Nick Saban

‘Bama bigger post-spring betting favorite


Coming off its second consecutive BCS championship and third in four years, Alabama was installed as a way-too-early favorite to add another notch to its BCS belt.

Coming out of the spring, the gambling types are as high or higher on the Crimson Tide.

In the post-spring odds released by, Alabama is a heavy 3/1 favorite to claim the 2013 (and last) BCS title.  In mid-January, the Tide was a 5/1 favorite.

Ohio State (13/2) leapfrogged Oregon (7/1) from where the two programs were two months ago, which was 17/2 and 8/1, respectively.

A pair of SEC schools, not surprisingly, took the biggest jump up in odds, while another two from the same conference dropped.  Texas A&M (12/1) jumped to 8/1, while Georgia (28/1) moved to 16/1.  LSU went from 12/1, right behind Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon, to 18/1, while Florida went from 14/1 to 20/1.

Stanford, apparently, had one helluva spring as the Cardinal moved from the middle of the pack at 30/1 all the way to 16/1.

Those that didn’t have great springs? Oklahoma (25/1 then, 50/1 now), Nebraska (28/1, 50/1) and Florida State.

Below are the latest odds for the 2013 BCS title, again courtesy of

Alabama 3/1
Ohio State 13/2
Oregon 7/1
Texas A&M 8/1
Georgia 16/1
Stanford 16/1
LSU 18/1
Florida 20/1
Louisville 22/1
Clemson 25/1
Florida State 28/1
Miami 28/1
Notre Dame 28/1
South Carolina 28/1
Michigan 33/1
Oklahoma State 33/1
Texas 33/1
Nebraska 50/1
Oklahoma 50/1
UCLA 50/1
USC 50/1
TCU 66/1
Wisconsin 66/1
Boise State 100/1
Michigan State 100/1
Oregon State 100/1
Mississippi 125/1
North Carolina 150/1
Northwestern 150/1
Virginia Tech 150/1
Washington 150/1
Auburn 200/1
BYU 200/1
California 200/1
Cincinnati 200/1
Georgia Tech 200/1
Kansas State 200/1
Mississippi State 200/1
Pittsburgh 200/1
Rutgers 200/1
Arizona 250/1
Arkansas 250/1
Iowa 250/1
Tennessee 250/1
Missouri 300/1
West Virginia 300/1
Boston College 500/1
South Florida 500/1

USC’s Max Tuerk already questionable for Notre Dame game

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 11:  Center Max Tuerk #75 of the USC Trojans prepares to snap the football during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona.  The Trojans defeatred the Wildcats 28-26.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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As if the questions about the head coach’s future aren’t enough, now USC could have a rather significant issue in the middle of its offensive line to deal with as well.

Early in the first quarter of what would turn out to be an embarrassing loss to Washington Thursday night, Max Tuerk sustained a sprained knee. Upon further examination, it was determined that the veteran center would be unable to return to the game.

Not only that, Tuerk, who was wearing a brace on his right knee following the loss, is already labeled as questionable for what it in every sense of the phrase a must-win game for Steve Sarkisian against Notre Dame eight days from now.

With Tuerk sidelined for the remainder of the game, he was replaced by Toa Lobendahn. It’s unclear which direction the Trojans would go if Tuerk is a no-go this weekend, although Khaliel Rodgers, who had been dealing with a personal issue, has been Tuerk’s backup.

Tuerk has started 38 games in his Trojan career — 18 at center, 14 at left guard, five at left tackle, one at right tackle. Lobendahn started all 13 games as a true freshman last season, the first eight at left guard and then five at right tackle.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.