College Football
2023-24 College Football odds: Harrison Jr. opts out of Cotton Bowl
College Football

2023-24 College Football odds: Harrison Jr. opts out of Cotton Bowl

Updated Dec. 29, 2023 6:45 p.m. ET

Will he or won't he?

He won't. 

The playing status of Ohio State standout wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was decided a little over an hour before Friday's Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between the ninth-ranked Missouri Tigers and the No. 7 Buckeyes.  

Harrison, the son of Indianapolis Colts Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison, will not play.


The odds did not move significantly with the news, as OSU remained a 4.5-point favorite.

No. 9 Missouri (10-2) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (11-1), 8 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN

Point spread: Ohio State -4.5 (Ohio State favored to win by 4.5 or more points, otherwise Missouri covers)
Moneyline: Ohio State -188 favorite to win (bet $10 to win $15.32 total); Missouri +155 underdog to win (bet $10 to win $25.50 total)
Total: 51.5 points scored by both teams combined

Missouri Tigers
Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State opened as a 6.5-point favorite on Dec. 3. Harrison said in early December he might play in the Cotton Bowl to "go out with a win" after Ohio State lost for the third straight year against rival Michigan.

Harrison even hinted there was a chance he could return for his senior year, so he could get another shot at beating the Wolverines.

The line moved to 3.5 the next day, as quarterback Kyle McCord said he was entering the transfer portal. Devin Brown is expected to start in his place.

The odds have since fluctuated between Ohio State -4.5 and Missouri -2.5 (amid speculation of Harrison not playing) before swinging back to the Buckeyes -4 to -4.5. 

"Big movement in line in this one, a lot of that having to do with the Kyle McCord news during the course of this portal season as McCord left Ohio State," said FOX Sports' Joel Klatt, host of the "Joel Klatt Show." "It started Ohio State favored by 6.5, and now it's Mizzou 2.5 — wild swing in line, so you know that the money poured in — not just a little bit, not just trickled in, but poured in for Mizzou to move it all the way to Mizzou 2.5."

Harrison, who won the Biletnikoff Award as college football's top receiver and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, is considered the top non-quarterback in the NFL Draft and a likely top-five pick.

FOX Sports college football analyst RJ Young pointed out that McCord threw for 3,170 yards and 24 touchdowns. Harrison caught 67 passes for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns, accounting for 38.2% of McCord's passing yards and 58.3% of his TD passes.

"In most of OSU's games, Harrison was the only guy Ryan Day could depend on to play at an elite level," the "No. 1 College Football Show" host said. "He was the passing offense."

Klatt said Missouri will counter with quarterback Brady Cook, running back Cody Schrader and receiver Luther Burden III.

"If Ohio State's not ready to go, Missouri can absolutely win this game and that's where the line has gone — Missouri now favored by 2.5," Klatt said. "Now, if you get a fully-engaged Ohio State team, even with Devin Brown at quarterback, I think that that's a better team than Missouri, but who knows what type of engagement you're going to get. 

"A lot of this depends on the decision for Marvin Harrison and TreVeyon Henderson. Can't really make a pick without those guys' decisions yet."

Henderson is set to play on Friday — but with Harrison out, it's unclear just how potent the OSU offense can be in its final game of the season. 

Who are you backing in the Cotton Bowl? Stay with FOX Sports for the latest on college football and other sports.


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