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Marcus Mariota’s successor at Oregon will not be named today

Jeff Lockie

The Oregon Ducks, defending Pac-12 champions and College Football Playoff contender, will wrap up the spring practice schedule today in Autzen Stadium with the annual spring game (with some nice uniforms). Just days after seeing former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Marcus Mariota be selected with the second overall pick by the Tennessee Titans, the question of who will ultimately replace Mariota in Eugene will be one popular question for head coach Mark Helfrich today. It also will not be likely to be answered definitively, which makes sense.

Earlier this week Helfrich joined his Pac-12 coaching fraternity for a spring conference call with the media. Asked about the quarterback situation, Helfrich said there is no timetable for when a decision will be made.

“I think ideally you are making that decision a week and a half before the first game,” Helfrich said, per The Oregonian. “The way you ramp up and build through fall camp, we are installing and doing different things. You want to put each of them in the best position to compete and play to their strengths. They you have a week and a half to prepare for that first game, that would be an ideal situation.”

The candidates to replace Mariota as Oregon’s next starting quarterback are Jeff Lockie, Taylor Alie, Morgan Mahalak, Travis Jonsen (he changed his name)and Ty Griffin right now, but FCS transfer Vernon Adams from Eastern Washington will join the program later this summer. Lockie and Adams are widely considered to be the top two candidates in the running, and Adams will get his chance to make his case once he arrives this summer.

As is the case at many college football programs in the spring, the quarterback question may have to wait. Lockie could put together by far the best spring performance today, but until Adams gets his chance to prove what he can do, Helfrich is wise to hold off on any decisions until much closer to the start of the season. This will be the first time Helfrich will be charged with naming a starting quarterback as well after taking over the program following Chip Kelly left for the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he is currently attempting to build the Pac-12 All-Stars through the draft and offseason roster moves.

Helfrich inherited Mariota as his starter, so now Helrich gets to choose his quarterback.

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SEC McGriddles, are you lovin’ it?

Protesters Put Pressure On Fast Food Restaurants To Not Use Meat With Inappropriate Antibiotics Getty Images

Sometimes when you are on the road in the morning you might get a craving for a quick stop at McDonald’s for an egg McMuffin with sausage. We’ve al been there, right? If you happen to live in the SEC footprint, McDonalds locations areadvertising the sausage, egg and cheese McGriddle as the SEC McGiddle.

Charles Bloom, Senior Associate Athletics Director at University of South Carolina, caught a McDonald’s message board advertising the SEC McGriddle, and shared the image on his Instagram account.

SEC McGriddles

McDonald’s usually imprints the top of the McGriddle with the McDonald’s arches. Replacing that with something that would imprint any SEC logo would be pretty simple, so why has that not happened yet?

Also, what could a B1G McGriddle be? Bacon would seem obvious. Good luck with the “1” and the “G.”

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Vols spring winners dine like kings, losers not so much

Baked beans

The stakes were high at the Tennessee spring game last month. As some programs do with the annual spring game, the winners are treated to a feast while the losers are given a far less elaborate menu. But hey, in the end free food is still free food. Right?

At Tennessee, Butch Jones rewarded the players on the winning team with a steak dinner, complete with potatoes, pasta and fresh vegetables and chocolate chip cookies for dessert and more. The losers? Spaghetti O’s and baked beans.

 

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Florida State once again proving to be an NFL factory

Jameis Winston

Before the third day of the NFL Draft gets underway, three rounds have shown once again just what kind of NFL factory Florida State is. No school has had more players drafted in the NFL Draft through three rounds than the Seminoles, with six players being drafted in the first two days of the draft. Quarterback Jameis Winston highlights the selections as the number one overall pick from Tampa Bay.

Joining Winston as NFL Draft picks are offensive lineman Cameron Erving (1st round, 19th pick, Cleveland), defensive end Mario Edwards (2nd, 35th, Oakland), defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (2nd, 39th, Chicago), cornerback Ronald Darby (2nd, 50th, Buffalo) and cornerback P.J. Williams (3rd, 78th, New Orleans). Florida State is aiming to set a new three-year NFL Draft record for total picks. As noted by Tomahawk Nation, Florida State will need five more players drafted by NFL teams in the final four rounds to pass the mark of 28 drafted players previously set by Miami (2002-2004) and USC (2008-2010).

Speaking of Miami, the Hurricanes are represented quite well so far as well. Al Golden’s program has sent five players through the draft already, leading some to wonder why Miami was not better in the win total last fall. The same questions were asked of Washington, with four players drafted in the first three rounds. Miami and Stanford are tied for second-most draft picks so far with five each. Washington is tied with Florida, Oregon, Missouri and Louisville.

A few annual NFL factories from the SEC are lagging behind the competition, at least relatively. Alabama has had three players drafted so far, and LSU and Georgia each have had two. After being shut out of the draft last year, Texas is on the board with two drafted players. Ohio State has had two players drafted, but none in the first round. All that really means is the Buckeyes are going to be loaded in the fall, but we already knew that. We are still waiting for the first player from Notre Dame.

What about the conferences? The Pac-12 holds the lead so far with 25 players drafted in three rounds. The SEC is sitting in second place with 22 players, and the ACC is holding strong with 20 players as well. The Big Ten has had 15 players and that is more than twice the number of players from the Big 12 (7). We have had a handful of players from Group of Five conferences and small schools drafted so far as well. The American Athletic Conference (2), Mountain West Conference (2), Conference USA (1), MAC (1) and Sun Belt (1) all have been represented. So has the Missouri Valley Conference, Southern Conference, and the Division 3 Liberty League, each with one player drafted.

What will the story of the final day of the draft be? Can Florida State set the new three-year draft record? Will the Pac-12 reign supreme with total draft picks? What small school prospects will make a name for their programs and conferences?

We’ll find out later today.

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Another NIU player caught a pass while doing a backflip

Jordan Williams, Marlon Moore

What are they putting in the water at Northern Illinois? Whatever it is, it has Huskies players making some incredible catches on the practice field.

Earlier this week we were given a glimpse of wide receiver Aregeros Turner catching a football while simultaneously leaping in the air to do a backflip. But apparently he is not the only NIU player capable of such a feat.

Behold, safety Marlon Moore getting in on the act…

MACtion, it would seem, is always in season.

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Colorado’s new uniform combos includes silver football helmet

Colorado 2015 uniforms

The word was Colorado was preparing to update their football uniforms for 2015, and Friday the Buffs gave the world a look at their new uniform selections. For the most part, they are pretty darn slick.

Have a look at the full arsenal, highlighted by four different helmets to choose from (including a silver helmet)…

First thing’s first, Nike did Colorado well with these uniforms. There is nothing that is too extreme or far-fetched compared to the traditional look for the football program. The addition of the silver helmet is actually a nice nod to the program’s past and might actually look good paired with the regular black home uniform.

But can we talk a moment about gray uniforms? What is it about gray that is so appealing? Nothing! Television became better and more visually appealing when we moved from black-and-white video to color, so what is it about college football uniforms that for some unknown reason demands gray? I just do not get it. Gray is a boring color. When I see anything in gray, I’m immediately tuning out. So please, let’s bring an end to this gray uniform fad going around college football. For what it is worth, Nike and Colorado are calling it dark steel gray, and apparently it was added to the school’s color scheme in 2007. Whatever. It looks dumb.

Well, it could be worse

Anyway, Colorado should look good in their regular golden-colored helmets and the alternative white helmet should look good too. The black helmet is a bit of a fad as well, but at least it goes with Colorado’s regular color scheme so this is far from a uniform violation.

What do you think about Colorado’s new uniform?

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Oregon’s spring game military appreciation uniforms are fantastic

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Oregon, the kings and true innovators of the college football uniform world, will be suiting up in a unique look Saturday afternoon for the spring game. The Ducks, closing out spring practices a tad later than most, will be playing the spring game in uniforms specifically designed to honor the military. As you might expect, these Oregon uniforms have a unique spin on the tribute, and it looks awesome.

The uniforms, designed by Nike of course, salute those in the U.S. Armed Forces that have served to protect the state of Oregon. The features, as explained by Oregon;

  • The familiar “Salute The Day” neck patch features the silhouette of the Ducks’ Autzen Stadium with blue, red and silver chrome.
  • The left sleeve patch reflects the form of a traditional service ribbon, and showcases the Ducks’ 2015 season opponent school colors in order of game schedule. The 12-pointed star within the ribbons represents the Pac-12 Conference teams.
  • An embroidered American flag appears on the right shoulder of the home and away jersey. The reverse side flag reflects the same placement on U.S. Armed Forces uniforms with the star field facing forward.
  • The phrase “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” is embroidered inside the back of the neck.

OK, but how do they look? Pretty sweet.

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Photos credit: Oregon Athletics.

 

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Somebody actually asked Jameis Winston if he’s ready to be under a microscope

Jameis Winston

For those of you who have not been paying attention the last couple of years, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has won the Heisman Trophy, won ACC conference championships, a national championship, and led his team to an appearance in the College Football Playoff. He has been a household name while going through all of those achievements. Winston has been the focus of various off-the-field situations ranging in severity from stolen soda in ketchup cups to grocery store crab legs to being accused of sexual assault. Winston has been the center of attention for one of the top college football programs in the last few seasons and he has handled it all with a smile, which some have had problems with from time to time for whatever reason.

On Thursday night Winston was named the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and this afternoon he made his first appearance in front of the Tampa media after signing his contract, which led to one reporter to ask the new franchise quarterback one of the most ridiculous questions Winston has faced to this point.

Could not have said it better. If there are any doubts about whether or not Winston is ready to be put under a microscope, then you have not been paying attention the last couple of years. He’ll be just fine being placed under any microscope moving forward as the starter for Tampa Bay.

But from here on out, Winston is all yours, Pro Football Talk.

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Alabama CB Cyrus Jones has domestic charges dropped

Cyrus Jones

Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones no longer has charges of domestic violence to battle. Just two days after being arrested for suspected domestic violence, the charges were dropped as a result of contacting the Tuscaloosa Police Department.

It was originally reported earlier this week Jones was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence/harassment. The senior defensive back was later reported to be charged with third-degree domestic violence criminal mischief and third-degree domestic violence harassment. He stayed in a Tuscaloosa jail with a $1,000 bond. The details of the incident leading to the charges reported Jones damaged a woman’s cell phone and later threatened her with assault in front of witnesses.

The decision to drop the charges because, as the Tuscaloosa Police Department states, were because Jones “attempted to deescalate the situation by contacting the Tuscaloosa Police Department.” The decision was agreed to by a city attorney.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban held off on making any decisions on the status of Jones. Now that the charges have been dropped, it looks as though Jones could be in the clear moving forward at Alabama.

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Cardale Jones jokes about transferring to Akron

Cardale Jones

Cue up the sure-to-be-hot takes about Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, because surely somebody is going to find no humor in his little May 1 joke on Twitter.

Jones, who guided Ohio State to a magical postseason run to a Big Ten and national championship, took to Twitter Friday afternoon to announce he was transferring to Akron to get a fresh start. This naturally raised an few eyebrows around the college and pro scouting world, but could he possibly have been serious? No disrespect to Akron, but a championship quarterback like Jones is not at all likely to transfer to an in-state MAC program when his stock is as high as it currently is.

Of course Jones was not serious. In fact, he tried to start a new holiday in the process.

Cardale Jones Akron May Fools

Extra credit to Jones for going the extra yard to switch his Twitter avatar to the Akron logo.

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Outgoing Miami president doesn’t know where Hurricanes will play in a few years

Cincinnati v Miami

Nobody seems to know where the Miami Hurricanes will be playing football in a few years. Judging by weekly shots of the football crowd at Miami games, it seems many fans don’t know where they play now. Low attendance is a concern for Miami and is part of the reason the school is exploring its options for the future. Outgoing university president Donna Shalala said Sun Life Stadium is “too big and cavernous for a college of our size,” and she is hopeful something more accommodating and fulfilling can be secured soon.

“I know this: Leasing space is not the best situation for anyone, for the [Miami] Dolphins or for us,” Shalala said, according to Associated Press. “Being a tenant, we’ve had two tenancies, one at the Orange Bowl and one at Dolphins Stadium, and I don’t much like being a tenant.”

Miami moved to Sun Life Stadium after the old Orange Bowl was torn down to make way for the monstrosity that is a baseball stadium for the Florida Miami Marlins, which now serves as the home of the Miami Beach Bowl. Sun Life Stadium is a good 30 minutes away from Miami’s campus, which has always been a deterrent for Miami attendance. Parking costs are also a concern for some.

Sun Life Stadium is set to undergo some nice upgrades, which are designed to attract more fans to games and make for a more enjoyable game day experience, but one other idea that has been discussed is potentially opening a new stadium in a joint effort with Major League Soccer. Soccer superstar David Beckham is part of a group looking to pitch an expansion franchise in Miami, but it is still a work in progress. Sharing a stadium with a new MLS franchise could help Miami financially, assuming it can get out of the lease with Sun Life Stadium. Being closer to campus and in a newer venue could be refreshing for Miami.

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College Football Playoff loses another ideal host city candidate in Indy

Michigan State v Duke Getty Images

Over the years the city of Indianapolis has established itself as one of the most respected host cities for any number of big-ticket events on the sports calendar. The Super Bowl has been there. The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament has been there as recently as last month. The Big Ten has set-up shop for its football championship game and basketball tournaments. Media members love Indianapolis too (and we all know how picky some of them can be). Indianapolis is a great city for college sports, which is why the NCAA has its headquarters in the neighborhood. In spite of all of that, the city of Indianapolis is not going to dip its toes in the bidding process for College Football Playoff just yet.

On Friday, Indiana Sports Corp announced and confirmed the city of Indianapolis will not be in the bidding for a College Football Playoff national championship game for the upcoming vacancies from 2018 through 2020. Apparently a lack of interest was the main culprit.

“Nobody really expressed a strong, overwhelming desire to go after it in this particular bid cycle,” Sports Corp president Ryan Vaughn said, per the Indy Star. Vaughn went on to suggest the College Football Playoff is still a new venture that needs to be properly evaluated over time before jumping in on a potential bid in the future.

“With a new event, you want to see it grow,” Vaughn said. “You want to see what it looks like year after year after year. What happens in Dallas isn’t necessarily the way we would do things. … We’d like to see it in a couple different settings to understand the event a little bit better. We do think it was a great event, by the way, and we’re certainly interested in being part of the discussion in future years.”

Indianapolis joins Pasadena, California, Orlando and New York/New Jersey on the list of candidates to host a future championship game, at least for the upcoming bidding cycle. Indianapolis has the facilities to handles such an event, which is one concern the Rose Bowl organizers are a little more challenged by. Orlando is still working to improve facilities before being able to make a serious bid.

For now, the only cities ready to bid for a championship game in 2018, 2019 or 2020 are Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Minneapolis, San Antonio and Santa Clara, California. From that group, Atlanta should be considered a lock to secure one of the championship games. Miami also feels like a safe bet.

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Even Charlie Strong gets confused between Malcom Brown and Malcolm Brown

Charlie Strong

It can be confusing when two players on a team have the same name. Or at least two names that sound identical. With that in mind, we can give Texas head coach Charlie Strong an excuse after sending a congratulatory tweet to the wrong Texas Longhorn last night.

Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown rounded out the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night in Chicago, going to the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots with the 32nd and final pick of the first round. Brown was the first Texas player to be drafted since 2013 after the Longhorns were shut out a year ago, and naturally Strong was happy to see a player from his team go in the first round. Why would he not? This led Strong to take to Twitter to publicly congratulate Brown…

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There was just one small problem with that. This tweet was directed to Texas running back Malcolm Brown. Oops.

Strong soon deleted the inaccurate tweet and passed along his best wishes to the right player, but it is good to know Malcolm Brown was ready for such confusion Thursday night. He just probably didn’t expect his coach to be among the many who got caught up in the confusion. Surely all parties involved are having a good laugh now.

Helmet sticker to Burnt Orange Nation for the screen grab.

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Georgia Southern suspends three defensive players following arrests

Troy v Georgia Southern Getty Images

Georgia Southern went out and won the Sun Belt Conference championship in its first year as a member of the FBS, but now that means off-the-field incidents are going to take on a slightly more higher profile. Case in point, this report from Statesboro Herald of three players being arrested and suspended this week.

Defensive end Ross Alexander and linebacker Kurt Oehlbeck were each charged by the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department for possession of a schedule I controlled substance and criminal trespass. Safety Alexander Yost was charged for criminal trespass and criminal attempt to commit a felony. The details beyond that are unknown at this time.

“They are suspended indefinitely until the conclusion of their legal process,” Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “Their status on the team will be reevaluated after that time.”

All three players were reserve players on the Georgia Southern roster. Alexander was listed as a back-up on the team’s depth chart at the end of last season. How long the suspensions will last has not been determined, which is customary while the legal process plays out at any program.

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Nebraska player offers personal scouting report on new Eagles WR Nelson Agholor

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The Philadelphia Eagles did not end up drafting Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in the first round of the NFL Draft, causing the team to go into some spin control while the fans in the city try to figure out how months of speculation and rumors came up so empty. Although Mariota is not making his way to Philly, Chip Kelly stuck to his Pac-12 roots and drafted wide receiver Nelson Agholor out of USC.

Whether or not drafting Agholor was a good move is up for debate considering some of the needs on the Philadelphia roster, but one Nebraska cornerback has weighed in with his personal scouting report on the now former Trojans receiver. Josh Mitchell, who covered Agholor in last season’s Holiday Bowl between Nebraska and USC, chimed in on Twitter…

Agholor was USC’s leading receiver in 2014 with 1,313 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards only to Washington State’s Vince Mayle and his touchdown total was tied for most in the conference with Colorado’s Nelson Spruce and Washington State’s Isiah Myers. But as Mitchell said on Twitter, Agholor did not have a tremendous amount of success against the Nebraska corner in the Holiday Bowl. Agholor did catch seven passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, but none of that came against Mitchell. USC won the Holiday Bowl, 45-42.

Maybe Mitchell will one day be picked up by one fo the NFC East rivals to go up against him twice a year in the future.

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