Facing the best quarterback in the country, Auburn will need all hands on deck in the secondary for the opener. Unfortunately for the SEC Tigers, that won’t be the case.
Late last week, Stephen Roberts was arrested following a traffic stop and charged with attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm without a permit. Tuesday, head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed that the defensive back will be suspended for Saturday’s season opener against No. 2 Clemson.
It’s uncertain if Roberts will return for the following Saturday’s game against Arkansas State as Malzahn labeled the suspension “week-to-week.”
Roberts played in 13 games last season, starting the final four games of the year. He was expected to start at one of the safety positions for the Tigers this season.
Both of the charges Roberts is facing are misdemeanors. His first court appearance is currently scheduled for Nov. 17.
It appears the door is wide open for Alphonse Taylor‘s unfettered return to the playing field when Alabama kicks off the new season this weekend. Maybe
The offensive lineman was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident last month. It was subsequently reported that Taylor, who called police himself to notify them that he had hit another vehicle, took two breathalyzer tests and both came back at 0.0.
“Of course I am pleased with this verdict,” Taylor’s attorney, Jason Neff, told the News. “I hope Mr. Taylor will have an opportunity to move forward with his football career.”
Neff added that “[t]he judge is expected to issue a ruling on the leaving the scene of an accident charge after the vehicle that was struck has been repaired,” the News wrote.
It was announced the day after his arrest that Taylor had been indefinitely suspended, although he has since been permitted to practice with the team. His status for Saturday’s opener against USC is unclear at the moment.
A redshirt senior, Taylor has played in 35 games during his time in Tuscaloosa, starting 17 of those contests. 15 of his starts came at right guard during the Tide’s run to the title in 2015.
Last month, the media tabbed the redshirt senior as second-team preseason All-SEC.
The Pac-12 may be, pound for pound, the deepest conference in college football. And that’s the problem.
A conference with nine good teams and zero great ones creates a thrilling week-to-week product, and a weak one when it comes to reaching the College Football Playoff. As we saw last season.
With no generational quarterback around to run the conference, 2016 shapes up more like 2015 than 2014.
1. Washington (7-6, 4-5 Pac-12): Most often, the off-season hype is wrong, fodder for the sake of fodder to get us through the long night that is the off-season. I don’t think this is one of those times. The Huskies don’t have Christian McCaffrey, but they have the best defense in the league, the best quarterback in the division and a coaching staff good enough to win the whole damn league.
2. Stanford (12-2, 8-1 Pac-12): It feels like a sign of disrespect to pick against the machine David Shaw helped build, and then maintain and elevate after Jim Harbaugh‘s departure. Especially when they have the game’s sharpest Swiss Army knife. Come to think of it, why are they No. 2 again?
3. Oregon (9-4, 7-2 Pac-12): The Ducks can score on anybody. The question: can they stop anyone? Not even new defensive coordinator Brady Hoke is sure of that answer.
4. Washington State (9-4, 6-3 Pac-12): Last year was a grand success for Wazzu. The Cougars won nine games, claimed twice as many Pac-12 games as they lost and stayed in the divisional race deep into the season. Another season like 2015 would be an even grander one.
5. California (8-5, 4-5 Pac-12): As we saw Friday night, Davis Webb may be the only thing standing between this team and an empty December.
6. Oregon State (2-10, 0-9 Pac-12): Poor, poor Gary Andersen. He leaves one of college football’s most stable winners for one of its heftiest rebuilds. Check back in 2018.
1. UCLA (8-5, 5-4 Pac-12): Jim Mora is the only coach to recruit on the same level as USC in the Pac-12 South. And USC has the nation’s most difficult schedule. Add in that plus Josh Rosen and you get yet another Pac-12 title game loss for the Bruins.
2. Utah (10-3, 6-3 Pac-12): Utah won more total games than any team in the Pac-12 South last season, they shared the division championship with USC and they have the best offensive and defensive lines in the conference. So, why aren’t I picking them? In the Pac-12, always side with quarterbacks.
3. USC (8-6, 6-3 Pac-12): The most talented overall roster in the conference, but the worst schedule in the nation. Alabama, Stanford, Utah, Washington and UCLA on the road, plus Oregon and Notre Dame coming to the Coliseum? Yikes.
4. Arizona (7-6, 3-6 Pac-12): Arizona won’t win the Pac-12 South as they did in 2014. But they won’t be as snake bit as they were last season, either. Eight wins, with four of five coming in conference play, feels right.
5. Colorado (4-9, 1-8 Pac-12): If you want to wow your friends with your brave prognostications, make it this: Colorado will play in a bowl game this fall.
6. Arizona State (6-7, 4-5 Pac-12): Todd Graham had better hope this (entirely worthless) prediction doesn’t come true. After back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2013-14, falling to last place in the division would scratch the trigger finger of Sun Devils AD and former NFL executive Ray Anderson something fierce.
When last we left T.J. Edwards, there was no timetable for the Wisconsin linebacker’s return. With the opener just a handful of days away, there’s been some clarification to Edwards’ status.
Late last week, Edwards was left off the two-deep depth chart released by the Badgers, a clear sign that the redshirt junior would be unavailable for Saturday’s game against LSU at Lambeau Field. Monday, head coach Paul Chryst officially ruled Edwards out of the Big Ten-SEC matchup.
Edwards suffered a broken foot over the summer and did not participate at all during camp. It remains unclear whether Edwards will be healthy enough for UW’s Week 2 matchup with Akron in the home opener. If the school continues to err on the side of caution, they could hold Edwards out of that game and the following week’s contest against Georgia State targeting a return for the Big Ten opener against Michigan State Sept. 24 in East Lansing.
As a redshirt sophomore last season, Edwards started all 13 games. He led the Badgers in tackles with 84 in 2015, while his 6.5 tackles for loss were fourth.
On the Edwards-less depth chart, redshirt junior Jack Cichy (four career starts) and true sophomore Chris Orr (six career starts) are listed as the two starting inside linebackers.