Archie Manning

College football continues growing at multiple levels

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This fall college football will be played on more campuses than ever before thanks to the addition of five programs, including two at the NCAA Division II level.

According to the National Football Foundation, the addition of Cincinnati Christian University, Davenport University (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Morthland College (West Frankfort, Ill.), the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (Odessa) and the University of West Florida (Pensacola), there will be 774 college football teams in 2016, the most on record.

West Florida and UT-Permian Basin are in the NCAA’s Division II while CCU and Davenport are in the NAIA and Morthland College’s affiliation is TBA.

The schools come from three distinct regions of the country, including football hotbeds of Florida, Texas and Ohio.

If the name and town of the newest college football program in Texas ring a bell, there’s good reason. Odessa is the home of the Permian Panthers, the high school program immortalized in H.G. Bissinger’s 1990 book, Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream.

Per the NFF, three more programs are set to come online next year, including the return of UAB as a member of Conference USA in the FBS.

“With more than one million high school students playing football and more than 70,000 spots on college teams, there is plenty of room for expansion,” said NFF chairman Archie Manning in a statement. “Many of these colleges clearly recognize that football can play an important role in encouraging students to continue their educations by enticing them to enroll.”

Last year saw the addition of four new programs, including FCS members East Tennessee State and Kennesaw State (Georgia).

In all, 42 programs have launched at various levels since 2010.

Deshaun Watson earns Manning Award as nation’s top QB

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Late last night, Dabo Swinney took home honors as the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year.  A day later, a player who was instrumental in the Clemson head coach’s 2015 success has been honored as well.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl announced Thursday that true sophomore Deshaun Watson has been awarded the Manning Award, given annually to the nation’s top quarterback.  The award, named in honor of the quarterbacking Mannings — Archie, Peyton and Eli — is the only one to take into account a player’s performance in the postseason.

There were 11 other finalists for this year’s trophy: Brandon Allen (Arkansas), Trevone Boykin (TCU), Connor Cook (Michigan State), Brandon Doughty (Western Kentucky), Kevin Hogan (Stanford), Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Paxton Lynch (Memphis), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), Keenan Reynolds (Navy) and Greg Ward, Jr., (Houston).

“We are honored to present this year’s Manning Award to Deshaun Watson,” Archie Manning said in a statement. “Deshaun led his team to a perfect regular season and then an impressive win in the Playoff Semifinal before his 478-yard performance in the national championship. He may not have won the title but he showed the world what an outstanding talent he is and what a tremendous competitor he is.”

Watson, a consensus All-American and Heisman finalist, becomes the third player from the ACC to win the Manning, joining Boston College’s Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007) and Florida State’s Jameis Winston (2013).

Hall of Fame announces 16-member 2016 class

UNLV athletics
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As has become customary this time of the year, the College Football Hall of Fame has announced yet another class on its way to enshrinement.

Friday afternoon in Arizona, the National Football Foundation announced that is 16 individuals strong — 14 players, two head coaches.  The NFF stated that “[t]he inductees were selected from the national ballot of 76 All-America players and five elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 92 players and 27 coaches from the divisional ranks.”

Of the 14 players on their way to induction, 11 came from the FBS level — 10 from Power Five programs — while the other three hail from the likes of Nebraska-Omaha (quarterback Marlin Briscoe), Harvard (punter Pat McInally) and Ashland (OH) (linebacker Bill Royce). Both of the coaches set for enshrinement come from non-FBS programs — New Hampshire’s Bill Bowes and Frank Girardi of Lycoming (Pa.).

Below are the complete list of individuals who will officially be inducted during a ceremony Dec. 6 in New York City:

Marlin Briscoe – QB, Nebraska Omaha (1964-67)
Derrick Brooks – LB, Florida State (1991-94)
Tom Cousineau – LB, Ohio State (1975-78)
Randall Cunningham – P/QB, UNLV (1982-84)
Troy Davis – TB, Iowa State (1994-96)
William Fuller – DT, North Carolina (1981-83)
Bert Jones – QB, LSU (1970-72)
Tim Krumrie – DL, Wisconsin (1979-82)
Pat McInally – TE, Harvard (1972-74)
Herb Orvis – DE, Colorado (1969-71)
Bill Royce – LB, Ashland (Ohio) (1990-93)
Mike Utley – OG, Washington State (1985-88)
Scott Woerner – DB, Georgia (1977-80)
Rod Woodson – DB, Purdue (1983-86)

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.”

Now, for those who are wondering — and are pissed off because Player X from Y State University isn’t on his way to enshrinement — below are the Hall of Fame’s ofttimes controversial rules for induction:

1. First and foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.

2. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s honors courts ten years after his final year of intercollegiate football played.

3. While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and fellow man. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.

4. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2016 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1966 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

5. A coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.

* Players that do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.