We know the college football season is getting close not by the beginning of fall camp, but by our ability to now officially debate which teams are overrated (or not getting any love) heading into 2013.
The USA Today released its preseason coaches poll with the defending BCS champion as the clear No.1 team. The Tide received 58 of 62 first-place votes. However, as the publication notes, Alabama has never have won a BCS title when ranked atop the preseason coaches poll.
Ohio State, the team many feel can get back to a BCS championship game — the final one before College Football Playoff takes over — comes in at No. 2 in the poll with three first-place votes. Pac-12 North foes Oregon and Stanford come in at No. 3 and No. 4, and Georgia rounds out the preseason top five.
Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel have one first-place vote at the sixth spot, and South Carolina wins the early Battle of the Palmetto State by being ranked seventh in the preseason poll to Clemson’s eighth.
An overwhelming favorite to win the AAC this year, Louisville comes in at No. 9 and Florida, which lost to the Cardinals in last season’s Sugar Bowl, rounds out the top 10.
The SEC starts the 2013 season with six teams in the coaches’ poll, followed by the Big Ten and Pac-12 with five, the Big 12 with four, and the ACC with two.
Without any further delay, here’s the preseason poll with first-place votes in parentheses. Which teams are too high? Too low?
1. Alabama (58)
2. Ohio State (3)
6. Texas A&M (1)
7. South Carolina
11. Notre Dame
12. Florida State
14. Oklahoma State
19. Boise State
25. Oregon State
A significant piece of Duke offensive puzzle won’t be available to the Blue Devils in Week 5.
On its weekly injury report released Thursday, Duke announced that Jela Duncan will not play against Virginia Saturday because of an unspecified leg injury. The running back sustained the injury in the 38-35 win over Notre Dame last weekend.
With 314 yards, Duncan is far and away the Blue Devils’ leading rusher. Next closest is Shaun Wilson‘s 122 yards.
Duncan, a senior who’s endured a rocky career thus far, also leads the team with four rushing touchdowns, while his 5.6 yards per carry is tops amongst Blue Devils with 10 or more carries.
The football program also confirmed that defensive end Dominic McDonald will miss a second straight game because of what’s described as an upper-body injury. McDonald started the first three games of the season before missing the Notre Dame game with the same injury.
And, finally, the school announced that linebacker Tinashe Bere will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a leg injury. While he didn’t start any of the four games in which he played this season after starting six last year, he’s sixth on the team in tackles with 13.
Depending on your point of view, James Franklin‘s boss has either given the Penn State head coach a needed vote of confidence… or the dreaded vote of confidence.
With an underwhelming 14-12 record heading into his third year, Franklin’s Nittany Lions have continued to underwhelm with a 2-2 record through the first third of the 2016 season. Following a 39-point loss to Michigan, Franklin’s record against the Big Three in the B1G East — UM, Michigan State, Ohio State — dropped to 0-7. Not only have the Nittany Lions lost all seven, they’ve lost those seven by an average of 22 points per game. Five of those losses were by at least 12 points, with four of those coming by 24 or more.
The fact that the Nittany Lions aren’t even remotely ready to compete in their own division let alone nationally has led to renewed chatter that, by season’s end, Franklin could either be sitting on the hot seat or standing in the unemployment line. Wednesday, PSU athletic director Sandy Barbour used a Chamber of Commerce appearance to very stridently and publicly defend her head coach.
From Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror:
James is not on any hot seat,” Barbour said Wednesday.
“He’s not on the hot seat, and he’s not going to be on the hot seat in December,” Barbour said.
“James is going to be our football coach,” the AD added. “I believe in where this football program is going under James Franklin, and I think he’s going to be our football coach, period.”
“I think I’ve been really, really clear on I think he’s doing a spectacular job as a teacher, as a coach, as a leader of these young men,” she said. “That’s really, really important to Penn State. He and his staff are absolutely nailing that.
Barring a complete and total collapse between now and the end of November, Franklin will get a fourth season. Heading into that fourth year, however, he will very likely be on the hot seat on which Barbour currently swears he doesn’t currently sit.
It’s been an interesting, to say the least, couple of days off the field for top-ranked Alabama.
Wednesday, reports surfaced that former five-star quarterback Blake Barnett, who started the Tide’s opener, is leaving the program and will transfer, although Nick Saban held out hope that he’d stay. A day later, Rivals.com is reporting that senior linebacker Tim Williams has been arrested on a charge of carrying a pistol without a permit.
The arrest was made by the university’s police department, although the details of what led to the charge have not been divulged.
Last season, Williams was second on the team with 10.5 sacks. This season, Williams has totaled 1.5 sacks in four games. He started one of those contests.
Williams is the third Tide player arrested this year on a weapons charge.
In May, star offensive lineman Cam Robinson and defensive back Laurence “Hootie” Jones were arrested in Louisiana and charged with one count each possession of marijuana and illegal carrying of a weapon. Additionally, Robinson was charged with felony possession of a stolen firearm. A month later, the district attorney in the case announced that he had declined to prosecute the players, citing a lack of evidence.
Well, that and the below infamous reasoning.
“I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years, working and sweating, while we were all in the air conditioning,” DA Jerry Jones stated.
After originating in the state, the ACC championship game is headed back to Florida.
In an announcement that should come as a shock to absolutely no one, the ACC confirmed Thursday that the 2016 football title game will be played in Orlando. The game will be held at Camping World Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:45 p.m. ET.
The 65,000-seat stadium serves as the home of the Citrus Bowl postseason game and also played host to this year’s Ole Miss-Florida State opener on Labor Day. ACC officials met with their counterparts from the city earlier this week to finalize the deal.
An announcement on the new site likely would’ve come earlier were it not for a pair of high school football championship games scheduled for the same day at the same venue. Those games will now be played the following weekend.
The move to Charlotte comes almost two weeks to the day that the ACC announced it was yanking the title game away from the city of Charlotte and out of the state of North Carolina. The move was in response to the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), a law which some claim fosters discrimination against members of the LGBT communities.
Charlotte had played host to the ACC football championship game every year since 2010. Prior to 2010, the first three league title tilts were played in Jacksonville (2005-07) and the next two in Tampa (2008-09).