Saturday’s college football slate will include one of the rarest sightings in the sport: an interim interim head coach. The game, a matchup of Southern Miss and Liberty, will kick off at 1 p.m. ET with online streaming available on WatchESPN.
Few college football programs go through a season with more than one head coach, but Southern Miss has endured a particularly bumpy 2020 thus far in that regard.
After the Golden Eagles fell to South Alabama 32-21 in the season opener, headman Jay Hopson shockingly resigned his position. The decision handed over the program to co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Scotty Walden for the remainder of the season, but that plan too fell by the wayside when he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. With Walden unable to travel with the team, defensive coordinator Tim Billings will take the reins for Saturday’s matchup with Liberty.
The extreme severity of the Golden Eagles’ staff changes will make an already difficult matchup even more challenging. Liberty, in its second season under head coach Hugh Freeze, has gotten off to a 5-0 start and looks increasingly dominant. The Flames have won each of their last three games by 17 points or more, including an upset of Syracuse on the road this past weekend. Freeze, who previously coached at Ole Miss before scandal ended his tenure, could jump back into the Power 5 if Liberty continues its hot streak.
Given both Southern Miss’ coaching fluctuations and Liberty’s hot streak, it comes as little surprise that the public has put most of its money behind the Flames. Approximately 95% of the handle and 96% of the bets have come on Liberty -12.5. Similarly, 97% of the handle and 94% of the bets have come on the Liberty moneyline (-455). As for total points, 95% of the handle has gone to under 60, but 58% of the bets have come on the over.
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