Published on Friday, 7/7/17, at 5:38 p.m. Eastern.
Updated on Tuesday, 8/31/17, at 1:26 p.m. Eastern.
I’ll be adding to this post as Week 1 approaches. Here’s what’s been posted to VegasInsider.com & BE Sports so far:
–My breakdown of ACC schedules.
–My rankings of the Group of Five contenders.
—My analysis of the 105 lines for Games of the Year released by The Golden Nugget in late June.
–I had lots of SEC opinions in Episode 9 of the Games Galore podcast, which had Rachel Baribeau as the featured guest (she’s #ChangingtheNarrative). Many more thoughts & college football convo will be coming up on future GG pods.
—Episode 10 of the Games Galore podcast dropped on July 11 with featured guest, Kelly Stewart. Kelly, a VegasInsider.com handicapper who is also known as KellyinVegas, agreed with Brian on being bullish on Oklahoma St. and Washington. B.E. & KIV differ on the Big Ten, where Kelly likes Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan squad while Brian thinks Wisconsin and Ohio St. will decide the conference’s winner at the league Championship Game. Where do they stand on the ACC’s chances of making the CFP? Listen here!
—Games Galore 12 had veteran Florida beat writer Chris Harry as its featured guest at the 40-minute mark. The rest of the show had Brian talking about his preseason Top 25 and various other college football topics, in addition to some thoughts on the aftermath of UFC 214.
Brian’s Favorite Win Totals & Futures (more to follow…):
3 UNITS on Oklahoma St. ‘over’ 9 (-110) wins per Westgate.
2 UNITS on Washington St. ‘over’ 7.5 wins (-130) per 5Dimes.eu.
3 UNITS on South Carolina ‘over’ 5.5 wins (-105) per 5Dimes.
1 UNIT on Houston ‘over’ 8 (-130) per 5Dimes.
4 UNITS on Wisconsin -115 to win the Big Ten West per 5Dimes.
1 UNIT on Florida +160 to win the SEC East per 5Dimes.
**Note: Some of the odds have been adjusted from above over the last few weeks. If South Carolina’s ‘over ‘juice is north of -130, drop that wager down from three units to merely one. Likewise, if there’s any other added juice to make any of the bets above more expensive, lower the units you risk.
Season-Ending Injuries & Suspensions:
—Seven Gators, including star WR Antonio Callaway, are suspended for at least the Michigan game.
–Wisconsin senior LB and All-American candidate Jack Cichy is out for the season with knee injury. He started the Badgers’ first seven games last year before suffering an injury that kept him out for the rest of the year. Beforehand, Cichy had 60 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5.5 TFL’s, two PBU and three QB hurries. Wisconsin went 6-1 in the seven games without Cichy last year, but its schedule was much tougher in September and October compared to down the stretch.
–Pittsburgh is dealing with all sorts of personnel issues. Senior starting DE Rori Blair has been dismissed from the program. Blair had 22 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1.5 TFL’s and five QB hurries last season. Jordan Whitehead, the junior who is ranked as the third-best draft-eligible strong safety behind only FSU’s Derwin James and Alabama’s Ronnie Harrison in Phil Steele’s magazine, is suspended for the Panthers’ first three games: vs. Youngstown St., at Penn St. and vs. Oklahoma St. Despite missing the team’s last four games with an injury in 2016, Whitehead still produced 66 tackles, one interception, 1.5 TFL’s and two PBU. He is a two-time second-team All-ACC selection.
–Kentucky fifth-year senior OT Cole Mosier went down with a season-ending ACL tear last week. Mosier made 13 career starts, including 10 last year, in 32 career games played. Also, senior WR Dorian Baker fractured his ankle and will be out for a significant period of time, perhaps the entire year. In 23 career starts, Baker has made 88 receptions for 1,015 yards and six TDs.
–Ga. Tech has kicked sophomore RB Dedrick Mills out of the program for undisclosed reasons. Mills led the Yellow Jackets in rushing as a true freshman.
–Tennessee starting OT Chance Hall is out for all of 2017 with a knee injury. Hall was a Freshman All-American in 2015.
–Memphis WR Sam Craft is out for the season with a knee injury. Craft, a senior who took a medical redshirt last season, started 20 games from 2013-2015. Nevertheless, the Tigers will still have one of the nation’s most dynamic offenses the returns nine starters from a unit that averaged 38.8 PPG. QB Riley Ferguson and WR Anthony Miller are both poised for banner seasons. Mike Norvell’s team gets an advantageous situational spot in Week 3 when it hosts UCLA in a noon Eastern game in the mid-September heat at the Liberty Bowl. The Bruins will have to travel East and play extremely early for their body clocks, not to mention a look-ahead scenario with a trip to Palo Alto to play Stanford on deck.
–Western Kenutcky has lost two defensive starters for 2017. CB De’Andre Simmons is out for the year with a knee injury. Simmons had 30 tackles, one interception and eight PBU in ’16. Also, starting DE Tanner Reeves has been dismissed from the program after his arrest early Sunday on multiple charges stemming from driving under the influence of alcohol and without a valid driver’s license. Reeves had 17 tackles, two TFL’s and two QB hurries in five starts last year.
–Kansas senior WR LaQuivionte Gonzalez was dismissed from the team earlier this month. Gonzalez haad 62 receptions for 729 yards and three TDs last season. KU should still have an improved passing game with Washington St. transfer Peyton Bender poised to be the starting QB. Steven Sims is back after hauling in 72 catches for 859 yards and seven TDs in ’16. Also, former four-star Alabama recruit Daylon Charlot is ready to make a big impact after sitting out last year due to transfer rules.
–Oklahoma junior WR Nick Basquine is out for the season with a torn Achilles. Basquine had 20 receptions for 265 yards and two TDs last year.
–Texas St.’s offense took three major hits earlier this month. First of all, Damian Williams was suspended indefinitely due to “academic and personal” issues/reasons. Williams, the grad transfer from Mississippi St. who was penciled in as the starting QB after lighting it up in the spring game, made one start in three years with the Bulldogs. He completed 58.0 percent of his passes for 706 yards with a 5/2 TD-INT ratio. The Bobcats also dismissed last season’s leading rusher, Stedman Mayberry, from the program. Mayberry rushed for a team-best 593 yards and five TDs in ’16. Making matters worse, second-string RB Tyler Tutt is out indefinitely with an injury. When coach Everett Withers was asked about if/when Williams would return to the team, he said there’s “no telling.”
–South Alabama junior CB Jalen Thompson is academically ineligible for the 2017 season. Thompson was the Jaguars’ best player in the secondary last year, tallying 31 tackles, a team-high four interceptions, six PBU, one-half sack and 1.5 TFL’s.