B.J. Coleman, Troy Sanders

B.J. Coleman shines in East-West Shrine Game

4 Comments

With college football season over, all-star/draft evaluation games are underway and draft-eligible players from around the country, as well as Canada, took part in the East-West Shrine Game today.

The West ended up beating the East by a final score of 24-17, but obviously, that hardly matters; it was about who shined in their game reps.

One of the best performances of the day came from UT-Chattanooga quarterback B.J. Coleman, who went 10-of-15 for 168 yards and a touchdown. Coleman originally signed with Tennessee in 2007 before transferring down to the 1-AA program. The highlight of his day was a nice pass right down the seam to well-covered Chase Ford from Miami (FL) that went for 64 yards.

Coleman’s name has been picking up some momentum over the past week in practices and it was easy to see why today. Analysts like ESPN’s Mel Kiper projected Coleman as a mid-to-late round selection, but he might have helped his stock today.

The other East quarterbacks, Southern Miss’ Austin Davis and Florida’s John Brantley, had good and bad days, respectively. Davis went 7-for-10 and a TD, but Brantly completed just one pass.

It was a rough day for the Gators quarterback.

On the other side, Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey showed his explosiveness (six carries, 33 yards) on the ground and had four receptions. Rainey isn’t the biggest running back, but it’s hard to argue his back-to-back 1,600-yard rushing seasons.

Additionally, Arkansas receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs combined for five catches for 76 yards.

Other players who stood out:

  • Louisiana Tech running back Lennon Creer led all rushers with 80 yards on 15 carries and a late score.
  • Tennessee RB Tauren Poole was all the buzz this week in practice, but ended up with 6 carries for 19 yards — 15 of those came on one run.
  • Fresno State’s Devon Wylie had four punt returns for 45 yards.
  • Michigan State WR B.J. Cunningham had a touchdown catch off a comeback route. The receiver broke a tackle and waltzed right into the end zone.
  • West Virginia’s defense wasn’t as strong statistically as it was last year, but three Mountaineers had good games today. Defensive end Julian Miller had a pass deflection (and near interception) and made a lot of open-field plays. Miller projects more as a pass rusher in a 3-4 defense than a true 4-3 DE. Linebacker Najee Goode and cornerback Keith Tandy also had their numbers called a couple times. Tandy almost intercepted a pass.
  • As expected, TCU linebacker Tank Carder was just about everywhere too. The Horned Frogs are really going to miss his presence next season.
  • Penn State’s  Nick Sukay won defensive MVP.

Lamar Jackson, OU tandem headline list of five Heisman finalists

LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 22:  Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs with the ball during the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Getty Images
10 Comments

The Heisman Trophy finalists were announced in a made-for-awkward-television moment during ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown on sight from MetLife Stadium. The Heisman trust revealed a list of five finalists including: Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook.

Described my some (read: yours truly) as Allen Iverson in cleats, Jackson’s slippery explosiveness led to 4,928 yards of total offense and a nation-leading 51 touchdowns responsible for. He is regarded as the overwhelming favorite to win the stiffarm trophy.

Mayfield has thrown for 3,669 yards with 38 touchdowns against eight interceptions. His 197.75 quarterback rating is on pace to break the FBS single-season record, and he pilots an offense that ranks third nationally in scoring and yards per play. Mayfield’s efforts helped Oklahoma win its second straight Big 12 title and complete the first 9-0 run in the league’s 6-year round-robin era.

Peppers is the swiss army knife of a threat for the Wolverines. He ranks second on Michigan’s elite defense in tackles and tackles for loss while also returning punts and kicks and serving as a running back on offense.

Watson has led Clemson to back-to-back ACC championships and College Football Playoff appearances while firing 37 touchdown passes and throwing for 3,914 yards on the year.

Mayfield’s top target, Westbrook recorded 74 receptions for 1,465 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year. Westbrook’s inclusion makes Oklahoma the first team to send teammates to New York since Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush did the same for USC in 2005. They’re just the fifth set of teammates to do so overall (Leinart and Bush did so twice.)

That’s also the last time the SEC did not place a player in the top five vote-getters.

The Heisman Trophy ceremony will be held Saturday night in New York.

Army breaking out WWII-themed uniforms for Navy game

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 12:  The Army Black Knights sing their alma mater near their fan section after the game against the Navy Midshipmen at Lincoln Financial Field on December 12, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Navy Midshipmen defeated the Army Black Knights 21-17.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Army will carry with it a 14-game losing streak against Navy when it takes the M&T Bank Stadium field on Saturday. But the Black Knights will do so in some some great uniforms.

The academy on Monday unveiled the special uniforms they’ll wear against Navy that honor the accomplishments of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II.

Known as the All-Americans, the 82nd Airborne was “[h]ighly trained and highly disciplined, the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne were asked to spearhead the invasions of Italy, Normandy, and Holland. With little to no reinforcements or relief in the most adverse conditions, their physical and mental toughness was pushed to the limits. Their unwavering brotherhood and intense dedication to success, ultimately led to mission accomplishment.”

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

While Navy has won 14 straight and 15 of the past 16, four of the fast five games have been decided by six points or less, including last season’s 21-17 decision.

Knowing the recent history of this game, expect a response from Navy at some point this week.

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield takes home second straight Burlsworth Award

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 5: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw against the Akron Zips September 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images
1 Comment

For the second straight season, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has been named the recipient of the Burlsworth Award. Mayfield is now the first player to win the award two times.

The award is given to college football’s top player who began his career as a walk-on player. Mayfield was originally a walk-on player at Texas Tech before eventually transferring to Oklahoma, where he has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate and led the Sooners to two consecutive Big 12 championships and one appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Mayfield beat out Washington State quarterback Luke Falk and Northwestern wide receiver Austin Carr for the award. Mayfield will also have a chance to add one more Burlsworth Award to his name next season, as the Sooners passer has already said he will return to Oklahoma for the 2017 season.

The old BCS computers would have served you the same College Football Playoff lineup

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  The official Bowl Championship Series logo is seen painted on the turf in the end zone as the Virginia Tech Hokies play against the Michigan Wolverines during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
7 Comments

If there is one common criticism of the College Football Playoff model it is that it is left up to humans to determine who should play for the national championship. Bias and allegiances can interfere with the decision-making, unless you believe there really is no bias within the board room when the committee gets together in Dallas every week. Some would prefer the playoff model use some sort of computer system, perhaps one similar to the makeup of the old BCS computer. Well, the BCS computers would have come to the same conclusion for the College Football Playoff if it was used.

The seeding may have been slightly different, with Ohio State staying ahead of Clemson, but the matchups would have been the same as this year’s playoff. Alabama would be the top seed and face Pac-12 champion Washington and Ohio State would have faced Clemson. The Buckeyes would have been the “home” team, although the 2-3 matchup really means nothing other than who gets to decide what uniform color to wear and which team calls heads or tails at the coin flip. Of course, under the old BCS model, there would be just two teams selected to play for the national championship, and that would paired the last two national champions against each other; Alabama and Ohio State. Clemson was the second-ranked team in the final College Football Playoff ranking, with Ohio state finishing third.

It is also worth recognizing the BCS computers would also have awarded Western Michigan the highest-ranking among Group of Five schools, thus sending them to the Cotton Bowl. Western Michigan also would have qualified for a spot in the BCS lineup with the No. 12 ranking in the computer model. Finishing in the top 12 qualified the champion from either Conference USA, the MAC, Mountain West Conference or the Sun Belt for an automatic BCS berth.