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An early top 10 for 2014

Braxton Miller AP

The sun has barely set on the BCS era and, as we speak, Florida State’s Chief Osceola is riding off toward the horizon with the last Crystal Ball tucked carefully under his arm.  But now it’s time to take a break from this glorious ending and ponder: What will next season look like?

Here’s an early top 10 for 2014:

1. Ohio State – The Buckeyes return the Heisman front runner in Braxton Miller and a ton of other playmakers on both sides of the ball. After going 24-2 in his first two years in Columbus, Urban Meyer finally has the roster in place to win the first national title under the new College Football Playoff system.

2. Oregon – If Miller is the Heisman favorite, Marcus Mariota isn’t too far behind. He returns to lead an explosive Duck offense that should once again wreak havoc on opposing defenses. On the other side of the ball is a unit led by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu that could be the best defense in school history.

3. Auburn – For all the magic and luck Auburn needed to get to the BCS title game, remember that it was only Year One of the Gus Malzahn Era on The Plains. Give the man another spring ball and add a stellar recruiting class to the mix and watch him mold a new juggernaut consisting of players who buy in completely with what he’s trying to accomplish. It helps that the ever-improving Nick Marshall and a bevy of talented young defenders are set to return for another go-around.

4. Oklahoma – No one should’ve been that surprised by OU’s upset of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. It’s Oklahama, after all. This is a program that is always loaded with talent. Quarterback Trevor Knight showed glimpses of a bright future against the Tide and could develop into one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country in 2014. The Sooner defensive front seven is an elite group on par with those units from the early Bob Stoops era.

5. Florida State – What will the Seminoles do for an encore? Well, first they’ve got to figure out how many key players from this year’s squad will be heading to the NFL. Devonta Freeman, James Wilder, Jr., Timmie Jernigan and Kelvin Benjamin could all leave early for the draft, while seniors Lamarcus Joyner, Telvin Smith and Bryan Stork will all be gone, too. Still, Jameis Winston returns and the treasure trove of talent on defense means FSU should once again be the team to beat in the ACC.

6. Alabama – Next year’s Crimson Tide could be the most talented team of Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa. Somewhere between 40 and 50 players will play in the NFL at some point. However, the Tide will need to find a quarterback to replace AJ McCarron and do a little rebuilding on defense, too. With a few minor tweaks, Alabama should have no trouble making the four-team playoff.

7. Baylor – Heisman candidate Bryce Petty returns to lead what could be the best offense in college football. Tailback Lache Seastrunk is heading to the pros, but his able backup, Shock Linwood, returns and could be even more productive. The Bears were one of the most improved defenses in the country this past season, but will have to find able replacements for Ahmad Dixon and Eddie Lackey if they want to remain in the upper echelon of the Big 12.

8. UCLA – Heisman candidate Brett Hundley bypassed millions of NFL dollars and should be in line for a huge junior season for the Bruins. He has a ton of offensive weapons at his disposal, including linebacker-turned-running back Myles Jack. The defense is deep and experienced. This should be the best UCLA team since the late 1990s.

9. Wisconsin – Stud running back Melvin Gordon returns as does quarterback Joel Stave. If the Badgers can rebuild their wide receiver and linebacker groups, they should once again challenge for the Big Ten title.

10. Stanford – The defense must replace a lot of NFL bodies, but there’s plenty of available talent ready to give it a shot. The offensive line will once again be among the nation’s best and quarterback Kevin Hogan, who is 10-1 as a starter against ranked teams, should be ready for a breakout season.

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CFT 2014 Preseason Top 25: ‘Noles look to go back-to-back

Jimbo Fisher, Jameis Winston AP

Over seven months ago, Florida State staked its claim to the last-ever Bowl Championship Series Trophy. The question now is, can the Seminoles win the first-ever College Football Playoff trophy?

At least as far as the CFT writers are concerned, the answer was a resounding “hell yes!!!” as all three of us — Brent Sobleski, Kevin McGuire and I — placed FSU at No. 1 in our preseason Top 25 rankings.

In somewhat of a surprise, Oregon was next up at No. 2, followed by Alabama, No. 2 in the Associated Press and coaches’ poll, at No. 3, Ohio State at No. 4 and Oklahoma at No. 5. Were the poll to be conducted today, there’s a very good chance the Buckeyes would slip to the bottom of the Top 10 — or even out of it — on the strength of Braxton Miller‘s season-ending injury.

As for the remainder of the Top 10, UCLA checks in at No. 6, followed by, in order from Nos. 7-10, South Carolina, Auburn, Baylor and Stanford.

The only Non-Power Five conference team to make the preseason cut was the Mountain West’s Boise State at No. 24.

Conference-wise, the SEC leads all leagues with six in the Top 25, the lowest of which is Ole Miss at No. 17. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have five teams each, with the ACC (four) and Big 12 (three) bringing up the Power-Five rear.

For comparison, the AP poll had eight SEC teams in the Top 25 and six from the Pac-12. The coaches’ poll also had six from the Pac-12, while only seven from the SEC.

Below are the complete set of CFT preseason top 25 rankings. And, for a repository on all of our 2014 preseason previews, click HERE.

No. 1 Florida State
No. 2 Oregon
No. 3 Alabama
No. 4 Ohio State
No. 5 Oklahoma
No. 6 UCLA
No. 7 South Carolina
No. 8 Auburn
No. 9 Baylor
No. 10 Stanford
No. 11 Michigan State
No. 12 Georgia
No. 13 LSU
No. 14 USC
No. 15 Notre Dame
No. 16 Clemson
No. 17 Ole Miss
No. 18 Wisconsin
No. 19 Duke
No. 20 Texas
No. 21 Nebraska
No. 22 Arizona State
No. 23 North Carolina
No. 24 Boise State
No. 25 Iowa

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Mike Gundy confirms J.W. Walsh to start at QB vs. FSU

J.W. Walsh AP

It’s been all but a foregone conclusion throughout summer camp that J.W. Walsh would get the nod as Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback in the opener.  After all, Walsh has the experience edge and took most of the reps with the first-team offense.

Still, Mike Gundy has been reticent to publicly tab his man under center — until Wednesday.

During a radio interview, Gundy confirmed that, yes, Walsh will be the first quarterback to trot out onto the field when OSU opens the season against No. 1 Florida State Saturday night in Arlington, Tex.  Said the head coach, “JW has taken the majority of the reps and will be the guy who goes out there and starts for us.”

Walsh had been involved in a nominal competition with Daxx Garman and Mason Rudolph throughout camp even as the latter two worked sparingly with the No. 1 offense. When it comes down to it, Walsh’s experience is the trump card.

In 2012, Walsh was named the Big 12’s Offensive Freshman of the Year. In 2013, he started five of the eight games in which he played. Neither Garman (a redshirt junior) nor Rudolph (a four-star true freshman) have thrown a pass at the collegiate level.

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CFT Preseason Top 25: No. 1 Florida State

Jimbo Fisher, Jameis Winston

2013 Record: 14-0, 9-0 in ACC (ACC, BCS National champions)
2013 postseason: BCS Championship (34-31 win against Auburn)
2013 final AP/coaches ranking: No. 1/No. 1
Head coach: Jimbo Fisher (45-10 overall, 45-10 in four years at Florida State)
Co-Offensive coordinators: Lawrence Dawsey (8th year at Florida State), Randy Sanders (2nd year at Florida State)
2013 offensive rankings: 28th rushing offense (203.14 ypg), 14th passing offense (315.9 ypg), 6th total offense (519.1 ypg), 2nd scoring offense (51.6 ppg
Returning offensive starters: 7
Defensive coordinator: Charles Kelly (2nd year at Florida State)
2013 defensive rankings: 18th rushing defense (124.79 ypg), 1st passing defense (156.6 ypg), 3rd total defense (281.4 ypg), 1st scoring defense (12.1 ppg)
Returning defensive starters: 8
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Stadium: Doak Campbell Stadium (82,300; Grass)
Last conference title: 2013

THE GOOD
To say Florida State is loaded all across the field in 2014 might be an understatement. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has signed a top ten recruiting class each year he has been head coach, which has done well to increase the amount of quality depth all over the roster in Tallahassee. Not only is Florida State built to be a machine in ACC play, but the Seminoles also have the ingredients to be prepared to defend their reign as national champions in the new era of college football. This goes beyond having the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback in Jamies Winston, a sophomore who is as unnerved as he is confident. Winston is joined in the backfield by one fo the top running backs in the ACC, Karlos Williams, and he is able to rely on a pair of targets in receiver Rashad Greene and tight end Nick O’Leary, tow of the best at their positions in the ACC. The offensive line weighs in at 1,256 pounds, and an average of 314 pounds. Oh, and Florida State can play defense as well. Mario Edwards will bring pressure off the end, Terrance Smith anchor things in the middle of the field and PJ Williams will do his best to shut down opposing receivers. Like the offense, the Florida State defense is deep in athletic skill and talent and shutdown opposing offenses with frequency last season. Florida State should be favored in every game they play this season, and that could carry into the postseason no matter where they fall in the playoff. Florida State is the clear favorite in the ACC. They can run the table once again without breaking much of a sweat before the postseason.

THE BAD
When the biggest concern about Florida State is the punting game, life is pretty good. The only concern for Florida State on paper appears to be the punting game, which is downright silly. Cason Beatty struggled most to pin opponents deep on their end of the field, but Florida State was able to overcome that thanks to the superior talent on defense. Punting likely will not cost Florida State a game at any point in the regular season, but you never know when one bad punt sequence can turn a game around. If Florida State does happen to lose a game along the way though, the question about the strength of schedule faced in 2014 could come into fair question when it comes time for the College Football Playoff selection committee to choose the playoff participants. The ACC is extremely top heavy, or so it seems for now, so it might be fair to wonder how a one-loss Florida State team would stack up with strength of schedule comparisons to a one-loss champion from the Pac-12, Big Ten or Big 12 (or SEC).

THE UNKNOWN
How will Florida State manage to keep focus? This is not to suggest the Seminoles will get lazy at any point, but for the first time in a long time this program is entering the season ranked on top of the college football world, a new experience since the height of the Bobby Bowden. Florida State seems to have a certain swagger about them, which is good. They are confident, a little bit cocky, and they back it up on the field. The BCS Championship Game was the first time we saw Florida State challenged in some time, and they responded well. Now they have to run the gauntlet from start to finish. They are equipped to do it, but even the best teams in college football history are thrown a monkey wrench at one point or another.

MAKE-OR-BREAK GAME: Louisville
You never know what a Thursday night is going to offer. The night has been known to showcase some good upsets over the years, and that includes Florida State. In 2010 the No. 16 Seminoles were tripped up on the road at North Carolina State. The disappointment carried over a week in a game against North Carolina. If there is one game on the schedule this season that could present a decent obstacle in conference play, it may be the Thursday night road game at Louisville on October 30. The Seminoles do have a week off to prepare for the game after a home game against Notre Dame, and this year’s Louisville team may not be quite as good as it was a season ago wit Teddy Bridgewater, but Florida State cannot afford to take this one lightly. Florida State can probably afford a close loss in the regular season without disrupting playoff plans, but the Seminoles will still have a road game at Miami and a home game against Florida to get through as well. As the season winds down, the margin for error will continue to shrink.

HEISMAN HOPEFUL: RB Karlos Williams
Let’s concede for a moment that there is a historical trend that plays against quarterback Jameis Winston here. There has only been one two-time Heisman Trophy winner, so it would seem that history is against Winston in 2014. Because of that, we will eliminate him from the conversation for now. Instead, let’s look at his teammate in the backfield, running back Karlos Williams. Williams rushed for 748 yards and 11 touchdowns last season while spending the bulk of the year backing up Devonta Freeman. Williams is expected to take on the bulk of the running game this season, and he should prove worthy of the job. A 1,000-yard season should easily be within reach.

(Click HERE for the CFT 2014 Preseason Preview Repository)

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Gamecocks-Aggies game trophy to go to governors, not teams

Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Rick Perry AP

Very early last month, it was reported that the annual South Carolina-Texas A&M “rivalry”would feature a trophy depicting James Butler Bonham, an Alamo hero who previously was a student at the East Coast USC, ridding atop a horse.

That, as it turns out, is the absolute truth.  Another absolute truth?  The trophy is more about politics than the actual teams involved.

In fact, The State reports, the Bonham trophy has nothing to do with the respective schools.  Instead, the governor from the winning side of the game — currently Rick Perry (Texas, pictured right) and Nikki Haley (South Carolina, pictured middle) — will stake their claim to the 40-pound trophy and take it back to their respective state capitals.

The trophy, which was commissioned by Perry, an A&M graduate, is actually a very good-looking one as far as game trophies go.  It’s a shame, though, that it’s politicians and not the schools who get to claim and enjoy it.

Anyway, here’s a photo of the hardware:

Oh, and the Gamecocks will host the Aggies in Columbia tonight for the right to not hoist that trophy.

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USC could be without Tre Madden for a month

Arizona v USC Getty Images

Lost amidst the grandiose fabrication that became Josh Shaw‘s save-nephew-from-drowning heroics — and USC’s inexplicable decision to run with what turned out to be a whopper of a lie when they had their doubts — is a player on the other side of the ball could be out for a while as well.

Over the weekend it was reported that Tre Madden will be a game-time decision for the season opener against Fresno State Saturday.  The running back has been dealing with a foot injury, and was seen wearing a walking boot again Wednesday.

The opener could be the least of the Trojans’ worries as the Los Angeles Daily News reports that Madden could be out for a month because of the injury.

If Madden were to miss a month, he’d be sidelined for the opener this weekend, the Pac-12 opener against Stanford the following weekend and Boston College Sept. 13.  Following a bye, USC will tangle with Oregon State Sept. 27, which would be the likely return game based on the month timeline.

During the first five games last season, Madden rushed for 583 yards and three touchdowns.  The last eight, three of which he didn’t record a carry, Madden totaled just 120 yards and didn’t find the end zone.  His 703 yards were second on the team to the 785 yards for Javorius Allen, who figures to be the Trojans’ bell cow in the running game this year.

Should Allen be sidelined as it appears he will be, it would leave Allen and Justin Davis as the only two healthy scholarship running backs on USC’s roster.

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Georgia State avoids first FCS upset of 2014

There were 16 games that saw a team from the Football Championship Subdivision defeat a team from the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2013. We nearly saw the first one of 2014 Wednesday night, but Georgia State came through with a late field goal to slip past Abilene Christian in the Georgia Dome Wednesday night. Georgia State kicker Wil Lutz snuck a 26-yard kick through the uprights for a 38-37 victory Wednesday night in the first game on the FBS calendar this season.

The game was anything but pretty, but after 683 days since the last win, Georgia State will take it any way it can. Georgia State racked up 566 yards of offense, mostly off the arm of quarterback Nick Arbuckle. Arbuckle threw three touchdowns and led the Panthers on the game-winning drive while passing for 433 yards and four touchdowns. To get the win, Georgia State had to score more points than they did in any game in 2013.

This is Georgia State’s first season eligible for postseason play since moving up from the FCS. With one win now in the books, Georgia State now needs five more wins to become bowl eligible. Next up, New Mexico State next week in the Georgia Dome.

Was this up to par with the BCS Championship Game or last season’s Iron Bowl? Of course not, but the first game of the season gave us a back-and-forth game that went down to the wire and saw a program celebrate a long-awaited victory.

Welcome back college football. We missed you. We can wait for the next FCS upset.

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Eddie Jackson available for Alabama, if needed

Virginia Tech v Alabama Getty Images

Alabama is not going to rush cornerback Eddie Jackson back to the playing field, but he will be available for the Crimson Tide Saturday against West Virginia if he is needed. Head coach Nick Saban said he would prefer to proceed with caution with Jackson, who underwent knee surgery to repair a torn ACL in spring practice.

“I wouldn’t rule out the fact he can play in this game,” Saban said, per Al.com. “But I would rather go in to the game thinking we would use him if we needed to rather than pushing him in the game.”

Saban said Jackson was not cleared for football activity in early June, but he must be doing well enough to be an option in the season opener. For now, Jackson will occupy a back-up spot on the depth chart until he is ready to go full speed and prove ready for an increased role in the defense. Cyrus Jones is currently listed as a starter ahead of Jackson.

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Georgia State’s Joel Ruiz records first FBS TD of 2014

Trent Miles

Georgia State was pushed around by FCS Abilene Christian on the opening drive of the 2014 season, but the young defense stood tall inside the red zone and held the visitors to a field goal. The first touchdown of the season on the FBS calendar belongs to Georgia State.

Late in the first quarter in the Georgia Dome, Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle connected with Joel Ruiz for a 34-yard touchdown. Arbuckle was a JUCO pick-up for the Panthers, and early on he has looked promising (relatively speaking of course), although he has been intercepted already as well.

This is the first season Georgia State is eligible for postseason play since moving up from the FCS ranks. A win tonight leaves Georgia State just five wins shy of becoming bowl eligible.

Georgia State leads Abilene Christian 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.

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Alabama suspends starting linebacker for opener

Trey DePriest

Alabama is taking on West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff on Saturday, but they will do so without a starting linebacker. Senior Trey DePriest has been suspended for the season opener for what is being reported as a minor NCAA infraction. Head coach Nick Saban announced the suspension Wednesday.

The details of the infraction have been unconfirmed, but playing DePriest while an investigation is ongoing would put any potential wins in jeopardy of being vacated down the line if it is ruled he would have been ineligible.

DePriest started 13 games last season with 65 tackles for the Crimson Tide and will be a starter for the team this season, pending the results of the investigation of course. According to Al.com, Alabama will start Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster at linebacker.

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USC suspends Josh Shaw indefinitely for fabricating story

Josh Shaw, Isaac Lapite

What started out as an uplifting story of heroism has now resulted in an indefinite suspension. USC has suspended cornerback Josh Shaw after the player admitted to university officials he did, in fact, exaggerate his heartwarming story.

Yesterday USC head coach Steve Sarkisian announced there was made aware of new information that may have contradicted the story shared by USC about Shaw. USC released a story about Shaw leaping into a pool from a second floor balcony to saving his nephew. In the process he hurt his ankles. USC admitted to being skeptical of the story, yet they published it anyway.

Now Shaw will be suspended for an undetermined amount of time for not being truthful to his team and school. The story he told led to the school being put in the awkward situation of having to pull and retract the original story which was universally received well and praised from coast to coast.

“We are extremely disappointed in Josh,” said Sarkisian in a statement released by USC. “He let us all down.  As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story.”

Police are investigating a break-in at an apartment that involves a “Josh Shaw,” although it has been unconfirmed that is targetting the USC player. As previously reported though, witness descriptions seem to suggest it is the same Shaw.

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UNC suspends four players for season opener

Ryan Switzer, Desmond Lawrence, Brian Walker

On the heels of news regarding a possible hazing incident, North Carolina has suspended four players for the 2014 season opener against Liberty. Cornerbacks Des Lawrence, M.J. Stewart and Brian Walker and linebacker Donnie Miles have been suspended one game each for what is simply being referred to now as a violation of team policy, according to WRAL. Head coach Larry Fedora announced the suspensions when meeting with the media Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re going to hold all of our guys accountable for everything they do on the field and off the field,” Fedora said. “We also have very high expectations for our guys in this program and they didn’t meet those expectations.”

Fedora was asked if the internal investigation by the university was completed. He said he was unsure if it was or not, but he was at a point where he believed he had enough information to make a decision on the status for those four players. This hurts UNC’s depth on defense for the season opener, which could become a factor against a decent FCS program like Liberty, but the Tar Heels should have enough on the field to avoid letting it harm them on the scoreboard in the end.

Walker played in all 13 games last season, recording 21 tackles and an interception. Lawrence appeared in eight games and had 11 tackles.

Earlier in the day it was also reported defensive lineman Ethan Farmer could be facing an academic eligibility issue. This comes following an offseason when two defensive linemen left the program.

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Georgia State looking for first win in 683 days

Trent Miles

The first game of the FBS college football season kicks off tonight in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It will be the first of an action-packed week in the dome, which will later host Boise State and Ole Miss on Thursday and Alabama and West Virginia on Saturday. But tonight will see Georgia State get it all started with a home game against Abilene Christian, an FCS program. The Panthers are looking to pick up the first win on the football field in 683 days.

Georgia State is opening the 2014 season with plenty to look forward to. The young program is entering just the fifth season in program history. This season is the first the school is officially eligible for the FBS postseason, needing six wins to become bowl eligible. This is a big deal for the program, which was put on a fast track to the FBS in the realignment madness of the past few seasons. Getting a win against Abilene Christian would be a significant step in the right direction for the Panthers, coached by Trent Miles. Despite being a classification level above their opponent, Miles believes his program will be tested Wednesday night.

“Abilene Christian brings in a winning mentality because they’ve had eight straight winning seasons,” Miles said. “They’ll be just as talented, if not more talented, than we are, so it will be a battle.”

Georgia State is in the Sun Belt Conference, a conference that welcomes a couple of new members from the FCS this fall. Former FCS powers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern make the transition starting this season. I am not sure it would be appropriate to suggest Georgia State is a step ahead of either newcomer as far as the state of the programs are concerned, but the Panthers have been recruiting with the intention of being in the FBS longer than both FCS transfers. Either way, Georgia State getting to six wins may not be entirely out of the question this season, but a young defense is going to be put to the test along the way.

Whatever happens tonight, it is good to have college football back.

A helmet sticker to the Reddit community for the information.

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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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