Oddsmakers still high on USC’s 2012 title hopes

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Thanks to a 10-win 2011 season that included a road win against then-No. 4 Oregon as well as a plethora of returning talent, USC has been viewed by most observers — including one you may recognize — as a serious contender for the 2012 BcS title.

Less than three months ahead of the start of the new season, degenerates those who make their living wagering on sports are in full agreement with that offseason assessment of the Trojans.

In the latest odds released by Bovada.com, the betting website has the Trojans as the 3/1 favorite to hoist the crystal football at season’s end.  USC is coming off a two-year bowl ban as part of its NCAA sanctions and will be eligible for the postseason — including the second Pac-12 title game — for the first time since after the 2009 season.

Next up after the Trojans in the eyes of bettors are the two participants in last year’s title game at 11/2, defending BcS champion Alabama and LSU.

Oklahoma (10/1); Florida State and Oregon (12/1); Georgia (14/1); Arkansas and Michigan (20/1); and — brace yourselves — Notre Dame and Texas (28/1) round out Bovada’s “Top Ten” (and ties).

As far as conference odds go, Florida State (1/1) is favored over Virginia Tech (3/1) to win the ACC; Oklahoma (1/1) over Texas (4/1) in the Big 12; Michigan (2/1) over Wisconsin (5/2) in the Big Ten; USC (5/8) over Oregon (2/1) in the Pac-12; and Alabama and LSU are co-favorites at 11/5 to claim the SEC crown.

After the jump, you can peruse the entire list of preseason odds for both the BcS title as well as the conference favorites, again courtesy of Bovada.

Odds to win the 2012-2013 BCS National Championship
USC 3/1
Alabama 11/2
LSU 11/2
Oklahoma 10/1
Florida State 12/1
Oregon 12/1
Georgia 14/1
Arkansas 20/1
Michigan 20/1
Notre Dame 28/1
Texas 28/1
Virginia Tech 30/1
West Virginia 30/1
South Carolina 30/1
Clemson 33/1
Nebraska 40/1
Wisconsin 40/1
Florida 50/1
TCU 50/1
Auburn 60/1
Michigan State 60/1
Boise State 65/1
Kansas State 75/1
Miami (Florida) 75/1
Oklahoma State 80/1
Mississippi State 100/1
Missouri 100/1
Texas A&M 100/1
Tennessee 125/1
Cincinnati 150/1
Iowa 150/1
Louisville 150/1
Penn State 150/1
Arizona 200/1
Boston College 200/1
BYU 200/1
California 200/1
Georgia Tech 200/1
Pittsburgh 200/1
Stanford 200/1
UCLA 200/1
Washington 200/1
NC State 250/1
South Florida 250/1
UCLA 250/1
Oregon State 300/1

CONFERENCE ODDS

ACC – Odds to Win
Florida State 1/1
Virginia Tech 3/1
Clemson 5/1
Miami (Florida) 9/1
Georgia Tech 15/1
North Carolina 15/1
Virginia 18/1
NC State 20/1
Wake Forest 35/1
Boston College 50/1
Duke 100/1
Maryland 100/1

ACC Atlantic Division – Odds to Win
Florida State 1/2
Clemson 11/4
NC State 9/1
Wake Forest 16/1
Boston College 22/1
Maryland 30/1

ACC Coastal Division – Odds to Win
Virginia Tech 10/11
Miami (Florida) 9/2
North Carolina 11/2
Georgia Tech 6/1
Virginia 13/2
Duke 30/1

BIG 12 – Odds to Win
Oklahoma 1/1
Texas 4/1
TCU 11/2
West Virginia 11/2
Kansas State 12/1
Oklahoma State 22/1
Texas Tech 30/1
Baylor 40/1
Iowa State 65/1
Kansas 100/1

Big East – Odds to Win
Louisville 9/4
South Florida 7/2
Cincinnati 5/2
Pittsburgh 13/2
Rutgers 13/2
Syracuse 20/1
Temple 20/1
Connecticut 25/1

Big Ten – Odds to Win
Michigan 2/1
Wisconsin 5/2
Nebraska 7/2
Michigan State 15/2
Penn State 12/1
Illinois 20/1
Iowa 20/1
Northwestern 35/1
Purdue 50/1
Indiana 65/1
Minnesota 100/1

Big Ten – Leaders Division Winner (Without Ohio State)
Wisconsin 1/2
Penn State 3/1
Illinois 15/2
Purdue 10/1
Indiana 15/1

Big Ten – Legends Division Winner
Michigan 11/10
Nebraska 9/4
Michigan State 4/1
Iowa 8/1
Northwestern 12/1
Minnesota 40/1

PAC 12 – Odds to Win
USC 5/8
Oregon 2/1
Washington 12/1
California 18/1
Stanford 25/1
Arizona 35/1
Utah 35/1
UCLA 40/1
Arizona State 50/1
Washington State 50/1
Oregon State 60/1
Colorado 100/1

PAC 12 – North Division Winner
Oregon 2/5
Washington 5/1
California 17/2
Stanford 10/1
Washington State 15/1
Oregon State 22/1

PAC 12 – South Division Winner
USC 1/6
Arizona 10/1
Utah 10/1
UCLA 15/1
Arizona State 18/1
Colorado 30/1

SEC – Odds to Win
Alabama 11/5
LSU 11/5
Georgia 11/2
Arkansas 7/1
South Carolina 10/1
Florida 12/1
Auburn 22/1
Mississippi State 30/1
Missouri 35/1
Tennessee 35/1
Texas A&M 40/1
Vanderbilt 60/1
Kentucky 100/1
Mississippi 100/1

SEC – East Division Winner
Georgia 17/10
South Carolina 5/2
Florida 3/1
Missouri 11/1
Tennessee 11/1
Vanderbilt 16/1
Kentucky 25/1

SEC – West Division Winner
Alabama 8/5
LSU 8/5
Arkansas 4/1
Auburn 12/1
Mississippi State 15/1
Texas A&M 20/1
Mississippi 50/1

Colorado AD says Denver won’t be option for future CU-CSU games after 2020

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Colorado and Colorado State are scheduled to wrap up their current scheduling agreement in 2020, and the future of the in-state rivalry remains in question beyond that. Both schools are in talks to continue the series beyond 2020 once scheduling vacancies are available, but there is no target date currently in sight. What is known, however, is any such scheduling arrangement will not include games being played in Denver if Colorado’s athletics director has his say.

We won’t have any future games in Denver with CSU in any kind of new relationship,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a story published by The Daily Camera.  George did state he and his counterpart at Colorado State, Joe Parker, share an interest in keeping the series going on in the years beyond the current deal in place.

As it stands right now, Colorado State will host the final game in the current arrangement in 2020. No games will be possible in 2021 and 2022 because Colorado’s non-conference schedule is currently booked. The Buffs will face UMass, Texas A&M, and Minnesota in 2021 and TCU, Air Force, and Minnesota in 2022. Colorado currently has scheduling vacancies in 2023 and beyond, making 2023 the earliest possible year the series could be rekindled. The concern, at least for Colorado, will be overexerting the strength of schedule with games against TCU and Nebraska already lined up in 2023.

“With this College Football Playoff game now, there’s a lot of discussion on strength of schedules,” George said. “We certainly don’t want to over-schedule ourselves, but at the same time, we want to be in a position as we continue to compete on a yearly basis for championships, we want to be in the conversation. We don’t want the schedule to be a deterrent to us longer term.”

Geroge has previously expressed his interest in continuing the series if it could be agreed to play the games on campus sites instead of neutral fields. George has said it is not in Colorado’s best interest to continue the series. His latest statements about the strength of schedule keep in line with that logic. Having a potentially very good Group of Five program on top of previously announced games against power conference opponents in addition to a nine-game Pac-12 schedule becomes quite challenging. Having a less threatening opponent from the FCS provides a better chance to keep making money on a home game and increasing the chances for a win to rely on.

Colorado and Colorado State have faced off 88 times since 1893, with the Buffs holding a 64-22-2 edge in the all-time series. Colorado won last year’s meeting in Denver by a score of 44-7 for its most lopsided victory in the series since a 47-7 victory in Boulder in 1956. Colorado and Colorado State have played annually since 1995.

Mark Richt tweets his best wishes to Georgia

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A new college football season is just about here (there will be actual college football played this week), and Miami head coach Mark Richt has plenty to look forward to with the Hurricanes. A show at coaching Miami to its first appearance in the ACC Championship Game is right in front of him, but Richt spent a quick moment on Twitter to extended his best wishes to his former program; the Georgia Bulldogs.

Richt recruited the majority of the players currently on Georgia’s roster, and by all accounts, Richt had as healthy a relationship with Georgia’s players than any coach could hope to have. With that in mind, there is no shock in seeing a coach of one program offer this kind of warm and fuzzy feeling to his former program. This is also not the first time Richt has wished Georgia well under new head coach Kirby Smart. In May 2016, Richt was praised for his classiness toward Smart and Georgia for the upcoming season just months after being fired.

Georgia parted ways with Richt following the 2015 season despite a long and successful tenure as head coach (although without as many SEC titles as some would have liked, and a lack of national title appearances during a run that saw the SEC dominate the BCS era). Richt was quickly hired by Miami, and this season Richt is expected to help lead the Hurricanes forward another step toward national prominence.

If there is a college football god watching from the skies above, then we will be blessed with a bowl matchup between Miami and Georgia. Richt said in December 2015 that he believes the two programs are on a collision course for a national championship.

There is a solar eclipse tomorrow, but Nick Saban has work to do

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Stores may be sold out of special solar eclipse glasses for what some are dubbing the Great American Eclipse on Monday, but Alabama head coach Nick Saban may be more likely to be found in his office preparing for a mega matchup to open the season next week.

Besides, Saban has seen how an eclipse works already because he is a devoted fan of The Weather Channel.

“I watch the Weather Channel every day,” Saban said Saturday, according to AL.com. “They’re already saying what it’s going to look like in every city in America. So, what’s going to be significant? Watch the Weather Channel and you’ll see what it’s going to be like in Portland, Oregon.”

That Saban sure is a curmudgeon, isn’t he? But that’s part of the legacy of Saban. Unless the eclipse can help Alabama win a game against Florida State in Atlanta next week, Saban has little time to worry about such nonsense. Otherwise, it is business as usual for Saban and Alabama. However, Saban will allow his players to take advantage of what is, for some, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“We’ll set it up so if the players want to go out there and get some sunglasses, I guess they can,” Saban said.

The eclipse is having a slight impact on some football practices around the country, including in the NFL. The Tennessee Titans, for example, have modified their practice schedule for Monday due to the eclipse and will organize a team party around the event.

“I thought what a cool thing to do, but then I thought I’d like them to finish practice and give them time to put the glasses on and really enjoy the experience,” Titans head coach Mike Mularkey said (per ESPN.com). “I wanted to be on the field when it happened, as a team, I thought it’d be a neat memory for these guys.”

Clearly, Mularkey is not watching the Weather Channel on a daily basis.

Kansas surprised four walk-ons with scholarships at Royals-Indians game

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There has been no shortage of videos and stories about walk-ons at various college football programs receiving scholarships by surprise. It is an annual tradition around college football during the offseason, and the fun and pure joy of the moment never gets old.

The Kansas Jayhawks took the game to a whole new level, and a whole new playing field this weekend.

Kansas took its football team out on Friday night to enjoy a Major League Baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians. During the course of the game, four walk-on players — defensive end Mazin Aqi, offensive lineman Beau Lawrence, punter Cole Moos, and running back Reese Randall — were shown sitting next to each other on the video screen in Kauffman Stadium. As they were shown on the screen, a message popped up congratulating them on being awarded a scholarship.

Video of the players soaking in the moment and realizing they had just had their lives changed was captured by the Royals.

It sure beats the heck out of a stadium proposal.