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Ohio State WR: ‘We’d wipe the floor’ with ‘Bama, FSU

Evan Spencer, Jordan Lucas AP

Monday began with Urban Meyer politicking for Ohio State, but the noise out of Columbus didn’t stop there.

Here’s Ohio State wide receiver Evan Spencer throwing out some bulletin board material — although it’s only bulletin board material if Ohio State actually gets to play in the BCS Championship:

Having confidence is fine, but maybe don’t say you’d “wipe the floor” with college football’s two best teams if you beat the only currently-ranked opponent on your schedule by seven.

Ohio State hasn’t lost a game since Urban Meyer took over in 2012. That’s a great accomplishment. And Ohio State’s win over Wisconsin is a very good one, since it should be the Badgers’ only loss of the season. By Bill Connelly’s S&P+ numbers, it’s the best win an undefeated team has all year.

On the other hand, both Alabama and FSU won extremely difficult road games (at Texas A&M, at Clemson) and picked up quality wins against solid teams at home (LSU, Miami). Sagarin rates Ohio State’s strength of schedule 81st, behind FSU (62) and Alabama (42). Baylor’s SOS is likely to jump from No. 96 with games against Texas and Oklahoma State left.

Anyways, back to the original point: Spencer may feel as if Ohio State would crush Alabama or FSU, but he and his Buckeyes will need some help to get that chance.

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Report: Penn State could have bowl ban lifted… in 2015

The NCAA has already turned over lost scholarships to Penn State, and now it could be looking into lifting the postseason ban a little early as well.

The Sporting News cites a pair of sources with NCAA ties and reports Penn State could see the postseason ban lifted before the 2015 season, making the Nittany Lions eligible for a bowl game (and Big Ten Championship Game) starting next season. Per The Sporting News;

Two sources within the NCAA say Penn State, if it continues to “reach and go beyond” benchmarks set by the NCAA in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, will have a “strong case” to get its final year of postseason probation lifted.

As early as next week, George Mitchell, Penn State’s athletics integrity monitor, will release his second annual report on the state of the university’s athletics programs. The NCAA last year restored some scholarships after Mitchell’s first report that, according to one NCAA source, “reached well beyond expectations.”

The NCAA left the door open for this possibility last summer when the organization decided to reward Penn State for its efforts in adhering to guidelines set-up by the NCAA following the release of the Louis Freeh Report, the investigation into Penn State’s handling and response to the crimes of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The NCAA had George Mitchell assigned to check up and report on progress being made at Penn State over the course of the sanction period, and his recommendations have been helpful in influencing the NCAA’s handling of Penn State. That the NCAA would now be considering lifting the final year of the bowl ban is not much of a surprise, given the precedent already set during this unprecedented sequence.

Prior to the 2012 season Penn State was issued a four-year postseason ban, as well as stripped of scholarships, victories and issued a $60 million fine. The NCAA has been mixed up in various legal battles related to the punishment to Penn State ever since as well.

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Virginia Tech announces contract extension for Frank Beamer

Virginia Tech v Georgia Tech Getty Images

For those awaiting the start of the Bud Foster era in Blacksburg, you’re going to have to wait a little longer.

In a press release, Virginia Tech announced that long-time head coach Frank Beamer has signed a two-year contract extension.  Beamer is now signed through Jan. 1, 2019.

Beamer earned approximately $2.54 million in 2013, making him the fourth-highest paid head coach in the ACC.  There’s no word on whether the extension includes a bump in pay.

“We are pleased to be in a position to present Coach Beamer with this contract extension,” Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said in a statement. “Announcing before our home opener serves as a tangible show of support for the winningest coach in college football who does it the right way, continues our positive momentum in recruiting, and signals the stability of leadership in our program. His stamp on our football program, and our institution, is indelible. This well-deserved extension is a reward for 27 tremendous years, certainly, but also is based upon my observations and work with him these past seven months. His integrity and work ethic is even better than advertised and he still has that competitive fire and wants to move Virginia Tech forward. I believe in him and support him, his staff, and our team. We look forward to a successful 2014 season and beyond.”

The 67-year-old Beamer — he’ll turn 68 Oct. 18 — is getting set to enter his 28th season as head coach of the Hokies. He was also a football player at Tech in the mid- late sixties.

His 266 career wins are the most in the football program’s history and makes him the winningest active head coach at the FBS level. His list of accomplishments on the field is impressive: 21 consecutive bowl appearances, four ACC titles, five ACC Coastal Division crowns, three BIG EAST Conference titles, six BCS appearances, two “major” bowl victories and a trip to the national championship game. Under his guidance, the Hokies have finished in the Top 20 in 16 of the past 21 seasons, including four top-10 finishes during the last 10 years.

“As I’ve stated numerous times, the only job I desire is right here at Virginia Tech,” Beamer said. “My passion and commitment have been further energized with the arrivals of President (Tim) Sands and Whit Babcock and the leadership and vision they provide. I am appreciative of the confidence they continue to show in me and our football program. I can honestly tell you that our program currently stands atop a rock-solid foundation. This coaching staff is the best I’ve ever had. We’ve had an influx of talented, young student-athletes into our program and we’re hard at work recruiting more just like them. So, I’m confident in the character and talent of our coaches, players and support staff. Then, you see this impressive, state-of-the-art indoor practice facility on its way up, which shows the continuing dedication from this university, its people and our fans, and our future can only be bright. I’m proud of where we’ve been, and I’m extremely excited about where we’re going.”

Beamer, incidentally, will be 72 years of age at the end of the new extension.

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Ex-Canes four-star signee moves on to Texas Southern

Derrick Green

Because he was a non-qualifier, Derrick Griffin never was able to reach his immense potential at Miami.  Now, however, the talented player will get another chance, albeit it at a much lower level of football.

According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, Griffin has enrolled at Texas Southern and intends to play for the FCS program.  Because he was an academic non-qualifier, however, he will have to sit out the 2014 season.

“Our summer-bridge program is set up to take incoming freshman that need additional help to become college ready,” athletic director Dr. Charles McClelland told the station. “Derek successfully participated in that program which is why he is now a full-time student at Texas Southern University.”

In order for Griffin to be eligible in 2015, he needs to earn 24 credits between now and then. Additionally, Berman wrote, “Griffin must also maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 during the next two semesters to also be eligible.”

Until then, he’s eligible to practice with his new teammates.

A four-star member of The U’s 2013 recruiting class, Griffin was rated as the No. 3 wide receiver in the country; the No. 5 player at any position in the talent-rich state of Texas; and the No. 42 recruit overall by Rivals.com. While he’s listed as a TE, the 6-6, 215-pound Griffin will be utilized as a receiver.  As late as early February Griffin was verbally committed to Texas A&M before flipping to Miami in the middle of that month.

“He can bring a lot of different things to the program,” TSU head coach Darrell Asberry said. “He’s a very exciting player.

“He’s a great young man, a great person. The kid has great, great athletic ability. So we just want to make sure we put him in the right position to make plays for us.”

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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Report: USC doubted Shaw’s story from beginning

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl - Fresno State v USC Getty Images

The fallout from an alleged act of heroism continues, with additional details slowly beginning to emerge.

Citing a source within the USC athletic department, USA Today‘s David Leon Moore is reporting “that a number of department officials spoke to [Josh] Shaw about his rescue story and expressed skepticism about it.” Shaw recently suffered what’s described as a pair of high-ankle sprain, which he told the school he incurred after jumping from a second-floor balcony to save his seven-year-old nephew from drowning.

The news surfaced thanks to the football program’s official website touting the act of bravery with a splashy headline and story below it. If there was doubt as to the veracity of Shaw’s story, why would a website affiliated with the school play up such a version when they knew it would go national and become huge news?

This report comes less than a day after multiple reports coming out of Los Angeles have established that a “Josh Shaw” could be wanted for potential questioning in connection to a possible break-in at an apartment a few miles from campus. It has not been determined that the Shaw in question is USC’s Shaw, although witness descriptions seem to fit.

Following practice Wednesday, head coach Steve Sarkisian again addressed the situation. After originally saying that the program was in the process of vetting Shaw’s story, Sarkisian now says he’s handed off that responsibility.  From the Los Angeles Times:

“It’s pretty clear there’s quite a few conflicting stories out there. Any information that we’ve been provided up to this point we’ve pushed along to campus authorities. We’re really going to let it play out in their hands. And quite honestly we’re in somewhat of a holding pattern so that’s where we’re at.”

When asked if he meant administrative officials or legal officials on campus, Sarkisian said, “Everything above me. In this day and age of college football and head coaches responsibility, I’d be foolish not to push everything up the ladder. And you know, I think we learned that a few years ago with a couple other high-profile coaches, so everything I’ve ever done when things come across my desk is to push them to campus authorities and let them do their due diligence. Then when things come back to me I can comment on them. But until then I don’t really have much to say on it.”

For the first time since the events unfolded, Trojan players were permitted to speak to the media.  Or, more specifically, defensive players Leonard Williams and Hayes Pullard.  Both players said they have not yet spoken to their beleaguered teammate, with the former stating that the team is “shocked” over the developments.

“All the players were just running into each other just asking what’s going on with the story, if its real or not, that’s all we really know. We were pretty shocked because Josh Shaw is a pretty loyal guy since he’s been here. I would never expect him to make up a story or something like that. So if it’s real or not … I would never expect him as a captain to be in that situation.”

Football-wise, Shaw, a starter, will be sidelined indefinitely because of the injuries he incurred… however he incurred them.

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Winston slight favorite over Mariota in Bovada Heisman odds

Jameis Winston AP

If Jameis Winston is going to go back-to-back in stiff-armed trophies at the end of the year, he’ll do so as the wagering favorite entering the season.

Just as it did with the College Football Playoff, Bovada.lv released its final set of preseason Heisman Trophy odds, with the Florida State quarterback the slight favorite at 9/2.  Those are the same odds Winston held back Aug. 5.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, however, has gained some ground on the reigning Heisman winner at 5/1; earlier this month, Mariota stood at 6/1.  He began the year, however, at 7/2.

Winston’s odds have also gone up since January, when they were at 2/1.

It’s at this point in the program where I’m compelled to remind you that, last year around this time, Johnny Manziel, fresh off becoming the first freshman to ever claim the Heisman, was being viewed as the co-favorite to become just the second-ever to stake his claim to a pair of stiff-armed trophies. AJ McCarron, still basking in the glow of becoming the first starting quarterback with back-to-back BCS title-game wins, was viewed as a potential challenger to Johnny Football. So too were Braxton Miller, Jadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater and a whole host of other players.

And then, of course, Winston happened. A 35-1 longshot last August, Winston went on to claim the 2013 Heisman in near-record fashion, joining Manziel as the only freshmen to win the award.  So, are there any potential Winstons in this year’s group?

Perhaps a teammate like running back Karlos Williams at 33/1.  Or, Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato at 50/1, although it would take the alignment of myriad stars across several galaxies for the Non-Power Five conference player to earn a trip to New York City let alone win it.

Just one true freshman made Bovada’s cut: LSU running back Leonard Fournette at 33/1.  Back in early August, the much-hyped back was at 66/1.  Fournette also marks the first a true freshman, which has never won claimed a Heisman, to make an appearance on Bovada’s preseason odds.

Below are the full set of odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

Bovada Final 2014 Preseason Heisman Odds

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CFT 2014 Preseason Preview: Playoff Darkhorses

College Football Playoff Logo

The term “BCS busters” should be collectively erased from everyone’s memories.

It’s now time to figure out which teams have a glimmer of hope to rise from obscurity and claim a spot in the first College Football Playoff.

The Florida State Seminoles, Alabama Crimson Tide and Oregon Ducks are overwhelming favorites to participate in the inaugural playoff structure. But college football never quite works out like everyone expects.

Each team in the country is striving to be among the best. Only four will achieve this goal. Some have better odds than others. We here at CFT like to root for the underdog. As such, we’ll attempt to identify a team from each of the Power Five conference and one from the rest of the leagues that have an outside shot of playing with the big boys this season.

We advise not to bet on any of these teams, but they each have something that gives them a chance, albeit a slight one, to be a part of college football’s elite…

ACC: Virginia Tech Hokies
Any team that comes out of the ACC that isn’t the Florida State Seminoles should be considered a playoff darkhorse. The reasons the Hokies are primed to improve greatly from their 8-5 record last season are they are particularly talented and experienced along the offensive line and secondary. The enter left side of the Hokies’ offensive line, including center, is comprised of seniors. And right tackle Jonathan McLaughlin was named  second-team freshman All-American by College Football News. The Hokies’ ability to win in the trenches will improve the team’s running game from last year, particularly with sophomore running back Trey Edmunds ready to become the team’s workhorse. Plus, solid play from the offensive line will help Michael Brewer‘s transition after he transferred from Texas Tech. On the defensive side of the ball, the Hokies may have lost Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum to the NFL, but both of last year’s starting cornerbacks struggled with injuries. Sophomores Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller proved more than capable of stepping in and becoming play makers. Everyone will quickly learn whether or not the Hokies are a legitimate contender when they face a Braxton Miller-less Ohio State Buckeyes squad during the second week of the season. If Virginia Tech can go into the Horshoe and claim a major victory against the Buckeyes, the rest of the schedule is manageable, especially since it won’t face the Seminoles in regular season play.

Big 12 Conference: Texas Tech Red Raiders
Kliff Kingbury
‘s first season as Texas Tech’s head coach developed into a perfect example of style over substance. The excitement of a 7-0 start faded into five straight losses to end the regular season. Despite being as highly ranked as 10th overall, the Red Raiders couldn’t match up physically against the likes of the Oklahoma Sooners, Baylor Bears and Texas Longhorns. As Kingsbury continues to build the program in Year 2, the Red Raiders should be far more consistent. It starts at the quarterback position in the team’s Air Raid offense. Davis Webb started six of the team’s final eight games, and he was awarded the starting job during spring practice. Kingsbury played three different quarterbacks last and never found any consistency. Webb’s growth as a player during his sophomore season will only help the offense become more successful. Each of the linemen in front of Webb is experienced, and the receivers are expected to produce. The defense will continue to be a concern, but Texas Tech will enter each game under the assumption they can outscore any opponent. If the Red Raiders can navigate the Big 12 Conference, they’re toughest non-conference opponent is the Arkansas Razorbacks, who finished 3-9 last season. The opportunity is there for Texas Tech to take the next step as a program and potentially enter the national conversation.

Big Ten Conference: Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes will enjoy and possibly benefit greatly from playing in the Big Ten Conference’s new western division. Overall, the Big Ten Conference is wide open after the Ohio State Buckeyes lost Miller for the season. But that won’t matter for Iowa since they’re not scheduled to play the Buckeyes this season. Iowa not only avoids Ohio State, it won’t play the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans or Penn State Nittany Lions. The Hawkeyes cross-divisional opponents this season are the Indiana Hoosiers and Maryland Terrapins. And the team’s toughest non-conference opponent is the Pittsburgh Panthers. If the Hawkeyes don’t trip up during a game they’re expected to win — like we’ve seen previously in Kirk Ferentz‘s tenure — Iowa could cruise into the final two games against the Wisconsin Badgers and Nebraska Cornhuskers with an undefeated record. The Hawkeyes are then capable and possess enough talent on both sides of the ball to beat the primary opposition in their division. The Hawkeyes will do what they always do; they’ll run the football behind arguably the best offensive linemen in college football, Brandon Scherff, and they’ll play fundamentally sound football on defense. Their style of play leaves very little margin for error, but the season sets up perfectly for the Hawkeyes to have a little more wiggle room than they usually do.

Pac-12 Conference: Oregon State Beavers
Good quarterback play will grant a team the benefit of the doubt. Sean Mannion may not be an interesting as Florida State’s Jameis Winston or as dynamic as Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. Mannion doesn’t even draw as much attention as UCLA’s Brett Hundley. Yet, Mannion is the country’s leading returning passer. Mannion threw for 4,662 yards and 37 touchdowns as a junior. The quarterback also has pieces around him. Last year’s Biletnikoff Award winner, Brandin Cooks, is now in the NFL, but the team still has a massive target at tight end in Connor Hamlett and its top two rushers, Terron Ward and Storm Woods, return. Another overlooked aspect of the Beavers is how experienced they are on defense. Nine of the team’s defensive starters are seniors. The final two starters are juniors. Some of those upperclassmen will be starting for the first time, but the ability to be in the system over a period of time learning the scheme gives them an advantage. The Beavers even benefit slightly from their schedule. The team’s non-conference schedule should be a cakewalk. Oregon State hosts the Oregon Ducks in this year’s “Civil War.” Trips to USC and Stanford are the biggest obstacles in front of the Beavers in their attempt to go to their first major bowl game since they defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Fiesta Bowl 13 years ago.

SEC: Ole Miss Rebels
The Florida Gators are a popular choice to be the surprise team emerging out of the SEC. However, the Rebels should be able to reap the benefits from head coach Hugh Freeze‘s ability to stockpile talent during the upcoming season. The Rebels will have to survive the SEC West, of course, which is no easy feat. The Rebels finished 2-4 in the division last season, and the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers remain the teams to beat. Ole Miss, however, is littered with top talents primed to make a leap as a group. Former No. 1 overall recruit Robert Ndemkiche enters his second season in the program. He’s surrounded by senior edge rushers C.J. Johnson and Carlos Thompson and just nose tackle Isaac Gross. Sophomore Tony Conner quickly established himself as an intimidating presence in the secondary during his freshman campaign. On offense, sophomore Laremy Tunsil is one of the most physically talented left tackles in the SEC. Laquon Treadwell was an elite wide receiver recruit and made an instant impact as a true freshman. And senior quarterback Bo Wallace will lead the way. As the talent on this team continues to mature, the gap between the Rebels and the rest of the SEC West is quickly closing. If that same talent takes a major leap in their play this year, the Rebels could go from pretender to legitimate contender.

Best of the rest: Marshall Thundering Herd
One thing established during the BCS era was an undefeated team from the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West Conference, Conference USA or MAC can work themselves into the national conversation. This year’s most likely candidate is Marshall. There are two reasons why the Thundering Herd can crash this year’s party. First, the team’s schedule is among the easiest in college football. The team should cruise to a 13-0 finish. Second, people love to see explosive offenses and elite quarterback play. Marshall head coach Doc Holliday has quietly built one of the most explosive offenses in college football.  The Thurndering Herd operates at a breakneck pace. Last season the team’s offense finished 12th in the country with an average of 500.4 yards per contest. And quarterback Rakeem Cato is absolutely electric. Over the past two seasons, Cato has thrown for 8,117 yards, 76 touchdowns. The combination of an undefeated record, explosive offense and a talented quarterback may be enough to insert Marshall into one of the playoff slots (even though it’s still highly unlikely).

(Click HERE for the CFT 2014 Preseason Preview Repository)

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‘Noles, Tide 1-2 in final Bovada CFP odds

Gambling neon sign, Las Vegas, USA

With the 2014 FBS season officially set to kick off tonight — yes, Abilene Christian-Georgia State and not Texas A&M-South Carolina — Bovada.lv has released its final set of preseason odds on winning the first-ever College Football Playoff.

In the previous set of odds released by the wagering website, both Florida State and Alabama were listed as the co-favorites to win the playoff at 11/2.  Heading into the season, however, it’s the Seminoles alone at 4/1, followed by the Tide at 5/1.

Those two are followed by Oregon at 15/2, followed by Auburn and Oklahoma at 10/1.  UCLA and Georgia are up next at 14/1 and 16/1.

Ohio State, which just a week ago in the wake of the season-ending injury to Braxton Miller saw its title odds plummet from 10/1 to 40/1, is back up to 20/1.  The Buckeyes are still ahead odds-wise of Michigan State (25/1), which is now viewed as the Big Ten frontrunner because of Miller’s injury.

Bovada sports book manager Kevin Bradley explained that, as it relates to the initial reaction to the Miller injury, there was “possibly an over-adjustment on our part as we saw an influx of bets on them within hours.”

The biggest jump among Top 25 was Wisconsin, which went from 33/1 to 25/1.  The biggest dip was, of course, OSU.

The longest odds listed?  Call at 1,000/1.  The shortest odds for a Non-Power Five conference member?  At 200/1, Marshall, which was off the board the last time odds were released.

In fact, the heard is the only “mid-major” listed.

Below are the full set of odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

(Note: teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same.)

Bovada Final 2014 Preseason Odds

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Booted UW Husky Farria drops down to FCS level

Justin Arias, Marcus Farria AP

Three weeks after being summarily dismissed by Washington, Marcus Farria has found a new football home.

By way of the Tacoma News-Tribune, Farria’s name now appears on the online roster for the Murray State Racers.  Normally a transfer from the FBS to the FCS would have immediate eligibility; however, the News-Tribune writes that “Farria’s eligibility status is unclear.”

Farria was dismissed by first-year UW head coach Chris Petersen earlier this month for violating unspecified team rules.

Despite playing in just seven games last season as a true freshman, Farria totaled 2.5 sacks, which was tied for fifth on the team.

A three-star member of UW’s 2013 recruiting class, Farria was rated as the No, 23 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Arizona. As for clues to a potential landing spot, Farria received offers coming out of high school from, among others, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Utah.

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USC transfer Ty Isaac has waiver denied; Michigan files appeal

USC v California

It doesn’t appear Ty Isaac will be available for Michigan in 2014, but the Wolverines aren’t going out without a fight.

Head coach Brady Hoke confirmed Wednesday that the running back’s initial appeal for a medical hardship waiver has been denied by the NCAA.  However, the school is appealing that decision, hoping that Isaac will be declared eligible to play immediately at UM.  The second appeal occurred last week; there’s no word on whether an answer will come prior to the season opener against Appalachian State Saturday.

The appeal is based on the health of his mother, who is having complications after undergoing a surgical procedure to correct a hearing loss.  Because of the complications, she is unable to fly.  Isaac’s mother lives in Joliet, Ill., and Isaac transferred  from USC in order to be closer to her.

Isaac also considered Illinois after leaving the Trojans in May before landing at Michigan a month later.

If Isaac were to be granted immediately eligibility, he possesses the kind of talent that would allow him to contribute immediately.

As a true freshman in 2013, Isaac rushed for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 40 carries. Coming out of high school, Isaac was a five-star recruit rated as the No. 4 back in the country and the No. 27 player at any position in the country.

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Tar Heels bracing for another defensive line hit

North Carolina v South Carolina

Already reeling from a reported incident of hazing, the North Carolina football team could see its defensive line take yet another hit as well.

An undisclosed eligibility issue has been hanging over the head fo defensive tackle Ethan Farmer throughout summer camp, even as he’s continued to practice with the team.  The Raleigh News & Observer writes that “it’s unclear whether he’ll play when the Tar Heels open the season on Saturday at home against Liberty – or whether he’ll play at all this season.”

For his part, head coach Larry Fedora has all but ruled the senior out of this weekend’s game.

“I’d love to… But I don’t anticipate anything,” Fedora said when asked if there would be any news on Farmer’s availability prior to the opener. “It’s out of our control, so I don’t – I don’t know the speed of it. Nobody has indicated to me it’ll happen one way or the other. So I have no way of knowing. We’re preparing both ways, actually. Which makes it a little bit tougher.”

Farmer was expected to be a starting tackle heading into camp.

Late last month, a pair of defensive linemen, Shawn Underwood and Greg Webb, abruptly decided to leave the football program.

Underwood played in 20 games the past two seasons, starting five of those contests. He would’ve entered summer camp as a favorite to land a starting job.

Webb, a touted four-star member of UNC’s 2013 recruiting class, took a redshirt as a true freshman last season and would’ve been a part of the line rotation.

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VIDEO: Rick Neuheisel sings ‘Stairway to Playoffs’

Rick Neuheisel

It’s no “Born in the SEC,” or even the tributes to Johnny Manziel and “Coach O,” but it’ll do in a pinch.

During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday, former UCLA, Colorado and Washington head coach/current Pac-12 Network analyst/current crooner  Rick Neuheisel debuted yet another singing ode to the great game of college football.  In this one, Neuheisel pays tribute to the College Football Playoff, which will replace the BCS as the system used to determine an FBS champion.

The host got a kick out of Neuheisel’s rendition.  I think you will as well.

Click play on the video below and enjoy Neuheisel’s performance — including a mini-tribute to the original’s lengthy guitar solo and a nod to Jameis Winston‘s crab caper.

 

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A&M transfer wins appeal, will play for Baylor in 2014

Ishmael Wilson

As it turns out, Baylor will indeed have a SEC transfer at its disposal in 2014.

During a radio interview, Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw confirmed that Ishmael Wilson was awarded a waiver by the NCAA and will be immediately eligible to play for the Bears this fall.  The offensive lineman and the school were notified of the successful appeal Tuesday.

Wilson was not listed on the Bears’ most recent two-deep depth chart, but, because of the positive ruling, he’s expected to be a part of whatever rotation is utilized on the right side of the line.

A four-star member of Texas A&M’s 2013 recruiting class, Wilson was rated as the No. 17 offensive tackle in the country.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.

In early July, Wilson confirmed that he was leaving A&M and transferring to Baylor.

(Photo credit: Texas A&M athletics)

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Two legal incidents preceded UK WR’s suspension

Rashad Alexander

When it was announced that Rashad Cunningham was one of two Kentucky football players suspended for the season opener, the reason given was, of course, unspecified violations of team rules.  We now know, however, a little more of what preceded Cunningham’s suspension.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the wide receiver was involved in a pair of legal incidents this offseason.  The first, the paper writes, “involved a noise violation at his residence and a subsequent citation for failing to pay the fines in that case.”

The second one was a bit more serious as Cunningham was charged with misdemeanor theft of property. Cunningham has a trial date on that charge set for early November.

Cunningham told the Herald-Leader that, as it relates to the second charge, it was simply a “misunderstanding between the subject and myself.” He also denies that his suspension is connected to the two incidents.

UK has declined to say whether the issues were the impetus for the one-game ban.

Cunningham, who has not yet caught a pass during his three seasons in Lexington, is not listed on UK’s two-deep depth chart. He did, though, have eight catches for 80 yards in the spring game a few months ago.

Coming out of high school in Mobile, Ala., Cunningham was a three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2011 recruiting class.

(Photo credit: Kentucky athletics)

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Would DGB stay, play for Sooners in 2015?

Dorial Green-Beckham AP

When the NCAA stunningly did the right thing and denied Dorial Green-Beckham‘s waiver appeal for immediate eligibility, most thought that the talented but troubled wide receiver would never play a down for Oklahoma and instead, eventually, make himself available for the 2015 NFL draft.

While that’s still a possibility, or even a likelihood, it’s not a certainty. At least, if DGB’s head coach’s words can be taken at face value it’s not.

Bob Stoops was asked Monday about the possibility of Green-Beckham sticking around and playing for the Sooners in 2015. Surprisingly, the coach said the player hadn’t closed the door on that football route, at least not yet.

That isn’t something that’s been decided,” Stoops said of Green-Beckham’s stay-or-go decision according to the Oklahoman. “Right now it seems that he wants to [play for OU next season] and is heading that way and we want to support him in every possible way.”

That said, most would view it as a monumental upset if Green-Beckham were playing college football in 2015.

Despite the myriad off-field issues that led to his dismissal from Missouri, Green-Beckham is still one of the most physically gifted and talented receivers in the country. Yes, some NFL teams might flag him on character issues, but more would likely drool over the prospect of adding the 6-6, 225-pound physical specimen that is Green-Beckham.

As is the case with all draft-eligible non-seniors, Green-Beckham will have until mid-January to file his paperwork and declare himself for the NFL draft if that’s the route he takes.

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CFT Preseason Top 25: No. 2 Oregon

Marcus Mariota

2013 record: 11-2 overall, 7-2 in Pac-12 Conference (2nd in South division)
2013 postseason: Alamo Bowl vs. Texas (30-7 win)
2013 final AP/coaches’ ranking: No. 9/No. 9
Head coach: Mark Helfrich (11-2 overall; 11-2 in one year at Oregon)
Offensive coordinator: Scott Frost (5th year at Oregon)
2013 offensive rankings: 9th rushing offense (273.5 ypg); 21st passing offense (291.5 ypg); 2nd total offense (565 ypg); 4th scoring offense (45.5 ppg)
Returning offensive starters: eight
Defensive coordinator: Don Pellum (22nd year at Oregon)
2013 defensive rankings: 66th rushing defense (165.5 ypg); 21st passing defense (204.5 ypg);  37th total defense (370.1 ypg); 13th scoring defense (20.5 ppg)
Returning defensive starters: five
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Stadium: Autzen Stadium (58,000; FieldTurf)
Last conference title: 2011

THE GOOD
The most underrated aspect of Oregon’s football program is the commitment found within its coaching staff. It’s not to say there hasn’t been turnover in the program. Head coach Chip Kelly left the Ducks prior to last season. Defensive coordinator Nick Allioti retired during the offseason after spending 24 seasons with the program. Instead of rushing out to hire the hottest coach available on the market, the program simply promotes from within. Mark Helfrich is now entering his second season as the team’s head coach after serving as the Ducks’ offensive coordinator the previous four seasons. The team’s new defensive coordinator, Don Pellum, spent 22 years as a full-time assistant. During the last 16 years, Pellum was tasked with coaching the linebackers. While each promotion brings slight tweaks to the system, the influences of Rich Brooks and Mike Bellotti during their tenures as head coach remains a part of the program. The Ducks have continued to build from the day Brooks was hired as their head coach in 1977  to today. As a result of the continuity built within program, Oregon has developed into one of the premier programs in the nation. A program that has the talent to win a national championship this season.

THE BAD
The tempo at which the Ducks operate on offense is always a double-edged sword. While the offense can be impossible to stop at times, the defense can also be gashed by opponents. When the Ducks went to the BCS National Championship Game in Jan. 2011, they surrendered 346 yards per game and the offensive’s time of possession was 27:54 minutes per game. During each of the past three seasons, the Ducks have given up more yards per game and operated at a faster pace. It’s not a good combination. The Ducks have had talent on the defensive side of the football during those years, but they simply didn’t play to the same level that finally led them to the title game. This season isn’t any different. Senior cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is arguably the best cornerback in college football. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead is a considered an early-round prospect for the 2015 NFL draft. Defensive end Tony Washington returns after leading the team with seven sacks last season. The team’s leading tackler, Derrick Malone, is also back in the middle of the defense. There is talent at all three levels of the Ducks defense. Oregon is more than just a flashy offense. The team’s defense has to play at a high level for the Ducks to be a part of the first College Football Playoff.

THE UNKNOWN
Kelly’s approach to offensive line play was there wasn’t much difference between playing guard and tackle in his system. The system hasn’t changed under Helfrich, but the importance of the tackle position is far more pertinent this season. The team’s senior left tackle, Tyler Johnstone, re-tore his ACL at the start of fall camp. It caused Helfrich to reshuffle his offensive line. Junior Andre Yruretagoyena will replace Johnstone on the blindside. There are two issues any time there are major changes along the offensive line. The first is building continuity within the unit to operate at a high level. Due to the team’s heavy zone-blocking scheme and its tempo on offense, this can be especially difficult to establish. The Ducks also lost the leadership and experience Johnstone brought to the lineup after starting 26 straight games. Furthermore, Yruretagoyena will be protecting the blindside of the one of the nations’ top quarterbacks, Marcus Mariota. The No. 1 goal for the Oregon’s offensive line this season is keep Mariota healthy. And that proposition may be a little more difficult with the veteran at left tackle.

MAKE-OR-BREAK GAME: vs. Stanford
There is no other choice here. The Cardinal dashed the Ducks’ national championship aspirations the past two seasons. The two games were evenly matched with Stanford’s win margin at only nine points. But Stanford is as much a mental obstacle for Oregon as it is a physical one. Very few teams have slowed Oregon’s explosive offense in recent years. Yet, Stanford has seemed to find the secret recipe with their physical 3-4 defense. The Ducks simply haven’t been able to gash the Cardinal for big plays. And most of that has to do with a defensive front that consistently plays in the backfield. The Ducks averaged as least 537 yards per game the last two seasons. Stanford has held Oregon at least 120 yards below its average in each contest. Oregon simply hasn’t been able to get on track against Stanford. The Ducks can’t fail against Stanford again this year, or their season will be a major disappointment.

HEISMAN HOPEFUL: QB Marcus Mariota
Let’s compare Mariota’s resume last season to Jameis Winston‘s, shall we? Mariota threw for 3,665 yards, 31 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Mariota also ran for 715 yards and nine touchdowns. Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, threw for 4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He added 219 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. While Winston was the clear favorite to win the Heisman last season, Mariota wasn’t far behind the redshirt freshman. When last year’s play is considered and  two factors are added into the equation, Mariota could be the favorite to win the trophy this season. There are two reasons why Mariota’s numbers weren’t quite as spectacular as Winston’s in 2013. The Oregon quarterback suffered a slight knee injury during the second half of the season which limited his play, and he played one less game than Winston. A fully healthy Mariota is arguably the best NFL prospect in the entire country. While professional potential doesn’t translate to college football awards, it does exclude Mariota from any excuses if he doesn’t make a national title run with the Ducks this season and capture the school’s first Heisman Trophy.

(Click HERE for the CFT 2014 Preseason Preview Repository)

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