Coastal Carolina’s Michael McFarlane celebrates during a 34-23 win over Appalachian State on Nov. 21. Coastal Carolina, ranked 14th in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a 9-0 record, will host eighth-ranked BYU on Saturday. Richard Shiro/Associated Press
Word came to Coastal Carolina on Wednesday that the most significant home game in the history of the program was in serious jeopardy.
The 14th-ranked Chanticleers were scheduled to face No. 25 Liberty on Saturday in an unexpected Top-25 matchup that persuaded ESPN to send “College GameDay” to Conway, South Carolina, for the first time.
But COVID-19 had crept into the Liberty program. Coastal Carolina needed a Plan B – as in BYU. Coach Kalani Sitake’s eighth-ranked Cougars have been primed to pounce on short notice if the opportunity arose to bolster their chances to reach a major bowl.
“Last week I said: ‘Kalani, it’s kind of like when there’s a married couple about ready to have a baby and you have your bag packed by the door, that’s how it’s going to be maybe,’” BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe said. “You might have to pick up your bag and go.”
With ESPN and the Sun Belt Conference’s assistance, Coastal Carolina and BYU finalized a deal Thursday morning to play a game about 56 hours later.
The upstart Chanticleers (9-0) and barnstorming Cougars (9-0) meet Saturday in maybe the most intriguing game of the college football weekend, one that could position the winner for a multimillion-dollar postseason payday.
Coastal Carolina Athletic Director Matt Hogue said Liberty officials reached out Wednesday to say the Flames might not be able to play. Holmoe said a friend reached out the same day to tell him to keep an eye on the Liberty situation.
“Once you’re in that situation this year, you know we’re all kind of playing by a different book,” Hogue said. “We obviously have a lot invested in this weekend so we wanted to start exploring what opportunities might be out there.”
Kurt Dargis, director of college football for ESPN, said he got a call from Sun Belt Conference officials Wednesday afternoon informing him of the potential problem with what the network had turned into a showcase game.
ESPN owns the television rights for both the Sun Belt and BYU, and has been helping the independent Cougars rebuild a schedule that fell apart when Power Five conferences decided to play mostly league games during the pandemic.
Dargis called Holmoe and asked if BYU was interested. Holmoe said he needed to run it by Sitake, but it only took the AD about 45 minutes to get back with the news: If Liberty could not play, BYU would.
“It was really a whirlwind and went very quickly,” Dargis said.
Even though the Cougars did not have a game scheduled for Saturday, they had practiced Monday and Tuesday as if they might. No set opponent, only possibilities.
“I’m grateful to our coaches,” Holmoe said. “They’ve watched a lot of film this week.”
North Carolina and Texas were the two highest ranked teams in the Maui Invitational field this season, according to the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1. So the bracket has unfolded as I assumed it would. And now we’ll get a championship game on Wednesday featuring three five-star freshman bigs — UT’s Greg Brown and UNC’s Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler.
That’s a nice midweek afternoon treat.
Tip is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.
North Carolina got to this title game courtesy of Tuesday’s 67-63 victory over Stanford in which Caleb Love, a five-star freshman guard, scored a team-high 16 points. He’s averaging 13.0 points, 3.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds through three games for a Tar Heels team that ranks 10th nationally in defensive efficiency. Meantime, Texas got to this title game courtesy of Tuesday’s 66-44 blowout of Indiana in which Matt Coleman, a senior guard, scored a team-high 16 points. He’s averaging 14.3 points, 5.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds through three games for a Texas team that ranks second nationally in defensive efficiency. So these are, quite literally, two of the best defensive teams in the country.
Don’t be surprised if the winner doesn’t touch 70 points.
North Carolina is No. 16 in Wednesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. Texas is No. 19. Indiana was removed from the Top 25 And 1 following its loss to Texas. The Hoosiers were replaced by Louisville, which is 4-0 after Tuesday’s 75-54 victory over Western Kentucky. Chris Mack’s Cardinals also own a win over Seton Hall.
North Carolina is coming off a 79-60 win over the College of Charleston last time out, they were able to make a 14-0 first-half run and applied their defensive scheme to control the majority of the game. Meanwhile, UNLV is looking to rebound from a 91-78 loss to Montana State in the opener. They’ll have to play better on both sides of the ball if they plan to upset the Tar Heels tonight.
This will be one you won’t want to miss, here is everything you need to know to tune in to tonight’s college basketball action:
#14 North Carolina vs. UNLV
When: Monday, November 30 Time: 7:00 p.m. ET TV Channel: ESPN2 Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
Prediction: As much as I’d love to take the point with UNLV in this game it is way too early to take the Rebels against a #14 ranked Tar Heel team. As the season goes on there will be plenty of time to bet on UNLV but this is a statement game for UNC.
Bet: UNC -13
NCAA Basketball Odds and Betting Lines
NCAA Basketball odds courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook. Odds updated Monday at 2:40 p.m. ET.
North Carolina (-13) vs. UNLV
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South Carolina tight end Nick Muse’s night Saturday started with senior day, a traditional sign he won’t be back next season, and it ended with a request for what would make it happen.
Following his career day in Columbia, he gave a simple request at the end his postgame press conference: “Keep coach (Bobby) Bentley.”
That’s a complicated ask with a coaching change underway, but the Charlotte-area product delivered against Georgia. The Gamecocks were down from the jump and missing a slew of receivers, including top option Shi Smith.
But Muse just kept getting open for freshman quarterback Luke Doty, who kept finding him. At day’s end, Muse had eight catches on eight targets for a career-high 131 yards and his first touchdown in 17 games as a Gamecock.
He joked afterward that he’d been allergic to the end zone and noted he’d built a rapport with the young passer.
“Ever since he’s got on campus, he’s a guy that I’ve liked hanging out with,” Muse said. “That’s how chemistry is made. You hang out with somebody. You start to like them, whether it’s football-related or not. Out here on the football field, he just trusts me. I think I can be one of his go-to guys.”
The pressing question of his presence next season looms as Smith is almost assured to leave for the pros, and the Gamecocks will have to manage a large-scale rebuild of the passing corps.
Muse, a transfer from William & Mary, has 30 catches for 425 yards this season, which points to him being able to help that problem facing the Gamecocks in 2021. He said he’s spoken to some people about NFL plans, but he made clear what would get him back.
“I’ve talked to some people about whether to go or to leave. Or if coach Bentley comes back, I’ll definitely be back,” Muse said. “So that’s one thing. It depends.
“Whatever happens happens, and I’ll make my decision, I don’t know when I’ll make it. I’m not worried about that right now.”
That is a tricky question as everything is in flux. The school fired Will Muschamp, which means Bentley’s fate is in the hands of an as-yet-unhired coach. There’s also the distinct possibility Bentley could look around for jobs as another college might give him the chance to call plays, something he excelled at as a high school coach.
Bentley was one of Muschamp’s first hires at USC and has coached either running backs or tight ends across fives year. His son Jake was a multi-year starter and is playing at Utah this year as a grad transfer.
Covers the South Carolina Gamecocks, primarily football, with a little basketball, baseball or whatever else comes up. Joined The State in 2015. Previously worked at Muncie Star Press and Greenwood Index-Journal. Picked up feature writing honors from the APSE, SCPA and IAPME at various points. A 2010 University of Wisconsin graduate.
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Georgia coach Kirby Smart has gone from matching up at South Carolina with one close friend in Will Muschamp to another in Mike Bobo on Saturday, Nov. 28. The game will be live streamed on fuboTV.
The three men were teammates at Georgia in the 1990s and have remained close throughout their college coaching careers.
Smart had won three of four games against Muschamp as the Gamecocks coach over the past four seasons. Now, it will be Bobo on the South Carolina sidelines Saturday night — Muschamp was fired two weeks ago — when the 13th-ranked Bulldogs (5-2, No. 9 CFP) play the Gamecocks (2-6).
Bobo came to South Carolina after getting fired at Colorado State last season. Muschamp hired him as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Bobo has spent much of his first week, rallying players and building confidence through the team’s current four-game losing streak.
South Carolina players felt hope last time out, rallying in the second half of a 17-10 loss to Missouri after trailing 17-0. A big reason was true freshman quarterback Luke Doty, who replaced starter Collin Hill in the second half and accounted for 189 of South Carolina’s 283 yards of offense.
Georgia has a new quarterback that’s stirred excitement, too, in Southern Cal transfer JT Daniels. The redshirt sophomore threw for 401 yards and four touchdowns in the Bulldogs 31-24 win over Mississippi State last week.
The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. ET) will be live streamed on fuboTV, which offers a 7-day free trial. The SEC Network will televise the game.
DEPLETED SECONDARY: Georgia’s JT Daniels will present a huge challenge to South Carolina’s secondary, which is still making up for the loss of NFL-caliber defensive backs Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu. Both players opted out after Muschamp was let go.
AIR GEORGIA: The Bulldogs used a strong passing attack to get by Mississippi State a week ago. JT Daniels’ 401 yards passing were the team’s first 400-plus yard game since Aaron Murray in 2013. It’s a good thing, too, for Georgia since the team’s typically relentless ground game was held to 8 yards on 23 carries last week.
GEORGIA ALUM: South Carolina interim coach Mike Bobo sounded a little like a Bulldogs alumnus (he is) when discussing his team’s game with Georgia this week. “There’s more excitement in the air,” Bobo said. “Lot of history, there’s a lot of people I’ve known on the other side of the ball.”
INJURED DAWGS: Georgia coach Kirby Smart said that injured defensive tackle Jordan Davis is hopeful about returning to play South Carolina. The word is not as good on defensive back Richard LeCounte, out since a motorcycle accident after the team’s win over Kentucky on Oct. 31. Davis hurt his elbow that game, too. Smart said “Jordan has a chance and that is promising.”
INJURED SMITH: One of South Carolina’s top playmakers in receiver Shi Smith is unlikely to play against the Bulldogs. Smith is third in the Southeastern
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Ian Book kept No. 2 Notre Dame’s offense moving while the Fighting Irish defense locked down Sam Howell and No. 19 North Carolina’s potent offense for the final three quarters in a 31-17 victory Friday.
Book threw for 279 yards and a score and rushed for 48 yards for the Fighting Irish (9-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference, No. 2 College Football Playoff), using his mobility and elusiveness to keep plays alive on a night when both offenses frequently faced long fields.
Wide receiver Ben Skowronek got Notre Dame its first lead with his 13-yard run around the right side midway through the third quarter. Kyren Williams ran for 124 yards — including a 47-yarder with about 5½ minutes left as the Irish burned clock and sealed the game.
Williams closed that drive with his second rushing touchdown, a clinching one-yarder with 1:20 left that kept the Fighting Irish alone atop the ACC standings ahead of No. 3 Clemson and No. 10 Miami.
More impressively, though, was a defensive effort that forced Howell and the high-scoring Tar Heels to work for every gain after the opening quarter.
North Carolina (6-3, 6-3) sprinted to touchdowns on its first two drives, but Notre Dame surrendered only one field goal from there. The Tar Heels came in averaging 43 points and 563 yards, yet they were unable to buy time for Howell to push downfield for big gains or open running lanes for a pair of backs averaging better than 100 yards rushing each in Javonte Williams and Michael Carter.
By the end, North Carolina had finished with a season-low 298 yards while Howell — one of the national leaders in passing yardage and touchdowns — threw for just 211 yards and a score. He also ran for a touchdown.
No. 13 Iowa State 23, No. 17 Texas 20
AUSTIN, Texas — Breece Hall scored on a three-yard run with 1:25 remaining, and Iowa State held off last-minute drive by Sam Ehlinger and Texas to remain in first place in the Big 12.
After the Cyclones sacked Ehlinger on third down, the Longhorns’ Cameron Dicker barely missed left with a 58-yard field-goal attempt as time expired.
Iowa State (7-2, 7-1) has almost locked up a spot in the Big 12 championship game for the first time.
Hall gained 91 yards in 20 carries, his first game under 100 this season, but had 30 on the final 69-yard touchdown drive. Quarterback Brock Purdy connected with tight ends Charlie Kolar and Dylan Soehner for the other 39 yards.
Iowa State trailed 20-16 early in the fourth quarter after a bad two-play sequence for Texas (5-3, 4-3) helped the Cyclones get a field goal by Connor Assalley.
First, the Longhorns came up three yards short throwing the ball on a fake punt on fourth and eight. Then Purdy found Kolar for 44 yards. A holding penalty
It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and it’s one that isn’t going to resemble your typical Thanksgiving holiday as people all across the country are trying to figure out the best way to celebrate the holiday given the current circumstances. I know that I’m sad I won’t be spending the day with the same people I usually do, but I also know that, as much as it stinks, I’m thankful to have those people in my life and I’m able to miss their company.
I’m also thankful that I still have football to watch, even if it’s not as much we usually see. So, if you’re like me and going to be home this weekend watching football on the couch, I’ve got six plays I like for the weekend. Of course, as has been the case for the last few weeks, the card is subject to change! Also, as I’ve done previously, if one of the following six games is canceled, I’ll do my best to find a replacement.
Now, let’s try to bounce back from The Six Pack’s worst performance in a while, as I went 2-4 last week. We’re still up on the season, though. But how about we add a little more to the account this weekend?
Games of the Week
No. 22 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama
Even before the Nick Saban news broke, my initial instinct when seeing the line for this game was, “that’s a lot of points for Auburn to be catching in the Iron Bowl!” I mean, we’ve all seen it before. Auburn has a way of making this game a lot more interesting than it should be when you least expect it, but those surprises tend to come when the game is played at Auburn. In Tuscaloosa, not so much. The last time this game was played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was a 26-point favorite and it beat the Tigers 52-21.
Still, 24.5 points is a lot of points in the Iron Bowl! Auburn is 4-3 ATS against Alabama since Gus Malzahn took over, but it’s only 1-2 ATS in Tuscaloosa. So, I think it’s best we ignore the spread entirely and instead go after the total because you know what I’ve noticed with this game the last couple of years? It’s high-scoring. I just told you about the 52-21 game in Tuscaloosa in 2018, and last year the final score was 48-45. Alabama’s defense has taken a step forward in recent weeks (basically since halftime against Georgia), but I can’t help but believe Gus has something in store for this game. He always does. It might not be enough to cover, but it should be enough to help nudge this game past the total. Alabama 45, Auburn 21 | The Pick: Over 62.5
No. 2 Notre Dame at No. 19 North Carolina (Friday)
Many of the people I work with and whose opinions I respect are on North Carolina on this matchup. I
Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels begin their 2020-21 campaign with an interesting matchup on Wednesday evening. North Carolina hosts the Charleston Cougars at the Dean Smith Center. The Tar Heels enter the season with a top-20 national ranking, though the sledding will not be easy. Charleston is one of the better programs in the CAA, and the Cougars posted a 17-14 record in 2019-20.
Tip-off is at 6 p.m. ET in Chapel Hill. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Tar Heels as 17-point home favorites, holding steady from the opener, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 143 in the latest North Carolina vs. Charleston odds. Before you make any Charleston vs. North Carolina picks, check out the college basketball predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of $2,400 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on North Carolina vs. Charleston. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the college basketball lines and trends for Charleston vs. UNC:
UNC vs. Charleston spread: North Carolina -17
UNC vs. Charleston over-under: 143 points
UNC vs. Charleston money line: n/a
UNC: The Tar Heels were 6-15 against the spread as a favorite in 2019-20
CHAR: The Cougars were 5-5-1 against the spread in non-conference games last season
Why North Carolina can cover
The Tar Heels are the more talented team in this matchup, even after a disappointing 2019-20 season and the loss of Cole Anthony to the 2020 NBA Draft. North Carolina is led by preseason ACC player of the year Garrison Brooks, with the 6’10 senior bringing experience and production. Brooks averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a junior, shooting an impressive 53.5 percent from the field.
From there, sophomore forward Armando Bacot is a dynamic player for North Carolina, averaging 9.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in a supporting role last season, and Bacot is in line for an uptick in usage. With an infusion of freshman talent and a high-end coach in Williams, the Tar Heels project as an above-average unit on both ends of the floor.
Why Charleston can cover
Charleston can’t match North Carolina in terms of prospect pedigree, but the Cougars do have a cohesive, talented roster. Senior guard Brevin Galloway is the team’s leading returner, averaging 11.3 points per game last season. Galloway was a second-team All-CAA selection in the preseason, and Zep Jasper is a solid complementary piece in the backcourt.
In addition, Charleston received a welcome transfer in Payton Willis, who arrives from Minnesota. Willis began his college career at Vanderbilt, playing two seasons, before transferring to Minnesota and averaging 8.9 points while shooting 36 percent from three-point range. He could make
In Wednesday college hoops action, the College of Charleston Cougars and North Carolina Tar Heels tip off their season at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., at 6 p.m. ET. Below, we analyze the College of Charleston-North Carolina college basketball betting odds and lines, with picks and predictions.
College of Charleston at North Carolina: Betting odds, spread and lines
Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 2:36 a.m. ET.
Money line: College of Charleston +1400 (bet $100 to win $1,400) | North Carolina -5000 (bet $5,000 to win $100)
Against the spread/ATS: College of Charleston +17 (-110) | North Carolina -17 (-110)
Over/Under: 143.5 (O: -106 | U: -115)
College of Charleston at North Carolina: Three things to know
North Carolina opens the season ranked No. 16 in the USA TODAY Sports Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll. Last season was a disaster by UNC standards as the Tar Heels finished 14-19 SU and 6-14 in the ACC, tied in the basement with Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.
Charleston posted a 17-14 SU mark with a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) 11-7 record last season, finishing tied for fourth place. The Cougars went 6-7 SU in 13 true road contests while going 14-14-1 ATS with a slight edge to the Over at 15-13-1.
Despite a relatively reasonable geographic proximity, CoC and UNC haven’t met on the hardwood since Nov. 28, 2010. Carolina picked up a 74-69 victory at the Smith Center as the Cougars easily covered a 14-point number that day as the Under (155.5) cashed.
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College of Charleston at North Carolina: Odds, betting lines, predictions and picks
North Carolina 77, College of Charleston 64
Money line (ML)
North Carolina (-5000) is too expensive, as you have to risk $50 for every $1 won. That’s just bad gambling over the long haul, as eventually you’ll run into an upset which will wash away your profits quickly. AVOID.
Against the spread (ATS)
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON +17 (-110) is worth playing rather lightly, as I am just not feeling North Carolina -17 (-110). The did lose last year’s leading scorer and all-everything Cole Anthony to the NBA.
The Heels have retooled with a wealth of talent in freshmen Walker Kessler and Caleb Love, joining potential ACC Player of the Year Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot and Leaky Black. But it might take a while for this new power five to jell. UNC won’t lose, but covering 17 is a tall order against a decent CoC side. The Cougars added some new blood, too, and Payton Willis should step right in and add some scoring punch.