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Tag Archives: Alabama

The Feed: Florida State’s prep for Alabama Begins Now

Preseason College Football 2017
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The headlines in college football…
ESPN – Florida State’s game plan prep for Week 1 vs. Alabama begins now
USA Today – Riverdale’s D’Andre Litaker commits to Tennessee
AL.com – Who is the biggest snub on the 2017 preseason All-SEC team?
AP – Trump welcomes NCAA champion football team to White House
AP – Colorado officials disciplined for handling of allegations
AP – Lincoln Riley, 33, takes over as Oklahoma’s football coach
AP – SWAC will drop football title game after upcoming season
ESPN – Biggest offseason questions for the Big Ten West
ESPN – Dynamic duos: College football’s best tandems
ESPN – Who is this season’s Jabrill Peppers on each Top 25 team?
NBC Sports – Oklahoma State, Mike Gundy agree to new five-year deal
AL.com – Auburn plans to add ‘1 true running back’ as part of 2018 recruiting class
Sun Sentinel – Expectations or not, Mark Richt says Hurricanes will need time to discover identity
Fansided – Should Tennessee have to play Alabama every year?

Curated by Steven Stiefel

The Feed: Today in College Football

Can't miss college football games of 2017

LOOK: Tennessee trolls Lane Kiffin with one-word tweet to Daniel Tosh

http://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/look-tennessee-trolls-lane-kiffin-with-one-word-tweet-to-daniel-tosh/

Pick 6: Rhule, Herman among new coaches facing scrutiny

http://collegefootball.ap.org/article/pick-6-rhule-herman-among-new-coaches-facing-scrutiny

The Honey Bun surprise: How JaTarvious Whitlow signed with Auburn

http://www.espn.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/127324/the-honey-bun-surprise-how-jatarvious-whitlow-signed-with-auburn

Michigan State police submits requests for arrest warrants in sexual assault investigation

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/18696990/michigan-state-university-police-submits-requests-arrest-warrants-sexual-assault-investigation

Ace recruiter Dameyune Craig seeking OC title, not expected to join Oregon’s staff

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2017/2/16/14544948/dameyune-craig-oregon-coach-willie-taggart

Blake Barnett upset Nick Saban gave him a ‘negative reputation’ at Alabama

http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/news/blake-barnett-nick-saban-alabama-football-arizona-state/803wk1k1ryf1lwzrb2p3rto3

Louisiana HSFB Coach Bans Alabama from Campus, Says School is Not Ethical

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2693160-louisiana-hsfb-coach-bans-alabama-from-campus-says-school-is-not-ethical

Disney CEO: ESPN and ABC will look at limiting the number of commercial breaks

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2017/2/15/14632626/espn-abc-less-commercials-college-football

How first-year head coaches fared on National Signing Day

http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/02/02/national-signing-day-new-coaches-recruiting-rankings

Ex-Baylor associate AD won’t be indicted for alleged postgame assault of reporter

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/grand-jury-wont-indict-baylor-associate-ad-heath-nielsen-for-alleged-assault-of-reporter-230508547.html

National Signing Day, SEC Showdown in the Super Bowl

hatsontableIt’s the off-season, but it sure has been a busy week for college football fans as we followed National Signing Day on Wednesday and got excited to watch two first-round draft picks battle it out in Sunday’s Super Bowl 50.

National Signing Day

We watched the annual ritual of coaches waiting nervously by fax machines for Letters of Intent after weeks of visiting players and trying to convince them to choose their schools. Those players held press conferences at their high schools, surrounded by their families, prep coaches and the standard baseball caps for the teams in contention (to add an element of suspense) on display. Fans checked the web throughout the day, fingers crossed and hoping their alma mater would snag top talents.

We watched as some of these young men flipped on their earlier commitments at the last minute, a practice that has become so common that it surprises no one anymore. And, as expected, the traditional powerhouses reloaded with 4-star and 5-star prospects. Put simply, top teams win the national championship of recruiting by finishing the day with the greatest number of most highly-ranked players.

Scout 300’s top uncommitted prospect was 5-Star Defensive Tackle Rashan Gary of Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey, who was pursued by Clemson, Michigan, Auburn, Ole Miss and USC; he chose the Wolverines.

Finishing the day most satisfied were fans of Alabama, Ohio State, FSU, LSU, Ole Miss, Michigan, UCLA, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. Whether these talents actually live up to the hype remains to be seen.

Many of these young men commit to college teams with a larger dream in mind: Making a big enough splash in collegiate athletics to become drafted to play for the National Football League. In the six issues of The Kickoff that we’ll publish between now and July, we’ll look at these players and the NFL Draft. Subscribe now and you can get an extra email/PDF subscription for a friend at half-price. 

Manziel Out in Cleveland

Just as some high school players won’t make it in college, many will fail to become NFL greats. This week the Cleveland Browns dismissed 2nd year quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman winner who has faced legal issues and inconsistent play since leaving Texas A&M. It remains to be seen whether another team will take a chance on him.

Manning and Newton Ready to Clash in Super Bowl 50

Elsewhere in the league, this weekend’s Super Bowl 50 marks the first time two quarterbacks taken No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft are going head-to-head. The Broncos’ Payton Manning was taken No. 1 in 1998 out of Tennessee, while Carolina Quarterback Cam Newton was taken No. 1 in 2011 out of Auburn. There is a 13-year age difference between the players, the largest in Super Bowl history, with Manning age 39 and Newton just 26.

If the Panthers win and Quarterback Cam Newton is voted the game’s MVP, he’ll become only the fifth player in history to win the Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP. The only four to do it: The Cowboys’ Roger Staubach in Super Bowl VI, the Raiders’ Jim Plunkett (XV); the Raiders’ Marcus Allen (XVIII) and the Packers’ Desmond Howard (XXXI).

Newton has a chance to match Raiders RB back Marcus Allen as the only player to win the Heisman Trophy (1981), a national title in college (Southern California 1978,1979), the NFL Most Valuable Player Award (1985), a Super Bowl (1984) and the Super Bowl MVP (XVIII in ‘84). Newton won the Heisman in 2010 when he led Auburn to the college football championship and is the prohibitive favorite to win this season’s MVP.

Newton has insisted that race is of no importance to the game, but it is worth noting that if the Panthers win, he would become only the second African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl and be named the game’s MVP. Carolina coach Ron Rivera would become only the second Hispanic coach to win the Super Bowl.

Manning, who led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl championship in 2006, will be making his fourth Super Bowl appearance. He has the advantage of experience and will be the sentimental favorite to win since he’s hinted this may be his final game.

At Tennessee, he was SEC Freshman of the Year in 1994, 1997 SEC Player of the Year, Best College Football Player in the 1998 ESPY Awards, and recipient of the Davey O’Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Award, 1997 Maxwell Award, 1997 James E. Sullivan Award, and 1997 NCAA Quarterback of the Year Award. With the Vols, he led the offense to 11,020 yards.

Manning was a runner-up for the Heisman in 1997, losing to Michigan cornerback and free safety Charles Woodson, who is still the only primarily defensive player to have won the prestigious award (Woodson played for the Raiders and the Packers, picking off Manning twice and retiring himself last December).

While at Auburn, Newton won the Heisman, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Davey O’Brien Award, was AP College Football Player of the Year for 2010, and the Manning Award (named for Peyton’s and Eli’s father Archie — former Old Miss QB, and QB for the Saints, Oilers and Vikings).

In his rookie year, Newton broke numerous rookie and all-time NFL records for passing and rushing yards. He became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his first game, shattering Manning’s first-game record by 120 yards. It will be interesting to see how these two football greats match up with such high stakes.

In Sunday’s Super Bowl, Carolina is favored by 6 points. Super Bowl 50 will kick off at 6:30 ET on CBS.

CFP: Clemson’s QB versus Bama’s Defense?

trophyIt all comes down to this: #1 Clemson vs #2 Alabama to decide college football’s national champion. Kickoff is at 8:30 pm Eastern on January 11 from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The game will be televised on ESPN.

The Kickoff Editor Tommy Duff expects a good game, although “I’m not really sure what to expect from Clemson at this point because it’s very difficult to get a read on just how they match up.”

The knock on Clemson was that they had not played anyone of note that jumped out, he said, but that was before the Tigers convincingly beat #4 Oklahoma 37-17 in the Orange Bowl to extend their win streak to 17 in a row, tied for the second-longest streak in ACC history.

“Oklahoma was an eye opener, so I could go with what the numbers say, which would be Bama, but I’m not that confident in the numbers because I think Clemson is as talented as anyone in the SEC at this point,” Duff said.

The game could be summarized as Alabama’s front seven versus Deshaun Watson.

“Mobile quarterbacks have been more successful against Bama’s defense, and Clemson has the best mobile QB in the nation. It comes down to the battle in the trenches, Alabama’s defensive line against Clemson’s offensive line. They have to neutralize Watson’s ability to improvise with his legs, both his scrambling ability as well as his ability to complete passes outside the pocket.”

The Crimson Tide shut out #3 Michigan State 38-0 in the Cotton Bowl. Their sole loss was in week three against an Ole Miss team that ended the year ranked #12 with a 10-3 record, losing to Florida, Memphis and Arkansas.

The Tide – picked as a 7-point favorite by Vegas — will seek to dominate Watson and Clemson with the best passing defense in the country. Alabama claims 15 national titles, Clemson’s only title came in 1981 under Danny Ford. It’s a new day, though, under Dabo Sweeney as the Tigers have won 10 games in five straight seasons and prepare to take on Sweeney’s alma mater.

Back in August, The Kickoff picked Ohio State and TCU as our top two teams, but we had Alabama ranked #4 and Clemson ranked #10. We predicted Watson would be one of 2015’s breakout players, along with eventual Heisman winner Derrick Henry, who is sure to be unleashed once again. In the preseason, Vegas had Clemson ranked at #20, while the Coaches’ Poll had the Tigers coming in at #12.

Our 2015 Kickoff All-American first and second teams included Watson and Henry, as well as Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, A’Shawn Robinson, Reggie Ragland, and Eddie Jackson, as well as Clemson’s Jordan Leggett and Shaq Lawson.

There are some parallels between the FBS and FCS championship games this week. The Crimson Tide isn’t the only team from the state of Alabama looking for a trophy. Jacksonville State is playing North Dakota State in the FCS national title game Saturday. And like Nick Saban’s squad, NDSU goes into its game with a reputation for reloading each year with the nation’s best players. This is the fifth straight appearance by the Bison.

JSU Quarterback Eli Jenkins has run for 13 touchdowns and passed for 19 with 2,484 passing yards and 1,030 yards rushing. Running back Troymaine Pope has also shattered records. For North Dakota State, Quarterback and potential first round draft pick Caron Wentz goes into the game with experience, having won the last four NCAA FCS Championships, and fellow Quarterback Easton Stick has kept NDSU in the hunt after injuries to Wentz. The Gamecocks beat Sam Houston 62-10 on Dec. 19 to advance to the final. The Bison defeated Richmond 33-7.

The Kickoff has followed JSU and NDSU throughout the year in our Select Division I FCS Schedule listings. In week 2, pre-season #3 ranked Auburn barely survived an overtime clash with the Gamecocks (JSU’s only regular season loss) while NDSU’s only losses were to Montana and South Dakota. JSU has made the FCS playoffs three straight years, but hasn’t advanced past the second round since 2013 when they fell in the quarterfinals – a win Saturday would be their first FCS title.

The FCS Championship game will kickoff at noon eastern at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The game will air on ESPN2.

The final issue of The Kickoff this season will include Bowl recaps with final records.

We will publish six monthly issues during the Off Season (February-July). We will look at recruiting, preseason injury reports, breakout players, Heisman hopefuls, and break down the Top 10 high school prospects by position so you know what needs the top teams are hoping to fill. We predict which prospects have the potential to be future stars, elevate programs, or at least contribute right away. Just as we show you the future high school and JUCO stars in the making, the Kickoff reports on which players won’t be around to help their teams in the fall. We also enhance your enjoyment of NFL games by letting you know where your favorite college players may end up in the fall.

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Let’s Go Bowling

In this week’s issue of The Kickoff, we list all of the major bowls scheduled between now and the VCFP National Championship Game on January 11. We’ve also listed the 2015 College Football Award Winners.

After the end of the regular season, our Top 25 is topped by Clemson, still undefeated at 13-0 and set to play our #3 Oklahoma in the Capitol One Orange Bowl CFP Semifinal at 4 pm on New Year’s Eve. Alabama in second place is set to play our #4 pick, Michigan State, in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at 8 pm on New Year’s Eve. The winners of those games will meet up on January 11 at 8:30 pm in Glendale, AZ.

At this stage, our Power Ratings give Clemson the edge over Oklahoma and Alabama over Michigan State. It will be interesting to see which two teams survive elimination. Those who do not like one conference dominating the country should like seeing teams from the ACC, SEC, Big 12, and Big 10 all found in the Playoff finals. The SEC still leads the nation with 14 teams winning 102 games or a winning percentage of 0.604. The PAC-12 follows with 12 teams with 84 wins.

This year is perhaps most notable because of the sheer volume of teams playing beyond the regular season. We’ll see nine teams from the ACC, eight from the AAC, six from Mid-American, six from MT West, 10 from the Big 10, 10 from the SEC, nine from the PAC12, seven from the Big 12, five from Conference USA, and four from the Sun Belt in post-season play.

“This number of teams in bowls should make a lot of fans happy and really pleases the coaches because it means many more practice days for teams going to bowls,” said Bert Caldwell, one of the owners of The Kickoff. “Like a mini-spring practice.”

Some have questioned whether teams with losing records should make bowl appearances. Minnesota, for example, has a record of 5-7, yet it will play the 7-5 Central Michigan Chippewas in the Dec. 28 Quick Lane Bowl. Two teams from the same conference, Nevada (6-6) and Colorado State (7-5), are playing each other in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29. Auburn, which began the season picked by many to be in the College Football Playoff finals right now, finished their season 6-6 and will play a 9-3 Memphis team that is favored in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 30.

In the latest issue of The Kickoff, we include our Pre-Bowl Kickoff Power Ratings, as well as the 2015 Kickoff All American Team and a listing of bowl game payouts by event.

It’s been a huge year for Alabama’s Derrick Henry, who was named recipient of the Heisman, Maxwell, Walter Camp, and Doak Walker awards. We list all of the major college football award winners in the latest issue of The Kickoff. Henry was deemed by Vegas to have a 16/1 chance of winning the Heisman (compared to 10/1 for Jeremy Johnson who didn’t even play every game as a starter). Trevone Boykin, the presumed frontrunner back in July, did not win any of the major awards. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney won the Home Depot Coach of the Year award for taking his team to 13-0.

Speaking of coaches, last week we looked at the coaching carousel. Bowling Green, Brigham Young, East Carolina, La-Monroe, and Tulane are all searching for new coaches while other teams must replace coordinators who’ve moved up the ladder. Alabama has hired Jeremy Pruitt away from Georgia after Mark Richt’s move to Miami and Kirby Smart coming in as the Bulldogs’ new coach. We’ll see the ripple effects from the changes being made well into spring practice and beyond.

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