College Football: As Some Prepare to Kick Off Season, Big Ten Finds Itself Going to Court

Posted on: August 31, 2020, 11:55h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2020, 11:19h.

Does anybody know what’s going on with Big Ten college football? In particular, does anyone in the Big Ten know what’s going on with Big Ten college football?

College football
Navy fullback Jamale Carothers could serve the anchor for the Midshipmen’s triple-option rushing attack this season. Navy hosts BYU on Labor Day (Image:

Just when football players thought they were out for the fall, they may be bringing themselves back in by Thanksgiving. Or late November, according to a report from NJ Advance Media.

That uncertainty comes as the conference must contend with a lawsuit in Nebraska put forth by eight Cornhusker players. If the judge completes the legal Hail Mary, it may allow the Big Ten football program with some wanderlust to possibly play in the fall.

League officials responded Monday with a statement that indicated 11 of the 14 conference members voted to postpone the season. Reports indicated Nebraska was one of the dissenters, joined by Ohio State and Iowa.

While there’s drama in the Big Ten, there are actual games scheduled this week in college football. That starts with Thursday’s South Alabama-Southern Mississippi game that will kick off the Football Bowl Subdivision season. Southern Miss is a 15-point favorite over the visiting Jaguars, according to DraftKings, and a 14.5-point favorite at FanDuel.

Labor Day Tilt

The best game of the opening week, on paper anyway, appears to be the weekend finale.

Brigham Young will travel to Annapolis to face Navy in a Labor Day primetime special. Neither team enters the season ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll. But the host Midshipmen come off an 11-2 campaign where they ended the year ranked 20th in the country.

Navy must replace Malcolm Perry and the 2,017 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns he racked up last season at quarterback. But the Middies have experienced fullbacks returning in Jamale Carothers, who rushed for 734 yards and 14 scores, and Nelson Smith, who went from 571 yards and seven TDs. Those two should get numerous chances in the Navy’s triple-option system.

The Midshipmen’s defense did take a hit with three graduations and a couple of transfers. That could be the difference as BYU brings back eight starters on offense, including the entire offensive line. Zach Wilson returns at quarterback. But he must do better than the 11 TDs and nine picks to go along with the 2,382 yards he threw for last season in the 7-6 campaign.

Coach Kalani Sitake said he has confidence in his junior signal-caller.

“This was his third fall camp, so he felt a lot more comfortable,” Sitake said Monday. “Instead of trying to establish himself as a player, now he is trying to compete and solidify his spot. In the midst of doing that, he was able to work on his relationships, his timing, and iron out some things he wanted to make strengths as a quarterback.”

Navy may have home-field advantage, but no crowd to cheer them on. DraftKings lists the Cougars as the one-point favorite. However, DraftKings considers Navy the money line favorite at -113 to BYU’s -108.

National College Football Odds

Other games on the college football schedule include three Saturday tilts. DraftKings odds see Army (-3.5) hosting Middle Tennessee. Southern Methodist (-22.5) goes on the road to play Texas State, and Memphis (-19.5) kicks off the season hosting Arkansas State.

No Big 12 or ACC schools will play this week, as those power conference schools are set to begin to play next weekend. The SEC will start its schedule on Sept. 26.

Because of the nature of the season, few sportsbooks have offered anything but odds on games and futures odds on ACC, Big 12, and SEC conference championships. However, the Westgate SuperBook has decided to put out odds on the national championship, should the College Football Playoff take place this season.

Brett McMurphy from Stadium tweeted out the odds on Monday, and the favorite is the same as it was when last season ended. Clemson is the SuperBook’s favorite at +200, with Alabama next at +300, and Georgia right behind at +400.