Knowing several of the small stories is critical to having success in the first week of college football. Also, these keys may prevent potential pitfalls that a bettor otherwise may not know about. Let’s take a look at some of the recent news stories that may have an impact on a team you are looking to back/fade in the next few weeks.
DUKE BLUE DEVILS – The Blue Devils have had to deal with a strain of the H1N1 flu virus during their training camp. At least half of their players were impacted by it and treated during camp. It has affected some of what second year coach David Cutcliffe has wanted to do, but it shouldn’t have a significant impact on their season. Luckily they have a weak opening schedule to start the season.
IOWA HAWKEYES – Iowa’s starting running back Jewel Hampton is expected to miss the entire season after suffering a knee injury. Hampton’s injury is significant, as he was expected to be a good replacement for All-American running back Shonn Greene. The Hawkeyes have a good offensive line, but they lack depth at the running back position. Their offense is predicated on running the ball, so this injury is a significant problem.
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE – Alabama has two major issues that they have had to deal with. First, the statuses of star wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Mark Ingram are still unknown for the start of the season, as they face a possible four game suspension for a trip in the off-season. Those two players are very important to the Tide offense. In addition, several players have dealt with a strain of the swine flu, although it’s not expected to have a significant impact for their first game of the season against Virginia Tech. They have been trying to quarantine affected players as much as possible.
USC TROJANS – Freshman Matt Barkley has been named the starter after having a good camp, as well as the injury to Aaron Corp. Barkley hasn’t played like a freshman in camp so far, as he has impressed coaches/teammates with his football intelligence. He will be aided by having one of the best offensive linemen/running backs in the country around him. Look for head coach Pete Carroll to put him in situations that will enable him to succeed. However, USC has been dealing with several injuries in camp, including to starting wide receiver Ronald Johnson, who broke his collarbone. Carroll was very upset about the injury, much more so than normal.
MICHIGAN WOLVERINES – Much has been made about the violation allegations regarding practice time with Michigan’s football team. It will be interesting to see if this issue brings the team together or causes them to be distracted. Sharp bettors seem to think it will bring them together because the line on Michigan creeped up slightly for their opener against Western Michigan after the incident was reported.
BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES – The Eagles have a huge problem at the quarterback position this season after returning starter Dominique Davis decided to transfer after being suspended for academic reasons. They will have to rely on a quarterback who has no previous snaps with their offense heading into this year. Luckily they have two easy games to start the season until their ACC opener with Clemson on September 19th. However, their offense really struggled last year, so it’s going to be interesting to see where the points are going to come from this season.
N.C. STATE WOLFPACK – N.C. State seems like they are going to have a good season, as they return several starters on both sides of the ball. However, they will be without their best defensive player, line backer Nate Irving, after his car accident this summer. He was an important part of their defense last season and will be missed this year. Starting quarterback Russell Wilson must stay healthy and be effective in order for this team to make it back to a bowl game.