Iowa State Cyclones

Getty Images

Rimington watch list details list of returning centers

1 Comment

It’s the dead time of the college football calendar, which means it’s time for this sport’s oldest, most antiquated tradition: watch lists.

First one in line is the Rimington Trophy, given to the best center in college football. And to help voters narrow down their choice for when voting picks up six months from now, the Rimington has helpfully provided this watch list of essentially every returning starting center in college football.

The 2017 list includes (deep breath):

– Aaron Mitchell, Fresno State
– Alan Knott, South Carolina
– Alac Eberle, Florida State
– Antonyo Woods, Florida Atlantic
– Asotui Eli, Hawaii
– Austin Doan, Central Michigan
– Austin Golson, Auburn
– Austin Schlottmann, TCU
– Billy Price, Ohio State
– Blaise Fountain, New Mexico
– Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State
– Brad North, Northwestern
– Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
– Brendan Moore, Maryland
– Brian Allen, Michigan State
– Bryce Holland, Army
– Cameron Ruff, South Florida
– Chandler Miller, Tulsa
– Coleman Shelton, Washington
– Colton Prater, Texas A&M
– Danny Godloveske, Miami (Ohio)
– Dennis Edwards, Western Kentucky
– Drew Keyser, Memphis
– Erick Wren, Oklahoma
– Evan Brown, SMU
– Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
– Gabe Mobley, Georgia State
– Garrett McGhin, East Carolina
– Jake Bennett, Colorado State
– Jake Hanson, Oregon
– Jake Pruehs, Ohio
– James Daniels, Iowa
– James O’Hagan, Buffalo
– Jesse Burkett, Stanford
– John Keenoy, Western Michigan
– Jon Baker, Boston College
– Julian Good-Jones, Iowa State
– Keoni Taylor, San Jose State
– LaVonne Gauthney, Akron
– Levi Brown, Marshall
– Luke Shively, Northern Illinois
– Mason Hampton, Boise State
– Matt Hennessy, Temple
– Mesa Ribordy, Kansas
– Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
– Nathan Puthoff, Kent State
– Nick Allegretti, Illinois
– Nick Clarke, Old Dominion
– Reid Najvar, Kansas State
– Ryan Anderson, Wake Forest
– Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame
– Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
– Sean Krepsz, Nevada
– Sean Rawlings, Ole Miss
– Sumner Houston, Oregon State
– T.J. McCoy, Florida
– Tanner Thrift, Baylor
– Tejan Koroma, BYU
– Tim McAullife, Bowling Green
– Trey Martin, Rice
– Will Clapp, LSU
– Will Noble, Houston
– Zach Shackelford, Texas

Exhale.

Got all that?

Ohio State’s Pat Elflein claimed the honor last season.

Big 12 coaches for some reason unconcerned about Draft drought

Getty Images
9 Comments

As I’m sure you’re aware by now, the Big 12 produced only 14 picks in last weekend’s NFL Draft. The league’s coaches have heard about it, and they say (on the record, at least) that they’re not concerned about it and, frankly, they’re tired of talking about it.

“You have cycles. You have waves,” Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. “We’re obviously down when it comes to top, top prospects. We have good players, but maybe not the elite level that some of the other leagues have. I don’t think it’s panic mode yet.”

Added West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen: “I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. I’m a little tired of [the media] making it a big deal.”

And TCU’s Gary Patterson: “I don’t go out and recruit saying, ‘This guy, the only reason I’m going to take him is he fits the NFL model.'”

While it’s true that the Big 12 coaches’ jobs is to find players that win games first, second and third and find players the NFL may one day like somewhere around sixth or seventh, it’s impossible to NFL’s tepid interest in Big 12 players as anything other than another problematic data point in a disturbing ongoing trend for this once proud conference.

It’d be easy to ignore last weekend’s NFL Draft if the Big 12 didn’t also produce a then-low 17 picks in 2014.

It’d be easy to ignore last weekend’s NFL Draft if the Big 12 wasn’t also consistently behind its peers in signing top 250 recruits.

It’d be easy to ignore last weekend’s NFL Draft if the Big 12 wasn’t also the only Power 5 conference to miss the College Football Playoff twice in three years.

Bottom line: the Draft is another data point proving the Big 12 is suffering through a significant down period right now. There’s nothing saying that can’t change. Tom Herman and Matt Rhule succeeding at Texas and Baylor, respectively, would go a long way toward lifting the conference out of the ditch it currently finds itself in, as would winning high-profile non-conference games like Oklahoma at Ohio State and TCU at Arkansas. More than anything else, though, the conference’s fortunes won’t turn until its coaches find a way to recruit a large influx of talented players. The NFL Draft is the best arbiter of judging who has the most talent, as Herman himself admitted in the piece that the NFL will go wherever it has to go to find talent. And it hasn’t been going to Big 12 campuses as much as it used to.

Big 12 football is down right now and last weekend was another low point in a period full of them for this conference. Believing otherwise is as intellectually dishonest as believing Big 12 coaches wouldn’t turn around and thump their collective chests if the league started producing SEC-like draft numbers.

 

Iowa, Iowa State extend CyHawk series through 2023

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Iowa and Iowa State will continue their intrastate grudge match through at least 2023, the programs jointly announced Tuesday.

The current contract expires in 2021, and the programs tacked on an additional two years. Iowa will host the Cyclones in 2022, with Iowa State taking its turn in 2023.

The two rivals first met in 1894 and have played continuously since 1977. The Hawkeyes own a 42-22 edge all-time and have won nine of the past 14, including a 42-3 spanking in 2016. However, Iowa State notes in its release that the Cyclones enjoy a 10-9 advantage since 1998. (Iowa just so happened to win 15 in a row before that.)

Iowa State hosts Iowa on Sept. 9 of this coming season.

College football spring games: Dates, TV times

Getty Images
4 Comments

As the calendar flips from March to April, the rush of college football spring games commences in earnest.

On the Power Five side alone, there are nearly 60 spring games scheduled to be played in the month of April.  Last year around this time, Urban Meyer was urging Ohio State fans to show up en masse; the Buckeye faithful responded with a record-breaking turnout.  That six-figure record should be safe — maybe.

Channeling his inner Urban, James Franklin earlier this month very passionately challenged fans to attend Penn State’s spring game to showcase to recruits and the rest of the country that “football is a very, very important part of Penn State.” Texas seemingly has momentum, what with Tom Herman replacing Charlie Strong as head coach, and that hire could cause a spike in interest and spring butts in the seats.  Clemson, coming off its first national championship in three decades and with some question marks given key departures, will certainly see a surge in attendance, although the official seating capacity of 81,500 at Memorial Stadium would preclude them from doing anything other than (barely) cracking the Top 10 in all-time spring game attendance.

Alabama historically fares well in spring attendance — four of the Top 10 — although the last huge crowd was six years ago.  Coming off the first title-game loss under Nick Saban, don’t expect a big jump this year either.

With those storylines in mind, below is the complete slate of spring games for the next four-plus weeks.

FRIDAY, MARCH 31
Arizona, 9 p.m. ET

SATURDAY, APRIL 1
Northwestern, 11 a.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
South Carolina, noon ET (SEC Network)
North Carolina State, 1 p.m. ET
Michigan State, 3 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Texas Tech, 4 p.m. ET

FRIDAY, APRIL 7
Florida, 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

SATURDAY, APRIL 8
Ole Miss, noon ET (SEC Network)
Purdue, 1 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Auburn, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Iowa State, 2 p.m. ET
Oklahoma, 2 p.m. ET
Texas A&M, 2 pm. ET (ESPNU)
Clemson, 2:30 p.m. ET
Florida State, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
North Carolina, 3 p.m. ET
Wake Forest, 3 p.m. ET
Mississippi State, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
TCU (time still to be determined)

THURSDAY, APRIL 13
Indiana, 7 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)

FRIDAY, APRIL 14
Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

SATURDAY, APRIL 15
Ohio State, 12:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Louisville, 1 p.m. ET
Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. ET
Utah, 1 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
West Virginia, 1 p.m. ET
Kansas, 2 p.m. ET
Missouri, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Nebraska, 2 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State, 2 p.m. ET
Texas, 2 p.m. ET (Longhorn Network)
USC, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Stanford, 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Arizona State, 5 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

FRIDAY, APRIL 21
Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. ET
Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Iowa (time still to be determined)

SATURDAY, APRIL 22
Syracuse, 10 a.m. ET
Boston College, noon ET
Maryland, 12:30 ET (Big Ten Network)
Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m. ET
Baylor, 1 p.m. ET
Cal, 2 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Georgia, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Kansas State, 2 p.m. ET
Virginia Tech, 2:30 p.m. ET
Alabama, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Penn State, 3 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Washington, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Tennessee, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Rutgers, 5 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Washington State, 5 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
LSU, 8 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

SATURDAY, APRIL 29
Arkansas, 1 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Oregon, 2 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Virginia, 3 p.m. ET
UCLA, 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

*Neither Miami nor Michigan will conduct traditional spring games.
*Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Oregon State and Vanderbilt played their spring games in March.

Iowa State QB Joel Lanning now Cyclones’ starting middle linebacker

Getty Images
2 Comments

Joel Lanning began the 2016 season as Iowa State’s starting quarterback, but by the end of the year he’d ceded the job to Jacob Park.

But just because Lanning is no longer the Cyclones’ top quarterback doesn’t mean the coaching staff is letting his other talents go to waste on the sideline. He became a running specialist toward the end of last season and may reprise that role in 2017. But that’s not all.

Lanning, who Iowa State lists at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, is also practicing at linebacker. And doing quite well at it.

“He’s the No. 1 mike linebacker for us right now,” linebackers coach Tyson Veidt told the Des Moines Register. “(He’s) doing a great job there running with the ones. It’s certainly his job to lose.”

Lanning’s quarterback style made him familiar with frequent contact. He rushed 121 times for 518 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns in 2016, including a 17-carry, 171-yard, five-touchdown effort in a 66-10 thrashing of Texas Tech.

While both Lanning and the Iowa State coaches are still trying to figure out what, exactly, Lanning’s role will be this season, it’s clear it will be a prominent one. It’s looking now as if Lanning will play primarily on defense while playing spot duty on offense. (Note to Lanning: make sure you switch shoulder pads when transitioning from quarterback to linebacker and vice versa.)

“Coach (Matt) Campbell told me, ‘If everything works, you’re probably going to be throwing up after all the games because you’re going to be playing so much,” Lanning told the paper.