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The Feed: Ole Miss QB Transfers to Michigan

2016 college football

A new issue of The Kickoff is out today in email inboxes. In it, you’ll find the 2017 College Football Award Winners list, bowl game schedule (with Power Ratings comparison), the full schedules and results of the bowl teams, FBS regular season individual statistical leaders, FBS level regular season team statistical leaders, the Kickoff All-American First and Second Team listings, bowl game payouts, Division 1A FBS expanded standings, average margin of victory leaders, the Kickoff Power Rankings spreadsheet, and bowl opening lines/recommended picks. Our Bowl Wrap Up issue will come out January 10th, plus we will publish an additional 6 issues between February and July for annual subscribers!

The headlines in college football…

M Live – Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson to transfer to Michigan

Associated Press – Walk-on to Heisman: Oklahoma’s Mayfield wins in landslide

Bleacher Report – Ranking the Top Candidates for the 2018 Heisman Trophy

Associated Press – No. 2 Oklahoma leads with 3 1st-team AP All-Americans

Associated Press – 2017 AP All-America Teams

Associated Press – No. 21 Washington State dismisses top receiver Martin Jr.

Associated Press – Sam Houston St. beats Kennesaw St. 34-27 in FCS quarterfinal

Associated Press – Florida A&M tabs Tallahassee native Willie Simmons new coach

Associated Press – Florida hires Savage as strength and conditioning coach – You have to put a stake in Alabama’s heart in January – How Auburn won the SEC’s craziest coaching carousel

Dallas News – Championship or bust: The real risk of Jimbo Fisher’s massive contract with Texas A&M

NBC Sports – Phillip Fulmer says he’s ready to help Tennessee recruit again

Sporting News – Georgia’s Kirby Smart is Sporting News Coach of the Year

ESPN – Here are all the ways Bama-Clemson III will be different

ESPN – Ready, set, bowl! Picking 41 winners, including the national champion

The Chive – Boy’s emotional video about bullying gets support from football players and more

Curated by Steven Stiefel

The Feed: Tennessee Seeks to Restore Its Reputation

college football news

The headlines in college football…

Associated Press – Jeremy Pruitt believes he can restore Tennessee’s reputation

USA Today – UT Vols: Tough guys could help end tough times at Tennessee – How Tide’s old Public Enemy No. 1 turned to Alabama for help

Bleacher Report – Heisman Watch 2017: Odds and Predictions for All Candidates in Award Race

Associated Press – Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield named the AP Player of the Year

Associated Press – Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield won’t change, despite critics

Associated Press – Back-to-back Heisman? Jackson looks even better this year

Associated Press – Could regional flavor of CFP cause fans to tune out?

NBC Sports – Nick Saban trades jokes with Dabo Swinney over voting Ohio State No. 4 in Coaches Poll

MSN Sports – The Committee’s Lack of Respect for UCF Sets a Discouraging Playoff Precedent

Fox Sports – Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh in favor of 16-team playoff

USA Today – Watch the spectacular rant that led Lane Kiffin to call Mike Leach his ‘hero’

NBC Sports – ‘If we can get it worked out,’ Nebraska’s Scott Frost will coach UCF in bowl game

Curated by Steven Stiefel

The Feed: An All-SEC Title Game in the Future?

A new issue of The Kickoff is out today in email inboxes. In it, you’ll find the complete Bowl schedule (our Bowl Preview issue comes out Dec. 11th), along with the revised Kickoff Top 25, complete schedules and regular season records, FBS and select FCS standings, Conference Championship game results, updated coaching changes, the Power 5 Schedule ratings, the Kickoff Heisman vote, Kickoff Thermostat, News and Notes, trivia, top teams against the spread, Division 1A FBS Expanded Standings, average margin of victory leaders, the power rankings spreadsheet, top scoring offense, top defense points allowed, and more. We have 2 more issues left in our regular and bowl season issues, plus an additional 6 between February and July for annual subscribers.

The headlines in college football…

Associated Press – All-SEC title game on horizon? Alabama gets nod over Ohio St

Associated Press – AP Source: Gus Malzahn agrees to new 7-year deal with Auburn

ESPN – Gus Malzahn says best days are ahead for Auburn

ESPN – Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson named SEC Offensive Player of the Year by AP

Associated Press – FSU extends long bowl streak; NM St. ends longest drought

Associated Press – No. 9 Penn State meets No. 12 Washington in Fiesta Bowl

ESPN – The most controversial CFP decision yet

ESPN – How Florida State lost its quarterback, its playoff chances and then its coach

ESPN – New coach Scott Frost pledges to build Nebraska team state ‘can be proud of’

ESPN – What title games? Off-field drama takes center stage

ESPN – Every move of a Tennessee coaching search that is already infamous

Bleacher Report – Sugar Bowl 2017: Updated Odds and Preview for Clemson vs. Alabama

Business Insider – Jimbo Fisher went from a $72,000 salary to one of the highest-paid coaches in sports in 19 years

Sports Illustrated – Will the Alabama Outrage Spur More Changes to College Football’s Format?

Sports Illustrated – Rose Bowl 2018 Preview: A Way-Too-Early Look at Oklahoma-Georgia

ABC Sports – Georgia, Auburn split top awards on AP All-SEC football team

Sporting News – Big Ten, Ohio State can prevent future playoff snubs with big bowl season

Michigan Live – First look: South Carolina, Michigan’s Outback Bowl opponent

Curated by Steven Stiefel

The Feed: TN AD Fired, Ole Miss Sanctioned, Fisher Leaves FSU

The headlines in college football…

New York Times – A Viewer’s Guide to This Weekend’s College Football Playoff Drama

The Star-Telegram – Report: New Jimbo Fisher contract details emerge, Texas A&M expected to announce 10-year deal Monday

ESPN – Tumultuous coaching search leads to AD John Currie’s dismissal

SB Nation – Tennessee’s Rock sums up the Vols’ coaching search disaster in 5 words

ABC News – Mike Leach meets with Vols about coaching vacancy; no deal imminent

SB Nation – Here are the internet’s suggestions for which coaches Tennessee should turn to next – Reports: Gus Malzahn remains ‘top target’ for Arkansas, agents present ‘package’ to Auburn

ESPN – NCAA hits Ole Miss with additional year of bowl ban, scholarship restrictions – Kirk Herbstreit explains why he thinks Auburn should be No. 1 – Jarrett Stidham among 11 finalists for Manning Award – Auburn not concerned about Georgia-heavy crowd in SEC Championship Game

NCAA – College football: A look back at conference title rematch history

Forbes – College Football Week 14 Picks: 5 Expert Predictions For Covers And Against-The-Spread Wins

Atlanta Journal-Constitution – A new favorite in Vegas: College football

Fivethirtyeight – How Alabama, Ohio State Or Someone Else Can Crash The Playoff

Associated Press – No. 2 Oklahoma now has to win Big 12 title to get to playoff

PennLive – Penn State recruits react to Joe Moorhead’s departure; James Franklin will be ready to find his next coordinator, and more – The bad breaks that have hurt Alabama’s CFP case

SB Nation – The 6 best bets on college football’s championship weekend

Curated by Steven Stiefel

Conference Championship Games Could Affect CFB Playoffs

The regular season ended with a bang as numerous coaches have been let go and the College Football Playoff picture is suddenly unclear with Alabama dislodged from the top spot. Auburn, Oklahoma and Wisconsin will all play in conference title games this weekend – if any of them lose, the job of the College Football Playoff Committee becomes more challenging. Would Georgia leapfrog Alabama if they were to somehow beat Auburn in convincing fashion this weekend?

Auburn’s Late-Season Surge

It’s remarkable that we’re having this discussion now. The Tigers were highly rated at the start of the season based primarily on potential with Quarterback Jarret Stidham, but most people wrote off Auburn as a Playoff contender after the Tigers blew a huge lead over LSU in Week 7, having also lost in Week 2 to the defending National Champion Clemson Tigers. In the span of three weeks, however, Gus Malzahn’s team has beaten the number one team in the country twice: The Georgia Bulldogs on November 11 and the Alabama Crimson Tide this past weekend. They face Georgia once again in the SEC Championship game this coming weekend in Atlanta. In the new Associated Press poll, Auburn jumped from No. 6 to No. 4, followed by Alabama at No. 5 and Georgia at No. 6. Alabama had held the top spot since the preseason.

“Those wins have Auburn amazingly in the playoff driver seat,” said Tommy Duff, Editor of The Kickoff college football newsletter. “Auburn will be in the Playoffs if (RB Kerryon) Johnson is healthy and they beat UGA. Alabama is still in a good spot. Oklahoma and Clemson are best positioned. Miami may be an outsider regardless of whether they beat Clemson. If Ohio State beats Wisconsin and Miami beats Clemson, then Ohio State is in.”

Changes in the CFB Polls

Clemson jumped from No. 4 to No. 1 in the AP Poll after blowing out South Carolina. Oklahoma is the new No. 2, followed by Wisconsin at No. 3. In the College Football Playoff rankings, Clemson is No. 1, Auburn is No. 2, Oklahoma is No. 3, and Wisconsin is No. 4. Rounding out the Top 10 are Alabama (which is trying to argue it still deserves to be in the Playoffs), Georgia, Miami (Fla), Ohio State, Penn State, and USC. In The Kickoff Top 25, we have undefeated Wisconsin in the No. 1 spot.

“Wisconsin is still in the Big 10, and it’s a Power 5 conference. We don’t like jumping teams for no reason,” Duff explained. “Clemson lost to a 4-8 Syracuse team. Oklahoma lost to a 7-5 Iowa State team. Throw out the losses and Auburn should be No. 1 on quality wins alone, but they lost to a Clemson team that lost to 4-8 Syracuse. Wisconsin doesn’t have a great win, but they have won every game they were supposed to. That’s how we see it at The Kickoff.”

Another upset last weekend was Miami (Fla) falling to Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes fell five spots to No. 7 on the AP poll. On the Kickoff Top 25, they fell from No. 3 last week to No. 7 this week.

Coaches Fired, Hired

The other huge news right now: The Coaching Carousel. Previously mentioned Arkansas canned Bret Bielema. Also dusting off the resume: Jim McElwain at Florida (replaced by Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen), Kevin Sumerlin at Texas A&M, Todd Graham at Arizona State, Tyson Summers at Georgia Southern, Mike Riley at Nebraska, Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss, Gary Andersen at Oregon State, Joey Jones at South Alabama, Butch Jones at Tennessee, Jim Mora at UCLA, and Sean Kugler at UTEP. Former Oregon Coach Chip Kelly was hired at UCLA.

Tennessee backed out of a memorandum of understanding with Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano after facing a backlash from the Volunteer faithful due to Schiano’s ties to Penn State during the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The Vols finished without a single SEC win this year, going 4-8 overall. Candidates for the job had to be looking at how Knoxville has cycled through three coaches in a decade, failing to win an SEC Championship since 1998 or win the SEC East since 2007.

“Tennessee is a mess,” Duff said. “Total meltdown in the athletic department. Apparently, Tennessee offers were too low. Florida didn’t get its first choice, but Mullen is the right fit. Arkansas is a mess too. Arkansas wanted to hire Gus Malzahn, but his success has left the brass there scrambling as there is little, if any, chance he would leave Auburn now. Ole Miss did the right thing.”

One possible replacement considered for Jones is North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren. Duff said the hire would be like a “rescue off the hot seat at NC State” where he is 33-30 in five seasons. The Wolfpack had an 8-4 record this season and reached No. 14 in the polls before losing late in the season to Notre Dame, Clemson and Wake Forest. “Brought to you by Little Currie, Jimmy Haslam and Peyton Manning, the brains behind the Greg Schiano and Butch Jones hires,” Duff added. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy rejected Tennessee on Tuesday. Duke’s David Cutcliffe also told Tennessee he was not interested, according to an ESPN report.

Texas A&M, which finished in 5th place in the SEC West, has lured Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State with a rumored 10-year deal worth $7.5 million per season. Fisher, who won the 2013 national championship at FSU, would become the third highest-paid coach per season in all of college football, trailing only Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban.

Duff said the current coaching turmoil in the SEC is “a direct reflection of Nick Saban’s domination. The SEC is so bloated that it’s now eating its own programs. Nobody else has gotten over the hump. Look at Malzahn. He was rumored to be on the hot seat – unfairly in my opinion – and then he beats Moby Dick and he’s a hero on the Plains.”

The Regular Season in Retrospect

Although Georgia may very well prevail against Auburn in a second game this season, their 40-17 loss to the Tigers magnified the lack of parity between the SEC East and West divisions this season.

It’s been a difficult season to judge performance based on teams played. Auburn, for example, lost to LSU, which Alabama defeated 24-10 on November 10th. However, the Tide struggled to beat the same Mississippi State team that Auburn beat 49-10 back in week 5. Georgia’s signature win this year was the week two win over Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish lost to Miami (FL) 41-8 on November 11th.

One could say that various teams have found ways to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory” throughout the season. Some teams have been just plain awful and have fans just wanting to hurry up and set the refresh and rebuild button. The coaching changes we are seeing, as teams hope not to fall behind in recruiting, are a reflection of that.

Duff said LSU’s bet on Ed Orgeron paid off as the Tigers finished 9-3 to prove doubters wrong. The Kickoff doesn’t speculate on head coaches jumping to new programs, but there are coordinators who we feel are ready to move into the head coaching ranks. Some of the big names who may be considered for a head coaching vacancy include Jeremy Pruitt at Alabama, Kevin Steele at Auburn, Brent Venables and Tony Elliot at Clemson, Todd Grantham at Mississippi State, Manny Diaz at Miami, Tee Martin at USC, Jim Leavitt or Mario Cristobal at Oregon, just to name a few. We have a more extensive list in this week’s issue of The Kickoff.

Also included in Issue 14: A conference breakdown through issue 14, the FBS and FCS standings, complete regular season schedules and scores, a listing of the conference championship games ahead, our Top 25, our Games of the Week (AU vs UGA and Ohio State vs Wisconsin), plus overall trends, Division 1A FBS Expanded Standings, 2017 average margin of victory leaders, the 2017 Kickoff Power Rankings Spreadsheet, formula breakdown, news and notes, the Kickoff Thermostat, Top Assistant Coach Candidates, confirmed coaching changes, opening lines and Kickoff-recommended picks, and more.

In case you are wondering, The Kickoff was 7-5 against the spread on last week’s recommended picks, and we were 59-35 against the spread for the regular season.

The Kickoff has three remaining issues for this post-season phase, as well as 6 monthly issues covering recruiting, spring practice and transfers between February and July. You can still subscribe to have our valuable tool available by visiting

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