Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky Wildcats’

#2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats Predictions 4/2/12

April 1st, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on #2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats Predictions 4/2/12
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The 2012 National Championship Game odds are out for the NCAA Tournament, and here at Bankroll Sports, we are taking the time to list our Kansas Jayhawks vs. Kentucky Wildcats predictions and keys to the game for the biggest and final game of the campaign.

2012 Final Four Matchup: #2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats
Final Four Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Final Four Date/Time: Monday, April 2nd, 9:20 p.m.
Kansas vs. Kentucky Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Kansas has to make Kentucky react to a close game
If you go back and look at what the Wildcats have done this year, you have to be awfully impressed. They have 37 wins, including a 10-point victory against these Jayhawks. They only have been beaten twice this year, and in the five games in the NCAA Tournament, they haven’t been challenged at all. The closest game was the eight-point win in the Final Four against the hated Louisville Cardinals, and it was amazing that the Cards weren’t able to at least keep that one closer, knowing that they dominated possession thanks to just a slew of offensive rebounds. Sure, there have been some games this year that Kentucky has been able to win down the stretch; however, we have definitely seen some chinks in the armor. The door stayed open against the Vanderbilt Commodores, and they went on to pull the upset in the SEC Championship Game. That door might stay open yet again versus these Jayhawks.

National Championship Game Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Kansas Jayhawks +6.5
Kentucky Wildcats -6.5
Click Here to Bet Your National Championship Game Picks!

Key #2: Jeff Withey and Thomas Robinson have to prove to be forces on the inside defensively
Withey and Robinson knew that they were going to be up against it when they took on Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas for the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Final Four. They passed the test and passed it with flying colors. The real hero was Withey on the defensive end of the court. He blocked seven shots in the game and had eight boards, and two of those blocks came in the last 90 seconds or so. Is Withey overmatched from a physical standpoint? Sure. Whether it is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Anthony Davis that goes against him, Withey is going to be in some trouble. That being said, he and his teammates have improved dramatically in terms of interior defense of late. In the first go around, shots were falling from inside the paint for the whole game. Withey only had four blocks. We think that he could be a big, big factor come Monday night for the Jayhawks.

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Key #3: The Wildcats cannot give up second chances
If there is one aspect to Wildcats that we continue to see in the NCAA Tournament that is bothersome, it is the way that they hit the defensive glass. The Cardinals, as we mentioned before, had 16 offensive rebounds, and that was the only reason that they were able to stay in the game. However, all of the last four opponents were able to bring down at least nine offensive rebounds against Kentucky, and three of the four foes were able to get more offensive rebounds for the game than the Cats did. It simply isn’t good enough at this level, and athleticism can only take them so far. They’ll be in a heck of a lot of trouble if they get sloppy clearing after possessions in which they play great defense.

Key #4: Experience cannot be a factor if Head Coach John Calipari wants to get his first title
Coach Cal is one of the most talented coaches in the entire country, but he is still missing that elusive National Championship in his career resume. Since coming to Kentucky, he has used the logic that he is going to bring in the most talented players that he can find, regardless of whether they commit for one year or not to his program. That being said, when you look at the starting five for the Jayhawks, you see nothing but veterans – juniors and seniors that have been through the wars together, and that all understand what it takes to get the job done in these big time games. Meanwhile, when you look at Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and Darius Miller, you don’t think of them as “veterans.” However, in relation to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Anthony Davis, these are vets. If it comes down to that proverbial close game in which experience makes the difference, once again, we could see problems for the Wildcats. They have to win this game on their talent level alone.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Final four picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

#4 Louisville Cardinals vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats Predictions 3/31/12

March 29th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on #4 Louisville Cardinals vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats Predictions 3/31/12
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You aren’t going to find two teams in college basketball that have a bigger rivalry than the Louisville Cardinals and the Kentucky Wildcats. The two will meet in the Bayou to kick off our 2012 Final Four predictions on Saturday night in what might be one of the most anticipated games that we have seen in college basketball in quite some time.

2012 Final Four Matchup: #4 Louisville Cardinals vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats
Final Four Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Final Four Date/Time: Sunday, March 31st, 6:00 p.m.
Louisville vs. Kentucky Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: The Cardinals have to knock the Wildcats off of their game
… And that mean cranking up the pressure defensively. There were times against the Florida Gators in the Elite 8 that the Cardinals didn’t seem to have the same type of intensity that they did against, say the Michigan State Spartans. In that Sweet 16 matchup with the Big Ten champs, Louisville was able to absolutely take the Spartan out of what they wanted to do offensively, and in the end, it was good enough to put a lay a big time beat down on them. Against Florida at the end of the game, the defense showed those flashes once again. If the Cards can do this against MSU and Florida, there is no reason to think that a Kentucky team that has a ton of guards that have little to no experience at this level fits as well. What we have seen with the Wildcats in the past is that physical games can be concerning to them, especially if Terrence Jones doesn’t have his best stuff, so we do think that the possibility is there that the ‘Ville can accomplish this goal. Louisville has to make sure that it really gets in Kentucky’s head though, and forces a ton of turnovers and stupid fouls. That being said…

Final Four Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Louisville Cardinals +9
Kentucky Wildcats -9
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Key #2: Louisville has to stay out of foul trouble
We’re looking at you, Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng, and Chane Behanan! These three were in foul trouble all night against the Gators, and it was up to Head Coach Rick Pitino to try to figure out the crucial moments to get these three into the lineup. When they were off the court, Louisville really struggled, especially defensively, and as we have already determined, this is the calling card for this team. If Gorgui gets into foul difficulties, all of a sudden, the Cardinals don’t look like all that great of an interior defensive side. They are going to be up against it for sure at that point, as the three big boys, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, and Anthony Davis could be dominating on both sides of the court. The Cardinals have to be aggressive, but they have to be smart, and they have to make sure that they don’t commit all that many foolish fouls to take themselves out of the game.

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Key #3: The Wildcats have to take their time and keep this game at a reasonable pace
Though you would think of Louisville as a team that loves to push the basketball, that isn’t really necessarily the case. Sure, Pitino would rather start to put pressure on the opposition on both sides of the court, and as a result, there are a lot of points that are scored in transition. Kentucky has had a habit in this tournament of running perhaps a bit too much. The team has allowed at least 66 in all four of its games in the tourney, and that came after allowing fewer than 60 points per game in the regular season. Sure, the offense has the ability to get the job done as well, but we just don’t see this Louisville outfit allowing in the 70s, let alone in the 80s (or in the 100s!) as the Wildcats have reached in all of their games in March Madness. That means that Marquis Teague has to be smart with the basketball and that all of these youngsters that don’t have all that much experience need to keep their heads on straight. This was a team that shot just 33.9 percent from the field and jacked up 27 three-point shots against the Connecticut Huskies in the Final Four last year. That just can’t be the case once again if the Wildcats hope to move on to the finale on Monday.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Final Four picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

Elite 8 Predictions, Picks: Baylor vs. Kentucky 3/25/12

March 25th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Elite 8 Predictions, Picks: Baylor vs. Kentucky 3/25/12
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The top overall seed and the favorites on the NCAA Tournament odds, the Kentucky Wildcats, are hoping to be the only team in the land to repeat as a Final Four team this year when they take on the Baylor Bears on Sunday in the South Region finale.

2012 Elite 8 Matchup: #3 Baylor Bears vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats
South Region Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Elite 8 Date/Time: Sunday, March 25th, 2:20 p.m.
Baylor vs. Kentucky Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Baylor has to prove that its talent is as good as Kentucky’s
Normally speaking, the Wildcats run into teams that perhaps have one or two players that can keep up with some of the ridiculous talent that they have to offer. In this case though, there are a slew of players with NBA potential for Baylor, and this is a squad that really can run with the Cats for the full 40 minutes. Brady Heslip has been on fire from downtown. Pierre Jackson has been a monster of a point guard, both as a distributor and as a shoot. Both Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy can jump out of the building and get rebounds with the best in the biz as well. That being said, these Bears haven’t exactly had the roughest road to get here to the Elite 8, and the big knock against them this year is that they haven’t been able to beat the big time teams. There are two losses to the Kansas Jayhawks (though there is a win as well from the Big XII Tournament) and three to the Missouri Tigers. This Kentucky team is certainly just as good and likely better than both. It should be interesting to say the least.

Elite 8 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Baylor Bears +7.5
Kentucky Wildcats -7.5
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Key #2: Kentucky’s defense has to avoid giving up those big time runs
We saw both the Iowa State Cyclones and the Indiana Hoosiers figure out how to put up huge gobs of points on the Wildcats, and it is starting to feel like this might be the demise of this team at some point here in this tourney. The defense for UK just doesn’t seem to match the talent of the offense, and guys like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, and Terrence Jones shouldn’t be allowing nine offensive rebounds and a slew of second chance points to a team like the Hoosiers, who only have really two legitimate rebounders on their team. This is where the Bears can really capitalize, as they are a team that feeds off of momentum. We’ve seen it a lot, and we might see it again, and if that turns out to be the case, we are warning the Big Blue Nation that its team could be in a lot of trouble. Even though Baylor is a No. 3 seed, it is going to be playing this one like it is a No. 16 going against the Wildcats, and the team just is not going to give up, and it won’t stop believing during this whole 40 minutes.

Key #3: The Baylor guards have to frustrate Marquis Teague
When we did our Sweet 16 breakdown for the Wildcats, we said that Teague had to be a big time point guard and make good decisions with the basketball. Considering how many possessions there were in the game, the fact that he only coughed it up twice was definitely a good sign. That being said, this is a Baylor team that has quick hands and loves to get into passing lanes. We hate to keep dogging on Teague, but he is still the weakest link on this otherwise absolutely outstanding club. The Bears are averaging just under eight steals per game this year, and well over two thirds of those thefts are coming via the guards that are getting the opponents into trouble. Baylor can be a stingy team, and you can bet that it is going to turn up the pressure as high as it can for the No. 1 team in the country on Sunday.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Elite 8 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

Sweet 16 Predictions, Picks: Indiana vs. Kentucky 3/23/12

March 22nd, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Sweet 16 Predictions, Picks: Indiana vs. Kentucky 3/23/12
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The South Region will send its last team to the Elite 8 on Friday night, and the Indiana Hoosiers and the Kentucky Wildcats duke it out for that spot. We’re set to make our Sweet 16 predictions for the clash in Hot ‘Lanta!

2012 Sweet 16 Matchup: #4 Indiana Hoosiers vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats
South Region Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Sweet 16 Date/Time: Friday, March 23rd, 9:45 p.m.
Indiana vs. Kentucky Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Marquis Teague has to keep up with his strong tourney
Teague is still the freshman of the bunch that is under the most pressure. He is the point guard for this team, and he is the catalyst that has to get the job done. It’s not that he has to be a big time scorer, though he clearly was with his 24 points against the Iowa State Cyclones last weekend. However, Teague has to make smart decisions and take care of the basketball, and that is what we are wondering whether an inconsistent freshman is really going to be able to do. Again, it’s important to state, so far, so good for Teague, but we know that things might not stay that way as the competition gets stronger and stronger. You can bet that the Indiana guards are going to be licking their chops at having another shot at Teague in this one.

Sweet 16 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Indiana Hoosiers +9
Kentucky Wildcats -9
Over/Under 144
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Key #2: Indiana has to weather the storm and keep its head above water
Remember that for as young as Kentucky is, the Hoosiers aren’t all that much more experienced. Cody Zeller is just a freshman, and there are no Final Four runs for any of these players in the past. It was remarkable to think that Christian Watford was able to get the job done and knock down the biggest shot of his career and arguably the biggest shot that a Hoosier has knocked down in a decade to beat #1 Kentucky. We know that the Wildcats are going to come out angry and looking for revenge, and there are going to be times in this game when their talent takes over and they are able to go on a run. This is where Head Coach Tom Crean has to coach the biggest game of his career. He has to make sure to keep his team grounded during every timeout period and make sure that he uses his stoppages wisely. The Wildcats are beatable when they get frustrated, but if they frustrate the Hoosiers, there is going to be no encore performance out of the boys in red.

Key #3: The Kentucky bigs have to be big
Save for perhaps the North Carolina Tar Heels, there isn’t another team in the nation that can rebound the basketball with as much talent and authority as the Wildcats can. If is very clear that if Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are all approaching the double-double line, Kentucky is going to be insanely hard to beat. This isn’t a team that takes all that many fouls, and it has to stay that way. Odds have it, a man like Davis and one like Zeller will counter each other. The question is whether Gilchrist-Kidd and Jones are going to be able to really step up and prove that they are the superior athletes in this game. If so, this could be a cakewalk for the boys in blue. If not, it might be Heartbreak Hotel in St. Louis for the Wildcats.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Sweet 16 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

Final Four Picks: Connecticut Huskies vs. Kentucky Wildcats Analysis

March 30th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Final Four Picks: Connecticut Huskies vs. Kentucky Wildcats Analysis
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The Kentucky Wildcats and Connecticut Huskies met earlier this season at the Maui Invitational, and little did we know that this team that would go on to have a horrible record on the road and the other, which was unranked at the time, would be playing for the right to go to the National Championship Game. Check out how the Final Four odds stack up in this one!

Connecticut vs. Kentucky Odds at JustBet
Connecticut Huskies +2
Kentucky Wildcats -2
Over/Under 140
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Trends Of Note
Considering the fact that both of these teams ended up winning their conference tournaments this year, it’s no wonder why both have a heck of a lot of March Madness trends on their side in this one.

Kentucky has gone 5-1 ATS over the course of its last six games overall, and its only ATS loss in there was that escape from the Princeton Tigers in the first round of the tourney. UK is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 NCAA Tournament games as favorites. It is also 16-5-1 ATS in its last 22 games against Big East teams.

Connecticut has played six neutral site games in which it has been the underdog since the Big East Tournament, and it is a perfect 6-0 in those games. The Huskies are also 8-1 ATS since that magical run in the Big East Tournament started, and the lone failed attempt at a cover came against the Arizona Wildcats in the Elite 8. UConn is 7-2 ATS in its last nine NCAA Tournament odds battles and is 23-8 ATS in its last 31 games as an underdog. Head Coach Jim Calhoun and company are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 neutral site games overall and are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 against the SEC.

We’ve already mentioned the 84-67 win for UConn in this series at the Maui Invitational earlier this year, but there are also two other meetings that these teams have had since 2006. Kentucky won 64-61 at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic last season at Madison Square Garden, while the Huskies pulled out an 87-83 win in the NCAA Tournament when these teams met in 2006.

Players To Watch
For Connecticut, this is a simple game plan. Get the ball in Kemba Walker’s hands and let him do his thing. Walker can really do anything and everything that is asked of him. He has averaged 23.9 points, 5.3 boards, and 4.5 assists per game this year, and he already has 74 swipes of the rock as well on the defensive end of the court. This is the leading scorer amongst players left standing in this tournament, and save for perhaps BYU Cougars’ Jimmer Fredette, there is no man in this entire tournament that is more feared than Walker. He also has played all but six minutes during the dance for Calhoun and company.

There are really only six men in the rotation for the Wildcats this season, and though men like Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb tend to get all of the accolades, Josh Harrellson is really the difference maker this year on this team. For a man that, for all intents and purposes, was nothing more than a stiff at the outset of the season, Harrellson has come on strong and averaged 14.8 points and 9.0 boards per game in the dance. He’s coming up with the big plays in the paint over and over again, and Calipari knows that his team would be forgotten if not for the play of Harrellson.

Keys to the Game
Connecticut has to find some players to step up aside from Walker. Jeremy Lamb, just a freshman, has really matured beyond his years in the postseason this year. He carried the team in the win against the DePaul Blue Demons, and since that point, he has had nine straight double digit scoring games. Lamb is a heck of a shooter, and he is likely going to end up being the man that has to take this team over after Walker is gone, and whether it is him or Alex Oriakhi that is picking up the slack, one of them just has to help out Walker.

For Kentucky, the trick is going to be staying out of foul trouble. When Walker is cutting to the basket on a regular basis, he tends to be able to lure some fouls out of some of the most disciplined teams in the nation. The Wildcats just cannot afford to do stupid things, because the team just isn’t deep enough. Calipari complained about turnovers and dumb fouls about this team all season long, and if those issues rear their ugly heads again in this one like they were at times this year, the Cats are in a ton of trouble.

BBVA Compass Bowl Picks: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

January 7th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on BBVA Compass Bowl Picks: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Pittsburgh Panthers
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Teams that have programs that are clearly heading in the opposite direction right now look to gain some momentum in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham on Saturday afternoon. The Pittsburgh Panthers will try their best to beat the NCAA football betting odds against the up and coming Kentucky Wildcats. Beating the BBVA Compass Bowl lines in this one could be tough, and though the spread has gone the way of the Panthers for the majority of the last two weeks, the line is inevitably going to be very tight. Which way should you go? Hopefully these three keys to the game will help you out!

Key #1: Pittsburgh has to want to be here
We know that this is a very difficult task for the Panthers. There is no doubt that a Kentucky team that fought all season long in the SEC just to finish at .500 is going to be thrilled to play in a bowl game this year under first year Head Coach Joker Phillips, but there is a real question there for U-Pitt. The team’s Head Coach Dave Wannstedt won’t be here in Birmingham, as he was forced to step down after another very iffy season that resulted in a second tier bowl bid. Defensive Coordinator Phil Bennett is going to be taking over as the team’s head coach for this game, and he very well could end up using this as his interview to be the next man in charge of the team. The only reason this is possible though, is because Head Coach Mike Haywood, who was signed just a few weeks ago, was released from his duties after being arrested for a domestic violence call against him. Now, to top it all off, the up and down Panthers aren’t playing in a BCS bowl game, something that looked like a near certainty at the start of November, as they blew a two game edge in the conference and are stuck playing in one of the last bowl games of the year in one of the least desirable locations for a duel.

BBVA Compass Bowl Odds at JustBet
Kentucky Wildcats +3.5
Pittsburgh Panthers -3.5
Over/Under 52.5
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Key #2: Morgan Newton needs to prove that he is a superstar in the making
Phillips really had a tough time deciding who his quarterback was going to be in camp this year, and he decided to go with experience over athleticism, choosing QB Mike Hartline over QB Morgan Newton. Here at the BBVA Compass Bowl though, he really doesn’t have a lot of options. Hartline was suspended for this game a month ago, and he won’t be making the trip to Birmingham with the team. Instead, the ball belongs to Newton, who will inevitably take most of the snaps over the course of the day. Newton only threw the ball seven times this year, and he had just four carries, but he brings a level of athleticism to the table that kind of looks like another SEC quarterback with the last name of Newton… No, we’re not confusing Morgan for Cameron, but we know that UK’s Newton does have the ability to make plays both with his arm and with his legs, and he can really confuse the defense for the Panthers if he takes full advantage of his skill set. Newton just has to relax and let the game come to him in his first career start, and he should be fine, especially if he listens to Key No. 3…

Key #3: The ball must get into the hands of Randall Cobb
The Panthers have a fantastic defense, ranking No. 9 in the country and ranking in the Top 25 against the rush, the pass, and in scoring. However, this unit clearly has some chink that can be exposed, and it is going to be up to Cobb to make those cracks even bigger. Cobb touched the football an average of 11.8 times per game this year, but that isn’t going to cut it here in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Cobb has the ability to really light up a game in a hurry, as he will take the snap directly as a Wildcat QB, where he can throw the ball, run the ball either to the inside or to the outside, or hand it off, he can take wide receiver sweeps, and he can catch passes. Between those three things, he accounted for over 1,400 yards this year with 15 TDs. Not only does Cobb getting his numbers put points on the board directly for the Wildcats, but it takes attention away from RB Derrick Locke and WR Chris Matthews, the two of which ended up with 19 TDs between them on the year. If the Panthers can’t figure out where Cobb is at all times when he breaks the huddle, they are going to be in a ton of trouble, as this young man can really do it all on the field.

2010 College Football Coaching Changes

August 24th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on 2010 College Football Coaching Changes
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Some of the biggest programs in college football have seen changes right at the top this year. The odds to win the 2011 BCS Championship have altered as well, as there have been hirings, firings, and replacements, along with some surprise changes that could shake the entire core of the NCAA football betting world. A number of schools have made changes at the top in what has been a very, very interesting offseason. Here is the list of the schools that are heading in new directions with their football programs and their 2011 BCS Championship odds.

Akron Zips (+700000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Akron has been a train wreck in the MAC for a number of years, and last season was no exception. The Zips went just 3-9 and just 2-6 in conference, and a 4-8 ATS record didn’t make many college football betting friends either. Now, there is a huge quarterback battle going on in Akron, as QBs Patrick Nicely and Matt Rodgers are both candidates for the job. Rodgers’ injury last year might’ve been the final straw to getting JD Brookhart fired. Rob Ianello, the new man in charge, has a long way to go to get this program back to the form that it was in back in 2005 when it won the MAC Championship.

Buffalo Bulls (+500000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Without a doubt, Turner Gill was the most beloved coach in the history of Buffalo Bulls football. He really helped put the program on the map, especially two seasons ago when the Bulls upset the previously unbeaten Ball State Falcons to win the MAC Championship Game when no one gave them even the remotest of chances. If the name Jeff Quinn sounds familiar to you, think back to both Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Both of those teams lost Brian Kelly right before their bowl games. Quinn was the man in charge of both a bowl win for the Chippewas over Middle Tennessee in 2005 and last season’s Bearcats loss to the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. Getting back to a bowl game would be a triumph for Buffalo, which fell a game short of eligibility last year.

Central Michigan Chippewas (+120000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): The Chippewas had a chance to really make some noise last year, the final season with QB Dan LeFevour. However, just as has been the case in quite a few instances when a legendary coach leaves a program, Butch Jones decided that LeFevour’s departure was the best time for him to try to move on to a big time coaching gig. Now, the Chippies are left with Dan Enos, the former running backs coach for the Michigan State Spartans. Enos has never been a head football coach at any level, clearly showing that CMU didn’t have a heck of a lot of options. No one wanted to be the man that followed Jones in Mount Pleasant, especially without LeFevour there to quell the pain of transition.

Cincinnati Bearcats (+15000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Shame on Brian Kelly for leaving the Bearcats right before their bowl game after a perfect regular season and a Big East championship! The team made the right call by going after Kelly’s successor at Central Michigan, Butch Jones as a replacement. We already know that Jones knows Kelly’s system after taking over for him without missing a beat at Central Michigan, and several teams were eager to grab his services. Jones made a good call as well, as he knows that QB Zach Collaros might actually be better than the departed Tony Pike. Collaros can win this team the Big East title this year, which might immediately put Jones in line for an even better position.

East Carolina Pirates (+160000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): ECU was on the verge of something special with Skip Holtz in charge, but when South Florida came calling for the second generation coach, he had to move on to the bigger named school. Ruffin McNeill has been an assistant at Texas Tech for a number of years. Many thought that he would be a logical successor to Mike Leach, especially after guiding the Red Raiders to a 41-31 Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State last year. Will the spread offense work at East Carolina, though? It is certainly a huge shift from the traditional, “take care of the football and play good defense” mentality that Holtz had. There could be a bit of a transition period for the Pirates, but ultimately, McNeill should make a good director of the ship there.

Florida State Seminoles (+7000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): For the past three seasons, Jimbo Fisher has just been waiting patiently for Bobby Bowden to retire so he could take over command at Florida State. Truth be told, the Noles have been under Fisher’s watchful eye ever since he stepped foot in Tallahassee, so this might not be a huge transition for the garnet and gold. Fisher has transformed this offense into a train wreck from the Drew Weatherford/Xavier Lee days into one that is genuinely feared with QB Christian Ponder at the helm. It’s going to be fun watching this team grow once again, especially with the QB of the future, EJ Manuel already waiting in the wings. A defense still needs to be picked back up to get Florida State back on the map. Fisher has huge shoes to fill from the second winningest coach in NCAA FBS history.

Kansas Jayhawks (+35000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Kansas had to think that last season was the year that it could really contend for a National Championship. However, Mark Mangino, who helped resurrect the program and turn it into a national contender in the first place, failed miserably, as he wasted the talents of seniors like Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier, Todd Reesing, and Jake Sharp. Turner Gill was the hottest young coaching commodity on the planet, and KU was sure to snatch him up. He is already looked at as a hero in Lawrence, as very few of the players and even fewer of the alumni had any care for the way that Mangino treated his team at all.

Kentucky Wildcats (+50000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Rich Brooks deserves a lot of credit for keeping Kentucky football relevant for a number of years. Still, it was time for him to go, as it seemed as though the program hit a peak under his direction. Head coach in waiting Joker Phillips is set to unleash his offensive talents on the rest of the SEC in a move that is probably going to take a few years to get perfected. The Cats are always going to be a second rate team in the SEC, particularly in the East, where programs like Florida and Tennessee will always be the hottest recruiting beds. Phillips has his work cut out for him to make the Wildcats more than Music City Bowl honorary members on an annual basis.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (+150000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Here’s a team that wasn’t so certain that it was really changing coaches. La Tech was shocked when Derek Dooley left for Tennessee, and they had to scramble to try to replace him at the last second with most of the best coaching options already off the board. Little known Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes is the man that was suddenly put in charge on January 20th. He is bringing in a spread offense which will bring La Tech essentially into the 21st century of WAC football. This program has bigger problems, though… trying to figure out what conference it is going to be playing in once the WAC finishes falling apart.

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (+750000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Mired in the middle of a bad conference for a number of years, the Warhawks are just trying to figure out how to get to a bowl game and to challenge the top teams in the Sun Belt. Signing Todd Berry made a lot of sense though, as he is very familiar with the system at Louisiana-Monroe having served under previous head coach Charlie Weatherbie as an assistant for two years. He has bounced around as assistants in other locations since 2005, but he’ll return to the Bayou and try to get the Warhawks on the map for the first time in the history of the school.

Louisville Cardinals (+50000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Simply put, the firing of Steve Kragthorpe was an absolute must in Louisville. Kragthorpe single handedly destroyed the program that Bobby Petrino turned into a Top 10 program year in and year out in the Big East. Kragthorpe couldn’t find a way to win in the senior year of QB Brian Brohm, one of the most decorated players in the history of the school’s football team, and since then it has been all downhill. Charlie Strong comes in from Florida, where he will bring a spread offense that should at least spark a bit of promise for a program that has been dropped into the doldrums of the Big East for the past few years.

Marshall Thundering Herd (+140000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Mark Snyder was one of the many coaches that were essentially forced out of their positions. Snyder wasn’t even allowed to hang around for the team’s bowl game, a 21-17 win in the Little Caesar’s Bowl over Ohio. John “Doc” Holliday has been the associate head coach at West Virginia for a number of years, and many are surprised that it took this long for him to land a head coaching job. The cupboard certainly isn’t bare at Marshall, and many think that Holliday can be the man that can bring this program back to prominence in its new conference, C-USA.

Memphis Tigers (+350000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Simply put, Memphis is in terrible shape right now. The Tigers might not be favored in any game which they play this season, and if that’s the case, the prospects of a one or two win campaign is a real possibility. Former coach Tommy West blasted the program on the way out the door, which might cause us to never hear his name again. Larry Porter is going to be taking over, but even he knows that this is probably nothing more than a temporary stop before he gets fired as well. The Tigers are going nowhere fast, and unless the school pumps some more money into the facilities there, this program is closer to being gone than being relevant.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+11500 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Notre Dame football has been on a steep decline ever since Lou Holtz retired. Coaches like Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie helped wreck what was once one of the most proud programs in the history of college football. Charlie Weis didn’t help matters any either, though he at least took the team to a BCS game in his reign. Former Cincinnati HC Brian Kelly accepted the Irish position just days before his Bearcats tried to complete an undefeated season with a Sugar Bowl victory over the Florida Gators. Cincinnati’s players elected to play without their skipper, and the end result was a huge loss to mar an otherwise fantastic campaign. Kelly probably has three years to turn the Irish into winners.

San Jose State Spartans (+800000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): There aren’t many programs that have been as inept as San Jose State in recent years. The Spartans really were never in a position to let Tomey, a legendary coach in West Coast college football go. However, he announced his retirement, which is leading way to Mike MacIntyre to come across the country from Duke, where he was the team’s defensive coordinator. Working on the defense would be a good start for the Spartans, as they were one of the worst ‘D’s in the land last year… Of course, they had one of the worst offenses as well. A couple home wins would be a huge triumph this season.

South Florida Bulls (+50000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Jim Leavitt was the only head coach that the Bulls ever knew, even when they were just a tiny I-AA school just trying to make ends meet. However, amidst some off the field issues, the university decided to get rid of their head coach and sign Skip Holtz to replace him. The move made a lot of sense, as Holtz has been leading East Carolina up the ranks of Conference USA, the same conference that South Florida came out of from back in the day. With QB BJ Daniels and a host of returning starters, the Bulls might be the most BCS ready hire of the bunch, especially with a proven coach like Holtz on the sidelines.

Tennessee Volunteers (+50000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): The poor Volunteers finally looked to be heading in the right direction, as the family of Kiffins, Lane and Monte were finally starting to round this program into shape after several lousy years with Phil Fulmer in charge. Kiffin decided to bolt to USC when the opportunity arose this year in spite of the fact that the program could be in shambles. That left the men on Rocky Top scrambling. Though it wasn’t a sexy hire, Derek Dooley was about the only name that the Vols could come up with. No one is expecting this hire to work, and if someone better becomes available next year than a coach that was mediocre with a WAC school, expect Tennessee to jump on it.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (+17500 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): In one of the more bizarre stories in a very awkward offseason, Texas Tech fired Mike Leach following allegations surrounding one of his players. Leach is still sitting out this season to sure up some legal matters against the university, but hiring Tommy Tuberville was a huge coup for the program. The biggest question that is yet to be answered is whether Tuberville will let the Air Raid continue, or whether he will instead install a more run first offense which is similar to the ones used in the SEC where he came from at Auburn two years ago. Texas Tech was on the verge of being a real national power under Leach. Tuberville is expected to, at minimum, keep that up.

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (+300000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): One of the two FCS coaches that took the jump into the FBS this year was Montana’s Bobby Hauck. Hauck takes over for Mike Sanford, who went just 16-43 overall in five years with the Runnin’ Rebs. Not only did Hauck have a lot of success at the FCS level, but he also coached under one of the great FBS coaches of our time as well in Rick Neuheisel both at Washington and Colorado. The Rebels might have themselves a real winner coaching them up, but reaching a bowl game would be a huge accomplishment for a program that has been a wreck since turning over its coaching staff the last time.

USC Trojans (No Line to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Pete Carroll saw this one coming. He knew that USC was about to get hammered by the NCAA for recruiting violations which saw RB Reggie Bush lose his Heisman Trophy. Before the dust settled though, the university successfully conned Lane Kiffin into coming back to Southern Cal, the place which he became a highly coveted assistant coach just a few years ago. Kiffin is upset about the punishments, which make the Trojans ineligible for the National Championship or a bowl game for the next two years and costs the program a number of scholarships. Still, this is clearly a very, very talented team that could run the table… if it wanted to. It’s Kiffin’s job to make sure that his team is ready to play and isn’t worried about the fact that it won’t be in a bowl game this year.

Vanderbilt Commodores (+60000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Bobby Johnson actually had the Commodores ranked for the first time in their history just two years ago, but since that point, they have fallen upon relatively hard times. He elected to resign just a few months ago, which was a shocking move to the program which he helped assemble. Assistant head coach Robbie Caldwell was immediately named the interim coach of the team, and just a few weeks ago, he had that tag removed. Still, Vandy isn’t going to be competing in the SEC East any time soon, and six wins would be a massive, massive triumph any year.

Virginia Cavaliers (+60000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): Be careful what you wish for, Cavaliers fans. UVA at least had a lot of great recruits coming to Charlottesville under former head coach Al Groh, and for quite awhile, it was a relevant team in the ACC. However, the Cavvies got tired of Groh and got rid of him this year, bringing in Mike London, a former assistant and the previous head coach of the Richmond Spiders, making London the other FCS coach to leap up to an FBS program as a head coach. However, the cupboard is entirely dry for Virginia. This could be the worst BCS conference school in the land this year.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (+900000 to win 2011 BCS Championship at 5Dimes Sportsbook): With the transition to the Sun Belt now fully complete, the Hilltoppers decided to go in another direction this season, firing David Elson after an 0-12 season in which the team really wasn’t competitive at all. Taggart is a WKU alumnus and has since been the running backs coach at Stanford. His key project? Toby Gerhart, who became one of the top running backs in the nation last year. The Hilltoppers hope that Taggart can bring just a shadow of respectability to this program over the next few seasons as they try to establish themselves as a legitimate member of the FBS.