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College Football Betting Preview

The Alabama Crimson Tide begin their run for another national championship this weekend when they start the season at home against San Jose State.

Playing against the lowly Spartans should be a cakewalk for the Crimson Tide, but covering the 37.5-point spread might not be quite as easy, especially with Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram out. Ingram's attempt to become the second two-time Heisman winner was stalled by a left knee injury that will sideline him for at least one game. Losing Ingram would be quite a blow for most teams, but the Crimson Tide should manage all right with Greg McElroy at quarterback and the running game safely in the hands of backup Trent Richardson. On any other team Richardson might be the starter after rushing for 751 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

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The oddsmakers at Bovada are so unconcerned about Ingram's injury that they've still got Alabama pegged as a 37.5-point favorite. A win by the Spartans would be a massive upset, but they do have some history as a giant killer. In 2000 the Spartans upset the then-No. 9 ranked TCU Horned Frogs. Texas vs Rice In Texas on Saturday the Longhorns begin the post Colt McCoy era with a neutral site clash with Rice at Houston's Reliant Stadium. McCoy may be gone but the Longhorns are still a big favorite against the Owls as 30.5-point chalk at Bovada. The man with the unenviable task of replacing McCoy is QB Garrett Gilbert. You may remember him from last year's National Championship Game when he took over for an injured McCoy. Gilbert did little to impress against Alabama in that game, completing only 15 of 40 passes for 186 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He should have a much easier time against the Rice defense this weekend. Rice has nowhere to go but up this season after posting a dreadful 2-10 record a year ago. The Owls will definitely be more experienced this season with 18 starters returning. The last time Texas and Rice met in 2008 the Longhorns rolled in a 52-20 rout as 29-point favorites. The Longhorns have won their last 10 against Rice while going 7-3 ATS.

Washington vs BYU One of the tougher games to call this weekend could be Washington at BYU. The oddsmakers at Bovada are touting the Cougars, but only as a 2-point home favorite. This game also bears at least a look because it's the season debut for Heisman contender and Washington QB Jake Locker. After passing up a lucrative NFL contract for one more year at Washington Locker is expected to be among the front runners for the honor. Locker isn't the only strength of a blossoming Washington offense that also boasts an experienced offensive line, a solid group of receivers, and running back Chris Polk, fresh off a 1,000-yard season as a freshman. The Cougars will throw two different offensive looks at Washington with a two-quarterback system employing both Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps. Nelson, who will start the first series Saturday, gives the Cougars another rushing threat, while Heaps is more of a pure passer. BYU could end up having a dangerous two-headed monster at QB, or a QB controversy in the making. The last time the Cougars and Huskies met in 2008 BYU eked out a 28-27 win as a 7.5-point road favorite.