimous Top 25 No. 1 team in the preseason and has yet to lose. However, a weak schedule that includes no games against current Top 25 teams allowed the Clemson Tigers to claim the No. 1 spot.

It can't be said over the next two weeks that the Buckeyes haven't played a worthy opponent. It starts in Week 12 with a matchup against the 9-1 Michigan State Spartans. The Buckeyes then head on the road in Week 13 to play the No. 14 Michigan Wolverines.

It will be on the day's biggest stage, per ESPN College Football:

Michigan State is 13th in the CFP rankings and will certainly help OSU improve on its 105th-ranked strength of schedule, per The Spartans have wins over two ranked teams in the Oregon Ducks and Michigan Wolverines, and their one loss came at the hands of a freak play in the final seconds against the Nebraska Cornhuskers—perhaps karma, though, for their insane victory against Michigan.

However, it will take a win, and not just playing a good team, to keep Ohio State in the CFP rankings. The Buckeyes have been ranked in both CFP polls and were No. 3 in the latest rankings.

The Spartans are in the middle of the pack in terms of team defense in the Big Ten Conference, but their offense is what the Buckeyes should be worried about. They are ranked third in the conference in passing offense, but Ohio State counters with the third-ranked passing defense.

Ohio State has struggled against competition much lower than the Spartans, pulling out one-possession victories against the unranked Northern Illinois Huskies and Indiana Hoosiers. Michigan State blew out the Hooisers, 52-26.

The Buckeyes are too good to be blown out, but with the Spartans being their first real competition, they will have a hard time putting together a full game. 

The Buckeyes have won 12 in a row at home, but all streaks are snapped at some point, and Michigan State will accomplish the feat in Week 12.

Michigan State wins, 34-30.


No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Baylor Bears

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are undefeated and steadily moving up in the rankings. Yet, while much has been made about the Buckeyes' weak schedule, the Cowboys have played an even easier one.

Oklahoma State has played the 119th-worst schedule, according to, which ranks 14 spots below Ohio State's.

The Cowboys do have a 20-point win over the No. 11 TCU Horned Frogs, and while they are only the fifth-highest scoring offense in the Big 12 Conference, they still put up 43.6 points per game.

Baylor leads the conference in scoring at 54.8, but it has struggled since losing one of the nation's top quarterbacks in Seth Russell to a season-ending neck injury in Week 8. The Bears have scored 30-plus points in two games since, but they beat the Kansas State Wildcats by just seven and were exposed by the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners in Week 11, losing 44-34.

Baylor is allowing Big 12 opponents to score more than 29 points per game, and the Cowboys' two-headed quarterback monster of Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh should help them surpass that mark.

Rudolph's 3,161 passing yards are 11th in the country, and Walsh has run for 10 touchdowns. He also threw the game-winning score in Week 11 against the Iowa State Cyclones.

ESPN's Jake Trotter was impressed with Walsh's performance as a backup:

Baylor was a title contender with Russell behind center, and while freshman Jarrett Stidham—who was injured against the Sooners—has stepped in and played well, it's not enough to save a shaky defense.

A win for the Cowboys, depending on what others do in Week 12, could move them into the CFP rankings.

Oklahoma State wins, 48-31.


No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners vs. No. 11 TCU Horned Frogs

The Big 12 overall has a back-loaded schedule, as another nearly Top 10 matchup looms between the Sooners and Horned Frogs.

TCU is struggling with injuries to stars Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson. The quarterback and wide receiver have combined for 51 total touchdowns and did not play much in a 23-17 victory against the lowly Kansas Jayhawks in Week 11.

Boykin sprained his ankle in the first quarter against Kansas and did not return. TCU head coach Gary Patterson said he thinks Boykin will play against the Sooners, per Dan Parr of 

Doctson injured his arm in the loss to Oklahoma State and was thought to be out for the season, but he ended up playing against Kansas, per the Associated Press (via USA Today). He had just one catch for 12 yards. 

Even without their services, a six-point home victory against a winless Kansas team doesn't give much hope to TCU winning the Big 12 or qualifying for the CFP.

The Sooners, on the other hand, have a great shot at the playoff after defeating Baylor. It's amazing considering they laid an egg in a 24-17 home loss to the Texas Longhorns after starting the season 4-0. 

They've won five straight since, and the 44 points at Baylor were the fewest the Sooners have scored during that stretch.

Considering the TCU defense has allowed 40-plus points three times this season and gave up 37 to a one-win SMU Mustangs team, this one could get ugly.

Sometimes, games don't live up to the billing (see TCU-Kansas), but the Sooners are rolling, at home and catching TCU at the right time. They should win this one easily.

Oklahoma wins, 52-30.

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B/R CFB Committee: Playoff Predictions Heading into Week 12

The third official playoff rankings of the 2015 college football season are set to be released Tuesday, and our experts are breaking down what you'll see.

How will Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and other contenders stack up?

Watch Bleacher Report college football analysts Barrett Sallee, Michael Felder and Adam Kramer discuss their predictions in the video above.

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