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Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin among 16 Maxwell Coach of the Year semifinalists

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One recent branch of Nicktator’s coaching tree will be vying with his former boss for one set of coaching honors.

The Maxwell Foundation on Thursday announced its 16 semifinalists for the 2017 George Munger College Coach of the Year Award.  Alabama’s Nick Saban is one of the select 16, as is Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin, who spent the previous three seasons as Saban’s offensive coordinator.

The SEC leads all conferences with four semifinalists, followed by two each for the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten.  The Pac-12 is the lone Power Five conference with just one.

Kiffin is one five Group of Five semifinalists, joining UAB’s Bill Clark, UCF’s Scott Frost, Army’s Jeff Monken and Fresno State’s Jeff Tedford.  The MAC and Sun Belt are the lone conferences without at last one semifinalist.

15 semifinalists unveiled for prestigious Walter Camp Player of the Year Award

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One of the most prestigious awards in college football has whittled down the list of players who will be able to claim the famed hardware this season.

Wednesday, the Walter Camp Foundation announced its 15 “Players to Watch,” essentially semifinalists, for its prestigious Player of the Year Award. The Camp Award is voted on by the 130 FBS head coaches/sports information directors and is the fourth-oldest award in the sport.

“It’s been another exciting college football season with many teams and players still in the hunt for national recognition,” Foundation president Michael Madera said in a statement. “We’ve identified some outstanding players and we know the final weeks of the regular season should be even more thrilling.”

Players on both sides of the ball are eligible, but just four defensive players made the cut — North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, Miami defensive back Jaquan Johnson and Washington defensive end Hercules Mala’afa. Six of the 15 semifinalists are quarterbacks, the other five are running backs.

Only two players from a Group of Five program, Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton and San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny, are included.

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, last year’s Camp winner, is a semifinalist once again.

Below is the complete “Players to Watch” list:

Josh Adams, RB, Junior, Notre Dame
Saquon Barkley, RB, Junior, Penn State
Bradley Chubb, DE, Senior, North Carolina State
Sam Darnold, QB, Sophomore, USC
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Junior, Alabama
Baker Mayfield, QB, Senior, Oklahoma
Lamar Jackson, QB, Junior, Louisville
Jaquan Johnson, DB, Junior, Miami
Bryce Love, RB, Junior, Stanford
Hercules Mala’afa, DE, Junior, Washington State
McKenzie Milton, QB, Sophomore, UCF
Rashaad Penny, RB, Senior, San Diego State
Mason Rudolph, QB, Senior, Oklahoma State
Khalil Tate, QB, Sophomore, Arizona
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Freshman, Wisconsin

Alabama the new No. 1 in College Football Playoff ranking; Clemson moves to No. 2, Oklahoma and Miami crack top four

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After quite an active weekend in college football, the selection committee for the College Football Playoff had some work to do with their weekly rankings. Having the benefit of letting the dust settle from the flurry of activity seen over the weekend, the committee gathered as they do on a weekly basis, discussed their thoughts and cooked up a fresh batch of rankings, including a familiar name as this week’s new No. 1.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are back on top of the College Football Playoff rankings for the first time since the final rankings of the 2016 season. What may have been a bit surprising was the rise of Clemson to No. 2, ahead of No. 3 Miami and No. 4 Oklahoma. The committee appears to be giving Clemson credit for their earlier wins because the Tigers have not particularly have been as good as Oklahoma, or Miami. But Clemson was unquestionably going to be in the top four, and the rankings at this point really mean very little as far as the specific seeding is concerned, especially with Clemson locked into the ACC Championship Game against Miami.

What was questioned was how the committee would rank an unbeaten Wisconsin against a two-loss Auburn after last week. The Badgers stayed just ahead of the Tigers, and Wisconsin is the first team out at this point. If Wisconsin wins out, the Badgers will have the door left open with the assumption they would move past either Clemson or Miami after one takes a loss in the ACC Championship Game.

The committee also moved Ohio State and Penn State into the bottom fo the top 10 this week, providing a good path to a possible late playoff push for Wisconsin or Ohio State. USC is the Pac-12’s highest-ranked team at No. 11 this week, suggesting the Pac-12 still needs a good amount of help to get a team in the playoff this year.

UCF remains the highest-ranked team in the Group of Five hunt, but they continue to be joined by their conference allies from the AAC with Memphis moving up one spot this week. There is also a new Group of Five challenger on the selection committee’s radar with Boise State rounding out the top 25 this week.

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Miami
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Auburn
  7. Georgia
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Ohio State
  10. Penn State
  11. USC
  12. TCU
  13. Oklahoma State
  14. Washington State
  15. UCF
  16. Mississippi State
  17. Michigan State
  18. Washington
  19. NC State
  20. LSU
  21. Memphis
  22. Stanford
  23. Northwestern
  24. Michigan
  25. Boise State

 

Who has the best odds to make the College Football Playoff, besides Alabama?

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The latest batch of College Football Playoff selection committee rankings will be released in a few hours, but Bovada has already updated their odds to make the playoff this season ahead of the latest rankings. No matter how the rankings look tonight, the playoff picture is beginning to come into view.

Alabama remains not just the favorite to win the national championship, but the Crimson Tide are an easy favorite to make the playoffs according to the latest Bovada odds. Oklahoma may be a rising favorite to win the national championship, but the Sooners actually have the third-best odds of making the playoff behind last year’s national champions, Clemson. Whatever the case, Bovada feels pretty confident the ACC champion is going to get in this season. Miami is listed with the fourth-best odds to make the playoff, suggesting the ACC champion is a pretty safe bet if you pick the right team.

The same may not be said for the Pac-12. USC has the best odds among Pac-12 teams at +1000, which are the same odds currently given to Michigan, the team sitting in fourth place in the Big Ten East Division as of today. Michigan actually has better odds than Penn State (+1500), a team they were dominated by earlier this season. Wisconsin (+150) and Ohio State (+300) have much better odds of reaching the playoff out of the Big Ten.

From the best odds to the worst on the board, here is how Bovada is currently listing the playoff contenders

  • Alabama -700
  • Clemson -250
  • Oklahoma -200
  • Miami -140
  • Wisconsin +150
  • Georgia +170
  • Auburn +200
  • Ohio State +300
  • Michigan +1000
  • USC +1000
  • Penn State +1500
  • TCU +1500
  • Notre Dame +2000
  • Oklahoma State +2000
  • Washington +2000

WATCH: Miami, Notre Dame fans throw down during The U’s woodshedding of the Irish

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The rhetoric ahead of a huge Notre Dame-Miami matchup dripping with steep playoff implications ratcheted up a few notches as it got closer to kickoff Saturday. On gameday, fans of both teams shoved the rhetoric to the side and made it physical.  And violent.

When it comes to the on-the-field action Saturday at Hard Rock Cafe Stadium, the Hurricanes took the Fighting Irish to the woodshed with a lopsided 41-8 score that didn’t seem to do The U’s dominance justice. Off the field, a verbal altercation in the concourse, while the on-field beatdown was still in progress, between fans of the two teams led to one Miami supporter emptying what was presumably an alcoholic beverage/drink in the general direction of a Notre Dame counterpart, which triggered a full-on kerfuffle between the opposing sides.

In sweet science parlance, Irish fans appeared to land a couple of on-target haymakers that knocked down Hurricane fans, so that round would have to go to the visitors. The football-playing home team, however, landed the haymakers that mattered most, as reflected on the scoreboard.

According to the Miami New Times, a Miami-Dade Police Department spokesperson said he wasn’t aware of any arrests made or charges filed as a result of the incident. This incident comes on the heels of a female Miami fan being charged with felony battery of a police officer during the Virginia Tech-UM game at the same stadium the week before.

Yes sir, folks. Both on and off the field, The U is back, baby.

(Tip O’ the Cap: CFT readers)