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Baylor Bears vs. Southern Methodist Mustangs Betting Odds, College Football Pick

Baylor owns the recent rivalry with former Southwestern Conference foe SMU, winning the last 11 meetings in a row and covering the spread in its last five matchups. The Bears are fully expected to extend at least one of those streaks when they visit Dallas to begin what they hope is a run to the College Football Playoff against the Mustangs Friday night.


Point spread: Bears opened as 20-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (Line updates and matchup report).

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 51.3-21.5 Bears


Why the Baylor Bears can cover the spread

Baylor returns 18 starters, nine on each side of the ball, from a team that won the Big 12 but just missed making the first ever College Football Playoff last season. Offensively the Bears have to replace quarterback Bryce Petty, but they return a 1,000-yard rusher (Shock Linwood), two 1,000-yard receivers (Corey Coleman, K.D. Cannon) and the entire offensive line. And defensively, they get back the entire front four and secondary.

This team could be a monster. The Bears beat the Mustangs in Waco last season 45-0, outgaining them by over 500 yards and covering as 34-point favorites, and most signs point to something similar happening Friday night.


Why the Southern Methodist Mustangs can cover the spread

Southern Methodist is operating under a new coaching regime after the 1-11 mess that was last season, but at least there's a little something to work with. The Mustangs return 16 starters this season, nine on offense and seven on defense, including last year's starting quarterback (Matt Davis), the entire offensive line, three quarters of the front four and three quarters of the secondary.

Outside of a minor miracle, the Mustangs won't win this game, but if they can play a little defense, grind out some first downs and avoid turning the ball over they could cover this spread.


Smart pick

Baylor is a top-five team in its eighth season under head coach Art Briles, shooting for a spot in the College Football Playoff. SMU, on the other hand, is playing its first game for new head coach Chad Morris, which means a learning curve which will probably extend through the entire season. Also, playing on the road means the spread is a little more manageable, as far as the chalk is concerned. The smart money in this spot resides with the Bears.


Betting trends

SMU is 0-20 SU in its last 20 games vs. the Big 12.

SMU is 4-8 ATS in its last 12 games.

Baylor is 5-0 SU and ATS in its last five meetings with SMU.


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

Texas Longhorns vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Odds, College Football Pick

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish ended last season with a thud, losing four of their last five games and going 1-5 against the spread over their last six contests. The Irish and their financial backers are hoping they can put that behind them and begin this season anew when they host the Texas Longhorns Saturday night in South Bend.


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

College football pick, via Odds Shark's computer: 25.7-20.3 Fighting Irish


Why the Longhorns can cover the spread

Texas only returns 12 starters this year from a team that went 6-7 with a bad bowl loss last season, but this is just part of the process in which new head coach Charlie Strong finds the players for his system and puts them into place.

And great talent exists across the board. Seven starters are back on offense, including dual-threat quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and the entire offensive line, while five starters are back on defense, including three-quarters of the secondary.

Strong had to clean out the barn when he took over last season, and while that made for a tough debut season in Austin, he's got this program heading in the right direction.


Why the Fighting Irish can cover the spread

After beginning last season with just 10 returning starters, Notre Dame gets back 16 this season. Seven return on offense, including last year's leading rusher, top four receivers and three of the big dogs up front. Nine starters are back on defense, so improvement is almost a certainty on that side of the ball.

The Irish lost five games last season, but three of them came by a total of 10 points, including a heartbreaker against Florida State. With more experience, Notre Dame should be able to turn those close losses into close wins.


Smart pick

Notre Dame may very well win this game, but the Irish are just 10-13 ATS as home favorites under head coach Brian Kelly and just 12-18 ATS when favored by a touchdown or more, regardless of the site, over that same span. So it appears the smart money in this spot resides with Texas, plus the points.


Betting trends

The total has gone under in five of Texas' last six games.

The total has gone over in seven of Notre Dame's last eight games.

Notre Dame is 1-5 ATS in its last six games.


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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Why Ohio State Will Continue Momentum, Avoid Upset vs. Virginia Tech

The Ohio State Buckeyes have a big year ahead as defending college football national champions. Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe and College Football Analyst Michael Felder discuss how Ohio State will have a big Week 1 victory against Virginia Tech.

Can the Buckeyes overcome the Hokies? Tell us in the comments section below.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

SEC Football Q&A: Is Alabama Overrated?

It's game week, which means SEC football Q&A is kicking that door down and making its illustrious return to Bleacher Report.

Each Tuesday, I'll answer your questions that are submitted via Twitter about anything in the world of SEC football. Basically, this is the weekly story in which you, the fans, drive the conversation.

So send your questions for next week to @BarrettSallee, and we'll get to them. In the meantime, here's the first SEC football Q&A of the 2015 season.

Woah boy, let's get this year's Q&A started off with a bang, shall we?

No, Alabama isn't overrated. In fact, head coach Nick Saban's crew is being properly rated heading into this season.

When Alabama was winning three titles in five years, it almost received a tag of being invincible from the college football world, despite losing games in national title years in 2011 and 2012 and needing a whole lot of luck down the stretch to even play for those crystal footballs.

The Crimson Tide has the lingering problem of a secondary that gives up too many big plays and some questions on offense, but has proved to be a national title contender over the last two seasons despite similar issues on the roster.

They're ranked third in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, and fourth in the newly released Bleacher Report Top 25. Essentially, what voters are saying (and I ranked Alabama No. 3 in the B/R poll) is that Saban's crew is solid, has questions and, if it answers them correctly, will be considered a team that's worthy of a national championship.

That's right where the Tide should be.

Jeremy Johnson has enjoyed a meteoric rise to near the top of the Heisman odds board, which I explained here earlier this summer.

Since you specifically asked about quarterbacks who haven't started a game yet, that also eliminates Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs, Texas A&M's Kyle Allen and Georgia's Greyson Lambert—who was Virginia's starter last year.

I'll go with Ole Miss starting quarterback Chad Kelly. Head coach Hugh Freeze named the junior college transfer as his starter for the season opener against UT-Martin, although he did say that Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade will also play.

I don't buy that for one second.

Kelly has a strong arm, more upside than either of his primary competitors and is a threat with his legs on the ground. He has weapons all around him with a wide receiving corps led by Laquon Treadwell, a solid downfield threat up the seam with tight end Evan Engram and a coach in Freeze who knows how to find ways to put stress on opposing defenses.

If Freeze can give Kelly a little help in the running game between the tackles, the Rebels will get back into the College Football Playoff discussion and Kelly will be the man dominating all of the headlines.

I guess it would be easy to go with new starting quarterback Greyson Lambert, but that's probably too easy, right?

So I'll side with freshman wide receiver Terry Godwin.

At 5'11", 174 pounds, it might seem like Godwin is destined to be a slot receiver in the Classic City. But he plays much bigger than his frame (like Texas A&M stud and fellow freshman Christian Kirk), runs incredibly crisp routes, has tremendous body control and that slot role will be occupied by the "Human Joystick" Isaiah McKenzie anyway.

"Some guys are naturally born to play certain positions," receivers coach Bryan McClendon said, according to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald. "I think Terry was naturally born to play wide receiver. Things come naturally for him. The game of football comes very easy to him."

Expect new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to get Godwin involved in the game plan in a variety of ways, use him to get Lambert comfortable with his new role and provide a nice one-two punch with veteran receiver Malcolm Mitchell.

I guess you can say that since Urban Meyer really figured out what it takes to win as the front man of a big-time college program, but it's not like Ohio State was an also-ran before he got there. 

Major programs like Ohio State, Oregon, Florida State and others were part of the same rise in coaching salaries, recruiting budgets and facility upgrades that helped build the SEC into a power—there were just more SEC teams in that pool that found success over the last 10 or 15 years.

If you want to relate Meyer's success to what he learned in the SEC, that's fine. But it's a little more simplistic than that.

He is simply focused on being a big-time program in Columbus, where a foundation was already waiting for him when he got the job prior to the 2012 season.


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

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93 XM 208. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Louisville Cardinals vs. Auburn Tigers: Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

The Louisville Cardinals were a great road bet last season, going 5-1 against the spread and covering their last four road contests in a row. The Cardinals begin this season away from home when they take on Auburn in an interesting matchup at the neutral Georgia Dome on Saturday afternoon in Atlanta.


Point Spread: The Tigers opened as 10.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (see line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark's computer: 21.0-20.1 Tigers


Why the Louisville Cardinals can cover the spread

Louisville only returns nine starters from a team that went 9-4 last season but also adds several quality transfers for its second season under head coach Bobby Petrino.

Five starters are back on offense, led by quarterback Will Gardner and last year's leading rusher, Brandon Radcliffe, and while only four starters are back on defense, they're all among the front seven. And three transfers, including former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields, are expected to fill three other spots.

Despite the low number of returning starters ,the Cardinals have enough to at least keep this one close, and possibly pull off the outright upset.


Why the Auburn Tigers can cover the spread

Auburn returns 12 starters this season from a team that went 8-5 last season, an almost inevitable regression after nearly winning the national championship the season before.

Only four starters are back on offense, but they're led by a Heisman candidate at quarterback in Jeremy Johnson and three of the big boys along the offensive line. And eight starters return on defense, which is now led by new (and former) coordinator Will Muschamp, who has gotten some great results in the past.

Two years ago, on their way to the BCS title game, the Tigers went 12-2 against the spread; last year they went 4-9. Might another reversal be in order?


Smart pick

Auburn went only 3-6 ATS as a favorite last season, while Louisville, as mentioned above, had great success as an underdog. And while improvement is expected for the Tigers on defense, it might take a little time. The smart betting choice here is with the Cardinals and the points.


Betting trends

Auburn is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 games.

The total has gone under in nine of Louisville's last 12 games on the road.

The total has gone under in 11 of Auburn's last 13 games vs. the ACC.


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 Odds Shark's free odds tracker app.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

TCU Horned Frogs vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Odds, Analysis, Football Pick

While nearly making a run to the College Football Playoff last season, TCU made a nice profit for its financial backers, going 11-2 against the spread, one of the best marks in the country. The Horned Frogs open this season as road favorites up in Big Ten country when they visit Minnesota to tangle with the Golden Gophers Thursday night.

Point spread: Horned Frogs opened as 16-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 40.8-22.8 Horned Frogs


Why the TCU Horned Frogs can cover the spread

TCU returns 15 starters this season from a team that lost just one game and just missed the first ever College Football Playoff last season. That contingent is led by quarterback Trevone Boykin, who begins this season as a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, four along the offensive line and three along the defensive front four. TCU begins this season ranked No. 2 in the both major polls, and with good reason as it's got the talent, and head coach Gary Patterson should have plenty of motivation to make another run at a playoff berth.


Why the Minnesota Golden Gophers can cover the spread

Minnesota returns 12 starters this season from a team that got within about three quarters of playing in the Big Ten title game last season. Five starters are back on offense, including quarterback Mitch Leidner who enters his second season as the starter, although they do have to replace 1,600-yard rusher David Cobb. Seven starters are back on defense. More importantly, however, this is probably the best team, depth-wise, that head coach Jerry Kill has had in his five seasons with the Golden Gophers. Also, Minnesota is 3-0 against the spread its last three times out as a home underdog.


Smart pick

After getting snubbed by the playoff committee last year, the Horned Frogs will be taking no chances this season. Win, and win big if possible, is the plan. Minnesota, meanwhile, is an improving program under Kill, but probably doesn't have enough to pull off the upset here. Also, these teams just met back in Week 2 of last season, when as a 16-point home favorite TCU cashed in with a 30-7 victory. This time the game is in Minnesota, but that just means the spread is little more amenable. The smart pick here is the road Frogs.


Betting trends

TCU is 14-2 ATS in its last 16 games.

The total has gone under in seven of Minnesota's last 10 games at home.

Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in its last five Week 1 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

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Betting Odds, College Football Pick

The Ohio State Buckeyes ride a 13-game winning streak into this season, which includes a 9-4 run against the spread. The last game the Buckeyes lost came last September, at home against Virginia Tech. Ohio State opens this season with revenge on its mind, heading into a rematch with the Hokies in Blacksburg Monday night.


Point spread: Buckeyes opened as 14-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 60.6-34.7 Buckeyes


Why the Ohio State Buckeyes can cover the spread

Ohio State returns 14 starters from the team that went 14-1 and rolled to a national championship last season. Seven starters are back on offense, including quarterback J.T. Barrett, who accounted for 45 touchdowns last season, running back Ezekiel Elliott, who ran for 1,900 yards, and four along the offensive line.

Seven starters return on defense, including last year's top four tacklers. The Buckeyes begin this season as the top-ranked team in the land, and with good reason; talent abounds, along with experience, and they're led by one of the best head coaches in college football. And playing on the road means the spread is a little more amenable.


Why the Virginia Tech Hokies can cover the spread

Virginia Tech gets back 16 starters this year from a team that won three of its last four games last season, including a bowl upset over Cincinnati, to finish 7-6. Eight starters are back on offense, led by senior quarterback Michael Brewer and last year's top two rushers and top three receivers.

Eight starters return on defense, including three of last year's top four tacklers. Also, the Hokies are 4-2 ATS in their last six games as home underdogs. Finally, Virginia Tech upset Ohio State last year in Columbus, and while the Buckeyes are most certainly out for revenge, that can sometimes backfire.


Smart pick

The Hokies caught the Buckeyes in a bad spot last season, with a quarterback making his first collegiate start behind a young offensive line, but that's not the case this time around. Ohio State is the consensus best team in the country, favored by what looks to be a manageable spread. Blacksburg can be a tough place to play for a visiting team, but the Buckeyes aren't your average team; they're super-talented, deep and battle-tested. The smart money here resides with OSU, minus the points.


Betting trends

Ohio State is 13-0 SU and 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games.

The total has gone over in seven of Ohio State's last 10 games on the road.

Virginia Tech is 1-5 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

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

Alabama is 4-1 both straight-up and against the spread in its last five games against Big Ten conference opponents, while Wisconsin is 1-3 both SU and ATS in its last four games against SEC conference opponents.

Therefore, the betting trends seem to side with the Crimson Tide for Saturday night's season opener against the Badgers on a neutral field in Arlington, Texas.


Point spread: Alabama opened as a 10-point favorite.

Odds Shark computer pick: Alabama 20.5, Wisconsin 20.4


Why the Wisconsin Badgers Can Cover the Spread

Wisconsin has a new head coach, former UW assistant Paul Chryst, but the song remains the same: Run the ball down opponents' throats, throw it deep occasionally and play sound defense.

Last year, the Badgers averaged 320 yards per game on the ground and the defense ranked fourth in the nation. This year, Wisconsin has to replace running back Melvin Gordon, who ran for 2,587 yards in 2014, but Corey Clement looks like the next man up.

Quarterback Joel Stave has his faults, but he can stretch defenses with his arm and has some experience with 28 collegiate starts under his belt.

If the Badgers can control the clock and avoid turnovers, they could keep this one close.


Why the Alabama Crimson Tide Can Cover the Spread

Alabama only returns 10 starters from a team that made it to the first-ever College Football Playoff last season, but the Tide do not rebuild—they reload.

Yes, there might be a question about the quarterback position at the moment, but there are no questions about the Alabama defense, which might be the best in the country. Over the last three seasons, Alabama has opened with neutral-site games against Michigan, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, winning those three games by an average score of 36-16.

If the Tide win this season opener by 20 points, they'll cover the spread.


Smart Pick

The Crimson Tide haven't won the national championship in three seasons, and after getting knocked off by Ohio State in the playoff last January, they are probably chomping at the bit to get this season started.

Wisconsin, on the other hand, has a new head coach, and while the systems are similar, there will also be an adjustment period.

The smart betting choice here is with the Crimson Tide.


Betting Trends

Alabama is 4-11-1 ATS in its last 16 games.

Alabama is 4-1 SU and ATS in its last five games vs. the Big Ten.

Wisconsin is 1-3 SU and ATS in its last four games vs. the SEC.


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

Study Finds Which College Football Fanbases Have the Worst Grammar

Seeing a college sports fan make a grammar mistake in a comment section is so much more fun than seeing a professional sports fan make the same error.

Why? Not only does the grammar mistake make the team's fanbase look bad, but it also reflects poorly on the school. That double whammy gives rival fans plenty to laugh at.

With the 2015-16 college football season just days away, an automated proofreading company called Grammarly did some research to figure out which college football fanbase—of the teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll—had the worst grammar. Grammarly went through the SB Nation page for each team and evaluated 100 comments to get data.

Here are the results for the best and worst grammar among college football fanbases:

There doesn't appear to be much of a connection between grammar and a team's success or grammar and conference affiliation. However, this list does add yet another chapter to the Iron Bowl.

Click the links to see which NFL (here) and MLB (here) fanbases have the worst grammar.

[Wall Street Journal, h/t USA Today's FTW]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

DFS College Football 2015: Beginner Strategy Guide and DFS Advice

The advent of fantasy football has personalized the NFL for millions of people.

Each Sunday, hordes of people gather in bars, at each other's houses, on couches, or even in man caves to intently watch their fantasy selections perform on television. Interest in the sport has seemingly increased even further with this virtual-meets-real-life activity.

But while NFL fantasy football is exceptionally popular, what about college fantasy football?

DraftKings has provided an opportunity for fans to play daily fantasy college football—with the potential to win money. The College Football Training Camp is a program geared toward assisting newbies in the art of fantasy football at the collegiate level. 

This piece will explain the rules via a four-step process—which can be found in its entirety here


Step 1: Understanding How it Works

There are inherent (and obvious) similarities between playing daily fantasy NFL and daily fantasy college football. Like the NFL, college football rosters feature nine players. The main difference is that daily fantasy college football players are gifted a second quarterback.

This surely creates a high-scoring element to the contests—in addition to making the actual gameplay much more exciting. The salary cap—identical to the NFL play—is $50,000. 

One needs to be aware of trends when featuring players from various college programs. Not only are there usually more points scored per game compared to the NFL, but there's a general idea of when a team will put up a ton of points against a lower-level opponent. 

As is the case with any endeavor, taking the time to prepare and do thorough research will only aid in one's potential winnings. This includes exhausting any and all resources pertaining to the subject matter—including the point spreads and odds from Las Vegas on any given day. 

The more well-versed players are in personnel and team information, the better they'll likely perform. 


Step 2: The Scoring System

It goes without saying, but a quarterback in a pass-happy offense will likely rack up a ton of points.

On the DraftKings points system, 100 yards passing is equivalent to a passing touchdown. A passing touchdown itself is worth four points. This bodes well for options such as Washington State quarterback Luke Falk or Baylor signal-caller Seth Russell.  

One can rack points with a strong rushing attack. One point is given for every 10 yards rushing. A rushing touchdown will give the owner six points. It would behoove any owner to target a player projected to receive the vast majority of his team's carries.

UCLA running back Paul Perkins, Utah rusher Devontae Booker and LSU workhorse Leonard Fournette all fit the bill in this capacity. 

The best-case scenario for any owner is to find a true dual-threat quarterback. A signal-caller with the ability to throw for 250-plus yards and also rush for at least 80 yards is a rare commodity—and a valuable one. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is an obvious fit for this description, as are J.T. Barrett, Vernon Adams, Dak Prescott, and Justin Thomas. 

There is a disclaimer, however. Each individual team situation needs to be studied. Will a quarterback's team be involved in a number of blowout victories? If so, there's a decent chance that said signal-caller will be lifted from the game before its conclusion. This, in theory, will equate to leaving points on the table. 

Additionally, selecting a signal-caller from a two-quarterback system is understandably a bit of a dicey situation. 

From a receiver standpoint, targeting a possession receiver (no pun intended) is smart. The more opportunities a pass-catcher gets, the more catches the receiver theoretically will grab. A touchdown reception is worth six points.

Selecting a running back with the capability to catch the ball out of the backfield is also worth exploring for a higher point total. 

Bonuses occur for incredibly high point totals. Players will receive an extra three points for accruing a passing total of over 300 yards, a rushing mark of over 100 yards or at least 100 receiving yards. 

When attempting to reach these totals, conventional wisdom suggests looking at the opposition of the team the player is facing. For instance, Oregon running back Royce Freeman vs. Eastern Washington on Sept. 5 appears to be a tasty matchup. 


Step 3: Player Cards are Your Friends

DraftKings provides a wonderful tool for helping you create your weekly lineup: player cards, which are essentially quick statistical breakdowns of any athlete. 

Each card provides totals for home and away games. This can be found on the "at a glance" tab. One needs to be cognizant of these totals. It isn't a given that a player will replicate the season averages in every single game. Much of his production will be determined by the opponent during that specific week. 

The "game log" tab is a more effective barometer when trying to determine how well a selection will do. By researching the opponents and their records, you can ascertain how well a player will do against top competition and also versus lower-level teams. 

For instance, a running back such as Derrick Henry will likely put up big numbers in nonconference play. Once Henry and the Crimson Tide enter the SEC schedule, those statistical outputs will probably drop off a bit. 

It's also an efficient way of looking at season trends. Does your running back routinely catch three-to-four catches a game? Will your quarterback rush for at least 50 yards? As previously mentioned, the more research you do, the better your potential gameplay will be. 


Step 4: Different Lineups for Different Competitions

DraftKings offers two types of cash-based competitions: cash games and tournaments. 

Cash games involve smaller amounts of people competing against one another. A larger chunk of people win money, but the winnings aren't as lucrative when compared to tournaments. 

These head-to-head or three-person contests require an elite player at either the quarterback position or the running back spot. Signal-callers putting up big numbers are not often replicated by any other position within the lineup. 

In terms of wide receivers, seek consistency over potential. A player consistently catching six or seven passes is likely a better option compared to a high-upside receiver catching multiple touchdowns once in a seven-game span.  

The second quarterback is the true wild card. You don't need to break the bank and go after two highly expensive options. Look at the competition each option will be facing for that specific week. A mid-level quarterback may be facing a favorable matchup. 

In essence, it wouldn't be wise to spend virtually all of your money on two elite quarterbacks and one stud running back. Balance needs to exist within your roster. 

Tournaments involve a much bigger pool of competitors. As such, you can be more creative and daring with your personnel choices. In other words, try to exploit the "boom" potential with any player. 

While goal-line backs only get a handful of carries a game, they could be attractive fantasy options within the tournament setup. Touchdowns are pure gold—and the price for a specialist shouldn't be too high. 


The Most Important Thing

Have fun!

This is an enjoyable activity bonding people of all ages and backgrounds. Don't get too upset if you don't start off super-successfully. There's a trial-and-error period through which all rookie fantasy players go. 


Head to DraftKings and sign up for daily fantasy college football today! From there you can participate in contests with big cash prizes! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State QB Competition Bringing J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones Closer Together

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If Tyvis Powell carried a bias when it came to Ohio State's quarterback battle, it would be tough to blame him.

After all, it's been well documented that Powell shares an apartment with one of the competition's participants, Cardale Jones. 

From their playful Twitter beefs to their "father-son" relationship—which one is which remains unclear—the Buckeyes safety and national champion quarterback have enjoyed a burgeoning bromance that's developed under the watch of the college football world ever since the two played key roles in OSU's run through the College Football Playoff last January.

If Powell was personally pulling for his friend, classmate, fellow Northeast Ohio native and, yes, roommate to reclaim his starting job in what's been an unprecedented quarterback competition alongside reigning National Freshman of the Year, J.T. Barrett, it would be expected.

But lately, there's been more than just one signal-caller occupying the Powell-Jones residence.

"The last couple of days, I've actually had the luxury of kicking it with J.T. and Cardale," Powell said on Monday. "My apartment has been the hangout spot for the two."

A hangout spot for the two players taking part in college football's most talked-about position battle, where one man will take over the offense of the nation's unanimous preseason No. 1 and the other will likely be relegated back to the bench?

They know they don't need to do that, right?

There's been plenty of talk about the relationship between the Buckeyes quarterbacks for the past nine months, after Barrett's fractured ankle in last season's regular finale led to Jones taking the reins of the OSU offense on the eve of the Big Ten Championship Game and the Buckeyes' subsequent appearance in the College Football Playoff. Most of it, however, could have easily been dismissed as coachspeak, a way for Urban Meyer to paint an inherently awkward situation as anything but that.

"It's one of the most refreshing competitions I've ever witnessed," Meyer said midway through Ohio State's fall camp. "They encourage each other, they push each other. It's unique. I think it's very unique.

"This one is very genuine."

The actions of the two quarterbacks indicate as much.

Just six days remain until the Buckeyes kick off their national championship defense on Monday night against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, and Meyer has yet to declare whether Jones or Barrett will be his starter. The fourth-year Ohio State head coach said he thinks he'll have a good idea who his QB1 will be come Wednesday, although, as always, the situation seems fluid.

One would imagine that could lead to some uncomfortableness between Barrett and Jones as the clock runs down on their competition and both of their immediate—and possibly long-term—futures hang in the balance.

But rather than avoiding one another, the Buckeyes' top two quarterbacks have only continued to further their friendship off the field, attending a local high school football game together during the final free weekend of their offseason.

The duo have also spent plenty of time lately playing the new Madden 16 video game together at Jones and Powell's apartment. That, however, could also be viewed more as an extension of their ongoing competition than furthered development of their friendship.

"It goes down every day," Powell said of the Xbox battles between Jones and Barrett. "For a long time, Cardale was the king. Nobody could beat Cardale. But toward the end of a couple of months ago, J.T. has had Cardale's card."

It'd be a stretch of Bikram Yoga proportions to read anything into what the outcomes of those recent Madden matches mean for the Ohio State quarterback competition. After all, it's just a video game, although perhaps Barrett's ability to beat someone as talented as Jones on the joysticks is worth noting.

But perhaps what's most interesting about the recent series of showdowns between Barrett and Jones is the way their preferred playing styles in virtual reality mirror their real-life selves. According to Powell, Barrett will play with any team in the NFL game, relying on his ability to match opposing defenses with appropriate audibles, just as he did while leading the Buckeyes to an 11-1 regular-season record a year ago.

"When I would play J.T., what he would do is pay attention to the defense that I would come out in and he would switch the whole play up," Powell said. "So I'm like, 'See, this why I don't like to play the quarterbacks man, 'cause y'all be cheating 'cause y'all know all that stuff.'"

As for Jones, who often used his cannon-like arm to hook up downfield with deep threat Devin Smith last winter? It shouldn't come as a surprise that he favors playing with the Detroit Lions.

"He's a cheater and he likes to throw it up to Calvin Johnson because he's 6'5"," Powell said. "Nobody can stop him."

With the start of their season now just mere days away, video games will soon presumably be forced to take a backseat in favor of real-life opponents and, for one quarterback, the real-life reality of being a backup after enjoying so much success a season ago. No matter how Meyer or anyone else spins it, the situation won't be ideal for at least one player.

"I think anybody in America would be crushed if they found out they're not going to be the starting quarterback," Powell said.

But in what's been an atypical quarterback competition from the very start, don't count on the response from the odd man out between Barrett and Jones to be bitter. In a way, they've been through this before, with the outcome placing them in the very predicament they currently find themselves as college football's defending national champions.

"Last year, when Braxton [Miller] went down, they were both battling for the No. 1 position and they still remained great friends. I know for a fact Cardale was a little crushed, but they still remained great friends and it didn't alter their relationship in any way," Powell said. "Now that it is what it is this year, I don't think it's going to change."

And at the very least, there will always be some sort of rematch at Jones and Powell's apartment waiting for the two of them.


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 cfbstats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Andrew Butcher Arrested: Latest Details, Mugshot and More on Tennessee DE

Freshman defensive end Andrew Butcher came to the University of Tennessee with plenty of fanfare behind him, but the enthusiasm has been tempered as the 18-year-old was arrested early Sunday morning.

Continue for updates.

Butcher Charged With Public Intoxication, Additional Violations Tuesday, Sept. 1

According to WATE.com, Butcher was arrested Sunday after allegedly "running around" on Interstate 40 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The Alpharetta, Georgia, native was subsequently charged with public intoxication, underage possession of alcoholic beverages and controlled access roadway violations after telling police he had been drinking.

KNS Watchful Eye provided a look at Butcher's mugshot following his arrest:

Per Don Jacobs of the Knoxville News Sentinel, Butcher was ultimately released from jail on bond, and he is set to appear in court Sept. 10, which is five days after the Vols open the season against Bowling Green and two days prior to their clash with Oklahoma.

Butcher was a 4-star recruit, according to 247sports, but his status for the 2015 season was already in question. He has yet to practice with the Volunteers after undergoing knee surgery.

That made Butcher a redshirt candidate, although his status with the program is now unclear as head coach Butch Jones must review his situation.

Jones' ultimate decision isn't likely to have much of an impact on what Tennessee does in 2015, but it could affect the Vols' defensive talent moving forward.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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USC vs. Arkansas State: Complete Game Preview

No. 8 USC opens the 2015 season against an annual Sun Belt Conference title contender: Arkansas State.

The Red Wolves finished 7-6 last season, winning fewer than eight games for the first time since 2010. However, they also retained head coach Blake Anderson for a second season, which means they'll maintain continuity for the first time since that same year.

Former head coaches Hugh Freeze (2011), Gus Malzahn (2012) and Bryan Harsin (2013) spent one year apiece in Jonesboro before moving to Ole Miss, Auburn and Boise State, respectively. All three have played in BCS/College Football Playoff bowl games since leaving.

Last year, Arkansas State lost by 21 points at Miami and 15 points at Tennessee, which provides a good idea of what USC should expect. It is not a realistic threat to upset the Trojans, but Anderson's team plays uptempo, confident football and embraces road challenges.

If USC falls asleep at the wheel, who knows how close this could get?


Date: Saturday, September 5

Time: 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. local)

Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; Los Angeles, Calif.

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: ESPN Radio; EAB Sports Network

Line: USC -28, according to OddsShark.com

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USC vs. Arkansas State: Complete Game Preview

No. 8 USC opens the 2015 season against an annual Sun Belt Conference title contender: Arkansas State. The Red Wolves finished 7-6 last season, winning fewer than eight games for the first time since 2010...

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Oregon vs. Eastern Washington Complete Game Preview

The narrative surrounding Oregon's season-opener is so obvious we barely need to write it.

New starting quarterback Vernon Adams, who transferred this offseason after three successful years at Eastern Washington, will make his Ducks debut against…Eastern Washington.

Every other player will take a back seat to Adams, who faces the dual-pressure gauntlet of replacing Marcus Mariota, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, while also playing a team filled with former friends and teammates who in some ways consider him a traitor.

But, of course, there's also the macro-storyline of Oregon's Pac-12 title defense and quest for another trip to the College Football Playoff. Eastern Washington beat Oregon State two years ago and lost a 59-52 shootout against Washington in 2014. It is not afraid of playing a Pac-12 opponent.

Oregon should still beat them thoroughly, but the Eagles won't crumble to the floor like some typical FCS tomato can. In that way, they're a useful diagnostic opponent before the Ducks travel to East Lansing for a Week 2 showdown against Michigan State.

Expect this team to learn a lot about itself.


Date: Saturday, September 5

Time: 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)

Location: Autzen Stadium; Eugene, Oregon

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: Oregon IMG; ESPN Spokane 700 AM

Line: No line posted at Odds Shark


Note: All recruiting info refers to the 247Sports composite rankings.

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Texas A&M vs. Arizona State: Complete Game Preview

Year 4 of the Kevin Sumlin era at Texas A&M begins with a difficult assignment: beat No. 15 Arizona State.

The Aggies opened last year with a 52-28 upset over then-No. 9 South Carolina, but the season unraveled after a 5-0 start. In the next three games, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama outscored Texas A&M by a combined 142-51 margin and averaged 7.1 yards per play, and the Aggies sputtered to an 8-5 finish.

If the defense hasn't been rectified, A&M will have a hard time beating an Arizona State team that thrives on offense and has won 10 games in consecutive seasons. There are reasons to expect defensive improvement, which is why, despite the rankings, the Aggies are technically betting favorites, but it's hard to know for sure.

Either way, this is easily one of the highlights of Week 1.


Date: Saturday, September 5

Time: 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local)

Location: NRG Stadium; Houston, Texas


Radio: TAMUSN; ESPN Phoenix 620 AM

Line: Texas A&M -3, according to OddsShark.com

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Oregon vs. Eastern Washington Complete Game Preview

The narrative surrounding Oregon's season-opener is so obvious we barely need to write it. New starting quarterback Vernon Adams, who transferred this offseason after three successful ...

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Florida vs. New Mexico State Complete Game Preview

New head coach Jim McElwain begins his Florida career with what should be a blowout win over New Mexico State.

McElwain replaced Will Muschamp—who was fired before the bowl game last season—after three successful years as head coach at Colorado State. The Rams went 3-9 in 2011, but McElwain arrived from Alabama, where he served as the offensive coordinator under Nick Saban, and steered them to a 4-8 record in 2012, an 8-6 record in 2013 and a 10-3 record last season.

After a spring game that was mostly ugly, Gators fans are hoping to see cohesion—especially on offense—against an Aggies team that finished 2-10 and lost its final 10 games last season.

Anything less than a thorough blowout will lead to nerves before a Birmingham Bowl rematch against East Carolina in Week 2, a road trip to Kentucky in Week 3 and then a string of five straight conference games against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

This is the only easy game until November.

Florida had better make it count.


Date: Saturday, September 5

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium; Gainesville, Fla.

TV: SEC Network

Radio: Gator Sports Network; Sirius: 119, XM: 192; Aggie Sports Network

Line: Florida -37, according to Odds Shark


Note: All recruiting info refers to the 247Sports composite rankings.

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College Football Rankings 2015: Power Ranking All 128 Teams for Week 1

After what seemed like an offseason that would never end, we have finally made it. On Thursday, the 2015 college football season will begin, kicking of several months of nonstop action capped by a playoff-fueled national championship in mid-January.

Until then, all we can do is watch and enjoy. And also rank all 128 FBS teams from best to worst.

Bleacher Report's power rankings are comprised of an average of five sources: B/R's weekly top 25, the Associated Press and Amway coaches' polls, ratings guru Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings and my personal formula. The initial power rankings are based on preseason information, but as the season goes on they'll take better shape thanks to weekly results and trends.

Check out where all 128 FBS teams rank heading into the opening week of the 2015 college football season and then give us your thoughts in the comments section.

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College Football Rankings 2015: Predicting Week 1 Top 25 Standings and Records

Cupcakes may be tasty, but they aren't good for you and rarely offer any long-term benefits.

The same can be said about college football’s version of cupcakes that typically dominate the Week 1 diets of the nation’s best teams. While it may be enjoyable to knock off an overmatched opponent by five touchdowns, scheduling a marquee inter-conference game early in the season will pay off in December when College Football Playoff spots are determined.

The sheer number of potential championship contenders that elected to play high-profile showdowns in lieu of the traditional cupcakes underscores the importance of strength of schedule when building a resume. That is welcome news for fans who will not have to wait until late September or October for intriguing games.

Since 10 teams in the initial Associated Press rankings square off against a power-conference opponent in Week 1, the Top 25 is bound to look different in the aftermath. With that in mind, here is a look at the predicted rankings and schedules following the opening weekend of contests.


Under-the-Radar Game to Watch: Arizona State vs. Texas A&M

There are a number of contests that jump out in the opening week. The defending champion Ohio State Buckeyes travel to Virginia Tech to take on the one team that beat them last year, Alabama and Wisconsin square off in a Big Ten-SEC showdown and Texas and Notre Dame battle in a matchup of traditional powerhouses.

Don’t overlook the game between Arizona State and Texas A&M, though, especially if you are a fan of offensive fireworks on Labor Day weekend.

The Sun Devils and Aggies meet Saturday in Houston, which is better for Arizona State than a true road game, but it is safe to assume the majority of fans will be decked out in Texas A&M colors for the first-ever meeting between the schools.

Still, Arizona State head coach Todd Graham did not hide his excitement during a radio interview with Paul Finebaum of ESPN (h/t Brandon Wheeland of the Dallas Morning News):

That’s a game as a coach I’m excited about coaching in, our players are excited about playing it, and fans on both sides are pretty excited about that game. It’s good for college football and it’s going to my home state [Mesquite]. It’s an exciting game for us. It’s really impacted our summer. Our guys have really had a sense of urgency. Training is really different when you kick off on the road in Houston against an SEC opponent that has the type of firepower that A&M does. We’re excited as a program; our program is ready for it. This will be the best team that we’ve had to this point and we’re excited to go down there and get after it.

Graham mentioned the fact his team is looking forward to playing an SEC opponent, which is not surprising because this game will likely be framed as a contest for conference bragging rights. The SEC has long been seen as the nation’s best league, but two straight years without a national title and a disappointing bowl effort has some questioning that assumption.

Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated openly wondered this offseason whether the Pac-12 passed the SEC as college football’s top dog:

The 2015 season presents an opportunity for the Pac-12 to rush past the SEC. The Pac-12 has far superior returning quarterbacks than the SEC does, is amid a facility-building boom and features a division, the Pac-12 South, that’s comparable to the vaunted SEC West. The Big Ten and ACC lack depth and the Big 12 couldn’t get a team into the inaugural College Football Playoff. That leaves a two-horse race for the best league from top to bottom, and for the Pac-12 to leap past the SEC it needs a sparkling season from its signature program.

That is not to suggest a victory in this game for either side would be the final argument in the conference-supremacy debate, but an early-season win would provide a solid statement. 

Texas A&M’s best chance at achieving just that is with its offense.

Quarterback Kyle Allen took over as the full-time starter down the stretch in 2014 and led the Aggies to victories at Auburn and over West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl. He completed 61.5 percent of his throws and tossed 16 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. Allen also threw for a combined eight touchdowns in those two defining wins.

It is only natural to expect progression during his sophomore campaign with experience under his belt, especially since he will have plenty of wide receiver talent at his disposal.

Josh Reynolds and Ricky Seals-Jones return after combining for 1,307 receiving yards and 17 touchdown catches in 2014. Reynolds in particular stands out as the team’s best option (842 yards and 13 touchdowns) and should find openings throughout the season.

Christian Kirk and Speedy Noil provide depth and speed in the slot or as additional options on the outside, which means opposing defenses must pick their poison against this deep unit. Someone will face single coverage on almost every play, and Allen is talented enough to take advantage.

The problem for the Aggies is the other side of the ball with a defense that finished an abysmal 103rd in the nation in total defense last year. That is concerning against an Arizona State offense that is confident entering the season with quarterback Mike Bercovici operating the reins.

He completed 61.8 percent of his passes and boasted 12 touchdowns to only four interceptions. He also threw for 488 yards against UCLA and 510 against USC and looked comfortable under the spotlight of marquee games.

Look for Bercovici to exploit Texas A&M’s defense with wide receiver D.J. Foster. Foster primarily played running back in 2014 on his way to 1,081 rushing yards, 688 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns, but he will play wide receiver in 2015. His shiftiness, speed and ability to make defenders miss in open space should serve the Sun Devils well Saturday.

Throw in running back Demario Richard (eight total touchdowns last year) as a threat to power his way to the difficult yards inside or burst around the edge for a big play, and Arizona State will be balanced throughout the game and the entire 2015 campaign.

The Aggies will have the in-state crowd and a potentially explosive offense on their side, but they will still come up short against the Sun Devil playmakers. Texas A&M’s defense consistently let it down a season ago, and it will start the new year in similar fashion.

Look for the combination of Richard and Foster, along with the accuracy of Bercovici, to overwhelm an overmatched Aggies defensive unit during a critical fourth-quarter drive.

Score one for the Pac-12.

Prediction: Arizona State 38, Texas A&M 35

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