College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Robert Huffstutter via Flickr creative commons
If you're a Texans fan, and for some reason you decided to take a nap around kickoff last Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts (and I can't imagine why you would, other than that the outcome of Texans games in Indy seems to be predetermined), and then woke up on Tuesday morning, it had to be a pretty jarring experience.

I mean, when you decided to take your 40 winks, Ryan Fitzpatrick was your starting quarterback and Tom Savage was waiting in the wings. When you woke up on Tuesday morning, Case Keenum was a Houston Texan again and you were forced to surf Thad Lewis YouTube videos to find out who in the hell he is.

This had to be how the guys in The Hangover felt when they found the tiger in the bathroom, right?

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University of Houston Names Tom Herman Head Football Coach

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Wikimedia Commons
If you're looking for a barometer on a college head coach's regime, an indication which way the wind is blowing, it's widely believed that a coach's third season provides the most insight.

At a lot of places, consecutive winning seasons and bowl games in years two and three would be enough for a coach to hold onto his job for at least one more year. However, despite those finishes the last two seasons, there were just enough chinks in Tony Levine's armor (some glaring) and just enough risk of the conference realignment ground shifting underneath them again for the University of Houston to realize that 7-5 just isn't good enough.

Losing to UTSA in the game where you open a new $120 million stadium isn't good enough. Four offensive coordinators in three years isn't good enough. Tony Levine, a good man but in a little too deep as a head coach, just isn't good enough.

And thus, on Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman would take over as the head coach of the U of H football program, set to begin his job once Ohio State is eliminated from the College Football Playoff.

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Wanted: A New Head Coach Who Doesn't Suck UPDATED

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Wanted: A new coach who doesn't suck

Update December 15 at 10:50 a.m.: Fox Sports college football reporter Bruce Feldman is reporting that Tom Herman will be the new coach of the Cougars. See update at the end of this post.

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Are you a college football head coach with a reputation for mediocrity? Have you been fired from your job because of your inability to hire a competent offensive coordinator? Does your reputation rest on the arm of a quarterback who has since departed for the NFL? Have you failed at every head coaching stop that you've ever made?

Guess what? The Houston Cougars want to talk to you about becoming the school's next head coach.

It's been a week since the Cougars fired head coach Tony Levine. Levine was a nice guy in over his head. His record as coach was 21-17. He kept elevating Travis Bush to the role of offensive coordinator, and time and time again the Cougars had difficulties with putting points on the board. The immediate thinking upon Levine's departure was that Houston would look for an offensive-minded coach to take over, whether someone with previous head coaching experience or someone working as an offensive coordinator.

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Gavin's Goods via Flickr
So I'm coming off a betting weekend where I'm rounding into midseason form. The only problem is that midseason was like a month and a half ago, so we got some catching up to do!

I went 5-1 last weekend, and now we shift gears to the two-week period where there's no college football to bet on, just the NFL. After going 3-0 on college last weekend, this makes me a little bit sad.

But we can always do better. We can always go 6-0, and if you don't think 6-0 is possible, well, let me give you a little bit of Twitpic inspiration. Check out this crazy parlay ticket from last weekend:

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It's Head Coach-Hunting Time for UH Football

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Will UH ask coaching candidates if they own this book?
Tony Levine was not fired by the University of Houston because his offense was boring. He was not fired because he was a good guy but didn't have swagger. Despite reports from reporters who never actually attended games or press conferences, UH didn't fire Levine because it doesn't value character and class.

Tony Levine was fired because his team lost 27-7 to UTSA in the very first game played in Houston's brand-new TDECU Stadium -- a game in which the Cougars were double-digit favorites. He was fired because his team lost to a then two-win Tulane team 31-24, a game that was UH's homecoming game and a game in which UH was, once again, a double-digit favorite.

Levine was fired because the team trailed SMU at the half (SMU won just one game this season) and because it barely defeated Tulsa, another game against a bad opponent in which the Cougars were heavy favorites. He was fired because his record as head coach was a mediocre 21-17 and the team appeared to be trending downwards.

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Five Things We Learned From the First College Football Playoff Selections

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In the season long beauty contest that is College Football 2014, the first season being played to impress an audience of what amounts to twelve judges, Saturday night was the finale. It was the swimsuit competition, if you will.

And make no mistake, the six teams vying for the four spots in the inaugural College Football Playoff didn't just bring out the sultry swimsuits. They brought out the string thong bikinis.

According to R.J. Bell of pregame.com, the top six college football teams were projected to win by a net 70 points this past weekend week (based on Vegas spreads). They won by 191 points.

In college football, they call that style points. To translate that into beauty contest parlance, this was no swimsuit competition. Saturday was a striptease.

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UPDATED It's College Bowl Announcement Time, Levine Ousted as UH Football Coach

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John Royal
Rice head coach David Bailiff addresses the media yesterday as the team accepts an invitation to play in the Hawaii Bowl

Update December 8 at 1 p.m.: UH announced this morning that it has fired head coach Tony Levine. Defensive coordinator David Gibbs will take over as interim head coach until the university hires a replacement.

"Coach Levine and I met several times throughout the season, and again late last night, to discuss the state of the program. Last night I informed him we will be moving in a different direction with our football program," university athletics director Mack Rhoades said in a statement. "Coach Levine is an outstanding leader and over the last three years he has demonstrated great commitment to our student-athletes and has been an outstanding role model for our young men. He has left the program in a better situation than it was when he inherited it."

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Original story:

Two local college teams go 7-5 on the season. Both teams get a bowl invite on the same day. People associated with one school are happy, ecstatic that its team is going to another bowl, rewarding the players, and growing as a program. The other program is quiet as rumors swirl that the head coach has been fired despite leading his team to a second straight bowl game.

Such is life for the Rice Owls and the Houston Cougars. The Owls, who started the season 0-3, are headed to Hawaii for the Christmas Eve Hawaii Bowl against Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl. It's the third bowl in three seasons for Rice, a school that had gone nearly 40 years between bowl appearances heading into 2006. While Hawaii wasn't the school's first choice, Rice is happy for the trip, seeing it as a great way to reward its players.

The Cougars have been quiet since losing to Cincinnati 38-31 Saturday afternoon. It was the third time this season that UH had a chance to win or tie the game inside the closing minute, and the second time the Cougars found a way to lose despite having a first and goal on the final drive. But it was the perfect cap on a disappointing season that will end with the Cougars facing Pitt in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth on January 2.

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Joe Kramer via Flickr

Before we get to the Best Bets, a couple of quick comments on the college football coaching carousel...

Florida found their guy in Colorado State's Jim McElwain, and by doing so kept alive the streak of 1,143 straight schools who have fired their head coach and then gone and found a new head coach with the complete opposite profile of the ousted coach. Fired Will Muschamp, a former defensive coordinator with no experience? Well, let's get McElwain, a former offensive coordinator with head coaching experience!

The amazing bit of fallout from these firings (and really just a general trend) is the big money being offered to coordinators. Will Muschamp is fired and immediately (reportedly) offered seven figures to coordinate defenses for Texas A&M and Auburn. A steady gig, big salary and a small fraction of the pressure as a head coach? Yeah, coordinator is where it's at.

Also...Nebraska...what the hell was that? Mike Riley? Really?

Okay, onto the bets....


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College Football Playoff Rankings v 6.0: Baylor's Day of Reckoning Is Nigh

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Well, it was bound to happen at some point. The new College Football Playoff committee was bound to make themselves the topic as opposed to the teams they're picking.

Tuesday night, in the sixth unveiling of the College Football Playoff rankings, the final edition before the rankings are used to select a four-team playoff and slot a handful of teams into New Year's bowls, we got our first big curveball from the committee, and that sound you heard was thousands of voices in Waco crying out in terror as their playoff dreams were put on life support.

With a lot of jostling going on in the back end of the top ten but very little near the top, the only high-end brewing controversy that the committee has been dealing with is the TCU-Baylor issue, in which the committee sees TCU's resume as better than Baylor's despite identical records and a Baylor win over the Horned Frogs.

Heading into this week, the Bears were ranked 7th and the Frogs 5th. So after wins by both this past weekend -- TCU impressively over Texas, Baylor not so much over Texas Tech -- the committee did what any good WWE promoter would do -- they threw more gas onto a budding feud.

Let's examine the landscape, but first let's look at the latest rankings. Here they are:

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Baylor Hires Public Relations Firm To Lobby For CFB Playoff Spot

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Tonight, the latest rankings from the College Football Playoff committee will be released. With this being the first season under this format, we are still learning what's important and what's not important to the committee when it comes to evaluating the potential participants.

Even with just a week left in the regular season (which, for CFP purposes, includes conference title games), there are still a ton of moving parts. How will the committee evaluate strength of schedule? How important will conference titles be? Are head to head results going to matter at some point?

These are all legitimate questions, and none of us knows the answer yet. Hell, the committee themselves may not know the answer yet! However, when it comes to making sure the committee properly evaluates their resume, there is one school that is taking no chances.

Baylor, we salute your moxie!

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