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Duff: Sports Wagering to Have a ‘Huge Impact’ on College Football

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As more and more states move to allow legal sports wagering, Kickoff Editor Tommy Duff expects this to have a “huge impact” on the college football experience.

“Not so much the games themselves, but the atmosphere around it. I expect to hear a lot more talk about the odds than we’ve heard in the past,” Duff said.

Predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome happens with lots of different sports, as well as non-human contests like horse racing. Websites even offer wagers for things like the Grammys, Oscars, and Emmy Awards, so of course college football will figure prominently as restrictions fall after the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey last May and agreed that the federal ban on sports betting in most states violated their rights.

States that aren’t already on board must pass legislation to legalize sports betting, set up state-regulated sports books and gambling commissions. This is happening because states are missing out on revenues from illegal sports betting.

He expects that at some point, the game will be rocked by a scandal of some sort involving players, coaches or officials who’ve discreetly bet on the game fixing the outcome – similar to the Chicago White Sox being dubbed the Black Sox after 8 baseball players conspired to throw the 1919 World Series.

“Some type of sports betting scandal IS going to happen eventually. Guarantee it,” Duff predicted.

Point-shaving schemes are not new to college athletics, and organized crime may become a factor, as gangsters have in the past (and probably already have been with under-the-table gambling on college football games).

At the professional level, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that betting on in-game events, as opposed to the outcome of games, is a more palatable form of sports betting.

Some have long argued that college athletic programs, the NCAA, and apparel companies take advantage of athletes, who often attend school on a college scholarship but otherwise may scrape by because they do not get to share in the large pools of money generated by their talent.

Many a school has had a wealthy booster caught playing elite players and faced sanction by the NCAA. The counter-argument is that paying student-players would hurt the game and create a situation where a handful of big sports programs would pay top dollar for the elite players while other colleges would get caught up in a bidding war they can’t afford.

Will legal sports gambling create a back-door mechanism for players to profit? Will they see dollar signs instead of championship trophies? In a game built on tradition and glory, the prospect of being banned from the game and disgraced may offer some incentive to behave. Some will argue for leniency if it is proven that players did not bet on or against their own teams.

One thing is for sure: Every time a player falls just shy of the goal line or fumbles, affecting the outcome within the spread, some may now question if the incident was truly accidental.

Within this new environment affecting college football, The Kickoff becomes even more critical as a tool for prognosticating the outcome of games.

“The numbers we include are basically essential for those who follow the odds, including records against the spread and average margin of victory updates every week,” Duff said. “It’s all the information you need in one place and up-to-date.”

Early Expectations for College Football Power Programs

While on the topic of college football and the upcoming season, Duff offered a few early thoughts on what he expects to see.

As usual, Clemson and Alabama will stand a high probability of making it to the College Football Playoff yet again.

“Clemson will be favored to make it again, and we won’t see a large drop off from Bama this year unless Tua goes down. The championship game was an eye-opener, though, and they do not look invincible. Alabama still has the best wide receivers in the country.”

The Tide go into 2019 without former starting QB Jalen Hurts, who transferred to Oklahoma. Duff thinks the Sooners could be in the Playoff mix as well. Could we see Hurts vs Tua at some point?

“It would be interesting,” Duff said. “Tua is more accurate while Hurts is more agile and more dangerous outside the pocket. Oklahoma will be a favorite, but we have to see how Hurts is able to adapt. He’s not as consistent throwing the ball as Murray was a year ago.”

Duff also wants to see how teams like Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia, Michigan, and Penn State shape up over the summer.

“I expect Notre Dame and Brian Kelly to struggle this season. They got stomped in the playoffs, and I don’t think they’ll make it back.”
He said Auburn’s Gus Malzahn will also face pressure if the Tiger’s grueling schedule leads to another letdown. “Auburn should be safe, but if they do have a bad season, I can see Gus in trouble by the end.”

Duff does not think Kirby Smart will be able to deliver Georgia’s first national title since 1980. Much will depend on how well he has recruited to replenish talent. “He won’t be in trouble if they aren’t a Top 4 team. Everyone understands the Bulldogs lost quite a bit of talent.”

As for other coaches, Duff expects Les Miles and Mack Brown to improve their new teams. “They were horrible last year, and they’ll have to get some more talent to compete for any postseason games.”

As we move closer to summer workouts and the opening games of the new season, you can follow the action in the remaining off-season issues of The Kickoff and subscribe to the First Class printed or Email/PDF edition to begin receiving 17 in-season issues starting in August.

Learn more at https://thekickoffstore.com/subscriptions/individual/

College Football Prognostication: The Art of the Educated Guess

College football is back

Prognostication is not an exact science, but precision forecasting is the aim. Hype rules the Pre-season as coaches look for optimism going into Media Day events. Few would ever be brave (or eccentric) enough to signal to the faithful that disaster awaits the team – saying things like “the best Christmas gift this fall will be an end to our misery” is hardly a good way to pre-sell stadium tickets and inspire exceptional efforts from the student-athletes.

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Looking Ahead: An Early Preview of 2019 College Football

2019 College Football Season

The faces change, but the game remains the same. Colleges and universities across this great country will replace those lost to graduation and playing in the pros with fresh recruits from high schools and junior college transfers. Several great players will be with entirely different teams this season. And then there’s the annual changing of the guard as old coaches get sent packing after disappointing campaigns and new ones try to build a solid foundation as quickly as possible for future championships.

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The Post-Mortem: 2019 College Football Recap

Now that the 2018-19 College Football Season is over with the Clemson Tigers claiming the National Championship, it’s time to do a “post mortem” on how the season went, including how The Kickoff measured in terms of our preseason predictions. Of course, you can only be so accurate before Game One, basing your analysis on the prior season’s performance, historic performance over time, the quality of returning and new players, and factors such as the difficulty of schedule, coaching changes, etc. That can all get thrown off if a seemingly difficult schedule ahead is impacted by teams who underperform. That’s part of what makes the off-season so exciting: Trying to look into a crystal ball and determine how things will turn out.

As always, 2018 brought us the share of disappointments and surprises. Once we got into the actual games and Media Days hype turned to Game Day realities, adjustments in expectations naturally followed.

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College Football News: The Kickoff Looks Back and Ahead

College Football News

College Football News: Regular Season Retrospective and Bowl Season Preview

With the regular season ending and bowl games starting, it’s time to reflect on where schools stand and what lies ahead for some of them. Kickoff Editor Tommy Duff offered his thoughts on 2018 college football. Our final regular season issue, the Bowl Wrap Up issue, will come out January 9th!

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