ALABAMA BCS CELEBRATION

No surprise: Alabama crowned 2013 recruiting champion

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Signing Day 2013 is over (for highlights, click here) — at least enough for Rivals.com to go ahead and declare Alabama the champion of this year’s recruiting battle. Yes, rankings are subjective, but would you have expected anything less from the three-time BCS champion of the past four years?

Likewise, it makes sense that the conference housing the last seven national champions has 11 of the top 25 recruiting classes this year. In fact, five SEC West programs pulled in a top-10 recruiting class. Ole Miss, coming off a 7-6 season under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, had arguably the biggest day with the No. 7 class in the country. Florida, at No. 4, is the only SEC East program to climb into Rivals’ top-10.

Of the five other BCS conferences, the Pac-12 has four top-25 classes, and the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 all have three. Notre Dame ends the day with the No. 3 class in the country.

In the Big Ten, the arrival of Urban Meyer at Ohio State has the makings of a two-horse race between the Buckeyes and arch rival Michigan for years to come. No other Big Ten program came close to matching what the two rival programs did during this year’s recruiting tour.

USC had one of the smallest classes this year thanks to NCAA-mandated scholarship reductions, but for the second year in a row, no other program did more with less. The Trojans landed four five-star commits and seven four-star commits. Still, Lane Kiffin was beat out in the recruiting rankings by cross-town rival UCLA. The Bruins finished the day with its class just outside the top 1o one season under Jim Mora

If you love good rivalries, recruiting classes from Michigan and Ohio State, as well as UCLA and USC, indicate there will be some fun games ahead for years to come.

Rivals has a complete breakdown of how each BCS program did this Signing Day. Below are the individual rankings:

(All rankings in this post reflect Rivals.com; 247Sports, Scout.com rankings in parenthesis) 

1. Alabama (No. 1, 247Sports; No. 3, Scout.com)

2. Ohio State (No. 2, 247Sports; No. 1 Scout.com)

3. Notre Dame (No. 3, 247Sports; No. 4, Scout.com)

4. Florida (No. 4, 247Sports; No. 8, Scout.com)

5. Michigan (No. 5, 247Sports; No. 2, Scout.com)

6. LSU (No. 7, 247Sports; t-No. 6, Scout.com)

7. Ole Miss (No. 6, 247Sports; No. 9, Scout.com)

8. Auburn (No. 11, 247Sports; No. 13, Scout.com)

9. Florida State (No. 8, 247Sports; No. 16, Scout.com)

10. Texas A&M (No. 10, 247Sports; t-No. 6, Scout.com)

11. UCLA (No. 9, 247Sports; No. 5, Scout.com)

12. Georgia (No. 12, 247Sports; No. 10, Scout.com)

13. USC (No. 14, 247Sports; No. 18, Scout.com)

14. Clemson (No. 13, 247Sports; No. 12, Scout.com)

15. Oklahoma (No. 15, 247Sports; No. 15, Scout.com)

16. South Carolina (No. 21, 247Sports: No. 21, Scout.com)

17. Nebraska (No. 23, 247Sports: No. 11, Scout.com)

18. Washington (No. 18, 247Sports; No. 14, Scout.com)

19. Vanderbilt (No. 30, 247Sports; No. 19, Scout.com)

20. Tennessee (No. 25, 247Sports; No. 32, Scout.com)

21. Oregon (No. 19, 247Sports; No. 17, Scout.com)

22. Virginia (No. 29, 247Sports; No. 41, Scout.com)

23. Texas (No. 16, 247Sports; No. 23 Scout.com)

24. West Virginia (No. 35, 247Sports; No. 26, Scout.com)

25. Mississippi State (No. 24, 247Sports; No. 20, Scout.com)

Arrested Auburn S Stephen Roberts suspended for opener vs. Clemson

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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.

Alabama’s Alphonse Taylor found not guilty of DUI

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 06:  Alphonse Taylor #50 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates their 42 to 13 win over the Missouri Tigers in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 6, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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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

Stephanie Taylor of the Tuscaloosa News was the first to report that Taylor had been not guilty of driving under the influence.  Al.com subsequently confirmed the news.

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.

CFT Previews: The Pac-12

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 17:  Wide receiver Darren Carrington #7 of the Oregon Ducks hurdles defensive back Budda Baker #32 of the Washington Huskies in the second half on October 17, 2015 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Ducks defeated the Huskies 26-20.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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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.

NORTH
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.

SOUTH
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.

Foot injury to oficially keep leading tackler T.J. Edwards out of Wisconsin’s opener vs. LSU

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 07: Quarterback Caleb Rowe #7 of the Maryland Terrapins takes a hit from linebacker T.J. Edwards #53 of the Wisconsin Badgers after making a pass during the second half at Byrd Stadium on November 7, 2015 in College Park, Maryland. Wisconsin won, 31-24. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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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.