James Madison v West Virginia

Geno Smith is Bovada’s new Heisman favorite


Not only did USC’s loss to Stanford take the shine off the Trojans in the eyes of the oddsmakers as a team, it also had an impact individually for one of the pivotal characters in the defeat.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley, a 3-1 favorite entering the season, now sits at 5/1 in Bovada.com‘s odds to win the 2012 Heisman.  The new favorite?  West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith at 5/2; he was at 8-1 prior to the start of the new season.

Putting Smith up as the favorite makes sense after three weeks as the senior is second in the country in QB rating; third in passing yards per game; first in completion percentage, with the same amount of incompletions as touchdowns (nine); and tied for fourth in scoring passes, all the while not throwing an interception in his 75 attempts thus far.

The player who’s taken the biggest tumble since the final preseason odds were released is Montee Ball.  The Wisconsin running back entered 2012 as with 6/1 odds to win the Heisman, second behind Barkley.  After rushing for just 320 yards and two touchdowns — and averaging just 3.8 yards per carry — Ball has seen those odds tumble to 30/1.

Below are the complete set of 2012 Heisman odds, courtesy of Bovada.com and with the preseason odds listed in parentheses:

Geno Smith — West Virginia — QB — 5/2 (8/1)
Matt Barkley — USC – QB — 5/1 (3/1)
De’Anthony Thomas — Oregon — RB — 15/2 (20/1)
Landry Jones — Oklahoma — QB — 15/1 (8/1)
Collin Klein — Kansas State — QB — 15/1 (75/1)
Braxton Miller — Ohio State — QB — 15/1 (65/1)
Le’Veon Bell — Michigan State — RB — 15/1 (125/1)
EJ Manuel — Florida State — QB — 18/1 (30/1)
Denard Robinson — Michigan — QB — 20/1 (15/2)
Aaron Murray — Georgia — QB — 20/1 (15/1)
Marcus Lattimore — South Carolina — RB — 20/1 (18/1)
Tajh Boyd — Clemson — QB — 20/1 (45/1)
AJ McCarron — Alabama — QB — 28/1 (22/1)
Montee Ball — Wisconsin — RB — 30/1 (6/1)
Taylor Martinez — Nebraska — QB — 30/1 (80/1)

Unlike Missouri, 5-7 Nebraska will jump at opportunity to go bowling

Cethan Carter
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Nebraska will be first in line to accept a bowl invitation when it arrives in the mail, despite going 5-7 this season. The Huskers, who are first in line among 5-7 candidates based on APR scores, will reportedly accept a bowl invitation to fill the first vacancy left to fill once all bowl-eligible teams are slotted into the postseason mix.

Missouri released a statement earlier today saying it will not accept a bowl invitation following a 5-7 season. The Tigers would have been the second team among 5-7 teams to receive a bowl invitation based on APR scores. According to a report by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, Kansas State would be next in line, followed by Minnesota, San Jose State, Illinois and Rice.

Missouri and Nebraska would appear to have different agendas of course. Nebraska is coming off the first season under new head coach Mike Riley, while Missouri is in the midst of a full coaching search. The decision not to go to a bowl game allows Missouri’s coaching staff in place under the now retired Gary Pinkel to pursue new opportunities without having bowl preparations get in the way.

Maryland sack master Yannick Ngakoue entering NFL Draft

Yannick Ngakoue, Christian Hackenberg
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Maryland will have a new head coach in 2016. Whoever that head coach ends up being will have to find a way to replace one of Maryland’s best players. Defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue says he will skip his final year of eligibility with the Terrapins and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Ngakoue was the second in the Big Ten with 13.0 sacks this season, trailing only Penn State defensive lineman Carl Nassib. Ngakoue’s sack total is a Maryland school record and was one of the few reasons for optimism for Maryland’s dreadful football season, which ended with just three wins.

5-7 Missouri says it will not participate in a bowl game


A 5-7 team is going to go bowling this season, but Missouri will not be one of them. Missouri athletics director Mack Rhoades released a statement Monday evening confirming the Tigers will not accept any bowl invitation.

“Following this weekend’s football games, there have been significant discussions nationally concerning 5-7 teams participating in bowl games,” the statement read. “After careful consideration, we have decided it is not in the best interest of our football program to seek permission from the NCAA to participate in a bowl game. Our focus remains on identifying the right leader for our program and moving forward with the transition process.”

Missouri would have been among the first of the 5-7 schools to receive an invitation to whatever bowl is left needing to fill a bowl spot this season after it became mathematically impossible to fill all available bowl spots with bowl-eligible teams. Based on APR scores, Missouri was expected to be one of the first 5-7 schools to fill an empty spot. Nebraska would be the first school in line base don APR scores, followed by the Tigers. Not anymore.

The decision also means Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel has coached his final game for the Tigers. After announcing his retirement earlier in the month, effective at the end of the season, Pinkel was prepared to coach until the end of the season even if that mean going to a bowl game. As noted in the statement, Missouri is focused on hiring a successor to Pinkel, and that search continues to develop.

Now, what other schools are going to forfeit a bowl trip?

Last call! Orlando bar gave out 15,000 free beers during UCF’s 0-12 season

Chad Banschbach
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It was a long season for fans of the UCF Knights, but at least one bar may have been the biggest loser of all. Orlando bar The Basement committed to giving away free beer during UCF football games after starting the season with four losses. The free beer promotion would continue until the Knights won a game, which of course never happened. USF demolished UCF on Thanksgiving night to bring an end to a dreadful 0-12 season in Orlando. So, what was the final tab?

An estimated total of 15,000 free beers were given away to patrons during UCF games this season, and the promotion is expected to continue into the 2016 season.

“We thought the next two games after we came up with the offer were our most winnable games of the season,” Jake Whitacre, marketing director for The Basement, said in a local TV interview. “Once we lost those two we realized we had really gotten ourselves into a hole.”

Whitacre said the bar still ended up making money thanks to customers buying other beverages in addition to receiving free beer.

If you were curious, UCF opens the 2016 season at Michigan unless they fill a scheduling vacancy on September 3.