NCAA Football News

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Complete Game Preview

With Stanford in the rearview mirror and Florida State on the horizon, Notre Dame welcomes North Carolina to South Bend, a matchup short on glamour but worth the same as the rest of them.

A week after double-digit underdogs toppled Top 10 teams like Oregon and UCLA, you can bet Brian Kelly will spend the week getting his team prepared for the Tar Heels. That means prepping for Larry Fedora's offense, a unit that's set over 40 school records since the third-year coach took over. 

Of course, as good as the North Carolina offense has been, the defense has been terrible. The Tar Heels are giving up 42 points a game, the worst defense of any power-five-conference participant. After Notre Dame struggled to put up points against the nation's top unit last weekend, a date with North Carolina might be just what the doctor ordered. 

At 2-3, the Tar Heels have underperformed, especially for a team some saw breaking into the Top 25. But last year's squad started glacially slow before closing the season winning six of seven, making Saturday's upset bid a perfect springboard to turn around the season. 

Let's get you ready for Notre Dame and North Carolina this weekend.  

 

Date: Saturday, October 11

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

Place: Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, Indiana

TV: NBC

Radio: IMG College Sports, SiriusXM Channel 129

Spread: Notre Dame by 16, according to Odds Shark.

Begin Slideshow

B/R CFB Committee: Playoff Predictions Heading into Week 7

There is much debate between who should be the four teams that will compete in the College Football Playoff. Last weekend left a lot of unanswered questions about the validity of some top teams.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Adam Kramer, Barrett Sallee and Michael Felder debate the four teams that belong in the CFB Playoff.

Which teams would you leave out of the playoff?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Mississippi State's Gang of Misfit Recruits on Revenge Tour of SEC

STARKVILLE, Miss. — This is a Vengeance Tour, that's what this is. It sounds a little sinister, but some Mississippi State players are looking for a little retribution around the SEC.

Coach Dan Mullen talks in public about the cuddly emotions of chemistry and togetherness and other nice things, but his players have emotions that are more tactless, more raw. They were unwelcome at the big-market SEC schools. They had egos squashed by SEC recruiters.

"There's a lot of guys on our team with chips on their shoulders," said center Ben Beckwith, who started his career at Mississippi State as a walk-on.     

Some of them were rated 1-stars and 2-stars in high school by recruiting services and brushed off by Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M who chased the 4-stars and 5-stars.

"I was zero stars," Beckwith said.

Some of these Mississippi State misfits came from high schools so small no one at their school had ever played in the mighty SEC.

They were too short, too slow, too fat, too skinny. They didn't have a position to project into. They were not much of nothing.

Until now.

They red-shirted, built up their bodies, learned discipline, learned technique and developed deep pride in the name on the front of the jersey. Of his recruiting class, Beckwith said all but one player red-shirted and stayed at State for the five-year haul.

They not only stayed, they stayed pissed off.

The agitated guys beat up LSU in Baton Rouge, 34-29. Then they waxed No. 6 Texas A&M, the supposed new powerhouse of the SEC. The Aggies were being drubbed 48-17 before they got some window dressing late to make it a respectable beating, 48-31. A&M got a ringing in its head from the hits of the Bulldogs and a ringing in the ears from 60,000 cowbells clanging on the Mississippi plain.

Mississippi State (5-0) should be America's Team heading into another game it will be picked to lose, which is Saturday against No. 2 Auburn. We love blessed bums in football, guys who are discarded, passed over, and then emerge to make themselves something.

These are nuts-and-bolts players, guys who were recruited by Louisiana Tech, Arkansas State and Southern Miss, or not recruited at all. All they wanted was a chance. Many of them agreed to Mullen's red-shirting while the 5-stars would have laughed in his face. They went on to the royal programs and immediate TV time.

The 5-stars stay three years and then bolt for the NFL putting down little in the way of roots at their schools. The Mississippi State red-shirts covet their maroon shirts and stay five years.

Jamerson Love, a Mississippi State defensive back, was limping off the field with an injury he wouldn't talk about following Saturday's win against Texas A&M. He is from this speck in Mississippi, a place called Aberdeen. The population, according to the 2010 census, was 5,630 people. The median income about $27,000.

Who offered you? "Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Arkansas State," said Love, who was All-State in high school and rated the No. 22 high school player in Mississippi.

That's it, no SEC schools?

"That's it," said Love, who is generously listed at 5'10". "There's a lot of guys just like me on this team."

Love was asked about his team playing with a grudge because of the background of the players, you know, being overlooked guys. He nodded and smiled in the affirmative. He understood the question, but held his fire. He didn't want to be brash and start blasting SEC schools for ignoring him and his teammates. Love is kind of glad the behemoths left him for Mississippi State anyway. He loves it here.

Here's what Auburn, Alabama, and Ole Miss have to fear. Beckwith got on scholarship, but he said he never lost the edge from his put-down. He's still playing like a guy paying his own way without a scholarship and trying to earn one.

"I went to (high school) camps all summer, and I could play with those guys that were getting offers," Beckwith said. "It kind of drove me my first two years here. I knew I could play.

"I never lost who I was."

Here is the other thing about the bulldog Bulldogs. Jamerson said Mississippi State has grown together as a cohesive unit. Guys don't have one eye on Sunday and the NFL. Everything they put into it is for Saturday and Mississippi State. They have as much pride for HailState as they do scorn for the other team.

Why? Because they were afterthoughts and got a chance to play in the baddest conference in college football. Prescott is from Haughton, La., and he was not recruited by powerhouse LSU until after his senior season in high school. He was a red-shirt, not an instant star. He scored three touchdowns against A&M.

Auburn not only has to deal with Prescott, they have to deal with the McKinney missile. That would be linebacker Benardrick McKinney, who should be a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft. McKinney was a high school quarterback and linebacker. He was also red-shirted. Who red-shirts first-round draft picks? He wasn't recruited by the SEC said Tony Hughes, the Mississippi State recruiting coordinator and defensive secondary coach. 

If Saban has a Process, Mullen has a Formula. Find nuts-and-bolts guys, high school quarterbacks who are athletic and big that can be turned into linebackers. Find basketball kids that like to mix it up and can run. Red-shirt them, build their bodies, but also build their pride in all things Mississippi State. Most of all, restore the pride in themselves and, as sinister as it sounds, hope they have a strain of vengeance running through their core to bind it all together.

A coach doesn't have to worry about a team built like Mississippi State looking ahead and not playing one game at a time. They want to play one game at a time because it means one payback at a time, too.

 

Ray Glier covers college football for Bleacher Report. He has covered college football and various other sports for 20 years. His work has appeared in USA Today, The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post and Al Jazeera America. He is the author of How the SEC Became Goliath (Howard/Simon & Schuster, 2013).

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

NCAA Football Rankings 2014: Full List of Week 7 College Standings and Polls

Let's just get this out of the way: Week 6 of the 2014 college football season was ridiculous.

Perhaps the writing was on the wall early. After all, Arizona kicked the week off by upsetting Oregon on Thursday. What followed after was sheer madness, as four more Top 10 teams—Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and UCLA—fell to unranked—and seemingly underrated—opponents.

Those losses shook up the standings far more than any previous week, and looking forward to Week 7, a bevy of pivotal matchups are on the slate once again. Before another week commences, let's take a look at the updated polls and analyze a few recent big movers.

Full FBS standings can be viewed at ESPN.com.

 

Biggest Movers

TCU

Not many people realized TCU was one of the most talented teams in the nation until the Horned Frogs upset Oklahoma by a score of 37-33 in Week 6. Beforehand, the team won all three of its contests in decisive fashion, but it took a win over a ranked team to earn recognition.

Trevone Boykin has emerged as one of college football's most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks. Against Oklahoma, he completed 20 of his 38 passing attempts for 318 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed 22 times for 77 yards. To put things into perspective, Boykin amassed 395 of the team's 469 total yards.

The Horned Frogs don't simply rely on offense to accumulate victories, either. After allowing just 21 points over their first three contests, they gave up 33 to the Sooners; however, the team's playmakers showed up in a big way.

Solid in the trenches, TCU limited the dangerous Samaje Perine to just 3.5 yards per carry. Quarterback Trevor Knight only completed 14 of his 35 attempts, and he was picked off by Chris Hackett and Paul Dawson—who returned it for a touchdown.

Boykin and Dawson's performances earned them Big 12 Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors, respectively, via TCU Football's Twitter account:

This team is rolling right now; however, it will face another difficult contest in Week 7 against a prolific Baylor offense.

 

Arizona

Why not give some kudos to the team that began the onslaught against Top 10 squads in Week 6?

The Wildcats entered their game against Oregon after surviving several close contests against unranked opponents. Although, things really clicked against the Ducks, as Arizona upset their Pac-12 foes for the second consecutive season.

On the offensive side of the ball, freshman quarterback Anu Solomon managed the game well enough, completing 20 of his 31 passes for 287 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His play allowed the run-heavy offense to control the clock and keep the dangerous Marcus Mariota off the field. A dangerous backfield combination of Terris Jones-Grigsby and Nick Wilson produced 207 yards and three touchdowns.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez praised his quarterback after the game, via Matt Moreno of Rivals.com:

Arizona was strong in the trenches on the defensive side of the ball as well. A speedy, versatile Oregon running game was limited to just 3.5 yards per carry and zero touchdowns. In the end, the Wildcats offense gained 49 more yards than the high-octane Ducks unit.

While Arizona is currently undefeated, it must continue to display the same kind of moxie we saw against the Ducks. Difficult contests against USC, Washington State and UCLA are next on the slate, and it's time for the Wildcats to prove they are worthy of a Top 10 ranking.

 

Mississippi State

If there were any questions regarding if Mississippi State was for real, they were answered in Week 6. The Bulldogs put on arguably the most impressive display of the week, taking down Texas A&M in decisive fashion by a score of 48-31. The victory marked the team's second against a ranked team in as many weeks.

The final score of the Bulldogs' contest against the Aggies wasn't even as close as it looked. In fact, early in the fourth quarter, Mississippi State owned an impressive 31-point lead over the former No. 6 team in the nation.

Quarterback Dak Prescott was outstanding against Texas A&M. In one of the week's most efficient performances, he completed 20 of his 26 attempts for 268 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Prescott also showed off his ability to make plays with his legs, rushing 23 times for 77 yards and three scores.

Could Prescott be on the Heisman path? ESPN The Magazine tweeted some interesting comparisons:

Running back Josh Robinson is a perfect complement to the quarterback, as the bruising ball-carrier has been a menace to every defense he's faced of late. He torched the Aggies for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, averaging 6.3 yards per rush.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs tormented breakout quarterback Kenny Hill. While the signal-caller did throw for 365 yards and four touchdowns, he was only able to complete 37 of his 62 passing attempts and was intercepted three times—all by Richie Brown.

This team has all of the necessary playmakers on both sides of the ball to make a big run at the College Football Playoff. Although, a formidable opponent in No. 2 Auburn looms large in Week 7, creating a must-see matchup of SEC juggernauts.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners: Betting Odds, Analysis and Prediction

The Texas Longhorns pulled off a big upset in last year’s Red River Rivalry game and will look to do the same thing Saturday when they meet the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Longhorns beat the Sooners 36-20 as 13.5-point underdogs in 2013 and will face a similar spread this time around.

 

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

 

Odds Shark computer prediction: 40.2-25.9 Sooners

 

Why the Texas Longhorns can cover the spread

Texas did it last season and will face a similar challenge this year as a double-digit dog. The Longhorns will get an Oklahoma team in a potential letdown spot after the Sooners lost at TCU last week.

With the Sooners no longer unbeaten, they may not be as motivated to win big and impress the pollsters to stay in consideration for one of the four playoff berths at the end of the season.

Last year, Texas ran the ball all over Oklahoma with 255 rushing yards on 60 carries. The Longhorns also got interception and punt return touchdowns, so it will likely take that kind of effort on both defense and special teams to knock off the Sooners for the second season in a row.

 

Why the Oklahoma Sooners can cover the spread

While Oklahoma could possibly be suffering from a letdown following last week’s loss, that setback could also work to the team’s advantage here as the Sooners simply cannot afford to overlook Texas right now. Another upset loss would most likely end any chance Oklahoma has of making it into the four-team playoff field, and an impressive win can only help the team’s case.

The Sooners will have a different quarterback under center in Trevor Knight, as last year’s starter Blake Bell is now lining up at tight end. Bell was terrible in last year’s game, completing 12 of 26 passes for 133 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

 

Smart Pick

The Longhorns have been awful this season, much worse than last year’s edition. They could only muster one touchdown in a 28-7 home loss to Baylor last week and will be hard-pressed to score much more than that against an angry Oklahoma team.

The Sooners are 3-1 against the spread (ATS) in the last four meetings with Texas and 7-2 versus the line in their past nine overall, so they are in much better form regardless of last week’s loss.

The Longhorns are 1-4 ATS in their last five games as an underdog and have struggled to move the ball with sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Look for those struggles to continue against Oklahoma here in a big win for the Sooners.

 

Trends

  • The total has gone under in four of Texas' last five games on the road.
  • Oklahoma is 5-0 straight up in its last five games at home.

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

TCU Horned Frogs vs. Baylor Bears Betting Odds: Analysis and Prediction

The only two unbeaten teams left in the Big 12 will clash on Saturday when the TCU Horned Frogs visit the Baylor Bears. The Horned Frogs are an impressive 6-1 against the spread in their last seven meetings with the Bears, who have won and covered their past 13 home games, including the last eight against Big 12 opponents.

 

Point spread: Bears opened as 11-point favorites at McLane Stadium, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

Odds Shark computer prediction: 50.6-35.7 Bears

 

Why the TCU Horned Frogs can cover the spread

TCU continues to get a lack respect from oddsmakers, who have made the Horned Frogs double-digit road underdogs at Baylor despite their recent success in the series. The Bears won last season’s meeting 41-38 but failed to cover the 13.5-point spread and lost the previous home matchup with TCU, 49-21, two years ago as a six-point favorite.

In fact, Baylor has not beaten the Horned Frogs by more than three points since earning a 42-18 victory back in 1994. TCU has covered its past six dating back to last season, including three as an underdog in games decided by four points or less.

 

Why the Baylor Bears can cover the spread

There’s a good reason the Bears continue to be favored by double digits in games this year, and that’s because they have not won a game by less than 21 points. Baylor’s two closest losses were each decided by 21 points, and both still covered the spread.

The Bears beat Texas 28-7 on the road last week as 14-point favorites, which is the only time this season they have been favored by less than 20 points. Baylor’s offense is just so explosive and capable of scoring in bunches, making it difficult to set numbers on the team’s games, especially at home where they have a 13-game winning streak.

 

Smart Pick

The last loss for the Horned Frogs came at home against Baylor to close out last year. While they suffered through a disappointing 4-8 campaign in 2013, they still finished the season strong by covering their last two, which has carried over to this year.

TCU’s Gary Patterson remains one of the best coaches in the country and seems to know how to keep up with the Bears on the scoreboard. Patterson may not always beat his Baylor counterpart Art Briles, but he has done a great job hanging tough throughout their history of coaching against each other. For that reason, watch for the Horned Frogs to stay within striking distance yet again and at least remain undefeated against the spread this season.

 

Trends

  • TCU is 2-5 straight up in its last seven games on the road.
  • The total has gone over in eight of Baylor's last 11 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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Watch High Schooler Make Freakish J.J. Watt Pick-6

Charles Wade makes an incredibly athletic play in this high school football game that will make you have flashbacks of J.J. Watt in Week 4 of the NFL.

Charles Wade is listed as an athlete and is committed to Wake Forest, according to 247Sports. 

Is this better than the J.J. Watt interception?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oregon Ducks vs. UCLA Bruins Betting Odds: Analysis and Prediction

Two Pac-12 teams that are both coming off tough home losses last week as double-digit favorites will try to rebound at the Rose Bowl when the Oregon Ducks visit the UCLA Bruins. The Ducks have won the last five meetings with the Bruins, but the teams have split the past six head-to-head matchups against the spread.

 

Point Spread: The Ducks opened as three-point favorites at Rose Bowl, but the spread has increased to 3.5 points as of Tuesday morning.

Odds Shark Computer Prediction: Ducks 42.2, Bruins 31.4

 

Why the Oregon Ducks Can Cover the Spread

Oregon has dominated the series recently, winning the last five meetings by an average of nearly 23 points. The Ducks ran into a very good Arizona team last week that seems to have their number, beating them for the second year in a row as 21.5-point underdogs, 31-24.

UCLA does not have that same mental edge here, and Oregon should be able to take advantage of a Bruins squad that has underachieved most of this season outside of a rout of Arizona State two weeks ago.

This is also a Heisman Trophy showcase game between two players who could be picked early in next year’s NFL draft. Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota performed well in last year’s 42-14 victory against the Bruins while UCLA’s Brett Hundley did not.

Mariota should be extra motivated to outplay Hundley again.

 

Why the UCLA Bruins Can Cover the Spread

The Bruins had higher expectations going into this year and are a better team regardless of last week’s 30-28 home loss to Utah as 13-point favorites.

Maybe they were caught looking ahead to this game against Oregon, but UCLA still has an opportunity to bounce back in this spot as a home dog and can learn a lot from the Wildcats, who upset the Ducks last week.

Oregon is not invincible and also struggled on the road prior to its bye, needing a late touchdown to fend off Washington State in a 38-31 victory as a 21.5-point favorite.

Now that the Bruins have seen the Ducks have weaknesses like almost every other team, they should not be intimidated anymore.

 

Smart Pick

Oregon has failed to cover its last three road games and started showing signs of concern in the Pac-12 opener at Washington State. The Ducks are not the dominant team many thought they were heading into the season, and they have been exposed in their last two games.

Even though UCLA has covered the spread in just one game this season, the Bruins were playing on national TV when they routed Arizona State 62-27 and may have just fallen flat knowing Oregon was coming to town next after Utah.

Whatever the case may be, the Bruins have no excuses not to play their best game of the season against the Ducks and get revenge for losing the last five meetings.

 

Trends

  • Oregon is 13-2 straight up in its last 15 games on the road.
  • UCLA is 2-4 ATS in its last six games at home.

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Notre Dame Betting Odds: Analysis and Prediction

The North Carolina Tar Heels were supposed to contend for a division title in the ACC this season. Instead, they've been one of the bigger disappointments in college football so far and one of the worst bets, going 0-5 against the spread. Carolina now packs its bags for an ACC road trip to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday afternoon.

 

Point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as 16-point favorites at Notre Dame Stadium, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

Odds Shark computer prediction: 30.9-20.3 Fighting Irish

 

Why the North Carolina Tar Heels can cover the spread

The Heels started 2-0 this year, so it's not like they don't know how to win games. But after three straight losses, in which they gave up 154 points, it's become a tough task to come up with reasons to back them financially.

Carolina is averaging 36 points per game, led by dual-threat quarterback Marquise Williams, who has thrown for 1,000 yards and nine scores and has run for 240 yards and two more touchdowns. After falling behind big in their last two games, they've rallied and had chances to cover. They're also fairly healthy, which is good. Perhaps the Heels can live up to preseason expectations and give the Irish a battle Saturday.

 

Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread

The Irish are 5-0 straight up and 4-1 ATS this season

They beat Stanford 17-14 last week, winning outright as two-point home dogs. Notre Dame outgained the Cardinal 370-205 and outrushed them 129-47. The Irish harassed Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan into an 18-for-36 passing performance with two interceptions, and they got a game-winning touchdown pass from Everett Golson on a 4th-and-11 with a minute to go.

The Irish are now 15-1 SU and 10-5-1 ATS in games Golson has started at quarterback.

 

Smart Pick

Until North Carolina demonstrates it can stop somebody on defense, it cannot be considered a viable betting option. The Heels gave up 29 points to Liberty in the season opener, 70 to East Carolina and 50 to Clemson. And you can't cover spreads if you can't get your defense off the field. So the pick here goes with the Golden Domers, minus the points.

 

Trends

  • North Carolina is 3-10 ATS in its last 13 games on the road.
  • Notre Dame is 5-0 SU in its last five games at home.

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Cop Protecting Nick Saban Shoves Field-Rushing Fan to the Ground with Stiff-Arm

Opposing players and coaches often find themselves in a dangerous spot when fans rush the field after a game. It's key for the visiting team to have security like this by its side.

Ole Miss fans stormed the field on Saturday after the Rebels upset the Alabama Crimson Tide, 23-17. One fan was running straight at Nick Saban as he worked his way off the field, but the kid was no match for the muscle protecting the Alabama coach.

Let this hand to the throat be a lesson to anyone who gets in the way of an opposing player or coach during postgame madness. Especially Saban. Don't mess with Saban.

[YouTube]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Mississippi Rebels vs. Texas A&M Aggies Betting Odds: Analysis and Prediction

The Rebels of Ole Miss just picked up their biggest win in decades, an upset of hated Alabama in Oxford. On the other end of the spectrum, the Aggies of Texas A&M just got roasted at Mississippi State. So two teams coming off very different outcomes meet when A&M, now just 3-7 against the spread over its last 10 games, runs with the Rebs Saturday night in College Station.

 

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

 

Odds Shark computer prediction: 28.4-20.6 Aggies

 

Why the Mississippi Rebels can cover the spread

The Rebels are on a 6-0 ATS run after beating the Tide last week, 23-17, as five-point home dogs. Ole Miss trailed at the half, 14-3, but held Alabama to just a field goal in the second half, while getting a Bo Wallace touchdown pass—his third of the game—with three minutes to go for the victory, snapping a 10-game losing streak against the Tide.

So Ole Miss is tied for the lead in the SEC West at 2-0. The Rebels won't scare anybody on offense—although Wallace has thrown 14 touchdown passes already—but their defense ranks sixth in the nation overall and second in scoring, allowing just 10 points per game. Also, while the Rebs have lost the last two seasons to Texas A&M, they've covered the spread both games, as dogs of 13 and seven points.

 

Why the Texas A&M Aggies can cover the spread

The Aggies ran into a buzzsaw last week, losing at Mississippi State, 48-31. The Bulldogs could do little wrong, jumping out to a 28-7 lead and holding off A&M from there. But before that, the Aggies had won five in a row, with victories over South Carolina and Arkansas that gave them a 2-0 SEC start.

A&M still ranks third in the nation in both total offense (583 yards per game) and scoring (48 points per game), as new quarterback Kenny Hill (21 touchdown passes) continues to put his stamp on this team. Since joining the SEC the Aggies have beaten the Rebels twice, last year winning in Oxford, 41-38.

 

Smart Pick

This is the perfect setup for the "reversal of fortune" factor; Ole Miss just upset Alabama, while Texas A&M got blitzed on the road against Mississippi State. But the Aggies are perfectly capable of bouncing back, and the Rebs have yet to prove they're good enough to avoid the predictable letdown. So the pick here is with Texas A&M, given the short spread.

 

Trends

  • The total has gone UNDER in five of Mississippi's last five games on the road
  • Texas A&M is 6-1 SU 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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Missouri Tigers Betting Odds: Analysis and Prediction

Two SEC teams battling for the conference’s East Division title meet Saturday when the Missouri Tigers host the Georgia Bulldogs. The Tigers won last year’s meeting 41-26 on the road as 6.5-point underdogs and will try to keep Georgia from returning the favor at Memorial Stadium, with the Bulldogs opening as small road favorites.

 

Point spread: Bulldogs opened as 1.5-point favorites at Memorial Stadium, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (line updates and matchup report).

 

Odds Shark computer prediction: 30.0-29.8 Bulldogs

 

Why the Georgia Bulldogs can cover the spread

Georgia won the last road meeting with Missouri 41-20 two years ago as a one-point favorite, so the team knows what it takes to get a victory there. While the Bulldogs have underachieved a bit this season—failing to cover three of their past four games—they are still capable of running the table, winning the SEC and making it into the four-team playoff at the end of the year.

A lot of things obviously have to fall into place in order for that to happen, but Georgia has one of the best players in the country in running back Todd Gurley, who rushed 25 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns last week in a 44-17 rout of Vanderbilt and also completed a 50-yard pass.

 

Why the Missouri Tigers can cover the spread

The Tigers are 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 home games and have some confidence knowing they upset the Bulldogs last year. Mizzou is also 4-1 ATS in its past five home games against SEC opponents, showing that the team knows how to get up for conference foes. The Tigers are also coming off a bye week that gave them extra time to prepare for Georgia and senior quarterback Hutson Mason, who has totaled just 268 passing yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in the last two games combined. Even though containing Gurley will be the top concern for Missouri, making Mason try to win the game should be the goal if the Tigers are going to pull off the win.

 

Smart pick

The Bulldogs have gotten erratic quarterback play from Mason this season, otherwise they may still be unbeaten with a better shot at the national title. Instead, they essentially face a must-win situation here on the road against a very good Mizzou team that knows it too can put itself in good position for the East Division title with a victory. Georgia is just 1-5 ATS in its last six road games and has gone 0-4 versus the line in its past four conference games away from home. Expect those trends to continue as the Tigers win again as dogs and cover the spread for the fourth time in five games overall.

 

Trends

  • The total has gone OVER in five of Georgia's last five games
  • Missouri is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida State Seminoles vs. Syracuse Orange Betting Odds: Analysis, Prediction

Playing through controversy and suspensions, Florida State is off to a 5-0 start in defense of its national championship. The Seminoles are also 3-1 against the spread in their last four road games, showing that good teams giving shorter spreads than usual are good bets. FSU finds itself in that spot again this week, when it visits Syracuse Saturday afternoon.

 

Point spread: Seminoles opened as 20-point favorites at Carrier Dome, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

Odds Shark computer prediction: 42.5-21.1 Seminoles

 

Why the Florida State Seminoles can cover the spread

The Seminoles are 5-0 after brushing off Wake Forest last week 43-3, covering the spread as 37-point favorites. Florida State spotted the Demon Deacons the first three points of the game, then scored the last 43, picking up the cover on a meaningless field goal with five minutes left in the game.

The 'Noles outgained Wake Forest 475-126 and went 10-of-18 on third-down conversions. Two weeks ago, FSU spotted North Carolina State an early 24-7 lead, then rolled back for a 56-41 victory, coming up just short of the cover at -16. So in the four games this season Jameis Winston has started, the Seminoles have averaged 43 points.

 

Why the Syracuse Orange can cover the spread

The Orange started 2-0 this year but have struggled recently, as the schedule has gotten a little tougher. Three weeks ago, Syracuse outgained Maryland by over 200 yards but lost because it gave up a couple of big plays for scores.

Two weeks ago, the Orange gave Notre Dame a decent game at MetLife Stadium, although they couldn't quite cover as 10-point dogs.

Last week, Syracuse only trailed Louisville by six points late into the third quarter but gave up the last 16 points of the game. If the Orange can limit the big plays, perhaps pull off a couple of their own and give a full four-quarter effort, they could stay in this one.

 

Smart Pick

Florida State beat Syracuse last year 59-3, covering at -37, and while the 'Noles won't win this one by 56 points, they will win. And teams that win games usually—repeat, usually—cover the spread. So the pick here goes with FSU, at a line that's two touchdowns less than the one it covered in this spot last year.

 

Trends

  • The total has gone over in six of Florida State's last seven games on the road.
  • Syracuse is 2-4 straight up in its last six games at home.

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Forget the Red River Rivalry, Why TCU vs. Baylor Is the Game to Watch

The Red River Rivalry has long been established as the Big 12's biggest and most storied game. Perhaps it's time for a new game to usher the conference into the next phase.

The TCU Horned Frogs will travel to Waco, Texas, to square off with the Baylor Bears in a game that has major implications on their College Football Playoff hopes. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer preview one of the weekend's biggest games.

Is Baylor vs. TCU the must-watch game this weekend?

Watch the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Meet the Heir to Marcus Mariota's Throne, 2015 QB Travis Waller

It's time to meet the 2015 recruit that is looking to fill the void that current Oregon QB Marcus Mariota will leave when he inevitably enters the NFL. Travis Waller took some time to talk with Bleacher Report about his official visit to Oregon. 

Is Waller the next Mariota?

Watch the video and let us know.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

BYU Cougars vs. Central Florida Knights Betting Odds: Analysis and Prediction

The BYU Cougars saw their unbeaten season come to an end last week and will try to move on without star quarterback Taysom Hill when they visit the Central Florida Knights Thursday. Hill fractured his leg in the first half of a 35-20 home loss to Utah State last Friday, as the Cougars were stunned as 21-point favorites and failed to cover the spread in their third straight game.

 

Point spread: Knights opened as three-point favorites at Bright House Networks Stadium, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

 

Odds Shark computer prediction: 27.6-26.7 Cougars

 

Why the BYU Cougars can cover the spread

Hill’s loss is likely the difference in making BYU a road dog in this spot rather than a favorite, and maybe his teammates can rally around his absence to pull off the road victory. The Cougars have been double-digit favorites in four of their first five games this season, and the other game resulted in a 41-7 rout of Texas on the road in Week 2 as one-point underdogs.

They have not been on the road since then and covered two in a row away from home to start the season, beginning with a 35-10 win at Connecticut as a 15-point favorite.

 

Why the Central Florida Knights can cover the spread

The Knights have won their last two both straight up and against the spread since losing 38-10 at Missouri in their second game of the season. They are coming off a 17-12 road victory at Houston as 2.5-point underdogs and played very well defensively in holding the Cougars to just four field goals.

Central Florida picked off Houston quarterback John O’Korn twice in the win and also recovered a fumble, and the defense could again be the key against inexperienced BYU quarterback Christian Stewart, who will be making his first career start on the road and had attempted only two passes before replacing Hill in the last game.

 

Smart Pick

Hill was a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate for the Cougars this season, and he will be sorely missed. Stewart completed just 10 of 29 passes for 172 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions in relief of Hill last week, and that game was at home where he at least had the support of his own fans.

This will be a tough environment for Stewart to make his first start, and BYU will find it very hard to get past the loss of Hill here. The Knights have gone 7-2 ATS in their past nine home games, while the Cougars are 2-6 vs. the line in their last eight overall. Central Florida will make it eight of 10 covers at home with a double-digit win over BYU.

 

Trends

  • BYU is 2-4 ATS in its last six games on the road
  • Central Florida is 11-2 SU in its last 13 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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Betting Odds: Analysis, Prediction

Alabama owns a seven-game winning streak in its rivalry with Arkansas, going 5-2 ATS, winning the last two games by identical scores of 52-0. But the Crimson Tide are only 1-5 ATS in their last six SEC road contests. Alabama is on the SEC road again this week, visiting the Razorbacks Saturday night in Fayetteville.

 

Point spread: Crimson Tide opened as nine-point favorites for the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium encounter, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

Odds Shark computer prediction: 40.5-22.2 Crimson Tide

 

Why the Alabama Crimson Tide can cover the spread

The Tide are coming off a 23-17 loss at Ole Miss last week, so they'll probably be angry coming into this one. Alabama led the Rebs 14-3 at the half but gave up a Dak Prescott touchdown pass with three minutes to go to lose. The Tide lost last week despite out-gaining Ole Miss 399-323 and out-rushing the Rebs 168-72.

Alabama has out-gained every opponent this season by at least 73 yards and out-rushed each foe by at least 89 yards. On the season the Tide ranks third in the nation in both total defense and run defense, and, somewhat surprisingly, 10th in total offense.

 

Why the Arkansas Razorbacks can cover the spread

The Hogs are 3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS after losing at Texas A&M two weeks ago 35-28 in overtime but covering as nine-point underdogs. Arkansas led that game 28-14 into the fourth quarter but couldn't quite hang on. In the end the Razorbacks had out-rushed the Aggies 285-137 and won the time-of-possession battle by a 37-23 margin. For the season Arkansas has out-rushed opponents by a 317-139 yards-per-game margin, while quarterback Brandon Allen has compiled a 9/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The only game the Hogs didn't cover this year came in the opener against Auburn, when, after a 21-21 first half, they lost the second half 24-0.

 

Smart Pick

This will be an important test for Arkansas, and whether Bielema Ball can work in the SEC. The Hogs are also working off their bye week. But after losing last week Alabama might be seeing red heading into this one. So the pick here is with the Tide, on the road, giving 20 points less than it was in this spot last year.

 

Trends

  • The total has gone OVER in five of Alabama's last seven games
  • Arkansas is 2-4 ATS in its last six games when playing at home against Alabama

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Auburn Tigers vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Betting Odds Analysis, Prediction

Auburn is 11-2 straight up and 8-5 against the spread in its last 13 games with Mississippi State, but the Bulldogs are coming off an impressive SEC victory over Texas A&M. Can the Tigers continue their recent domination of this series when the teams meet Saturday afternoon in Starkville? Or can Mississippi State knock off another SEC West foe?

 

Point spread: The Tigers opened as three-point favorites at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

 

Odds Shark computer prediction: 38.8-27.4 Tigers

 

Why the Auburn Tigers can cover the spread

The defending SEC champion Tigers showed they're game for another run at another conference title with a 41-7 drubbing of LSU last week, easily covering the spread as seven-point favorites. Auburn outgained the other Tigers 566-280, racked up 298 yards on the ground and held LSU to an 0-for-13 effort on third downs.

The Auburn Tigers are averaging 268 yards rushing per game while holding foes to just 100 yards per game. Auburn also has no qualms about playing in hostile territory, going 4-0 ATS in its last four SEC conference road games.

 

Why the Mississippi State Bulldogs can cover the spread

The Bulldogs are 5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS and 2-0 in SEC play after bombing Texas A&M last week 48-31. MSU spotted the Aggies the first touchdown of the game, then scored the next 28 points to take an insurmountable lead.

The Bulldogs racked up 559 yards of offense, 289 yards on the ground and got five total touchdowns from quarterback Dak Prescott, a new leader in the Heisman Trophy race. Mississippi State ranks 12th in the country in total offense and has outrushed foes so far by a 274-98 yards-per-game margin. Last year the Bulldogs lost to the Tigers on a late score 24-20 but covered the spread as six-point road dogs.

 

Smart Pick

Both teams are coming off big wins, so emotionally this matchup is about a wash. But Auburn owns an edge on defense, and Nick Marshall still runs the show. So the pick here goes with the visiting Tigers, giving the short spread.

 

Trends

  • Auburn is 4-1 SU in its last five games on the road.
  • Mississippi State is 5-0 SU in its last five games.

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings 2014: Week 7 Standings and Top 25 Team Records

A number of upsets shook up the college football landscape, but entering Week 7, no team suffered a bigger blow than the Oregon Ducks.

Losing at home to Arizona knocked them out of the playoff picture at the moment, dropping the Marcus Mariota-led Ducks from second to 12th in the AP Top 25 poll. A previously No. 8 UCLA team quarterbacked by another premier prospect in Brett Hundley lost 30-28 to Utah, falling out of the top 10 in the process.

Ole Miss also catapulted into the thick of the postseason race thanks to a rousing victory over the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide.

But with some of the letdowns for several premier programs, there were a number of sensational performances that saw drastic changes take place in the rankings.

Here is a closer look at the three teams atop the AP poll, along with a listing of records for all the ranked teams and Bleacher Report's own Top 25.

 

 

Analyzing Best Top 25 Teams

No. 1 Florida State Seminoles

Falling behind 3-0 to Wake Forest in the first quarter was a bit of a scare for the reigning national champions, who'd had close calls in three previous games this season.

Then Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston led the team on myriad scoring drives, as FSU scored 43 unanswered points for a statement win. ESPN's College GameDay noted how steady coach Jimbo Fisher's team has been:

Winston has kept the passing attack operating at a high level, as it's averaged 325.4 yards per game. The concerning thing is that big-bodied ball-carrier Karlos Williams has had a hard time getting it going on the ground.

But Williams has been banged up, and Jared Shanker of ESPN reports that the running back likely won't be in action at Syracuse:

That might be fine for now. When Florida State plays host to Notre Dame in the game thereafter, it will be a different story. The Seminoles need balance to complement Winston, especially with a defense ranked 54th in the nation versus the run, per NCAA.com.

If top receiver Rashad Greene can't recover from a concussion in time for the Fighting Irish game, it will be all the more up to Winston to carry the weight.

As long as Winston is under center operating Fisher's complex, pro-style offense, though, FSU has a great chance to remain atop the rankings.

 

No. 2 Auburn Tigers

Apparently there isn't much of a hangover from Auburn's national title game loss to Florida State last year. Tigers coach Gus Malzahn continues to make magic with his run-heavy offense.

Against vaunted LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis in Week 6, Malzahn drew up a game plan that saw Auburn crush its SEC adversary 41-7. Greg Ostendorf of ESPN.com highlighted how Auburn came flying out of the gates in that one:

Something similar will be necessary to seize the momentum on the road this next Saturday, when the Tigers take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. That will mark the biggest game on the 2014 college football slate thus far.

ESPN Stats & Info's numbers suggest the Bulldogs are the first of several potential pitfalls that could hamper Auburn's bid to return to the championship game:

But what does help is that the defense is vastly improved from a season ago, conceding just 14.4 points per contest, which ranks ninth in the nation. As long as QB Nick Marshall can avoid critical throwing mistakes and the well-oiled ground game stays intact, Auburn will be a tough out.

With the ability to defend so well and chew up a ton of clock on offense, opponents will be hard-pressed to get into any rhythm against the Tigers for the rest of the season.

 

No. 3 Mississippi State Bulldogs

Given the massive implications of their tilt with Auburn on Saturday, the Bulldogs are the team worth delving a bit deeper into among the two tied at No. 3 in the AP—not to take anything away from Ole Miss.

Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott has been playing like a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. Former Florida signal-caller Tim Tebow took home that hardware wearing No. 15, and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport offered some insight in that context:

Prescott had five total TDs in the Bulldogs' rout of Texas A&M last week, but the defense was most impressive in slowing down Kenny Hill and the Aggies' air-raid offense until the outcome was well decided.

Most of Texas A&M's scores came in garbage time after the Bulldogs had taken a 41-17 lead into the fourth. The numbers reflect MSU's dominance:

ESPN's Mike Greenberg believes Mississippi State is the best overall team in the country:

The Bulldogs will certainly get a chance to prove that versus Auburn. If the strong front seven, led by linebacker Benardrick McKinney, can stuff the Tigers' prolific run game, that will open up Prescott to take the game over. MSU is yielding just 2.91 yards per carry through five games.

As deep and competitive as the SEC is, Mississippi State has the chance to protect its home Davis Wade Stadium and secure a landmark triumph for the program. It will justify the retention of coach Dan Mullen following three seasons of hovering around .500.

Most important, the turnaround from a 7-6 campaign in 2013 to national-championship contention this year would be among the most amazing achievements in recent college football history.

We will find out what the Bulldogs are truly made of come Sunday against an Auburn team whose nucleus rose from even greater obscurity to be an elite team a year ago.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Complete Game Preview

Michigan (2-4) football is in total collapse following three straight losses on the gridiron and embroiled in the swirling controversy of quarterback Shane Morris’ delayed concussion diagnosis. Two games into its conference slate, Michigan is dead last in the Big Ten East Division and is desperate for a win.

The team’s struggles on and off the field have both coach Brady Hoke and athletic director David Brandon fighting for their jobs. But the team is not giving up, vowing to “win the week” for their embattled coach. The Wolverines rallied against Rutgers, falling short after a potential game-winning field goal was blocked in the closing minutes.

Next up is a game under the lights at venerable Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines have been able to muster some magical moments during previous home night games and will need some to beat Penn State.

The game has no impact on the national rankings—neither team is ranked—but Michigan will be under the microscope for its performance on the field and at the gate. Hoke is trying to spark his team back to life in an attempt to salvage the season while hoping for a boost from the home crowd. The crowd’s size will also be a factor—Michigan’s streak of consecutive 100,000 crowds is on the line, with rumors of protest against Michigan’s increasingly unpopular athletic director.

Date: Saturday, October 11, 2014

Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Place: Michigan Stadium (109,901), Ann Arbor, Mich.

Series vs. Penn State: Michigan leads 10-7

Television: ESPN2

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

Spread: Penn State by 2 via Odds Shark

Live Stats: MGoBlue.com GameTracker

Last Meeting vs. Penn State

Last year’s 4OT 43-40 loss marked the beginning of a downward spiral for the Wolverines that has carried over to this season. Michigan is 4-9 since that loss at Happy Valley. The Wolverines lead the all-time series (10-7) but have lost the last four games versus the Nittany Lions.


*Information according to University of Michigan Wolverine Football game notes.

Begin Slideshow

Pages