Tulsa Golden Hurricane

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 28:  Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers after scoring a touchdown during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Watson, Mayfield headline Manning Award watch list

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The Manning Award released its 30-member Watch List on Monday, in case you needed reminding which quarterbacks were the best in college football. The Manning separates itself from the Davey O’Brien and Unitas quarterback awards — and, more often than not, the Heisman and Maxwell, too — by taking bowl performances into account before handing out its trophy.

“We once again have a great group of quarterbacks returning to college football this fall,” said Archie Manning in a statement. “While this Watch List has many of the best returning players, we look forward to making midseason additions as teams settle on definite starters and as young players step up and make names for themselves. I’m really looking forward to getting the season rolling to see which guys will rise to the top and become Manning Award finalists.”

The Watch List includes:

  • Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
  • J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
  • C.J. Beathard, Iowa
  • Jake Browning, Washington
  • Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
  • Dane Evans, Tulsa
  • Luke Falk, Washington State
  • Quinton Flowers, South Florida
  • Skyler Howard, West Virginia
  • Lamar Jackson, Louisville
  • Brad Kaaya, Miami
  • Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
  • Trevor Knight, Texas A&M
  • Taylor Lamb, Appalachian State
  • Wes Lunt, Illinois
  • Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
  • Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
  • Nick Mullens, Southern Miss
  • Kent Myers, Utah State
  • Josh Rosen, UCLA
  • Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
  • Cooper Rush, Central Michigan
  • Seth Russell, Baylor
  • Brett Rypien, Boise State
  • Brandon Silvers, Troy
  • Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
  • Zach Terrell, Western Michigan
  • Phillip Walker, Temple
  • Deshaun Watson, Clemson

As far as snubs go, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and/or Malik Zaire feel like pretty big ones. If you’re the type to get upset about preseason watch lists, that is. (Which you shouldn’t be.)

The Manning Award will announce its midseason Watch List additions — which either Kizer or Zaire will be — on Oct. 12, its 10 finalists on Nov. 30, and its winner on Jan. 11.

Watson will attempt to become the first repeat winner in the 12-year history of the award. Previous winners (Matt LeinartTim TebowJohnny Manziel and Jameis Winston) are 0-for-4 in their attempts to repeat.

Houston the overwhelming favorite to repeat as AAC champs

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 05:  Head coach Tom Herman of the Houston Cougars raises the AAC Championship Trophy after defeating the  Temple Owls at TDECU Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 24-13.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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In what could be the final season of the AAC as we’ve known it, the media expects the same result as a year ago.

As the AAC  wraps up its Media Days Tuesday, the conference released its media poll and, to the surprise of no one, Houston is the overwhelming favorite to win its second consecutive league title.  Of the 30 voters, 27 of them tapped UH as the champs.   The only others receiving votes were USF (2) and Temple (1).

Not surprisingly, the Cougars were the unanimous choice to win the AAC West division.  Navy, with 128 points to UH’s 180, was a distant second in the division.

The East was a little more bunched up, with USF (15), Temple (9) and Cincinnati (6) all receiving first-place votes.

Houston, USF and Cincinnati have all been mentioned as potential candidates in the Big 12’s next round of expansion.  Others in the conference who are possibilities to bolt include UConn, East Carolina and UCF, predicted to finish fourth, fifth and , sixth, respectively, in the East, as well as Memphis and Tulane, third and sixth, respectively, in the West.

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2015 winner Deshaun Watson one of 30 O’Brien Award watch listers

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 24:  Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers passes during a game against the Miami Hurricanes at Sun Life Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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The 2016 Davey O’Brien Award preseason watch list has a decidedly 2015 feel to it.

Included in the group of 30 watch listers is Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, the 2015 winner of the award handed out annually to the nation’s top quarterback.  Watson, a junior, is attempting to become only the second player ever, joining Oklahoma’s Jason White, to win the O’Brien twice.

Additionally, a finalist for the 2015 award, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, is included, as are three other semifinalists from a year ago — Luke Falk (Washington State), Pat Mahomes (Texas Tech), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Seth Russell (Baylor) and Greg Ward Jr. (Houston).  Finally, Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, a semifinalist for the 2014 award, is back as a quarterback to watch.

With five nominees each, the Big 12 and Big Ten lead all conferences, followed by the Pac-12 and AAC with four apiece.

Almost half of the watch listers are seniors, with juniors contributing another 11.  That leaves five sophomores among the 30 — Rosen, Washington’s Jake Browning, BYU’s Tanner Mangum, Boise State’s Brett Rypien and Middle Tennessee State’s Brent Stockstill.

Below is the complete 2016 Davey O’Brien Award preseason watch list:

Tommy Armstrong Jr. (Nebraska, Sr., Cibolo, Texas)
J.T. Barrett (Ohio State, Jr., Wichita Falls, Texas)
C.J. Beathard (Iowa, Sr., Franklin, Tenn.)
Jake Browning (Washington, So., Granite Bay, Calif.)
Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee, Sr., Alpharetta, Ga.)
Dane Evans (Tulsa, Sr., Sanger, Texas)
Luke Falk (Washington State, Jr., Logan, Utah)
Quinton Flowers (USF, Jr., Miami, Fla.)
Skyler Howard (West Virginia, Sr., Fort Worth, Texas)
Brad Kaaya (Miami, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.)
Chad Kelly (Ole Miss, Sr., Buffalo, N.Y.)
DeShone Kizer* (Notre Dame, Jr., Toledo, Ohio)
Taylor Lamb (Appalachian State, Jr., Calhoun, Ga.)
Mitch Leidner (Minnesota, Sr., Lakeville, Minn.)
Wes Lunt (Illinois, Sr., Rochester, Ill.)
Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech, Jr., Whitehouse, Texas)
Tanner Mangum* (BYU, So., Eagle, Idaho)
Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma, Jr., Austin, Texas)
Nick Mullens (Southern Miss, Sr., Hoover, Ala.)
Josh Rosen (UCLA, So., Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State, Jr., Rock Hill, S.C.)
Cooper Rush (Central Michigan, Sr., Charlotte, Mich.)
Seth Russell (Baylor, Sr., Garland, Texas)
Brett Rypien (Boise State, So., Spokane, Wash.)
Anu Solomon (Arizona, Jr., Las Vegas, Nev.)
Brent Stockstill (Middle Tennessee, So., Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Zach Terrell (Western Michigan, Sr., Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Phillip Walker (Temple, Sr., Elizabeth, N.J.)
Greg Ward Jr. (Houston, Sr., Tyler, Texas)
Deshaun Watson (Clemson, Jr., Gainesville, Ga.)

Headed by ACC’s 15, record 88 player named to Wuerffel watch list

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 28:  Quarterback Danny Wuerffel #7 of the Florida Gators readies to throw during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 28, 1996 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators defeated the Wildcats 65-0.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Records were made to be broken, even this kind of a record, I guess.

Continuing the watch list avalanche is the Wuerffel Trophy, which announced 88 players have been recognized as part of the annual preseason grouping.  That number is a record for the award, which is named in honor of former Florida great Danny Wuerffel and is awarded to the FBS player that “best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

The 2015 winner of the Wuerffel was Oklahoma’s Ty Darlington.

As far as the conference-by-conference breakdown?  From the release:

The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 15 players appearing on the 2016 watch list. Following the ACC are the SEC with 12 players, Conference USA with 10 and the Big 10 and Big 12 with 9 players each. The American Athletic followed with 8 players while the Sun Belt added 7, the PAC 12 submitted 6 and the MAC and Mountain West followed with 4 each. All FBS Conferences are represented on the list, as were Independent representatives BYU and United States Military Academy (Army) with 1 nominee each.

Below is the complete 2016 Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list:

JK Scott, Alabama, Junior, P
O.J. Howard, Alabama, Senior, TE
Darian Small, Appalachian State, Senior, DL
Vilami “Laiu” Moeakiola, Arizona State, Senior, LB
Brooks Ellis, Arkansas, Senior, LB
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State, Junior, DB
Andrew King, Army, Senior, LB
Daniel Carlson, Auburn, Junior, PK
Seth Russell, Baylor, Senior, QB
Mitchell Juergens, BYU, Senior, WR
Jonny Linehan, BYU, Senior, P
Jack Austin, California, Junior, WR
Jamal Covington, Charlotte, Senior, OL
Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Junior, QB
Sefo Liufau, Colorado, Senior, QB
Zack Golditch, Colorado State, Junior, OL
DeVon Edwards, Duke, Senior, DB
Zay Jones, East Carolina, Senior, WR
Jarrad Davis, Florida, Senior, LB
Shalom Ogbonda, Florida Atlantic, Senior, DL
Michael Montero, Florida International, Senior, OL
Alec Eberle, Florida State, Sophomore, OL
Jeb Blazevich, Georgia, Junior, TE
Keith Rucker, Georgia State, Senior, TE
KeShun Freeman, Georgia Tech, Junior, DE
Greg Ward, Jr., Houston, Senior, QB
Joe Spencer, Illinois, Senior, OL
Mitchell Paige, Indiana, Senior, WR
LeShun Daniels, Jr., Iowa, Senior, RB
Cole Netten, Iowa State, Senior, PK
Fish Smithson, Kansas, Senior, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, Senior, DB
Antwan Dixon, Kent State, Sophomore, WR
Nick Cuthbert, Kent State, Senior, LB
Karmichael Dunbar, Louisiana, Senior, DL
Brandon Radcliff, Louisville, Senior, RB
Colin Jeter, LSU, Senior, TE
William Likely, Maryland, Senior, DB
Ryan Yurachek, Marshall, Sophomore, TE
Jake Elliott, Memphis, Senior, PK
Brad Kaaya, Miami, Junior, QB
Josiah Price, Michigan State, Senior, TE
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, QB
Damarius Travis, Minnesota, Senior, DB
Evan Engram, Mississippi, Senior, TE
Brandon Holloway, Mississippi State, Senior, WR/RB
Drew Brown, Nebraska, Junior, PK
Jeremy Maculey, Nevada, Senior, OL
Nick Weller, North Carolina, Senior, PK
Tony Adams, North Carolina State, Junior, OL
Drew Hare, Northern Illinois, Senior, QB
Matthew Harris, Northwestern, Senior DB
Jarrod Barnes, Ohio State, Senior, DB
Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, Junior, RB
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, Junior, QB
Tyler Compton, Old Dominion, Senior, OL
Ryan Nall, Oregon State, Sophomore, RB
Adam Biniswaty, Pittsburgh, Senior, OL
James Conner, Pittsburgh, Junior, RB
Mike Caprara, Pittsburgh, Senior, LB
Darik Dillard, Rice, Senior, RB
Daniel Brunskill, San Diego State, Senior, TE
Tim Crawley, San Jose State, Senior, WR
Nick Mullins, Southern Mississippi, Senior, QB
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, Senior, OL
Aaron Curry, TCU, Senior, DL
Brendan McGowan, Temple, Senior, OL
Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee, Senior, QB
Trevor Knight, Texas A&M, Senior, QB
Felix Romero, Texas State, Junior, OL
Patrick Mahomes, II, Texas Tech, Junior, QB
Brad Spelman, Toledo, Junior, LS
John Johnson, Troy, Junior, WR
Marshall Wadleigh, Tulane, Senior, TE
Dane Evans, Tulsa, Senior, QB
Justin Holman, UCF, Senior, QB
Bobby Puyol, UConn, Senior, PK
John Plattenburg, USC, Junior, DB
Travis Seefeldt, Utah State, Senior, DL
Oren Burks, Vanderbilt, Junior, LB
Matt Johns, Virginia, Senior, QB
Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech, Senior, RB
Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest, Senior, DB
Jeff Lindquist, Washington, Senior, TE
Skyler Howard, West Virginia, Senior, QB
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, Senior, OL
Marcus Ward, Western Kentucky, Senior, DB
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan, Senior, QB

Three 2015 semifinalists highlight Biletnikoff Award watch list

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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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.