Getty Images

Mayors show their school ‘spirits’ with wager ahead of Clemson-Louisville showdown

Leave a comment

A paucity of marquee Week 3 games leaves us with just two matchups of ranked teams this weekend — No. 23 Tennessee at No. 24 Florida and No. 3 Clemson at No. 14 Louisville.

Obviously, the latter is the crème de la crème of this week’s wafer-thin slate — not to be mistaken for next week’s Big Apple-thin slate — with ESPN‘s College GameDay traveling circus setting up its tents on the U of L campus. Not only does this game, the ACC opener for the Atlantic Division rivals, feature the defending College Football Playoff champions, it also puts the defending Heisman Trophy winner in Lamar Jackson, surging in the minds of the wagering establishment as a back-to-back favorite, back on the primetime national stage.

With so much at stake in this early-season matchup, the mayors of both cities, Greg Fischer of Louisville and J.C. Cook III of Clemson, have once again decided to put their money where their mouths are. Or, more specifically, their liquor where their livers are.

From TigerNet.com:

Mayor Fischer is putting up a collection of small bottles from Louisville distilleries — Angel’s Envy, Old Forester, Evan Williams, Mitchter’s, Kentucky Peerless, Bulleit Bourbon, Rabbit Hole and Jim Beam — while Clemson’s wager is a bottle of Six & Twenty, from a South Carolina artisan distillery owned by Clemson graduates and former rugby teammates David (DR) Raad and Robert “Farmer” Redmond. Farmer comes from a legendary Carolina distilling pedigree in that his great-great uncle was the infamous moonshiner, Major Lewis Redmond.

“As mayor of Clemson, I am proud to say both our football team and our South Carolina bourbon will bring their A-game to the table,” Cook III was quoted as saying in a press release.

“I look forward to trying a sip of my Six & Twenty after the Cards win, although I still have my doubts about any bourbon that’s not made in Kentucky,” Fischer said in his provided quotes. “I may just save it to celebrate when our quarterback, Lamar Jackson, wins his second Heisman.”

Prior to last year’s game, Fischer put up a bottle of bourbon while Cook III countered with a wheel of Clemson blue cheese in their initial wager. In the end, it was the latter who enjoyed the spoils of victory as the Tigers escaped with a 42-36 home win en route to their first national title in over three decades.

Just one thing to keep in mind: while Clemson has beaten Louisville each of the past three seasons, they’ve only done so by a combined 15 points — and Deshaun Watson, quarterback for all three of those wins, is now in the NFL.  So there’s that.

Lamar Jackson leapfrogged by Baker Mayfield as Bovada’s Heisman favorite

Getty Images
1 Comment

So much for that wagering momentum, I guess.

Entering the 2017 season as not only the reigning winner but also as seemingly an afterthought, a pair of scintillating performances to open the year pushed Lamar Jackson to the head of Bovada.lv‘s Heisman Trophy pack.  Coming off a 26-point Week 3 loss to now-No. 2 Clemson in which he totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the Louisville quarterback has seen his odds lengthen a bit from 7/4 a week ago to 11/2 in Bovada‘s latest Heisman release.

Bovada’s new betting front-runner?  Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from 4/1 to 7/4.  Sam Darnold, 6/1, also saw his odds shorten slightly to a Jackson-match 11/2.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, 10/1 in the previous odds release, is now at 9/1, same as the holding-steady-from-a-week-ago Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

There’s also, interestingly, one true freshman on the board: J.K. Dobbins.  The Ohio State running back went from off the board to 40/1 odds.  His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, saw his odds go from 25/1 to 33/1.

Below is the latest set of 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Illinois adds UCF grad transfer QB Pete DiNovo

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Illinois has an immediate addition to its quarterback room.  Or its wide receivers room, depending on how things play out.

Pete DiNovo confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Illini.  The acknowledgment comes a month after DiNovo decided to transfer from Central Florida.

As a graduate transfer, DiNovo would be eligible to play immediately this season.  Per the player, a former high school teammate and former high school coach currently at Illinois played a role in his decision.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out,” DiNovo told the Times. “I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff.”

DiNovo began his Knights career as a quarterback — he replaced Blake Bortles as UCF’s starter before being quickly replaced himself — before being moved to wide receiver before being moved back under center this offseason.  How the Illini will use DiNovo, who has an eye on a career in coaching after his playing days are over, remains to be seen.

UTEP stays in-house to replace fired OC Brent Pease

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Not surprisingly, UTEP will stay in-house following its in-season dismissal of one of its coordinators.

The Miners confirmed Sunday that offensive coordinator Brent Pease had been fired.  A day later, the football program announced that Brian Natkin has been given the keys to the offense by Sean Kugler and will call the plays moving forward.

Natkin began the season as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  He was an All-American tight end at UTEP a decade-and-a-half ago and became a full-time assistant at his alma mater in 2011.

Through three games, UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners are also 125th (out of 130 teams) in scoring at 13 points per game.

The promotion of Natkin also means there will be some additional adjustments to Kugler’s staff.  Wide receivers coach Chuck Veliz will take over Pease’s other role as quarterbacks coach, while safeties coach Don Yanowsky assume Natkin’s duties as special teams coordinator.

Natkin will continue in his role as tight ends coach.

Oregon State QB Jake Luton discharged from hospital after leaving Wazzu game on a stretcher

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton was taken away on a stretcher after a tackle left him motionless on the Reser Stadium turf on Saturday.

Family members were called to the field, where medical professionals stabilized an apparently unconscious Luton and removed his face mask. The game continued, of course, as Oregon State lost to Washington State 52-23 despite Luton’s 179 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.

Luton tweeted on Saturday night that he’ll “be back.”

Luton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to The Oregonian, though his father posted a message stating Luton was probably dealing with a “thoracic spine fracture.”

Oregon State is off Saturday before hosting Washington on Sept. 30.