How 2015 National Signing Day Impacts College Football Odds

Matthew Jordan

Monday, February 9, 2015 1:48 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 9, 2015 1:48 PM UTC

Let's break down a few big-time College Football 2015 futures odds in context of the National Signing Day. Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State's results may not surprise you, but others might.

The Two L.A. Schools: Winners
Wednesday was a great day for USC coach Steve Sarkisian and UCLA's Jim Mora Jr. The scholarship sanctions are off the Trojans now and you don't hear anyone from Troy Nation complaining about that Sarkisian hire now. His class was on the fringe of the Top 10 entering this week but Sarkisian landed the nation's No. 1 cornerback in Iman Marshall as well as five-star recruits on defense in end Rasheem Green and linebacker John Houston Jr. The Trojans also got five-star linebacker Porter Gustin the night before National Signing Day. Rivals ranked USC's class No. 1, while ESPN had it No. 3. If those guys can contribute right away, the Trojans may be the team to beat in the Pac-12 because they bring back arguably the nation's top quarterback in Cody Kessler. USC got a bump to +1400 on college football odds to win the national championship.

If you watched ESPNU's all-day coverage of Signing Day, which sadly I did, then it seemed for a while that every big-time player who had UCLA as a finalist chose the Bruins over whatever school. They added five star running back Soso Jamabo and the nation's top tight end in Chris Clark as well as offensive lineman Josh Wariboko, wide receiver Cordell Broadus and Roquan Smith. It should be noted that Smith still hasn't sent in his letter of intent and thus he could choose to attend Georgia, where he's from. Smith apparently had second thoughts amid reports that UCLA’s defensive coordinator Jeff Ulrich will be hired by new Falcons coach Dan Quinn. So that would hurt UCLA a bit, but the Bruins already had one of the nation's top QB recruits in Josh Rosen. He might have a shot to start next season with Brett Hundley off to the NFL. UCLA is +3500 at sportsbooks to win the College Football Playoff.


Tennessee: Winner
The SEC already is ridiculously hard, but that's mostly in the West Division. The East is there for the taking with South Carolina likely down this season and Florida rebuilding. The Vols could be the No. 1 challenger to Georgia in that division as Butch Jones brought in a second straight Top-10 class. It wasn't a super sexy group but Jones signed 12 linemen, including five-star prospects in Kahlil McKenzie, Kyle Phillips and Drew Richmond. Tennessee is +6600 to win the College Football Playoff. It won't win that this year, but look out in 2016.


Auburn: Winner
Shocker, another SEC team on the winning list as once again that conference dominated. The Tigers weren't a Top-10 team entering Wednesday, but now you know why Auburn hired former Florida coach Will Muschamp: because he's a great recruiter, especially on the defensive side of the ball (and a great coordinator). The Tigers won a battle with Florida for the nation's No. 1 recruit, end Byron Cowart. He was one of a handful of highly-rated defensive players to sign on Wednesday, seemingly most of them choosing Auburn over the Gators. That has to feel sweet for Muschamp. Auburn is +1800 on college football odds to win the playoff. It's my College Football pick to win the SEC West.


Michigan: Loser
There was really no way that Michigan was going to have a great class this season as most of the top guys who had verbally committed left once Brady Hoke was fired. The school couldn't hire Jim Harbaugh until after the 49ers' season was over so he got a very late start on the recruiting trail. He was able to flip a few guys early, but UM was in the running for a few five-star players on Signing Day -- including UCLA's Clark -- but lost out on all of them. Michigan fans don't care, they know Harbaugh will bring in a top class next year and going forward. UM has no shot at the national title next season so I won't even give you odds, but it has an 'over/under' of 8.5 wins and I've already written go 'under' that.


Ole Miss: Loser
Good thing Hugh Freeze got that big extension and raise because the bloom might be off the rose in Oxford. His class isn't awful but three key guys who were once committed to Mississippi decided to go elsewhere on Wednesday: Leo Lewis to Mississippi State, CeCe Jefferson to Florida and Drew Richmond to Tennessee. Freeze's 2013 class was the best in school history so that means this upcoming season may be the apex of that program for a while as all the top guys from that group can go pro following it. The Rebels are +3500 on NCAA football odds to win the national title.  

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