Texas Tech Red Raiders

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 17: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs for a touchdown during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
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Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is Bovada’s overwhelming Heisman favorite

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As the Lamar Jackson Heisman hype train hurtles down the tracks, at least one wagering establishment has wholeheartedly hopped aboard.

In its latest set of odds released Tuesday afternoon, Bovada.lv has pushed the Louisville quarterback to its pole position for the 2016 Heisman Trophy.  In fact, Jackson, whose 18 touchdowns this season are more than all but seven teams have scored through three weeks, is the site’s overwhelming favorite at 1/2 after being at 6/1 just one week ago.

The Sept. 13 favorite, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, has gone from 5/1 to 8/1.  Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (9/2) has slightly longer odds at 11/2, while Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett held steady at 6/1.

Greg Ward Jr. saw one of the biggest surges as the Houston quarterback went from 25/1 a week ago to 16/1.

Leonard Fournette was Bovada‘s preseason Heisman favorite at 4/1.  The LSU running back dropped to 12/1 after Week 2 and 20/1 after Week 3.  Around this time last year, Fournette was the Bovada favorite for the Heisman that ultimately went to Alabama running back Derrick Henry, who couldn’t even crack the top six 12 months ago.

Two players that were off the board last go ’round were added: San Diego State running back Donnell Pumphrey (25/1) and Washington quarterback Jake Browning (40/1).  A handful of players were taken off the board, most notably quarterbacks Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Josh Rosen (UCLA).

Below is the complete list of Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:


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Poll numbers confirm a nightmarish start for the Big 12

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Wide receiver Melquise Stovall #1 of the California Golden Bears scores a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns in the first half on September 17, 2016 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California.  Cal won 50-43.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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There was a never-before-seen oddity in today’s AP poll, though you are forgiven if it slipped by you unnoticed.

Just three Big 12 teams dotted the poll: No. 16 Baylor, No. 21 Texas and No. 25 Oklahoma. Which means, for the first time in the league’s 21-year history, not a single Big 12 team qualified for the AP’s top 15.

Saturday’s twin losses by Oklahoma (to Ohio State) and Texas (to Cal) likely doomed the Big 12 to its second CFP-free postseason in just the third year of the system.

Eliminating leagues entirely this early in the season is asking for trouble — recall what you thought of Ohio State’s title chances after that home loss to Virginia Tech in September of ’14 — but the Big 12’s seem safe considering the conference has accomplished next to nothing in non-conference play. Texas’s win over Notre Dame has aged like a forgotten cup of milk, and the league’s second-best win is… Oklahoma State over Pittsburgh? West Virginia over Missouri?

The most memorable moment of September has been Oklahoma State’s unjust loss to Central Michigan. (Which, oddly, has kept the Pokes out of the rankings even after Saturday’s win over Pittsburgh.)

Overall, the Big 12 is 3-10 against the Power 5, the American and the MAC and 16-12 against the rest of college football. That includes the FCS.

An empty non-conference season is bad enough, but it builds into the league’s inherent problem: its 9-game, round-robin schedule without a championship game was built for the bowl-and-poll era, not the Playoff. Heading into its sixth season of existence, no team has run through the 9-game gauntlet unbeaten.

With no title game to serve as a punctuator and no good non-conference wins to look back upon, the Big 12 champion — whoever it is — may have a tough time arguing for one of the final four spots.

Kalen Ballage ties FBS TD record in Arizona State’s wild win over Texas Tech

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 10:  Running back Kalen Ballage #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates after scoring on a seven yard touchdown rush against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the second half of the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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If you’re a fan of offense, Texas Tech-Arizona State was your thing.  If you’re a fan of significant records being challenged?  Yeah, you doubled up on your pleasure with Week 2’s version of #Pac12AfterDark.

In a game that didn’t even hint at any type of respect whatsoever for the defensive side of the ball, the Sun Devils kept its foot on the gas pedal a little bit harder, a little bit longer than the Red Raiders in racing to a basketball score-like 68-55 win.  The 123 points in regulation was just a touchdown and two field goals away from tying the FBS record of Navy-North Texas set in 2007.

The individual story of the game, though, was Kalen Ballage.

The junior running back touched the ball a total of 15 times in the Sun Devils’ win.  On more than half of those touches, Ballage found the end zone.

The eight touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving) for Ballage broke the single-game school and Pac-12 record for total touchdowns.  It also tied the FBS record set by Illinois’ Howard Griffith in 1990.

Further perspective: entering last night’s game that bled into the Eastern Time morning, Ballage had eight career touchdowns the past two seasons.

In the loss, Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 540 yards and five touchdowns.   The junior has now thrown for 1,023 yards and nine touchdowns the first two games of the year.

Get ready for the Week 2 hangover: Five games to watch this week

Battle At Bristol
AP Photo/The Bristol Herald-Courier, David Crigger
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After Florida State and Texas helped close out the greatest opening weekend in college football history the past two nights, all eyes have now shifted to what’s ahead for an encore in Week 2. Unfortunately for fans, the college football scheduling gods have not been as kind to us in the second week of the season, which is to be expected when we have been so spoiled out of the gate this fall.

The five most intriguing games of Week 2 to follow are listed below:

Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech: The Battle at Bristol will pit Tennessee against Virginia Tech on the infield of Bristol Motor Speedway. The Vols escaped an upset bid by Appalachian State on Thursday night, while the Justin Fuente Era in Blacksburg got off to decent start by pulling away from Liberty. The Vols must play a sharper game on offense, because the Hokies will be feeding off the film they got from Thursday night’s game.

TCU vs. Arkansas: Both the Horned Frogs and Razorbacks opened the season with a win this past weekend, but neither did so in a fashion that inspires a tremendous amount of confidence. Were they each saving a little something for this matchup between the Big 12 and SEC, or are there some concerns that need to be addressed by Gary Patterson and Bret Bielema. This matchup in Fort Worth should provide some energy.

Pittsburgh vs. Penn State: For the first time in 16 years, these in-state rivals are set to renew their rivalry. It is difficult to comprehend the idea that a generation of college football fans in Pennsylvania have yet to experience a game between the Panthers and Nittany Lions, but they finally get their first taste of it this Saturday in western PA. It is the first of a four-game scheduling arrangement over the next four seasons. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi has shut his team off from the media to avoid distractions this week.

Florida vs. Kentucky: The Gators were sluggish on offense in their opener before starting to pull away from UMass. Kentucky let one slip away at home last week against Southern Miss. The Gators have won 29 straight in this series dating back to 1987 and have lost just once to the Wildcats since 1980. Kentucky has not won in The Swamp since 1979. With this being the SEC opener for each, getting a jump on the division race is key, and Kentucky is already on thin ice for making postseason play after dropping last week’s game.

Utah vs. BYU: The Holy War always is worth watching because these two schools hate each other with a wild passion. Both teams enter with 1-0 records after Utah handled Southern Utah and BYU clipped Arizona in the opener. Can the Cougars go 2-0 against the Pac-12 out of the gates?

OTHER GAMES ON THE RADAR

Baylor vs. SMU: SMU still has a long way to go but could put up some offense against Baylor.

Texas vs. UTEP: After a thriller against the Irish, can Charlie Strong’s team avoid a letdown?

Boise State vs. Washington State: The Broncos were impressive last week while Mike Leach’s Cougars took a home loss against Eastern Washington.

South Florida vs. NIU: With NIU taking a loss on the road last week at Wyoming, the Huskies need a win to remain in the Group of Five hunt before it pulls away from them entirely.

Oregon vs. Virginia: The Cavaliers were trounced at home by Richmond in Bronco Mendenhall’s Virginia debut. Now they fly to Oregon? Uh-oh.

Arizona State vs. Texas Tech: Offense on offense on offense.

Illinois vs. UNC: Lovie Smith’s Illini played well in its opener and they host UNC coming off a loss.

THE TEAM YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THIS WEEK

Wofford: The FCS program travels to Ole Miss this week. You think the Rebels will be ready to unload some pent-up frustration after losing to Florida State Monday night?

FCS USET ALERT OF THE WEEK

Illinois State vs. Northwestern: Though one should logically assume Northwestern bounces back at home this week after dropping one to Western Michigan, Illinois State is coming in as one of the top FCS programs there is. Don’t be surprised if No. 9 Illinois State hangs around longer than Northwestern fans would be comfortable seeing.

Also, No. 5 Jacksonville State is visiting LSU, who lost last week in Green Bay. The Jaguars pushed Auburn to the limit last season and we know LSU’s passing game is a concern. You just never know!

Alamo Bowl inks extensions with Big 12, Pac-12 through 2025

TCU quarterback Bram Kohlhausen (6) runs for a touchdown against Oregon during the third overtime of the Alamo Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in San Antonio. TCU won 47-41 in triple overtime.(AP Photo/Austin Gay)
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The Valero Alamo Bowl will keep its current configuration through the 2025 season.

The Big 12 and Pac-12 each announced separate deals to remain with the San Antonio-based bowl game through the next decade. Technically, it’s a six-year extension that kicks begins in 2019.

“The Conference’s long-standing relationship with the Valero Alamo Bowl has produced some unforgettable games,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a statement. “The Valero Alamo Bowl and San Antonio have been terrific hosts for our member institutions and their fans, and we are excited to join the Pac-12 to continue our relationship through 2025.”

“The Valero Alamo Bowl has a well-deserved reputation for exciting games played in front of sellout crowds and top TV viewership,” added Pac-12 commish Larry Scott. “Our universities and their fans look forward to their trips to San Antonio and playing top ranked schools from the Big 12 Conference.”

As part of the deal, each team will continue sending its top teams that do not reach a New Year’s Six game.

The announcement came in conjunction with the Alamo Bowl’s annual Pigskin Preview.

The Big 12 has sent teams to the Alamo Bowl continuously since 1994, meaning the new agreement takes the bowl and the league into their third decade together. The league is 11-11 to date in the Alamo Bowl, but 8-3 since 2005 and 4-2 since the Pac-12 rejoined the game in 2010. The Pac-12 won each of the first two Alamo Bowls.

TCU won the most recent edition, rallying from a 31-0 halftime deficit to top Oregon 47-41 in triple overtime.

The 2016 game (the second one) will be played Thursday, Dec. 29 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).