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Seven 2016 finalists headline Manning Award preseason watch list

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This is the last preseason watch list you’ll have to endure this year. I promise. I think.

Wednesday, the Manning Award released its list of the top 30 quarterbacks in the country, although a player not on this initial list is not necessarily precluded from winning the award. This is the only major award, it should be noted, that is handed out after the bowls, and is named in honor of the quarterbacking triumvirate of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.

Highlighting this year’s list are seven of the 10 finalists from a year ago: J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Jake Browning (Washington), Sam Darnold (USC), Luke Falk (Washington State), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Lamar Jackson (Louisville) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma).

All FBS conferences are represented, led by the ACC and SEC with five watch listers apiece. The Big Ten, Mountain West, Pac-12 and Sun Belt are next with three each, with two apiece for all of the AAC, Big 12, Conference USA and MAC. Class-wise, there are 13 seniors, 12 juniors and five sophomores.

 

“We once again have a great group of quarterbacks returning to college football this fall,” said Archie Manning said 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.”

Deshaun Watson was the 2016 winner of the award.

Below is the complete 2017 Manning Award preseason watch list.

College Football Hall of Fame coach Dick MacPherson passes away

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College Football Hall of Fame coach Dick MacPherson passed away Tuesday. He was 86.

The news was first reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard and later confirmed by the Syracuse football program.

MacPherson played center and linebacker at Springfield College in Massachusetts in the 1950’s before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Illinois in 1958. He earned his first head coaching job at Massachusetts in 1971 and in seven seasons guided the Minutemen to four Yankee Conference championships.

MacPherson left Amherst for an assistant coaching job with the Cleveland Browns, but he returned to the college game as the head coach at Syracuse in 1981. MacPherson led the Orangemen, then a Division I independent, 66-46-4 mark in 10 seasons. He was just 30-31-1 over his first six seasons but exploded over his final four. Syracuse posted an undefeated regular season in 1987, playing Auburn to a tie in the Sugar Bowl and earning a No. 4 final ranking. Syracuse went 10-2 in 1988 and 15-8-2 over his final two seasons.

That success led him to the head coaching job with the New England Patriots, where he lasted two seasons. MacPherson never returned to coaching after that, but did serve as the program’s color commentator on television and radio broadcasts. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

MacPherson’s grandsons Macky and Cameron later played for the Orange, and Macky currently serves as a graduate assistant on current Syracuse head coach Dino Babers‘s staff. In addition to Macky and Cameron, MacPherson is survived by two more grandchildren, two daughters and his wife, Sandra.

 

Bovada continues to tap Alabama as 2017 title favorite

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When last we left Bovada.lv‘s odds for the 2017 national champion, 2016 runners-up Alabama sat atop the initial wagering odds.  On the cusp of a new season?  Same old, same old.  Pretty much.

Along with its updated Heisman Trophy odds, Bovada also revealed its updated odds to win the next edition of the College Football Playoff championship, with the Crimson Tide sitting as a comfortable favorite at 12/5.  In January, those odds were a little longer at 4/1.

The next two teams, USC and Ohio State, saw their odds shorten as well, with the former going from 9/1 to 6/1 and the latter from 15/2 to 13/2.  Florida State and Michigan, at 7/1 and 9/1, respectively, seven months ago, have lengthened a bit to 15/2 for the Seminoles and 16/1 for the Wolverines.

Prior to Bob Stoops’ retirement, Oklahoma had been at 9/1; after his abrupt departure, those odds have tumbled to 16/1.

Below are the complete set of updated 2017 national championship odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Syracuse starting guard Aaron Roberts suffers knee injury, out for 2017 season

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If Dino Babers wants to take the next step at Syracuse in 2017, he’ll have to do so without a key starter along the offensive line this season.

The school announced Saturday that starting left guard Aaron Roberts suffered a left knee injury during the team’s summer conditioning drills and will miss the season as a result. The Orange noted that the redshirt junior started all 12 games in 2016 and led the team in snaps played and knockdown blocks for an offensive lineman.

As tough of a blow as losing a starting lineman is, it’s even rougher for Roberts considering the team opens preseason camp tomorrow.

Sophomores Sam Clausman and Andrejas Duerig likely get first crack at filling in for Roberts at guard prior to any shuffling of players during fall camp. Syracuse will open the season against Central Connecticut State but the loss of their starting guard will probably be felt most in late September when the team travels to LSU and N.C. State in back-to-back weeks.

Texas officially adds Syracuse grad transfer Kendall Moore

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In early April, erstwhile Syracuse tight end Kendall Moore announced on social media that he had himself a new college football home.  Nearly four months later, that move has come to fruition.

Texas confirmed Friday that Moore has graduated from SU and officially joined the UT football team.  The Longhorns open summer camp Monday, and Moore will be on hand working out with his new teammates.

As he’s coming in as a graduate transfer — he announced his departure from the Orange in December — he’ll be eligible to play in 2017, his final season of eligibility.

Moore started a total of four games in 2014 and 2015, including two of the first three in the latter season before sustaining the season-ending injury that led to a medical hardship waiver that will allow him to play this season. The 6-5, 245-pound senior finished his ‘Cuse career with 14 catches for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  He caught one of the passes for 15 of the yards in 2016.

In Austin, Moore could very well open the season as the starter.  The incumbent Andrew Beck has undergone a pair of foot surgeries while two others on the roster at the position, Reese Leitao and Cade Brewer, haven’t played a down at the collegiate level.  The former definitely won’t be the starter to start the season as he was suspended for the first two games because of an offseason arrest.

One other option at tight end,Garrett Gray, is making the transition from wide receiver.