Texas Longhorns

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 12: D'Onta Foreman #33 of the Texas Longhorns leaps over Jeremy Tyler #2 of the West Virginia Mountaineers at Darrell K Royal -Texas Memorial Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Austin. Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
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D’Onta Foreman claims Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award

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Underrated, undervalued and under-publicized all year long, D'Onta Foreman is finally taking home some additional hardware.  And the best part?  This one honors one of Texas’ football legends.

Friday night, it was announced that Foreman had been named as the winner of the 2016 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.  Named in honor of the Heisman-winning UT legend, and limited to players born in the state of Texas, went to high school or college in the state, the award is going to a Longhorn for the first time in the honor’s four-year history.

Foreman’s 2,028 yards rushing were second nationally, while his 184.4 yards per game was first nationally by nearly 30 yards a contest. The yardage is the second-most in a single season in school history.

A consensus first-team All-American, Foreman joined Ricky Williams as the only Longhorn running back to earn that honor. In late November, Foreman announced he would be leaving Austin early for the NFL draft.

Alabama opens as Bovada’s early 2017 title favorite

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Alabama may have seen their dynasty temporarily derailed Monday night in Florida, but at least one wagering establishment expects Nick Saban to get it back on track post-haste.

Bovada.lv released its opening set of 2017 national championship odds very early Tuesday afternoon, with the bookmaker installing Bama as a 4/1 favorite coming off the loss to Clemson.  Last year at this time, coming off their fourth title in seven years, the same book had the Crimson Tide as a 7/1 favorite.

The team ‘Bama beat, Clemson, is at 16/1, tied with ACC Atlantic rival Louisville and behind six other teams besides the one they beat on the field last night — Florida State (7/1), Ohio State (15/2), Michigan (9/1), Oklahoma (9/1), USC (9/1) and LSU (12/1).  The other 2016 playoff team, Washington, is at 40/1, the same as 4-8 Notre Dame and behind the likes of Texas (28/1) and Miami (33/1).

Boise State, at 75/1, was the highest favorite amongst Group of Five programs.

Below are the complete list of 2018 title odds for the championship following the 2017 season, again courtesy on Bovada.lv:

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A Look Ahead: CFT’s Way-Too-Early 2017 Top 25

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans passes the ball against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the 2017 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 2, 2017 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The last bit of confetti has barely settled onto the Raymond James Stadium turf and the carcass of the 2016 season isn’t even cold yet, and we’re already rolling out a way-too-early Top 25 for the 2017 season? Yep. Because that’s how we roll. Or something.

In our role as preseason Nostradumbass, the first 10 of CFT’s Top 25 consisted of No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 Clemson, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Notre Dame (ouch), No. 7 Washington (yeah us!), No. 8 TCU, No. 9 Michigan State (whoops) and No. 10 Tennessee. A little over 4½ months later?

Three of the four playoff participants were in our Top 10; the fourth, Ohio State, was just outside at No. 11. While not No. 1, Oklahoma came into the postseason ranked seventh in the College Football Playoff Top 25, and will likely move up thanks to the 16-point Sugar Bowl win over No. 14 Auburn (not in our preseason Top 25). Florida State (No. 11), LSU (No. 20) and Tennessee (No. 21) were all ranked at least eight spots lower when the postseason began, but all three won their respective bowl games.

On the flip side, TCU, at 6-6, earned a bowl bid… and subsequently lost to finish under .500. And then there was Notre Dame and Michigan State, which combined to win a total of seven games so let’s just forget about that and move on.

The point of this whole review-before-we-look-ahead exercise? Preseason polls are meaningless — but not nearly as meaningless as polls produced nearly eight months ahead of the start of a new season. With that in mind, enjoy this way-to-early Top 25 that will put the “mean” in meaningless. And the “less” in it, for that matter.

Oh, and as always, feel free to complain/whine/moan/bitch away in the comments section below.

NO. 1 USC
WHY? As a redshirt freshman, Sam Darnold emerged as one of the most electrifying playmakers at the quarterback position in college football, and should, to the chagrin of opponents, get even better with a full offseason as the man at the position.  Winning nine straight to close out the season doesn’t hurt either.
WHY NOT? There’s always at least one team that’s way overhyped — hello 2016 Notre Dame — and the hoopla and attention proves to be too much for the young Trojans to bear.

NO. 2 ALABAMA
WHY? Nick Saban + top-ranked recruiting classes year-in, year-out + a burning desire to be the greatest there ever was at this level = a permanent spot inside the Top 10 as long as The Nicktator resides in Tuscaloosa.
WHY NOT? An NFL team (finally) entices Saban to go back and finish what he started — and abruptly ended — in the big boy league of football.  It’s not going to happen, of course, but that’s about the only thing that could derail the Crimson Tide juggernaut — well, that and a Tiger named Deshaun.

Clemson v Florida StateNO. 3 FLORIDA STATE
WHY? The Seminoles are once again loaded with top-flight talent on both sides of the ball and at every positional unit, with Deondre Francois showing flashes in his first season as the starter of being one of the best young quarterbacks in the sport.
WHY NOT? They face Alabama on a (ahem) neutral field to open the season, then travel to Gainesville to face Florida in the regular-season finale.  In between, there’s a trip to Death Valley for their annual ACC Atlantic grudge match with Clemson.

NO. 4 OKLAHOMA
WHY? With Baker Mayfield returning, and the rest of the conference still trying to play catch-up, the Sooners are clearly the cream of the Big 12 crop.
WHY NOT? The twin backfield loses of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine can’t be overcome and Mayfield has to shoulder too much of the offensive burden. Plus, the road trips to Ohio State, Baylor and Oklahoma State for Bedlam.

NO. 5 WASHINGTON
WHY? They have a talented arm in quarterback Jake Browning, a very staunch defense and a schedule that’s very favorable, with the toughest road game being the trip to Stanford.
WHY NOT? They are losing a significant amount of talent that helped get them to the College Football Playoffs.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State v ClemsonNO. 6 OHIO STATE
WHY? Given the personnel losses after the 2015 season, 2016 was thought to be a rebuilding year but turned into another playoff appearance.  The target was always the 2017 season for this young Buckeyes team, and a squad loaded with this much talent will be a factor throughout.
WHY NOT? J.T Barrett continues to regress as a quarterback despite Urban Meyer shaking up the top of his offensive coaching staff, and none of the other young quarterbacks are quite ready for prime time.

NO. 7 CLEMSON
WHY? Despite losing a couple of pieces, Brent Venables‘ defense will once again be one of the best in the nation.  The Tigers won 10 or more games in each of the three seasons prior to Deshaun Watson‘s arrival, so it’s far from a one-man show that Dabo Swinney has built.
WHY NOT? Losing Watson, a three-year starter at quarterback, proves to be too much as his replacement simply can’t handle the burden.

NO. 8 MICHIGAN
WHY? For all of his well-publicized off-field antics, Jim Harbaugh is simply one of the best head coaches in the sport and will settle for nothing less than getting his beloved Wolverines back into the national title discussion on an annual basis.  Wilton Speight was a breakout star in 2016 and should flourish despite the loss of his quarterbacks coach, while Don Brown continues to be one of the best defensive minds in the game.
WHY NOT? Too much talent was lost to the NFL, and Harbaugh simply hasn’t gotten the requisite time to completely restock the cupboard in Ann Arbor to compete with the Ohio States of the college football world.

Oklahoma State v BaylorNO. 9 OKLAHOMA STATE
WHY? One of the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the country, Mason Rudolph and James Washington, eschewed an early shot at the NFL and returned for one more season in Stillwater.
WHY NOT? A defense that was 53rd in scoring as it was loses nearly half its starters, plus OSU will have to play at Pittsburgh, Texas and West Virginia.

NO. 10 PENN STATE
WHY? They return a bunch of talent from their Big Ten-winning squad, including Heisman contenders in quarterback Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley, and get Michigan, Nebraska and Pittsburgh in Happy Valley.
WHY NOT? They lost a very talented wide receiver in Chris Godwin and have to play at Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State.

NO. 11 STANFORD
NO. 12 AUBURN
NO. 13 TEXAS
NO. 14 LSU
NO. 15 WISCONSIN
NO. 16 LOUISVILLE
NO. 17 GEORGIA
NO. 18 WEST VIRGINIA
NO. 19 SOUTH FLORIDA
NO. 20 FLORIDA
NO. 21 KANSAS STATE
NO. 22 COLORADO
NO. 23 WASHINGTON STATE
NO. 24 SAN DIEGO STATE
NO. 25 OREGON

USF has new defensive coordinator as Brian Jean-Mary follows Charlie Strong from Texas

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Defenders from the University of South Florida Bulls  swarm wide receiver Hakeem Nicks #88 of the North Carolina Tar Hells at Raymond James Stadium on September 22, 2007 in Tampa, Florida.  USF won 37-10. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
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Charlie Strong has found his new defensive coordinator at South Florida and, not surprisingly, it’s a familiar face that is following him from Austin to Tampa.

USF announced on Sunday afternoon that Brian Jean-Mary was named the program’s new defensive coordinator after previously serving as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas.

The pair have coached together for nearly a decade, including a successful stint at Louisville where the pair helped develop talent like third round pick Lorenzo Mauldin in addition to All-Big 12 selection Malik Jefferson while coaching the Longhorns.

“I’m very excited to come to South Florida and have the opportunity to serve as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator under Coach Strong,” Jean-Mary said in a statement. “I have had the honor to work with Coach Strong over the last seven seasons and appreciate his confidence in me to lead his defense. We have some terrific talent at USF and in the state of Florida and I’m excited to be back in the state and getting to work building the Bulls defense.”

Jean-Mary is a Florida native, growing up about 90 minutes from campus in Apopka. He’s the latest major staff hire by Strong this week, as offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert was also introduced by the school.

Texas booster Red McCombs gives Tom Herman hiring his blessing

MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 24:  Owner Red McCombs of the Minnesota Vikings watches the game against the Tennessee Titans at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on October 24, 2004 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Titans 20-3. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Charlie Strong seemingly hadn’t even made his leather desk chair in Austin warm yet until Red McCombs lobbed his “position coach” comment at him. For those who don’t recall, the Longhorns super-booster said of Strong’s hiring, “I think the whole thing is a bit sideways. I don’t have any doubt that Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator.”

McCombs later apologized for the comment, but those words, the terms he categorized UT’s first black coach in, followed the program around for the entirety of Strong’s 3-year tenure. Even when the Texas president and athletics director made cheering statements supporting their coach fighting to reach the .500 mark, McCombs’s comments were trudged out any time a commentator looked to make a point how Strong never had a chance in Austin.

Tom Herman won’t have to deal with any of that.

Speaking with Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, McCombs said, “We got the right man.”

“I know Tom by reputation, and spoke to him this morning. This guy is the real deal,” McCombs said. “If you list his 10 greatest qualities, coaching might be No. 7 or 8. His greatest is recognizing talent. The second one is recognizing the enemy and what it takes to beat him. There are some guys out there we know are winners because we’ve played them and gotten our ass beat the last two years.”

The former owner of the Minnesota Vikings and the San Antonio Spurs, McCombs is a billionaire that has his name on the Texas business school and the softball stadium. He’s also an octogenarian. His later quotes proved he gives as much a damn as one would expect an octogenarian billionaire to give.

“He tried hard, but it wasn’t there,” McCombs said of Strong. “It just didn’t fit, and he had to be frustrated out of his head. You got to have confidence when you step into that ring. It’s like being in Madison Square Garden and the whole world is looking at you. I tried to get the powers-to-be to have mercy on him after two years. That was like me running NASA.”

Having given likely the final quote on Strong he’ll ever give, McCombs then set the expectations for Herman’s time in Austin. And Major Applewhite‘s.

“We’ll be back in that circle of the top five or six teams in the country soon,” McCombs said. “It won’t take long. I think Tom will blow the lid off it. In 10 years, we’ll get an awful lot out of him. And after Major Applewhite does the same thing at Houston, then we’ll get him.”