Alabama favored over Clemson for College Football Playoff National Championship

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Alabama faces a line that is smaller than its lowest winning margin of the season in its latest January rematch with Clemson. The Crimson Tide, led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, are five-point favorites on the college football odds against the Clemson Tigers with a 58.5-point total for Monday’s title game at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The contest at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California is the fourth consecutive postseason meeting between the teams. In the Nick Saban era, Alabama is 5-1 straight-up and 3-2-1 against the spread as a favorite of 7.0 or fewer points in postseason games, with the 2016 Tigers accounting for that one outright defeat.

Clemson has gone 14-0 SU and 8-6 ATS against a schedule rated as less difficult than Alabama’s docket of defeated foes. Offensively, freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence does not seem likely to be intimidated by the big stage, and the Tigers’ third-ranked offense stands a good chance of putting up some points against Alabama, which allowed 34 against the Oklahoma Sooners’ top-ranked attack in the Orange Bowl on December 29.

A bigger unknown is whether Clemson has a stout enough offensive line to negate nosetackle Quinnen Williams and the Crimson Tide’s interior push. The Tigers’ rushing game was a non-factor against Alabama in the 2017 playoff game, but leading rusher Travis Etienne is the type of edge runner that often poses difficulty for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama is also 14-0 SU and 8-6 ATS, with Tagovailoa serving as the linchpin of a No. 4-ranked offense that is also second only to Oklahoma in scoring. Clemson’s defense is also the fourth-best in the country statistically, and the Tigers, first in the country with 52 sacks, will likely rely on a four-man pass rush led by defensive tackle Christian Wilkins to slow down Alabama, since Tagovailoa is excellent when teams blitz with five or more defenders.

Thanks to myriad major touchdown threats such as wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith, Alabama averages a nation-leading 11.3 yards per pass. Clemson allows 6.3 yards per pass, but did not face a team with a pro-style offense that ranked in the top 20 in the country in yards per throw.

The total has gone UNDER at online sports betting sites in seven of Alabama’s last 10 games when it was favored by 7.0 or fewer points. However, that sample spans eight seasons. The total has gone OVER in nine of Alabama’s last 14 games, with an average combined score of 63.93 points. Five of Clemson’s 14 games finished with 60 or more total 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.

LB Jaden Hunter was second Georgia player arrested in March

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A member of the Georgia football program was arrested Wednesday night. Linebacker Jaden Hunter was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license. He was also charged with stopping, standing, or parking in a prohibited area.

Hunter spent just two hours in jail after being released on bond late Wednesday night.

The charges are misdemeanors and his status with the Bulldogs has not been confirmed with regard to any possible suspensions or other forms of discipline by head coach Kirby Smart. Given the nature of the charges, it would seem this would be far from calling for removal from the program or any significant form of discipline unless there is more to the story behind the scenes.

Hunter did become the second Georgia football player to be arrested in the month of March. Earlier in the month, redshirt freshman Latavious Brini was arrested on one count of simple battery.

William & Mary football player killed in shooting incident

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The William & Mary football family is mourning the death of Nate Evans. Evans, 19, was the victim of a shooting Thursday night, according to a report from The Virginian-Pilot on Friday.

“Nate’s is a loss we are feeling deeply within our program,” William & Mary head coach Mike London said in a released statement. “Faith and family are the foundations of our program. We value relationships first.

“Our team has gathered together to support each other as we deal with the grief that comes from this tragedy. Additionally, we will do all we can to support and comfort Nate’s family and loved ones through this difficult time.”

Police in Norfolk responded to a call about gunshots late Thursday night. The running back was declared dead at the scene of the call. What led to the shooting remains unknown. No arrests have been made at this time as an investigation continues.

Ohio State receiver to transfer from Buckeyes, per reports

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Ohio State seems to be losing a wide receiver from the program. Multiple reports from around the Ohio State football program have suggested wide receiver L'Christian Smith will leave the program as a transfer at the end of the spring semester.

Smith was a four-star recruit in Ohio State’s Class of 2018. Smith redshirted the 2018 season and still has four years of eligibility remaining. Smith played in three games, allowing him to preserve a year of eligibility under the NCAA’s modified redshirt rules last season.

Of course, barring any potential waiver request, Smith will have to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules (that continue to be more flexible than ever before) if he transfers to another FBS program.

Ohio State should still be in pretty good shape as far as the wide receivers are concerned after the potential loss of Smith. And with Justin Fields eligible to play right away at the quarterback position, the Buckeyes should still have good firepower in the passing game working for them next fall.

Former USC kicker Matt Boermeester sues school over controversial expulsion

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USC is dealing with many negative stories on a number of fronts and now you can add one more to the Trojans’ docket.

As detailed by ESPN, former cardinal and gold kicker Matt Boermeester has filed a lawsuit against the university in district court over his controversial expulsion in 2017:

The lawsuit includes seven causes of action, including selective Title IX enforcement, breach of contract, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and represents the latest step in Boermeester’s ongoing legal battle with the school. In 2017, Boermeester, who remains two classes shy of graduation, sued for his expulsion to be overturned in superior court, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

“What happened to Matt Boermeester at USC should terrify anyone who believes in the right to due process and innocent-until-proven-guilty,” attorney Andrew T. Miltenberg said in a statement to the site. “Based on nothing more than a third-party report by a nonwitness — essentially a rumor that was easily and repeatedly disputed — a star athlete lost his education and his future career in the NFL.

Boermeester was kicked out of the school not long after he delivered one of the highlights of the Clay Helton era at USC with a game-winning kick to secure the Rose Bowl back in January of 2017. The issue started back when a member of the school’s tennis team reported an incident allegedly involving the kicker putting his hands on his girlfriend, which prompted a school investigation into the matter. That eventually led to Boermeester’s expulsion despite the woman in question (who is still with Boermeester, according to ESPN) denying what happened and blasting the school for their handling of the matter.

USC’s Title IX coordinator was also named to the suit, which comes after legal wrangling between the parties last year in Los Angeles Superior Court.