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Ex-Bama WR Chris Black to stay in SEC, play at Mizzou

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Chris Black may have left Alabama, but he’s not leaving the SEC.

As he did when he announced his decision on Twitter to leave Alabama back in December, Black took to the same social media website to announce his landing spot, revealing in a tweet that he will continue his playing career at Missouri.  Because he’ll join the Tigers as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

This upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

Black was fifth on the team in 2014 with 15 receptions for 188 yards.  With the departures of Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones, Black was the Tide’s leading returning wide receiver.  However, he caught just two passes for 23 yards this past season due to a combination of the emergence of transfer Richard Mullaney (54-600-4) and true freshman Calvin Ridley (75-893-5) as well as an ankle injury.

A four-star member of Alabama’s 2012 recruiting class, Black was rated as the No. 8 receiver in the country; the No. 11 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 58 player overall by Rivals.com.

Three from Big 12 headline Biletnikoff Award semifinalists

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Three wide receivers from the Big 12 are among the 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award this season. Baylor’s Corey Coleman, TCU’s Josh Doctson and Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard were among the 10 semifinalists for the award, which were revealed Tuesday morning by The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation.

The 2015 Biletnikoff Award Semifinalists

Fans are now encouraged to cast their vote to help determine the three finalists for the award. by casting a fanvote online by November 22. The top three receivers receiving votes will each be given one official vote toward determining the finalists for the award by the award’s national selection committee. The winner will be announced on December 10 during the college football awards show on ESPN. Former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard will announce the winner.

Last year’s winner was Alabama’s Amari Cooper. The last Big 12 player to win the award was Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, who won back-to-back awards in 2010 and 2011 to join Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree (2007, 2008) as the only two-time winners.

CFT 2015 Preseason Preview: SEC Predictions

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As the 2015 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we will be examining the home of the defending national champion, the Big Ten. 

And while we’re at it, check out some of our other Power Five conference predictions HERE (ACC), HERE (Big 12) and HERE (Big Ten) as the CFT team continues to take its month-long glimpse of the upcoming season.

SEC EAST

1. Georgia (10-3; beat Louisville in Belk Bowl)
There is one certainty when it comes to the East: UGA will not finish lower than third, a low-water benchmark for each of Mark Richt‘s 14 seasons in Athens that has included five division titles — none since 2012, though.  They return the most talent of any team in the division, although the fact that they opted for Grayson Lambert as the starting quarterback has me second-guessing my prediction.  It’s been a decade since UGA’s last SEC championship, and if they’re going to get back to that level they’ll have to do so with a schedule that includes both Alabama and Auburn as well as a road trip to Tennessee.  Still, anything less than an East title and a spot in the SEC championship game would be decidedly disappointing — and would lead to yet another offseason of “is it time to go in another direction?” speculation.

2. Tennessee (7-6; beat Iowa in Taxslayer Bowl)
Am I a year early with this lofty projection?  Possibly, especially given the team right below them.  Still, there’s no denying that Butch Jones has stuffed his talent cupboard after the barren years under his predecessor, Derek Dooley.  The Vols closed out last year on a positive note, going 4-1 down the stretch — the lone loss coming by eight to Mizzou — capping it off with an impressive 45-28 win over the Hawkeyes in the bowl game.  That final flourish coincided with Josh Dobbs‘ ascension as the starting quarterback.  With the scintillating playmaker poised to build off his first season at this level, the Vols could very well challenge both UGA and Mizzou for East supremacy.

3. Missouri (11-3; beat Minnesota in Citrus Bowl)
“Here we go again, denigrating the two-time defending East champion Tigers.” — the two Mizzou fans who frequent this site, probably.  And, actually, that’s an understandable reaction, given how the Tigers have been the class of the division the past two seasons.  They’re also one of the few teams in the conference that returns its starting quarterback.  Still, there are concerns along the defensive line — they return just five starters on that side of the ball, period — and their schedule doesn’t do them very many favors as they play at Georgia and Arkansas as well as play host to Mississippi State.  It wouldn’t shock me, though, if Mizzou made it three straight titles.  In fact, the only thing that would shock the system is if they finish outside the top three in the division.

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Marcus Mariota wins Heisman Trophy, first in Oregon history

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Thirteen years after Oregon incorrectly identified quarterback Joey Harrington as “Joey Heisman” on a gigantic billboard in the middle of Times Square, the school finally received the recognition it so sorely craved long ago.

The Ducks’ current quarterback, Marcus Mariota, became the runaway winner for the 2014 Heisman Memorial Trophy.

For weeks leading up to the presentation of the award by the Downtown Athletic Club at the Best Buy Theater in New York City, the question wasn’t whether or not Mariota would claim the hardware. His coronation was inevitable. Would it be a landslide victory, though?

Voters answered that question with the highest percentage of votes in Heisman Trophy history. And the Oregon product deserved to win in such a fashion. Mariota has been as good this season as any quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy since 2000.

The quarterback posted absurd numbers during his junior campaign. Mariota completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 3,783 yards, 38 touchdowns and a minuscule two interceptions.  He also led the nation in passing efficiency (186.3) and yards per pass (10.17).  The dual-threat signal-caller even ran for 669 yards and 14 more touchdowns.

Along the way, Mariota shattered Oregon records and became the Pac-12 Conference’s all-time leader in touchdowns account for.

Mariota’s victory isn’t simply important for Oregon football. It’s a major step in the right direction for an entire region.

Ten previous Heisman Trophy winners played for west coast schools. Seven of those came from USC. A Heisman Trophy in Eugene takes Oregon’s program to another level. And Mariota is the first player from the Hawaiian Islands to be honored.

Oregon should consider honoring Mariota in the same way the school once prematurely anointed Harrington: