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Oregon Football: Braxton Miller Is No Mariota, but He Would Be an Awesome Duck

Coming into the 2014 season, Braxton Miller was a legitimate Heisman contender and had hopes of leading his Ohio State Buckeyes to the inaugural College Football Playoff...

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Oregon Ducks vs. Oregon State Beavers Betting Odds, Pick, Trends

Oregon has ruled in the recent Civil War rivalry with Oregon State, winning the last six meetings straight up, going 3-2-1 against the spread.

The 10-1 Ducks are also two victories away from making the College Football Playoff. However, the 5-6 Beavers would love nothing more than to spoil Oregon's season and become bowl-eligible in the process.

Oregon and Oregon State battle for the 118th time Saturday night in Corvallis.


Point Spread: The Ducks opened as 17.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark, but were two points higher as of Thursday. (Line updates and matchup report)


College Football Pick, via Odds Shark Computer: 43.1-28.5 Ducks


Why the Oregon Ducks Can Cover the Spread

The Ducks have won and covered six games in a row, after beating Colorado 44-10, cashing in as 33-point favorites. Oregon led 30-3 at the half and shut the Buffs out in the fourth quarter, preserving the cover.

So the Ducks, with a win this week and a victory in the Pac-12 Championship Game, would secure a spot in the four-team playoff. Back in September, Oregon only beat Washington State by a touchdown, then lost at home to Arizona.

Since then, the Ducks have beaten UCLA, Washington, Cal, Stanford, Utah and Colorado—four of which will go to a bowl—by an average score of 50-24.


Why the Oregon State Beavers Can Cover the Spread

The Beavers have been a disappointment this season, at just 3-8 ATS, but they showed they could still be a pain in someone's behind when they upset Arizona a couple weeks ago 35-27, winning outright as seven-point home dogs.

And the Wildcats just happen to be the only team to beat the Ducks this season. Oregon State suffered a letdown last week, losing to Washington 37-13, but that just puts it on schedule for a rebound this week.

If the Beavers can move the ball with quarterback Sean Mannion, avoid the turnovers and the big plays and ride some home-field emotion, they could give Oregon a scare.


Smart Pick

Oregon is playing for big stakes, while Oregon State is playing for pride. In this spot, that might give the Beavers an edge.

Also, while style points still come into play in determining this year's four-team playoff field, the Ducks really only need two victories and they're in. Finally, Oregon State gave Oregon a heck of a scare last year in Eugene, only succumbing when Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass to Josh Huff with 30 seconds to go in a 36-35 Ducks victory.

So the smart choice here is with the home dog, plus the points, in spite of its recent 1-6 ATS run in conference home games.


Betting Trends

  • The total has gone under in five of Oregon's last seven games on the road.
  • Oregon State is 2-7 ATS in its last nine 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

Oregon Ducks vs. Oregon State Beavers Betting Odds, Pick, Trends

Oregon has ruled in the recent Civil War rivalry with Oregon State, winning the last six meetings straight up, going 3-2-1 against the spread. The 10-1 Ducks are also two victories away from making the College Football Playoff...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Which Team Has Been a Bigger Bust in 2014, Notre Dame or Oklahoma?

Back in August, it would have been hard to say which team was more brimming with confidence about the upcoming season: Notre Dame or Oklahoma.

With the 2014 season nearly in the books, it's just as difficult to determine which has been more of a disappointment. Neither team heads into its final regular-season game anywhere close to where it expected to be, and both are in contention for the dreaded "bust" label.

So it goes when one is tabbed as the overwhelming favorite to win its conference and the other was getting plenty of mention as a potential playoff team if it could navigate a rather daunting independent schedule.

But who busted bigger in 2014, Notre Dame or Oklahoma?

Notre Dame's flop is worse, for two reasons: Notre Dame tricked us for two months before crashing hard, and Oklahoma has done this before, failing to meet expectations in several other seasons.

To come to this conclusion, though, it's necessary to look at where these teams started and where they've ended up.

Notre Dame was coming off its first loss of the season when the first playoff rankings came out in late October, having just fallen in the final seconds at defending champ Florida State. Oklahoma had lost twice by that point, falling at TCU and then at home to Kansas State.

Yet the Fighting Irish had a far better national perception when those first rankings were released, somehow gaining more supporters for losing than they had before playing at Florida State.

"Each week has a chance to define Notre Dame's season," wrote Keith Arnold of Chat Sports, referring to a tough November schedule that had the chance to push the Irish into the playoffs even with a loss. The toughest of those contests, on paper, would come Nov. 8 at a rising Arizona State team.

Oklahoma, too, still had expectations that could be met despite the two October losses, because it had the chance to right some wrongs with a Nov. 8 visit from Baylor. The Sooners had never lost to the Bears in Norman and as a result were still major players in the Big 12 race and could still be in the running for a major bowl bid.

But Nov. 8 was the day the dreams truly died for both Notre Dame and Oklahoma. With their biggest games of the season on the docket for that Saturday, instead of moving toward achieving some goals both programs walked off the field wondering what went wrong.

Notre Dame was crushed, 55-31, at Arizona State, a few hours after Oklahoma was run off its own field in a 48-14 loss to Baylor.

Suddenly, the talk of what these teams could accomplish this season turned to discussions of failures, both in terms of on-field performance and coaching effectiveness.

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops has been speculated as a prime candidate to replace Will Muschamp at Florida, where he could get a "change of scenery" that many feel the veteran coach needs. Brian Kelly of Notre Dame, who previously had been linked to NFL openings, has had his name mentioned as a good option for the New York Giants job if it were to come open.

Considering the shortcomings of each team, getting out of town might not be such a bad idea for either.

The similarities between the teams extends beyond what was expected and what hasn't happened. Though both featured talented rosters stocked with notable recruits, the most important player for each offense entered the season as major question marks.

Trevor Knight had a breakout performance in Oklahoma's Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, launching the sophomore-to-be into far-too-early Heisman discussions that ignored the fact he'd only been good enough to start five games in 2013.

With Notre Dame, it was resting its laurels on Everett Golson, a hero in 2012 when he helped lead the Irish to the national title game but someone who hadn't thrown a pass in a live game since January 2013 because of a season-long academic suspension. He wasn't even guaranteed the starting job when training camp began in the summer.

Both quarterbacks have been integral to what their respective teams have done this season, both good and bad.

Knight was effective most of the time, though he struggled in losses to TCU and Baylor and at many points during the season took a back seat to Oklahoma's young and rising running back corps. Knight ended up getting hurt late in the Baylor loss and hasn't played since, yet because of freshman tailback Samaje Perine's rushing his absence has hardly been noticed.

Golson has managed to be both an offensive savior and his team's own worst enemy in the same season, accounting for 37 touchdowns and more than 3,500 yards but also 20 of Notre Dame's 24 turnovers. All 20 of those giveaways have come in the past eight games, after he'd opened with 11 scores in the first three contests and then nearly tied an FBS record for consecutive completions in the same game that he turned it over four times.

Instead of invitations to New York City for next month's Heisman ceremony, Golson and Knight probably won't even watch the event on television.

Looking at all of this, it's easy to see why both Notre Dame and Oklahoma are considered busts in 2014. The only fitting way for this season to end would be for the Irish and Sooners to meet in a bowl game.

As an unofficial member of the ACC, Notre Dame gets to be included in that conference's choices for who will play in its bowl affiliations. Only one of those would be against a Big 12 team, the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29 in Orlando.

Projections from ESPN and CBS Sports have Oklahoma headed to Orlando, while Notre Dame is pegged to play in either the Belk, Pinstripe or Sun Bowl.


Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. USC Trojans Betting Odds, Analysis, Pick

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to beat the USC Trojans for the fourth time in five years when they visit the USC Trojans in their annual rivalry game Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

However, the Fighting Irish are looking to snap a three-game losing streak and have also failed to cover the spread in their past four.

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

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 33.5-24.9 Trojans


Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread

Notre Dame has not been the same team since losing a tough road game against the Florida State Seminoles 31-27 a month ago as seven-point underdogs. That setback was the Fighting Irish’s first of the season and knocked them out of the national title picture due to the fact that their schedule was otherwise pretty weak this year.

This game is another story though, and Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly can surely get his players motivated to play USC. Even though the Fighting Irish do not have a lot of incentive, they will still want to win their last game and head into bowl season on a high note.


Why the USC Trojans can cover the spread

Like Notre Dame, the Trojans have struggled down the stretch, going 1-3 against the spread in their last four games despite winning two of them. They lost one rivalry game to the UCLA Bruins last week 38-20 as 3.5-point underdogs and now get to play another against an Irish team down on its luck.

Regardless of how the team played against the Bruins, USC is still 6-3 against the spread in its last nine home games and will be out for revenge after losing the last two meetings with Notre Dame, falling 22-13 in the most recent game between the teams at the Coliseum two years ago.


Smart Pick

The side in this game is too tough to call, especially with the Trojans laying a touchdown based on the opening line. Instead, the total looks like a more solid play, with the under going 4-0 in the past four head-to-head matchups between the teams.

The under has also cashed in the last four games for USC overall, as the offense has been inconsistent. Granted, the Irish have seen their last six games go over the total, but this rivalry game with the Trojans has seen the winner total more than 22 points only once in the previous four years.

The loser between them has not scored more than 17 in the last four meetings either, so look for another low-scoring affair and play the under.


Betting Trends

  • Notre Dame is 3-9 SU in its last 12 games when playing Southern Cal
  • Southern Cal is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games at home
  • Road team has won five of seven meetings in this series


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

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. USC Trojans Betting Odds, Analysis, Pick

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to beat the USC Trojans for the fourth time in five years when they visit the USC Trojans in their annual rivalry game Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Mississippi Rebels Betting Odds, Analysis, Pick

In a game that looked like it would be important for both teams a little more than a month ago, the Mississippi State Bulldogs opened as small road favorites against the Ole Miss Rebels for Saturday’s Egg Bowl.

The Rebels have seen their season fall apart, though, over the past five weeks, dropping three of their last four games and going 0-4 against the spread.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs remain in the national-championship picture after improving to 10-1 with a 51-0 rout of the Vanderbilt Commodores last week as 29.5-point home favorites.


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


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 40.6-25.8 Bulldogs


Why the Mississippi State Bulldogs can cover the spread

Mississippi State obviously has a lot more to lose here since a loss would essentially end the team’s bid for a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs rebounded nicely from their only setback of the season, blanking Vanderbilt last Saturday and covering the spread for the second time in as many weeks.

Mississippi State has won four of the last five meetings with Ole Miss both straight up and against the spread, and the school has also enjoyed a lot of success against SEC opponents on the road lately with a 4-1 mark vs. the line in its past five games under that scenario.

The Bulldogs have played well defensively as well recently, allowing an average of just 12.8 points over their last four games.


Why the Mississippi Rebels can cover the spread

Despite losing three times in four games, the Rebels can still ruin Mississippi State’s season simply by winning the Egg Bowl on Saturday. They will be treating this annual intrastate rivalry game like their national championship, knowing how much it means to the Bulldogs.

Handing Mississippi State a loss in this spot would allow Ole Miss to end the regular season on a positive note and still put the team in solid position to play in a good bowl game.

Before last week’s 30-0 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks as three-point road favorites, the Rebels had seen their previous two setbacks decided by a combined seven points, and they started the season with a 7-0 mark SU and ATS.


Smart Pick

Ole Miss still had a lot to play for a week ago, as a win over the Razorbacks would have made this a much bigger game. Instead, the Rebels are left to wonder what might have been had they figured out a way to win at least one of the three games they have lost.

Their state of mind cannot help but be a little off after getting blanked by Arkansas, while Mississippi State will be very focused on getting a victory here to help its cause in the College Football Playoff rankings.

The Bulldogs are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games while Ole Miss is clearly reeling and will have a difficult time recovering from this rough stretch. Bet Mississippi State to come through instead as road chalk.


Betting Trends

  • Mississippi State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games on the road
  • Mississippi is 6-1 SU in its last seven games when playing at home against Mississippi State


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

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Betting Odds, Pick, Trends

Wisconsin is the big brother in the border battle rivalry with Minnesota, with 10 consecutive victories, but the Gophers are 5-2 against the spread over the last seven meetings.

In the annual contest for Paul Bunyan's axe, with a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game thrown in to boot, the 9-2 Badgers and 8-3 Gophers meet Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall.


Point spread: Badgers opened as 12.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (line updates and matchup report).


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 44.3-31.9 Badgers


Why the Minnesota Golden Gophers can cover the spread

The Gophers are 6-2 both SU and ATS over their last eight games, following their 28-24 upset of Nebraska in Lincoln last week. Minnesota trailed 21-7 at the half but rallied to score the last two touchdowns of the game for the outright victory as an eight-point road dog.

So at 5-2 in Big Ten play (both SU and ATS), the Gophers trail first-place Wisconsin by one game in the West Division standings. Beat the Badgers, and Minnesota would earn its first trip to the Big Ten title game. That enough motivation for you?


Why the Wisconsin Badgers can cover the spread

The Badgers are one of the hottest teams in the country right now, with six straight victories, including four covers, after a tough 26-24 win at Iowa last week. Wisconsin led 19-3 in the third quarter, allowed the Hawkeyes to get within 19-17 but foiled a two-point conversion to retain the lead.

The Badgers then drove right down the field for an insurance score, setting up Saturday's drama. Wisconsin is averaging 344 yards per game on the ground this season, and its defense ranks No. 2 in the country, giving up just 259 yards per game.


Smart pick

This is Minnesota's best chance to break into the big time in quite some time, but are the Gophers ready to take that next step? This is still a team that only beat Purdue by one point, lost to Illinois and trailed Ohio State 31-14 in the fourth quarter.

Also, the Gophers might be without leading rusher David Cobb, who pulled a hamstring last week. The Gophers gave Wisconsin a tough game last year, losing 20-7 but covering as 15-point dogs, but the Badgers are rolling with help from improved play at the quarterback position.

So despite being a reasonably attractive underdog, the smart choice here is with Wisconsin, minus the points.


Betting trends

  • The total has gone over in 12 of Minnesota's last 14 games when playing Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin is 5-0 SU in its last five games when playing at home against Minnesota


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

Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Odds, College Football Pick

Starting 10 years ago, Ohio State grabbed the upper hand in its heated rivalry with Michigan, and after last year's crazy win in Ann Arbor the Buckeyes are now 9-1 straight up and 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 meetings with the Maize and Blue.

To reach the College Football Playoff Ohio State needs to take care of business twice more, beginning with Saturday afternoon at the Horseshoe against the 5-6 Wolverines.

It's just the third time in 20 seasons that the Wolverines have been underdogs by such a wide margin, and the last two times (in 2008) they lost badly each time.


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


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 47.7-19.6 Buckeyes


Why the Michigan Wolverines can cover the spread

The Wolverines had won three of four games, playing some decent defense in the process, but lost last week to Maryland 23-16. Michigan led that game 16-9 through three quarters, but allowed the Terrapins to score the last two touchdowns of the game.

The Wolverines outgained Maryland 398-312 and outrushed the Terps 292-147, but couldn't convert those advantages into enough points, settling for two short field goals. Michigan doesn't scare anybody offensively, however, the team ranks ninth in the country in total defense and run defense.

Finally, in last year's game against the Buckeyes, as 16-point home dogs, the Wolverines scored with 30 seconds to go to get within one point at 42-41, then boldly went for two, but came up empty.


Why the Ohio State Buckeyes can cover the spread

The Buckeyes' national championship aspirations seemed to take a near-fatal blow when quarterback Braxton Miller was declared lost for the season before the games even started.

But as quarterback J.T. Barrett has played himself into the Heisman conversation following a hiccup back in Week 2, Ohio State has climbed the ranks and now sits just outside the four-team playoff field. The Buckeyes have reeled off nine victories in a row after outlasting Indiana last week 42-27, as Barrett threw four touchdown passes and ran for 78 yards.

Ohio State ranks 10th in the nation in total offense, 19th in total defense and has already won five games by at least 20 points.


Smart Pick

Ohio State owns a big edge on offense, but Michigan owns an edge on defense. The line on the Buckeyes is probably a bit inflated with the game being played in Columbus.

Who knows what the future holds for Brady Hoke and the Wolverines, but if they can't get up for at least this game, there should be a change. So the smart money resides with Michigan and the points, but beware of the fact they lost badly the last two times that Vegas gave them so many points.


Betting Trends

  • Michigan is 1-9 SU in its last 10 games when playing Ohio State.
  • Ohio State 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

California vs. BYU: Complete Game Preview

For the second consecutive year, BYU will end its regular season with a late-November road trip. This time, though, the Cougars are riding a three-game winning streak and are hoping for a huge win.

The Cougs beat FCS foe Savannah State by 64 last week but have not faced a team of Cal's caliber since October. The Bears have won only one of their previous six games and are playing for bowl eligibility on Saturday.

Cal's offensive firepower could be tough for the Cougs to handle, but what does BYU need to do to win? Here is a complete game preview.

Date: Saturday, November 29

Time: 1:30 p.m. PT (4:30 p.m. ET)

Place: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA

TV: PAC 12 Network

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

Spread:Cal, -4.5 (per Odds Shark)

Begin Slideshow

Ohio State's Kosta Karageorge's Mom Announces Son Is Missing, Police Searching

The mother of Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge has reported her son missing.

Eleven Warriors' Twitter feed passed along a snapshot of the Facebook message sent out by Susan Karageorge, who wrote that Kosta has not been heard from since early Wednesday morning:

There was also a message sent out via Kosta's Twitter feed:

NBC4 News' Jerod Smalley provided more details and confirmed that police are searching for the student-athlete:

Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com provided a synopsis of Karageorge's sister, Sophia, speaking about her brother:

[Kosta Karageorge] was upset about something Tuesday night. His roommates, who are also Ohio State wrestlers, said he went for a walk from their apartment on East 7th Avenue in Columbus around 2 a.m.

She said his cell phone was last pinged around 2:30 a.m. about 10 miles from his apartment, in Grandview, near 3rd Avenue and Elmwood Avenue.

Karageorge missed Ohio State's football practice at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning and Sophia said his friends became concerned as they realized no one had seen him since he left the apartment. The family said he was reported missing to Columbus police around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Karageorge, a fifth-year senior, is an Ohio State wrestler who walked on to the football team as a defensive lineman. He has appeared in one game this season.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Georgia Bulldogs Betting Odds, Analysis, Pick

Georgia owns the recent Hated rivalry with Georgia Tech, with 12 wins in the last 13 meetings, including 10 spread covers.

The 9-2 Bulldogs also think they might still have a chance at making the College Football Playoff field, so they can't afford a let-up when they host the 9-2 Yellow Jackets Saturday afternoon between the hedges.


Point spread: Bulldogs opened as 14.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 40.9-33.8 Bulldogs


Why the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets can cover the spread

The Ramblin' Wreck lost back-to-back games back in October to Duke and North Carolina, but since then they've gone 4-0 both straight up and against the spread, after beating Clemson two weeks ago, 28-6, winning straight up as two-point home dogs.

Georgia Tech outgained the Tigers 353-190 and outrushed them 251-125, and has now outgained and outrushed each of its last seven opponents. The Yellow Jackets have already clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game, and while they don't have the resume to make the College Football Playoff, they'd love to deny the Bulldogs that honor.


Why the Georgia Bulldogs can cover the spread

Even though they own the same record as Georgia Tech, the Bulldogs still have a chance to make the four-team playoff. They need a victory Saturday, a Missouri loss (the Tigers host a hot Arkansas team) and then a victory in the SEC Championship Game just to have a sniff, but a sniff it could be, considering there's a decent chance at least one two-loss team will make the playoff.

Georgia is 3-0 both SU and ATS in its last three games, after a 55-9 victory over Charleston Southern last week, covering as a 43-point favorite.

And remember that 10-3 ATS run against their state rivals.


Smart Pick

The Yellow Jackets outgained and outrushed the Bulldogs last year but blew a 20-point lead and lost 41-34 in double-overtime. At the moment, Georgia Tech is a better team than it was that day.

And while Georgia has weathered the Todd Gurley situation well, it might be a bit overrated on this spread, playing at home. So the smart choice in this spot appears to lie with the Wreck, and the points.


Betting Trends

  • The total has gone over in eight of Georgia Tech's last nine games on the road
  • Georgia is 6-1 SU in its last seven 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

LSU vs. Texas A&M: Live Score and Highlights

The LSU Tigers and the Texas A&M Aggies are getting ready to do battle at Kyle Field this Thanksgiving. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and air on ESPN.

LSU is coming off a bye week and will be looking to bounce back after a 17-0 loss to Arkansas. A win would give the Tigers their 15th consecutive season of eight wins or more, which is the longest streak in college football.

However, the Aggies are also coming off a bye week after coming up short against Missouri. On Thursday, wide receiver Speedy Noil gets a chance to have a big game against his hometown team and second choice to play football.

Be sure to come back here as soon as the game kicks off for the latest scoring updates, highlights and analysis.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Football: How the Bulldogs Can Slow the Potent Georgia Tech Ground Game?

The Georgia Bulldogs have one of the most potent offenses in the country, and the reason for that is because they know how to run the ball. The Bulldogs are second in the SEC with 260 rushing yards per game, lead the conference with 34 rushing touchdowns and lead the SEC with 6.1 rushing yards per carry.

However, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets run the ball just a little better than the Bulldogs.

Powered by their option offense, the Yellow Jackets are fourth in the country with 327 yards per game, have also scored 34 touchdowns on the ground and also average around six yards per carry.

It’s safe to say the Bulldogs will have their hands full against the Yellow Jackets on Saturday, and in order to win, they will need to slow down Georgia Tech's ground attack.

How will UGA do it?

They most likely won’t completely shut down the ground game. The Yellow Jackets have had regular success running against Georgia since Paul Johnson took over in 2008. In fact, in the last two games these teams played against each other, Georgia Tech has rushed for over 550 yards.

National rank for rushing offense: No. 1 - Georgia Southern No. 4 - Georgia Tech No. 13 - Georgia pic.twitter.com/L0sjpilwbf

— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) November 23, 2014

The problem the Bulldogs have with the offense is that the triple-option offense commands defenders to stay with their responsibilities. The fact that the Bulldogs don’t see this offense all season long will have linebackers and defensive backs maintaining gaps and holding each offensive skill player in check.

The linebackers for Georgia have to be as sharp as they were against Auburn. The Tigers run more of a spread option, but both offenses can burn opposing defenses if a defender doesn’t play their responsibility.

The Bulldogs held the Tigers to only 150 rushing yards, and they average 260 yards per game, which ranks first in the SEC. Linebackers Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson were all over quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Cameron-Artis Payne all game long, and the Tigers never could get anything going on offense because of it.

However, the Yellow Jackets will have four players that will be able to run the ball at any given point. The three players the Bulldogs will focus on are quarterback Justin Thomas and B-backs Synjyn Days and Zach Laskey. All three players average five yards per carry, and they have scored a combined 15 touchdowns this season.  

The biggest thing the Bulldogs need to do is keep Thomas in front of them. As good as the other running backs are, Thomas is a playmaker and can make the big runs and complete key passes. Not only is he fourth in the ACC in rushing yards, he also has thrown for 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

The Bulldogs defense has improved since it lost to Florida, but the offense will play the biggest role in the team's success in stopping the Yellow Jackets' ground attack. The Bulldogs lead the SEC in scoring offense, and they are the only team in the conference to score over 400 points. The ground attack led by Nick Chubb has been strong, but Hutson Mason can throw when he needs to.

In fact, he leads the SEC in QB rating at 158.13. What's more, he has only thrown three interceptions, which also leads the conference.

The Bulldogs know that the Yellow Jackets will bring everything they have on Saturday, and they will be hit with some big runs. As long as they don’t make any mental mistakes on defense and play efficient on offense, the Bulldogs will come away with a win for the sixth consecutive year.  


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College Football Picks Week 14: B/R's Expert Predictions for Top 6 Games

Rivalry Week is finally here!

The season is winding down, which means we're inching closer and closer to the College Football Playoff.

Several games this weekend have major playoff implications, but none is bigger than the 2014 Iron Bowl. Will Alabama get revenge from the crushing defeat a season ago, or can Auburn build a win streak over Nick Saban and Co.?

Another top SEC showdown this Saturday is the 2014 Egg Bowl. Ole Miss was shut out a week ago versus Arkansas, so look for the Rebels offense to try to bounce back in this heated rivalry game. Can Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen make it two years in a row with a victory over the in-state rival Rebels?

Georgia Tech hasn't beaten in-state rival Georgia since 2008, but this weekend, the Yellow Jackets have a great opportunity to show the committee they're a legitimate playoff dark-horse team. With a win over the Bulldogs and a win in the ACC title game against Florida State, the Yellow Jackets would have an outside shot to sneak into the Top Four.

Speaking of FSU, the Seminoles need a great four-quarter showing against in-state rival Florida. Jimbo Fisher’s squad has struggled to start games strong, but it certainly knows how to finish, as evidence by its undefeated record.

And the final two rivalry games our experts will pick this week are two of the best in the sport. Notre Dame vs. USC and Michigan vs. Ohio State have played some of the greatest games in college football history. While this year’s games don't have as much hype as previous seasons, they are still intense rivalries, so expect a good fight.

Ben Kercheval remains the leader among our experts, but rivalry week could change all of that. Who will come out on top?

Let us know your picks in the comments below!


Reminder: Our experts are picking the top Saturday games against the spread.

Odds via opening lines at Odds Shark.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles Betting Odds, Analysis, Pick

The Florida State Seminoles will put their 27-game winning streak on the line when they host the Florida Gators in their annual intrastate rivalry game Saturday.

The Seminoles continue to find ways to win after they pulled off a 20-17 victory against the Boston College Eagles in the final seconds last week yet failed to cover the spread for the ninth time in 12 games as 16.5-point favorites.


Point spread: Seminoles opened as 10-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 40.0-31.3 Gators


Why the Florida Gators can cover the spread

The Gators have played fairly well lately outside of a surprising 23-20 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks and former head coach Steve Spurrier as 6.5-point home favorites two weeks ago. They are 3-0 straight up and against the spread in three other games over the past four weeks, including a 52-3 rout of the Eastern Kentucky Colonels last Saturday as 30.5-point favorites.

Let’s be honest, covering the spread against Florida State has not been terribly difficult this season as Boston College proved last week. The Seminoles play to the level of their competition and might be overlooking Florida here.


Why the Florida State Seminoles can cover the spread

Florida State has not covered many games this year, but when motivated, this is a team that can certainly turn it on. The last seven meetings between these rivals have all been decided by double digits, with 14 points the smallest margin of victory during that stretch.

The Seminoles have won three of the last four games against the Gators both SU and ATS, and six of their 11 wins this season have been decided by 11 points or more. While that might not sound like a lot, it backs up the point that Florida State is still capable of winning big when needed, and this might be one of those games.


Smart pick

Has Florida been playing hard for outgoing head coach Will Muschamp down the stretch? That argument may have been a bit more valid had the Gators beaten the Gamecocks and entered this matchup on a four-game winning streak. Instead, you could argue the only impressive win they have all season came against the Georgia Bulldogs, which happened two weeks before Muschamp was fired.

In other words, that theory does not hold true. Ironically, losing at home to their former coach was the final straw, and now Florida is just riding it out. The Seminoles cannot afford to mess up here and could use an impressive victory. Bet on Florida State to cover this one easily.


Betting trends

  • Florida is 4-1 ATS in its last five games on the road
  • Florida State is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games


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

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Heisman Watch 2014: Exploring Latest Twitter Buzz and Speculation on Race

Who will be crowned college football's greatest player when the Heisman Trophy winner is announced in New York? Everyone around the Web has an opinion on the matter, and with the regular season winding down, the race's front-runners are beginning to emerge.

So, here are the burning questions. How do expert rankings look heading into Week 14? Who is garnering the most buzz? Are there any dark horses who might be considered? These are all legitimate questions. They're also easily answered with a quick glance around the Internet.

Let's take a look at some recent buzz and speculation surrounding the Heisman race by providing answers to those three aforementioned inquiries.


Expert Rankings

What would expert rankings be without Bleacher Report's own Barrett Sallee's opinion? The college football guru recently released his updated top five following Week 13. Here's a look at his selections:

While Sallee's top two selections, Marcus Mariota and Melvin Gordon, are expected, his No. 3 pick is rather intriguing.

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin has been very good this season, especially considering his seven-touchdown performance against Texas Tech; however, he's been average over the last three weeks. If he's going to have any shot in New York, Boykin will need a huge game against Texas this week.

Six CBS Sports experts weighed in with their Heisman thoughts following Week 13. Unsurprisingly, all six ranked Mariota first; however, Dennis Dodd pegged Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett as his No. 2 selection over Gordon. Here's a look at their consensus rankings:

Finally, we have ESPN's rankings, via ESPN College Football:

ESPN goes a little more in-depth with its rankings, as every expert selects five players in order. Those votes are tallied, and a top-10 list is created as a result. This list is intriguing simply because of its depth. After Week 13, there's even a defensive player on the board. Take a look:

Mariota and Gordon are within just four votes of each other, making Week 14 very interesting.


Garnering Buzz

Of course, Mariota is the talk of the town right now—he has been all season. Recently, analysts have been tweeting about some of the incredible numbers posted by the quarterback, which we could certainly deem Heisman-worthy.

The Oregon quarterback has been tremendously efficient this season, completing 68.0 percent of his passes for 3,103 yards and 32 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions. Those stats become even more impressive when you factor in his 597 rushing yards and nine scores.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports tweeted about Mariota's torrid pace over the last two seasons:

Gordon is setting impressive marks of his own. ESPN Stats & Info tweeted a telling statistic regarding Wisconsin's running back:

If we're calling Mariota an efficient quarterback, we better be calling Gordon an efficient ball-carrier as well.

Ohio State's Barrett has been the talk of the town in recent weeks. He's setting all sorts of school records, and ESPN College Football tweeted a summary of what he's done so far this season:

Some of the school's broken records were formerly owned by Heisman-winning quarterback Troy Smith. Well, Smith likes what he sees in Barrett, according to ESPN Big Ten:

While Barrett is a long shot to win the prestigious award this season, he's only a freshman. Expect to hear his name mentioned in Heisman circles for a couple of years to come.


Dark Horse

There's one dark horse who has popped up on several expert rankings recently: Indiana running back Tevin Coleman. The junior ball-carrier is putting up some monster numbers with the Hoosiers, rushing for 1,906 yards on 241 carries—an average of 7.9 yards per rush—and scoring 15 touchdowns.

Unfortunately, he isn't being considered as much as he should be, due to the Hoosiers' lackluster 3-8 record. If the school isn't producing wins and Coleman isn't displaying his prowess in front of a larger audience, votes will be tough to come by.

College Football 24/7 tweeted that he should be considered in the Heisman race due to the lack of top-notch talent around him:

Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer weighed in on the running back:

Mike Wells of ESPN may have summed it up best:

We can consider Coleman a dark horse for the Heisman simply because analysts are really beginning to take notice. Unfortunately, it's probably a little too late. However, all is not lost for the junior running back, as this late attention will surely be noticed by NFL scouts.

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Michigan vs. Ohio State: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

The Game projects to be not much of one at all this season.

Ohio State is 10-1, has won nine in a row, replaced a Heisman-contending quarterback with another and is a serious threat to spoil the party that is the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Michigan is 5-6, has no offense, enters Saturday off a loss and coach Brady Hoke's hot seat is in ashes.

Yet, this was the tune similar to last year's encounter, one that Michigan lost by a single point after a failed two-point conversion.

Things look lopsided this year, but try not to take it for granted. The Game has a way of birthing something special no matter what.


Keeping Cool

A favorite that buys into its own hype is dangerous to itself more than anything else.

J.T. Barrett looks great. The freshman has 2,658 yards and 33 touchdowns to 10 interceptions with another 849 yards and nine scores on the ground. His complement in the backfield, Ezekiel Elliott, averages 5.9 yards per carry and has 1,061 yards and eight scores as a result.

Should Urban Meyer's impressive offense jump out to an early lead, Michigan likely cannot keep up. That said, an early lead must come against what is a very underrated Wolverines defense that even held Penn State to 18 points, a team that scored 24 on Ohio State in double overtime.

Meyer is stressing this cool-headed approach in more than one way, though. After last year's game saw fights get some of his players ejected and miss the Big Ten championship, Meyer is taking a zero-tolerance policy toward that same behavior this year.

"He wants the game to be very intense, but if anybody throws any punches this year, we're dismissed," linebacker Curtis Grant said, per Austin Ward of ESPN.com. "You know he pretty much put it out there [Sunday], so there's no telling what will happen if you get into a fight this year. We've got to be on our best behavior."

As trivial as it sounds in comparison, keep in mind that undisciplined football in the heat of a rivalry game breeds unnecessary flags on the field. This impedes an offense in the face of a quality defense or gives Michigan more opportunities to stay in the game. 

In more ways than one, the Buckeyes need to take care of business in a calm manner. If not, well, Michigan has nothing to lose.


The X-Factor

Remember Devin Gardner?

Michigan's senior quarterback has taken a nosedive in play this season. A measly 1,663 yards and eight touchdowns to 14 interceptions can attest to that. Another 237 yards and four scores on the ground does not make up the difference, either.

But recall that Gardner is the guy who carried the Wolverines on his back last year. Not only that, he threw for 451 yards and accounted for five total touchdowns in The Game last season.

A jarring note from Nick Baumgardner of MLive Media Group really puts things into perspective:

As unlikely as it is, a return to form for Gardner could propel the Wolverines.

That is obviously a big "if." After all, a touchdown pass by Gardner Saturday would mark the first time he has thrown for a score on the road all season long.

Against a defense that has allowed seven opponents to score 24 or more points this season, anything is possible. Crazier things have happened. Crazier things will happen. Especially in The Game.


When: Saturday, November 29, Noon ET

Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

Television: ABC

Betting Lines (via Odds Shark):

  • Over/Under: 52.5
  • Spread: Ohio State (-21)


Team Injury Reports

Injury reports per The Sports Network, via USA Today.



One of the sporting world's most prolific rivalries will continue to suffer Saturday.

Make no mistake, Michigan is going to put up a much better fight than most would predict. Gardner might just bust out for his best game of the season and his defense will not simply break time after time.

But by the time four frames have come to pass, Barrett and Co. will have distanced themselves enough to send the Michigan program back to the drawing board in the hopes of a fresh start.

Prediction: Buckeyes 38, Wolverines 28


Statistics and info courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise specified.


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Georgia Tech vs. Georgia: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate has never looked so great.

The Georgia Bulldogs predictably enter the 2014 edition of the instate rivalry with a 9-2 mark and dreams of an SEC East title. As an added bonus, the Bulldogs have won the last five games in this particular series.

The Yellow Jackets are more game than usual, though. Paul Johnson's team is ranked and touts the same record with an ACC Coastal title within grasp.

Not that either team needs motivation to play one another, but both enter on lengthy winning streaks with plenty to lose.

Rivalry week to close the season could not start on a better note.


Brute-Force Tactics

There is no sugar coating what the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets do offensively.

The Bulldogs have a top-15 rushing attack thanks to the duo of Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley. Of course, the latter will be missing in action due to a knee injury, but the freshman Chubb has stepped up big this season when called upon with 1,152 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 7.2 per-carry average.

As ESPN CollegeFootball illustrates, Chubb has been good enough to hear his name whispered when it comes to a certain individual award:

The Yellow Jackets are much of the same and actually rank better than the Bulldogs this season thanks to a bevy of names that are proficient with the ball in their hands, including starting quarterback Justin Thomas:

To be blunt, there seems to be no stopping the Georgia Tech option attack.

Even in losses the offense puts up gaudy numbers. In a 48-43 loss to North Carolina, the team still rumbled for 376 yards and three scores on the ground. A 31-25 loss to Duke still birthed 282 yards and three scores.

Georgia does seem perfectly built to counter this attack, though.

The Bulldogs allow just 20.5 points per game on average, good for 18th in the nation. Chubb and a number of other backs can help the team grab the lead and keep the complementary defense off the field.

This, of course, relies on the notion that the Bulldogs can get out to an early lead.


Surprise Flights

The aforementioned Thomas in no way gets the respect he deserves as a passer.

Those 827 yards and five scores on the ground are nice, but the sophomore has shocked the globe this year with his 1,396 yards and 15 scores to four interceptions through the air.

Even Johnson admits that there was a time he considered getting Thomas off the bench as far back as last season, as captured by ESPN.com's Matt Fortuna:

We did but he wasn’t quite ready I don’t think. He’s gotten better as the year has gone on, too. He’s more confident. He’s starting to get a really good understanding of what we’re trying to do. Just like (against Clemson), he came over and before I even talked to him and he told me exactly what they were trying to do to him on the option. He’s got a pretty good understanding, pretty calm. He’s a good leader.

Thomas has the arm to go over the top of defenses focused on the run and do major damage.

Some of his success can certainly be accredited to leading wideout DeAndre Smelter, who has 671 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Mired in a run-first attack, those are great numbers.

Smelter torched the Bulldogs in an overtime loss last year to the tune of two grabs for 33 yards and a pair of touchdowns, a clear signal that the deep ball can and will catch the Bulldogs off guard with Thomas under center.


When: Saturday, November 29, Noon ET

Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia

Television: SEC Network

Betting Lines (via Odds Shark):

  • Over/Under: 65.5
  • Spread: Georgia (-13)


Team Injury Reports

Injury reports per The Sports Network, via USA Today.



Georgia is more than ready for the challenge its instate rival presents. 

This is a Bulldogs team that silenced an elite Auburn attack a few weeks back, holding the Tigers to seven points and 292 total yards.

Last year in this scenario, the Bulldogs fell behind by 20 on the road with Hutson Mason getting his first start in the rivalry and still won. It would be unwise to expect this one to be as close thanks to Chubb's emergence and an elite defense firing on all cylinders.

Prediction: Bulldogs 34, Yellow Jackets 24


Statistics and info courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise specified.


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Notre Dame vs. USC: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

Notre Dame and USC have one last chance to end things in a positive light.

It has been a trying season for both programs, to say the least. The Fighting Irish cannot help but shoot themselves in the foot each week and rest at 7-4 and losers of three straight.

The first year under the guidance of Steve Sarkisian has been and up-and-down affair that has the Trojans at the same mark and coming off a blowout at the hands of UCLA. 

Saturday, outside of being a notable rivalry, is a battle of pride and bowl positioning as two programs begin to turn an eye toward the future.


Grounded to Reality

The play for both teams as of late reflects the state of the programs from start to finish this year.

USC has suddenly been unable to rush the football despite the presence of tailback Javorius Allen. The junior has 1,244 yards and nine scores on the season but has broken the 100-yard mark just once in his last three outings and has one total touchdown.

That speaks well to how much the Trojans have struggled on the ground in that span, rushing for 127, 79 and 62 yards.

If there is going to be a turnaround, though, it will come against Notre Dame.

Brian Kelly's defense has careened off the side of a cliff along with the team's fortunes. Things looked great for just a second as the unit held Florida State to just 50 rushing yards in a 31-27 loss.

Fast forward one week, and there was Navy rushing for 336 yards as the Fighting Irish held on for a 10-point win. Arizona State rushed for 188 the week after in a rout. Northwestern won by three in overtime after that with 263 yards on the ground. Last week Louisville found room for 229.

USC finds itself in a situation to get back to that ground-based attack that gave defenses fits earlier in the season. Remember, it was not too long ago that the Trojans went to Stanford and downed an elite Cardinal defense by way of 156 yards and a score on the ground.

On the flip side, Notre Dame finds itself in a position to thump its chest one last time and prove it has not thrown in the towel.


Self-Inflicted Wounds

The above has been the name of the game for both programs this season.

USC is just not winning at the point of attack. In the embarrassing loss to the Bruins a week ago, quarterback Cody Kessler (3,133 yards, 30 touchdowns, four interceptions) took six sacks. Even he admits a handful of those were on him, not the line.

"Some of the sacks, I was trying to hold the ball a little longer, make things happen because we were down,” Kessler said, per Michael Lev of theOrange County Register. “My competitive spirit took over.”

Everett Golson and the Fighting Irish are no strangers to such problems. 

For as great as Golson was to start the season, he has now thrown 13 interceptions this year with plenty of fumbles to boot. Nine of his picks have come over the course of the team's last five games, including a dumbfounding four in the loss at Arizona State.

The issues are certainly not enough to get Golson benched at this point, though.

“There’s a lot of room for development, and we hope that his experience that he got this year and going into USC and in a bowl game that we continue to see development,” Kelly said, per Douglas Farmer of 247Sports. “He could be one of the top quarterbacks in the country, no question.”

How great the Fighting Irish can truly be is hard to discern with so many issues as Golson and the team continue to develop.


When: Saturday, November 29, 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

Television: Fox

Betting Lines (via Odds Shark):

  • Over/Under: 62.5
  • Spread: USC (-7)


Team Injury Reports

Injury reports per The Sports Network, via USA Today.



It is quite apparent that Notre Dame is a work in progress at this point. 

The Fighting Irish are at the lowest point of the season right now. Not much works offensively and the defense continues to see young players struggle to wrap up and make plays. 

In other words, Allen and the Trojans are going to have plenty of room to operate on the ground at home. 

One of Notre Dame's biggest faults this season has been its propensity to stumble out of the gates and never recover, which sounds about right after traveling across the country to face a strong offense. 

Prediction: Trojans 34, Fighting Irish 24


Statistics and info courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise specified.


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