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Thread: A Sneak Peek At CFB 2018 News/Views/Highlights !

  1. #31
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    CFB notebook: RB Harris considered leaving Alabama
    July 6, 2018


    Running back Najee Harris, who went to Alabama as one of the top running backs in the Class of 2017, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he considered transferring after his freshman year.

    The 6-foot-2, 227-pounder out of Antioch (Calif.) High School said he is sticking around because he believes the Crimson Tide offer him the best path to the NFL.

    "The only thing I can tell you is, I hope I'm on the field more," Harris said. "Last year was the worst feeling. That whole season was mentally challenging.

    " ... I'm so determined. I can't have fun unless I achieve my goals, or else I'll be thinking about that the whole time."

    Harris finished last season with only 61 carries for 370 yards, fourth on the team in both categories.

    After the season, Harris met with then-running backs coach Burton Burns and had two one-on-one conversations with Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

    Saban told Harris that he must polish his pass-blocking skills, but also said: "You're going to play a lot this year."

    Interestingly, quarterback Tua Tagavailova also considered leaving Alabama, but then both freshmen wound up playing key roles as the Crimson Tide rallied in the second half to beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime in the CFP national championship game.

    While Tagavailova got most of the credit after replacing starting quarterback Jalen Hurts and throwing three touchdown passes, Harris had six carries for 64 yards, including runs of 16, 35 and 11 yards.

    However, playing time still might not come easy for Harris, who is in a crowded backfield that includes senior Damien Harris and junior Josh Jacobs.

    -- Baylor University officials responded in court filings that former athletic director Ian McCaw's claim the school used black football players as scapegoats to cover up a sexual assault scandal is "blatantly false," the Waco (Texas) Tribune Herald reported.

    McCaw made the charge during a recent deposition in a lawsuit against the school that was filed two years ago by 10 women who allege Baylor mishandled their sexual assault allegations.

    "This lawsuit has become a never-ending fishing expedition based on outlandish conspiracy theories, rumors and speculation as part of a crusade to turn up any possible reason to attack Baylor," Baylor officials wrote. "The question in this lawsuit is whether any of the 10 plaintiffs were subjected to a sexually harassing education environment at Baylor in violation of Title IX."

    The school said McCaw had no personal knowledge of the matters being discussed.

    The attorney for the plaintiffs, Jim Dunnam, said McCaw's testimony is relevant because it illustrated how the university's actions to protect its brand increased the risk for female students at the nation's largest Baptist school.

    McCaw, who is white, testified June 19 after being subpoenaed, and excerpts from his testimony appeared in court documents filed about a week later by the plaintiffs' attorneys.

    During the deposition, McCaw said he was "disgusted" by the racism and the "phony" investigation document that Baylor issued in 2016 that leveled findings against the football program.

    McCaw added that he ultimately resigned because he didn't want to be part of a massive "cover-up scheme."

    Baylor was engulfed in a 2016 sexual assault scandal involving its football team that resulted in the firing of head coach Art Briles and the demotion of university president Ken Starr.

    The university has settled several other lawsuits from women who said their reports of sexual assault were mishandled or ignored.

    McCaw, now athletic director at Liberty University in Virginia, also was disciplined and resigned in June 2016.

    -- Junior quarterback Keon Howard is leaving Southern Mississippi.

    Howard announced on his Twitter feed that he made the decision "to not continue my education and football career at The University of Southern Mississippi."

    No reason was offered for the decision by Howard, who started seven games for the Golden Eagles in 2017 but did not appear in the final four games, losing the job to Kwadra Griggs.

    "I would like to thank the coaching staff, my teammates, staff members, student body and others who have supported me," Howard wrote. "I will not forget the moments spent battling at The Rock with my teammates and the loyalty from the fans in victory or defeat."

    Howard completed 56.5 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,199 yards with eight touchdown passes against five interceptions last season. He also rushed for 181 yards.

    Although he has one season of eligibility remaining, Howard did not announce any plans to transfer in his posting.

    --Defensive lineman Adam Shuler has yet to enroll at the University of Florida nearly a month after announcing he was transferring from West Virginia.

    Shuler was not listed on the Gators' latest updated roster because he is not enrolled in the school's Summer B program, which started Monday, the Gainesville Sun reported.

    A 6-foot-4, 275-pounder who appeared in 12 games for the Mountaineers in 2017, Shuler announced June 11 on his Twitter account that he was headed to Florida.

    Shuler was productive for West Virginia last season, registering 37 tackles, including 8.0 for loss, and 3.0 sacks. He appeared in 12 games as a redshirt freshman, posting 34 tackles and a sack.

    According to the newspaper, Shuler will have two years of eligibility remaining if he does eventually enroll for classes.

    --Jalen Watts-Jackson always will have a place in Michigan State history, but now he's ready to move on from football.

    Watts-Jackson said in March that he hoped to continue his college career as a graduate transfer, but now has decided to go in a much different direction.

    "I am going into the Air Force," Watts-Jackson told SpartanNation.com. "I was raised that it is a good idea to serve your country. I have family members that have served this county, including my dad. So I am excited to serve this nation."

    As a 5-foot-11, 184-pound freshman defensive back in 2015, Watts-Jackson scooped up a mishandled punt and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown to give the Spartans a 27-23 walk-off victory over rival Michigan.

    However, Watts-Jackson sustained a broken hip during the ensuing celebration and his career with the Spartans never took off. The rest of his playing time in East Lansing, Mich., consisted of nine games in 2016. He made three tackles and returned a punt 13 yards.

    Watts-Jackson, a native of Detroit, plans to become an Air Force officer in the field of cyber systems operation and security.
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    CFB Notebook: Alabama reports one minor violation to NCAA
    July 7, 2018


    Alabama reported 13 secondary violations to the NCAA but only one involved the football program.

    The lone infraction by the football team was reported July 1, 2017, and was considered a minor violation, according to al.com.

    Per the report, an assistant coach for the Crimson Tide responded to an "unknown text message which resulted in impermissible communication with the parent of a 2019 prospective student-athlete."

    Last year, the university reported 22 secondary violations, including nine by the football program. In 2016, five of the 19 self-reported violations involved the football program.

    The Crimson Tide defeated SEC rival Georgia 26-23 in overtime in the College Football Playoff Championship Game in January. It was the school's fifth national title in the last nine years.

    --Wyoming linebacker Cassh Maluia was suspended for the season opener in the wake of his arrest a week ago.

    Cowboys coach Craig Bohl announced that Maluia will miss the game against New Mexico State on Aug. 25.

    Maluia was arrested June 30 in Laramie, Wyo., on multiple charges, including suspicion of driving under the influence. He also was charged with underage consumption of alcohol and driving without a valid driver's license.

    "Cassh Maluia will be subject to several disciplinary actions," Bohl said in a statement. "He will be assessed a one-game suspension for this coming season. ... We also view this as a learning opportunity, not just for Cassh, but for the rest of our team members."

    Bohn also noted that Maluia faces additional disciplinary action that will require mandatory counseling, the completion of an AWARE training program on campus and 50 hours of community service.

    -- West Virginia will not kick off the 2018 campaign for nearly two months, but the football program already is in midseason form -- at least on social media.

    The Mountaineers are going all out to promote returning starting quarterback Will Grier for the Heisman Trophy, launching a website devoted to hype his candidacy.

    The university touted the website -- http://www.grier7heisman.com -- on its athletics website along with the accompanying hashtag "willtowin."

    Grier, who started his college career at the University of Florida, passed for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns against 12 interceptions for West Virginia in 2017.

    A dislocated finger on his throwing hand, sustained Nov. 18 against Texas, forced Grier to sit out the regular-season finale against Oklahoma and the Heart of Dallas Bowl matchup against Utah on Dec. 26.
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    Handicapping Wisconsin (10)
    June 28, 2018


    Wisconsin had a very successful 2017 season, as they went 13-1, but it could have been a special season if they had not lost the Big Ten Championship Game to Ohio State. The loss cost the Badgers a spot in the College Football Playoff, but the Badgers did bounce back to beat Miami in the Orange Bowl.

    The Badgers return a lot of starters from last year’s squad including quarterback Alex Hornibrook, and the entire offensive line. If the defense comes together, especially a questionable secondary, the Badgers could be national title contenders again in 2018.

    Wisconsin Badgers 2018 Regular Season Win Total
    Over 10 (-120)
    Under 10 (-110)


    2018 Wisconsin Badgers Schedule Analysis

    Aug. 31 vs. Western Kentucky


    The regular season opener for the Badgers is an easy one, as they face a Hilltoppers team that was beaten 31-17 by Illinois last season. Very few teams go into Madison and win and Western Kentucky is not going to be one of them.

    Sept. 8 vs. New Mexico

    The second game should be just as easy for the Badgers, as the Lobos don’t have the defense to slow down the Badgers. Wisconsin should have no trouble going to 2-0.

    Sept. 15 vs. BYU

    This matchup might sound like a good one, but the Badgers won 40-6 in Provo last season. The Cougars should be better this season, but this game is in Madison and it should be a comfortable win for Wisconsin.

    Sept. 22 at Iowa

    The Big Ten opener for the Badgers is a dangerous one for Wisconsin. Iowa beat Ohio State last season and they nearly beat Penn State. The Badgers should have too much talent for the Hawkeyes, but this is not an automatic win.

    Oct. 6 vs. Nebraska

    The Cornhuskers have a new head coach in Scott Frost, so this game could be more interesting than it appears. The Badgers are at home and they are coming off a bye week, so they should get this win against Nebraska.

    Oct. 13 at Michigan

    The first big test of the season for Wisconsin comes at Michigan in mid-October. The Badgers won a tough defensive struggle last year at home and it might be a similar result this time around.

    Oct. 20 vs. Illinois

    This game comes at a good time for the Badgers, as they could have a letdown after the game against the Wolverines. It won’t matter in this game, because Illinois is a bad football team.

    Oct. 27 at Northwestern

    The Wildcats could be a contender this season in the Big Ten West, so this may not be a sure win for the Badgers on the road. Northwestern was very competitive last season in Madison, losing 33-24. Wisconsin probably has too much overall talent for the Wildcats, but this one could be tight.

    Nov. 3 vs. Rutgers

    The Scarlet Knights have been road kill in the Big Ten against top teams and it should be no different in this one as the Badgers roll to a big win.

    Nov. 10 at Penn State

    The Badgers won’t have to deal with Saquon Barkley this season, but Penn State is still a very good team and they are at home. The Nittany Lions have Trace McSorley and they have the offense to give Wisconsin trouble.

    Nov. 17 at Purdue

    The Badgers won an ugly 17-9 game last season in Madison. The Boilermakers shouldn’t be a serious threat if Wisconsin is focused, but keep in mind they are coming off the game against Penn State.

    Nov. 24 vs. Minnesota

    The Badgers have completely dominated this series in recent years, winning the last 14 meetings. This game is in Madison so the streak should go to 15.

    2018 Wisconsin Badgers Season Win Total Prediction

    The win total for the Badgers is listed at 10, so to go over that total the Badgers would have to go 11-1. There are two very difficult road games for Wisconsin at Michigan and at Penn State and a couple of tricky road games at Iowa and at Northwestern. The Badgers would have to win three of those four games to get to 11 wins and that might be too difficult. A 10-win season seems the most likely scenario for the Badgers.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Handicapping Ohio State (10.5)
    July 1, 2018


    The Ohio State Buckeyes are expected to be national title contenders in 2018, as Urban Meyer will try and get his team back to the College Football Playoff after missing out last season. The Buckeyes will have a new quarterback, but that may not be bad news, as J.T. Barrett was overrated. The Buckeyes will be very good upfront and they will have a great running game and they have some talented wide receivers. The Buckeyes are solid on defense, but they do have some questions in the secondary.

    Let’s look at the Buckeyes win total for 2018 and see if Ohio State will go over or under their total.

    Ohio State 2018 Regular Season Win Total - per BetDSI.eu
    Over 10.5 (-110)
    Under 10.5 (-120)

    Ohio State 2018 Schedule Analysis

    Sept. 1 vs. Oregon State

    The Buckeyes get a cakewalk in their opener, as the Beavers were sickening last season, going 1-11. The Beavers have a new head coach in Jonathan Smith and he is going to get a rude awakening in this game in Columbus.

    Sept. 8 vs. Rutgers
    This is another easy one for the Buckeyes, as they have beaten the Scarlet Knights the last two seasons by an average score of 57-0.

    Sept 15 vs. TCU (AT&T Stadium - Arlington, Texas)
    This will be the first test of the season for the Buckeyes and although it is technically a neutral site, the TCU campus is just about 30 miles away. The Horned Frogs went 11-3 last season and they are capable of giving Ohio State a game.

    Sept. 22 vs. Tulane
    This will be another easy one for the Buckeyes, as the Green Wave are coming off a 5-7 season in 2017. The Buckeyes might have a letdown in this one, which means they may not cover the big number, but they are going to win straight up.

    Sept. 29 at Penn State
    The Buckeyes pulled out a 39-38 win at home last season, while the Nittany Lions pulled out a 24-21 shocker at Beaver Stadium two years ago. This game could decide who wins the Big Ten East.

    Oct. 6 vs. Indiana
    The Hoosier played Ohio State tough for a while last season before losing 49-21 but that game was in Bloomington. This game is in Columbus and should be an easy Ohio State win.

    Oct. 13 vs. Minnesota
    The Gophers are coming off a 5-7 season and they pose no real threat to the Buckeyes. The teams last met in 2015 when it was Ohio State winning 28-14.

    Oct. 20 at Purdue
    This will be the first time since 2013 that Ohio State has traveled to West Lafayette. This could be a dangerous game for the Buckeyes, as Purdue has pulled off upsets in the past against Ohio State, most recently in 2011.

    Nov. 3 vs. Nebraska
    The Buckeyes will be coming off their bye week and facing a Nebraska team with first-year head coach Scott Frost. The Buckeyes have dominated this series of late, with wins by scores of 62-3 and 56-14 the last two years.

    Nov. 10 at Michigan State
    The Buckeyes rolled last season 48-3 at home, so the Spartans will be looking for revenge. This has been a pretty even series recently, and the Spartans are capable of winning this one at home.

    Nov. 17 at Maryland
    The Terrapins are getting better, but they are still not at the level of Ohio State and even at home, this will be a Maryland loss.

    Nov. 24 vs. Michigan

    The game of the season in the Big Ten could very well be the regular season finale. Harbaugh is still looking for his first win in his rivalry. The game in Columbus two years ago was a 30-27 double overtime win for the Buckeyes.

    2018 Ohio State Win Total Prediction


    The schedule really sets up pretty well for the Buckeyes in 2018. The Buckeyes have four games that will decide their season, the games against TCU, Penn State Michigan State and Michigan. If the Buckeyes win their other games as expected, they need to go 3-1 in those games to finish 11-1 and go over their win total of 10.5. There is a good chance that is exactly what they will do, so over the total is the way to go with the Buckeyes in 2018.
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    Surprise Team - Maryland
    June 26, 2018


    Maryland could surprise in Durkin's third year

    D.J. Durkin is entering his third season as the head coach at Maryland. His first two years have been plagued by injuries at the quarterback position.

    During his first year at the helm with senior Perry Hills as his starting QB, the Terrapins raced out to 4-0 record going into a road assignment at Penn State. The Nittany Lions were only ahead 17-14 when Hills went down with an injury, but they rolled to a 38-14 triumph after he was sidelined.

    Without its starting QB vs. Minnesota at home, Maryland couldn’t generate any offense in a 31-10 home loss. However, with Hills back the following week vs. Michigan State, the Terps captured a 28-17 victory. Next, they allowed a late third-quarter lead to get away in a 42-36 loss at Indiana. With a 5-3 record, Durkin’s bunch had a trio of Top-20 opponents on deck.

    The last thing it could afford at this point was another injury to Hills, but that’s exactly what happened at the Big House the following week. Michigan, ranked No. 2 at the time, rolled to an easy 59-3 win. With Hills out vs. Ohio State and at Nebraska, Maryland scored only 10 points and was the victim of three straight blowout defeats.

    Needing a win in the regular-season finale at home vs. Rutgers to go bowling, Hills returned and helped his team to 31-13 victory. Therefore, Maryland went 6-1 in the seven games in which Hills started and finished, although it did drop a 36-30 decision to Boston College at the Quick Lane Bowl.

    The 2017 campaign started with a huge splash, as Durkin’s team went into Austin and ruined the debut of Tom Herman at Texas. Maryland won by a 51-41 count thanks to a pair of special-teams TDs and a pick-six. The victory was slightly bittersweet, though, as QB Tyrell Pigrome and senior DE Jesse Aniebonam were lost to season-ending injuries.

    After trouncing Towson 63-17 in Week 2, true freshman QB Kasim Hill tore his ACL in the first quarter of a 38-10 loss to a UCF squad that would go on to finish 13-0. Maryland bounced back nicely at Minnesota, winning 31-24 as a 13-point underdog for a second victory as a double-digit road underdog.

    With a third-string QB for the rest of the year, however, things went South fast. Maryland managed merely one more win over Indiana at home, 42-39. The final tally was a disappointing 4-8 straight-up record and a 5-7 against-the-spread ledger.

    One way to view the current state of the program is that it has lost 15 of its past 21 games. Twelve of those 15 setbacks have come by double-digit margins.

    On the flip side, you could say that Durkin is 8-2 in 10 games when his starting QB has played an entire game. Now obviously, we know it doesn’t work like that and I almost feel as if I just channeled a little Butch Jones in the doctoring of that stat.

    Nevertheless, I do feel like Maryland is flying under the radar coming into 2018. There are three impact players returning from season-ending injuries sustained in early September. In addition, Durkin’s team welcomes three transfers who will immediately start on defense.

    Let’s start with the transfers, including LB Tre’ Wallace (Illinois), CB Marcus Lewis (FSU) and DE Byron Cowart (Auburn). Wallace is a grad transfer who was the Illini’s second-leading tackler in 2016 with 102 stops, and he was third last year (65) despite missing three games. In three seasons, Wallace has made 15 starts and recorded 188 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, six QB hurries, three forced fumbles, three passes broken up, 2.5 sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. He can step in and replace starting middle LB Jermaine Carter, who had a team-best 90 tackles in ’17.

    When Durkin was Will Muschamp’s defensive coordinator at Florida, he helped recruit Cowart. The five-star DE was a UF commit before Muschamp was fired. He decided to go to Auburn, where he vastly underachieved in ’15 and ’16 before playing junior-college ball last year. Cowart gets a fresh start in College Park.

    As a sophomore at FSU, Lewis started five games and had 21 tackles, one TFL and a huge interception in the third quarter of a comeback win vs. Ole Miss in the season opener. He sat out last season as a transfer.

    Aniebonam enjoyed a breakout campaign in ’16, producing 46 tackles, nine sacks, five TFL’s, three QB hurries, one forced fumble and one PBU. He had 23 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three TFL’s as a sophomore. Aniebonam was a third-team preseason All Big Ten selection in Phil Steele’s preseason magazine going into ’17, and he’s garnered the same honor in Steele’s mag going into this year.

    The QBs, Hill and Pigrome, missed spring practice but are expected to compete for the starting job in August. Hill completed 18-of-21 passes for 230 yards and two TDs without an interception before getting hurt. He had rushed for 60 yards and one TD on 12 attempts. Pigrome had connected on 9-of-12 throws for 175 yards with a 2/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He had run for 64 yards and one TD on 11 carries.

    Maryland’s offensive line returns intact and has 105 career starts combined. Three of Durkin’s top-five recruits in his ’18 class were o-linemen who will provide depth. Steele’s mag ranks the Terps’ o-line as the third-best in the Big Ten and the country’s 11th-best.

    Maryland is deep at RB with its group ranking sixth in the Big Ten and 29th in the nation, according to Steele. Senior Ty Johnson has 2,129 career rushing yards and 17 TDs (14 rushing). As a sophomore in ’16, Johnson ran for 1,004 yards and averaged 9.1 yards per carry. He rushed for 875 yards and five TDs while averaging 6.4 YPC last season. Johnson also had a TD catch and a 100-yard kickoff return for a score.

    Junior RB Lorenzo Harrison is an experienced back-up who has 1,255 yards and a 5.6 YPC average in his first two years. Also, redshirt freshman Anthony McFarland is ready to contribute. McFarland was the (high) four-star prize of Durkin’s 2017 recruiting haul who had to redshirt while still recovering from a high-school injury.

    Maryland lost its best WR D.J. Moore, who was a first-round pick by the Carolina Panthers. But Tavion Jacobs returns after bringing down 47 receptions for 553 yards and five TDs in ’17. Jacobs, Johnson and OT Damian Prince, a former five-star recruit who has 30 career starts to his credit, are fourth-team preseason All Big 10 picks in Steele’s mag, while OT Derwin Gray is a third-team selection.

    Maryland plays in the toughest division in college football with Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State. Steele has the Terps’ schedule ranked as the country’s ninth-toughest. They have seven home games and five true road contests. The South Point Hotel in Las Vegas has Maryland’s season win total at five (‘under’ -125, ‘over’ +105).

    Instead of playing (at) Wisconsin and Northwestern from the other side of the league, Maryland faces Illinois at home, travels to Iowa, and takes on Minnesota for a third consecutive year.

    I think the Terps will be favored in five games – at Bowling Green, vs. Temple, vs. Minnesota, vs. Rutgers and vs. Illinois. They might be favored at Indiana, but that isn’t the best situational spot. Maryland is at Indiana on Nov. 10, sandwiched between home games vs. Michigan State and Ohio State. The Hoosiers have an open date beforehand and their previous game is on a Friday night at Minnesota (giving them another extra day of preparation).

    Are there any other potential wins? Well, Maryland is an 11-point home underdog for its opener vs. Texas. Sure, the Longhorns have the revenge angle, but that’s a game that went the Terps’ way on the road last season.

    Durkin’s club will be a heavy underdog in three games we can certainly mark as losses – at Michigan, vs. Ohio State and at Penn State (in back-to-back games to close the regular season). We will note, however, that Maryland does get two weeks to prep for the Wolverines and could be worth a look catching a ton of points.

    The other two games left on the slate are at Iowa and vs. Michigan State. These will undoubtedly be underdog situations, but I’m not sure upsets are completely out of the question if things (such as health and quality QB play) are going well.

    Whatever the case, Maryland looks like an underrated team if it can keep its QBs healthy. I’m not implying Maryland ‘over’ five wins (+105) will be a strong play for me (amount-wise), but I do expect Durkin’s luck to start turning the right way and for the Terps to be back in the postseason.
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    Quote Originally Posted by StarDust Bum View Post
    Handicapping Wisconsin (10)
    June 28, 2018


    Wisconsin had a very successful 2017 season, as they went 13-1, but it could have been a special season if they had not lost the Big Ten Championship Game to Ohio State. The loss cost the Badgers a spot in the College Football Playoff, but the Badgers did bounce back to beat Miami in the Orange Bowl.

    The Badgers return a lot of starters from last year’s squad including quarterback Alex Hornibrook, and the entire offensive line. If the defense comes together, especially a questionable secondary, the Badgers could be national title contenders again in 2018.

    Wisconsin Badgers 2018 Regular Season Win Total
    Over 10 (-120)
    Under 10 (-110)


    2018 Wisconsin Badgers Schedule Analysis

    Aug. 31 vs. Western Kentucky


    The regular season opener for the Badgers is an easy one, as they face a Hilltoppers team that was beaten 31-17 by Illinois last season. Very few teams go into Madison and win and Western Kentucky is not going to be one of them.

    Sept. 8 vs. New Mexico

    The second game should be just as easy for the Badgers, as the Lobos don’t have the defense to slow down the Badgers. Wisconsin should have no trouble going to 2-0.

    Sept. 15 vs. BYU

    This matchup might sound like a good one, but the Badgers won 40-6 in Provo last season. The Cougars should be better this season, but this game is in Madison and it should be a comfortable win for Wisconsin.

    Sept. 22 at Iowa

    The Big Ten opener for the Badgers is a dangerous one for Wisconsin. Iowa beat Ohio State last season and they nearly beat Penn State. The Badgers should have too much talent for the Hawkeyes, but this is not an automatic win.

    Oct. 6 vs. Nebraska

    The Cornhuskers have a new head coach in Scott Frost, so this game could be more interesting than it appears. The Badgers are at home and they are coming off a bye week, so they should get this win against Nebraska.

    Oct. 13 at Michigan

    The first big test of the season for Wisconsin comes at Michigan in mid-October. The Badgers won a tough defensive struggle last year at home and it might be a similar result this time around.

    Oct. 20 vs. Illinois

    This game comes at a good time for the Badgers, as they could have a letdown after the game against the Wolverines. It won’t matter in this game, because Illinois is a bad football team.

    Oct. 27 at Northwestern

    The Wildcats could be a contender this season in the Big Ten West, so this may not be a sure win for the Badgers on the road. Northwestern was very competitive last season in Madison, losing 33-24. Wisconsin probably has too much overall talent for the Wildcats, but this one could be tight.

    Nov. 3 vs. Rutgers

    The Scarlet Knights have been road kill in the Big Ten against top teams and it should be no different in this one as the Badgers roll to a big win.

    Nov. 10 at Penn State

    The Badgers won’t have to deal with Saquon Barkley this season, but Penn State is still a very good team and they are at home. The Nittany Lions have Trace McSorley and they have the offense to give Wisconsin trouble.

    Nov. 17 at Purdue

    The Badgers won an ugly 17-9 game last season in Madison. The Boilermakers shouldn’t be a serious threat if Wisconsin is focused, but keep in mind they are coming off the game against Penn State.

    Nov. 24 vs. Minnesota

    The Badgers have completely dominated this series in recent years, winning the last 14 meetings. This game is in Madison so the streak should go to 15.

    2018 Wisconsin Badgers Season Win Total Prediction

    The win total for the Badgers is listed at 10, so to go over that total the Badgers would have to go 11-1. There are two very difficult road games for Wisconsin at Michigan and at Penn State and a couple of tricky road games at Iowa and at Northwestern. The Badgers would have to win three of those four games to get to 11 wins and that might be too difficult. A 10-win season seems the most likely scenario for the Badgers.
    Wisconsin loses starting DE Garrett Rand for the season. This is a huge blow to a team that was very thin on defense to begin with.

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    Thanks for the update BigDaddy..............you can contribute anytime you see something not updated.......
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    2018 Conference USA Preview
    July 8, 2018


    We’re Back

    Conference USA welcomes the return of six 2017 individual award winners for the 2018 season. They include MVP Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic, Offensive Player of the Year Mason Fine, QB, North Texas, Special Teams Player of the Year Isaiah Harper, KR, Old Dominion, Freshman of the Year Spencer Brown, RB, UAB, and Newcomers of the Year Teddy Veal, WR, Louisiana Tech and Jalen Guyton, WR, North Texas.

    In addition, C-USA had six (6) individual leaders and three (3) team leaders in national statistical categories last season and each of those individual performers return for the 2018 season. Team leaders included FAU (No. 1 Interceptions-20), UTSA (No. 1 Fewest First Downs Allowed-166) and FIU (No. 1 Red Zone Offense-.976).

    It’s Us Again

    For the first time since the 2011-2012 season, Conference USA Football will feature the same configuration of teams competing for the league championship in consecutive years, each playing eight conference games, along with four non-league contests.

    In Your Face

    Conference USA teams never shy away from playing challenging non-conference competition and this season is no exception. Conference USA will face at least one opponent from each of the nine other FBS conferences in 2018 and a total of 22 games are scheduled against teams that played in a bowl game last season.

    Note: The numbers following each team name represents the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

    CHARLOTTE (Offense – *8/4, Defense – 10/3, 53 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO

    A major benefit of going full-youth is that after taking your lumps, there is generally only one way to go, and that’s up. Spring chickens turn into barnyard roosters and with it an air of hidden confidence is shaped. A young core of sophomores and juniors are now upper classmen. Head coach Brad Lambert, who learned as a 10-year assistant under Jim Grobe, rebuilt lines on both sides of the ball last season while breaking in the pimply faces. As a result, his job is on the line. Thus, two new coordinators will look to revive a potentially strong ground game while better stuffing the run. An imbalanced schedule that finds the 49ers meeting bowlers in 7 of their final 8 games could prove to be the turning point.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Since becoming an FBS school, Charlotte is 1-11 SU and 4-7-1 ATS in its final six games of the season.

    PLAY ON: vs. Florida Int’l (11/17)

    FLORIDA ATLANTIC (Offense – 5/2, Defense – 10/3, 47 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: LOOKING IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR

    Ask head coach Lane Kiffin about the trap of living off last season’s success – the best season in school history – and the coach says, “That team is over with. We made sure to understand this is a different team. We’re 0-0. That’s in the history books, a very special season. Just like the preseason rankings mean nothing.” A season-ending 10-game win skein was the catalyst. Having talented RB Devin “Motor” Singletary back is a good starting point. In addition, the defense returns 10 starters. Still, a salty schedule (all 6 road games against bowl squads) and a major bulls-eye on their back means another 11 wins are highly unlikely in 2018. Because, after all, last season is officially in the history books.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Owls are 7-19 SU in one-possession games since Howard Schnellenberger resigned, including 3-9 the L3 seasons.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Middle Tennessee (9/29)

    FIU (Offense – 7/4, Defense – 4/3, 55 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BUTCH BALL

    Butch Davis’ return to south Florida last season was measurably impactful when FIU doubled its win total, and then enjoyed its best recruiting class in school history during the offseason. To put it in a better perspective, SB Nation’s Bill Connelly reported, “UCF went 13-0 and claimed a share of the national title. FAU won 11 games and its first CUSA title. FIU lost by a combined 113-41 to those in-state rivals… and then out-recruited both of them.” Granted, the Golden Panthers weren’t as good as their 8-5 record suggests since they allowed more YPG than they actually gained. They also benefited mightily by returning 85% of the production on both sides of the ball last season. Let’s see if the recruiting effort offsets a natural letdown.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: FIU is 12-1 SU and 10-3 ATS versus sub .333 conference foes without Ron Turner since 2010.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Old Dominion (9/8)

    LOUISIANA TECH (Offense – *8/4, Defense – 7/3, 52 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: SKIP TO MY LOU

    The hard-luck Bulldogs suffered three 1-point losses in 2017, and dipped to 7-6 after consecutive nine-win seasons, costing the Bulldogs a third division title in four years in the process. A 3-0 SUATS win skein left them playing their best ball of the season following a 41-point win over SMU in the Frisco Bowl. Meanwhile, Skip Holtz returns a good portion of last year’s nucleus (#30 nationally in returning production), including QB J’Mar Smith (143.5 passer rating away from home), four if its top five WRs, two all-CUSA OL, and the best player in the loop on defense in DL Jaylon Ferguson. Best of all, Holtz inked a whopping 16 three-star recruits this offseason. With Holtz in his sixth year with the program, the pieces are in place for a return to 9-win territory.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Holtz is 44-23-1 ATS as a dog in his career, including 20-2-1 ATS when coming off an ATS win of more than 8 points.

    PLAY ON: at Florida Atlantic (10/27)

    MARSHALL (Offense – 9/5, Defense – 9/4, 52 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BACK TO THUNDERING

    Roll back the clock. The only Group of 5 program to record a third straight 10-win season in 2015, the Herd went from a thundering 33 wins in three seasons to a blundering 3 victories in 2016. Strangely, Marshall committed only 16 turnovers in 2016, the fewest for the program since it entered FBS waters in 1997. Shell-shocked, the Herd stormed back with 8 wins last season, including three losses during the final month of the campaign by a combined total of just 8 points. The challenge this season will be replacing QB Chase Litton (declared for the NFL draft, with Alex Thomson the likely successor) and both coordinators. Fortunately 9 starters are back from a defense that improved 113 YPG in 2017. That should make the Herd relevant again.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Marshall is 8-0-1 ATS at home with revenge against greater than .800 opponents.

    PLAY ON: at Florida International (11/24) - *KEY

    MIDDLE TENNESSEE (Offense – *8/3, Defense – 8/3, 47 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BACK FROM THE ICU

    Let’s tell it like it is. Injuries wrecked any chance at improvement last season when both starting quarterback Brent Stockstill and star WR Richie James missed at least half of the season (the Raiders were 5-2 with Brent and 2-4 without him). QB Stockstill returns while James bypassed his final year of eligibility for the NFL Draft. Still, behind a deep squad, MTSU rates a solid chance to win the CUSA as the Blue Raiders return every running back and their top three wide receivers (other than James), along with two all-conference linemen on offense. Plus, six of the top seven defensive linemen, as well as three of four linebackers and five of eight defensive backs, are also back. Despite three road games at SEC schools that won 25 games last season, we’re on the Stockstills like Ozzie on Harriet.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: MTSU has been bowl eligible nine times in 12 years under HC Rick Stockstill, competing in seven bowl games.

    PLAY ON: at Vanderbilt (9/1) – KEY as a dog

    NORTH TEXAS (Offense – *9/4, Defense – 8/2, 44 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: FROM GREEN TO GO

    After inheriting a 1-11 team, head coach Seth Littrell has won 14 games and a division title in his first two years in Denton. How much of an improvement did the Mean Green make in 2017? Consider: after having gone 2-17 SU and 4-15 ATS away the previous three years, outyarded by 175 YPG, they proceeded to go 3-3 SU and 4-2 ATS while being outgained by only 29 YPG in road games last season. It’s what happens when you possess a Top 25 ranked offense. Those numbers are likely to ascend in 2018 behind JR QB Mason Fine (4,052 yards, 31 TDs last season), who has his top three WRs back, including walk-on Michael Lawrence – a likely NFL slot receiver – while being tutored by OC Graham Harrell, the ex-Texas Tech quarterback.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Mean Green are 36-6 ATS in games in which they score 32 or more points.

    PASS

    OLD DOMINION (Offense – *9/4, Defense – 7/3, 46 Lettermen)


    TEAM THEME: A WILD RIDE

    After their FCS debut in 2009, the Monarchs have suffered highs (10-win season in 2016) and lows. Through a series of injuries and inexperience, last year was taking on the appearance of the Titanic until a 3-1 finish literally salvaged the ship. Seventeen year-old true freshman QB Steven Williams stepped in and saved the day (71% completions in his last 3 starts with a 146.2 passer rating). He’s back, along with five OL with at least 10 career starts. In addition, four of last year’s five leading WRs, and leading RB Jeremy Cox (2,115 career yards) combine to form an offensive assault that promises to more than make up for last year’s 102-yard slippage. We’re putting the danger warning on Old Dominion. Beware.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Old Dominion has sold out all 60 home games in school history and has a 44-16 SU record in those games.

    PLAY ON: at Western Kentucky (10/20)

    RICE (Offense – *6/2, Defense – 5/2, 46 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: OWLS IN FLIGHT

    Following four straight years of regression, the David Bailiff regime at Rice is finally over. Somehow through it all, Bailiff recorded the 2nd most wins in school history. Replacing him is Mike Bloomgren, a former OC at Stanford. He’ll turn the keys over to SO QB Miklo Smalls, who stepped in late last season when the Owls offense improved from 13.1 PPG over their first eight games to 22.5 over the last four. New DC Brian Smith, a former Michigan DBs coach, must patch a defense that has allowed more then 36 PPG the last three seasons. It starts with a rush unit that has coughed up 200 rushing YPG at 5.2 yards per rush clip. A new voyage is about to begin.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Rice is 30-9-3 ATS as a conference home dog, including 16-1-2 ATS when taking less than 7 points.

    PLAY ON: vs. UAB (10/13) - *KEY as a dog

    SOUTHERN MISS (Offense – *5/3, Defense – 4/2, 42 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BACKWARDS THINKING

    Last year we called for an uptick in the Golden Eagles program and they delivered the goods, improving their production both straight up and against the spread. The problem now, though, is the “Smith Barney” syndrome. Simply put, they didn’t ‘earn it’ as their overall stats declined on both sides of the ball. Compounding the issue, Jay Hopson was forced to go the JUCO route and will hope three-star transfer QB Jack Abraham beats out incumbent Kwadra Griggs. USM will lean heavily on a trio of returning WRs, including Korey Robertson, who had a breakout season in 2017 with 76 receptions, 1,106 yards and 12 TDS. Still, when reconstructed teams look to rely on JUCOs, the results seldom meet expectations.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Golden Eagles’ seniors started 59.4% of their games last season, the 3rd most in the nation.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Marshall (11/3)

    UAB (Offense – *10/4, Defense – 7/2, 55 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: YEAH, WE’RE BACK

    After closing the football program down for blasphemous reasons in 2015 and 2016, the Blazers re-emerged in a statement-making way last season. After going 6-0 at home, 6-2 in CUSA and fielding a 41st-ranked defense – and going bowling for only the second time in school history – it meant little losing 41-6 to Ohio U in the Bahamas Bowl. UAB was back and was indeed the feel-good story in college football last season (sorry, UCF, but you’ll need to get in line). The better news is the offense returns literally everyone and the defense is stacked. The bad news is a huge contingent of seniors will be gone after this season. Rest assured, Bill Clark’s troops will savor every moment, especially going up against the 2nd easiest schedule of all FBS schools in 2018 with foes going 57-91 (.385) last season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Blazers are 7-1 ATS under Clark when facing an opponent coming off a win, including 5-0 ATS when UAB is coming off a loss.

    PLAY AGAINST: 11/3 vs. UTSA

    UTEP (Offense – *5/0, Defense – 6/2, 50 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: LONG IN THE TOOTH

    New Miners’ head coach Dana Dimel has been tasked with reviving arguably the worst program in the FBS, one whose offense gained a mere 230.5 yards and 11.8 points per game in 2017 – dead last. And if that isn’t bad enough, the UTEP defense allowed 446.6 yards and 36.8 points per contest. Egad. A 30-year veteran Dimel, is a former Kansas State assistant under Bill Snyder, as well as a former head coach at Houston and Wyoming. That Dimel, just 4-17 ATS as a conference favorite, hired 33-year veteran Mike Canales as his OC speaks volumes as Canales’ North Texas teams as OC under Dan McCarney finished No. 122 in offense in both 2014 and 2015. And this offense is worse. Meanwhile, 30-year veteran Mike Cox will run the defense.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Miners are 9-65-1 SU and 16-54-3 ATS in the last 75 games in which they have been outgained in the stats.

    PASS

    UTSA (Offense – 4/2, Defense – 6/3, 38 Lettermen)


    TEAM THEME: BEDROCK QUARREL

    It’s safe to say that UTSA will take the field with a massive chip on its shoulder. Not only did they measurably improve their numbers on both sides of the ball while leading all FBS teams in First Down Defense, they also finished No. 2 in fewest Passing Yards Allowed. In the process, they outgained 8 of their 11 opponents and finished with a winning record – only to peculiarly be shut out of a bowl invite. Faced with numerous personnel and coaching changes, they will need to heavily rely on that massive chip we alluded to. Leaving no stone unturned, our guess is the rebuilding Roadrunners may likely be referred to as the Slate Rock and Gravel Company this season. Yabba dabba doo.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Roadrunners are 2-19 ATS in SU conference losses.

    PLAY ON: at Southern Miss (10/20)

    WESTERN KENTUCKY (Offense – 4/2, Defense – 7/2, 55 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: MORE OIL, PLEASE

    Talk about a bummer. When WKU hired former assistant Mike Sanford as its new head coach last year, they were fully expecting to win the CUSA for a third straight season. After all Sanford, one of college football brightest offensive minds, returned SR QB Mike White from the nation’s top scoring offense. What he didn’t count on was the total disappearance of a rushing game that was MIA on both sides of the ball all season. The Hilltoppers’ dead-last ranked rush offense declined 124 YPG while its rush defense deteriorated 73 YPG. That’s a combined total of 197-degenerated rushing yards. As a result, they fell from 23-5 to 6-7 and recorded their first losing season since 2010. With White gone, Sanford is burning the midnight oil as you read this hoping his replacement – FR QB Kevaris Thomas – lives up to his billing.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: WKU has gone OVER its season win total five of the last six years.

    PLAY ON: at Florida Atlantic (11/10) *KEY as a dog
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    Auburn QB Stidham gets engaged
    July 8, 2018


    Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham has a number of memorable victories under his belt, however his greatest triumph came this weekend when he proposed to his longtime girlfriend.

    Stidham fell to one knee and proposed to Baylor soccer player Kennedy Brown in Lake Brownwood, Texas. Both members of the happy couple posted their happiness on Instagram.

    "She said yes and I get to marry the girl of my dreams. Here's to forever Kenn, I love you," the 21-year-old Stidham wrote on Saturday.

    In Stidham's eyes, her answer likely trumped Auburn's victories over Alabama in the Iron Bowl or top-ranked Georgia.

    The couple met while Stidham was a player at Baylor in 2015. He sat out a season at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas before transferring to Auburn in December 2016.

    Stidham started every game under center for the SEC West champion Tigers in 2017. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound redshirt sophomore passed for 3,158 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, becoming the second Auburn quarterback to throw for 3,000-plus yards in a season.


    *******************************


    CFB Notebook: Alabama reports one minor violation to NCAA
    July 7, 2018


    Alabama reported 13 secondary violations to the NCAA but only one involved the football program.

    The lone infraction by the football team was reported July 1, 2017, and was considered a minor violation, according to al.com.

    Per the report, an assistant coach for the Crimson Tide responded to an "unknown text message which resulted in impermissible communication with the parent of a 2019 prospective student-athlete."

    Last year, the university reported 22 secondary violations, including nine by the football program. In 2016, five of the 19 self-reported violations involved the football program.

    The Crimson Tide defeated SEC rival Georgia 26-23 in overtime in the College Football Playoff Championship Game in January. It was the school's fifth national title in the last nine years.

    --Wyoming linebacker Cassh Maluia was suspended for the season opener in the wake of his arrest a week ago.

    Cowboys coach Craig Bohl announced that Maluia will miss the game against New Mexico State on Aug. 25.

    Maluia was arrested June 30 in Laramie, Wyo., on multiple charges, including suspicion of driving under the influence. He also was charged with underage consumption of alcohol and driving without a valid driver's license.

    "Cassh Maluia will be subject to several disciplinary actions," Bohl said in a statement. "He will be assessed a one-game suspension for this coming season. ... We also view this as a learning opportunity, not just for Cassh, but for the rest of our team members."

    Bohn also noted that Maluia faces additional disciplinary action that will require mandatory counseling, the completion of an AWARE training program on campus and 50 hours of community service.

    -- West Virginia will not kick off the 2018 campaign for nearly two months, but the football program already is in midseason form -- at least on social media.

    The Mountaineers are going all out to promote returning starting quarterback Will Grier for the Heisman Trophy, launching a website devoted to hype his candidacy.

    The university touted the website -- http://www.grier7heisman.com -- on its athletics website along with the accompanying hashtag "willtowin."

    Grier, who started his college career at the University of Florida, passed for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns against 12 interceptions for West Virginia in 2017.

    A dislocated finger on his throwing hand, sustained Nov. 18 against Texas, forced Grier to sit out the regular-season finale against Oklahoma and the Heart of Dallas Bowl matchup against Utah on Dec. 26.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Games to Watch - Week 1
    July 9, 2018


    Must Bet College Football Week 1 Odds & Picks

    The clock is now officially counting down as we draw ever nearer to the opening day of the 2018 college football season. Week 1 will kick-off on August 25th with a handful of games featuring lesser teams. The real action, though, gets underway on September 1st, as that is when the big guns will be taking to the field for the first time this year.

    The reigning champs, the Alabama Crimson Tide, will be out to once again defend their crown when they take on the Stanford Cardinal, and while many of the early favorites to win the National Championship have what appear to be slam dunk games, there are a few big ones on the schedule.

    So let’s get on college football mode, review the current odds listed at YouWager.eu and take a closer look at the must bet college football games for Week 1 of the 2018 season.

    Michigan Wolverines (-1 Ĺ) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    The honeymoon period for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan is now over, and there is now a sense that he needs to get this team to the playoffs this season. This is not to suggest that he is in the hot seat, but the warm and fuzzy happy times are certainly now in the rearview mirror. Picking up Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson will give the Wolverines an immediate upgrade at the QB position, and he will get a stern test in Week 1 with a visit to Notre Dame, a team looking to build on what was a very solid 2017. This is undoubtedly the game of the week, and I am looking at Michigan to get a big road win.

    Auburn Tigers (-2 Ĺ) vs. Washington Huskies


    If you're a big fan of hard hitting, defensive football, this may well prove to be the best game on the opening week calendar for you. The Auburn Tigers are sure to still me smarting after losing to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game last season, as that loss killed their playoff hopes. They will be looking to get things rolling early with a big win over a PAC-12 opponent that is about as defensively sound as it gets. This one should be an epic battle where points will be a premium, but I think it will be Auburn that does enough to get the win in this neutral venue match-up.

    LSU Tigers vs. Miami Hurricanes (-3)

    It was very nearly a year to remember for the Miami Hurricanes, with Mark Richt leading them to an improbable 10-0 start to the season before the wheels came off in the final 3 weeks of the season. There was always a feeling that this team was ahead of schedule, so this may actually be the year where they get better. We will find out very quickly, as they will open up at the AT&T Stadium in Texas with a neutral site game against the LSU Tigers, a team that always has one of the stingiest defenses in the league. I see a defensive struggle and a Miami win here.

    Alabama Crimson Tide (-25) vs. Louisville Cardinals

    While this match-up, which will be played in Florida, lost some of its luster with Lamar Jackson heading off to the NFL, it is still going to be interesting to see how the defending champions start the season. There is a little bit of a QB controversy in Alabama as we head into the new year, with Tua Tagovailoa staking his claim to the starting position by coming on in the second half of last season’s National Championship game and turning it around. While I certainly think Alabama will win this one, that big spread make me a little nervous.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    CFB notebook: Alabama LB Lewis has torn ACL
    July 10, 2018


    Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis sustained a torn ACL in his right knee last week, the school announced Tuesday.

    "Terrell Lewis suffered a torn right ACL last week while training," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said in a statement. "He underwent successful surgery today, and a timeframe for his return is unknown at this time."

    Lewis was projected to be a starter in the upcoming season. The torn ACL is the second significant injury Lewis has sustained in less than a year. He suffered an elbow injury in the season opener against Florida State that sidelined him 10 games last season.

    Lewis recorded 16 tackles and a sack during the final four games of the season. Lewis' injury comes one day after the Crimson Tide announced fellow linebacker VanDarius Cowan was dismissed from the program for a violation of team rules.

    --Iowa cornerback Manny Rugamba is leaving the school and plans to transfer.

    Rugamba, who will be entering his junior season, announced his decision via his Twitter account but offered no reason for his departure.

    "I would like to first thank the whole Iowa Coaching staff for the last two years of life lessons both on and off the field," wrote Rugamba. "The relationships that I've made are some that will last a lifetime. With that being said I have opened my recruitment and plan to transfer and find another home this fall."

    Rugamba started eight games as a sophomore in 2017 after sitting out the season opener due to a suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules. He had 36 tackles and four passes defended.

    --USC wide receiver Joseph Lewis was released from jail after serving a 21-day sentence.

    Lewis, whose was freed on Friday, has been on suspension from the school since he was arrested in February in connection with two domestic violence incidents.

    In May, Lewis pleaded no contest in May to two misdemeanor counts of domestic battery with an injury. A school spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that Lewis remains off the team roster.

    As part of the plea agreement, Lewis still has to fulfill 36 months of probation, a one-year domestic violence treatment course and comply with a protective order to stay at least 100 yards from the victim, the newspaper reported.
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    A preseason quiz for FCS 2018
    July 10, 2018


    (STATS) - The arrival of conference media days this month marks the unofficial start to the college football season, so it's time to get in the FCS game.

    Sure, North Dakota State and James Madison have become the national powers, but how well do you know the national landscape?

    Our 10-question quiz about the fast-approaching season will show if you're in the end zone or punting.

    The answers follow, so don't scroll to them before it's time.

    QUESTIONS

    1. North Dakota State has won six of the last seven FCS national titles, tying for the most in history. Which program will the Bison try to break away from to establish a new record?

    2. Name the program that has dropped back to the FCS level from the FBS and the program joining the FCS from the Division II ranks? You need both answers right.

    3. For the ninth time in 10 seasons, an FCS program is playing the defending FBS champion. This year, the honor falls to which team: Charleston Southern or The Citadel?

    4. Jacksonville State has the longest conference winning streak in the FCS. Is it 28, 30 or 32 games long?

    5. This player led Division I in receptions per game and finished third in the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award voting last season. Who is this 2019 NFL Draft prospect?

    6. From the subdivision, only Montana and former FCS program Appalachian State have had more NFL Draft picks in the 2010s than this surprising program, which produced its sixth selection this year. Is it Maine, South Carolina State or Tennessee State?

    7. Let's see if you remember this question from last year: The FCS is played at 124 schools across 37 states and the District of Columbia. What is the most common nickname: Bears, Bulldogs or Tigers?

    8. "The Game" turns 135 in 2018. Where are Ivy League rivals Harvard and Yale playing this year's matchup?

    9. Who has thrown for the most touchdowns among returning FCS quarterbacks - Northern Arizona's Case Cookus, Samford's Devlin Hodges, Eastern Washington's Gage Gubrud or San Diego's Anthony Lawrence?

    10. The last three years, a coach has finished fifth, third and second in voting for the STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award at two different schools. Who is he?

    ANSWERS

    1. Like North Dakota State, Georgia Southern won six FCS national titles, winning in back-to-back years three times. The Eagles now play on the FBS level.

    2. After 22 seasons on the FBS level, Idaho has returned to the Big Sky Conference. North Alabama is transitioning into the FCS from Division II, playing as an independent this season before joining the Big South Conference in 2019.

    3. City rivals Charleston Southern and The Citadel have a showdown in September, but The Citadel is the FCS team holding the date with defending FBS champion Alabama. The Bulldogs had the same opportunity against Clemson last season.

    4. Jacksonville State has won 32 straight games in the Ohio Valley Conference, last losing to Eastern Illinois and Jimmy Garoppolo in 2013.

    5. UC Davis wide receiver Keelan Doss averaged 10.5 receptions per game as a junior, catching 115 passes for 1,499 yards.

    6. With six NFL Draft picks in the 2010s, MEAC member South Carolina State trails only Montana and Appalachian State, which both have seven.

    7. Nine FCS schools share the Bulldogs nickname: Alabama A&M, Bryant, Butler, Drake, Gardner-Webb (Runnin' Bulldogs), Samford, South Carolina State, The Citadel and Yale.

    8. Harvard and Yale are meeting for the 135th time at Fenway Park on Nov. 17. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the epic 1968 meeting, which famously ended in a 29-29 tie.

    9. That was an impressive list of gunslingers, but, surprise, Anthony Lawrence from Pioneer Football League power San Diego has thrown 81 touchdowns - the most of returning FCS players.

    10. Mike Houston has been on the cusp of winning the Eddie Robinson Award, finishing fifth at The Citadel in 2015, then third and second, respectively, the last two years at James Madison. Each team won a conference title and JMU was the 2016 national champ.

    STARTER, BACKUP OR KEEP WORKING

    So how did you do?

    The questions were at a reasonable level. With six or more correct answers, consider yourself a starting player. Five right and you are on the two-deep. Less than half right, well, keep following the FCS.
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    2018 Predictions - SEC
    July 10, 2018


    College Football Predictions: Southeastern Conference

    While college football has a huge following all across the country, it is the south that is perhaps home to the most fanatical fans of the game. In some parts, anything less than a National Championship is considered a total failure. It should come as no surprise that the southern states have become breeding grounds for the best players in the college game while also having arguably the best conference in college football for years now.

    The SEC is that conference, and it is home to the current National Champion, the Alabama Crimson Tide, as well as last year’s runner-up, the Georgia Bulldogs. Both of those team’s figure to be contenders again this season, but can any other team in the SEC touch them?

    Let’s take a closer look.

    SEC CONFERENCE - ODDS TO WIN

    Alabama: +100
    Arkansas: +5000
    Auburn: +650
    Florida: +800
    Georgia: +250
    Kentucky: +8000
    LSU: +1000
    Mississippi State: +1200
    Missouri: +2500
    Ole Miss: +6500
    South Carolina: +1600
    Tennessee: +2500
    Texas A&M: +1300
    Vanderbilt: +12000

    SEC East Preview and Predictions

    The Georgia Bulldogs made a huge breakthrough in Coach Kirby Smart’s second year in charge, making it all the way to the National Championship Game. As good as the Dawgs were last season, it is worth remembering that they were a team stacked with an elite class of returning seniors. Most of those guys will be plying their trade in the NFL this season, which means that there are going to be a lot of holes to plug, especially on the defensive side of the football. It certainly helps that the incoming recruiting class was about the best on paper. The East is still Georgia’s to lose.

    The South Carolina Gamecocks would appear to be the biggest challenger for Georgia in the East, and they can get a leg up on the defending champs if they can beat them in Week 2 of the season. This is a team very much on the rise, and if they can take another step forward this season, they could prove to be serious challengers to the East crown.

    The Florida Gators had an awful season in 2017 but have a new coaching staff in place who have some very nice pieces to work with. Dan Mullen will make this team better quite quickly but asking him to turn them into a division winner this season is probably asking way too much.

    That should be your top 3 in the SEC East.

    SEC West Preview and Predictions


    Let’s be perfectly clear here, Alabama are National Champions for a reason. They have the best coach in the college game, and are able to keep reloading year after year, regardless of how many players they lose to the NFL draft. The Crimson Tide look like a shoe-in to win the SEC West, although there are some questions at the QB spot. Tua Tagovailoa will likely steal the spot from Jalen Hurts after his amazing second half performance last season.

    Joe Moorhead will be the new man in charge at the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and it’s fair to suggest that he is walking into a great situation, with 16 starters returning to the fold. Let’s not forget that this is a team that won 9 games last season. If Moorhead can get this group to buy into his system early, they could prove to be a major threat.

    The Auburn Tigers would certainly appear to be the main contenders here, especially when you consider that they won the West last season before losing to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. They will be coming into this season with a bit of a chip on their shoulder, and they will know that they will need to win their games against Georgia and Alabama if they are to be playoff bound this year.

    That rounds out your top 3 in the SEC Wes
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  14. #44
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    Handicapping Michigan (8.5)
    July 11, 2018


    The Michigan Wolverines are coming off a very disappointing 2017 season, but they bring back 18 starters for 2018 and expectations are very high for Jim Harbaugh’s squad.

    The pressure is mounting on Harbaugh to deliver, as Michigan is 1-5 under Harbaugh against their top rivals and Michigan has yet to play in the Big Ten title game under Harbaugh.

    How successful the Wolverines are in 2018 could be determined by how well new quarterback Shea Patterson plays. He is an Ole Miss transfer who takes over the starting job.

    Let’s look at Michigan’s schedule for 2018 to see if they will go over or under their win total of 8.5.

    2018 Michigan Wolverines Regular Season Win Total
    Over 8.5 (-110)
    Under 8.5 (-120)


    2018 Michigan Wolverines Schedule Analysis

    Sept. 1 at Notre Dame

    You can make a strong case that the loser of this game will have no real chance to make the College Football Playoffs. Harbaugh will need to have Patterson ready because Michigan can’t win this game simply with defense.

    Sept. 8 vs. Western Michigan
    These teams haven’t met since 2011 and it has been a one-sided series, as the Broncos have never beaten the Wolverines. That shouldn’t change this season.

    Sept. 15 vs. SMU
    The Mustangs are going to score with new head coach Sonny Dykes in charge but they won’t stop anyone. Michigan’s defense is very good and SMU may score some points, but this will still be a Michigan blowout.

    Sept. 22 vs. Nebraska
    The Cornhuskers have a new head coach in Scott Frost and it may take him some time to turn things around at Nebraska. It is hard to see the Cornhuskers winning this one in the Big House.

    Sept. 29 at Northwestern
    The Wildcats may not have starting quarterback Clayton Thorson as he tore his ACL in last year’s bowl game and may not be ready to return yet. Michigan has won the last five in this series and they should make it six straight this year.

    Oct. 6 vs. Maryland
    This should be a name the score game for Michigan, as they have won the last three matchups against the Terps by a combined margin of 109 points.

    Oct. 13 vs. Wisconsin
    The first huge Big 10 game of the season for Michigan is at home as they host the Badgers. These teams are usually tight, but the Wolverines will have the home field advantage and should get the win.

    Oct. 20 at Michigan State
    The Wolverines gave away last year’s game so they will be playing with revenge, but it won’t be easy on the road against a talented Spartans squad that returns 21 starters.

    Nov. 3 vs. Penn State
    This looks to be a good one, as two years ago it was Michigan winning big at home, but last year it was the Nittany Lions winning big at home. These teams are very evenly matched and this game could come down to the final possession.

    Nov. 10 at Rutgers
    This is a letdown spot for Michigan, but it shouldn’t matter. The last time Michigan visited Rutgers they won 78-0.

    Nov. 17 vs. Indiana
    The Wolverines have won the last 22 games against Indiana going back to 1987. The last three meetings in the series have been close, but this one is in Ann Arbor, so the Wolverines should win easily.

    Nov. 24 at Ohio State
    This game could decide the Big Ten East Division. The Wolverines will likely be listed as road dogs against their hated rivals.

    2018 Michigan Wolverines Regular Season Win Total Prediction

    The Michigan win total comes down to five games because the Wolverines should have seven sure wins. The key games are at Notre Dame, home vs. Wisconsin, at Michigan State, home vs. Penn State and at Ohio State. To go over the total of 8.5, the Wolverines have to win two of those five games. Winning two of those five games is definitely possible for Michigan and it is not out of the question that Michigan could win four of the five. It all comes down to the play of Patterson at quarterback. If he delivers in a big way then Michigan could be a national title contender and definitely a team that goes over 8.5 wins this season.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2018 Predictions - Pac-12
    July 11, 2018


    College Football Predictions: Pac-12

    The 2018 college football season is going to be one where the PAC 12 teams need to work hard o re-stablish their conference as a true power in the sport. After all, they did not send a team to the college football playoffs last season and only had two teams with 10 or more wins.

    To further compound the issue, PAC 12 teams only managed 1 win versus 8 losses in bowl games. Say what you want about the validity of bowl games, that record does no inspire a lot of faith in this conference. There is certainly enough talent to go around in the PAC 12 but can any of the teams in that conference make a major breakthrough this year. We are going to look at the PAC 12 odds listed at YouWager.eu, check the North and South and pick 3 teams in each who might just have a shot at being in the playoff picture.

    Pac-12 CONFERENCE – ODDS TO WIN

    Arizona: +1200
    Arizona State: +2500
    California: +2500
    Colorado: +1600
    Oregon: +550
    Oregon State: +10000
    USC: +200
    Stanford: +400
    UCLA +1200
    Utah: +1200
    Washington: +120
    Washington State: +1000


    Pac-12 North Division Preview

    Washington Huskies


    This is not just the team to beat in the North, they are also the class of the entire conference. One of the reasons why they are so heavily favored this season in that they have no less than 16 starters returning from what was a very good team last year. They will continue to have senior QB Jake Browning under center, which is a definite bonus, but it will once again be the defense that is the star of the show. They gave up a touch over 16 PPG last season, which is a staggeringly good number. Their main issue is going to be a lack of big play guys at the receiver position, but if the defense holds up, this team will be very dangerous indeed.

    Stanford Cardinal

    Stanford are the defending champions in the North Division and are likely to be challenging for the top spot once again. The biggest concern that the Cardinal have coming into this season is their defense. In 2017, they were very susceptible to the run game, and with their best defensive players all leaving for the NFL, those gaps might just get a little bigger. On offense, the outlook is much better, with Heisman nominated RB Bryce Love returning to the fold.

    Oregon Ducks

    The Oregon Ducks got a little better in 2017 but will have a whole new coaching staff in place this year. The schedule looks favorable for the Ducks, with their biggest games of the season all set to be played at home, but with that said, I’m not so sure that this group will be able to transition quickly enough to challenge for the division. Second spot is probably the best they can hope for.

    Pac-12 South Division Preview

    USC Trojans


    It should be noted that the 3 teams listed in the South are in no particular order, as this division could go either way. The biggest issue for USC is going to be replacing Sam Darnold at QB, but the good news there is that they have a good enough offensive line to protect whomever is under center. They also have a very good running game and a defense returning 6 starters. Get the QB problem solved and the South could belong to the Trojans.

    Utah Utes

    Of the 3 teams listed in the South, it is the Utes who have the toughest path to a division’s crown. Their schedule is brutal, but the bonus here is that they could well be a lock for a playoff spot if they somehow get through it and emerge as PAC 12 champions. It will once again be the defense that will carry this team on its shoulders.

    Arizona Wildcats

    If I had to really go out and pick one of these 3 teams to win the South, my money would be on the Wildcats. Arizona have always had some problems on the defensive side of the football, but with 9 starters returning to the fold, they should take a step forward this season. One thing they will not have to worry about is scoring points, as I think Khalil Mack at QB could end up being the star of the conference.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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