Alabama the early betting favorite for 2013 BCS title

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As I explained in the 2013 look ahead posted very early this morning, there was no way I could justify anyone but Alabama at the top of a way-too-early Top Five for the 2013 season after they took Notre Dame to the woodshed.

Not so unexpectedly, one wagering website agrees.

In the first odds for the upcoming season released by Bovada.lv, Alabama at 5/1 is the prohibitive favorite to claim the 2013 BCS championship.  For reference sake, Oklahoma was the early favorite at 7/2 last January for the 2012 BCS title, followed by the Tide at 15/2.

This year, it’s Oregon next in line behind the back-to-back BCS champs at 8/1 and Ohio State, coming off an unbeaten season mitigated by a one-year bowl ban, hot on the heels of the Ducks at 17/2.

As expected, the first set of 2013 odds is littered with teams from the SEC.  Both LSU (too high) and Texas A&M (too low) are at 12/1, while Florida, along with the ACC’s Florida State, is at 14/1.  South Carolina and Georgia, winner of the past two SEC East titles, are at 25/1 and 28/1, respectively.

One of the bigger surprises in the early odds release — and one that if I were a gambling man you can bet I’d be all over — concerns Stanford.  The Pac-12 champions, winners of 12 games in 2012 including the Rose Bowl, inexplicably came in at 30/1, behind the likes of Miami (25/1) and Nebraska (28/1).

If you are looking for really deep dark horses that could reap a tremendous return, Boston College, Cal and USF are each at 300/1.  Get in while the gettin’ is good!

Anyway, below is the complete set of odds, again provided by Bovada.lv:

Alabama 5/1
Oregon 8/1
Ohio State 17/2
LSU 12/1
Texas A&M 12/1
Florida 14/1
Florida State 14/1
Clemson 22/1
Louisville 22/1
Notre Dame 22/1
Miami 25/1
Oklahoma 25/1
South Carolina 25/1
Georgia 28/1
Nebraska 28/1
Stanford 30/1
Texas 30/1
Michigan 33/1
USC 33/1
Oklahoma State 40/1
UCLA 40/1
Mississippi State 50/1
Wisconsin 50/1
TCU 66/1
Virginia Tech 66/1
Boise State 75/1
Michigan State 75/1
North Carolina 75/1
Oregon State 75/1
Arkansas 100/1
Arizona 100/1
Kansas State 100/1
Rutgers 100/1
Tennessee 100/1
Washington 100/1
Cincinnati 125/1
BYU 150/1
Pittsburgh 150/1
West Virginia 150/1
Auburn 200/1
Georgia Tech 200/1
Iowa 200/1
Missouri 250/1
Boston College 300/1
California 300/1
South Florida 300/1

Are they back now? Texas snaps four-game losing streak to TCU

Associated Press
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Before the 2018 season began, many were pondering what’s been an annual question of late: “Is Texas back?” A road loss to an embattled Maryland in the opener suggested no.  The last two weeks, however, might say otherwise.

Trailing 13-10 at the half, and then 16-10 in the middle of the third, Texas ripped off 21 straight points to secure a huge 31-16 win over No. 17 TCU in the Big 12 opener for both schools.  The win snapped the Longhorns’ four-game losing streak to the Horned Frogs.

Sam Ehlinger passed for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns while rushing for another score in a winning effort.  Tre Watson led all rushers with a game-high 58 yards.

Defensively, the Longhorns forced four turnovers — three interceptions, one fumble recovery.  Texas was able to turn those turnovers into 14 points.

Combine this impressive win with a 23-point win over then-No. 22 USC the week before, and we’re right back to…

Of course, the answer to the question won’t be definitively answered for another two weeks as, after a road trip to Kansas State, Texas will play host to No. 5 Oklahoma.  And, even then, we may not get answer.

Old Dominion stuns No. 13 Virginia Tech for first-ever Power Five win

Associated Press
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Since returning to the FBS level, Old Dominion had been 0-9 against Power Five teams, with eight of those losses coming to schools from the ACC.  And then Saturday afternoon/evening happened.

Coming in as a 27.5-point underdog, Old Dominion left Foreman Stadium with a stunning 49-35 upset over No. 13 Virginia Tech.  The Monarchs had been 0-3 entering the game — losses to Liberty, FIU and Charlotte — while the Hokies were a perfect 2-0.

Tech had allowed just two touchdowns in two games; ODU had four in the fourth quarter alone and seven total in the game.

The two teams traded the lead six times, while it was tied on another six occasions.  The Monarchs took its first lead of the game with just under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, only to see the Hokies tied it up nearly three minutes later.

With 5:11 left in the contest, ODU took the lead for good on a tremendous one-handed catch by Jonathan Duhart on the back-end of a 29-yard touchdown pass from Blake LaRussa.

Both teams ended the game with their backups quarterbacks on the field.  LaRussa passed for 495 yards and four touchdowns after he replaced the starter before the second offensive series, while Ryan Willis went eight-of-15 for 115 yards and a touchdown in place of the injured Josh Jackson (8-16, two touchdowns, one interception).

 

Tech was the second ranked ACC team to go down in defeat at the hands of a previously-winless squad.  Earlier in the day, No. 23 Boston College was railroaded 30-13 by a Purdue team came in 0-3.

Tua remains flawless as No. 1 Alabama slays No. 22 Texas A&M

Associated Press
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No. 1 Alabama and its Heisman candidate quarterback Tua Tagovailoa cruised through their first three games, but Saturday was supposed to be different. No. 22 Texas A&M was coming to Tuscaloosa, and for the first time this season, the defending national champions would face a team that would match them athlete for athlete, coach for coach, and dollar for dollar.

Or so we thought.

Texas A&M threw its best bunch at college football’s crimson bully, but in the end Alabama accepted that blow and landed a torrent of haymakers back, cruising to a 45-23 win that wasn’t as close as the final score.

The game opened with a quick interception by Alabama’s Mack Wilson and an even quicker touchdown pass, as Devonta Smith hauled in a 30-yard score one play later to give the Tide a lead just 50 seconds into the game.

The next sequence was the best for Texas A&M (2-2, 0-1 SEC): after Alabama downed a punt at the Texas A&M 1, the Aggies marched the length of the field to tie the game. The key play on a 54-yard quarterback draw by Kellen Mond, then a 15-yard strike to tight end Jace Sternberger. It was the first 99-yard drive surrendered by Alabama since Houston did it in 1997.

But, in typical Alabama (4-0, 2-0 SEC) fashion, the euphoria of legitimately challenging the Tide was short lived. Tagovailoa moved the Tide 75 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 1-yard keeper, to give Alabama a lead it would not relinquish.

Seth Small put the Aggies within 14-10 at the 8:50 mark of the second quarter, but Alabama put the game away with 17 points over the final half of the second frame: a 23-yard strike to Hale Henteges, a 6-yard toss to Henteges and a 47-yard Joseph Bulovas field goal to stake Alabama to a 31-13 lead.

Josh Jacobs scored on a 3-yard rush to push the lead to 38-13, and Henry Ruggs III took a ball 57 yards to the house to add the capper at the 2:01 mark of the third quarter.

Trayveon Williams added the final score of the day, a 1-yard rush, with 12:55 to play in the game.

Tagovailoa added to his Heisman resume with perhaps his best game yet: 22-of-30 for 387 yards and four touchdowns while adding another on the ground. Damien Harris and Najee Harris combined to run 15 times for 95 yards.

On the other end, Mond endured a number of sacks to still rush for a game-high 98 yards while throwing for 196 more, but the bulk of those were in garbage time, and two interceptions were backbreakers for the Aggies.

The win moved Nick Saban to 13-0 against his former assistants, though Jimbo Fisher‘s 22-point loss was ahead of Saban’s average margin of victory of 27 points.

Will Grier reminds Heisman voters he’s still here as WVU blasts K-State

Associated Press
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Thanks in large part to a game canceled because of Hurricane Florence, Will Grier had seemingly fallen behind the likes of Tua Tagovailoa, Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray in the Heisman Trophy discussion of late.  Saturday afternoon, the West Virginia quarterback very loudly reminded voters that he’s still here.

In a 35-6 romp over Kansas State in Morgantown, Grier passed for 356 yards and five touchdowns on 25-35 passing in less than four full quarters worth of work.  The only real blemishes on the day were a trio of interceptions, although those were just the second, third and fourth picks of the season in over 100 pass attempts.

Grier now has thrown 14 touchdown passes on the season in just three games, and he’s thrown at least four in every one of them — five in the opener vs. Tennessee and four in the Week 2 romp over FCS Youngstown State in addition to the five today.

The performance came on the same day a very nice feature on the quarterback — and his wife and daughter and, because of social media, more-famous younger brothers and sister — ran on ESPN‘s College GameDay show.

Fourth-ranked WVU is now 3-0 on the season, with Texas Tech up next in Lubbock in a matchup that should do nothing but add to Grier’s Heisman numbers.