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David Shaw on NFL: Rumors aren’t going to stop

Arizona State v Stanford Getty Images

If it takes Stanford head coach David Shaw 100 times to say he is not interested in the NFL, or any other job, he seems prepared to do so. During a meeting with the media Monday, Shaw was just another coach to be asked about his potential coaching future outside of Stanford, and once again he attempted to put the conversation to rest.

A day after reports surfaced he had no interest in an NFL job, Shaw got a chance to clarify his stance on the topic.

”No matter what I say, the rumors aren’t going to stop,” Shaw said, according to the Associated Press. ”It doesn’t bother me. Every good football program in the last 15 years, after two good years, the head coach is going to be rumored to go someplace else. I take it as a compliment.”

Shaw is starting to get used to this cycle. Last year, after leading Stanford to the first of their back-to-back Pac 12 titles, Shaw’s name was thrown in a number of coaching rumors for potential NFL jobs. That is once again the case with some wondering if he will follow in his predecessor’s steps on the path to the NFL. Jim Harbaugh, now coach of the San Francisco 49ers, helped reshape Stanford football while the head coach in Palo Alto. Shaw has more than kept that momentum going since taking over for Harbaugh.

As Shaw, says, this goes with the territory when you are a successful head coach.

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Did Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops criticize Texas A&M’s scheduling? YESSIR!

Bob Stoops

Bob Stoops has been making the rounds through the ESPN Car Wash today and he has been throwing out a couple nuggets worth digesting. Aside from his latest jab at Alabama head coach Nick Saban‘s thoughts on the Sugar Bowl, Stoops took aim at non-conference scheduling by a former Big 12 foe, Texas A&M.

Texas A&M opens the regular season on the road in SEC play against South Carolina, the favorite to come out of the SEC East this fall, but after that the Aggies have home games against Lamar (and FCS school) and Rice. After that is a road game at SMU. On November 1 Texas A&M will host UL Monroe in College Station the week before a road game at Auburn. Looking at the non-conference schedule for the Aggies leaves Stoops unimpressed.

Texas A&M’s non-conference schedule is anything but a murderer’s row, that much is for sure. Lamar is coming off a 5-6 season at the FCS level last season. Rice made a surprise run to a Conference USA West Division championship and ended the season with a record of 10-4, but the Owls are hardly considered among the elite of the Group of Five at this point. SMU filed to meet eligibility for postseason play with a 5-7 record and ULM broke even at 6-6 but was not invited to a bowl game.

To be fair, Oklahoma has rarely gone out and put together one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country on an annual basis, but the Sooners have lined up some marquee non-conference opponents for home-and-home opportunities. Recent seasons have seen Oklahoma play Notre Dame and Florida State while future seasons will see Ohio State, UCLA and historic rival Nebraska. But the Sooners have a share of games against programs like Tulsa and UTEP littered throughout as well. Texas A&M will have future games against Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon coming up as well.

The other part of the argument is how difficult Texas A&M’s conference schedule will be compared to that of Oklahoma over the course of time as well. The Sooners may have to battle a resurgent Texas in due time, and Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor have their moments, but the Aggies are pit in the same division as Alabama, Auburn and LSU.

Is Stoops fair to criticize the difficulty of Texas A&M’s schedule?

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Win The Pac-12: Oregon Ducks picked as preseason media favorite

Marcus Mariota

Stanford has ruled supreme in the Pac-12 each of the past two seasons, but Oregon is picked to return to the top of the Pac-12 mountain in 2014. Oregon has been picked to finish first in the Pac-12 North Division, receiving 37 first-place votes in a media poll, and to win the Pac-12, receiving 24 out of a possible 39 votes.

Oregon ran away with first-place votes in the division voting. Two-time defending Pac-12 champion Stanford received just two first-place votes in the north. Washington, Oregon State, Washington State and California followed in the Pac-12 North Division predictions, respectively. UCLA ended up running away with the Pac-12 South Division votes as well. The Bruins, among the more trendy College Football Playoff contenders this offseason, received 37 of 39 first-place votes in the South. USC and defending division champion Arizona State each received one. The Trojans are predicted to finish in second place in the south, followed by Arizona State, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

In a rematch of the first Pac-12 Championship Game in conference history, Oregon is predicted to once again top UCLA, receiving 24 votes to UCLA’s 13. Stanford and USC each received one Pac-12 championship vote from the media at Pac-12 media day. Oregon is also widely considered one of the top contenders for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Here are the Pac-12 predictions, as released by the Pac-12 Wednesday.

NORTH DIVISION

1. Oregon (37) 232

2. Stanford (2) 192

3. Washington 142

4. Oregon State 125

5. Washington State 87

6. California 41

SOUTH DIVISION

1. UCLA (37) 231

2. USC (1) 181

3. Arizona State (1) 163

4. Arizona 119

5. Utah 82

6. Colorado 43

PAC-12 TITLE GAME CHAMPION: Oregon (24 votes)

Others receiving votes:  UCLA (13), Stanford (1), USC (1)

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Report: Indiana, Cincinnati to rumble in 2021-22

Indiana and Cincinnati got out their respective long-term planners and set aside a pair of dates to play some football. The two schools have scheduled a home-and-home series for 2021 and 2022. Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com was first to report this scheduling agreement between Indiana and Cincinnati.

Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports via Twitter Cincinnati will travel to Indiana on September 18, 2021 and will host the Hoosiers in the return game on September 24, 2022. Groeschen also reports Cincinnati is working on scheduling games with Kentucky, Pittsburgh and longtime rival Louisville. For now, any talk about Cincinnati and Alabama scheduling any games has been put on ice.

Who knows exactly where Indiana and Cincinnati will be by 2021 in terms of competitiveness. Indiana is not going to be leaving the Big Ten anytime soon, but the program has generally been in the bottom half of the conference on an annual basis. Still, Cincinnati getting a Big Ten team on the schedule, and getting a game at home, is still pretty significant. Unless the realignment game starts up again as power conferences move to a different playing field with autonomy or even a complete split from the current NCAA structure, Cincinnati appears to be left stranded in the American Athletic Conference. Any games against power conference opponents can be critical for bowl positioning when compared to other Group of Five schools.

How much are you looking forward to this match-up years down the road?

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Is the world OK with a mellow Nick Saban?

Nick Saban

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is a living legend in the sport of college football. With a handful of national championship rings, Saban has little to prove on the football field even as the game is evolving in a way he is not particularly fond of. Instead of worrying so much about on-field success, Saban says he has stepped back, become more mellow and focused more on the bigger picture for preparing his players for what is ahead of them.

“I think people got on me for being a little too tough, a little too difficult,” Saban said on ESPN‘s “Numbers Never Lie,” as reported by Al.com. “But I think over the years you learn that it’s not the emotional part of what you do with a player, but it’s more the lessons you can teach them. And I don’t think there’s anything emotional or getting angry about, none of it’s worth it.”

It is always easy to say things like this though when you have won and you happen to be the richest man in college football. I feel like that should be pointed out here.

“I’ve kinda mellowed out a little bit, but I think I’ve become a little bit of a teacher because of that as well.”

Saban has done well in making Alabama one of the top factories for NFL talent, and the chances of improving to become an NFL prospect is one of the reaosns some of the nation’s top high school players will continue to commit to Alabama. But Saban is saying what most coaches should agree with. There is a role for being a teacher that comes with being a coach. Saban has accepted that, and hopefully more coaches are with him in that thought.

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Holgorsen wants the Backyard Brawl (WVU vs. Pitt) back

Pittsburgh v West Virginia

If there is one thing that has been taken away from fans trough the years of realignment, it is traditional rivalries. We have lost some good ones in recent years such as Nebraska-Oklahoma, Texas-Texas A&M, BYU-Utah and Pittsburgh-West Virginia. Fortunately, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen is speaking out in favor of resurrecting The Backyard Brawl between the Panthers and Mountaineers.

“I would welcome back Pitt and the Backyard Brawl any time that they want it,” Holgorsen said Tuesday during Big 12 media days according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But scheduling is tricky. … Now that we’re not in the same conference we both had to drop non-conference games. That makes it challenging. There’s a reason why a lot of games are being announced for 2020 and 2021. … It’s got to be done in advance.”

West Virginia and Pittsburgh have each lined up future games against Penn State, another former regional rival for each for years before the Big East started up and Penn State joined the Big Ten. West Virginia also has some future games set against another former Big East foe, Virginia Tech. The Mountaineers also announced plans to play a neutral-site game against Tennessee in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2018 and West Virginia will open the 2014 season in Atlanta against Alabama. With an apparent interest in restoring some past rivalries at both schools, it would seem only natural to get something worked out for some future games.

West Virginia plays a nine-game conference schedule in the 10-team Big 12, which limits the Mountaineers to three non-conference games each season. Pittsburgh generally has some more flexibility with just eight conference games, but must satisfy a non-conference scheduling requirement for the ACC. Pittsburgh is required to schedule one opponent from another power conference (or Notre Dame when not on the rotating ACC schedule) each season.

Why not make that West Virginia on an annual basis and kill two birds with one stone? The more important question may be whether or not Holgorsen will even be around Morgantown by the time the two bitter rivals do get back on the field for a game. Holgorsen is largely considered to be one of the coaches on the hot seat entering the 2014 season.

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Florida State paces preseason All-ACC team with nine

Jameis Winston

Florida State was named the preseason favorite in the ACC without little contest, and it is easy to see why. The preseason all-ACC roster was formally announced Wednesday, and it includes nine players from Florida State.

Quarterback Jameis Winston and running back Karlos Williams will be lining up behind an offensive line this fall that includes two preseason All-ACC offensive linemen in tackle Cameron Erving and guard Tre’ Jackson. To add more fuel to the fire, Florida State wide receiver Rashad Greene and tight end Nick O’Leary also appear on the ACC’s preseason all-conference roster.

Florida State’s biggest threat in the Atlantic Division, Clemson, has three players named to the defensive side of the preseason all-conference team though. Defensive end Vic Beasley, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and linebacker Stephone Anthony all were named by the media this week at the ACC Football Kickoff. Duke actually had more preseason all-conference players named with four, the second most in the ACC. So much for that whole basketball school mentality, right?

Here is a breakdown of preseason All-ACC players by school…

  1. Florida State (9)
  2. Duke (4)
  3. Clemson (3)
    Virginia Tech (3)
  4. Miami (2)
  5. Boston College (1)
    Louisville (1)
    North Carolina (1)
    Syracuse (1)
    Virginia (1)

Here is the full roster, as released by the ACC;

2014 Preseason All-ACC Team

Offense

QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
RB Duke Johnson, Miami
RB Karlos Williams, Florida State
WR Jamison Crowder, Duke
WR Rashad Greene, Florida State
WR DeVante Parker, Louisville
TE Nick O’Leary, Florida State
T Cameron Erving, Florida State
T Sean Hickey, Syracuse
G Tre’ Jackson, Florida State
G Laken Tomlinson, Duke
C Andy Galik, Boston College

Defense

DE Vic Beasley, Clemson
DE Mario Edwards Jr., Florida State
DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech
DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson
LB Denzel Perryman, Miami
LB Kelby Brown, Duke
LB Stephone Anthony, Clemson
CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
CB P.J. Williams, Florida State
S Anthony Harris, Virginia
S Jeremy Cash, Duke

Special Teams

PK Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
P A.J. Hughes, Virginia Tech
SP Ryan Switzer, North Carolina

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PSU’s Franklin a psycho ready to bring the community back together

James Franklin

The community surrounding Penn State football continues to be a divided one, to an extent. It is a community still largely searching for answers and truth from the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and you can still find factions demanding for the return of a statue of Joe Paterno and others demanding for complete changes on the board of trustees and so on, some with honestly good intentions and others perhaps lacking priorities. This week former assistant football coaches Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney have filed a new lawsuit against the university regarding the termination of their employment. Two years have now passed since Sandusky’s crimes were handled in the court of law, and the community is starting to return to whatever normal will be.

Looking to steer the ship in the right direction is new head coach James Franklin, who has sparked the program with a new sense of life and motivation, continuing the momentum few thought could be generated under Bill O’Brien and looking to lead the Penn State program through the end of the sanction period. In a one-on-one interview, Franklin explains why he feels he is ready to tackle such a journey.

“I’m so emotional. I’m so passionate. I’m kind of a psycho,” Franklin told The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Joe Juliano. “So, I think a lot of people think, ‘This guy, is he for real?’ “

In his short time at Penn State, after leaving Vanderbilt, Franklin has put together one of the top recruiting classes for 2015 and has won over a fan base by digging into his Pennsylvania roots and declaring a territorial war over the Keystone State as well as the recruiting fertile grounds of New Jersey and Maryland, now considered Big Ten territory. On a spring bus tour of the state and region, Franklin left quite the impression on Penn State fans, and it seems his messages are being received well. Franklin understands the value of Penn State football to the community in State College and throughout the state, and he wants to use that as the resource that continues to heal the fractured community.

More from Franklin, via The Philadelphia Inquirer;

“I believe that football has the ability to bring a community together like nothing else,” he said. “I know I’m biased, I’m a football coach. But I believe football has that special ability.

“Saturday afternoons, people come together to be a part of something bigger than just themselves,” the former Vanderbilt coach said. “So, I think we can hold a special role in that, and I think it’s time.

“The thing that’s always made Penn State special is that we’re family and people are very proud of being a part of this university. And I think it’s time for us to get back to that, get back to being a family. The way I look at it is, let’s put the university first and, more importantly, let’s put the kids first.”

There is something to be said about how the football program could end up being what brings the Penn State community back together, given the national pundits that suggested it be shut down after being perceived as an enabling device for Sandusky and his sick crimes against children. But as with any organization, if the leadership in place has the right frame of mind and has a plan of attack, there should be little stopping it from reaching the finish line.

Is Franklin the leader Penn State’s football program needed? That seems to be the theme of the offseason in State College.

You can read the full one-on-one interview and story with Franklin via The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Bowling Green picked to repeat as MAC champions

MAC Championship - Bowling Green v Northern Illinois

The Bowling Green Falcons have been picked to repeat as MAC champions, but Terry Bowden‘s Akron Zips could be a program on the rise. Bowling Green was named the MAC preseason favorite in the East Division as well as the conference, but Bowden’s Zips received three first-place votes in the east. Toledo was picked to win the MAC’s West Division. The conference’s preseason poll was released Wednesday as the media day event in Detroit got started.

Bowling Green upset Northern Illinois in the 2013 MAC Championship Game, likely preventing the Huskies from making a return trip to the BCS last bowl season. Bowling Green looks to become the first team from the east to repeat as conference champion since Marshall won four in a row from 1997 through 2000. Marshall is now a member of Conference USA.

Toledo received 11 first-place votes in the west, followed by Northern Illinois with eight first-place votes. Central Michigan picked up a pair of first-place votes but sits behind Ball State in the predicted standings. As the conference notes, this all suggests the conference should have some good competition brewing this fall, especially in the west.

The complete poll, as provided by the MAC, follows:

Team (First Place Votes) Points

MAC East Division
1. Bowling Green (18) 144
2. Akron (3) 114
3. Ohio 107
4. Buffalo 87
5. Kent State 72
6. Miami 43
7. UMass 23

MAC West Division
1. Toledo (11) 114
2. Northern Illinois (8) 110
3. Ball State 82
4. Central Michigan (2) 67
5. Western Michigan 44
6. Eastern Michigan 24

The MAC Championship Game will be played on Friday, December 5. This is also the last season UMass will be an associate member of the MAC.

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The Wall Street Journal has a ridiculous realignment plan

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Oklahoma v Alabama

Some people just love to talk realignment when it comes to college football. I will admit, I can be guilty of that at times (I’m telling you that updated Big Ten logo is just itching for 16 teams). It seems there is always some way to reimagine the college football landscape, and in the dream world inside our minds there is no end in sight to the options to play with. While most of us will have to settle for configuring our make-believe conferences in the virtual world of NCAA Football 14, others will map it out for us using (virtual) pen and paper. The Wall Street Journal is the latest to get in the fun.

In a story titled “A Radical Realignment Plan for College Football,” The Wall Street Journal suggests placing college football powers in conferences based not on geography, but on overall strength as a program. For example, the first “cluster” conference would feature Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas. No Florida State, the defending national champions? Did The Wall Street Journal even watch Florida last season? Or Michigan? Or Texas? As it is explained, two representatives from Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports used a formula based on financial implications as well.

Per The Wall Street Journal;

What a “Division IV” in college sports would look like is still anyone’s guess. But two Ohio State sports researchers have an idea: What if schools were sorted into conferences based on their football strength?

To do that, Jonathan Jensen and Brian Turner chose to ignore geography and tradition, the typical forces in conference realignment. Instead, they focused solely on football and its financial implications, coming up with a formula that factored in every team’s football revenue, winning percentage, computer ranking and attendance between 2003 and 2013. Then they sorted teams into clusters to figure out which schools were most alike—and should be playing each other.

Using this formula, the defending Big Ten champion (Michigan State) and Pac-12 champion (Stanford) would be in Cluster 2 and Cluster 3, respectively. Last year’s Big 12 champion, Baylor, is nowhere to be seen in the four clusters assembled, but West Virginia, Utah and Boise State are. So is Arkansas.

Maybe The Wall Street Journal should stick to finances.

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MWC schools ready for cost-of-attendance, still discussing snack options

The 2014 college football season is going to be one with many questions that may not be able to be answered until the season is in the books, or perhaps two seasons are in the books. The College Football Playoff starts this season with a four-team playoff field and new bowl arrangements that will guarantee one spot for the top-ranked team from the so-called Group of Five — the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt. This is a reservation that figures to be within reach for the Mountain West champion more often than not, but nobody will know for sure just how everything will play out until games are played. There are plenty of off-field questions as well as the NCAA is likely to move on to a new era of autonomy for the power conferences, which has conferences like the Mountain West Conference bracing for everything it possibly can.

“There are more questions than answers, ” Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson said Tuesday at the conference’s media day event, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Fortunately, the conference has been using whatever time is left to prepare for all options. Thompson addressed these concerns with the media on Tuesday, confirming all members of the conference should be prepared to provide full cost of attendance scholarships, but the battle between the haves and the have-nots in college football could continue with the ability to provide unlimited snacks. This is one cost that is more concerning for MWC schools right now.

“It’s not a tipping point, but it is a precarious position because of the unknown,” Thompson said, as reported by Las Vegas Sun. The NCAA has made a change to the rules regarding snacks and supplements for athletes, lifting any restrictions for student-athletes. Some of the larger programs are hopping right on board with this new ability to provide more nutrition to student-athletes. USC was one of the first schools to make the change official, but Mountain West schools are still with each other to determine how to provide for the added expenses for unlimited snacks.

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Art Briles says it is time for Petty to become a household name

Bryce Petty

Ask the most casual college football fan who Robert Griffin III was in 2010 and they could probably tell you all about him. The same does not appear to not be the case for Bryce Petty, who led Baylor to a Big 12 title while putting up huge numbers and looks to keep the momentum going forward in 2014. Baylor head coach Art Briles challenged folks to go to a Dairy Queen in Oregon and ask about Petty, and the results were none too flattering. That is part of the reason why Briles spent time at Big 12 media days this week pumping up his signal-caller ahead of the 2014 season by comparing Petty to the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, RGIII.

“There’s a lot of similarities quite honestly,” Briles said on a radio interview with KESN-FM in Dallas on Tuesday. “Bryce probably has about as much name recognition nationally as what Robert had going in his senior season, and that’s kind of what it’s all about. Last year it was make a name, this year he’s got to keep his name. Both of those guys are very confident, very well structured for our offense from an intellectual and physical standpoint, and capable of leading us to victory every single time we step on the field.”

In other words, Briles says Petty has arrived, but now it is time to take that next step. If he does, he will gain more national respect as Baylor continues to thrive. It’s a win-win situation for Baylor and Petty.

Briles is probably accurate in suggesting Petty and Griffin enter this point of their respective careers on a level playing field. Griffin may have received more notoriety by breathing new life into the Baylor program, where Petty is continuing to contribute to Baylor’s success, but Petty is receiving recognition in the Big 12 and beyond.

Petty appeared alongside Briles and wide receiver Antwan Goodley on the college football preview cover of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, which is said to be a tremendous honor in the lone star state. Petty was also named the preseason Big 12 offensive player of the year by the media. Petty also is one of the headline name sin various award watch lists this offseason, such as the O’Brien Award and Maxwell Award.

Helmet sticker to The Dallas Morning News for transcribing the radio interview quotes.

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TCU appears to have washed its hands of Brandon Carter

Brandon Carter, Nigel Tribune AP

A rough day for this particular football program continues as one of the most productive and experienced pieces of TCU’s passing game puzzle looks to be no more.

During his time at the Big 12 Media Days, Gary Patterson was asked if he hoped Brandon Carter would remain at TCU and return to the Horned Frogs at some point. The head coach’s response was surprisingly — and refreshingly — blunt.

“No,” said Patterson in regards to the wide receiver’s potential return. “He has a redshirt year, and I think the best thing for him is to get a new start. It’s setting a precedent — you have to go to school.”

Carter was charged with possession of marijuana in late April — it was later dropped — but that wasn’t the reason for the parting of ways. Rather, it was Carter’s effort in the classroom — or lack thereof — that put the talented receiver on the outside of the football program looking in.

“Academically he will not make it,” Patterson said.

Carter entered Week 10 of the 2013 season second on the team in receptions with 17 and tied for third in receiving yards with 197. In early November, however, he took a leave of absence for personal reasons. Those “personal reasons” turned out to be related to a family matter.

Coming into last season, he was the Horned Frogs’ leading returning receiver as his 36-590-6 statline from 2012 was second only to the since-departed Josh Boyce.

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With first-year QB starter, Saban downplays Tide’s title chances

Blake Sims AP

In his first year as a starting quarterback in 2009, Greg McElroy helped lead Alabama to a BCS title.  In 2011, in his first year as a starting quarterback, AJ McCarron helped lead the Tide to Nick Saban‘s second of three BCS titles at UA.

With McCarron’s eligibility expired, Saban will be looking to replace that experience and production under center with yet another first-year starter.  Ahead of that, the coach is looking to tap the brakes on, well, any optimism that may be rearing its ugly, unwanted and unwarranted head.

The two main combatants in the fight to replace McCarron are fifth-year senior Blake Sims (pictured) and Florida State transfer Jacob Coker.  Entering 2014, and even with inexperience at the most important position on the field — neither Sims nor Coker have started a game at the collegiate level — the Tide is viewed as a betting favorite to claim yet another national championship.

At least for the moment, Saban is pooh-poohing and downplaying any type of favorite talk despite what’s happened the last two times he’s had a first-year starter at quarterback.

“Well I think it is a little bit unrealistic because basically what you’re talking about is two guys [who] are untested,” said Saban during an ESPN interview when asked about title expectations. “And when you have an untested player at that position, you can be pleasantly surprised with the way they develop and how they do and how the team sorta rallies around them and the impact of their leadership, decision-making, those things are critical at the quarterback position. …

“They can also go to where they turn the ball over and do some things that make it hard to overcome. Because quarterback is such a critical position to me. Football is a great team game, but then there’s the quarterback. And most successful teams have a guy that, at least in their system, is functionally successful for the other players on the team. And in our case, because we have good skill guys, it’s important that our guy can distribute the ball to those guys and make those guys effective players for us.”

(Writer’s note: the Tide QB competition is officially a two-man thing, based on Saban’s quotes.)

Entering summer camp, and even as he has yet to take a snap as a member of the Crimson Tide, Coker is viewed as the heavy favorite to win the starting job.  Consistency and lack of turnovers will be key regardless of which player actually wins out.

Whether Coker’s the way it plays out remains to be seen; what’s certain is that, with a first-year starter, Saban & Company will rely on its loaded backfield, including the three-headed monster of T.J. YeldonDerrick Henry and Kenyan Drakearrest and suspension notwithstanding — to help the starter get his feet wet, especially early on.

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Gator TE reportedly transferring to Temple

Colin Thompson

Temple has added a late-in-the-offseason transfer pickup from the top conference in college football, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Tuesday.

Citing multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, the Philadelphia Daily News reports that tight end Colin Thompson has transferred into the Owls football program. Officials from neither Temple nor Florida, where Thompson spent the past two seasons, have confirmed the player’s addition to/departure from their respective rosters.

No reason was given for the departure, although a search for playing time would be a good place to start.

It was reported last month that Thompson would be looking to transfer to a school closer to his home in Warminster, Penn. Thompson visited Penn State before apparently opting for Temple, while Stanford, UCF and Villanova all expressed some level of interest in his services.

A four-star member of the Gators’ 2012 recruiting class, Thompson was rated as the No. 6 tight end in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Pennsylvania. He played in three games, all last seasons, during his time in Gainesville, and didn’t catch a pass in his brief UF career.

A foot injury during summer camp of his true freshman season derailed the immediate impact Thompson was expected to make.

(Photo credit: Florida athletics)

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Ex-Illini O-lineman, current D-II player passes away

Shawn Afryl

The Illinois football family has suffered a heartbreaking loss, the school announced Tuesday.

In a press release, the Illini confirmed that former offensive lineman Shawn Afryl passed away Monday.  The cause of death was not revealed, although media accounts state that the player collapsed during a workout and died a short time later after being rushed to a hospital.

Afryl was just 22 years of age.

“All of us in the Fighting Illini football family are greatly saddened by Shawn’s passing last night,” Illinois head coach Tim Beckman said in a statement. “He was a great teammate and a dedicated student. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Afryl took a redshirt his true freshman season in 2010, didn’t play in 2011 and saw action in one game in 2012. He graduated from Illinois in November of 2013, then, the school stated, enrolled at Winona State University (MN) for fall of 2014, where he planned on using his final season of eligibility.

Afryl was working out at Winona in preperation for the upcoming season when he collapsed

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those affected by Afryl’s way-too-soon death.

(Photo credit: Illinois athletics)

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