One of the markers of college football's long and typically uneventful offseason — which, you know, has the potential to continue indefinitely — is the early list of win totals by team supplied by various oddsmakers. With these lines in hand, optimistic prognosticators can roll the dice on predicting the coming season.
These predictions typically don't go well. For example, I once picked UCLA and South Carolina to reach the College Football Playoff — in the same year!
The early over-under win totals do give an early glimpse into what Las Vegas expects from a given team, which is always useful, and provides healthy offseason fodder and talking points for radio stations, message boards and national publications.
Let's take a peek at the win lines for the regular season provided by Caesars, for example, which is highest on Clemson (11.5 wins), Ohio State (11) and Alabama (10.5) heading into the 2020 season, whenever it might begin.
CORONAVIRUS & SPORTS: Get the latest news and information right in your inbox. Sign up here.
WAY TO EARN $$$: Expanding College Football Playoff could be how programs find needed money
Here are six win totals that stand out:
Pittsburgh (6.5). This seems low for Pitt, which on paper brings into 2020 the strongest team of coach Pat Narduzzi's tenure. There are positions that could've used some work during the abbreviated spring, including running back and wide receiver. On defense, the Panthers need to take a big step forward in forcing turnovers. But in a pretty open ACC Coastal, Pitt looks like a team that will outperform preseason expectations.
Oklahoma State (8.5). I'm leaning toward the under even as the Cowboys' offense touts one of the top threesomes in the country in quarterback Spencer Sanders, wide receiver Tylan Wallace and running back Chuba Hubbard, a preseason Heisman Trophy contender. It's worth asking if there are enough wins to go around in the Big 12 for OSU to get to nine during the regular season.
UCLA (5.5). With Arizona on the skids under Kevin Sumlin, Colorado on its third head coach in as many years and Utah set to take at least a slight step back from last year's playoff near-miss, there is ample opportunity for UCLA to take a step forward in Chip Kelly's third season and reach bowl eligibility. One asset is the Bruins' rebuilt roster, which has better depth than during Kelly's first two years. But UCLA does need to survive a pair of sneaky road trips to Hawaii and San Diego State before kicking off Pac-12 play.
Arkansas State (6). Don't overthink this: Arkansas State has won at least seven games in the regular season in every year since 2011, one of the longest streaks in the FBS. Recent history is normally a good barometer of future success. Coach Blake Anderson brings back two strong options at quarterback in Logan Bonner and Layne Hatcher to go with a talented cast of skill players and one of the best offensive lines in the Sun Belt.
Texas A&M (9.5). The projected win total paints A&M as one of the top teams in the country and a borderline playoff contender, per Caesars. Yet the total is more a statement about a schedule that doesn't truly heat up until capping the regular season against Alabama and LSU. Can the Aggies run the table to that point? Doing so would entail beating Auburn on the road on Oct. 17.
LSU (9). And the defending national champions aren't expected to repeat in 2020, which seems like a fair bet given the loss of quarterback Joe Burrow, assistant coach Joe Brady and a significant section of a roster that completed just the second 15-0 season since the 19th century. LSU's schedule includes Texas, Florida, Alabama, Auburn and A&M.
Myles Brennan appears to be the likely successor to Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. (Photo: Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports)
Sports video of the day
Wayne Gretzky announced his retirement on this day in 1999 after a historic 20-year NHL career, taking with him 61 league records and a legacy as the greatest player in the sport's history. This fact is almost difficult to grasp: Gretzky is the only player in NHL history to score 200 points in a season, doing so four times in a five-season span from 1981-1986. And in the one year in that window when he failed to crack 200 points, during the 1982-83 season, Gretzky scored (only) 196 points. Gretzky set so many records that the NHL made a list of his best 25:
Story time! Here are some of our best
- TONY CLARK:MLBPA chief optimistic baseball will play games in 2020
- MIKE TROUT:Parts of MLB's bubble plan 'pretty crazy'
- DR. FAUCI:Health expert sees path for sports to come back
- METS PITCHER:NASCAR driver Kyle Larson 'needs his ass beat'
- CLEVELAND BROWNS:New uniforms look an awful lot like old ones
- NFL DRAFT:Inside wild challenges of broadcasting this year's event
This day in sports history: April 16
1940: Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller throws the only opening-day no-hitter in Major League Baseball history in the Cleveland Indians' 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park.
1996: The Chicago Bulls won a then-record 70th regular-season game, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks. This record would stand until the 2015-16 season, when the Golden State Warriors won 73 regular-season games.
2003:Michael Jordan plays in his final NBA game, a defeat for his Washington Wizards against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Sports on TV today
(All times Eastern)
Baseball: MLB Network airing some notable player debuts, featuring Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom from 2014 (1 p.m.), the Yankees' Aaron Judge in 2016 (3 p.m.), Bryce Harper's debut with the Nationals in 2012 (6 p.m.), Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg's debut in 2010 (8 p.m.) and Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's debut in 2008 (11 p.m.).
Basketball: ESPN2 will air WNBA playoff classics, Game 1 of the 2016 finals between the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx (6 p.m.), 2018 semifinal between the Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm (8 p.m.), 2018 second-round playoff between the Mercury and Connecticut Sun (10 p.m.) and Game 5 of the 2016 finals between the Sparks at Lynx (midnight).
College football: ESPNU will air Aaron Rodgers and his Cal Bears taking on Oregon in 2004 (1 p.m.), the 2002 Independence Bowl featuring Ole Miss QB Eli Manning against Nebraska (3 p.m.), Michael Vick and Virginia Tech taking on West Virginia in 2000 (5 p.m.), Florida-FSU from 2004, which was the Gators' first win in Tallahassee since 1986 (7 p.m.), Ohio State's comeback win vs. Michigan in 2005 (9 p.m.) and the 1996 Rose Bowl pitting Keyshawn Johnson and USC vs. upstart Northwestern (11 p.m.).
Football: NFL Network will air the Cleveland Browns' overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens from Week 5 of the 2018 season (4 p.m.).
Hockey: NHL Network will air 2018 Stanley Cup Final games, with Game 1 between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights at noon, Game 2 at 2 p.m., Game 3 at 4 p.m., Game 4 at 7 p.m. and Game 5 at 10 p.m.
Games we're missing
Other than the likely chance there'd be NHL playoff games played Thursday night, here are the regular-season games that were originally scheduled.
- San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds
- Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
- Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers
- Pittsburgh Pirates at Arizona Diamondbacks
- Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres
- Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals
- Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
- Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox
- Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics
- St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
- Philadelphia Union v. Los Angeles Galaxy
Source: Read Full Article