Month: August 2016

CFB Season Win Totals: Pac-12

Image result for mike leach

I’m picking every over/under season win total for the Power 5 schools in college football, as well as quite a few others from around the country. I didn’t write all this shit in a day, so the odds are probably not the current ones. Also, there’s a good chance I missed an injury or suspension or twelve. It’s a lot of teams to keep track of and I’m currently putting in 60 hour weeks. Don’t @ me.

Huge shoutout to Phil Steele and a variety of websites on the line making their #content available for all of us to consume. If you don’t use Phil to help you with gambling on college football, you’re lost, pal.

Also, at the bottom of each of these, I’ll give my best bet for the conference champion. It’s not based on who I actually think will win, just my best perceived value. So again, don’t @ me.

North

Washington – over 9 (-120) – 1*

It’s hard not to really like Washington’s chances this year. They return 15 starters. They were close to busting loose last year. It’s third year for Chris Petersen as head coach, which is usually the time it takes off for a program if the coach is any good. They don’t have a weakness anywhere. But the Pac-12 is impossible for me to really figure out.

The Huskies are rather young on offense. They will start six sophomores, but four of those guys started most of last year. QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin are two of themand they combined for over 4,300 yards of offense last year. Browning was a highly touted guy out of high school and was really impressive in his true freshman year.

Defensively, they were the best in the league a year ago and are primed to be the best again. They lose their two best pass rushers, but the Back 7 is one of the best in the country and that’s key in a pass-happy league.

I’ve got UW for two wins in conference play and the rest is up in the air. That will be a common theme in this write-up. Their non-con is really soft, with their “toughest” game being Rutgers at home. They’re favored by 26.5 right now.

Stanford – over 8.5 (-130) – 2*

They only return half of their starters, but I think you just kinda have to put faith in David Shaw. In his five seasons, he’s won double digit regular season games in four of his five seasons (only won 7 in ’14 when they lost three games by three points).

They have to replace QB Kevin Hogan and three O-linemen on offense. Hogan had a great senior year, but he’s replaced by Keller Chryst, who was a big-time recruit last year. As far as the O-line goes, they’re always good in Palo Alto, no matter how many they have to replace. I’m not worried about it, especially due to the fact that Christian McCaffrey is running behind them.

I’d expect them to return to form on defense this year. Last year, they only had three guys back and still only gave up 22.6 ppg, which was a high under Shaw.

The snag in this might be the schedule. They’ve got road games at UCLA, Washington, Notre Dame, and Oregon this year. It won’t be easy, but I’ll ride with Shaw’s resume here.

Oregon – under 8.5 (-115) – 1*

A lot of question marks for the Ducks this year. They lose Vernon Adams, who they struggled without when he was injured last year, and replace him with Montana St. transfer Dakota Prukop. Prukop doesn’t have near the hype that Adams – a transfer from EWU – did last season. They were terrible defensively last year and have to replace 6 of their Front 7 from last year, including stud DE DeForest Buckner. They also have to replace all three of their interior O-linemen.

The obvious strength for this team is their skill guys. They’re loaded at running back and return most of their relevant receivers.

They also are dealing with two new coordinators. OC Scott Frost is not at UCF, but he’s replaced by WR coach Matt Lubick, so that’s not a huge concern especially with HC Mark Helfrich’s experience with the offense. Brady Hoke is the new DC, who’s never been a DC in college and hasn’t had glowing things to say about his unit’s progress in camp. The Ducks didn’t hold anybody under 20 a season ago.

The biggest test in their non-con will be a road game at Nebraska. They avoid UCLA in the South, but have to play on the road at both USC and Utah. They do get both Washington and Stanford at home.

Washington State – over 7.5 (-120) – 2*

Offensively, they’re obviously lethal in the passing game under Mike Leach. QB Luke Falk not only puts up big numbers, but is pretty highly regarded as a pro prospect, as well. He’s got 10 of his 11 top receivers back too, RBs included. The running game is less important, but they made significant strides in YPC last year, with a high of 3.6 in Leach’s tenure. The O-line suffers a couple of losses, but they were really banged up last year anyway.

They improved by nearly 11 ppg last year in their first year under DC Alex Grinch. They lose a couple of key guys in the Front 7, but I’d expect them to be near the same level with a full calendar year in Grinch’s system now. Their DBs made big strides last year and return most of their two-deep, so they should be good once again.

Their schedule is one of the more favorable ones in the North division. They avoid both USC and Utah entirely from the South and they get UCLA at home on homecoming. They only have four road games in the league and they could/should be favored in three of them. They get both Oregon and Washington at home. They do have to travel to Boise State in non-con.

California – under 4 (-110) – 1*

Obviously this one is off the board already, given that the Bears already played a game, but I’ll leave it here for brief discussion sake.

QB Davis Webb will be good, as will their O-line. Their RBs kind of stink and they lost a ton of their receivers. Their defense is probably gonna get lit up more than a couple of times this year.

Their schedule is really difficult. Hawaii was the lone game I had them marked down for a sure W. They go at SDSU and home for Texas to finish the non-con. They have to play UCLA, USC, and Utah from the South. The only favor the Pac-12 did them is playing Washington, Stanford, and Oregon all at home.

Oregon State – under 3.5 (-110) – 1*

I actually think they’ll be an improved this year after a 2-10 (0-9 in Pac-12) stink bomb in Gary Andersen’s first season. Their only wins were against Weber St. and San Jose St.

The problem is their schedule. There’s a pretty good chance they start off 1-2 in the non-con with a game at Minnesota and a home game against Boise State. I’d say they’ve only got about three or four winnable games in conference and I can’t see them really sweeping all of those, but you never know.

South

UCLA – under 9 (-130) – 1*

Really struggled with this one. As you can see, I don’t really like the Bruins to top 9 wins, but I do think they have probably the best chance of any team to make the Pac-12 title game. The reason for that is their schedule. They’re traveling to Texas A&M and BYU in the first three weeks of the season. If you read the SEC piece, you know I’m high on the Aggies. Their conference slate is favorable in that they don’t have to play Oregon or Washington and get both USC and Utah at home. That goes both ways, though. They get their toughest conference opponents at home in what should be tight games, but have a greater chance of getting upset a couple times because they’ll be playing on the road against the mediocre teams of the conference. Mora’s Bruin teams have been good against teams they should beat on the road, however.

Their offense is replacing a lot, but Josh Rosen is back for his sophomore year and might be the best QB in the country. Their defense has 9 starters back and should improve on their 26.0 ppg from last season.

I don’t know, man. The Bruins have my brain in a pretzel. They could win 6 games or 11. I’ll go with history and the fact that Mora’s never won 10 games in a regular season.

USC – over 7.5 (-130) – 2*

The offense returns 10 starters from a unit that put up 34 ppg a season ago. Of course the one replacement is at QB, with Max Browne stepping in. Browne is in his fourth year of the system, though, and he was the top QB recruit in his class. He doesn’t have much real game experience, but all he needs to do is throw it to JuJu. The running backs are awesome. The O-line is awesome. He can’t screw it up too bad.

The D-line is the biggest question mark. They’ll run a 5-2 under DC Clancy Pendergrast and all of the 5 will be new starters, but no surprise they’re all really talented. Pendergrast was the DC back in ’13 and the Trojans put up their best PPG mark in the past six years under his watch. The DBs are some of the best in the country.

So why is their win total at 7.5 and why is it only 2*? Their schedule is absolutely brutal. Two of their non-con games are against Alabama in Arlington and Notre Dame at home. Their conference schedule features road games against Stanford, Utah, Washington, and UCLA. My unscientific projections had them right at 7.5 wins, but I think they’ve got too much talent and experience to not at least go 8-4.

Utah – over 7.5 (-110) – 1*

I have no idea. QB Troy Williams could be good, but I don’t know. He started one game at Washington, lit it up in junior college, and the only thing you can read about him is how hard he works and all the cliché “a lot of ups and downs” talk. He was a big-time recruit out of high school and I would guess he can at least be as good as Travis Wilson. RB takes a big hit with Devontae Booker gone, as does WR, but the O-line is one of the best in the country.

As is the D-line. They should be a Top 25 defense overall.

The first half of the schedule isn’t too bad. The two toughest games will be BYU and USC, but they’re both at home. In the second half they travel to UCLA, but do get Washington and Oregon at home, at least.

I really don’t have a good feel for the Utes this year, but Kyle Whittingham is 94-46 here, both of the lines are good, and they should build some confidence in the first half of the season.

Arizona – under 6.5 (-115) – 1*

The offense will likely put up good numbers again, just like they have since Rich Rod got to Tuscon. They’re above average in every group on that side of the ball, but also not great at any of them.

While they return 8 starters on D, it’s a defense that gave up almost 36 ppg last year. I would expect better numbers this year after an out of character season and a new DC.

If it sounds like I’m positive about the team, it’s because I am, but the biggest reason for the under is the middle of their schedule. They’ll come out of non-con 2-1 or 3-0, depending on if they beat BYU in Glendale, a game they’re a small favorite in. After that, though, they play 6 of the league’s best 7 teams and half of them are on the road. As Steele points out, they might not be favored in any of those games.

Arizona State – under 6 (+170) – 1*

Apparently I’m going heavy against the grain on this one. It’s a 6-6 team that returns 10 starters that won one of the seven games they were dogs in last year and got blown out four times.

They lose their starting QB who was quite good last season and four of the guys who were protecting him. Their Front 7 should be among the best, but everywhere else besides RB has some questions and most of the answers seem to be JUCO guys or transfers.

They could come out of non-con 3-0, but 1-2 is also a possibility if they aren’t sharp to start the season. They have five road games in league play and two of them are Washington and Oregon from the North, in addition to USC in division play.

Colorado – under 4.5 – 3*

Yes, they have 18 starters back. I don’t care. They’ve won two league games in the three years Mike MacIntyre has been head coach. They only had 4 wins last year and they played 13 regular season games. They get one less game this year and they essentially swap playing UMass at home last year to playing at Michigan this year. They’ll be favored in three games this year and the only lock is Idaho State.

Best Bet for Conference Champion

Washington State +1500

It’s just more fun to root for Mike Leach. In addition, they have a lot coming back from a team that was 9-4 last year and three of those losses were by one score. I think their schedule is about as favorable as you can ask for them being in the North. Their defense is headed in the right direction, their QB is really good, and they won four games on the road last year. It’s time for the Cougs to get back to the glory days of Ryan Leaf and Mike Price.

CFB Season Win Totals: SEC

Image result for will muschamp screaming

I’m picking every over/under season win total for the Power 5 schools in college football, as well as quite a few others from around the country. I didn’t write all this shit in a day, so the odds are probably not the current ones. Also, there’s a good chance I missed an injury or suspension or twelve. It’s a lot of teams to keep track of and I’m currently putting in 60 hour weeks. Don’t @ me.

Huge shoutout to Phil Steele and a variety of websites on the line making their #content available for all of us to consume. If you don’t use Phil to help you with gambling on college football, you’re lost, pal.

Also, at the bottom of each of these, I’ll give my best bet for the conference champion. It’s not based on who I actually think will win, just my best perceived value. So again, don’t @ me.

West

Alabama – over 10 (-135) – 2*

I never like giving so much juice on a future bet, but Nick Saban winning double digit games is about the surest thing in a wild sport. Alabama has won 11 regular season games for the past five years. 2010 was the last time they only won 9.

Of course they have to replace a lot of NFL talent and that’s never that easy, but the Tide have been doing that for years under Saban.

There’s basically two things that should concern you if you take this bet: quarterback and the schedule. At the time of writing this, Saban hasn’t decided who will be QB1 yet, but there’s three options – Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett, and Jalen Hurts. They were all highly regarded out of high school, but none of them have won a game as a starting QB in the SEC yet. Bateman was the only one who’s had a chance and he got down 30-10 to Ole Miss last year before Jake Coker took over and nearly won the game. None of them have to set the world on fire – Coker didn’t most of the time last year – because there’s so much talent around them, but having good quarterback play would obviously go a long way towards winning a lot of games.

To me, you can easily chalk up six wins for the Tide this year. I gave them an additional two wins – USC and Auburn – that they should be favored by more than a touchdown in (which they already are against the Trojans). Their season is going to be decided by four road games: Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU. Ole Miss was their only loss of the season last year, the Hogs tend to play their best in big games (Bama won 14-13 last time in FVille), Tennessee is expected to contend for the national title, and LSU is LSU.

With all that said, I still think you’re at least getting a push here.

LSU – over 10 (-110) – 1*

They return 17 starters, including Leonard Fournette, two of the best wide receivers in the country, and 10 of their 11 top tacklers from last year. They had 8 regular season wins last year, but call it 9 since McNeese St. was cancelled. Obviously, Brandon Harris has to suck less this year and they did just lose their third receiver – Tyron Johnson – to transfer and he was a big-time recruit for them a year ago.

However, they have a new DC in Dave Aranda, who is one of the best in the country and should help them improve upon the 24.3 ppg they allowed last year. Phil Steele rates their DBs as tops in the country and the lines on both sides in the Top 8.

As far as the schedule goes, playing Wisconsin in Green Bay won’t be easy to start the season, but the Tigers are 10 point favorites. They get Bama and Ole Miss at home. The season will be decided by those two games as well as road games at Auburn, Florida, Arkansas, and Texas A&M. Obviously not an easy path, but there’s not a more talented team in the country.

Ole Miss – under 8.5 (-110) – 2*

The Rebels went 9-3 last year, but they only return 10 starters and their schedule should be quite a bit tougher.

Chad Swag Kelly is back and should have another big year, but he loses his top two receivers and his new O-Line wasn’t in Steele’s Top 50. Kelly was the Rebels second highest rusher last year (with 500 yards) and the only guy better than him is gone. The problem games a year ago were when Hugh Freeze’s squad couldn’t run the ball. They had 69 rushing yards against Florida (38-10 loss), 40 against Memphis (37-24 loss), and 92 against Bama (43-37 win). Obviously they beat Bama, but the only reason they won that game is that they were +5 in turnovers, which isn’t a very repeatable formula.

I’d expect the defense to be very solid once again and having Kelly in a conference with rather suspect QB play is a big advantage, but I don’t think that’ll be enough to allow them to compete with Bama and LSU.

Their non-conference schedule will be a bit tougher this year. Fresno St., New Mexico St., and UT Martin gets traded for Florida St., Georgia Southern, and Wofford. That FSU game is being played in Orlando Week 1 and the Rebels are 4.5 point dogs. They’ll also get Bama and Georgia at home in the first four weeks. Arkansas, LSU, and Texas A&M are on the road. You’ll likely know the result of this one after their first seven games, if not four.

Auburn – under 7 (even) – 2*

The Tigers return 12 starters from a 6-6 team last year. Their defense should be solid, but they do have three new starters at linebacker. However, Will Muschamp did depart as their DC and was replaced by Kevin Steele, who spent last year as LSU’s DC and in his only year there turned in the highest PPG allowed in years, so you’d have to consider that a downgrade.

I just don’t love the talent on this team. If the draft were held tomorrow, they’d probably only have a few players taken. That’s fine if you play in the Big Ten West, but doesn’t really lend itself to competing in the SEC West.

Their quarterback situation still appears to be a bad one. Sean White and Jeremy Johnson combined for 2,220 yards and an 11-11 TD-INT ratio last year. John Franklin III transferred in from community college after backing up Jameis Winston for a couple years at Florida State. If you’re having visions of another Cam Newton (backed up Tebow, community college, Heisman), don’t. Franklin hasn’t separated himself yet and isn’t really known for his throwing ability. (Update: White is starting. Yikes.)

I’ve got them pegged for three losses off the bat against Clemson, Mississippi, and Alabama. They get Clemson at home, but I just don’t see Auburn being able to keep up with that offense. People were high on Guz Malzahn’s crew heading into last year and they were a big disappointment. I’m not seeing enough to make me think there’s going to be much positive change.

Texas A&M – over 6 (-130) – 4*

I really like the Aggies to beat this number. Obviously things unraveled a bit at the very end of last year, specifically the QB position. Trevor Knight steps in this year as a grad transfer from Oklahoma with a lot of experience. Experience that they haven’t had since Johnny Manziel’s second year. Their receivers are absolutely electric. Their D-Line is one of the best in the country and applies a ton of pressure and their Back 7 returns five starters from last year.

Last year they were 8-4 and two of those losses were Kyle Allen just being terrible. Their biggest question mark is definitely their offensive line. They gave up 37 sacks last year and the team only averaged 4.0 ypc. They only return two starters on that unit, which would be a concern, but they really can’t get much worse than they were, so that’s good?

I’ve only got them pegged for one guaranteed loss and that’s at Alabama. I’ve got them for four wins and seven games that should have rather small spreads. They open with UCLA at home. The Bruins are expected to compete for the Pac-12 title, but they’re replacing a ton on offense and the Aggies should be able to wreak havoc on an inexperienced line. The rest of their non-con stinks, they only play four true road games, and they get Ole Miss and LSU at home.

Arkansas – over 7.5 (+105) – 1*

This one was tough for me. I have three wins for the Hogs marked down and nine toss-up games. And one of the wins – Louisiana Tech – is shaky. LT doesn’t return much from their 9-4 team last year, but they’ll be a relatively tough opener, especially if Arkansas gets off to another slow start like they did last year.

They return 9 starters on defense this year. The Front 7 should have a great year and the DBs have 9 of their top 10 back. While the 27.4 ppg allowed number from last year isn’t the prettiest (up from 19.2 in ’14), it is a bit skewed. The Hogs played in a total of six overtimes last year, which has a big effect on the point total.

Offensively, the biggest concern has to be quarterback. Brandon Allen had a great year in ’15, but is now gone and taking over the reigns is his little brother, Austin. The younger Allen threw a total of three passes last year. They do have to replace RB Alex Collins (1,577 rushing yards in ’15) and three O-linemen as well, but Bret Bielema has been churning out great lines and running backs who average 5.0+ ypc for over a decade now. Their receiving corps is one of the best in the SEC.

Like I said, there are a lot of toss-up games for the Razorbacks, but they only have four true road games and they’re all winnable. They get Bama, LSU, Florida, and Ole Miss all at home.

Mississippi St. – under 6.5 (even) – 2*

11 starters returning and none of them are named Dak Prescott. I can’t say I know much about their backups, but none of them were very highly regarded and they’re highly unlikely to match Prescott’s production. He was responsible for 73% of their total offense last year. Fred Ross has been one of the best receivers in MSU history, but their running backs are very blah and the O-line returns 3 starters who didn’t block very well last season.

Defensively, they’re solid all the way through, but only Richie Brown at the Mike really moves the needle.

Nothing really excites me about this team and the only real reason I could think of to consider putting them over is that Dan Mullen always seems to field a competitive team.

As far as the schedule goes, their only non-con game that should be competitive will be at BYU on a Friday night in the middle of the SEC schedule in October. That won’t be easy. In conference, you can pretty much chalk up losses now at LSU and Alabama and probably at Ole Miss, too. Their only other conference road game is at Kentucky and the other East team they get to play is South Carolina, which is very favorable.

East

Tennessee – over 9.5 (-120) – 2*

It’s hard not to love the Vols this year. They’ve got 17 starters back, they have no real weakness, they play in the East, nothing too difficult in non-con, and they were this close to busting out last year. Their three losses in SEC play were by a combined 10 points and their only non-con loss was in 2OT to Oklahoma.

Their only losses on offense were WR Von Pearson (38 rec., 409 yds.) and LT Kyler Kerbyson. On defense they just have to replace a DT and both their safeties. For a team that averaged a 15.2 point differential last year, that’s not a lot to replace. Jalen Hurd is a stud at RB and this is hopefully the year that Josh Dobbs puts it all together at QB. DE Derek Barnett and WLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin are two of the best defenders in the country.

Virginia Tech will be the toughest foe in non-con (all due respect to Ohio), but it’s being played in Bristol, TN and the Hokies have a new coach. September 24 to October 15 will be make or break for the Vols’ season. They start with Florida before traveling to play Georgia and Texas A&M, and then end the tough stretch by hosting Alabama in Knoxville. After that they get a bye week and then get to beat up on the bottom end of the division and Tennessee Tech.

Georgia – over 8.5 (-110) – 1*

I don’t know, man. It looks like they might start highly touted freshman Jacob Eason at QB. Freshman QBs haven’t had a ton of success in the SEC, but if he can make plays it’ll give the Dawgs a whole new element that they haven’t had since Aaron Murray left. Otherwise it’s back to dink-and-dunk, game manager extraordinaire Greyson Lambert. They do have a lot of skill guys coming back, most importantly Nick Chubb after he was out for the second half of last year. The O-line is one of the best in the country, as well. Phil Steele points out that the Dawgs averaged 20 more ppg when Chubb played last year. He doesn’t mention that they put up 48+ in three of those Chubb games against ULM, Southern, and South Carolina, but I guess the point still stands.

The Back 7 on D looked like it was going to be a real asset – and it still probably will be – but their top returning tackler, Tim Kimbrough, decided to transfer this month. Kirby Smart’s influence should help them out as well, but they do have a lot of talent to replace on the D-line.

In non-con they play UNC in Atlanta and Georgia Tech at home. They should win both, but they’ll likely be tight games. Out of division they go at Mississippi and home for Auburn. They only have four true road games, but they’ve also got two neutral site games with Florida being the other one. This team could go 11-1 or 7-5 and I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

Florida – under 8 (Even) – 1*

If you made me pick Florida’s record, I would say 8-4, so I hate this total.

I think their offense is going to suck again. Luke Del Rio – better known as Jack’s son and Sean Mannion’s backup – is competing with Austin Appleby – better known as “couldn’t start at Purdue” – for the starting QB job. (Update: Del Rio is getting the start in the opener.) The RBs and O-line aren’t very good. The WRs and TEs may be good, but look at who’s throwing them the ball.

The defense should be rather stout again, on the other hand. MLB Jarrad Davis and CB Jalen Tabor are two of the best in the country and the defense as a whole should be near the level they were last year when they only allowed 18.3 ppg.

They’ve got six pretty easy games on the schedule, which is why it’s difficult to take the under, but if their offense puts up a stinker in one or two of them they’ll be in trouble. Also, their two games against the West are LSU at home and Arkansas on the road. The Mizzou game sandwiched between LSU and the bye week could be dangerous, as well.

Missouri – over 5.5 (-110) – 1*

The last five teams in this division is just a suck parade of offense. Drew Lock started eight games last year at QB and managed 4 TDs and 8 INTs. He’s just a sophomore and is considered to be a future NFL prospect with his prototypical size (6’4″, 221). It’s reasonable to assume he’ll be better this year, but all that really takes is him being bad, as opposed to awful.

I guess if you had to pick a strength of the offense it would be the RBs. Alex Ross is an Oklahoma transfer and Ish Witter led the team in rushing last year with 518 yards.

They really can’t be much worse offensively than they were in ’15. They averaged 13.6 points and 281 yards of total offense per game. They did average 20.7 YPP, which according to some Phil Steele research, indicates that their scoring and wins will increase this season. I’m not sure Phil could indicate to you why besides his consistent optimism that everyone will improve, but he does have 25 years of data to show that teams with that type of number improve the next season at a high rate.

Their defense should be very good again and their D-line especially appears to be one of the elites. We should all look forward to a bunch of 17-14 games from the Tigers.

Traveling to LSU, Florida, and Tennessee are the games I have Mizzou for sure losing. Their non-con will provide a couple of tests. They open the year at West Virginia, a game in which they are currently 10.5 point dogs (I’d probably take the points right now). They also have MTSU sandwiched in the middle of SEC play in late October. That’s no gimme. Every other game on the schedule is winnable.

Kentucky – under 5 (-110) – 1*

The Wildcats return 9 starters on offense this year, including all of their skill guys and four of their O-linemen. Drew Barker takes over at QB after starting the last couple games last season when Patrick Towles was putrid. Barker didn’t exactly light it up himself, but it doesn’t seem like he can be much worse.

The defense, on the other hand, loses 7 of their top 8 tacklers from a year ago.

Kentucky football is Kentucky football. They haven’t had a winning season since ’09 and the last time they were even .500 in SEC play was ’06. They’re 4-20 in the conference in the three years that Mark Stoops has been the head coach.

There’s just not a lot of good that jumps out with this team. RB Boom Williams is certainly talented, but I don’t think you can depend on him to stay healthy. It’s hard for me to get behind any team that struggles at the line of scrimmage. This is a team that is -34 in sacks in their time under Stoops. I’ve got them pegged for six losses and only two wins. The four up in the air are Southern Miss, South Carolina, Vandy, and Mississippi State.

Vanderbilt – over 5 (-110) – 1*

I went back and forth on this one due to the belief that this team could win eight games or two. They return 14 starters from last year and a couple more that had great freshman years in 2014 before being injured for all of last year.

Kyle Shurmur takes over at QB. It’s a similar situation to Kentucky. Shurmur hasn’t shown anything to make you think he’ll be even average, but his predecessor – Johnny McCrary – wasn’t either. RB Ralph Webb is a workhorse and put up over 1,300 yards of total offense last year. WR CJ Duncan is one of those who missed all of last season after a solid freshman year (28 rec., 15.8 ypc). The line wasn’t great, but they have a lot of experience coming back and should be better.

While the offense hasn’t been able to score many points under HC Derek Mason – just 15.2 ppg in ’15 and 17.2 in ’14 – they’re another team that had that high PPY at 21.5.

Defensively, their LBs are some of the best in the country. As a unit, the defense only allowed 21.0 ppg, which was more than a 12 point decrease from 2014. That might’ve been due to the fact Mason took over the D last year and will do the same again this season.

The schedule is what scares me the most. It’s not an overly difficult one, coming in at #44 in the country, according to Steele. The problem with it is that there’s only one easy victory on the schedule and that’s Tennessee State. The rest of their non-con is MTSU at home, at Georgia Tech, and at Western Kentucky. None of those three are outstanding, but I don’t see Vandy being favored by any more than a few in any of those and they’ll likely be dogs at GT.

South Carolina – under 5 (-110) – 4*

They return 9 starters from a 3-9 ball club. Will Muschamp is their coach. They might be starting a true freshman at QB. The only position group they have ranked in the Top 50 in the country, according to Steele, is their special teams. I’m a Purdue fan. I know what it’s like to have your kicker and punter as two of your best players and it doesn’t result in a lot of wins. Hard sell on the Gamecocks this year.

Best Bet for Conference Champion

Texas A&M +3000

Would they be my pick to actually win? No, but there’s a hell of a lot of talent on that team for 30-1. Again, the most difficult games on their schedule are at home, besides Alabama. Obviously that’s going to be a crucial game for the Aggies if they are able to sneak out of the West. The thing working in their favor in that game though, is that A&M will be coming off a bye and the Tide will be coming off their game at Tennessee and they’ll be heading into their own bye week before LSU. It’s possible.

 

 

CFB Season Win Totals: Big Ten

Image result for jim harbaugh screaming

I’m picking every over/under season win total for the Power 5 schools in college football, as well as quite a few others from around the country. I didn’t write all this shit in a day, so the odds are probably not the current ones. Also, there’s a good chance I missed an injury or suspension or twelve. It’s a lot of teams to keep track of and I’m currently putting in 60 hour weeks. Don’t @ me.

Huge shoutout to Phil Steele and a variety of websites on the line making their #content available for all of us to consume. If you don’t use Phil to help you with gambling on college football, you’re lost, pal.

Also, at the bottom of each of these, I’ll give my best bet for the conference champion. It’s not based on who I actually think will win, just my best perceived value. So again, don’t @ me.

East

Ohio State – under 9.5 (+150) – 1*

This is a tough one to take, but it’s also not any easier to go the other way and lay -185 for the most inexperienced team in the country to win double digit games.

Let me just lay it out there: Urban Meyer is 46-2 in his four regular seasons in Columbus. This season will be the most challenging, however. They’re replacing a ton of NFL talent and 16 of their starters from a year ago. Also, the schedule is quite a bit more difficult from ’15.

Of course there’s plenty of talent still left on both sides of the ball, but it’s unproven talent. JT Barrett will get all the snaps this year at QB, but the loss of Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller means they’re one injury away from Joe Burrow, whose resume currently consists of a “great spring game”. 1800 yard rusher Zeke Elliott is gone and his replacement – Curtis Samuel – only got 17 carries last year. Samuel’s been good in his moments, but you don’t just replace someone who’s good enough to go in the Top 5 of the NFL Draft as a RB. They also have to replace every meaningful receiver from a year ago and 60% of their O-line.

Defensively it’s more of the same, but they do get back Tyquan Lewis and Raekwon McMillan, who were their leading sacker and tackler in ’15. Even still, it’s unlikely they can match the 15.1 ppg the D put up last year, which was about 7 points better than any Buckeye unit has had in Meyer’s time. Add in the fact that DC Chris Ash left in the offseason and the high 20.6 YPP figure that they had and the result should be probably about a touchdown higher.

The schedule isn’t as friendly this year. I’ve got them down for 7 wins and 5 toss-ups. They travel to Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan State and Michigan at home won’t be easy. The league didn’t do them any favors with Wisky and Penn St. coming off byes heading into their respective games. If it were anybody else in the country besides Meyer or Nick Saban coaching, this would probably be a 3* bet, but Meyer has earned that respect.

Michigan – over 10 (-120) – 1*

The bets don’t reflect that I necessarily like Michigan more than Ohio State as a team more, but the Wolverines schedule is soft and there’s only about three games that really matter.

The offense should at least match their production from a season ago. They do lose QB Jake Rudock, but he spent most of last season being average and John O’Korn and/or Wilton Speight should be able to match his play. The relevant receiving corps and starting RB De’Von Smith (with depth behind him) are all back. The O-line brings back four starters and project to be one of the best units in the nation.

The D-line and DBs are both Top 10 units, according to Phil Steele. There’s a lot to replace at LB, but Jabrill Peppers will be moving their full-time. While DC DJ Durkin is now the head man at Maryland, Jim Harbaugh brought in Boston College’s DC Don Brown, who led a Top 5 defense nationally a year ago. 16.4 ppg from last season will be a tough mark to match, but certainly attainable given the schedule.

To that schedule, it boils down to road games at Michigan State, Iowa, and Ohio State. The Wolverines might be favored by double digits in the other nine games.

Michigan State – over 8.5 (-120) – 2*

South Point opened this one at 7.5, which would’ve been nice to get, but there’s still a lot to like here with the Spartans. They’ve been really consistent, winning at least 10 regular season games in four of the past five years. The one year they didn’t – 2012 (6-6) – they were also going through a changing of the guard at QB, but they also lost five of those games by a combined 13 points. Also, five of those six losses came at home. Not really a relevant stat, but I found it interesting and now force that knowledge upon you. You’re welcome.

Fifth year senior Tyler O’Connor takes over at QB. There hasn’t been a ton of game action in his career, but he did make the start for that Ohio State win (8-16, 91 yards passing) last season in Columbus. Connor Cook obviously had a ton of experience, but he was never forced to carry the offense and neither will O’Connor. They return their Top 3 RBs from last season and all of them had 500+ yards rushing. WR is a bit of a concern after losing their top two, but RJ Shelton has made plays in the past and they’ve got size on the outside. The O-line loses three guys to the NFL, but it was a unit that suffered a bunch of injuries last year and still managed to play okay.

Defensively, the Spartans should be one of the best again. They’ve been deep for years now and have shown the ability to restock talent, especially with their recruiting being better every year. Their LBs are some of the best in the country.

Four games stand out on the schedule: home for Michigan and Ohio State and at Notre Dame and Penn State. They beat both UM and OSU on the road last year and have a great shot at getting them both again this season.

Penn State – over 6.5 (-120) – 2*

Let’s start with the defense because this would probably be twice the play for me if they weren’t losing so much on the D-line. What they’re losing is three draft picks and the 26 sacks that went with them a season ago. Their Back 7 should be quite good actually, but I’m a stickler for good fronts on both sides of the ball.

Offensively I’d expect their best year yet under James Franklin. They’ve got 9 starters back and while you’d usually expect a drop off after losing a 2nd round pick at QB, I don’t because Christian Hackenberg was kind of trash. Franklin likes mobility at QB and Trace McSorley will bring that. He’s not known for being an elite passer, but Hackenberg completed 53.5% of his passes and only threw for 16 TDs, so it’s not that high of a bar to beat. Their skill position guys are among the 10-15 best in the country. Their O-line has stunk under Franklin, but McSorley should help, they have a lot of experience coming back, and they can’t do much worse than the 41.5 sack average they’ve given up over the last two years.

I’ve only got them solidly in for four wins, but also only one loss (@ Michigan). Going at Pitt and home for Temple will be key to getting their season started off in the right direction. They lost at Temple last year after getting shutout for the final 3Q. The season will ultimately be decided by how they fare against Ohio State, Iowa, and Michigan State at home.

Indiana – over 4.5 (-110) – 4*

I don’t really get this total at all. I put their floor for wins this year at five with a ceiling of nine. Yes, they have to replace some key guys on offense. QB Nate Sudfeld will be the most difficult. He had a really productive career, but they did bring in Richard Lagow from JuCo and it appears he’ll get the nod over two guys who actually have experience at this level, so he must not be terrible. RB Jordan Howard was a force, but Devine Redding is back and he actually led the team in carries and had over 1000 yards rushing last season. They lose their AA LT to the NFL, but they’ve still got a lot of talent on the O-line, including the best G prospect (Dan Feeney) in the country.

Full disclosure: their defense probably won’t be very good again. They haven’t held opponents under 30 ppg since 2009. It is what it is. At least they do return 29 of their 37 lettermen on that side of the ball and they’ve got a new DC who may help. He can’t possibly make it worse.

Their non-con is pretty easy. I’m not sure who thought playing at FIU on a Thursday night Week 1 was a good idea, but you’d still expect them to win. After that they get Ball State and Wake at home. The other two wins I’ve got them for are Maryland and Purdue at home. I don’t expect them to have a shot at beating the Top 3 in the division, but the other four games on the schedule are all win possibilities.

Maryland – under 4.5 (-110) – 2*

I just don’t see much to like with the Terps. They have a new coaching staff, who could be good, but who knows? They had a TD-INT ratio of 1-2 last year, which is horrendous for the non-sabermetric crowd out there. Their top rusher (by a lot) is gone, their receivers have their quarterbacks throwing to them, and the O-line loses three starters.

Their defense was pretty bad last year and they lose 6 of their top 9 tacklers. DJ Durkin is a very good defensive coach, but he doesn’t quite have the talent he had at Florida and Michigan, to put it mildly.

Their non-con schedule doesn’t involve any good teams, but they’re also playing on the road at FIU and UCF back-to-back weeks. I wouldn’t call those gimmes, especially for a team that got beaten soundly in four of their five road games last year. They’ve got a five game stretch in the second half of the season that starts with Michigan State, followed by road games at Indiana and Michigan, Ohio State at home, and ends with Nebraska on the road. They could be at least two touchdown dogs in all of those.

Rutgers – over 4.5 (-110) – 1*

They bring in Chris Ash as the head man after he’s spent the last couple of years as the DC at Ohio State. He inherits a 4-8 team that returns 16 of their starters. Ash should bring some stability to a defense that gave up 35 ppg last year after returning just three starters.

In general, I like this team for a few reasons. They don’t have the mess that was the Rutgers coaching staff last year, they’ve got great lines on both sides of the ball, and they’ve got so much experience returning from a team that was a play or two away from going bowling last year.

I doubt they’ll beat any of the big boys in the conference or Washington in Week 1, but outside of those five games, they have a ton of opportunities for wins.

West

Iowa – over 8.5 (-160) – 3*

The Hawkeye offense only returns five starters, but none of it’s back-breaking NFL talent or anything. The two biggest losses are RB Jordan Canzeri and C Austin Blythe. Blythe was an AA, but they’ll manage without him. Canzeri was just short of 1000 yards rushing last year, but LeShun Daniels and his two backups will at least be able to match last year’s rushing numbers. CJ Beathard is back at QB and should be one of the league’s best.

The defense returns 8 starters including their top tackler (Josey Jewell) and their top cover man, Desmond King, who won the Thorpe Award last season. They lose top sacker Drew Ott, but he missed the last nine games last year anyway.

The biggest reason to like the Hawkeyes this season is their rather soft schedule. Four of their five road games this year are against four of the bottom teams in the conference. They avoid Ohio State and Michigan State and get to play Michigan at home.

Nebraska – over 8.5 (-120) – 1*

Let’s get the hypocritical part out of the way: they’re replacing 7 of their 9 guys between the two starting lines. Don’t love it. I’d rate this wager higher if that wasn’t a fact.

However, they do return about everything else, plus their defensive line wasn’t all that good anyway. They had a lot of talent that got them drafted, but the production level didn’t match the talent.

Last year they lost a ton of close games with a new coaching staff and they ended up 5-7 in the regular season before beating UCLA in the bowl game.

The schedule gets quite a bit easier this year. Their non-con consists of Fresno, Wyoming, and an Oregon team that has inexperienced lines as well and all of them are in Lincoln. They do draw Ohio State from the East, but luck out with Indiana and Maryland being the other two. However, they do have to play the three other top teams in the West – Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern – on the road.

Wisconsin – under 7 (-110) – 3*

A 10-2 team a year ago loses most of their top talent and goes from a baby shit soft schedule to one of the most difficult in the country. I’m also not sold that Paul Chryst has the ability to be anything other than mediocre as a head coach.

Their run game fell way off last year in Chryst’s first year as HC. He was the OC here back in the Bielema days. Bielema has shown that he can take the running game other places with him – like the SEC – and it kinda seems like Chryst can’t do the same thing. I’d expect their passing game to stink. Defensively, their Front 7 should be pretty good, but their DBs are a big question mark.

The schedule is the biggest problem. They open with LSU in Green Bay. They draw Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State from the East and the latter two are on the road. They also play Iowa and Northwestern on the road. Really the only favorable thing the B1G schedule makers did for them is letting them play Nebraska at home.

Northwestern – over 6.5 (-130) – 2*

They basically have to replace all of their receivers, but that’s no big deal because their receivers stunk anyway. After a rough freshman year, I would expect QB Clayton Thorson to be much improved. RB Justin Jackson is one of the best in the league. Their O-line has to replace a couple guys, but the unit was ravaged by injury last year anyway.

Defensively, they should be really good again after only giving 18.6 ppg last season. Anthony Walker just might be the best linebacker in the league.

Special teams isn’t exactly a strong suit for the Wildcats. The punting was good net wise last season, but K Jack Mitchell was only 2-8 from 40+ and missed two kicks under 30 yards and three extra points.

They go on a four game stretch that includes road games at Iowa, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Those are unlikely to result in Ws, but every other game is winnable. Their biggest non-con contest will be Duke at home.

Minnesota – under 6.5 (+125) – 1*

Phil Steele only has one Gopher unit in the Top 50 and that’s the special teams coming in at 42. QB Mitch Leidner stinks. The RBs seem decent, but the O-line lost a combined 108 career starts and that could be a real problem for them offensively.

Defensively, they were actually pretty solid last year, but they do lose 4 of their 6 top tacklers, including their leading sack man and 4th round NFL Draft selection, LB De’Vondre Campbell. There’s really not a whole lot of bad or good to say about the defense. They’re the definition of average.

The biggest reason for the odds on this total is that the Gophers play a very weak schedule. Oregon State and Colorado State are their most difficult non-con games and two of their East teams are Maryland and Rutgers. They’ll play Penn State, Iowa, and Wisconsin on the road.

Illinois – under 4.5 (-110) – 2*

I have them for one guaranteed victory: Murray State. Outside of that who knows, absolute best case scenario is 6-6.

They only have 4 starters back on D and overall they have one of the fewest amount of letterman returning in the whole country. QB Wes Lunt will be their best hope to carry them and he lost his two best weapons on offense.

Lovie Smith is the new HC. People seemed excited about that, but he hasn’t coached college kids for two decades, so put me in the skeptic category.

Purdue – under 4.5 (-110) – 1*

They’ve won six games in three years. They are the most experienced team in the league, but unfortunately that stat alone doesn’t win games. In reality, they’ve got five winnable games to start the year, but they have created ways to lose under Darrell Hazell. They’re gonna need their O-line to stabilize if they’re going to accomplish anything this season.

Best Bet For Conference Champion

Michigan State +1200

They’re fifth in the odds. Ohio State and Michigan are both pushing close to even. I definitely understand why people would have some pause on the Spartans heading into this season, but they seem to consistently play above their public perception every season recently except for 2012. As I mentioned before they get the Wolverines and Buckeyes at home and beat both of them a year ago. They don’t have to play either Iowa or Nebraska from the West. I think their B1G schedule is the easiest of the Top 3 in the East and they’ve got a good shot of making their fourth conference title game (won two) in the six years of the game existing.