American Athletic Conference

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Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma see playoff odds shorten

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As we’re right at the halfway point of the 2019 regular season (already???), the race for the playoffs is beginning to take shape, at least wagering-wise.

In its latest set of odds released this week, one offshore sportsbook continues to have the two combatants for the 2018 title, Alabama and Clemson, as the co-favorites to win the 2019 College Football Playoff championship.  Both the Crimson Tide and the Tigers come in at 5/2 after sitting at 11/4 a week ago.

Ohio State is next at 5/1 (11/2 last week at this time), followed by LSU at 11/2 (7/1) and Oklahoma at 6/1 (9/1).

There’s a significant gap between that group and the next one that includes Georgia, which tumbled to 14/1 from 7/1 coming off its loss to unranked South Carolina in Athens.  Also at 14/1 is Wisconsin, which sat at 25/1 this time last week.

The only other team even remotely in that neighborhood is Penn State, which saw their odds shorten from 33/1 to 25/1.

Mike Aresco expects to hear update on AAC championship game waiver “in the next month”

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With the upcoming departure of UConn from the American Athletic Conference, the staus of the AAC Championship Game is officially in question. Without 12 football-playing members, the AAC does not satisfy the NCAA requirement to play an official conference championship game without a waiver. Not wanting to give up the title game just a few short years after implementing it (and accepting the extra revenue generated in the TV contract), AAC commissioner Mike Aresco is hoping to get some positive word on a waiver request sometime soon.

How soon?

It looks like we may have an update on this situation within the month. The sooner, the better.

UConn is leaving the AAC after this current football season, and Aresco has made it clear the conference still wants to continue playing its conference title game. The current plan is for the AAC to scrap the two-division format entirely and pit the two best teams in a conference championship game at the end of the regular season (an idea that would work well in almost every conference, by the way). The AAC reportedly field a formal waiver to allow for the championship game to live on back in August.

The Big 12 currently only has 10 members and has been granted permission to field a conference championship game on top of the round-robin schedule played during the season. If the Big 12 can have a conference title game without 12 members, then the AAC should be getting confirmation their conference championship game will continue too. But waiting for the official word is needed before the conference can start making plans for 2020 and beyond.

At this point, there remains no sign the conference is looking to add a 12th member for football, which would negate the need for a waiver. But if the waiver is denied, for some reason, then expect the AAC expansion rumors to start flying once again.

Sorry Clemson, the other Tigers from Death Valley are the new No. 2 in the latest AP Poll

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Tide, Tigers and, oh my, some more Tigers. There was a new No. 2 team in the country thanks to the action in Week 7 and it’s not the defending champions either.

LSU assumed the spot behind No. 1 Alabama in the latest AP Poll — supplanting new No. 3 Clemson — after their big win over Florida on Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Ed Orgeron’s crew even picked up an extra first place vote in the process to give them 12 to Dabo Swinney’s 11 (the Tide had 30, No. 4 Ohio State had nine).

No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 7 Penn State and No. 8 Notre Dame all moved up in the poll while the No. 9 Gators and a tumbling Georgia rounded out the top 10.

Interestingly, Utah is the new No. 13 team after leapfrogging No. 14 Boise State. The Utes are a spot behind conference rival Oregon, who will take on new No. 25 Washington in Seattle this upcoming Saturday.

No. 20 Minnesota, No. 22 Missouri and No. 24 Appalachian State were also ranked for the first time this season — replacing Virginia, Wake Forest and Memphis.

The full AP Top 25 heading into Week 8:

  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. Clemson
  4. Ohio State
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Penn State
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia
  11. Auburn
  12. Oregon
  13. Utah
  14. Boise State
  15. Texas
  16. Michigan
  17. Arizona State
  18. Baylor
  19. SMU
  20. Minnesota
  21. Cincinnati
  22. Missouri
  23. Iowa
  24. Appalachian State
  25. Washington

LSU moves to No. 3 in latest Coaches Poll, Georgia tumbles but remains in top 10

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Coaches Poll voters still think there’s a clear top two in college football but the weekend’s latest results do have those casting ballots finally coming around to reward resume over the eye test in a number of other cases.

No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson remained cemented atop the Week 8 Coaches Poll but they were joined in the top four by a surging LSU, who moved to No. 3 after their convincing victory over new No. 9 Florida in Baton Rouge. No. 4 Ohio State was just a point behind the Tigers despite having one more first place vote while No. 5 Oklahoma stayed put after their win in the Red River Showdown.

The biggest mover of the poll was not surprisingly Georgia, who fell all the way down to No. 10 from their previous spot at No. 3 after inexplicably losing to South Carolina at home in double OT. No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 7 Penn State and No. 8 Notre Dame all moved up two spots from last week after big victories as well.

Wake Forest, Virginia, Memphis and Texas A&M all dropped out of the top 25 following losses. No. 21 Cincinnati, No. 23 Washington, No. 24 Appalachian State and No. 25 Temple were their replacements. Boise State remained as the highest ranked Group of Five team at No. 13 but they have plenty of competition for the New Year’s Six bid with No. 19 SMU hanging around with their AAC peers in the rankings.

Here’s the full top 25 heading into Week 8:

  1. Alabama (44 first place votes)
  2. Clemson (14)
  3. LSU (3)
  4. Ohio State (4)
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Penn State
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia
  11. Auburn
  12. Oregon
  13. Boise State
  14. Utah
  15. Texas
  16. Michigan
  17. Arizona State
  18. Baylor
  19. SMU
  20. Minnesota
  21. Cincinnati
  22. Iowa
  23. Washington
  24. Appalachian State
  25. Temple

Wake Forest becomes fourth unbeaten to lose in Week 7

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And then there was an even dozen (pending Boise State finishing off Hawaii, of course).

As we made our way into the seventh week of the 2019 college football season, there were 16 teams that had yet to lose a game.  In the early-afternoon slot, a pair of teams suffered their first defeat of the season — No. 3 Georgia, No. 23 Memphis, with both of those losses coming to unranked teams.  In the primetime slot, No. 7 Florida dropped its first game to No. 5 LSU.

Which brings us to Wake Forest.

Wake began the 2019 season 5-0, the first time they’d hit that mark since 2006.  With a date against Louisville on tap, they were looking to go 6-0 for the first time since 1944.

Alas, there would be no history as Wake fell to Louisville 62-59.  But what an epically non-historical game it was.

At the end of the third quarter, the Cardinals led 45-31.  While the offenses weren’t exactly invisible through the first three-quarters of the game, they would explode for 45 points in the fourth quarter of the contest.

The U of L struck first in that final stanza to push its lead to a game-high 21 points at 52-31 with 9:14 remaining.  Wake would get as close as three points twice the rest of the way, the last coming with just over a minute left in the game.  Unlike earlier in the quarter, an onside quick was unsuccessful, sealing the win for the 4-2 Cardinals.

So, with Wake out, below are the unbeaten dozen halfway through the 2019 regular season:

  • Alabama
  • Appalachian State
  • Baylor
  • Boise State
  • Clemson
  • LSU
  • Minnesota
  • Oklahoma
  • Ohio State
  • Penn State
  • SMU
  • Wisconsin