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Leading rusher one of two Southern Miss players suspended

Marshall Southern Miss Football AP

A season that’s shaping up to be the worst in Southern Miss history has taken yet another downward turn.

First-year head coach Ellis Johnson announced Wednesday that running back Desmond Johnson and quarterback  Arsenio Favor have been suspended for this weekend’s game against SMU.  The two were suspended for unrelated incidents, although the Johnson stood by the standard “violation of unspecified team rules” as the reason behind the punitive measures.

Johnson currently leads USM in rushing with 460 yards, although a pulled groin muscle was expected to keep him out of the game for which he was suspended anyway.

Favor has played in three games this season, starting one.  He was listed as the backup QB on the depth chart heading into the SMU game.

Southern Miss is one of two teams winless on the season along with UMass, in its first year at the FBS level.  The worst season in the school’s 50-year history is two wins, accomplished in both 1976 and 1993; the Eagles would need to win their last three games in order to avoid matching those twin low points.

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Illini’s coaching loss is Mizzou’s gain

A.J. Ricker

Earlier this month, Missouri abruptly lost a long-time Gary Pinkel assistant. Less than two weeks later, they’ve apparently filled that coaching void… at the expense of another Power Five football program, as it turns out.

While nothing is official, multiple media outlets reported earlier this week that Mizzou is set to hire A.J. Ricker as Pinkel’s new offensive line coach. Ricker would replace Bruce Walker, who it was announced had decided to retire from coaching at the age of 53 one month before the start of summer camp.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Dave Matter wrote Wednesday that “Missouri is not expected to formally announce Ricker’s hiring for a few days, maybe not until next week.” While neither school has sent out a release confirming the arrival/departure, Illinois head coach Tim Beckman did acknowledge that he now has an opening to fill on his Illini staff.

He’s going to accept the opportunity to go to his alma mater,” Beckman told the Champaign News-Gazette. “We build a program and we talk about family, and he has an opportunity to go back to his family.”

Tigers fans will certainly recognize the name behind the hire when it’s officially announced.

From 2000-03, Ricker started 47 games at center for Mizzou. He served as the offensive line coach at Western Michigan in 2008 and then again from 2011-12. He spent his one and only season at Illinois in 2013.

(Photo credit: Illinois athletics)

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SEC Media Days: Handful of familiar names but time for new star players to rise

Nick Marshall

The SEC gets the conference media day circuit kick started on Monday with the opening of a four-day media event for the ages. Over 1,000 members of the media will descend on Hoover, Alabama for the SEC Media Days. Not only will all of the coaches from the conference be in attendance, but each school will be bringing three players to meet the media.

This should be an interesting season for the SEC. Some of the biggest names from around the conference the past couple of seasons have moved on, but there are still plenty of recognizable names in the line-up. Alabama wide receivers Amari Cooper and Christion Jones, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel and Georgia running back Todd Gurley are among the names most fans will be most familiar with next week, but each player will get a chance to shine in front of microphones and audio recorders and cameras.

Here is the full list of football players scheduled to appear at SEC Media Days, as well as which day each school will send their players and coaches through the media rounds.

Alabama (Thursday)
•Landon Collins, Safety
•Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver
•Christion Jones, Wide Receiver

Arkansas (Wednesday)
•Brey Cook, Offensive Guard
•Trey Flowers, Defensive End
•Alan Turner, Safety

Auburn (Monday)
•Nick Marshall, Quarterback
•Reese Dismukes, Center
•Gabe Wright, Defensive Linemen

Florida (Monday)
•Jeff Driskel , Quarterback
•Dante Fowler, Defensive End
•Vernon Hargreaves III, Cornerback

Georgia (Thursday)
Chris Conley, Flanker
•Todd Gurley, Tailback
•Ramik Wilson, Linebacker

Kentucky (Thursday)
•Bud Dupree, Defensive End
•Jordan Swindle, Offensive Tackle
•Za’Darius Smith, Defensive End

LSU (Wednesday)
•La’el Collins, Offensive Tackle
Terrence Magee, Running Back
•D.J. Welter, Linebacker

Ole Miss (Thursday)
•CJ Johnson, Defensive End
•Cody Prewitt, Safety
Bo Wallace, Quarterback

Mississippi State (Tuesday)
•Jay Hughes, Safety
•Benardrick McKinney, Linebacker
Dak Prescott, Quarterback

Missouri (Wednesday)
•Evan Boehm, Center
•Markus Golden, Defensive End
Maty Mauk, Quarterback

South Carolina (Tuesday)
•A.J. Cann, Offensive Guard
•J.T. Surratt, Defensive Tackle
Dylan Thompson, Quarterback

Tennessee (Tuesday)
•Mack Crowder, Offensive Line
•AJ Johnson, Linebacker
•Curt Maggitt, Defensive End

Texas A&M (Tuesday)
•Deshazor Everett, Defensive Back
•Drew Kaser, Punter
•Cedric Ogbuehi, Offensive Tackle

Vanderbilt (Monday)
•Adam Butler, Defensive Line
•Steven Scheu, Tight End
•Andrew Williamson, Safety

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Former Alabama OL plans return to SEC after junior college pitstop

Nick Saban

Last week offensive lineman Brandon Hill announced via Twitter his release from scholarship at Alabama. If all goes to plan, Hill could be back in the SEC soon enough after a year at a junior college in Mississippi.

Hill has enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, according to a report from Al.com Thursday. Hill once again took to Twitter to share his plan with his follower, declaring a desire to play in the SEC before his eligibility runs out.

As the Al.com report makes note, this will be Hill’s third school in as many years. After initally signing wiht Alabama in 2012, he failed to qualify and ended up spending a year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. Last year he finally arrived at Alabama but he did not see any playing time with a redshirt season. If he is to play in the SEC in the next few years, it seems as though that opportunity has passed by at Alabama, but we will just have to wait and see.

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VIDEO: CFB Playoff teases trophy unveiling for July 14

College Football Playoff Announces The College Football Playoff Selection Committee - News Conference Getty Images

The SEC will be opening up its SEC Media Day event on Monday, and it could have a special guest on hand. A teaser video released by the College Football Playoff points to Monday, July 14 as the potential date to unveil the brand new trophy. It taking place at SEC Media Days seems fitting, considering the SEC’s dominance in the BCS era down the stretch, until having a seven-year streak snapped by Florida State last January.

It has been rumored the new trophy will abandon the crystal football that has been iconic on the previous coaches trophy awarded to the BCS national champion, thus signaling the end to one particular website. But the details about the brand new trophy have been kept under wraps, so it will be somewhat exciting to be able to lay eyes on the new championship trophy once the time comes.

How do you think the new trophy will look? Make your predictions now so they are on the record.

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Big Ten Media Day: Miller, Abdullah, Gordon, Diggs heading to Chicago

Kurtis Drummond, Braxton Miller

The ACC was not the only conference to announce which players will be heading to the conference media day circuit in the next few weeks. The Big Ten released its list of players that will be making the trip to Chicago for the Big Ten’s media day, the first as a 14-member conference with the additions of Maryland and Rutgers. With Maryland on board, that means a chance for Big Ten media to get to know some of the new faces in the crowd, like Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs, already one of the best playmakers in the conference.

The Big Ten media day event will include the familiar faces as well, of course, like Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner and Michigan State safety Kurtis Drummond.

The Big Ten’s media day event is scheduled for July 28-29 in Chicago. Here is the full rundown of Big Ten players appearing at Big Ten media day and luncheon, as released by the Big Ten Thursday.

EAST DIVISION

INDIANA
David Cooper, Sr., LB
Nate Sudfeld, Jr., QB
Shane Wynn, Sr., WR*

MARYLAND
C.J. Brown, Sr., QB
Stefon Diggs, Jr., WR*
Jeremiah Johnson, Sr., DB

MICHIGAN
Frank Clark, Sr., DE*
Devin Gardner, Sr., QB*
Jake Ryan, Sr., LB*

MICHIGAN STATE
Shilique Calhoun, Jr., DE*
Connor Cook, Jr., QB*
Kurtis Drummond, Sr., FS*

OHIO STATE
Michael Bennett, Sr., DL*
Jeff Heuerman, Sr., TE*
Braxton Miller, Sr., QB*

PENN STATE
Bill Belton, Sr., RB
Sam Ficken, Sr., PK*
Mike Hull, Sr., LB

RUTGERS
Michael Burton, Sr., FB
Darius Hamilton, Jr., DL
Lorenzo Waters, Sr., DB

WEST DIVISION

ILLINOIS
Simon Cvijanovic, Sr., OT
Jon Davis, Sr., TE
Austin Teitsma, Sr., DL

IOWA
Carl Davis, Sr., DT*
Brandon Scherff, Sr., OL*
Mark Weisman, Sr., RB

MINNESOTA
David Cobb, Sr., RB
Mitch Leidner, So., QB
Cedric Thompson, Sr., S

NEBRASKA
Ameer Abdullah, Sr., RB*
Kenny Bell, Sr., WR*
Corey Cooper, Sr., S*

NORTHWESTERN
Ibraheim Campbell, Sr., S*
Collin Ellis, Sr., LB
Trevor Siemian, Sr., QB

PURDUE
Raheem Mostert, Sr., RB
Sean Robinson, Sr., LB
Ryan Russell, Sr., DE

WISCONSIN
Melvin Gordon, Jr., RB*
Rob Havenstein, Sr., RT*
Warren Herring, Sr., DL

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ACC Football Kickoff: Winston, Beasley, Johnson among players making trip

Florida State v Clemson Getty Images

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will face the media at the ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, North Carolina in two weeks. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner is considered the star of the ACC’s media day player line-up, and for good reason. Winston won the Heisman Trophy, led Florida State to an ACC championship and then helped the Seminoles end the SEC’s streak in the BCS Championship Game with a national championship-clinching drive you would expect from a polished veteran. Winston has also been tied up in various legal issues which will surely pop up in the questioning from the media assembling in Greensboro later this month.

Each school in the ACC will make two players available for media availability at the annual ACC Football Kickoff. In addition to Winston, Florida State cornerback P.J. Williams will also be available. Some of the other big names making the trip include Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker, Miami running back Duke Johnson, North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams and Pittsburgh wide receiver Tyler Boyd.

Players generally speak with the media and make the media rounds on the first day of the event, while coaches make their rounds on the second day. Here is the full list of ACC players that will be scheduled to attend the ACC Football Kickoff, which is scheduled for July 20 and 21.

Boston College
*Andy Gallik, Center, 6-3, 304, Senior-R, Evergreen Park, Ill.
*Dominique Williams, Defensive Back, 6-0, 220, Senior-R, Brockton, Mass.

Clemson
Cole Stoudt, Quarterback, 6-1, 225, Senior, Dublin, Ohio
*Vic Beasley, Defensive End, 6-3, 230, Senior-R, Adairsville, Ga.

Duke
Laken Tomlinson, Offensive Guard, 6-3, 330, Senior-R, Chicago, Ill.
*Kelby Brown, Linebacker, 6-2, 230, Senior-R, Matthews, N.C.

Florida State
Jameis Winston, Quarterback, 6-4, 235, Sophomore-R, Bessemer, Ala.
P.J. Williams, Cornerback, 6-0, 196, Junior, Ocala, Fla.

Georgia Tech
Shaquille Mason, Offensive Guard, 6-1, 311, Senior, Columbia, Tenn.
Quayshawn Nealy, Linebacker, 6-1, 236, Senior-R, Lakeland, Fla.

Louisville
DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver, 6-3, 208, Senior, Louisville, Ky.
Lorenzo Mauldin, Defensive End, 6-4, 244, Senior, Atlanta, Ga.

Miami
Duke Johnson, Running Back, 5-9, 206, Junior, Miami, Fla.
Denzel Perryman, Linebacker, 6-0, 242, Senior, Coral Gables, Fla..

North Carolina
Marquise Williams, Quarterback, 6-2, 220, Junior, Charlotte, N.C.
Norkeithus Otis, Bandit, 6-1, 235, Senior, Gastonia, N.C.

North Carolina State
*Tony Creecy, Running Back, 5-11, 215, Senior-R, Durham, N.C.
*Art Norman, Defensive End, 6-0, 252, Senior-R, Stone Mountain, Ga.

Pitt
Tyler Boyd, Wide Receiver, 6-2, 190, Sophomore, Clairton, Pa.
*Ray Vinopal, Defensive Back, 5-10, 200, Senior-R, Youngstown, Ohio

Syracuse
Sean Hickey, Offensive Tackle, 6-5, 300, Senior, Murrysville, Pa.
Cameron Lynch, Linebacker, 5-11, 226, Senior, Lawrenceville, Ga.

Virginia
Kevin Parks, Running Backs, 5-8, 205, Senior, Salisbury, N.C.
Anthony Harris, Strong Safety, 6-1, 185, Senior, Chesterfield, Va.

Virginia Tech
*Willie Byrn, Wide Receiver, 5-10, 183, Senior-R, Virginia Beach, Va.
Luther Maddy, Defensive Tackle, 6-1, 291, Senior, Delray Beach, Fla.

Wake Forest
Jordan Garside, Fullback, 5-10, 230, Senior-R, Jacksonville, Fla.
Kevin Johnson, Cornerback, 6-1, 175, Senior-R, Clarksville, Md.

R-Denotes player was redshirted; * Denotes player has graduated or will graduate this August.

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Tempe bowl is now the Cactus Bowl, but why not the Copper Bowl?

cactus flower

After losing its previous corporate sponsor and the naming rights that go with it, the bowl game previously known as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is now simply known as The Cactus Bowl. The Tempe, Arizona bowl game announced the new name today.

“Our new name represents an iconic symbol for the state of Arizona,” said Mike Nealy, Cactus Bowl Executive Director. “The name will also resonate with the thousands of fans traveling to the Southwest to experience our great bowl game and unmatched hospitality.”

It’s true that the cactus theme fits in nicely with the Arizona-based home of the bowl game, but why not just go back to the bowl game’s original name, the Copper Bowl? This offseason has seen the Chick-fil-A Bowl revert to the Peach Bowl name, and this game was originally known as the Copper Bowl for the first eight years of existence, with various corporate sponsors attached to it from 1990 through 1995 (Domino’s Pizza and Weiser Lock).

Hey, the Cactus Bowl isn’t a bad name, but it is not exactly original either. The Cactus Bowl had been an all-star game for college football players from Division 2 from 1994 through 2011. We should at least get a trophy resembling a cactus to award the winning team, right?

This season’s Cactus Bowl will be played Friday, January 2, 2015. The game is set for a primetime kickoff and will feature a pairing of teams from the Pac-12 and Big 12.

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College Football Hall of Fame set to open Aug. 23

Photo: College Football Hall of Fame

Before the start of the college football season, the newly relocated College Football Hall of Fame will officially open the doors for fans of all teams in downtown Atlanta. The College Football Hall of Fame will open on August 23, just in time for fans making a journey to Atlanta later that week for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff events to get a trip down memory lane.

The new hall, which relocated from South Bend, Indiana, is actually opening a couple of days early, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“It’s not often that a construction project opens early, but we are,” said John Stephenson, president and CEO of Atlanta Hall Management. Being able to open a few days early is no small feat, but the timing could not be much better for the hall of fame.

Boise State and Ole Miss will open the season in Atlanta on Thursday, August 28 in the first of two games for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game schedule. Two nights later Alabama will take on West Virginia. With fans expected to be flocking to Atlanta to support all four teams, this is the perfect opportunity for the hall of fame to welcome fans in for a glimpse of college football history. Having the hall in Atlanta just makes sense as well as Atlanta is a hub for college football.

Chick-fil-A is also a major sponsor of the new hall of fame. The official name of the facility is The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience. No word on whether or not all who pass through the hall are given a free spicy chicken sandwich on the way out.

Photo credit: College Football Hall of Fame

 

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Ohio State’s Meyer turns 50, receives congrats from AARP

Urban Meyer

Today Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is celebrating his 50th birthday. That means he is now eligible to register for the American Association of Retired Persons. The Ohio chapter of AARP made sure to wish the Buckeyes head coach a happy birthday on Twitter with a special birthday cover.

The tweet from the Ohio chapter of AARP was one of many highlighted by Cleveland.com in a social media roundup of Meyer birthday tweets. You can see the AARP special birthday magazine cover tweet below…

Earlier in the day Cleveland.com also took a look at Meyer’s career profile at 50 years old and compared it to past Ohio State football coaches. Jim Tressel was 20-5 as the head coach of the Buckeyes, with a 13-0 team heading to the BCS Championship Game. Meyer has two undefeated regular seasons in Columbus, but nothing to show for it due to one year under a postseason ban and coming up short in the Big Ten Championship Game (and Orange Bowl) last season. Of course, Meyer does have a pair of BCS championships with his time at Florida and another BCS bowl victory going back to his time at Utah before that.

The pressure is always on and expectations are high for Meyer and Ohio State. The way last season came to a close leaves Ohio State a hungry team in 2014, and that should be bad news for the rest of the Big Ten. Ohio State is one of the top candidates to grab a spot in the College Football Playoff and for good reason. But before getting a chance to sink teeth into the meat of the football season, here’s hoping Meyer enjoys a slice or two of cake with a side of ice cream today.

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Is Saban worth every penny? Jerry Kill thinks so

Jerry Kill

The richest man in college football is Alabama head coach Nick Saban. With a contract upgrade last month the head coach of the Crimson Tide will make close to $7 million this year. With so much discussion and debate about providing more for players, rising media rights deals and potential changes coming to cause more of a split in college football’s hierarchy, Alabama has left no doubt the value it places on the head coach of the football program. Some may suggest coaches are paid too much, but Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill thinks Saban is worth every bit of his nearly $7 million contract.

“If somebody said something about coach Saban’s salary, I’d bet he earns every damn dime of it,” Kill said while answering questions for an Al.com interview. “He’s under a fishbowl. It’s just the way it is.”

According to Kill, the position of head coach comes with plenty of pressure and attention, as it always has. With today’s expanded coverage of the sport of college football, especially in the southeast region of the country, Saban has plenty of expectations and demands for media coverage hounding him everywhere he goes. But that is why he gets paid the big bucks. That and winning, of course. Alabama has won three BCS titles since he took over the program after a brief stint in the NFL.

“There’s a helluva lot of difference between making suggestions and decisions,” Kill added. “When it becomes public, you know who they are talking about…they are talking about the ol’ ball coach. We are responsible because we are making the big bucks.”

For the sake of comparison, Kill was paid $1.2 million by Minnesota in 2013 according to USA Today’s most recent database of coaching salaries.

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Grand Theft Auto: Tallahassee? FSU receiver charged for moped theft

Florida State Spring Game

Time to hit the reset button on the arrest counter. Florida State wide receiver Jesus Wilson was reportedly charged with a third degree grand theft auto Wednesday. The arrest came over what is being reported to be a long-running dispute over the ownership of a moped. Wilson was taken into custody but has already been released.

According to a report by The Florida Times-Union, Wilson is accused of stealing a motor scooter that was parked on campus on June 11. The keys were in the ignition, making a getaway rather easy. The owner of the moped, Sebastian Bellini, informed police he thought he dropped the keys. Soon after the alleged theft, Wilson crashed the vehicle with damages costing $882.13. When police investigated the accident Wilson told police he had borrowed the scooter from a friend. When asked to identify the friend who had allegedly lent him the vehicle, Wilson failed to show up to a photo lineup. Wilson later sent the police a statement claiming to have taken the bike, which led to an arrest just days later.

Tomahawk Nation notes the charge for grand theft auto is a felony, citing a booking report from the Leon County Sheriff’s office. If charged to the full extent of the law, Wilson could face a sentence of five years in prison, five years of probation and a fine up to to $5,000. Because the charge is considered a felony, Wilson will be suspended from football activity until the legal process runs its course. Florida State is expected to release a statement on the situation soon.

Wilson was responsible for three receptions and 23 yards in 2013 as well as some time on special teams. The Sophomore was expected to be a possible starter for the Seminoles in 2014.

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Outland Trophy watch list dominated by SEC

Mississippi v Texas

The Pac-12 may have led the way with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, but no conference appears to have a higher quality selection of interior linemen than the SEC. The SEC has 19 players on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which honors the top interior lineman in college football. The SEC had at least eight more players on the list, released by the Football Writers Association of America, than any other power conference.

The Pac-12 has 11 players on the Outland Trophy watch list, followed by the Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 with nine each. The winner of the Outland Trophy will be chosen from the list of FWAA All-Americans at the end of the season. Semifinalists will be announced November 20 and the finalists will be determined November 24. A winner will be named on December 11.

One of the oldest individual awards in college football, the Outland Trophy has been awarded to the nation’s top interior lineman each year since 1946. The award is unique because it can be presented to an offensive or defensive lineman. Last year’s winner was Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, but an offensive lineman has won the award nine times since 2000. Nebraska leads the nation with nine Outland Trophy winners. Oklahoma has the second most with five and Ohio State follows with four winners. Five schools are tied with three Outland Trophy winners.

Here is this year’s Outland Trophy watch list:

G Vadal Alexander, LSU
C Jack Allen, Michigan State
DL Henry Anderson, Stanford
C David Andrews, Georgia
DL Michael Bennett, Ohio State
C Evan Boehm, Missouri
C Jake Brendel, UCLA
DL Malcom Brown, Texas
G A.J. Cann, South Carolina
OT Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech
OT La’el Collins, LSU
OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
DL Christian Covington, Rice
DL Carl Davis, Iowa
DL Sheldon Day, Notre Dame
C Reese Dismukes, Auburn
OT Jamil Douglas, Arizona State
OT Spencer Drango, Baylor
OT Cameron Erving, Florida State
C Dominic Espinosa, Texas
C B.J. Finney, Kansas State
OT Jake Fisher, Oregon
C Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
OT Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin
OT Sean Hickey, Syracuse
OT D.J. Humphries, Florida
DL Chucky Hunter, TCU
OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
G Tré Jackson, Florida State
DL Grady Jarrett, Clemson
G Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers
OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
G Arie Kouandjio, Alabama
G Alex Kozan, Auburn
OT Eric Lefeld, Cincinnati
G Cyril Lemon, North Texas
DL Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech
G Shaquille Mason, Georgia Tech
G Josue Matias, Florida State
C Mike Matthews, Texas A&M
DL Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
OT Andrus Peat, Stanford
DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
OT Corey Robinson, South Carolina
OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa
C Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State
OT Brandon Shell, South Carolina
DL Danny Shelton, Washington
C Jake Smith, Louisville
OT Donovan Smith, Penn State
G Quinton Spain, West Virginia
G Laken Tomlinson, Duke
C Max Tuerk, USC
OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
C Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern
G Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
G Cody Wichmann, Fresno State
OT Daryl Williams, Oklahoma
DL Leonard Williams, USC
G Torrian Wilson, UCF
DL Gabe Wright, Auburn
OT Michael Yeck, BYU


Catch up on your watch lists released this week:

Maxwell Award (best player)

Bednarik Award (best defensive player)

Hornung Award (most versatile player)

Mackey Award (best tight end)

Rimington Trophy (best center)

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)

Ray Guy Award (best punter)

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Pac-12 lands 18 players on Nagurski Trophy watch list

Ka'Deem Carey, Myles Jack

No conference has more players on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list than the Pac-12. Of the 81 top defensive players listed on the watch list for the nation’s top defensive player, the Pac-12 is home to 18 players. The SEC followed with 16 players. The Big 12 has 13 players, the ACC has 12 players and the Big Ten has 10 players on the watch list.

The Nagurski Trophy has been awarded each year since 1993 by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America. Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and Northwestern are tied for the most Nagurski Trophy winners with two each. Northwestern linebacker, and now head coach, Pat Fitzgerald won two and is the only two-time winner of the award. Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald was the winner of the 2013 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Finalists for the Nagurski Trophy will be announced on November 20 and the winner will be named December 8.

Here is this year’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list:

DE Henry Anderson, Stanford
LB Stephone Anthony, Clemson
DE Vic Beasley, Clemson
DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State
DB Craig Bills, BYU
DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
DT Malcom Brown, Texas
LB Kelby Brown, Duke
DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
DB Alex Carter, Stanford
DB Sam Carter, TCU
DB Jeremy Cash, Duke
DE Frank Clark, Michigan
DB Landon Collins, Alabama
DB Blake Countess, Michigan
DT Christian Covington, Rice
DB Su’a Cravens, USC
DT Carl Davis, Iowa
DE Tyeler Davison, Fresno State
LB Trey DePriest, Alabama
DB Quandre Diggs, Texas
DB Lorenzo Doss, Tulane
DB Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
DE Alvin Dupree, Kentucky
DE Mario Edwards Jr., Florida State
DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
DE Devonte Fields, TCU
DE Trey Flowers, Arkansas
LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
DE Dante Fowler Jr., Florida
LB Alani Fua, BYU
DB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
DE Markus Golden, Missouri
DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska
LB Bryce Hager, Baylor
DB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
DB Anthony Harris, Virginia
LB Ben Heeney, Kansas
DT Chucky Hunter, TCU
DE Martin Ifedi, Memphis
LB Myles Jack, UCLA
DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
DE Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington
DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech
LB Derrick Malone, Oregon
LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple
LB Derrick Mathews, Houston
DE Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville
LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
DE Ryan Mueller, Kansas State
DB Steven Nelson, Oregon State
DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor
LB Denzel Perryman, Miami
DB Marcus Peters, Washington
DB Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
LB Hayes Pullard, USC
DE Cedric Reed, Texas
DB Jordan Richards, Stanford
DE A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
DB KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame
LB Jake Ryan, Michigan
DB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
DT Danny Shelton, Washington
LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
DB Derron Smith, Fresno State
LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma
DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma
LB A.J. Tarpley, Stanford
DB Jared Tevis, Arizona
LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
DE Tony Washington, Oregon
DB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
DE Leonard Williams, USC
DB P.J. Williams, Florida State
LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia
DT Gabe Wright, Auburn

Catch up on your watch lists released this week:

Maxwell Award (best player)

Bednarik Award (best defensive player)

Hornung Award (most versatile player)

Mackey Award (best tight end)

Rimington Trophy (best center)

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)

Ray Guy Award (best punter)

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Texas Tech sells out season tickets for first time in school history

Iowa State v Texas Tech

Texas Tech has done something never before achieved in school history. The Red Raiders have sold out all of the season tickets available for the upcoming home schedule in 2014. The school announced the historic development Wednesday on Twitter.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has revitalized the program and has generated a swagger for the program, making Texas Tech a bit of a cool program on the rise in his short time on the sidelines in Lubbock. This is one of the reasons Kingsbury was a good hire for the program. He played at Texas Tech and therefore understands how to handle the program and reach out to the fans. The results seem to be paying some early dividends.

It also helps that Texas Tech has an attractive home schedule at Jones AT&T Stadium this fall. The Red Raiders host Arkansas in non-conference play and Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia in Big 12 play. The final game of the regular season, against Baylor, will be played in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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Report: 22% of athletic departments have oversight of sex crime investigations at schools

Mark Emmert

NCAA President Mark Emmert was one of the witnesses for what turned out to be an informative and constructive Senate committee hearing regarding the mix of collegiate athletics and academics. Emmert at times was on the receiving end of some valid criticisms of the NCAA, many of which Emmert confirmed are in the process of being addressed by the NCAA membership in the coming months, but he survived the afternoon hearing in one piece. There was most certainly a healthy of dose of politicians getting on their soapbox during their time slots in the schedule, which was to be expected.

One of the more striking revelations during the Senate committee hearing on Wednesday was when Missouri senator Claire McCaskill drilled into Emmert, asking why his position even exists and whether or not he is a leader or a minion of university presidents. The Senator was armed with data from a brand new report, conveniently published today by McCaskill’s office, which claimed 22 percent of the athletic departments in the country allow athletic departments to have oversight of investigations relating to sexual crimes allegedly committed by student-athletes. Only 34 percent of schools surveyed have an office on campus designed to assist victims of sexual abuse.

According to the details of the comprehensive study, 30 percent of public universities allow athletic departments to have oversight of any investigations tied to sexual crimes involving student-athletes. That is eight percent higher than the national sample (22 percent). McCaskill discussed the report’s findings while addressing concern over recent investigations around college football, singling out the Jameis Winston case at Florida State.

“We will never know if he was guilty or not because of who he is,” McCaskill said referring to Winston, addressing her concern over star players being able to escape justice. Winston was never charged with a crime by state authorities, and Florida State University’s own investigation failed to find a reason to punish the star quarterback. Of course, state authorities did not charge Winston with any crime either, which McCaskill neglected to mention.

The percentage of athletic departments with oversight on sex-related investigations is higher for medium-sized schools with an enrollment between 1,000 and 9,999 students, where 37 percent of the athletic departments having oversight authority. Division two schools, many falling within that previous range, have the highest percentage, with 48 percent of the schools having oversight privileges for athletic departments. Part of the reason for the higher numbers for medium-sized schools and D2 schools may be due to the available staff for schools of that size. With smaller schools to manage, the need for expanded staffing may not be as necessary, but eery institution is different.

So is this an alarming problem? That may be up for debate, and that debate may just be getting underway. You can read the full report and evaluate all of the data and come to your own conclusions. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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