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National Notes

With future odds for the 2009 college football season probably not getting released for about another week, let’s just touch on a few quick-hit topics coming out of spring football.

--When asked last week if he had any early idea about Florida’s future number, Kenny White, the Chief Operating Officer at Las Vegas Sports Consultants said, “The Gators will be the favorites. They’ll probably be around 4/1 or 9/2.”

--For SEC standards, Florida will have an extremely manageable schedule in 2009. The Gators won’t play Ole Miss, Alabama and Auburn from out of the SEC West, instead lining up against Mississippi St., Arkansas and LSU. UF’s toughest regular-season game will clearly be its Oct. 10 trip to Baton Rouge, but the Gators get an open date prior to facing the Bayou Bengals. With Tennessee and Florida St. no longer considered top-20 programs, their trips to Gainesville might come as underdogs of more than 20 points. If there’s a potential danger game, it might be the Gators’ trip to Columbia to face Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina squad on Nov. 14.

--Colorado sophomore quarterback Tyler Hansen broke his right thumb in the Buffs’ spring game. Hansen, who split snaps with junior Cody Hawkins in 2008, will not be able to throw until at least mid-June.

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--Former Michigan QB Steven Threet is reportedly transferring to Arizona St. Threet started eight games for the Wolverines last year, throwing for 1,105 yards with a 9/7 touchdown-interception ratio. The Sun Devils had room to bring in another signal caller because Jack Elway, the son of John Elway, recently decided to quit football and Chasen Stangal left the program.

--Carl Torbush, the former head coach at the University of North Carolina, is back in the SEC. Torbush is Dan Mullen’s defensive coordinator at Mississippi St. He has previously been the defensive coordinator at UNC, Ole Miss, Alabama and Texas A&M.

--Greg McElroy will be the starting QB when Alabama faces Va. Tech in the season opener for both teams at the Georgia Dome. The fourth-year junior from Southlake, TX., has clearly won the job. However, redshirt freshman Star Jackson will still get playing time in packages designed to take advantage of his scrambling ability.

--For loyal readers and listeners of the Power Hours, you know how I feel about Southern Cal QB Mitch Mustain. When he decided to transfer from Arkansas to USC, I was adamant that he’d never become the starter for the Trojans. I went to great lengths to describe how selfish this kid was being after he had his Mommy and Daddy go over Houston Nutt’s head to talk to outgoing AD Frank Broyles about the direction of the Razorbacks’ offense. Of course, that happened while the Hogs were in the midst of winning the SEC West and posting a 10-win season. Mustain, a true freshman at the time, wanted Arkansas to throw the ball more. Nevermind that the backfield had NFL talents like Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis. Nevermind that all three of those RBs had been in the program longer. Nevermind that Nutt had been the head coach for nearly a decade. None of that mattered for Mustain, who was all about, well, Mustain. With all of this in mind, you can imagine my delight at seeing Mustain ranked third on the depth chart by Pete Carroll coming out of spring practice. Aaron Corp has been named the starter and true freshman Matt Barkley is the No. 2 guy. I don’t wish bad things on anybody but when a me-first player like Mustain shows his ass the way he did in Fayetteville, I can’t help but get a kick out of his current situation.

--Former Duke point guard Greg Paulus, who was considered the nation’s premier prep QB coming out of high school four years ago, is reportedly visiting Nebraska this week. Michigan is apparently out of the picture now, while Paulus is also considering Syracuse. He will have one year of football eligibility.

--According to the Birmingham News, former LSU cornerback Phelon Jones will transfer to Alabama. Jones, who started two games for the Tigers in 2008, will have two years of eligibility left after sitting out the 2009 campaign.

--The SEC led all conferences with 37 players selected in the NFL Draft.

--How far have FSU and Miami’s football programs fallen in recent years? The ‘Noles and ‘Canes had just one player apiece drafted this past weekend.

--Tennessee QB B.J. Coleman has elected to transfer. That leaves Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens as the candidates to be UT’s starter for its opener at home against UCLA. Most reports out of Knoxville indicate that Crompton appeared to be the leader coming out of spring practice.

--Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach wasn’t happy about QB Graham Harrell not being drafted. In fact, he was so frustrated that he took shots at former Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee, who went to the Cowboys in the fourth round. Leach told the Dallas Morning News, “I'm happy for Stephen McGee. The Dallas Cowboys like him more than his coaches at A&M did."

--If you missed it, Nick Saban delivered an odd speech after Alabama’s spring game that was attended by 84,050 fans. The rant seemed to be directed at the Crimson Tide’s fan base. In fact, Saban had the audacity to imply that the fans should shoulder some of the blame for ‘Bama’s Sugar Bowl loss to Utah. Say what? Paul Finebaum of the Mobile Press-Register filed this column about Saban on Tuesday.

--Florida head coach Urban Meyer is not a big fan of former UF quarterback Shane Matthews, who currently does sports radio in Gainesville. Check out this link for the entire scoop.

Brian Edwards can be reached at briane@vegasinsider.com.

  
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