Oklahoma State v Mississippi State

Who’s the best at cashing in once in the red zone?

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Despite having their struggles against West Virginia last weekend, Oklahoma State moves in to October as the best team inside the red zone. No team is scoring a higher percentage of touchdowns inside the red zone this season so far than the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who come away form inside the 20-yard line with a touchdown 93.75 percent of the time. Only one other school is averaging a red zone touchdown percentage higher than 90 percent. Take a guess which school.

Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute.

Odds are you are wrong with your guess. It is Wyoming. Wyoming has scored 20 touchdowns on their 22 red zone trips this season, a 90.91 touchdown percentage. The numbers at times can be skewed of course, as UMass is one of the top ten teams in the country when it comes to red zone touchdown percentage. The Minutemen have reached the red zone just five times, but they make the most of their limited opportunities with four touchdowns.

Below is a look at the top 10 teams* in red zone touchdown percentage. Perhaps somewhat surprising, there are no teams from the SEC or Pac 12 in this list. Three ACC teams, two Big Ten and two Big 12 teams crack this list. some of the nation’s top offenses also do not make the cut, which may raise an eyebrow. but then again, when you are scoring points on big plays as often as Baylor and Orgeon do, red zone percentages may not be a real big concern after a small sample size.

Top Red Zone Touchdown Percentage Rates in College Football

School, Touchdowns out of Red Zone Opportunities (Red Zone Touchdown Percentage)

1. Oklahoma State: 15 out of 16 (93.75 percent)

2. Wyoming: 20 out of 22 (90.91)

3. Ohio State: 21 out of 24 (87.50)

4. Clemson: 15 out of 18 (83.33)

5. East Carolina: 16 out of 20 (80.00)

6. Georgia Tech, Penn State: 12 out of 15 (80.00)

7. Rice: 8 out of 10 (80.00)

8. UMass – 5 – 4 – 80.00

9. Duke: 18 out of 23 (78.26)

10. Iowa State: 7 out of 9 (77.27)

 

* It is actually 11 teams because two teams are tied with the same exact red zone touchdown numbers so far.

Source: CFBStats.com.

ECU transfer QB Kurt Benkert moves on to Virginia

In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 East Carolina quarterback Kurt Benkert rolls out to pass during NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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On April 25, East Carolina announced that Kurt Benkert had decided to transfer out of the Pirates football program.  Less than a week later, the quarterback has found himself a new football home.

On Twitter Sunday afternoon, Benkert confirmed that he will be enrolling at Virginia and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Cavaliers.  Beckert also acknowledged his decision in a text message to 247Sports.com.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Beckert said in a portion of the brief text.

As Beckert is headed to UVa. as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Hoos immediately in 2016.  Not only that, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Beckert was named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, but sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season.  In Charlottesville, Beckert will join a competition that includes returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.

Mark Richt continues to be the classiest of acts in college football

Mark Richt gestures after being introduced as the new University of Miami NCAA college football head coach, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015,  in Coral Gables, Fla.  (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
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In my seven-plus years at CFT, I’ve never been shy in expressing my absolute and utter respect for Mark Richt, whether it was for an honorable against-the-grain stance on transfers or honoring a high school football player who tragically drowned before he could become a walk-on at Georgia or myriad other things.  Sunday, Richt solidified that respect.

As you may know, Richt and UGA parted ways this offseason, with the head coach ultimately moving on to Miami to take over his alma mater’s football program.  As expected, his departure from Athens was classy.

Just as expected, one of Richt’s returns to his old stomping grounds further showed his class.

Not to be outdone, Richt’s replacement showed his class as well.

Bravo to both head coaches.  Sometimes, most times, being classy is the absolute right move — even as Richt’s successor could take some lessons from his predecessor when it comes to transfers.

Ohio State draftees to sign contracts worth in excess of $110 million

Urban Meyer
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Forget about going shirtless at a satellite camp or a sleepover or climbing up a tree or any of the like; this is what you call a recruiting pitch.

During the course of the three-day NFL draft, a dozen former Ohio State Buckeyes were drafted.  While OSU failed to break its own record for most picks in a single draft, the 12 selections in the first four rounds were the most ever.

And, not surprisingly, those players are going to get paid.

According to PennLive.com‘s David Jones, those players will sign contracts that could be worth a total of $120 million.  Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch has the number pegged slightly lower at $111,462,707.  Either way, that’s a lot of cash — and a lot dollar signs for Urban Meyer to flout in front of potential recruits.

Of course, not all of that money is guaranteed, although the guaranteed dollars involved aren’t too shabby either.  From the Dispatch:

Just the signing bonuses alone, which range from Bosa’s projected $17,017,226 to Jones’ $383,393, have an expected total of $60,526,660. Unless a player does something to cause his contract to be voided, signing bonuses are theirs to keep.

Regardless of how you spin it, former Buckeyes did quite well financially the last couple of days.  And, as Jones alludes to when it comes to James Franklin and Penn State specifically and the Big Ten in general, Meyer and the Buckeyes are in an entirely different zip code than the rest of the conference — a fact that will no doubt come up on the vast expanses of the recruiting trail.

The good news for Franklin and Penn State: They had three of those 11. The bad news for them and everyone else in the league: Urban Meyer is probably preparing a recruiting flyer right now with a 9-figure dollar amount printed in big bold numbers.

Veteran NFL assistant reportedly to fill Alabama’s coaching vacancy

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Buffalo Bills
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On the same day some details emerged on an Alabama assistant’s “resignation,” that assistant’s potential replacement has been identified.

Citing unnamed sources, al.com is reporting that Karl Dunbar is expected to be hired as the Tide’s new defensive line coach.  Dunbar would replace Bo Davis, who “resigned” Friday amidst allegations of potential NCAA violations.

Dunbar served as Nick Saban‘s strength & conditioning coach at LSU from 2001-02, and then returned to Baton Rouge as Les Miles‘ line coach in 2005 after spending two years (2003-04) in the same position at Oklahoma State.

Most of Dunbar’s coaching career, though, especially recently, has come at the NFL level.

From 2006-11, Dunbar was the line coach for the Minnesota Vikings, and then held the same job with the New York Jets from 2012-2014.  Hired by Rex Ryan to coach the Buffalo Bills’ line in 2015, Dunbar was fired in March of this year.

Dunbar is a former NFL defensive lineman who played for Arizona in 1994-95, when Ryan was one of his Cardinals assistant.