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Bovada continues to tap Alabama as 2017 title favorite

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When last we left Bovada.lv‘s odds for the 2017 national champion, 2016 runners-up Alabama sat atop the initial wagering odds.  On the cusp of a new season?  Same old, same old.  Pretty much.

Along with its updated Heisman Trophy odds, Bovada also revealed its updated odds to win the next edition of the College Football Playoff championship, with the Crimson Tide sitting as a comfortable favorite at 12/5.  In January, those odds were a little longer at 4/1.

The next two teams, USC and Ohio State, saw their odds shorten as well, with the former going from 9/1 to 6/1 and the latter from 15/2 to 13/2.  Florida State and Michigan, at 7/1 and 9/1, respectively, seven months ago, have lengthened a bit to 15/2 for the Seminoles and 16/1 for the Wolverines.

Prior to Bob Stoops’ retirement, Oklahoma had been at 9/1; after his abrupt departure, those odds have tumbled to 16/1.

Below are the complete set of updated 2017 national championship odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Rutgers unveils new alternate uniforms for 2017 game at Yankee Stadium

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Look good, feel good, play good.

The oft-used slogan for many football players is something Rutgers hopes carries over to their program in 2017 as the school and apparel partner adidas unveiled the Scarlet Knight’s newest alternate uniforms on Thursday.

The new look for the team comes as part of a new six-year deal Rutgers signed with adidas this offseason that saw them switch over from Nike after several years. All-black alternate uniforms are nothing new for the Scarlet Knights but the latest version comes as part of a new ‘Stadium Lights’ series and will be worn when Rutgers takes on Maryland on Nov. 4th in a rare regular season Big Ten game at Yankee Stadium.

In addition to all the technical wizardry that comes with hot-off-the-press uniforms nowadays, the school had the following to say about the new threads:

“Centered around an all-black theme, the Rutgers moniker is emblazoned upon the chest of the jersey in silver to represent polished armor and to serve as code of arms and focal point for the symbolic design. Next, the scarlet numbers are embossed with a subtle chainmail graphic to replicate the look of a knight’s suit of armor. Additional detailing includes an outline of the state of New Jersey that has been stitched on the back above the name plate to display state pride. To complete the look, a matte black helmet features a silver Scarlet Knight graphic on the sides with the Rutgers wordmark highlighted in scarlet on the back of the helmet.”

The football team may not quite be ready for primetime given the rebuilding job coach Chris Ash must still do with the program on the field but for one game this season at least the Scarlet Knights will be able to lay claim to a victory when it comes to being fashion forward.

Former FSU DB Marcus Lewis lands at Maryland

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Former Florida State defensive back Marcus Lewis is now a Terrapin.

Lewis departed from Tallahassee on July 13 and has now revealed he is headed to Maryland — which, contrary to what some people still think, is no longer in the same conference as Florida State.

Bucking the trend of announcing his transfer on Twitter or Instagram, Lewis stayed within the social media realm by announcing his new destination on Periscope.

“I think it’s the best thing for me and my family,” Lewis said. “I just want to thank everybody who supported me through this whole process, everybody who believed in me and everybody that’s on my side. I’m excited for the future. We’ve got something big in store.”

A 4-star recruit from Washington, D.C., Lewis appeared in four games as a true freshman in 2015 and made one start in eight appearances as a sophomore last season. He collected 21 tackles with two pass breakups, one interception, one fumble recovery and one TFL. Those eight games, however, did not impress Florida State’s coaches: he earned a DNP-CD (that’s NBA-speak for “he was benched”) for the final five games of the ’16 campaign.

Lewis will sit out the 2017 season and have two years of eligibility remaining for D.J. Durkin‘s squad beginning in 2018.

Jim Delany announces Big Ten’s new six-year deal with ESPN and FOX; BTN heading to Hulu and YouTube

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As the Big Ten opened up its media day event in Chicago, commissioner Jim Delany brought with him an announcement regarding the future of the conference’s television package. Delany announced the Big Ten has reached a deal on a restructured television package with broadcast partners ESPN, FOX and CBS Sports (for basketball) and an extended deal with Big Ten Network that runs through 2032. And he had more to share a swell.

The exact terms of this new deal have not been disclosed at this time, but it would stand to reason the Big Ten will continue to turn a nice profit through their deals with both ESPN and FOX (and CBS Sports for basketball).

But Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman had some other news to share as well.

In addition to a new six-year contract with ESPN and FOX for regular season coverage of football (and FOX with the Big Ten Championship Game), Delany also announced the Big Ten Network will be heading to Hulu and YouTube TV, making the network more accessible to those consumers who continue to cut the cord on their TV providers. While there are still plenty of cable subscribers available to reach and the majority of TV viewers are still using cable to watch their TV, the trends are more and more leaning toward the cord-cutting methods.

Big Ten Network will be adding a handful of former Big Ten stars to its football coverage; James Laurinaitis, Braylon Edwards, and Corey Wootton. Big Ten Network, now in its 10th year of operation since launching as the first conference-branded network, will also be creating content for regional sports outlets, like an Ohio State show on SportsTime Ohio. The BTN will also work with ESPN to air a special series following new Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck and BTN’s Big Ten Elite program will chronicle the 2016 Big Ten champions, Penn State.

Big Ten media poll picks Ohio State to win league, Wisconsin to capture West Division

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The Big Ten conference office turns their nose up at doing an official media poll to pick the winner of the league like all of their other peers in college football but the fine folks over at Cleveland.com have been filling in the gap for the past several years so fans, coaches and others can get a sense at which teams are the favorites to hoist the trophy at the end of the year.

The site just released the latest edition of their annual media poll and (surprise, surprise) Ohio State was picked by 29 of the 38 voters to win the Big Ten this season, including 34 first-place votes for the Buckeyes to capture the rugged East Division title. Penn State drew seven first place votes while Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan squad received just one person’s confidence in winning the division.

Wisconsin was the heavy favorite to represent the West in Indianapolis with 31 first place votes, followed by Northwestern (five) and Nebraska (two). Fittingly,  22 media members from around the league picked the Buckeyes to beat the Badgers in the conference championship game, compared to just three who reversed the outcome. Not surprisingly, 34 of the 38 voters said at least one Big Ten team will make this year’s College Football Playoff, with Ohio State being the overwhelming pick to represent the league with 26 votes.

A word of warning however as Cleveland.com notes that the poll has never successfully picked the Big Ten winner in six preseason polls and Ohio State has only ever won the conference when they were not the choice by the media.