UCLA Bruins

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Alabama opens as Bovada’s early 2017 title favorite

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Alabama may have seen their dynasty temporarily derailed Monday night in Florida, but at least one wagering establishment expects Nick Saban to get it back on track post-haste.

Bovada.lv released its opening set of 2017 national championship odds very early Tuesday afternoon, with the bookmaker installing Bama as a 4/1 favorite coming off the loss to Clemson.  Last year at this time, coming off their fourth title in seven years, the same book had the Crimson Tide as a 7/1 favorite.

The team ‘Bama beat, Clemson, is at 16/1, tied with ACC Atlantic rival Louisville and behind six other teams besides the one they beat on the field last night — Florida State (7/1), Ohio State (15/2), Michigan (9/1), Oklahoma (9/1), USC (9/1) and LSU (12/1).  The other 2016 playoff team, Washington, is at 40/1, the same as 4-8 Notre Dame and behind the likes of Texas (28/1) and Miami (33/1).

Boise State, at 75/1, was the highest favorite amongst Group of Five programs.

Below are the complete list of 2018 title odds for the championship following the 2017 season, again courtesy on Bovada.lv:

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Utah the landing spot for transferring Arizona LB Cody Ippolito

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Running back Paul Perkins #24 of the UCLA Bruins runs into linebacker Cody Ippolito #57 of the Arizona Wildcats at the Rose Bowl on November 1, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 17-7.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Instead of the desert, Cody Ippolito will spend his sixth season of college football in the Beehive State.

On his personal Twitter account Monday, Ippolito revealed that he would be transferring to Utah and using his final season of eligibility for the Utes.  The linebacker began his collegiate playing career at Arizona.

He had considered Arizona State and UCLA as well prior to opting for Utah.

Ippolito will play that last season as long as he can remain healthy.

Ippolito missed the entire 2013 and 2015 seasons because of knee injuries, the latter of which involved a torn ACL. Those two lost seasons earned him a sixth year of eligibility. He also missed the last half of the 2016 season because of, you guessed it, a knee injury.

In between his first two knee injuries, Ippolito started six of the 14 games in which he played in 2014. In six starts this past season, Ippolito’s 28 tackles were fourth on the team at the time of his injury. His 1.5 sacks were tied for second on the Wildcats, while the four tackles for loss were third before he went down.

WATCH: All the commitments from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 03:  A general view of footballs on the ground prior to kickoff between the East Carolina Pirates and South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The East beat the West 27-17 in Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl. But, of course, the final score is always the least interesting thing to happen inside the Alamodome on the first Saturday in January.

The day is about seeing college football’s next generation make plays — Clemson quarterback commit Hunter Johnson earned MVP honors, in case you assumed the Tigers were set to fall off a Deshaun Watson-sized cliff after Monday night — and commit to their respective schools of choice.

We’ve got them all for you here:

Los Angeles 4-star wide receiver Jamire Calvin picks Oregon State:

Wylie, Texas, 4-star running back Eno Benjamin picks Arizona State:

Aledo, Texas, 4-star offensive lineman Chuck Filiaga pledges to Michigan:

Las Vegas 4-star safety Bubba Bolden commits to USC:

Calabasas, Calif., 5-star cornerback Darnay Holmes verbals to UCLA:

Grand Prairie, Texas, 5-star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah commits to Ohio State:

Graham, Wash., 5-star offensive lineman Foster Sarell announces for Stanford:

UCLA makes hiring of Michigan assistant Jedd Fisch as new OC official

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UCLA athletics
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Not long after a Michigan assistant and one of his players said their online goodbyes, the former’s move to the West Coast is official.

Following reports that had been swirling for nearly a week, UCLA confirmed that Jedd Fisch has been hired by Jim Mora to serve as the Bruins’ offensive coordinator.  Fisch replaces Kennedy Polamalu, who was let go by the Bruins in late November.

The past two seasons, Fisch had served as the quarterbacks coach/wide receivers coach/passing-game coordinator at Michigan.  Fisch will also hold the title of quarterbacks coach at UCLA.

“Jedd, in a relatively short amount of time, has earned the respect of some of the game’s greatest offensive minds,” said the Bruins head football coach in a statement. “At each of his stops, he has made those teams better while demonstrating a remarkable ability to connect with the young men he has coached. I want to welcome Jedd, his wife Amber and his daughters Zaylee, Ashlee and Kendall to the Bruin family. We couldn’t be more excited and think Jedd is an exceptional fit for this program.”

“Jedd Fisch is a talented offensive mind who groomed a new starting quarterback for us each year that he was at Michigan,” a statement from Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh began. “The UCLA coaching staff will be receiving someone who possesses a wealth of knowledge, great enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Jedd’s reputation as a relentless coast-to-coast recruiter will unquestionably benefit the Bruins going forward. I wish Jedd, Amber and the Fisch family nothing but success and prosperity in the Pac-12 as part of the UCLA Bruins Football coaching staff.”

Prior to his time at Michigan, Fisch also served as the coordinator at Miami of Florida (2011-12) and Minnesota (2009).  Following his time in South Florida, he was the coordinator for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

This will be Fisch’s first college job west of the Mississippi in a 20-year coaching career (he was the quarterbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks in 2010).

“UCLA is known for attracting high-caliber and high-character student-athletes,” said Fisch. “The opportunity to mentor these types of young men is extremely exciting, as is the chance to work with Coach Mora. I’ve said many times how fortunate I have been throughout my career to learn from some tremendous mentors, and this opportunity is no different. My family and I cannot wait to get out to Westwood and hit the ground running.”

Five-star UCLA signee on excused sabbatical hints at a return

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 24:  UCLA Bruins prepare to walk on to the field befoe the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Rose Bowl on September 24, 2016 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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One of the more odd off-the-field stories of the 2016 season could be seeing yet another twist.

In August, Mique Juarez stopped showing up for UCLA’s practices a few days into summer camp because of what head coach Jim Mora described as an “excused” absence as the five-star recruit dealt with unspecified personal issues. The sabbatical extended throughout the entirety of what would’ve been the linebacker’s true freshman season, with Juarez revealing in September that he’s seeing a psychiatrist set up by his head coach as “[i]t was just too much pressure.”

Juarez and one of his Bruin teammates engaged in a less-than-amicable back-and-forth on Twitter around that time as well, which was essentially the last most had heard of the prized recruit when it came to his football future. Until, of course, Suarez took to another social media outlet to intimate that he might be returning to the Bruins football program.

I’m back …🏈great opportunity to do something better. Painter by @ceaches_ ❤️️👀

A photo posted by Mique Juarez (@mique_juarez3) on Jan 4, 2017 at 12:34pm PST

UCLA has yet to address Juarez’s status with the football program moving forward. The Los Angles Daily News did note that Juarez has been attending classes during his absence from the football team, and he has remained in contact with the coaching staff during his absence as well.

Juarez was the highest-rated recruit for the Bruins in last year’s class, and the only five-star prospect pulled in by Mora that cycle. 247Sports.com had the California product rated as the No. 1 player at any position in his state and the top linebacker in addition to being the No. 11 recruit nationally on its composite board.

After enrolling early, Juarez was unable to participate in spring practice as previously planned because of a neck/head injury.