The College Football Playoff barrels into its third year of existence this fall. So far, everything has played perfectly to form: eight bids, eight conference champions. But threats to the status quo lurk. Notre Dame is capable of crashing the party, as is Houston. And there is the threat — and inevitability — that one conference gets two teams in the dance.
Let’s shake some things up.
Behold, CFT‘s super-official, extra-serious College Football Playoff projections:
Peach Bowl: No. 1 Florida State (13-0, ACC champion) vs. No. 4 Michigan (11-1, at-large)
Florida State romps through the regular season, tested only by a 10-point win over Clemson, an eight-point win over Louisville and a three-point squeaker over Florida at the close of the regular season. Michigan, meanwhile, builds momentum with five straight home games to open the season, leading to a cathartic road win at Michigan State and another over Big Ten West champion Iowa. Like 2006, Michigan heads to Columbus for a showdown with national title implications on the line. And, like 2006, the Wolverines fall, but two-loss champions in the Big 12 and Pac-12 allow Jim Harbaugh and company to become the first at-large berth in CFP history.
Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Alabama (12-1, SEC champion) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (12-1, Big Ten champion)
Each team follows its own beaten path to the Playoff. Ohio State overcomes an early loss at Oklahoma to romp through the rest of their schedule, which closes with back-to-back-to-back wins over ranked teams in Michigan State, Michigan and Iowa to close the regular season. Alabama, meanwhile, doesn’t lose until a raucous upset at Tennessee on the second Saturday of October but, for the third year in a row, the Tide ripped through the second half of their schedule — Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn — culminating in a revenge win over Tennessee for the SEC championship and CFP golden ticket.
So, there you have it. There’s basically no point in playing this season now, right?
Tim Beckman will no longer volunteer with North Carolina’s football program, it was announced Thursday night.
Head coach Larry Fedora indicated Wednesday his friend and former Illinois head coach was worth the cyclical round of bad press, but this statement from his boss indicated the decision was never run up the proverbial flag pole. Said UNC chancellor Carol Folt:
“When I first learned yesterday that Coach Larry Fedora had invited former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman to serve as a volunteer with the football program, I was surprised and disappointed. The decision for Mr. Beckman to withdraw from his volunteer position was the right thing to do, and moving forward I don’t expect this situation to recur. I continue to put a great deal of trust in Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and Coach Fedora to educate and develop our student-athletes and to ensure we meet the high standards we all expect at Carolina.”
Fedora agreed, or at least it was decided for him that he would agree.
“Tim will no longer serve as a volunteer with our program. I brought Tim here to help a friend gain experience from our staff, but after meeting with him today, we agreed his presence had become too much of a distraction.”
“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Fedora gave me to stay connected to the sport and be around one of the best staffs in the country. His willingness to help a friend was a benefit both personally and professionally. I do not wish to be a further distraction to the team or University and I will no longer serve as a volunteer at UNC. I wish Larry and the program nothing but success going forward.”
Beckman was forced out at Illinois nearly a year ago today after an investigation by a Chicago law firm uncovered a culture of player mistreatment, where Beckman and his assistants routinely pressured players to play through major injuries, and belittled and threatened those who would not.
Beckman sat out the 2016 season, and now he’ll sit out the ’17 campaign as well.
Stanford has named Ryan Burns its starting quarterback, head coach David Shaw announced after practice on Wednesday evening.
A senior, Burns did not throw a pass last season. The only dent he recorded on the Cardinal’s stat sheet was 13 rushing yards on four carries.
Shaw also noted junior Keller Chryst will also see action in Stanford’s opener against Kansas State next Friday night.
“Ryan Burns will start and play a good chunk of the game,” said Shaw. “Keller Chryst will play as well. We’re going to play both guys and try to win a game.
“There hasn’t been a huge separation between the two. Both guys have played extremely well. Ryan has been enough ahead to get the nod.”
Burns has completed one pass in his career — a 13-yard connection against UC Davis in 2014.
Given that lack of experience, it’s a safe bet Burns’ (and Chryst’s) top objectives will be “get it to Christian,” “get it to Christian,” and “for the love of all that’s holy, get it to Christian.”
Stanford enters the season with an FBS-leading streak of 13 straight games reaching at least 30 points.
You had to know Laremy Tunsil‘s draft night wouldn’t end on draft night.
In addition to costing him millions of dollars, the screenshots posted on the former Ole Miss offensive tackle’s Instagram account, the NCAA launched an investigation into the Rebels’ recruiting arm which, according to a report from Yahoo‘s Pat Forde, has now expanded beyond Tunsil.
NCAA Enforcement representatives have visited Auburn and Mississippi State, and perhaps at least one more SEC Western Division school, this summer to speak with players who were recruited by Ole Miss. The players were granted immunity from potential NCAA sanctions in exchange for truthful accounts of their recruitment, sources said.
Those interviews indicate that the NCAA investigation has expanded beyond the spring focus on former All-American offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Ole Miss was already in the midst of a lengthy investigation which accused the Rebels of 28 violations — 13 of which came in football and nine under Hugh Freeze. The investigation was nearing its end until the draft night hack.
In the meantime, Ole Miss’s 2017 recruiting efforts have taken a beating.
The 11th-ranked Rebels open their season next Monday night against No. 4 Florida State in Orlando (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).