SEC dominates Top 10 of coaches’ poll; LSU nets No. 1

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Winners of the past six BcS titles, the coaches — or their assistants — are expecting nothing less than a seventh straight crystal hoisting from the conference.

In the preseason USA Today Top 25 coaches’ poll, a total of seven — out of 14 — SEC teams were represented, including a whopping five of the Top 10.  Heading that list is 2011 BcS title game runner-up LSU, which received 18 of the 59 first-place votes.

Oddly enough, there were two other teams that tallied first-place votes and actually garnered more than the Tigers.  Alabama, which defeated LSU for the 2011 title, got 20 first-place votes, while USC, in its first season coming off a two-year bowl ban, received 19.  The Tide and Trojans are ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

Georgia (No. 6), South Carolina (No. 9) and Arkansas (No. 10) are the other three SEC schools in the Top 10, while No. 23 Florida and No. 25 Auburn were the sixth and seventh SEC schools represented on the list.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Oklahoma (No. 4), Oregon (No. 5), Florida State (No. 7) and Michigan No. 8).    The Sooners and Seminoles each received one first-place vote apiece from the coaches.

Three teams that finished inside the Top 10 in the final coaches’ poll last season will start this year well outside that grouping:  No. 18 Stanford (No. 7 last poll), No. 19 Oklahoma State (No. 3) and No. 22 Boise State (No. 8).  A total of four teams that weren’t ranked at season’s end were included in the initial Top 25, with the highest being No. 15 Texas.  others in that group included Florida, No. 24 Notre Dame and Auburn.  USC was ineligible for the coaches’ poll due to NCAA sanctions, so they weren’t in the final poll as well.

Conference-wise, the Big 12 was right behind the SEC with six schools — including new members West Virginia (No. 11) and TCU (No. 17) — followed by the Big Ten with four and the ACC and Pac-12 with three each.

Below is the complete list of rankings, and you can let your voice be heard in our poll right HERE.

 

Texas QB Shane Buechele undergoes hip surgery, expected back for spring practice

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A postseason injury has forced Shane Buechele to undergo an offseason medical procedure.

Buechele suffered a torn abductor muscle in his hip/abdomen in the first half of Texas’ Texas Bowl win over Missouri and didn’t return in the second half.  Nearly a month later, the football program has announced that the quarterback will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair the damage.

If rehab goes as planned, Buechele is expected to be on the field when the Longhorns kick off spring practice March 5.

As a true freshman in 2016, Buechele started all 12 games for the Longhorns.  This past season was one marred by various injuries.

Buechele started the season opener for Texas, but ceded the job to Sam Ehlinger the next two games because of a bruised throwing shoulder.  Returning to the starting lineup in Week 5, Buechele suffered an ankle injury in the win over Iowa State that allowed Ehlinger to start the next three games.  In the last of those three games, Ehlinger suffered a head injury that left him in concussion protocol and opened the door for Buechele to start five of the last six games of the season.

Buechele and Ehlinger will be the two veterans battling for the starting job once spring practice kicks off in March.

NCAA tables discussions on limiting staff size

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It is going to take some more time to dive deep into the pros and cons of limiting the size of a football staff before the NCAA Division 1 Council decides what to do. In a statement released on Wednesday, the Division 1 Council has decided to table a legislative proposal focusing on setting parameters on the size of a football staff, meaning this topic should pop up again a year from now.

The proposal aims to cap the size of any football staff at 30 people and determine who may be eligible to participate in on-campus recruiting efforts. Those assigned recruiting duties, including head and assistant coaches, would then be required to pass an annual test on recruiting practices. At this time, however, there appears to be too much confusion and uncertainty about how the proposal would impact programs now. With so many questions about the proposal, it was best to put this one on the table and spend the next year examining how it could impact college football programs.

“I went to the American Football Coaches Association meeting, and there were a lot of questions about how this was going to work,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, the chair of the oversight committee, said in a release shared by the NCAA. “The coaches wanted to know who was going to be included, how they would be certified and who was exempted.”

This topic has already been floating out there since last spring, and with recent adjustments from the NCAA to allow for a 10th full-time assistant coach, it appears this will be the next step in the evolution of ruling how large a football staff can be.

Miami’s home winning streak is officially over after Orange Bowl loss

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The Miami Hurricanes opened the new year with a loss in the Orange Bowl in their home stadium, but the Hurricanes marked the bowl game down in their records as a neutral site game. Not so fast, says the NCAA. That loss to the Badgers will go down as a home loss for the Hurricanes.

Because the NCAA officially records the Orange Bowl as a home game for Miami any time the Hurricanes happen to play in the bowl game hosted in their home stadium, the wins and losses are reflected on Miami’s home record. This is true for any team playing a bowl game in their home stadium, including any time UCLA appears in the Rose Bowl or San Diego State in the Holiday Bowl or Poinsettia Bowl.

Prior to losing to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl this past season, Miami was riding nine-game winning streak in Hard Rock Stadium dating back to November 5, 2016. Miami will get a chance to hit the reset button on their home winning streak on September 8 with a home game against Savannah State.

Report: LSU to add former RB Kevin Faulk to staff if SEC gives the green light

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Former LSU running back Kevin Faulk could be set to return to the Tigers program in a new role if the SEC will allow it. According to a report from The Advocate, Faulk is being lined up to join the LSU football support staff, but his addition must be thoroughly vetted first.

Because Faulk is a high school coach, LSU and the SEC must be certain he has no direct ties to any LSU football players on the roster. This is to ensure the staff change complies with a new NCAA rule prohibiting schools from hiring high school coaches for a two-year period when any player from that associated high school enrolls at the university. As long as there are no players on LSU’s roster with any ties to Faulk’s high school coaching within the past two years, the staff change should become official.

Having Faulk associated with the program would be good to see considering how much Faulk meant to LSU during his college career. Faulk rushed for a school-record 4,557 yards and 46 rushing touchdowns. Both are records that stand today despite some extremely talented running backs over the years. Since Faulk’s final season at LSU in 1998, Leonard Fournette has come the closest to Faulk’s career rushing total with 3,830 yards in three years. Fournette is also the closest to Faulk since Faulk played to the school record for career rushing touchdowns, with 40.

Supposing the staff addition does go through, Faulk will not be involved with any off-campus recruiting efforts or on-field coaching assignments, but he will assist with player development.