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<< NCAA College Football News Big 12 seeks out minor bowl games that fans can easily drive to
As college football gets ready for a shake-up in its postseason system, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he would like to have reach agreements with five or six bowl games.
Bowlsby and the other nine major conference commissioners, along with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, will meet in southern California this week to pick the final three bowls to be involved in the six-site playoff rotation. Once those are in place, the conferences can turn their attention to the other bowls for 2014 and beyond.
The Big 12s current agreements, which end after this season, do not include a Florida game. Bowlsby said league officials want to change that, while keeping a strong hold on Texas and having a destination out West.
Also, Iowa States successful trip to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., last season at least in terms of ticket sales has the conference considering deals with bowls closer to campuses.
I think that probably did cause us to think about bowls closer to home, Bowlsby said in a recent phone interview.
Bowlsby declined to talk about specific bowls being targeted by the Big 12, but a person familiar with the conferences plans told The Associated Press league officials are interested in striking a deal with at least one of the Tennessee bowls games the Liberty Bowl or the Music City Bowl in Nashville.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the conference was not discussing details of its plans publicly.
The Liberty Bowls current agreements are with the Southeastern Conference, Conference USA and the Big East. C-USA and the Big East, which will change its name to the American Athletic Conference next season, have been drastically altered by realignment. Seven C-USA teams will join the American during the next two seasons.
Last year, the SEC did not have enough bowl eligible teams to fill the Liberty Bowl slot and game organizers struck a deal with Iowa State. Cylcones fans gobbled up tickets and about 25,000 showed up to watch their team lose to Tulsa. Ames, Iowa, is about a six-hour drive from Memphis.
Most of the other nine Big 12 schools are within seven to 10 hours of Memphis not a short trip but doable in a day.
Our guys said wed be well advised to have some bowl that we can drive to, Bowlsby said.
The Music City Bowls current agreements are with the SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference.
The addition of West Virginia to the Big 12 last year has in part led the conference to turn its attention to the talent-rich southeast part of the country, especially Florida.
The Big 12s current bowl lineup includes: the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio; the Holiday Bowl in San Diego; Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston; the Pinstripe Bowl in New York; the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.; and the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.
Bowlsby said the conference expects to often have its champion in the final four when the playoff starts, plus send another highly rated team to one of the four other marquee bowl games. The Cotton Bowl is expected to be part of the playoff bowl rotation.
The Big 12 is unlikely to keep its affiliation with the Yankee Stadium game and there has been speculation the Holiday Bowl could switch to a Big Ten affiliation with that conference interested in playing more postseason games in California.
Weve had a 16-year partnership with the Big 12 and its been a great relationship, Holiday Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski said. We are right now looking at all of our options moving forward. Theres interest in the Big Ten, interest in the Big 12. Were looking at all options to make this the best bowl game that we can.
The top Florida games beyond the Orange Bowl the Outback Bowl in Tampa and the Capital One Bowl in Orlando have SEC-Big Ten matchups. Orlando also hosts the Russell Athletic Bowl earlier in the bowl season. That has tie-ins with the Big East and the ACC.
While the SEC seems likely to keep its flag planted in Florida, and the Big Ten isnt about to vacate the Sunshine State altogether, there could be a spot for the Big 12.
Bowlsby wasnt about to speculate.
Everybody is kind of holding their cards close to the vest right now, he said.
2015 Kentucky Derby Odds
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Odds to Win 2015 Kentucky Derby
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UCLA Bruins vs. Oregon Ducks Betting Odds and Preview
The newly top ranked Oregon Ducks get to strut their stuff under the primetime Thursday night lights against the UCLA Bruins. Sportsbook.com doesn’t expect the high scoring Ducks to lose their first game of the season as the UCLA vs. Oregon point spread is the Ducks -25.5. It should be a high-scoring affair as the ‘total’ is a hefty 61.5 points.
The Ducks lead the nation with 54.3 PPG and have won five of their games by 20-plus points. The bye week was key for QB Darron Thomas (shoulder) to heal, but RB Kenjon Barner (concussion) is not expected to play on Thursday. UCLA is also coming off a bye after a 26-carry, 26-yard rushing performance in a 35-7 loss at Cal.
UCLA QB Kevin Prince is banged up with a knee injury, and his status is uncertain for Thursday. He was dreadful against Cal, completing just 42 percent of his passes (13-for-31) for 99 yards. His backup is Richard Brehaut who has zero touchdowns, two interceptions and 10 sacks in his two-year career (55 pass attempts).
The quarterback at UCLA is not vital to the Bruins success since they run the ball so effectively. Johnathan Franklin is averaging 113 rushing YPG in leading UCLA to the 13th-best rushing attack in the nation (223 rush YPG), which includes the woeful output against Cal.
Oregon leads the country in total offense, averaging 567 yards per game. RB LaMichael James tops the nation with 170 rushing YPG, and he ran for 152 yards in a 24-10 win at UCLA last year. By the way, Sportsbook.com’s Heisman Trophy betting odds indicate James is +1000 to win college football’s most prestigious personal award.
Thomas has had a great sophomore season, throwing at least two TD in his first five games before getting hurt in game number six against Washington State. Thomas is also second on the team in rushing, including a 117-yard performance against Stanford two games ago. If Thomas does have problems with his shoulder, backup QB Nate Costa is certainly capable of filling in. Costa threw just two incomplete passes against WSU, totaling 151 passing yards and 84 rushing yards. Barner is not only James’ backup, averaging 6.5 YPC, but he also returns kicks and is a quality receiver out of the backfield.
Favorites of 20-plus points on
a six-game in-season win streak are 33-15 ATS (69%) since 2005. Oregon knows how to win big considering it is 7-2 ATS as a favorite of 20-plus points since 2007. The Bruins are 2-11 SU (5-8 ATS) in their past 13 road games in Pac-10 play.
These football betting trends give three more reasons to like Oregon Thursday night:
Play On - Home favorites of 21.5 to 31 points (OREGON) - with a good offense - averaging 400 or more total yards/game, after gaining 450 or more total yards in 2 consecutive games. (40-14 over the last 10 seasons.) (74.1%, +24.6 units. Rating = 3*).
Play On - Any team (OREGON) - after outrushing opponent by 150 or more yards in 2 straight games against opponent after being outrushed by 150 or more yards last game. (32-9 over the last 10 seasons.) (78%, +22.1 units. Rating = 3*).
OREGON is 26-7 ATS (+18.3 Units) in home games after outgaining opp by 125 or more total yards in their previous game since 1992. The average score was OREGON 38.2, OPPONENT 20.5 - (Rating = 3*).
For bettors looking to make a play on the ‘total’ here is a trend that supports the ‘under’ as the play.
Play Under - Any team against the total (UCLA) - after gaining 150 or less total yards in their previous game against opponent after gaining 6.25 or more yards/play in their previous game. (29-5 over the last 10 seasons.) (85.3%, +23.5 units. Rating = 4*).
Now that you have the key numbers for tonight’s game, head over to Sportsbook.com for all of your college football betting action.
CFL: Surprising Argos 10-point dogs at Montreal
The Toronto Argonauts visit the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday as one of the most surprising stories of the young CFL season. At stake is a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the East Division. That might be the only reason to suspect a competitive game. Otherwise, most strength ratings, trends, and even the oddsmakers’ expect this to be a cakewalk for Montreal. Sportsbook.com lists the Alouettes as 10-point favorites. Can the Argos continue their unexpected surge or are the defending champs ready to put them in their place?
It was just last season when Toronto seemed destined for a lengthy rebuilding process, and an over-matched coaching staff lost the trust of its players and the control of a season. But the Argos have won three of their first four games in 2010 -- matching its total under the short-lived reign of coach Bart Andrus last year.
The Argos have won each of their last three games with a combination of stout defense and stellar special teams play -- the same kind of formula that delivered the franchise its last Grey Cup win, six years ago.
"We have a chance." offensive lineman Taylor Robertson said. "We believe. That's the difference."
Toronto rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat the B.C. Lions last week at Rogers Centre, nine days after squeaking out a 27-24 comeback win against the Calgary Stampeders. The Argos opened their run with a two-point win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Rookie running back Cory Boyd has established himself as the CFL's leading rusher, Chad Owens has been one of the league's most dynamic return men and only Calgary's defence has forced more turnovers. Boyd will be aiming to become the first Argos running back since Bill Symons in 1968 with four consecutive 100-yard games.
Those successes have helped to mask the struggles of first-year quarterback Cleo Lemon, whose offense ranks dead last in passing yards. Toronto is the only team in the league that has not thrown for at least 1,000 yards yet this season -- managing only 791.
In 2009, no team scored fewer points than the Argos, who were held below 20 points per game, on average. Toronto ranked last in rushing yards and second-last in passing yards. The team finished the season with a 3-15 record, missing the playoffs for the second straight year.
Andrus was fired in December, and the team officially announced it had hired Jim Barker two months later. The long-time CFL executive -- and former Argos head coach -- spent the rest of the winter rebuilding the team.
Toronto's new crew will certainly have a major test against the Alouettes. The defending Grey Cup champions have not lost a game at home since Oct. 29, 2008 and it was almost a year before that, Oct. 20, 2007, when Toronto last beat Montreal.
Since Toronto squeaked out that 16-9 win to salvage one game in the season series, the Argos have lost six straight games to the Alouettes by an average of a little more than 20 points.
According to oddsmakers and this week’s StatFox FoxSheet, bettors should expect much of the same on Thursday night. The StatFox Power Line shows that Montreal should be favored by about 21 points, rather than 10.
The Alouettes come in at 3-1, but unlike Toronto, who is being outscored by 1.3 PPG, are beating their opponents by an average of 8.5 PPG. That leads to a very significant trend going against the Argos:
• TORONTO is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) versus good teams - outscoring opponents by 5+ PPG on the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was TORONTO 16.7, OPPONENT 34.3 - (Rating = 1*)
Montreal has also been at its best against divisional foes during its recent run of success:
• MONTREAL is 15-6 ATS (+8.4 Units) versus division opponents over the last 3 seasons. The average score was MONTREAL 35.8, OPPONENT 18.9 - (Rating = 1*)
Most handicapping data seems to suggest a blowout, but momentum, confidence, and perhaps a bit of luck could be on the side of Toronto. We’ll see what wins out when the teams kickoff at 7:30 PM ET on Thursday night in Montreal.
CFB: Armed Forces Bowl - Air Force vs. Houston (12:00E ESPN)
over the next three days. This is the "meat and potatoes" of the college bowl season and it all gets started early with a noon eastern kickoff from Forth Worth, as Houston and Air Force meet in the Armed Forces Bowl for the second straight year. The Cougars are 5-point favorites at last check, and getting support from 72% of bettors according to the Sportsbook.com BETTING TRENDS page.
It's déjà vu all over again for Air Force and Houston, opponents for a second straight year in this bowl. The Cougars won last year, 34-28, covering the number on a late field goal. At 10-3 SU and 8-4 ATS, the Cougars are looking to culminate its best season since winning 11 games in 1979. Houston is averaging 43.9 points per game and a nation's-best 581.1 yards per game on offense. Air Force was 7-5 and 6-4-1 ATS with just a 1-5 record vs. bowl teams. The Falcons rushed for 273.6 YPG this season, fourth nationally, and will look to take advantage of a Cougars defense that allowed 5.0 yards per rush.
Why watch and wager- Houston's a good play if one believes they can dictate tempo. The Cougars will want to play fast with Case Keenum hitting receivers all over the field, which presumably leads to touchdowns. Houston has covered their last five games off a loss and the defense will have to be disciplined (unlikely) to stop Air Force attack. The Cougs are only 1-8 ATS in road games after outgaining opponent by 125 or more total yards in their previous game. Air Force is a good play if you believe they impose their will on Houston. The Falcons like the other military schools play hard for 60 minutes, which is not always the case for Houston. If Air Force establishes running game, the undisciplined Houston defense can be gashed over and over and if they can keep continual pressure on Keenum to frustrate the Cougars, those points look inviting, considering they are 19-9 ATS after rushing for 200 or more yards.
The StatFox Power Line shows Houston by 5, providing evidence as to why Sportsbook oddsmakers have been reluctant to come off the 5 number despite heavy action on the Cougars.
CFB: Sun Bowl - Stanford vs. Oklahoma (2:00E CBS) The Sun Bowl has become a New Year's eve tradition and for 2009, the opponents in the game are Oklahoma & Stanford. The Cardinal are minus their starting quarterback for the contest, and hence come in as double-digit underdogs to a Sooners team that has become more accustomed to playing in BCS bowl games. Will they be motivated by lesser stakes in this one? Bettors don't seem to think so, as the Sportsbook.com Betting Trends page shows 71% of players on the side of Stanford.
El Paso natives are looking for a better showing than the 3-0 snore-fest a year ago. This bowl has typically been an exciting one, dominated by underdogs, 11-1-1 ATS prior to last year. The Pac-10 has won five straight games (3-2 ATS). All of this could bode well for Stanford, which comes in as a heavy underdog to Sooners without starting quarterback Andrew Luck. The Cardinal were 8-4 (7-5 ATS) this season to earn their first bowl bid since 2001. Oklahoma was 7-5 (4-7-1 ATS) and mostly inconsistent team. The Sooners have lost five of their last six bowl games both SU and ATS, with the one win coming in non-BCS '05 Holiday Bowl.
Why watch and wager- This matchup could be called the "Backup Bowl" as neither will have their original signal caller, which will dramatically impact the outcome. Tavita Pritchard is in charge of completing passes for Stanford so running back Toby Gerhart doesn't have face what would look like two dozen red helmets in the box. Under coach Jim Harbaugh the Cardinal is 7-0 ATS vs. teams outscoring opponents by 10 or more points per game over the last two seasons. Though the Sooners defense wasn't as strong as expected, they had their moments especially against teams that like to run the ball. In November encounters, they stuffed both Texas A&M (59 yards) and Oklahoma State (62 yards) and are wholly capable of doing the same against Stanford, without the threat of the pass. Boomer Sooner's bowl record under Bob Stoops has been lousy of late, however Oklahoma is 11-4 ATS after allowing 175 or less yards in previous game.
The StatFox Power Line shows Oklahoma by 13, perhaps indicating a bit of value on the Sooners against the actual line.