Auburn v Clemson

Rimington Trophy next to release spring watch list

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And then there were two (of many).

A handful of days after the Lott IMPACT Trophy became the first to release its spring watch list, the Rimington Trophy has done the same, announcing Monday an initial group of 64 players to watch.  There are two finalists for last year’s award on this year’s watch list: Auburn’s Reese Dismukes (pictured) and Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu.

Of the 64 players, 38 are seniors.  There are 22 juniors on the list and just four sophomores.

All 10 conferences at the FBS level are represented, paced by 11 from the SEC.  The Big Ten is next with 10, followed by seven from the ACC, six apiece from the AAC, Mountain West and Pac-12 and five each from the Big 12 and the MAC.  Conference USA and the Sun Belt had four and one, respectively, while three players from independent programs are recognized.

Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at Nebraska (1981 and 1982), during which time he became the Outland Trophy’s only two-time winner as the nation’s best interior lineman.

Last year’s winner was Florida State’s Bryan Stork.

After the jump you’ll find the complete 2014 Rimington Trophy spring watch list.

Alex Mateas Connecticut RS Senior 6’4 309
Alex Huettel Bowling Green RS Junior 6’3 292
Andy Gallik Boston College Junior 6’3 302
Artie Rowell Pittsburgh Junior 6’2 305
Austin Reiter USF Senior 6’3 286
Austin Barron Florida State Senior 6’3 292
Austin Blythe Iowa Junior 6’3 290
B.J. Finney Kansas State Senior 6’4 303
Betim Bujari Rutgers Senior 6’4 295
Braden Lyons Florida Atlantic Senior 6’5 295
Brandon Vitabile Northwestern Senior 6’3 300
Bryce Redman Houston Senior 6’1 285
Bryce Giddens Arkansas State Junior 5’11 300
Chris Jasperse Marshall Senior 6’4 289
Cody Waldrop South Carolina RS Soph 6’2 315
Collin Rahrig Indiana RS Senior 6’2 290
Dan Voltz Wisconsin Soph 6’3 313
David Peterson San Jose State Senior 6’5 297
David Andrews Georgia Senior 6’2 295
Deyshawn Bond Cincinnati Soph 6’2 296
Dillon Day Mississippi State Senior 6’4 300
Dominic Espinosa Texas Senior 6’4 305
Donald Senat FIU Senior 6’2 285
Dylan Foxworth Tulsa RS Senior 6’2 265
Edward Fusi BYU Senior 6’0 317
Elliot Porter LSU Senior 6’4 300
Evan Boehm Missouri Junior 6’3 315
Graham Shuler Stanford Junior 6’4 282
Greg Mancz Toledo Senior 6’5 300
Hroniss Grasu Oregon Senior 6’3 297
Isaac Seumalo Oregon State Junior 6’3 305
Jack Allen Michigan State Junior 6’1 297
Jake Smith Louisville Senior 6’3 307
Jake Brendel UCLA Junior 6’4 285
Joe Townsend Vanderbilt Senior 6’4 310
Joey Grant UCF RS Junior 6’2 291
Joey Hunt TCU Junior 6’3 295
Jon Toth Kentucky Soph 6’5 298
Jon Hoffing Western Mich. Senior 6’4 285
Jordan Smith San Diego State Junior 6’5 285
Kyle Friend Temple Junior 6’2 305
LaMar Bratton New Mexico Senior 6’0 291
Mark Pelini Nebraska Senior 6’0 290
Matt Skura Duke RS Junior 6’4 290
Matt Galas Nevada Senior 6’1 280
Max Garcia Florida RS Senior 6’4 311
Michael Husar Air Force Junior 6’0 275
Mike Criste Washington Senior 6’6 318
Mike Matthews Texas A&M Junior 6’2 285
Nick Beamish Central Mich. Senior 6’3 310
Nick Martin Notre Dame Senior 6’4.5 295
Reese Dismukes Auburn Senior 6’3 297
Robert Kugler Purdue Junior 6’3 290
Robert Waterman UNLV Senior 6’2 290
Ryan Norton Clemson Junior 6’3 280
Ryan Kelly Alabama Junior 6’5 296
Sal Conaboy Maryland Senior 6’4 290
Shane McDermott Miami Senior 6’4 296
Steven Gurrola Arizona Senior 6’2 291
Taylor Lasecki SMU Junior 6’3 296
Tommy Olson Minnesota Senior 6’4 301
Ty Darlington Oklahoma Junior 6’2 298
Tom Farniok Iowa State Senior 6’4 300
Valeria Ume-Ezeoke New Mexico State Senior 6’2 285


Why Steve Spurrier retired, as told by Steve Spurrier

Steve Spurrier

When Steve Spurrier abruptly retired in October, most stopped to reminisce about a true college football original’s career come to a sudden, but not unexpected end. But others pointed out that Spurrier essentially quit on his team in the middle of a tough season. It was an easy take and, hey, it’s not like the Old Ball Coach himself wouldn’t have said something if Mark Richt had done something similar.

In a letter provided to The State, Spurrier reasoned his retirement truly was better for the team, that the team played better without him around and that his presence would’ve generated speculation that would have suffocated the rest of the season.

Considering the Gamecocks lost to The Citadel, one has every reason to doubt that claim. But it’s the one Spurrier is going with.

The letter in full:

In the last few years when asked how much longer I plan to coach, I have said often that if our team is going in the wrong direction I need to resign and allow someone else to take over as head coach here. After six games, we were 2-4 with two blow-outs by Georgia and LSU. We were behind at halftime against UCF (a team that went 0-12 this year). We were definitely going in the wrong direction. I felt that I was doing a lousy job as head coach and a change would help our team become more competitive.

I told our team after I resigned that they needed new leadership, new enthusiasm and a new plan. By stepping aside, this allowed Shawn Elliott the opportunity to change our direction, change our attitude, and hopefully, he could be named head coach after the season. If this happens, some of our assistant coaches would be retained, and this was a major reason for me to get out of the way. Also, by resigning, I forfeited the buyout clause in my contract that saved our university three million dollars.

I certainly believe, as the media has said, that our team played better after I resigned. Shawn Elliott did an excellent job getting this team prepared to play with enthusiasm and effort the rest of our season. Unfortunately, the close games turned into close losses.

When I mentioned I may coach again, I meant possibly as a volunteer coach at a high school. After thirty years as a head coach, I positively know that my head coaching career is finished.

I understand the critics have asked why I didn’t announce I was retiring at the end of the season, as some other coaches have done. I felt that if I had done this, I would have been a distraction throughout the remainder of the season about my last game everywhere I went. I did not want a “Spurrier Farewell Tour.” The players deserve to be the story of each game. Also, it would have prevented Shawn Elliott, a coach that has loved the South Carolina Gamecocks his whole life, from getting the shot to be the interim head coach, with the possibility of becoming the Head Coach here.

When a coach gets fired, the change is often good and helpful to the team. Miami was 4-3 when Al Golden was fired, and the interim head coach went 4-1. Randy Edsall was 2-4 at Maryland when fired and his replacement got the team playing better. Clay Helton, the interim coach at the other USC, was recently named head coach as they went 5-2 under his watch.

Our university was not going to fire me, so I thought it was best for our team that I basically fire myself by resigning. The players have enjoyed playing for Coach Elliott and again the media has said the team has performed better after I resigned.

Thanks to all Gamecocks for allowing me to be your coach for over ten years. My wife Jerri and I will always be thankful and appreciative to the University of South Carolina for this opportunity.


Steve Spurrier

Top four remains same in penultimate College Football Playoff rankings

Bob Stoops

The penultimate College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night and the top four remained the same from last week. Michigan State sits at fifth, meaning Saturday’s Big Ten Championship is officially a national quarterfinal.

Stanford, heading into this week’s Pac-12 Championship, checked in at No. 7, while party-crasher-to-be North Carolina jumped from No. 14 to No. 10.

Ohio State checks in at No. 6, but Stanford seems primed to pass the Buckeyes with a win over No. 20 USC. Getting into the top four, however, would require a loss by No. 1 Clemson or No. 2 Alabama. No. 3 Oklahoma is seemingly in the playoff with a completed 11-1 regular season.

TCU moved one spot ahead of Baylor after a rain-soaked double overtime win over the Bears on Friday night.

Houston, USC and LSU moved back into the rankings, while Tennessee joined the party for the first time this year.

Tuesday night’s release was the final dress rehearsal of the 2015 season; the next time we hear from the CFP selection committee will be to announce the four semifinal selections.

But while these are the second-to-last set of rankings, we can ask 2014 TCU about how much they ultimately mean.

The full rankings:

1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Iowa
5. Michigan State
6. Ohio State
7. Stanford
8. Notre Dame
9. Florida State
10. North Carolina
11. TCU
12. Baylor
13. Ole Miss
14. Northwestern
15. Michigan
16. Oregon
17. Oklahoma State
18. Florida
19. Houston
20. USC
21. LSU
22. Temple
23. Navy
24. Utah
25. Tennessee

Dabo Swinney wins ACC Coach of the Year award

Dabo Swinney

When you go undefeated, people tend to give you awards.

In the wake of Clemson’s first perfect regular season, its first since 1981, head coach and pizza party patron Dabo Swinney was named the ACC’s top coach on Tuesday.

Swinney received 27 of the 50 available votes, edging North Carolina’s Larry Fedora (21). Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi each gobbled up one of the two remaining votes.

Aaron Brenner of the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier notes Swinney is due a $25,000 bonus for winning the award.

Win or lose, Dabo Swinney throwing pizza party for Clemson on Sunday

Dabo Swinney, Jim Brown
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Clemson’s 12-0 regular season will be celebrated Sunday, whether or not the Tigers win Saturday night’s ACC Championship.

“We’re gonna have a pizza party on Sunday. That’s gonna happen,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney pledged Tuesday to the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier, following through on an off-hand comment made a few weeks back. “It’s kind of hard to plan for a pizza party when you don’t know the outcome. We’re not going to know that until midnight — that’s a lot of dough.”

It’s unclear if Swinney’s last statement was meant literally or figuratively or both.

Either way, Clemson said it will provide at least 2,500 Papa John’s pizzas, which will be distributed for free upon admittance to Memorial Stadium. Assuming a Tigers win over North Carolina, gates will open at 11 a.m. in advance of the noon ET College Football Playoff selection show.

But the party will go on regardless of Saturday night’s result.

“Regardless of whether we win or lose the game Saturday night, this team deserves to be celebrated.”