Getty Images

Palouse Power: No. 25 Washington State’s magical Saturday continues with upset of No. 12 Oregon

4 Comments

From GameDay to game time, dawn until dusk — and well afterward, no doubt — a magical Saturday in Pullman is now complete and the western hills of Washington may never be the same for it.

Though it wasn’t easy at times, No. 25 Washington State held the lead from start to finish of a 34-20 upset over No. 12 Oregon to set off a raucous celebration for the Cougars across Martin Stadium as Mike Leach’s band of underdogs temporarily took control atop the Pac-12 North and capped off a historic day for the school.

Following up a historic visit from ESPN’s College GameDay in the morning for the first time ever in the show’s history, the Palouse was rocking for one of the biggest games in years and the Cougars didn’t disappoint outside of an early interception on their first drive. Aside from that mistake though, QB Gardner Minshew was phenomenal running the Air Raid under the primetime lights and introduced the rest of the country to his amazing ‘stache and quick release with a 323 yard effort with four touchdowns and a final tally of two picks. While his opposite number came in as the darling of NFL scouts, it was the East Carolina graduate transfer who took center stage and was able to spread the ball around quite effectively with nine different players recording a catch.

His two teammates in the backfield also played a big role too as Max Borghi had 91 total yards (one receiving score) and starter James Williams added 95 more with a touchdown on the ground where he missed a good six tackles before diving past the pylon. All-in-all, an incredible effort for Wazzu on both sides of the ball even if things slipped a bit in the second half after heading into the locker room at the break up 27 points.

While the Cougars celebrated amid a full on field storming after the game, their opponents have to rue another missed opportunity to make a move in the conference just a week after celebrating a massive win of their own against Washington. QB Justin Herbert threw for only 270 yards and a touchdown (along with one on the ground) but essentially was the entire offense for the Ducks and was unable to lean at all on any sort of run game. CJ Verdell rushed for only 55 yards and star receiver Dillon Mitchell had one of his quietest nights of the year with just seven catches for 47 yards.

Factor in the loss to Stanford earlier on and the result likely ended any hopes of making it to Santa Clara for the conference title game for Mario Cristobal’s club and certainly put to bed that faint talk of the team being a College Football Playoff sleeper.

While it’s too early to start dreaming of a visit to Levi’s Stadium just yet for Leach’s squad, the team will make the trek to the Bay Area next weekend in a big test to see just how well they can handle this kind of success. The Cougars have now won four straight over Oregon and that Apple Cup to end the regular season is looming larger and larger both in the Pac-12 and nationally given the way October has shook up the standings in one of the wilder divisions in college football.

Coug fans can ponder all that later — Saturday night in Pullman was all about celebrating a day that will be fondly remembered in school history for years to come.

College football odds for Week 13: Michigan, Notre Dame both road favorites in rivalry games

Getty Images
1 Comment

It has been a few recruiting cycles, and then some, since Michigan was laying points against Ohio State, let alone at Ohio Stadium.

The Michigan Wolverines, led by junior quarterback Shea Patterson, are four-point road favorites with a consensus total listed at 57 points on the college football odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for this week against the archrival Ohio State Buckeyes.

The OddsShark College Football Database points out that this is the first time that Michigan has been favored against Ohio State since 2011 — also the last time it beat the Buckeyes — and the first time it has been favored going into the fabled “Horseshoe” since 2004.

However, the Wolverines are 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in the last five games of this matchup. While it did not get bettors a cover in its last two outings against Indiana and Rutgers, Michigan is 8-0 ATS in its last eight games after consecutive ATS losses. Ohio State is 12-0 straight up (SU) in its last 12 home games, but a leaky defense has led to a 1-6 ATS record in its last seven Big Ten contests.

Elsewhere in Week 13:

NO. 18 MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-4) AT OLE MISS (5-6)
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are 10.5-point favorites against the Ole Miss Rebels in a Thursday night matchup. Mississippi State is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games on a Thursday. Ole Miss is 0-7 ATS in its last seven conference games.

NO. 6 OKLAHOMA (10-1) AT NO. 13 WEST VIRGINIA (8-2)
The Oklahoma Sooners are 1.5-point road betting favorites against the West Virginia Mountaineers in a Friday matchup. Oklahoma is 4-0 ATS in its last four games against West Virginia. West Virginia, coming off of a 45-41 defeat against Oklahoma State, is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games after a loss.

NO. 16 WASHINGTON (8-3) AT NO. 8 WASHINGTON STATE (10-1)
The Washington State Cougars are three-point favorites against the Washington Huskies. Washington is 0-6 ATS in its last six games. Washington State is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games. The total has gone OVER in 10 of Washington State’s last 14 games, with an average combined score of 61.9 points.

NO. 9 UCF (10-0) AT USF (7-4)
The UCF Knights are 14-point road favorites against the South Florida Bulls. Central Florida is 1-3 SU and ATS in its last four road games against South Florida. USF is 13-2 SU in its last 15 home games, but 3-9 ATS in its last 12 conference games.

GEORGIA TECH 7-4) AT NO. 5 GEORGIA (10-1)
On Saturday, the Georgia Bulldogs are 17-point favorites against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech is 4-1 ATS in its last five games against the SEC. The total has gone OVER in six of Georgia Tech’s last seven road games, with an average combined score of 72.7 points. Georgia is 4-1 ATS in its last five games against ACC teams.

AUBURN (7-4) AT NO. 1 ALABAMA (11-0)
The Alabama Crimson Tide are 24.5-point betting favorites against the Auburn Tigers in their Iron Bowl matchup. The total has gone UNDER in seven of Auburn’s last nine road games against Alabama. Alabama is 4-0 ATS in its last four conference games.

NO. 7 LSU (9-2) AT NO. 22 TEXAS A&M (7-4)
The Texas A&M Aggies are 2.5-point favorites against the LSU Tigers. LSU is 7-0 SU in its last seven games against Texas A&M. Texas A&M is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games.

NO. 11 FLORIDA (8-3) AT FLORIDA STATE (5-6)
The Florida Gators are five-point road favorites against the Florida State Seminoles. Florida is 2-7 ATS in its last nine games against the ACC. Florida State is 4-1 ATS in its last five games against the SEC. The total has gone UNDER in four of Florida State’s last five games against Florida, with an average combined score of an even 44 points.

NO. 3 NOTRE DAME (11-0) AT USC (5-6)
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 10.5-point road betting favorites against the USC Trojans. Notre Dame is 2-6 SU and ATS in its last eight road games against USC. Southern Cal, which lost to UCLA last week, is 36-12 SU in its last 48 games after a loss.

SOUTH CAROLINA (6-4) AT NO. 2 CLEMSON (11-0)
The Clemson Tigers are 26-point favorites against the South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games against the ACC. The total has gone UNDER in 11 of South Carolina’s last 14 road games, with an average combined score of 44.1 points.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Miami dismisses star wideout Jeff Thomas

Getty Images
2 Comments

That certainly didn’t take long.

Amidst rumors of issues with the coaching staff that surfaced earlier in the week, speculation was making the rounds earlier in the day today that Jeff Thomas had decided to leave the Miami football team.  Prior to Wednesday’s practice, a U-M spokesperson clarified that the wide receiver was still a member of the team but wouldn’t be at practice as he tended to an unspecified personal matter.

Just a short time ago, however, The U announced in a press release that Thomas has been dismissed from the football program.  No specific reason for the dismissal was given.

“We have high standards for excellence, for conduct and for the commitment to team for all of the young men who wear our uniform, and we will not waver from those standards,” head coach Mark Richt said in a statement. “We wish Jeff the very best as he moves forward in his journey.”

Thomas is currently leading the Hurricanes in receptions (35) and receiving yards (563).  The sophomore’s 16.1 yards per reception are second on the team while his three touchdown receptions are tied for third.

Miami closes out the 2018 regular season with a home date against ACC Coastal champion and 24th-ranked Pitt this Saturday.

Texas ‘expecting’ Sam Ehlinger (shoulder) to play against Kansas

Getty Images
1 Comment

As Texas looks to wrap up a spot in its conference’s championship game, it appears the Longhorns will have their starting quarterback under center.

In Saturday’s win over Iowa State, Sam Ehlinger aggravated the AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder that he had originally injured earlier in the season.  Monday, Ehlinger’s status was decidedly up in the air for this Friday’s game against Kansas.

Wednesday, however, there was a decidedly optimistic update from the football program.

“Ehlinger’s injured right shoulder continues to progress as Texas’ sophomore QB fully participated in practice on Wednesday,” a release from the school began. “He increased his workload to 40 live throws during UT’s final workout before heading to Lawrence on Thanksgiving Day.”

Most notably, head coach Tom Herman stated that he is expecting Ehlinger to play against the Jayhawks.  Should Ehlinger suffer a setback over the next 48 hours or so, Shane Buechele would once again step into the starting role.

A Texas win over Kansas would mean the Longhorns will face the winner of Friday night’s Oklahoma-West Virginia matchup in the Big 12 championship game the following weekend.

Former Penn State LB Manny Bowen transfers to Utah

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manny Bowen’s winding roller coaster journey in his college football life will include the Pac-12 as his next stop.

On his personal Twitter account late Wednesday morning, Bowen announced that he “will be playing my final season of college football for the University of Utah.” Bowen, who announced his transfer from Penn State in mid-October, is set to graduate from the university next month.

The Utes subsequently confirmed the addition of Bowen.

In late August, James Franklin confirmed that Bowen had left his football program; that move came a little over three weeks after the fourth-year senior rejoined the team and was practicing with the rest of the Nittany Lions in preparation for the 2018 season.  Bowen was suspended late last season and then dismissed in late December for what were described as violations of team rules.

Bowen had started the first nine games of the 2017 season, before the disciplinary issues hit, after starting a dozen contests during the 2016 campaign.  He didn’t play in the Rose Bowl that season because of, you guessed it, unspecified violations of team rules.

At the time of his 2017 suspension, Bowen was third on the team with 51 tackles and tied for second in quarterback hits with four.