By Todd Fuhrman
Finally, we get some chaos to spice things up surrounding the college football playoff. It only took the committee three short weeks to place the right teams in the top two slots in order to get the committee’s popularity poll (excuse me merit based poll) to mesh with what we’ve been saying for weeks. The faux outrage over Miami being slotted behind Clemson provided an endless source of entertainment knowing the Canes resume building wins against a lifeless Virginia Tech and a Notre Dame squad looking more like a mash unit than a viable top 4 team (no, I didn’t bet Miami so I feel like a jackass too) tempers some of those expectations. Put succinctly, the Hurricanes have made everyone a prisoner of the moment; fortunately, we’ll learn a lot more about this team’s ability to handle prosperity in a tricky spot against Virginia this weekend, a road trip to chilly Pittsburgh next weekend, and against a formidable Clemson side in the conference title. As you can see, Miami has yet to crack our Top 10, but there was a brand new entrant finally braking through after winning their tenth game of the season this past weekend.
I did spend last week’s lede trashing Ohio State, but the Buckeyes four slot jump from 13 to 9 puts them back in contention for a playoff birth. No seriously; hear me out on this. If we assume that Alabama, Clemson, and Oklahoma all win out those teams become 1-3 in the final college football rankings. What that could mean is Wisconsin, Auburn, and Georgia would all be eliminated with a loss leaving only Notre Dame or Miami potentially ahead of the Buckeyes. However, the Scarlet and Grey would see a bigger jump with wins over Michigan and Wisconsin to close the season than the Irish would beating Stanford in their finale or the Hurricanes finishing with wins over Pitt and Virginia before losing to Clemson. How about that for irony? All it might take is the prohibitive favorites winning out for a national brand in Ohio State to get a seat at the table yet again, despite a 55-24 drubbing at the hands of Iowa which we thought sealed their fate. What a world we live in as college football fans!
Vegas Top 10 (including current odds to win title)
|National Title Odds|
Underrated: Wake Forest
Don’t look now but the Wake Forest Demon Deacons are becoming one of the most entertaining watches in all of college football. Over their last four games no ‘Deacs contest has resulted in less than 62 points, with the last three eclipsing 74 or more. I know offense doesn’t mean they’re underrated (or we should include the entire Big 12 here), but the resurgence behind senior QB John Wolford and talented tailback Matt Colburn has led them to three straight covers. While their defense leaves much to be desired recently, oddsmakers like BetOnline.AGhave yet to catch up to how explosive this offensive unit has become, partially contributing to them taking major professional money four straight weeks — and five if you include the initial support Wake’s received against N.C. State. Betting markets don’t lie, and the Deacons quietly remain one of the nation’s best-kept point spread secrets amid their run of five covers in their last six outings.
Everyone in America loves offense. Hell, we just used it to justify Wake Forest being underrated as we head down the home stretch. However, in the case of Memphis it’s led to hype that’s really not entirely founded. The playoff committee sees the Tigers as a fringe top 20 team; we see them as fringe top 40 despite their gaudy record. Wins over the likes of UCLA, Navy, and Houston by four points or less coupled with a blowout loss to UCF don’t create a resume worthy of national acclaim. Coach Norvell has done one hell of a job with this bunch, sitting two games away from a birth in the conference title game placing his name squarely on many AD’s short lists for Power 5 coaching vacancies. All that being said, aside from Riley Ferguson the roster is littered with players over achieving that would be hard pressed to find playing time at most power 5 programs. Don’t take this as a sign of disrespect; heart and tenacity are damn near impossible to quantify, but the metrics they’re generating don’t suggest elite status. All that being said this is a team poised to be overvalued from here on out and there will be bettors looking to capitalize when opportunity presents itself.
Double-Digit ‘Dog of the Week:  Temple Owls +14 (6-5 ATS)
No write-up, just win (and cover) baby!