Bowls offer up interesting matchups

As usualy, the BCS provided plenty of drama leading up to the final weekend of college football before the bowl season. Supporters of the BCS have always pointed to this weekly drama as the reason we should keep this ridiculously flawed system that only let the top two teams in the country play for the National Championship. In some years this has worked out great with epic matchups between Ohio State and Miami and then USC and Texas. Those games made the BCS system a significant improvement over the old system, where #1 rarely played #2 in the bowl games. But the imprved system made most of us want more, as it further exposed the arbitrary nature of college football and the silly notion that losing one game could disqualify you from playing for a championship. It also highlighted on a weekly basis the absurd notion that opinions and style points should somehow determine the fate of a football team, as opposed to winning a game on the field in a playoff.

Next year we will finally move to a more rational system. But for this year, with some lucky breaks at the end, including the resolution of the Jameis Winston drama, we got a game with Florida State and Auburn that most people can support. With that we also got some more games that football fans and betters can enjoy, and there will be plenty of people researching odds and free bets in order to enjoy an interesting slate of games.

The title game will get a ton of attention as usual, as the incredibly talented Florida State team seems poised to put an end to the SEC dominance of this game. Auburn is a 7.5 to 8.5 underdog with the various sports books, which is a pretty big spread considering Auburn won the SEC. Of cours ethe miracle finishes need to be considered as well. But this game is often ripe for upsets, as the break between the end of the season and the game can stretch out over a month. We’ll see if Florida State is really that good, or if they just ran up the score against mediocre competition.

One of the best bowl matchups has Ohio State roughly as a 2 or 2.5 point favorite over Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Ohio State opened as a 5 point favorite in some books and over a field goal in others, so money is definitely coming in on Clemson. Both teams have issues on defense, as it will be difficult for Clemson to stop Ohio State’s running game while the Ohio State defense often gets carved up by good quarterbacks like Tajh Boyd.

The worst game looks like Baylor vs Central Florida, where Baylor is favored by over two touchdowns. Of course the spread will make this interesting for betters, but it’s hardly the type of game fans look forward to. Perhaps UCF can spring the upset. Enjoy!

  

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Vegas Vic’s Free Pick: Pitt over Notre Dame

Notre Dame had a huge road win last weekend, and the Fighting Irish have certainly gotten everyone’s attention. After years of mediocrity, Notre Dame is certainly relevant again.

Take a look at the college football lines for this week and you’ll see Notre Dame is a 17 point favorite over Pitt? Can they cover? Here’s this week’s free pick from Vegas Vic:

3:30 Eastern (Saturday, November 3rd)
Pittsburgh +17 over Notre Dame

You have to figure the Irish are going to be somewhat flat in this situation if not totally flat in this situation as a double digit home favorite coming off of last weeks huge/satisfying national tv 30-13 upset road win at Oklahoma as a double digit road underdog crushing the Sooners. Lines do matter in perception. Who is the underdog and who is the favorite does matter in scheduling/situations/results. Pittsburgh is just good enough to give Notre Dame a fight and the Panthers are playing with double revenge having lost 17-23 and 12-15 the last 2 seasons vs Notre Dame. If the Irish show up flat in this situation off last weeks big win at Oklahoma they are going to be hard pressed to cover -17 points. If the Irish show up totally flat in this situation their 8-0 start ends with an outright Pittsburgh upset…

There you have it.

  

College football is back

Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly (C) leaves field after his team’s 22-19 loss to the Auburn Tigers in the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in Glendale, Arizona, January 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Will Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly have the same sour look on his face tonight after his Ducks face LSU, or will Oregon get off to another fast start. After that, will Kelly even survive the Willie Lyles scandal?

It’s been a brutal off-season for college football, as the very structure of the sport is coming under attack. Perhaps nobody is to blame, as this system has evolved over the years into a multibillion dollar business while trying to keep the myth of amateur athletics. So you end up with ridiculous rules, and big programs in trouble with tattoo scandals and potential suit scandals as college kids deal with instant fame and boosters who want to spend time with them and give them money. Then you end up with absurd results where champions like USC have to pretend they didn’t win a BCS title because one player broke the rules.

At the same time we have an absurd BCS system that is anything but fair, making a mockery of the whole season, while universities jump around from conference to conference looking for the biggest payday.

With all that, most of us are excited to have the season begin because it’s such a great sport. We love football, and we love the tradition and pageantry associated with the sport. College fans are intense and loyal. We also love our weekly office football pools and friendly wagers with friends.

Tonight we have two great games, with Oregon as a 3.5-point favorite against LSU and Boise State as a 3-point favorite against Georgia. Check out all of the college football lines for today’s games.

  

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