Alabama looks to jump off to a good start in the 2014 season and establish a case for early consideration for the College Football Playoff. The first opponent will be West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, a city that has been the setting for a number of wins for the Crimson Tide in recent years. On Monday, the game was given an official kickoff time, with a 3:30 p.m. eastern start time being set for a national telecast on ABC.
West Virginia announced the kickoff time in the spring game wrap up on its athletics website.
West Virginia will play its first game in Atlanta since facing Georgia in the re-located Sugar Bowl in 2006. That year’s Sugar Bowl was moved to Atlanta because the Superdome in New Orleans was still unfit for hosting a football game following Hurricane Katrina. The Mountaineers won the game, 38-35. Alabama has been a much more frequent visitor to Atlanta of course, having played in multiple Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games and SEC Championship Games in recent seasons. Alabama played in the first two Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games in 2008 and 2009, handily defeating Clemson and Virginia Tech by a combined score of 68-34. Alabama again trounced Virginia Tech in the game last season, winning 35-10. West Virginia will be the first Big 12 school to play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Until now, the opponents have come from either the ACC or SEC with the exception of Boise State in 2011.
Helmet sticker to Al.com.
Edit: It was originally written West Virginia had not played in Atlanta since a 1981 Peach Bowl, but the 2005 season’s Sugar Bowl was moved to Atlanta. West Virginia faced Georgia that year in the transplanted bowl game.
Before you SEC fans throw your tomatoes at the screen, remember this: it’s not news when the Pac-12 gets shut out of Top 8.
But it hasn’t been a good day so far for the SEC. After losing the Great Satellite War of 2016 earlier today, the SEC saw eight picks come and go until one of its own had his name called. It was the longest drought to open the draft since 2006, when Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler was the league’s top pick at No. 11.
The full list:
- Los Angeles Rams — Jared Goff, California
- Philadelphia Eagles — Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
- San Diego Chargers — Joey Bosa, Ohio State
- Dallas Cowboys — Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
- Jacksonville Jaguars — Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
- Baltimore Ravens — Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
- San Francisco 49ers — DeForest Buckner, Oregon
- Tennessee Titans — Jack Conklin, Michigan State
- Chicago Bears — Leonard Floyd, Georgia
And, yes, Laremy Tunsil‘s free fall surely had a lot to do with it.
Another milestone has already been hit as Bosa and Elliott became the first teammates to go in the top five since Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy and Trent Williams all went in the top four in 2010.
As expected, the Los Angeles Rams selected California quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft Thursday night in Chicago, thereby re-launching their franchise with a new face to lead the club to glory — and all that good stuff.
We’re here to examine the college implications of Goff as the No. 1 pick, of which there are many. Cue the minutiae!
– Goff is California’s first No. 1 overall selection since Steve Bartkowski, also a quarterback, went to the Atlanta Falcons in 1975.
– He’s the second Pac-12 No. 1 overall pick in the last four years, the first since Stanford’s Andrew Luck went to the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. The last before him? USC’s Carson Palmer to the Bengals in 2003.
– Goff is the Pac-12’s 16th overall No. 1 pick; 11 of those 16 have been quarterbacks. The last non-quarterback Pac-12 player to go No. 1 overall was USC wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson to the New York Jets in 1996.
– Goff is the 14th quarterback to go No. 1 overall since Peyton Manning‘s selection in 1998. All other positions combined? Five. Each of those five players played on the offensive or defensive line. Coincidentally, Johnson is also the last skill player to hear his name called first overall.
– Each of the last three No. 1 picks (Jadeveon Clowney, Jameis Winston, Goff) was an early-entry.
– The Power 5 conference with the longest No. 1 pick drought: the Big Ten. No Big Ten player has been the NFL’s top pick since Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long went No. 1 to the Miami Dolphins in 2008.
As some of his pupils move on to greener pastures this weekend, it appears Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis is on his way out of Tuscaloosa as well.
Andrew Bone and Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News reported Thursday evening Davis is expected to resign or be fired after the school has opened an inquiry into possible violations on the recruiting trail. The nature of the violations was not revealed, but the NCAA has made “multiple” investigations into the matter and Alabama has opened its own corresponding inquiry.
Davis is a longtime Saban lieutenant, first working under him with the Miami Dolphins, then following him to Tuscaloosa as part of Saban’s original Alabama staff. Davis left for Texas in 2010 and spent a year at USC before returning to the Tide in 2014.
Alabama’s defensive line was nothing short of outstanding last season, providing the bedrock to Saban’s fourth national champion. The Tide led the nation with 52 sacks, ranked fifth with 108 tackles for loss and posted a national-best 75.73 yards per game rushing defense.
Davis’s contract runs through 2017 and pays him $475,000 annually.
It’s no secret that ESPN is the front door to the college sports world, and any league that doesn’t have a foothold on the Worldwide Leader faces a serious uphill climb for coverage. See: Conference USA.
C-USA currently splits its rights between Fox Sports 1, CBS Sports Network and the American Sports Network and, unless you happen to be a fan of one of the league’s 14 teams, you probably didn’t see a game before bowl season. But that could change soon.
The conference’s television deals expire at the end of June, and Harry Minium of the Virginian-Pilot reported ESPN has become a “late but serious bidder” for a portion of the C-USA package.
A change in partners would be well received by C-USA on two fronts. First, it’s ESPN. Second, the conference isn’t raking it in as is. Minium reported Old Dominion has planned for a drop in television revenue of $600,000 to $700,000 this fall — up from the originally anticipated fall of $500,000. And ODU only received $1 million last year to begin with. The drop can be attributed to the exodus of high-wattage programs — Houston, Memphis, East Carolina — to the AAC, allowing Fox and CBS to pay below the agreed amount. Exit fees had subsidized the loss in revenue, but those funds are running dry.
Conference USA declined to comment on the state of the negotiations, but five games have already been moved to weeknights — indicated back-channel negotiations are well under way.
That Old Dominion (and, presumably, other C-USA schools) could make only $300,000 on TV rights from an entire year is, in a word, shocking. In a world where the Big Ten could secure half a billion dollars over six years for half its package, this is a nice reminder that that world isn’t open to everyone.