Surprise: Sooners top Steele's preseason poll

Leave a comment

With the spring practice in the books and summer camps set to start in just about two months, that can only mean one thing — college football preview magazines will be hitting newsstands in short order.

Arguably the most anticipated magazine — at least for me — year in and year out comes from Phil Steele.  And, while this year’s edition is not yet available to the public, advanced copies have been shipped to select individuals.

Pat Forde of is one of those individuals and, in a message posted on his Twitter page, he reveals Steele’s somewhat surprising Top-Ten list.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all comes at the very top of the list, where Steele has placed the Oklahoma Sooners as his preseason No. 1.  The Sooners are coming off a season that featured the most losses since Stoops’ first season in Norman, and found themselves outside the Top 25 in both the coaches and Associated Press polls.

Steele has shown in the past that he’s willing to go against the mainstream grain, and tabbing the Sooners as No. 1 certainly continues that outside-the-box line of thinking.

Another more-than-mild surprise is TCU sitting at No. 4 ahead of No. 6 Boise State, the school that toppled the Horned Frogs in January’s Fiesta Bowl and returns 21 of 22 starters from that unbeaten squad.

Alabama, with plenty of new faces on the defensive side of the ball, finds itself at No. 3, just behind No. 2 Ohio State.

Nebraska rounds out Steele’s Top Five at No. 5, while Florida (No. 7), USC (No. 8), Miami (No. 9) and Oregon (No. 10) finishing off the Top Ten.

Texas on the outside?  The Trojans and Ducks both on the inside?  

If nothing else, it makes for very intriguing offseason fodder.  And a diversion from all of the expansion speculation that’s inundated the sport over the past two months..

Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil to return for Texas A&M on Oct. 24

Associated Press
1 Comment

As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.

From the university:

The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits.  During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.  In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles.  He later corrected his account and since apologized. 

As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.

Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”

The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.

Hope he’s been practicing.

Report: Steve Spurrier set to retire

Steve Spurrier

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.

Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.

He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.

But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.

Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:

Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.