Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 9:00 AM
We know, we know.
The National Football League training camps are popping up all around this week and so everyone has their camera lens' pointed at the "usual suspects" such as Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo, New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez and new Tampa Bay CB Darrelle Revis but we've got plenty of time to chat up these players and all 32 NFL teams in the immediate days/weeks ahead.
Today we'll focus our attention on the college kids who -believe it or not -will kick off their 2013 seasons in just about a month with back-to-back defending champion Alabama set to go to the post on Saturday, August 31st against Virginia Tech in the Chick Fil-A College Kickoff Game in Atlanta's Georgia Dome and a slew of other key games are straight ahead in late August/early September.
Here, let's take a look at a batch of NCAA teams that are considered among the favorites to cop this year's BCS Championship Games (note all figures below are based on $100 per-play wagers):
ALABAMA (+ 190) -The Crimson Tide's copped three of the last four national championships and they are the heavy-duty betting favorites to get "mission accomplished" once again this year. Veteran QB AJ McCarron (2,933 yards passing last year with 30 TDs and 3 INTs) sparks an offense that just might put the ball in the air more often than in recent years but it's that 'Bama defense that usually determines this team's true fates/fortunes.
Note that Nick Saban's crew must stop the likes of Heisman Trophy favorites QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) on Sept. 14th in College Station and WR Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss) on Sept. 28th in Tuscaloosa and do keep in mind that Alabama has lost a home game in each of the past two seasons (see Texas A&M last year and archrival LSU back in 2011) and so don't be too quick to write down "W's" for all of the 'Bama home games just yet.
OREGON (+ 450) -The Chip Kelly Era may be over in Eugene but the new boss-man of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles sure left a stocked cupboard for new Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich. The former offensive coordinator for this Pac-12 team kept most of last year's coaching staff in place -a real key whenever a head coach departs the scene -and now an offense that ranked fifth overall nationally last year attempts to pick up where it left off after scoring 42-or-more points in 11 of the team's 13 games.
If QB Marcus Mariota (2,677 yards passing last year with 32 TDs and 6 INTs) can continue his dual-threat success -remember that he rushed for 752 yards (a 7.1 ypc average) and 5 TDs a year ago -and Oregon can handle an early-season non-league schedule that includes a road game at Virginia and a home game versus Tennessee than Helfrich and Company could be jump-started towards a special season.
Wish you were here, Chip!
OHIO STATE (+ 500) -The news coming from Columbus the past few days ain't great with word that RB Carlos Hyde has been suspended after being named as a "person of interest" in an alleged assault against a female. Last year Hyde rushed for 970 yards and 16 TDs and so we'll see if the Buckeyes' TD-maker will get re-instated prior to the start of this upcoming campaign or will second-year head coach Urban Meyer make this suspension stick (it's not as if Meyer has been tough on his players through the years at Florida or already here at Ohio State).
There's other concerns for this Big 10 team that last year rollicked to a perfect 12-and-oh mark while on NCAA probation including the fact the 'Eyes must upgrade a passing attack that ranked 99th nationally a year ago (averaged a mere 181.5 ypg) plus don't forget that sked that includes a non-conference road game at California and road tilts inside Big 10 play at Northwestern and Michigan. Hey, is this finally the year the Big 10 Championship Game gets what it has wanted and that's an Ohio State vs. Michigan showdown for all the marbles?
TEXAS A&M (+ 800) -Raise your hand if you've grown more than a little tired of all the Twitter, TMZ and Page 6 antics (or alleged antics) involving last year's Heisman Trophy-winning QB Manziel but all you need to know now with the Aggies is that they kick things off for real on Aug. 31st versus Rice...and you do have to wonder if all the Manziel-related distractions will work against A&M right from the start.
Last year's club not only won 11 games but scored 35-or-more points in nine different games but now the challenges begin with the Aggies minus 10 of last season's starters and all the Manziel wackiness enveloping this club -can second-year head coach Kevin Sumlin hold this ship together and make a real run at the national championship or will this house of cards fall apart faster that you can say "gig 'em"? The schedule includes the aforementioned home game against Alabama in mid-September and road tilts at Arkansas, Ole Miss and LSU.
LSU (+ 1000) -The Bayou Bengals have won a grand total of 34 games over the course of the past three seasons but they've captured zero national championship during this time. The 2007 LSU team was the school's last national champ and that team could score some points as evidenced by a 38.6 points per game average but remember that title team lost two games en route to that crown.
If ninth-year head coach Les Miles is gonna get his hands on that shiny BCS trophy this year than replacing the 11 juniors that entered the NFL Draft this past spring is key and so is the "marriage" between new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and QB Zach Mettenberger who recently chided the SEC media contingent for failing to predict who would win the league in 17 of the past 21 years.
Gotcha! Hey, it's no easy start for these Tigers who head to TCU for the season opener on Aug. 31st plus remember there's road games at Georgia, at Ole Miss and at Alabama.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out loads of Major-League Baseball Winners all summer long and so check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight action, and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners. Plus, the NFL Preseason is right around the corner with the annual Hall of Fame Game this year between the Miami Dolphins vs. the Dallas Cowboys on tap for Sunday evening , August 4th. Go ahead and pile up the greenbacks while you're kicking back this summer of 2013!
Here's a look at the current BCS Championship Odds to Win it All:
|TEAM||ODDS PER $100|
|Ohio State||+ 500|
|Texas A&M||+ 800|
|Florida State||+ 1250|
|South Carolina||+ 1250|
|The Field||+ 1250|
|Oklahoma St.||+ 2000|
|Notre Dame||+ 3750|
|Boise State||+ 4600|
|North Carolina||+ 6000|
|Oregon State||+ 7000|
|Miss State||+ 7250|
|Ole Miss||+ 7250|
|Virginia Tech||+ 7250|
|Kansas State||+ 7500|
|Georgia Tech||+ 8000|
|South Florida||+ 8500|
|West Virginia||+ 8500|
|Boston College||+ 10000|
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