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Alabama Sits at Top for National Championship Odds, Rutgers QB Back at Practice

On Wednesday, Bovada released the latest odds for the 2013 BCS national championship and #1 Alabama sat as the hands-down favorite at 2/1. This came in slighter higher from the Aug. 27 preseason odds that had the team at 5/2.

A.J. McCarron

A.J. McCarron

This doesn’t come as a surprise but #2 Oregon’s jump past #4 Ohio State may be one as they now sit at 4/1 (9/1 preseason) while the Buckeyes fell to 13/2 (6/1). For the Ducks, its quarterback Marcus Mariota is having a great season and now sits as the top Heisman contender at 9/2 (8/1.)

#3 Clemson (20/1) and #8 Florida State (22/1) both sit at 12/1, with #6 LSU (18/1) at 14/1, #16 Miami 20/1, #9 Georgia 22/1, Mississippi and #12 South Carolina both at 75/1 and #19 Florida 100/1.

And for #10 Texas A&M, who lost to Alabama last week, took a hard fall. The school sat at 14/1 preseason but has plummeted to 100/1.

QB Questions Linger for Rutgers/Arkansas Game  

Rutgers (2-1) quarterback Gary Nova has ramped up his practice workload this week and his likelihood of playing in Saturday’s game against Arkansas (3-0) are getting better.

Last Saturday, Nova suffered a concussion in the Eastern Michigan game on the first series. He was joined by center Betim Bujrai in returning to practice this week after Bujrai had sat out from the game with an earlier head injury.

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said after Wednesday’s practice via NJ.com, ”Both Gary and Betim were able to do more today than they did yesterday. I think that bodes well for both those guys on Saturday.”

Gary Nova

Gary Nova

In Nova’s place last week, senior quarterback Chas Dodd pinch hit and went 4-of-9 with 45 yards. As a safety net, he has taken reps this week should Nova not play.

For Rutgers, it would be a good thing if Nova played this week against Arkansas. In last year’s 35-26 win, Nova had a career day with 397 passing yards and five touchdowns. Should he not play, look for running back Paul James to carry more of the load. He currently sits at the top nationally with his 493 rushing yards.

As for Arkansas, its starting quarterback Brandon Allen is battling his own injury, a bum shoulder, but he still plans to travel with the team to Rutgers even though it’s uncertain he’ll play on Saturday. He has not practiced this week and on Wednesday, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said Allen will be a “game-time” decision; he hinted that backup quarterback A.J. Derby could get the start.

Last week, when Allen got knocked out in the 24-3 win over Southern Miss, Derby went in, going 4-of-6 with 36 yards.

Questions will remain for these two teams until Saturday. Vegas seems a little indecisive too but Rutgers gets the slim win ( -1, 44 o/u).

Other Saturday Games…

Similar to the West, there’s not a lot of interesting games going on this week from the East.

Jeff Driskel

Jeff Driskel

There’s the Tennessee (2-1) vs. #19 Florida (1-1) game. Both will seek revenge after the Volunteers got spanked by Oregon last week, 59-14. Its defense didn’t show up as it gave up 687 yards.

For the Gators, they’re still bitter about the 21-16 #16 Miami loss. Fortunately for them, they own Tennessee as they’ve defeated them eight straight times. The Vols struggle against ranked teams, losing 17 games against them; since 2008, they sit at 1-23 against Top 25 teams.

History will continue as Florida gets another win (-16, 47.5 o/u).

Also coming off a rough game is #15 Michigan (3-0), who narrowly defeated Akron 28-24. On Saturday, they’ll hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Connecticut (0-2).  Michigan coach Brady Hoke is still angry about how his team played but he won’t face a tough opponent.

UConn is coming off a 32-21 loss to Maryland (3-0). From its last two games, it has given up 894 yards.

Michigan should embrace this and will need this game to get their heads back in the game. They’ll get the win (-17.5, 51.5 o/u).





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