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Some Things Never Change

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When we started The Kickoff, the year was 1951. 

That college football season finished with seven unbeaten major college teams, of which five were unbeaten and untied. Ultimately, the Tennessee Volunteers were voted the best team by the Associated Press, followed by the Michigan State Spartans, with the Vols having a plurality of first-place votes (139 to 104). Back then, there was no playoff in college football, no “Division I-A” and a halfback at Princeton, Dick Kazmaier, won the Heisman. 

The Kickoff started as a printed publication distributed mainly through pro athletes and coaches with whom our company enjoyed a networking relationship. Over the years, it evolved into a sophisticated mail house operation focusing on the fulfillment side of direct mail advertising. 

Corporate sponsorships allow companies to send a version of The Kickoff that is branded with their logo to their customers (or prospects) for the advertising opportunities.

A few years ago, we took The Kickoff digital, offering a PDF version sent by email. 

A lot of things have changed since 1951. The Kickoff co-owner, Bert Caldwell, said the biggest change since he played the game was the physical size of the athletes. In the decades since, a lot of attention has been paid to making sure the game is safer. College football has also grown into a huge source of lucrative entertainment for massive media properties. 

All of our time closely following the game of college football – obsessing over it, really – has given our staff keen insights into the sport we all know and love. Our long history of covering the game informs our picks when we prognosticate on what the future holds. 

We are proud of our record for accuracy and the trust that our subscribers continue to put in us. 

We are now taking orders for the upcoming season, which will be our 70th year in publication. We have a lot of great features planned for the 2020 campaign, so don’t miss out!

Subscribers, if you have already received your renewal notice, you’re all set. If not, you can subscribe on our website. You may also order over the phone at 423-267-0953. 

You may also download and print the subscription form in case you would like to mail it. Download it here: 2020 Order Form

 

 

College Football– A Look at New Head Coaches for 2020

Get your 2020 College Football head coaches scoop right here at the Kickoff.

Coaching changes always keep things interesting in college football, and 2020 will be no exception.

Lane Kiffin’s storied coaching career includes time spent on the sidelines for the Tennessee Volunteers, USC Trojans, University of Alabama, Oakland Raiders, and Florida Atlantic. He was hired this season to be head football coach at Ole Miss, replacing Matt Luke. Expectations have always been high for the son of longtime NFL defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin. He’s frequently controversial, and has burned some bridges, but there’s no denying his talent with a 61-34 college head coaching record. In 2019, the NCAA vacated 33 Ole Miss victories, and levied a two-year ban on post-season play as punishment for recruiting, and academic violations under head coaches Houston Nutt and Hugh Freeze. It will be interesting to see if any of Kiffin’s players are undisciplined enough to cost the team a rivalry win by getting penalized for performing a post-touchdown mockery of a urinating dog. Willie Taggart, who was fired last season from his position as head coach of the Florida State Seminoles, takes Kiffin’s spot at FAU.

Speaking of the Seminoles, former Memphis Coach Mike Norvell takes over in Tallahassee. His contract is $3.75 million for 6 years. His record at Memphis was 38-15, and he’ll be expected to turn things around fast at FSU, where Taggart was fired in the middle of only his second season. Norvell has coached at Arizona State, Pittsburgh, Tulsa, and Central Arkansas. Replacing him at Memphis is Ryan Silverfield.

At Arkansas, former Georgia Assistant Head Coach, Sam Pittman, replaces Chad Morris, who was ousted mid-season after a 4-18 record in Fayetteville. At Georgia, Pittman garnered a reputation as “one of the best recruiters and offensive line coaches in the SEC.” In his second season coaching the offensive line, Georgia won the SEC Championship Game, and reached the College Football Playoff National Championship. Pittman was the Razorbacks Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Line Coach from 2013-2015.

Mike Leach is out at Washington State after compiling a 139-90 record there, and will be staring across the field at Kiffin when Mississippi State meets their biggest rival. Joe Moorehead got the boot from Starkville after a 14-12 record as coach. Nick Rolovich takes the helm at Washington State while Todd Graham moves into the vacancy created by Rolovich leaving from Hawaii.

At Washington, Jimmy Lake replaces Chris Petersen, whose career head coaching record is 147-38 and led Washington to a 54-26 record. Lake has coached at both the National Football League (NFL) and college football levels, primarily overseeing defensive backs.

Former Florida and Texas Head Coach Charlie Strong is out at USF, and was replaced by Jeff Scott. Strong is working this season as a defensive analyst on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, following Kiffin’s strategy for career redemption. Scott was offensive coordinator for Clemson in 2017 when they beat Alabama to win the national championship, but USF is his first head coaching gig.

On September 21, 2019, with his 110th victory, Mark Dantonio became the winningest head coach in Michigan State football. On February 4, 2020, 63-year-old Dantonio announced he would be stepping down as head coach. Mel Tucker takes over. He was previously the head coach at the University of Colorado, which has yet to fill the coaching vacancy.

Missouri’s new coach is Eliah Drinkwitz, replacing Barry Odom, whose record was 24-25.
At Colorado State, Mike Bobo is out and Steve Addazio, who had a 44-44 record at Boston College, is in. Jeff Hafley takes over Addazio spot at BC.

At Baylor, former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda was selected to succeed Matt Rhule, who accepted the job head coaching the Carolina Panthers.

At Fresno State, Jeff Tedford announced he was resigning in December for health reasons and former offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer, who spent the 2019 season in Indiana, was hired as Tedford’s replacement.

A head coaching record of 8-32 led Rutgers to search for solutions other than Chris Ash, who was canned a day after a 52-0 loss to Michigan. On December 1, 2019, Rutgers and Greg Schiano agreed to an 8-year, $32 million contract that would see him return as head coach of the Scarlet Knights. He previously led the team from 2001-2011 before leaving less than a week before National Signing Day to become the head coach of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Former Notre Dame Coach Bob Davie is out at New Mexico, replaced by Danny Gonzales. Prior to 2018, Gonzales had spent his college coaching career on Rocky Long’s staff at the University of New Mexico and again at San Diego State University.

Old Dominion’s Bobby Wilder had a 77-56 record in 10 years as only the second coach all-time in the program’s history and the first since football’s rebirth at the school in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in 2009. The new play caller is Ricky Rahne, who has coached on the staffs of Holy Cross, Cornell, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, and Penn State.

San Diego State coach Rocky Long is gone after an 81-28 record since 2011, Brady Hoke returning to lead the team. Hoke was the Aztecs coach from 2009-2010.

UNLV decided to replace Tony Sanchez with Marcus Arroyo, who was offensive coordinator for the Oregon Ducks.

UTSA’s Jeff Traylor replaces Frank Wilson after 4 seasons and a 19–29 overall record. Traylor previously coached positions at Texas, SMU and Arkansas before signing on to serve as the Roadrunners third head coach in program history.

Issue One with The Kickoff’s Preseason Picks to Publish August 27th

The Kickoff college football newsletter is putting the final touches on our first issue of the 2018 season. We’ll be emailing Issue 1 to PDF subscribers this coming Monday, August 27th ahead of the Week One games.

The issue includes our Preseason Top 50, which differs from the first AP Top 25 Poll released on August 20th. We agree that Alabama, Clemson and Georgia appear well positioned for continued success this season.

Ohio State’s position on the Kickoff Preseason Poll was unsettled amidst the controversy over Coach Urban Meyer’s future with the Buckeyes following a domestic abuse scandal with one of his staff coaches. The school suspended Meyer for the first three games of the season about to begin. AP’s initial poll had them ranked #5. Kickoff Editor Tommy Duff said the rankings beyond the top 3 could still change beyond the initial picks before Issue 1 goes out to readers on August 27th if the situation develops further.

Read more ...

The Kickoff College Football Bowl Preview

2016 college football

It’s time for teams to go bowling. We’re already in the thick of the bowl schedule as it all builds to the New Year’s Day matchups. The Kickoff will publish our wrap up issue on January 10th, but Editor Tommy Duff shared some thoughts ahead of that.

“The most interesting matchup that is not in the College Football Playoff is USC vs. Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29th,” Duff said. “OSU feels like they deserved to be in the playoff, but USC has just as strong of an argument, also going 11-2 during the regular season, and they lost against a stronger team than Iowa.”

Boise State, Troy, Georgia State, Marshall, and Middle Tennessee have all won their bowls so far and are looking ahead to next season. The Kickoff listed the complete bowl schedule (with our Kickoff Power Rankings) in Issue 16, out Dec. 11th.

Duff said the post-season is generally more difficult to predict this year.

“The Orange Bowl Winner will be whoever has any motivation left between Miami and Wisconsin. (They are) two teams in playoff contention all year that fell apart in the final week,” Duff said. “I think Auburn should win against UCF, which is losing their head coach. I expect LSU to win against Notre Dame, which is overmatched.”

“Regarding the College Football Playoffs, can a Big XII offense take care of business against a defense as talented as Georgia’s? I think they can, but UGA has the potential to give Baker Mayfield problems,” Duff said. “Of course, the marquee matchup is the third playoff meeting between Bama and Clemson. Clemson was playing better towards the end of the year, but Bama should be much healthier and is still the team to beat.”

If Georgia prevails in the Rose Bowl and Alabama beats Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, producing an All-SEC national championship game, Duff said experience points to Alabama winning. “If Oklahoma beats Georgia, then I think they will beat Bama,” he said.

In addition to winning the Heisman, Baker Mayfield led several of the stats this season, including percentage of completed passes, efficiency rating, total yards per play, and being responsible for touchdowns at 46. He was also named to the 2017 Kickoff All American team, along with Sooners Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown, and Obgonnia Okoronkwo. These ingredients combine for a potent threat to Clemson defending its national title if the two teams should go head-to-head.

“As we close our 67th season in publication, we would like to thank all of our corporate and individual subscribers for continuing to support The Kickoff,” Duff said. “It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to share your excitement for the sport of college football every fall. College football is not only a game; it’s a cultural pastime shared throughout the United States, and we are truly blessed to spend Saturdays with you. We look forward to seeing you in 2018. We wish you a safe and happy holidays!”

To celebrate the holidays, The Kickoff is offering a special where readers can get 29 issues for the price of 23!

Take advantage of this special limited-time offer and you can begin receiving Email/PDF issues of our college football newsletter in February 2018 – then receive the 6 monthly issues we publish between February and July (covering recruiting, the NFL draft, spring practice, etc.), 17 weekly issues during the actual season and bowl games, PLUS an additional six issues – all for the price of a 23 issue regular subscription ($39.00) that normally only covers 12 months!

You can be all set with no need to renew your subscription until fall of 2019! This is a great deal, especially if you subscribed to the 17 weekly issues for 2017 and wish you could keep following the action.

That’s just slightly more than $2 a month to receive the kind of insight you’ve come to trust from The Kickoff for the next 18 months! You won’t find a better deal than this. It’s our way of saying Thank You and Merry Christmas.

This offer is available ONLY for our PDF/Email edition. Get it today for yourself or Gift it to a friend or family member this Christmas! This offer ends Dec. 31st.

UAB fans celebrate program’s return in spring scrimmage

UAB fans celebrate program’s return in spring scrimmage
Michigan St holds spring game under cloud of investigation
Oklahoma, Tennessee agree to matchups in 2020, 2024
The biggest workout warrior on every Way-Too-Early Top 25 football team
Can Las Vegas become a new destination in college football?
The ACC’s most versatile man, Derwin James, is back
How Michigan is working to replace Jabrill Peppers
Big Ten Backs Off Plan for Friday Football Games for Northwestern
QB Emory Jones ‘110 percent’ committed to Ohio State but visiting Southern powers
New Tennessee AD John Currie says Butch Jones ‘on the right trajectory’
Why 4-star Tyneil Hopper calls Auburn ‘a great fit’
4-star defensive line recruit Alfred Thomas has Georgia on top
2017 NFL mock draft: Big changes in the top 5
Six players with plenty to prove in spring practice

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Photo by Steven Stiefel

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