Steve was a Stanford student who had been dating his girlfriend for years. One day, she broke up with him and he decided to go on a hike to clear his head. He found himself in the forest and saw a grizzly bear.
Steve is a Stanford University graduate who has studied at the school for over 20 years. He is an expert in his field, but he doesn’t have a lot of money because he’s not very good at negotiating salary.
6:30 a.m. ET
- Since 1996, I’ve been the lead researcher for “College GameDay.”
- On the ESPN CFB Selection Committee, there is a voter.
- “Stanford Steve” was his nickname.
- At Stanford University, he was a member of the football team.
- SVP and Producer for SportsCenter
Chris “The Bear” Fallica and “Stanford Steve” Coughlin preview the college football season as only they can, giving their best bets, tidbits, and totals worth betting on.
South Point’s victory totals are for the conference alone. The rest of the lines come from Caesars Sportsbook.
North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell (+1500) to win the Heisman Trophy.
Fallica: This is a unique method to bet on North Carolina to win the ACC at a better price than they would be on the money line in a possible ACC championship game against Clemson. The Tar Heels may be trendy, but the whole offensive line is back, Josh Downs is a future star at wide receiver, the running back should be OK, and the defense will be much better. UNC may be favored in every game; we’ll have to wait and see how the Notre Dame season/potential line shakes out. If UNC goes 12-1 and defeats Clemson in the ACC title game, Howell will have played a major role in that, and I anticipate him to be the Heisman Trophy front-runner at that time.
QB Desmond Ridder of the Cincinnati Bearcats is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy (+6000).
Stanford Steve: With the opportunities presented by Cincinnati’s schedule this year, which includes national television games against Indiana and Notre Dame, I believe Ridder has the potential to shine in those games and emerge as a Heisman frontrunner. This year, he will be personally responsible for the team’s performance, and I believe the Bearcats will have a very good season. At that price, it’s definitely worth a try.
Bets on the number of times the number of times the number of times the number of times the number
Under 9 victories for the Penn State Nittany Lions (-140)
Stanford Steve and The Bear have returned! As only the guys can, the fellas preview the 2021 college football season. Listen!
Stanford Steve: I appreciate Mike Yurcich’s appointment as offensive coordinator, but there is no respite in the schedule. They kick off the season at Madison, Wisconsin, and will also visit Iowa and Ohio State. They do have a home game against Indiana, and the white-out game will be against Auburn. However, when I look at the roster, I’m concerned about the lack of depth and experience at quarterback. Sean Clifford is one of my favorite players because of the way he plays with such recklessness. He’s one of the toughest people you’ll ever meet. However, with Will Levis moving to Kentucky, Clifford is now the only quarterback on the team with any collegiate football experience. Furthermore, just 11 players from the outstanding 2018 recruiting class remain on the roster. I’m excited about what PSU has planned for the future, but I’ll accept under nine wins this season.
Over 9 victories for the Oregon Ducks (-120)
Fallica: Even if the Ducks lose in Columbus, Ohio, a 9-3 loss would be the worst-case scenario, and I believe a 10-2 victory is still a strong possibility. On the offensive side of the ball, Joe Moorhead will have a plethora of options. Opposing offenses will have a lot of trouble with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Noah Sewell. The Ducks may be tripped up on the road in Seattle or Salt Lake City, but this squad is superior than any Pac-12 opponent.
Under 4.5 wins (+120) for Michigan State Spartans
Outside of the games against Youngstown State and Western Kentucky, I can’t see MSU winning anyplace. The Spartans’ chances of beating Northwestern, Rutgers, or Purdue are little to none. It’s also far from certain that they’ll win at home against Maryland or Nebraska. Some transfers were brought in to assist the defense and the quarterback position, but this was a program on the slide before to 2020, and last year’s performance demonstrated how far the skill level has dropped. When the Spartans visit Maryland, I can see them having four victories, which would give you a chance to decide out how you want to play it.
Over 6 victories (+100) for the California Golden Bears
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Stanford Steve: I see five sure victories on the schedule against Sacramento State, Washington State, Colorado, Oregon State, and Arizona. So the Bears need two wins to reach the over and one victory to push between Nevada, USC, Stanford, and UCLA. With them, I’ll take a risk. Even though the Ducks were beaten by the Bears last year, I anticipate them losing at Oregon and Washington. Only four starters must be replaced by the Bears. When QB Chase Garbers is on the field, they’ve had a lot of success. Under Justin Wilcox, you’d think they’d finally break into the top 100 in terms of offense. With Wilcox’s college buddy Peter Sirmon taking over as signal caller, I think the defense will improve as well. It’s difficult for me to predict, but I believe the Bears will finish above.500 this season.
Over 7 victories for the Boston College Eagles (-155)
Stanford Steve: There’s a lot to like about this year’s Chestnut Hill team! First and foremost, there will be no Notre Dame, North Carolina, or Miami on the schedule. All five members of the offensive line are expected to return. Last year, despite not having spring ball and not knowing whether he would be eligible until just before the season began, QB Phil Jurkovec looked pretty darn good. With Zay Flowers and transfers Jaelen Gill and Alec Sinkfield, the Eagles have a lot of potential at wide receiver. Trae Barry, a TE transfer from Jacksonville State, is expected to have a huge season. When it comes to defense, I have complete faith in Jeff Hafley, and I like the fact that the Eagles went head-to-head with Clemson last season. The Eagles haven’t won eight games since 2009, but I think they’ll win nine or ten this season.
Over 8.5 victories for the Toledo Rockets (-105)
Stanford Steve: This squad returns 21 starters and talent from all over the field. Jason Candle is a fantastic coach, and the Rockets have plenty of room to improve on their 35-point-per-game average from last season. In safety Tyc Anderson, who was second on the squad with 34 tackles last season, and veteran Samuel Womack, who is one of the league’s best corners, the defense features potential NFL players. You bolster that back-end talent by bringing in an all-MAC LB. Last season, Dyontae Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior, led the Rockets with 47 tackles, a sack, and 4.5 tackles for loss. This year’s Glass Bowl is shaping up to be a huge one!
Over 5.5 wins for Kansas State Wildcats (-130)
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Stanford Steve: They have a big opening at Jerry World in Arlington, Texas, against my favorite Stanford Cardinal, but I anticipate the Wildcats to win. In fact, I anticipate them to start 3-0 before returning to earth in their following three games, which will be against Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. People will forget that they were unbeaten in league play last year, so health will be a concern. This featured a second-straight victory against Oklahoma. However, starting quarterback Skylar Thompson suffered a season-ending injury. Now that injury has given then-true freshman QB Will Howard valuable experience, the Wildcats are well ahead of last year at the quarterback position. They do return every offensive lineman who played in a game last season, and the schedule’s tail half has some extremely winnable matchups. Manhattan is having a big year. We’ll take command!
Over 2.5 victories for the UConn Huskies (-115)
Stanford Steve: Before Halloween, we’ll know whether this is a winner or loss, since the Huskies have games against Clemson, UCF, and Houston at “The Rent.” I have to believe Randy Edsall can defeat Yale, Holy Cross, and UMass despite opting out of the 2020 season. Those three are all we need. Huskies, go!
Bets on the conference
The Ohio State Buckeyes to win the Big Ten (-220); over 8 Big Ten victories; to win the College Football Playoff (+600).
Fallica: In recent years, Michigan hasn’t proven it can compete with Ohio State. In Columbus, the Buckeyes face Penn State. Ohio State has no reason to lose more than one conference game, and I’d be surprised if they did. The Buckeyes’ margin with the rest of the Big Ten is wider than Clemson’s with the rest of the ACC. This season will demonstrate that once again. With the greatest WR duo in the country, a dynamic RB in TreVey Henderson, and a defense that should be better, Ohio State is on the short list of national championship candidates and is arguably the most likely of the five to reach the playoff.
Stanford Steve: On its conference, this squad is in its own tier. In terms of skill, I think the rest of the league is farther behind the Buckeyes than any other favorite in any other conference. To make matters worse, I have Ryan Day deciding who will play quarterback and what plays will be called.
The Georgia Bulldogs have won seven SEC games and are favored to win the College Football Playoff (+750).
Fallica: Early-season injuries shouldn’t have a significant impact on the Bulldogs’ ability to compete in the SEC. Georgia does not play Alabama, LSU, or Texas A&M, and if the Bulldogs manage to finish 6-2 in SEC play, there will be a lot of explaining to be done in Athens! But I don’t believe it. The worst-case scenario is 7-1. While many people dislike Georgia and are “weary” of hearing about them, the Bulldogs have one of the finest rosters in the nation, and once JT Daniels gained confidence last year, the offense went off. Even if Georgia loses to Clemson in the opener, winning the SEC would put them in the playoffs. Even if the Dogs lose, a victory against Clemson may open the way to putting them in.
Under 5.5 SEC wins for the Florida Gators
Fallica: I don’t believe the Gators will defeat Alabama or Georgia this year, so 6-2 is their best-case scenario in a season with a lot of change. To get to 6-2, they’ll most likely have to beat LSU, Missouri, and Kentucky on the road.
Tennessee Volunteers have three SEC victories under their belt.
Fallica: The Vols are one of the few clubs whose roster has been reduced via the transfer portal. In his first year, new coach Josh Heupel has his work cut out for him; the Vols should defeat South Carolina and Vanderbilt, but it’s difficult to make a compelling argument for a third SEC victory after that.
Under 1.5 SEC victories for the Vanderbilt Commodores
Fallica: The Commodores have a quarterback, but their defense has reached rock bottom. Clark Lea will have a difficult time motivating this squad to compete right away, as they go to South Carolina, and the game against Tennessee will almost certainly be a defeat.
Under 7 Pac-12 victories for USC Trojans
Fallica: Last season, Southern California was one of the luckier teams in the nation, since it should have lost to Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA. Those who wish to fade USC will always have an advantage because of the name. It’s OK if the Trojans go 8-1 or 9-0 in the Pac-12 to beat me, but I believe 7-2 is their ceiling, and a tie is the worst-case scenario.
The Utah Utes will win the Pac-12 South Division.
Stanford Steve: It’s never a terrible idea to have a quarterback competition. Plus, when it comes to the division, I don’t think there is a clear favorite. The schedule is well-balanced, with the Utes’ hardest road game being against USC and just one other away game in the division coming in Tucson, Arizona. I also understand Kyle Whittingham and his leadership expertise.
Kansas Jayhawks are favored by a single Big 12 victory.
Fallica: Over the last ten years, the Jayhawks have gone 5-84 in Big 12 play. This is essentially a freeroll on Kansas being winless in league play. The Jayhawks aren’t winning two games despite being a two-touchdown home underdog against both K-State and Texas Tech, and those are their most “winnable” matchups. What’s the worst-case scenario? We push after they pull one surprise in Lance Leipold’s debut season.
Temple Owls win by less than 1.5 AAC points.
Fallica: I believe Temple’s recent coaching change has finally taken its toll. The Owls play their most winnable AAC games on the road, against ECU and USF, and they came close to losing to a weak USF team last season. The defense isn’t great, and we’ll have to see whether QB D’Wan Mathis, who seemed lost last year at Georgia, benefits from the lower competition.
Under 2 MAC wins; under 3.5 overall wins (+125) for Northern Illinois Huskies
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Fallica: NIU will host another MAC bottom-feeder (Bowling Green). Even if the Huskies defeat the Falcons, it’ll be difficult for them to get to two or three victories, given that several of the league’s best teams (WMU, Ball State) will be visiting DeKalb. Even playing on its home field won’t assist NIU much in this situation. Overall, the victory total looks to be around 3.5. NIU is going to be 1-3 after nonconference play, and as I have said, getting three MAC victories with that defense is unlikely.
Under 1.5 Sun Belt victories for the UL Monroe Warhawks
Fallica: This is a squad that only lost one game last season by less than 18 points. The offensive is looking for a quarterback, and it’s possible that it’ll be OC Rich Rodriguez’s son Rhett Rodriguez. The starting lineup is filled with freshmen and sophomores. Even if assistance comes through the transfer portal, year one under new coach Terry Bowden will be a complete rebirth.
The Panthers of Georgia State will win the Sun Belt Conference (+3000).
Fallica: In the Sun Belt, Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, and Louisiana are the top three options, which makes sense. Georgia State, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense as a long shot to win the conference. Last season, the Panthers lost at Louisiana in overtime and to Appalachian State 17-13. Yes, the Panthers were blasted out by Coastal Carolina last season, but that may be a driving factor when they play in Conway, South Carolina this season. With the whole offense returning, a modest wager on Georgia State is a no-brainer.
C-USA champion Florida Atlantic Owls (+1200)
Fallica: Most people think UAB has the advantage in Conference USA, but FAU isn’t a bad bet at a low price. To solve the quarterback situation, Willie Taggart moved via the transfer portal, and Mike Stoops was brought in to head a defense that finished in the top 10 in the nation in scoring previous season. The Owls face Marshall at home, and I believe they have a good chance of reaching the C-USA championship game.
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