Tayson Hill, Kyler Fackrell

Four safe college football win total picks for 2014


As we inch closer and closer to the start of a new college football season, we et little morsels of gambling goodness dropped in front of us like a bread crumb trail leading us to the first kickoffs of the new year. Award watch lists are one thing, but gambling numbers are something else. Just the other day we got to look over a number of win totals to review.

5Dimes set the over/under numbers for a good number of schools this fall, and Kegs ‘n Eggs shared them with the public. You can review the full list available to see if your school is listed (Florida State is not, for example), but here are five you can probably feel pretty good about, keeping in mind these numbers are strictly based on the regular season.

BYU: 8.5 (Over -160, Under +120)

BYU has won eight game sin each of the past two seasons, but this 2014 season looks to be a tad more difficult than you might think. To beat the over, BYU is going to probably need to get off to a good start. That would mean winning games at Texas and at home against a talented Houston team. BYU also plays Utah State, at Boise State and at UCF. Can BYU win nine games? Yes, probably, but if you have to go one way on this the under seems like a safer bet.

Maryland: 7.5 (Over +100, Under -140)

Maryland joins the Big Ten this season and will be placed in the same division as Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State. The Terps may have the most talented group of wide receivers in the conference, but getting to eight wins looks to be a tall order in 2014. Maryland has non-conference games against West Virginia and Syracuse as well, and neither of those games should be considered automatic wins by any stretch of the imagination. The Under seems safe, as the numbers surely indicate.

Miami: 7.5 (Over -160, Under +120)

Miami won nine games last season but the Hurricanes could have some quarterback issues facing them in 2014. Miami gets road games at Louisville and Nebraska in September, not to mention division games with Duke and Georgia Tech. Cincinnati could also be a challenge in non-conference play and the Hurricnaes have a rough stretch in the second half of the season including a Thursday night game at Virginia Tech and home games against UNC, Florida State and Pittsburgh. There may only be three sure wins on this schedule, and just getting to eight is going to be a battle. That over seems risky, and I am as big an Al Golden fan you may find.

Nebraska: 7.5 (Over -130, Under -110)

Nebraksa could very well be entering October with five wins with games against Northwestern, Rutgers, Purdue and Minnesota all still to be played. Personally, this over seems almost too easy to hit, but this is Nebraska we are talking about. Even if the Huskers take a loss in September, or two, getting to eight wins should be realistic given the track record (at least eight regular season wins each season since 2008).

Helmet sticker to Kegs ‘n Eggs.

SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 all have 5 teams in coaches top 25 poll

Johnny Jefferson, Micah Awe
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With multiple teams in the coach spill top 10 losing this week, there was bound to be some shaking up the rankings this week. The coaches poll still has Ohio State on top, followed by TCU, Michigan State and Baylor. Florida had the biggest jump in the rankings while Georgia had the biggest drop The coaches poll also welcomes some new additions this week.

The Florida Gators, fresh off a stomping of previous No. 3 Ole Miss (down to No. 13) moved up 11 spots in this week’s coaches poll. Florida is one of five SEC teams in this week’s coaches poll. The Big Ten has five as well. So does the Pac-12.

No. 23 Iowa, No. 24 Boise State and No. 25 Memphis make their debuts in the coaches poll this week, giving us our first glimpse on the national perception in the Group of Five race. I may have Boise State down a few pegs, but the coaches, or those who actually submit the votes, have the Broncos on top of the Group of Five pack. Memphis is right there as well, but not Toledo.

Here is this week’s coaches poll:

  1. Ohio State ( first place votes)
  2. TCU
  3. Michigan State
  4. Baylor
  5. LSU
  6. Clemson
  7. Utah
  8. Florida State
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Alabama
  11. Texas A&M
  12. Florida
  13. Ole Miss
  14. Northwestern
  15. Notre Dame
  16. Georgia
  17. USC
  18. Stanford
  19. Oklahoma State
  20. UCLA
  21. Michigan
  22. California
  23. Iowa
  24. Boise State
  25. Memphis

Brian Kelly defends decisions on two-point conversion attempts

Brian Kelly

Notre Dame fell two points shy of tying a road game at Clemson Saturday night, partly because the decision to go for two-point conversion on one early fourth-quarter touchdown backfired on the Irish. Down 12 points early in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly chose to go for two-points to cut the Clemson lead to 10 points, meaning Notre Dame would need a touchdown, extra point and a field goal to tie. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Irish trailed by 12, 21-9.

Had the Irish gone for the easier and more likely extra point, Notre Dame would have been down 11 points. That is still a bit of an uphill battle that would require a two-point conversion later on anyway, but it also meant Notre Dame had to score two touchdowns instead of a touchdown and a field goal for a shot at tying the game. Making things worse, Notre Dame burned a timeout after the touchdown before deciding which two-point conversion play to run.

Notre Dame’s execution of a late two-point conversion with the game on the line with under 10 seconds to play also came into question as the Irish looked to give freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer the call on a run-pass option. This was stuffed by Clemson as Kizer held on to the football. Kelly, after the game, defended his quarterback’s decision to try and run for the two points.

“We had fair numbers,” Kelly said. “He’s reading it at the line of scrimmage, if the numbers were fair, they were in zone coverage. It was the right call. He made the right call.”

Sometimes a player can make the right decision and still come up short. Perhaps that is exactly what happened in the rain at Clemson Saturday night. Kizer made the best possible decision in the heat of the moment, but Clemson came out on top with solid work up front on the line of scrimmage. Of course, as it turned out late in the game, Notre Dame would have only needed an extra point to tie Clemson in the final seconds after the Tigers tacked on a field goal to set up a seven-point deficit with an Irish extra point earlier. The Irish were forced to go for two because they chased the points earlier in the quarter. Hindsight might be 20/20, but Kelly is not looking back on that decision.

Kelly is hardly the only coach to make some questionable decisions under pressure this season, or this weekend. He is, however, another example of a coach being paid millions to put his program in the best position making some questionable calls that have come back to bite him. Maybe Notre Dame would have won in overtime. The Irish certainly had the momentum in their hands. Or maybe Clemson wins anyway. Who knows?