South Carolina v Clemson

Surprise! Tajh Boyd headlines coaches’ All-American team


With all but a handful of games, championship and otherwise, left in the 2012 regular season book, its time for the All-American lists to start rolling out.

One of the first to do so is also one of the most prestigious.  Selected annually since 1945, the American Football Coaches’ Association All-American team is the only such squad voted on exclusively by coaches.

The 2012 edition of the AFCA All-American team is headlined by a bit of surprise, with Clemson’s Tajh Boyd named as the squad’s quarterback over the likes of Heisman front-runner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, Kansas State’s Collin Klein, Georgia’s Aaron Murray and myriad others.  It’s hard to argue with Boyd’s selection, though, as the junior is currently fourth in the country in passing efficiency (168.5), 12th in yards (3,550) and tied for sixth in touchdown passes (34).  he’s also tied for 10th in interceptions with 13, so there’s that.

Tigers offensive lineman Dalton Freeman joined his teammate on the team, making Clemson one of three schools with two players apiece along with Stanford (tight end Zach Ertz, offensive lineman David Yankey) and Texas A&M (offensive lineman Luke Joeckel, defensive lineman Damontre Moore).  Alabama led all schools with three players: offensive lineman Chance Warmack, linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive back Dee Milliner.

Conference-wise, the SEC led all leagues with eight players selected, followed by the Pac-12’s six, the ACC’s four and the Big 12’s three.  The Big Ten, Mountain West and WAC each had one player apiece named to the squad.

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones were the only 2011 All-Americans to repeat this season.

Below is the complete 2012 AFCA All-American team:

WR Marqise Lee USC
WR Terrance Williams Baylor
TE Zach Ertz Stanford
OL Chance Warmack Alabama
OL Luke Joeckel Texas A&M
C Dalton Freeman Clemson
OL Jonathan Cooper North Carolina
OL David Yankey Stanford
QB Tajh Boyd Clemson
RB Kenjon Barner Oregon
RB Montee Ball Wisconsin

DL Jadeveon Clowney South Carolina
DL Bjoern Werner Florida State
DL Damontre Moore Texas A&M
DL Will Sutton Arizona State
LB Manti Te’o Notre Dame
LB Jarvis Jones Georgia
LB C.J. Mosley Alabama
DB Eric Reid LSU
DB Dee Milliner Alabama
DB Jordan Poyer Oregon State
DB Phillip Thomas Fresno State

P Ryan Allen Louisiana Tech
PK Quinn Sharp Oklahoma State
AP Tavon Austin West Virginia

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.