Ohio State shows holes but powers past Navy

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It took some time for things to come together, but Urban Meyer finally saw his No. 5 Ohio State (1-0) team let their size and strength advantage paved the way to a season opening win in Baltimore against Navy (0-1). Playing without Braxton Miller at quarterback, the Buckeyes offense lacked much to give Navy trouble for most of the afternoon, but eventually the Buckeyes found a way to wear down the Navy defense and take advantage of some holes down the stretch of a 34-17 victory.

The second half started in wild fashion. Ohio State’s Darren Lee picked up and returned a fumble for a 61-yard touchdown early in the third quarter, but Navy stormed right down field with a quick four-play touchdown drive over 84 yards to regain the lead. Barrett unloaded a deep pass to Devin Street later in the third quarter for an 80-yard touchdown following a touchback on a punt. Ohio State went on to pull away in the second half by outscoring Navy 28-10 in the second half.

J.T. Barrett completed 12 of 15 pass attempts for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns with one interception. Barrett also led the Ohio State running game with 50 rushing yards. In the end, the formula was a familiar one for Ohio State without Miller, although at times the absence of Miller was unmistakable.

Going into the season the biggest questions for Ohio State were probably focused on the state of the running game and the stability of the offensive line. One game in, those concerns will still need to be addressed in Columbus. In this game, Navy managed to show why those concerns were legitimate, and the Midshipmen even showed an ability to wear down Ohio State’s defense at times. The Buckeyes had the talent to avoid letting it hurt them in the win column this weekend, but Meyer and his staff know what needs to improve moving forward.

Navy’s quarterback, Keenan Reynolds, ran the football 23 times for 42 yards and a touchdown before being removed from the game late in the fourth quarter. Ryan Williams-Jenkins was Navy’s leading rusher on the afternoon with 118 yards. Navy left points on the scoreboard though, but missed opportunities may not have led to a different outcome. The Buckeyes remain undefeated in the regular season since Meyer was named the head coach. Ohio State’s two losses last season both came in postseason play.

Ohio State will return home to Columbus next weekend, and it should make for another good defensive battle. Virginia Tech will be the opponent, and the Hokies could bring one of the better defenses in the ACC to town with them. Virginia Tech’s defense should be bigger and stronger than Navy’s, so Ohio State will have to really work on getting more out of the offense.

Navy will head to Philadelphia next week for a game against Temple. The Owls are coming off a season-opening victory at Vanderbilt. Navy will not play a true home game in Annapolis until September 20 when they host another Big Ten opponent, Rutgers.

Alabama is now even money to win the national championship, per Bovada

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As college football comes down the finish line of the regular season, the Alabama Crimson Tide remain the clear favorite to win it all this season. The updated championship odds from Bovada list Alabama at even money to win the College Football Playoff national championship.

Alabama may still be the favorite, but Oklahoma’s odds continue to look enticing. With the Heisman Trophy frontrunner in Baker Mayfield, the Sooners are on track for a possible Big 12 championship that would send them surging into the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma currently has the second-best odds on the board, followed by Ohio State. The Buckeyes, with two losses, are being given significantly better odds of winning it all than the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers, who Ohio State will face in the Big Ten championship game next week. The bettors simply do not buy in on the Badgers.

Wisconsin has worst odds on the board than the ACC Championship Game participants, Clemson and Miami, and Alabama’s opponent this week, Auburn, and the SEC East champion Georgia Bulldogs. All of those teams have identical +900 odds this week.

Still think UCF can run the table? If they do, you’ll be in for a pretty grand payday with +50,000 odds of winning it all.

Here are the latest championship odds from Bovada as of today:

  • Alabama – EVEN
  • Oklahoma +475
  • Ohio State +700
  • Clemson +900
  • Miami +900
  • Auburn +900
  • Georgia +900
  • Wisconsin +1200
  • USC +7500
  • TCU +10000
  • Notre Dame +15000
  • UCF +50000

Report: Deontay Anderson seeks transfer from Ole Miss after claims of being misled in recruiting

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With Ole Miss under investigation for NCAA violations and head coach Hugh Freeze getting canned prior to the start of the season, the fallout is continuing as the program tries to regain its footing. A report from Dan Wolken of USA Today says Ole Miss safety Deontay Anderson has filed his paperwork to request a full release from his scholarship as he begins the process of seeking a transfer. Per the report, Anderson claims Ole Miss misled him in the recruiting process about the school’s investigation status.

Anderson is hoping to be eligible to play at any other FBS program in 2018, even if that new school happens to be within the SEC. Given the situation at Ole Miss, it would be reasonable to expect he may have a chance for a free transfer rather than having to sit out a full season before being eligible again, and it would be unwise from a public relations standpoint for Ole Miss to issue any blockades to potential landing spots within the SEC. Anderson sat out the 2017 season as a redshirt player, which would make that request more likely to be granted as far as his eligibility in 2018 is concerned.

Ole Miss is voluntarily sitting out of the 2017 postseason even if the Rebels pick up their sixth win this Thursday night in the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State. Voluntarily sitting out of the postseason is a decision made in hopes of receiving a lighter punishment from the NCAA should the organization weigh down heavy sanctions on the program.

Anderson’s story likely is not unique at Ole Miss, but it is unknown if any other players will pursue a similar path out of Ole Miss. The NCAA ruling on Ole Miss could influence those decisions by more players, but until it does, it will be a total guessing game as to what the future has in store for the Rebels and their players.

Texas officials “will frown” on possible bowl game with Texas A&M

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It’s rivalry week in college football, which means we once again must address the lost series between the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies. When Texas A&M moved from the Big 12 to the SEC, a rivalry on the field was killed off, but the rivalry still lives on between power players on both sides and the topic of conversation has never died down between the two programs and their fans. And as much as people on both sides will sometimes argue they don’t need the other, we all know it would be great to see the Longhorns and Aggies take the field once again.

With the season winding down and Texas and Texas A&M each heading to not-so-glamorous bowl destinations, the possibility of a Texas Bowl for the ages has been popping up to some degree. A Texas Bowl featuring Texas and Texas A&M would make for the best Texas Bowl in the history of the bowl game, but one Texas beta reporter suggests that would not be a welcomed bowl pairing for some Texas officials.

Big surprise.

Texas officials have always seemed wary of reviving the series with Texas A&M, which makes sense from the Texas point of view. To Longhorn officials, a rivalry with Texas A&M does more to help those in College Station than it does in Austin. There is some elitism in that line of thinking, but there is also some truth to that as well. But that is the risk of an in-state rivalry for any program in the country.

As a fan from a neutral point of view, I can say the day Texas and Texas A&M work out an arrangement to play football against each other again will be a proud day for the sport of college football. It would be a shame to see it have to happen through a bowl game on a neutral field, but if that’s what it takes to make it happen, so be it. Other than the Cotton Bowl, which is not an option this year, the Texas Bowl in Houston would be a pretty good spot to make it happen.

Purdue vs. Indiana means Big Ten guaranteed to have eight bowl teams

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At the conclusion of Saturday’s schedule, the Big Ten had seven teams that had already clinched their bowl eligibility for the 2017 season. Though no new bowl tickets were punched on Saturday, Purdue’s upset win at Iowa and Indiana’s home rout of Rutgers assured the Big Ten of getting to eight bowl-eligible teams this season.

Purdue will host Indiana this week in one of the more important games in the rivalry in recent years as the winner will become bowl-eligible this season. That would be great news for the Big Ten, a sit would essentially guarantee the conference will manage to fill all of their partnered bowl spots for this season, although that could come up just short if one of the conference’s teams reaches the College Football Playoff. With Wisconsin still undefeated and Ohio State being discussed as a possible long shot to reach the playoff, this remains a realistic scenario. In addition to the Badgers and Buckeyes, the Big Ten also has bowl-eligible teams in Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern, and Iowa.

Here’s a look at the Big Ten’s bowl partners for the 2017 season, not including the Rose Bowl as it is being used as a College Football Playoff semifinal this year;

  • Orange Bowl: The highest-ranked team available from the Big Ten, SEC, or Notre Dame will play a team from the ACC. Wisconsin or Penn State would appear to be in line for a possible invite.
  • Outback Bowl: Vs. SEC
  • Holiday Bowl: Vs. Pac-12
  • TaxSlayer Bowl or Music City Bowl: The ACC and Big Ten split these bowl games, with each taking on a team from the SEC
  • Pinstripe Bowl: Vs. ACC
  • Foster Farms Bowl: Vs. Pac-12
  • Quick Lane Bowl: Vs. ACC
  • Heart of Dallas Bowl: Vs. Big 12

Because the Purdue vs. Indiana game must produce a six-win team, the Big Ten looks to be in great shape to fill out its bowl lineup. The only setback would be not being able to send any additional teams to other bowl games to fill in a spot where needed, unless five-win teams end up coming into play.

Minnesota is the only other five-win team on the Big Ten map right now with a chance to break through to a bowl game, but that may require beating Wisconsin for the first time since 2003 this week in order to hit the six-win requirement. Minnesota has reached a bowl game with five wins before, and it could still be in play under that scenario.