Gators Ventrell Miller Accepts Senior Bowl Invite

Florida Gators senior linebacker Ventrell Miller has accepted an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Miller, a sixth year senior, had a resurgent year coming back from injury this past season. Miller still dealt with injuries, including a fractured foot.

The defensive leader for the Gators, Miller was third on the team in total tackles with 74, including 34 solo and 8.5 for loss. For his career, Miller racked up 238 career tackles, 124 of which were solo, over the five seasons he played. The Gators have not had a bowl game announced, and Miller has not said if he will play in it or not, though he will most likely not.

Miller is out of eligibility and will set his sights on the NFL Draft. The beginning of that process starts in Mobile.

Ventrell Miller Needs a Strong Senior Bowl

Miller will look to impress scouts at the week long event that takes place in Mobile, Alabama. Practices begin Tuesday, January 31, 2023. The game takes place on February 4, 2023 at 1:30pm EST.

The linebacker group is an interesting group as currently constructed, with more invites to come. Joining Miller is Auburn linebackers Owen Pappoe and Eku Leota, Texas Longhorn DeMarvion Overshown and Iowa State Cyclone Will McDonald IV. The group also has Dick Butkus Award finalist and Washington State Cougar Daiyan Henley. Smaller school players joining them are Tulane’s Dorian Williams, Jackson State’s Aubrey Miller Jr., and Appalachian State’s Nick Hampton.

Ventrell Miller will need an impressive Senior Bowl to move up in the draft. Miller won’t be an elite tester at the combine. The best way for him to improve his draft stock is to show what he can do on the field at the Senior Bowl, both in the game and in practices. He will be expected to be impressive in meetings during the week as well, which is an important part of the week for participants. Miller must use his football intelligence and experience to stand out. If he can do that, he can rise up draft boards.

Best Bets For College Football’s Conference Championship Weekend

The time has come to decide college football’s conference champions. We will take a look at the best bets in all of the Power Five conference championships to see where we can win some money. We are looking to bounce back after a bit of a rough go last week. All lines come via Draft Kings as of Thursday night since the PAC-12 title game is being played on Friday night.

Power 5 Conference Championships’ Best Bets

Photo Credit: Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune

#11 Utah vs #4 USC: USC -2.5 (-115)

Look, it is really hard to beat a team twice. That’s what this pick ultimately comes down to. When these teams first met back in October, the Utes were able to steal a win with a fourth quarter comeback. However, the Trojans did have a chance to win the game late, but Caleb Williams and company ran out of time.

Williams is probably the biggest “X factor” in this matchup. You could argue that no player has made as much progress this season as he has. Williams is a much better player now than he was six weeks ago. For that reason, I like USC in this one, and I am comfortable laying 2.5 points.

#10 Kansas State vs #3 TCU: TCU -2.5 (+100)

This game is also a rematch. In this case, we are going to bet on the Horned Frogs beating the same team twice. When they played in October, TCU sleepwalked through the first half, and then rallied in the second to win by 10. This was pretty typical for them at that point in the season.

Lately, it seems as though the Horned Frogs have taken a step forward. They aren’t falling behind early in games now. They are taking care of business against the teams they should. TCU is by far the best team in the Big 12. Kansas State just happened to be the team to emerge out of the chaotic mess that is the rest of the conference. Take TCU to cover at this shockingly great value.

#14 LSU vs #1 Georgia: LSU +17.5 (-110)

Let’s make one thing clear, Georgia is more than likely going to win this game. That doesn’t mean they will win by 18 though. The Bulldogs are just 6-6 against the spread this year. Their offense has been a bit inconsistent at times this year, which has kept them from running it up.

LSU is pretty solid defensively. Also, their offensive pace is pretty methodical. I think they lose by like 14 in a game that looks a closer than it actually is. Take the points in this one.

#9 Clemson vs #23 North Carolina: UNC Moneyline (+255)

If there is going to be an upset in any of these matchups, this is it. Clemson is officially washed. This team is crumbling as we speak. How does a team that sees itself a perennial National Championship contender get up for a game after being effectively eliminated from the College Football Playoff? Don’t be surprised if Dabo Swinney gives some younger guys a little extra playing time.

Yes, I am aware that North Carolina has dropped its last two games to unranked opponents. They have been shaking off a rough hangover after locking up the ACC Coastal. There is plenty of reason to believe that the Tar Heels will get up for this one.

This is only their second appearance in the ACC title game ever. Their other one came in a loss to Clemson in 2015. A win on Saturday would be huge for this program, despite the game having little meaning for their opponents. I like North Carolina straight up here, but you could always play it safe and take the 7.5 points that they’re getting.

Purdue vs #2 Michigan: Michigan -17 (-110)

The Wolverines are a wagon this year. They have been steamrolling just about everyone. Michigan has only played three games all season in which teams kept within two scores. The other nine were all won by more than 20. This is an extremely generous spread, and it doesn’t make much sense. They would have to really overlook this Big Ten title game for this to be close.

The reason for that is the fact that Purdue is, well, just not very good. They basically fell into this game due to the ineptitude of the rest of the Big Ten West. They have one good win against Illinois, and a couple of close losses to Penn State and Syracuse. Those are their three best games. Michigan is a totally different animal. This one won’t be close. The Wolverines might cover this spread by halftime.

Best Bets for the Conference Championships Recap

  • USC (-2.5)
  • TCU (-2.5)
  • LSU (+17.5)
  • UNC (ML)
  • Michigan (-17)

Could the SEC Miss the College Football Playoff?

It seems crazy, right? The SEC is typically considered the gold-standard of college football. This time of year, we are usually talking about whether or not the SEC will have two teams in the playoffs. Heck, there were even times this year when we thought three was a possibility. So, how could a conference with the AP’s top-ranked team and two others in the top seven not have at least one representative in the four-team playoff? Let’s take a look at how the SEC could be left out of the College Football Playoff picture.

Could the Georgia Bulldogs miss the College Football Playoff?
Photo Credit: Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation

Georgia is the Only Hope for the SEC in the College Football Playoff

If the SEC were Princess Leia from Star Wars, Georgia would be Obi Wan Kenobi. Nobody else in the SEC has a prayer of getting into the College Football Playoff. The next two highest ranked teams, no.6 Alabama and no.7 Tennessee, both have two losses. No two loss team has ever made the CFP. There actually was a chance for a two-loss SEC team to sneak in up until fairly recently.

Last week, 9-2 LSU was ranked fifth in the CFP rankings, which suggests that if they won their regular season finale and then beat the Bulldogs in the SEC title game, the Tigers would have had a pretty good shot. However, they blew all that up when they got upset by a putrid Texas A&M team. Georgia is now the only team in this conference without a deeply flawed résumé (more on that later).

The Nightmare Scenario For Georgia

Let me preface this by saying that a lot would have to happen for Georgia to miss the College Football Playoff, and that this is more of a hypothetical than a prediction. Anyway, the first thing that obviously has to happen is that the Bulldogs would have to lose to LSU in the SEC Championship Game. If not, they are for sure in as the top seed.

Honestly, Georgia probably still gets in with a loss as long as it is close. The CFP selection committee would almost certainly give the Bulldogs the benefit of the doubt if they dropped a heartbreaker in a conference title game. However, for this exercise, let’s imagine LSU really brings it and wins this one by two scores. At this point, things could get dicey.

For this hypothetical, let’s assume that there are no surprises in some of the other conference championship games. This means that Michigan beats Purdue, TCU takes down Kansas State, and USC handles Utah. The ACC title game between Clemson and North Carolina is irrelevant since Clemson picked up a second loss in the Palmetto Bowl.

With these results, Michigan and TCU would be undefeated conference champs so they would be locked in as the top two seeds. From there, USC should be the third seed, given that they would be the only one-loss conference champion. Don’t forget, the committee does value conference titles.

At this point, there would be one spot up for grabs. Assuming that the CFP won’t put in a two- or three-loss team, even with a conference championship, that leaves two teams. The last spot would come down to Georgia and Ohio State, both one-loss teams without a conference title.

Photo Credit: David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

Georgia vs Ohio State: Comparing Résumés

Typically, when the committee has had to decide between an SEC team and a team from any other conference, it isn’t even a discussion. The SEC team always gets the nod. However, this one is tricky. Let’s dive into the bodies of work that these teams put up this year.

Losses

Remember, in this scenario Georgia would have gotten beat somewhat handily by LSU, so let’s assume they lost the SEC title game by about 10 points. That is still closer than Ohio State’s 22-point loss to Michigan. Regardless, Ohio State’s loss would be to the number one team in the country, while Georgia’s would be to team that was beaten by Florida State, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

Also, for all intents and purposes, we are going to consider both team’s losses to be home losses. The SEC Championship Game is technically at a “neutral site,” but the game is in freaking Atlanta. At best, these losses are about even, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the committee decides that Ohio State’s is more respectable.

Best win

For Georgia, that is their 14-point home win over Tennessee. At the time, that was a great win. It looked better before the Volunteers got thumped by South Carolina, but they are still a top-10 team. Ohio State’s best win was a 13-point road victory at Penn State. The Nittany Lions’ only other loss was a beatdown at the hands of Michigan.

I think it is fair to say that Tennessee and Penn State are about equal quality of opponents. When you factor in the hostile environment the Buckeyes played in, you could see the committee leaning their way here.

Strength of Schedule

Before we compare the conference games, let’s check out the non-conference opponents. Georgia played four games out of conference: Oregon, Samford, Kent State, and Geogia Tech. Ohio State had three: Notre Dame, Arkansas State, and Toledo. Georgia clearly gets the nod here just based on how much better Oregon is than Notre Dame.

Looking at conference games, Georgia played one really good team in Tennessee. LSU is probably a step below this. They also played several inconsistently solid teams in South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Kentucky. The rest of their SEC opponents were pretty much just mediocre-at-best Power 5 teams. Ohio State played one great team in Michigan, and a really good one in Penn State. They didn’t really play anyone else in the Big Ten who was all that good.

When comparing strength of schedule, two things jump out: the Buckeyes had a slightly more top-heavy schedule, but the Bulldogs’ was much deeper. Overall, Ohio State played two, maybe three good teams. Georgia played somewhere between three and six good teams.

Bottom Line

Georgia — and therefore the SEC — is almost certainly going to make the College Football Playoff. Most likely they will be undefeated and have the top seed. Even if they lose badly and nothing else goes their way, the committee will probably let them in anyway.

Nevertheless, we could at least have a situation where, for the first time in a while, the committee would have to take a long look into whether or not the SEC is deserving of a playoff spot. That could be interesting.

Best College Football Bets For Week 13 (Part 2)

We are back once again for even more of the best college football bets for Week 13! You got a little bonus action from Friday’s games, now we’re onto the main event. Here are five great bets for Saturday’s college football slate. All lines come via Draft Kings as of Friday morning.

Photo Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina at #8 Clemson: South Carolina +14.5 (-110)

This is a very generous spread. The Gamecocks may be inconsistent, but they have plenty of talent. Don’t forget, this is still a down year for Clemson — at least by their lofty standards. These teams are pretty close this year. While Clemson is still the favorite on paper, 14.5 points feels a bit excessive.

South Carolina is coming off a massive upset of over Tennessee, but don’t expect a letdown here. With the gauntlet of ranked teams that they have faced this year, the Gamecocks are used to having to get up for big games each week. This is also one that has a little extra motivation built in. This is a true rivalry with an origin that is over a century old.

Honestly, it is tempting to take the visitors to win this one straight up. However, we will respect Clemson’s talent and play it safe. Just take the points and call it a day.

Auburn at #7 Alabama: Auburn +22 (-110)

We are going to try this one more time. We are 2-0 this year betting against Alabama. Hopefully we don’t get burned going to this well a third time. That being said, there are several reasons to believe Auburn can cover this spread.

The biggest reason is interim coach Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. He has his alma mater playing its best football of the season, and the Tigers actually look competitive with quality SEC competition. Putting together a respectable showing in the biggest game of the season against a top-ten Alabama team could be enough to earn Williams a permanent gig.

Looking at ‘Bama, the seventh-ranked Crimson Tide are a fugazi top-ten team. They are a deeply flawed team being carried by elite quarterback play. They haven’t been nearly as dominant as normal, and now that they’ve been effectively eliminated from the College Football Payoff, there is far less motivation to blow teams out. This might not be a super tight affair, but expect Auburn to at least stay somewhat in the game.

Wake Forest at Duke: Wake -3.5 (+105)

This is one of those games that could go either way, but the value is hard to overlook. The Demon Deacons are better than their four losses would have you think. On the other hand, the Blue Devils’ boast the same record, but their’s has been a bit inflated by a weak schedule. Duke isn’t necessarily bad, and they could win this one, but they are clear underdogs in this one.

While we are leaning Wake, the question is whether or not they will cover 3.5 points. Of their seven wins this season, only one has come by less than 10 points. It is safe to say that assuming Wake does win, they will most certainly cover. The fact that they are getting +105 odds to do so makes this pick a no-brainer as one of the best college football bets for Week 13 — if not the best.

Michigan State at Penn State: Penn State -19 (-115)

While the battle for the Land Grant Trophy is one of the Big Ten’s bigger rivalries, don’t expect this one to be particularly close. The same logic that we used to pick the Nittany Lions to cover 19 last week against Rutgers applies in this one as well.

Michigan State is very much in the same realm as Rutgers, Maryland, and Indiana, who were all stifled over the past three weeks by PSU’s dominant defense. This game should look pretty similar to those contests. Expect to see more of Drew Allar for Penn State in the second half once again.

Iowa State at TCU: Iowa State +9.5 (-110)

This is another situation where the moneyline is tempting, but we will just play it safe with the points instead. TCU might have the sketchiest resume of any team ever to be ranked in the top-five at this point in the season. They flirt with disaster every week.

The Cyclones could be the team to finally make them pay. While the results haven’t quite gone their way, this team is just as good the rest of those middle-of-the-pack Big 12 squads. Those are the teams the Horned Frogs have struggled to dominate. While Iowa State might not have enough firepower to pull off the upset, expect them to keep it within 10.

Best College Football Bets for Week 13 (Part 1)

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

College football’s rivalry week is finally here! Despite a tough go of it last week, we are still 9-6 for the month of November, so we’ve got a chance here to finish it out above 60% over four weeks. Since we have two days worth of games this weekend, we have three bonus great bets for this today’s college football Week 13 matchups, with picks for Saturday’s games coming soon. All lines come via Draft Kings as of this morning.

Arkansas at Missouri: Missouri Moneyline (+145)

I love this upset as one of the best bets in college football for Week 13. Mizzou honestly shocked me last week when they covered 29 against New Mexico State. The Tigers are now in a situation where a win would make them bowl eligible. They have a great opportunity to do so against a suspect Arkansas team.

The Razorbacks just clinched bowl eligibility last week with a huge upset over Ole Miss. They are primed for a big letdown game. You have a hungry team at home hosting a squad that is likely hungover from the previous week. Hammer Mizzou this week.

Nebraska at Iowa: UNDER 38.5 (-110)

In the month of November, neither of these teams has played a game with a total of more than 37 points. This is just plain and simple. These are two teams that don’t score much. Even in a rivalry game, I don’t expect a lot of fireworks. Don’t overthink this, just bet on two low-scoring teams to not score much.

#18 UCLA at California: UCLA -11 (110)

After a tough loss to USC last week, and an even tougher loss to Arizona the week before, the Bruins are in desperate need of a “get right” game. Playing an in-state rival who is having a pretty terrible year should fit the bill. UCLA needs to show everyone that they are actually good before bowl selection. Beating up on Cal would be a good way to do that.

Something to remember here is that UCLA coach Chip Kelly has a propensity for running up the score. Most of their wins this season have been by double digits. Cal’s Super Bowl was beating Stanford last week. Expect the Golden Bears to get stomped into the off-season.