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No. 7 Washington wins Pac-12 title game rematch with Colorado thanks to stifling second half defense

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For a half, Colorado had No. 7 Washington just where they wanted in a Pac-12 Championship Game rematch from a year ago. Just like in that matchup in Santa Clara 10 months ago, the Buffs trailed by just a score going into halftime and looked surprisingly sharp against their highly ranked opponents from Seattle.

Just like it did last December though, the third quarter rolled around and Huskies reminded everybody why they reign supreme in the Pac-12 until further notice, capping off a dominant second half to capture a key road win in Boulder 37-10 over the Buffs.

While Jake Browning still didn’t seem to figure out Mike MacIntyre‘s defense the second time around (11/21, 160 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), it’s not like the UW signal-caller needed to with the effort his run game and defense were able to provide on a rainy night under the Flatirons. Tailback Myles Gaskin had no problem shouldering more of the load with his backup out, rushing for 202 yards and two scores while breaking off big run after big run to slowly crush the home crowd’s spirits. If there was anything that did really go wrong for the offense in the second half, it was the fact that wide receiver Chico McClatcher was carted off after a gruesome ankle injury that figures to sideline him for some time to come.

Still, the impressive performance on the scoreboard was really the result of the Huskies’ stifling defense coming to play after some adjustments in the locker room. Linebacker Azeem Victor hit the double-digit mark for tackles and corner Myles Bryant pulled down a pick-six — one of three interceptions on the night. As a result, what was a close game for about two and a half quarters, ended up turning into a runaway win for the defending Pac-12 North champs.

While it was a tough night on the scoreboard with nothing going in the second half, there were some positives for the Buffs early on. Quarterback Steven Montez did look sharp working the middle of the field until the pressure was turned up and running back Phillip Lindsay managed 68 yards and a touchdown against one of the stiffer run defenses in the country. Given some of USC’s early struggles, it’s pretty clear that Colorado will remain a factor in the Pac-12 South battle if nothing else.

In the end though, it was the same ol’ same ol’ out West as Washington remained unbeaten and looking again like a College Football Playoff contender once again.

No. 7 Washington holds slim three point halftime lead at rainy Colorado

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Colorado was anxious to extract some revenge against No. 7 Washington for their blowout loss to the Huskies in last season’s Pac-12 Championship Game and certainly went toe-to-toe against them in rainy conditions Saturday night in Boulder.

It wasn’t enough to take the lead into the locker room at halftime for the Buffs but they certainly looked like they wouldn’t be going anywhere as Washington held on to a 10-7 advantage at the break.

Jake Browning threw for just 89 yards and tossed an interception as he was forced to move around quite a bit while also dealing with the nasty weather that swirled things up on the flat irons. Counterpart Steven Montez also threw two interceptions but posted a more respectable 129 yards on 15/19 passing, most of which were short and intermediate throws.

The flip side to the signal-callers struggling at times was that the ground game was the focal point for the offenses. Myles Gaskin carried the load for the Huskies with his backup out with an injury and scored a touchdown to go along with 64 yards. Buffs’ tailback Phillip Lindsay has a tough time going against that big front seven UW trots out but still managed 46 yards and a score.

While it certainly wasn’t the sharpest half of football in Pac-12 play this season, the two teams gave every indication things would be very interesting in the second half and not the blowout we saw the last time they met down in Santa Clara.

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

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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.

Alabama’s national title odds take minor hit as Clemson puts oddsmaker on notice

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After Week 3 of college football has been given time to settle in and reflected upon, Bovada still feels Alabama is the clear favorite to win the national championship this season. But that confidence was shaken a tiny bit after the performance turned in by Clemson at Louisville on Saturday. While Alabama’s national title odds of 2/1 are still heavily in Alabama’s favor, the Tigers crept up a bit this week.

Alabama’s national title odds were listed at 7/4 a week ago and have now been dropped to just 2/1. Clemson improved their title odds from 14/1 to 11/2 following a thorough road win at Louisville for a second straight win against a ranked opponent. Despite being 3-0, USC saw their odds drop slightly from 6/1 to 7/1 over the weekend, while Oklahoma stayed firm with 8/1 odds.

Ohio State saw their odds improve too, going from 8/1 to 17/2 this weekend. Oklahoma State is right behind the Buckeyes with 9/1 odds, followed by Penn State at 12/1 and Michigan at 20/1.

Mississippi State jumped onto the board this week following their blowout of LSU and are now listed with 40/1 odds. Six teams came off the board this week: Colorado, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, South Carolina, and UCLA.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is currently Bovada’s favorite for the Heisman Trophy with 7/4 odds. Louisville quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is tied for second-best odds with USC’s Sam Darnold at 11/2. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph share the same 9/1 odds as well. Players jumping from off the board include Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins (40/1)m Oregon’s Royce Freeman (25/1) and Justin Herbert (25/1), and Stanford running back Bryce Love (66/1).

(Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley was not dropped from the board as posted in this tweet, but his odds went down)

Clemson moves to No. 2 in latest AP poll, Mississippi State joins at No. 17

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Mississippi State has leapt from the ranks of the unranked all the way to No. 17 in the latest AP poll, released Sunday afternoon.

The Bulldogs walloped then-No. 12 LSU 37-7 in Starkville on Saturday evening, the club’s largest margin of victory in the 111-game history of the series. Additionally, Mississippi State’s road blowout victory over Louisiana Tech became even more impressive when the red-and-blue Bulldogs went on the road and beat defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky.

Elsewhere, San Diego State, Utah and Oregon made their 2017 debuts in the AP poll, replacing Kansas State, Stanford, Tennessee and UCLA. Clemson’s 47-21 drubbing of Louisville allowed the Tigers to nudge past Oklahoma for the No. 2 spot in the poll and pull within 60 points of the No. 1 ranking.

The full poll:

  1. Alabama — 1,504 total points (45 first-place votes)
  2. Clemson — 1,446 (15)
  3. Oklahoma — 1,432 (1)
  4. Penn State — 1,306
  5. USC — 1,241
  6. Oklahoma State — 1,154
  7. Washington — 1,141
  8. Michigan — 1,081
  9. Wisconsin — 1,031
  10. Ohio State — 1,015
  11. Georgia — 940
  12. Florida State — 922
  13. Virginia Tech — 730
  14. Miami — 606
  15. Auburn — 596
  16. TCU — 553
  17. Mississippi State — 532
  18. Washington State — 419
  19. Louisville — 356
  20. Florida — 308
  21. South Florida — 272
  22. San Diego State — 201
  23. Utah — 194
  24. Oregon — 158
  25. LSU — 153