We’re closing in on the 2010 college football season and it is time to look for some dark horses in the field of teams vying for the BCS title. With Alabama the heavy favorite, here are some teams that are long shots that could offer some value with their current odds. All betting lines are taken from Bodog and Pinnacle.
Florida State Seminoles (50/1)
The Seminoles are returning nine starters on offense and – most importantly – senior quarterback Christian Ponder. He could be on an NFL roster had he not gotten hurt last season, and has shown off his ability to lead a team.
He had thrown for 2,717 yards – 302 per game – and 14 touchdowns when he got injured in Week 9 of last season, completing close to 70 percent of his passes. Ponder is the key to the Seminoles success, and he shouldn’t disappoint. He coached at the Manning Passing Academy recently and is on his way to become a starter in the pros.
The Seminoles return the entire offensive line, so Ponder should have the protection he needs. Florida State will have to improve on defense, and a change of the defensive coaching staff should upgrade this phase of the game.
The team has a few tough tests, and could lose to the Sooners in Week 2. However, they have a chance to contend if they beat the Gators at home and the Hurricanes on the road.
Oregon State Beavers (40/1)
The sanctions against USC have opened up the Pac-10. The Trojans won’t be listed in the 2010 Coaches Poll and they aren’t eligible for postseason play. This will allow teams like the Beavers to step up and take over the conference.
The Beavers return eight starters on offense. They will have Jacquizz Rodgers back, who has a legitimate shot at the Heisman trophy this year. After a strong freshman season in 2008, Rodgers stepped it up even more in 2009.
He ran for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns last year and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. His average went up from 4.8 in his freshman year, and he is looking to keep that trend going. Rodgers has also proven to be a threat through the air. He caught 78 balls for 522 yards and one touchdown last year.
Much like Boise State, the Beavers will know more about their chances to win the national title early in the season. They face the TCU Horned Frogs in their season opener and travel to Idaho to face the Broncos on September 25. They need to come away with at least one win out of these games to keep their chances alive.
Pittsburgh Panthers (50/1)
The Panthers could come out on top of the Big East behind another strong rushing season by Dion Lewis. The sophomore running back scored 17 touchdowns last year and ran for 1,799 yards.
He also caught 25 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown. He carried the ball 325 times which could take a toll this year, but he looks strong and could improve on his 2009 numbers if he stays healthy.
Sophomore quarterback Tino Sunseri will take over the starting job and is looking to make himself known through the air and on the ground. He has a strong arm and is a very dangerous weapon when using his legs as well.
The Panthers open the season with an away game against the Utes, and that could be their toughest test. They face Miami, Fl. in Week 3, but the rest of the schedule is very doable. A Big East Title won’t guarantee them a shot at the title, but depending on how they play and the rest of the college football nation fairs, they could get a chance.
We are closing in on the start of the college football season. Be sure to get signed up for Maddux’s winning college football picks to help boost your bankroll this betting season.