LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster #9 of the USC Trojans catches the ball before carrying it into the zone on a 50 yard touchdown pass play in tthe first quarter against the Idaho Vandals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Three 2015 semifinalists highlight Biletnikoff Award watch list

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Another day, another watch list.

The latest to throw its hat into the preseason ring is the Biletnikoff Award, with the Tallahassee Quarterback Club announcing a watch list consisting of 53 receivers.  The Biletnikoff is named in honor of former Florida State All-American Fred Biletnikoff and has been handed out annually since 1994 to honor the outstanding receiver in college football.  It should be noted that the award states that “[a]ny player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back, and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award,” even as all 22 winners have been listed as wide receivers.

Three semifinalists for last year’s award, won by Baylor’s Corey Coleman, are on this year’s watch list — Washington State’s Gabe Marks, USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster and Western Kentucky’s Taywan Taylor.

The MAC leads all conferences with eight watch listers, followed by the ACC, Conference USA and SEC with seven each and the Big Ten with six.  The Pac-12, with two, has the least of any FBS conference, tied with the Sun Belt.

Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia State, Indiana, Louisiana Tech, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Western Kentucky all have two receivers each on the list.

Below is the complete 2016 Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list:

Rodney Adams, University of South Florida, SR.
Chance Allen, University of Houston, SR.
Marcell Ateman, Oklahoma State University, SR.
Josh Atkinson, University of Tulsa, RSR.
Devonte Boyd, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, JR.
KD Cannon, Baylor University, JR.
Jehu Chesson, University of Michigan, SR.
Simmie Cobbs Jr., Indiana University, JR.
Corey Davis, Western Michigan University, SR.
Robert Davis, Georgia State University, SR.
Gehrig Dieter, University of Alabama, RSR.
Malachi Dupre, Louisiana State University, JR.
Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech, JR.
Shelton Gibson, West Virginia University, RJR.
Chris Godwin, Pennsylvania State University, JR.
Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois University, RSR.
Penny Hart, Georgia State University, SO.
Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech University, RSO.
Hasaan Henderson, University of Nevada, SR.
Mack Hollins, University of North Carolina, SR.
Richie James, Middle Tennessee State University, RSO.
Isaiah Jones, East Carolina University, SR.
Ricky Jones, Indiana University, RSR.
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M University, SO.
Jesse Kroll, Central Michigan University, SR
Jerome Lane, University of Akron, JR.
Allen Lazard, Iowa State University, JR.
KeVonn Mabon, Ball State University, SR.
Gabe Marks, Washington State University, RSR.
Taquan Mizzell, University of Virginia, SR.
Ronnie Moore, Bowling Green State University, SR.
Drew Morgan, University of Arkansas, SR.
Nicholas Norris, Western Kentucky University, SR.
Zach Pascal, Old Dominion University, SR.
Brandon Reilly, University of Nebraska, SR.
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M University, SR.
Jerico Richardson, University of Nevada, SR.
Calvin Ridley, University of Alabama, SO.
Fred Ross, Mississippi State University, SR.
Travis Rudolph, Florida State University, JR.
Artavis Scott, Clemson University, SO.
Sebastian Smith, Ohio University, SR.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, University of Southern California, JR.
Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State University, SR.
Courtland Sutton, Southern Methodist University, SO.
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky University, SR.
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech University, JR.
Cody Thompson, University of Toledo, JR.
DJ Thompson, University of Southern Mississippi, RSR.
James Washington, Oklahoma State University, JR.
Jordan Westerkamp, University of Nebraska, SR.
Kermit Whitfield, Florida State University, SR.
Mike Williams, Clemson University, RJR.

Nick Saban’s dad ‘would’ve kicked me out of the house’ if he quit team

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 17:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide questions two flags on the field after a punt return touchdown against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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In Nick Saban‘s official response to quarterback Blake Barnett‘s abrupt departure from Alabama, the head coach described the program as “disappointed” in the impending transfer.

Unofficially? The Nicktator appears to be somewhat agitated by not only the move itself but the overall transfer climate in the sport.

Shortly after releasing the statement on Barnett, Saban appeared on his weekly radio show. While the quarterback’s name wasn’t specifically mentioned, it wasn’t hard to crack the code Saban was using in dropping pearls of wisdom from the lessons his West Virginia-born father had taught him.

From al.com‘s transcription of the interview:

It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit,” Saban said. “I think there’s a certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things that I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think if I would have come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he would have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have a place to stay.

“My dad used to always say ‘The grass is always greener on top of the septic tank,'” Saban said. “So it always looks better someplace else. So you think, instead of facing your fears and really overcoming adversity and making yourself better through the competition, you go someplace else thinking it will be better there. But until you face your fears, you’re always going to have some of those issues or problems.

Exactly what Saban’s father would’ve thought of his son leaving the Miami Dolphins after just two years and his first losing season as a head coach to make the move to Alabama is unknown.

No determination yet for ‘appropriate discipline’ of arrested ‘Bama LB

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 15: The flag girls of the Alabama Crimson Tide marching band perform before the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 15, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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An off-field incident involving one of his Alabama football players has drawn a public response from Nick Saban.

Very early Thursday morning, Tim Williams was arrested university police officers and charged with carrying a pistol without a permit. Williams and another unidentified male were sitting in the linebackers’ vehicle in a Publix parking lot when an officer who approached the vehicle smelled marijuana. A search revealed said marijuana, which the other man, who was seated in the driver’s seat, claimed; a gun was also found, which Williams claimed.

However, Williams could not produce a permit, leading to the misdemeanor charge.

In a statement, Saban said that “[t]his kind of behavior is not condoned in our program.” That said, the head coach was not ready to say one way or the other what if any punitive measures the senior may face.

“This kind of behavior is not condoned in our program,” the coach’s statement began. “We are currently in the process of reviewing all of the information. Once we have a complete understanding of the situation, we will determine what we need to do in terms of the appropriate discipline.”

Entering the 2016 season, Williams was viewed by many as a potential, or even likely, first-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He has just 1.5 sacks in four games this season after totaling 10.5 in 15 games in 2015.

Josh Sweat should be good to go for FSU vs. UNC

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 24: Josh Sweat #9 of the Florida State Seminoles runs with a first half interception against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Derwin James is still at least a couple of weeks or so away from returning from his injury, but Florida State will likely get a talented defensive player back on the field this weekend anyway.

When asked Thursday if defensive end Josh Sweat will be available for the North Carolina game this weekend, Jimbo Fisher responded, “oh yeah.” Sweat sustained a meniscus injury in practice leading up to the Louisville game in Week 3 and, after it limited him in that contest, underwent surgery to repair the damage shortly thereafter.

At the time, the prognosis for a return was 1-2 weeks. Sweat missed the win over USF last weekend, but could see the field this weekend as he’s practiced the past couple of days.

“Healing really well, looks great” Fisher said in quotes distributed by the team. “We’ll see [Friday] morning, but [the knee] looks great.”

Sweat started nine of 13 games as a true freshman last season, and started the first two games in 2016 before the knee issue surfaced.

Greg Ward Jr., to Heisman voters: ‘Psssttt, I’m still here, don’t forget’

Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. (1) runs past Connecticut defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi, left, en route to a 30-yard touchdown in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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Deservedly so, most of the Heisman focus these first four-plus weeks of the 2016 season has been squarely on Lamar Jackson and the stunningly phenomenal season the Louisville quarterback is putting together. There are others, though, who merit mention.

Case in point? Greg Ward Jr.

In No. 6 Houston’s Thursday night 42-14 romp over UConn, the quarterback completed just over 84 percent of his passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 65 yards and two scores for good measure. The win was the Cougars’ eighth in a row, with the last loss coming Nov. 21 of last year to… these very same Huskies.

On at least one occasion in avenging the loss, though, Ward Jr.’s sterling completion percentage got a little help from one of his receiving friends.

The latest virtuoso performance, which included his third 300-yard passing game of the season, pushed Ward Jr. to 1,503 yards of offense (1,325 passing, 178 rushing) and 13 total touchdowns (eight passing, five rushing) in four games while also battling a lingering shoulder issue. For comparison’s sake, and you know we’re not alone in doing so, Jackson will enter Week 5 with a statistical ledger that’s straight from a teenager’s video game: 1,856 yards of total offense and a ridiculous 25 total touchdowns in his four games.

While it’s still quite a ways down the road, Ward’s Cougars and Jackson’s Cardinals will square off in what’s shaping up to be a monumental mid-November Thursday night game that could go a long way in determining not only the Heisman race, but helping to shape the playoff picture as well.  In between, voters, don’t forget about the kid from Houston.