You can bet on anything these days — even on who will be BYU’s starting quarterback Sept. 1 when the Cougars open the season at Arizona.
An offshore sports gambling website known as Bet SDI sportsbook on Monday posted its odds to win what it called “the top 20 quarterbacks battles in college football this season," then made sure seemingly every media outlet between San Diego State and Maine, Miami and Washington, had access to the odds.
The sportsbook’s pick in BYU’s quarterback derby? Somewhat of a surprise if you ask me — sophomore Joe Critchlow.
The big redhead from Tennessee is the odds-on favorite (+210) to win the starting job against the Wildcats, followed by senior Tanner Mangum and junior Beau Hoge (both at +270) and then freshman Zach Wilson (+360), according to the sportsbook. For those unfamiliar with how it works: If your choice is Critchlow and he is tabbed to be the opening-game starter, you would win $210 for every $100 you bet on Critchlow.
Interestingly, BYU isn’t the only school with four legitimate starting quarterback candidates. Eight other programs, including Clemson, Florida, Michigan and LSU, have four-way derbies entering August, according to the site. UCLA has a five-way battle, believe it or not.
From my perspective, Critchlow being the odds-on favorite is a mild surprise, although he did take the first snap in April’s spring scrimmage and the last meaningful snap of the 2017 season. That’s why they call it gambling, I suppose.
For what it’s worth, quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick was asked at media day on June 22 to reveal the starting quarterback.
“I won’t,” he said. “I think it is important to our entire program, the players, not just the quarterbacks, but our whole team, to make sure we have a real competition [so they know that] whoever walks out there to take the first snap will have earned it, and there was nothing given, nothing assumed.
“We are going to play it out, and I think that will give the rest of the players, offensive and defensive players, confidence, that, OK, that guy earned his right to be here. He’s not just here because he started last year, or he’s not there because he’s the hotshot new recruit, or whatever. He’s there because of what happened in practice, and we all watched it happen.”
In various sports talk radio appearances throughout the summer, I’ve been asked plenty for my pick. It’s going to be Tanner Mangum, I’ve said.
Take it to the bank ... or website, as the case may be.