Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 7:48 PM
Yesterday we looked at the National Championship picture in college football by way of the Regular Season Win propositions posted this week in the offshore world. Today, we continue our rundown of the projections by studying the rest of the field.
To make things easy…we’ve separated the remaining teams into three groups. Championship Darkhorses (squads who could make a run at a national title if they win their nailbiters), Teams to Watch (programs that could win their way into major bowls), and Bowl Bound (those currently projected to qualify for the postseason even if they’re not likely to be serious contenders for conference crowns.
We start with the six teams who were sitting exactly at nine wins in the offshore numbers…
Ohio State 9 (Over -130)
South Carolina 9 (Under -120)
Wisconsin 9 (Under -120)
Texas 9 (Under -145)
Michigan 9 (Under -150)
Louisville 9 (Under -160)
Funny how fans of Ohio State and Texas get offended if you don’t think they’ll get to 10 wins, while fans of Louisville are in shock that their number is so high. Hey, the Big East is easy and keeps getting easier every year! Louisville is the team best suited to take advantage of that this season. The Big Ten race is going to be a lot of fun to watch again as Urban Meyer tries to get the Buckeyes back to the top, over the dead bodies of Wisconsin and Michigan. Note how much skepticism there is within the market for Texas and Michigan to even get to nine victories given the Under juice. We can tell you now that JIM HURLEY has circled two games in September involving those teams for major releases, as well as one game in October for potential Game of the Year status.
TEAMS TO WATCH
Clemson 8.5 (Over -140)
Nebraska 8.5 (Over -125)
West Virginia 8.5
Notre Dame 8.5
Central Florida 8.5 (Under -115)
Michigan State 8.5 (Under -120)
This group is sitting on 8.5 wins offshore. Though, you could obviously make the case that Clemson and Nebraska may have brighter hopes than the teams at 9 with strong Under vigorish. Most of these teams will be on TV a lot again this year (particularly Notre Dame). All are capable of rising up and making it to 10 wins. A couple are probably going to be disappointments. Don’t forget that West Virginia and TCU have both moved to the Big 12 this season. That’s going to be a VERY competitive league in terms of bowl quality teams once again. Somebody’s going to take the worst of it once they all start playing each other. Same thing in the Big Ten…where we now have Michigan State and Nebraska joining Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan in a battle for supremacy. Central Florida is the first mid major to be listed. Nice team to keep an eye on.
BYU 8 (Over -175)
Kansas State 8 (Over -115)
Georgia Tech 8
Florida 8 (Under -125)
Washington 8 (Under -165)
South Florida 7.5 (Over -130)
NC State 7.5 (Over -125)
Iowa 7.5 (Over -115)
North Carolina 7.5
Oklahoma State 7.5 (Under -145)
Auburn 7.5 (Under -170)
Pittsburgh 7 (Over -115)
Penn State 7
Texas A&M 7
Miami 7 (Under -125)
Tennessee 7 (Under -130)
Virginia 7 (Under -130)
Illinois 6.5 (Over -115)
Arizona State 5 (Over -150)
That’s everyone else that’s currently listed offshore. And, Arizona State doesn’t quite make it to six wins on the ledger, though they’re a buck-fifty to make it past five wins. More teams will surely be added in the coming days. Vegas will have a bigger list once those sportsbooks get up to speed after monitoring early offshore action.
This particular list is fascinating because there are great storylines up and down the “8 and Under” nominees. Of note:
*Both Stanford and Oklahoma State have spent the offseason saying they’ll be fine with new quarterbacks. But, the markets are saying that we should all expect big drop-offs from the form of the past couple of seasons. Both head coaches will be under the gun if it begins to look like they were riding the coattails of NFL bound quarterbacks.
*Both Missouri and Texas A&M are now in the SEC, and are currently penciled in for 7-5 seasons as a result. Counting the guaranteed money was fun. Now it’s time to get on the field and bang helmets. That might be less fun! It will be odd indeed for longtime fans to adjust to seeing those two teams in the SEC.
*Penn State will be dealing with distractions that no program has probably even imagined. And, those distractions get more intense with each passing day. Will the program be able to recover? Or, is this program destined to just be another Northwestern or Purdue now that the Joe Paterno era is over? History will be shaped right before our very eyes.
*How about the Sunshine State? Florida, South Florida, and Miami are all in this hunk of teams. There’s not going to be local satisfaction at least in Gainesville and Coral Gables if they meet those expectation. There are a lot of spoiled fan bases across the country who are going to be disappointed this season. See if you can make some smart choices in terms of the REAL expectations for those programs this season!
Today marks the first day of July. And, July always brings our college football conference previews here in the NOTEBOOK. We’ll definitely devote weekends to the cause this month. We’re still mapping out the full July and August schedules for covering all the board conferences in the colleges (majors and mid majors) and all eight divisions of the NFL. Preseason football is only a month away!
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Chicago White Sox at NY Yankees on TBS
NY Mets at LA Dodgers on ESPN
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Back with you Monday to study the showcase series featuring the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Bronx Bombers have been hit hard by injuries this week. Tampa Bay has been slumping for a month now, and may no longer be the serious Wildcard threat everyone was expecting. Is this a playoff preview? Or, is this the series where Tampa Bay officially gets exposed?
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