Everyone loves a good trend, and while I may not speak for everyone in the wide world of college sports, I do have the opportunity on Heartland College Sports to discuss some interesting trends revolving around the Big 12 Conference and the 2023 college football season.
With this being the first iteration of Tillery’s Trends, I plan to discuss players, coaches, teams, betting lines, top stories, and anything else that stands out about the Week 5 slate of games, and the future of college football.
On the menu for today, we have Lance Leipold finding his name linked to a new head coaching job, Brent Venables proving doubters wrong, and a tasty helping of the wild betting line saga between BYU and Cincinnati. Enjoy!
HELLO MICHIGAN STATE?
Lance Leipold has quickly shot up head coaching rankings thanks to the incredible job he’s done in Lawrence, turning one of the worst programs in college football history into a serious Big 12 title contender with a bright future ahead. While Leipold is no stranger to seeing his name pop up on lists for head coaching vacancies across the nation, this Michigan State job seems to be picking up some real steam.
Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported on Friday morning that two names keep being mentioned among sources at Michigan State as potential candidates to replace Mel Tucker, with Washington State head coach Jake Dickert, and Kansas head coach Lance Leipold.
While the move for Leipold doesn’t really make sense from his perspective as he finds himself in the midst of a special rebuild at Kansas with one of the nation’s budding programs, Michigan State has the influence and money available to make the decision at least a little tougher for Leipold to stay in Lawrence.
Let me be clear in saying I do not believe Lance Leipold will be going anywhere anytime soon but with some bigger traction behind closed doors at Michigan State seeming to surface, this trend is one I had to talk about.
BRENT VENABLES DESERVES AN APOLOGY
Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables caught a ton of flack from Big 12 fans in his first season at the helm after finishing with an underwhelming 6-7 record in 2022. While things in Norman had some buzz this offseason with the team bringing in some new names in the freshman class and through the transfer portal, Brent Venables was still pointed at as a coach who was incapable of living up to the Lincoln Riley era by Sooners fans everywhere.
Flash forward to Week 5 of the 2023 college football season and things have changed dramatically. The Sooners enter their Week 5 matchup against the Iowa State Cyclones with a perfect 4-0 record after dominating their non-conference schedule and handing Cincinnati in the Big 12 opener, and when you take a look at the stats, it’s easy to see why.
Venables’ squad currently ranks second in the country as the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense, only surrendering 34 points to opponents in four games of action this season. Just in case that stat doesn’t sound impressive enough on its own, that number is the least amount of points given up through that same span in the last 31 years. As I said, Brent Venables is trending up and deserves an apology for what he’s doing this season.
VEGAS IS LOST IN PROVO
What is going on with the Week 5 betting line between Cincinnati and BYU? This line has been everywhere and back in less than a week favoring both teams at one point by more than two points.
The line for Friday’s matchup between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the BYU Cougars opened up with the Cougars listed as three-point favorites at home, but while lines are subject to movement as the game inches closer, sharps have bet the game across zero to the point of the Bearcats being favored by 2.5 on the road.
While things seem to have settled down a bit on Friday morning, Cincinnati is still listed as the favorite in the matchup by one point as we get closer to kickoff. The reason for the sudden movements and turbulence this week for anyone betting on the game is still a mystery and with 66% of the bets being placed on BYU, that line could jump back to a pick ’em game sooner rather than later.
BYU vs. Cincinnati may not make much sense on paper in terms of the betting line movement, but if there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that Friday night games are a trend I can get behind instead of waiting for everything to hit on Saturday.