UTEP Miners

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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2015 finalists Leonard Fournette, Christian McAffrey part of Walker Award watch list

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With 2015 winner Derrick Henry of Alabama off to the NFL, there will be a new winner of the Doak Walker Award in 2016.  Based on the projected performances of a couple of other finalists from a year ago, this year’s winner could very well come from the group below.

Thursday, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced a watch list that contains a whopping 76 players.  The Walker Award has ben handed out annually since 1990 to the nation’s top running back and is named in honor of former SMU great Doak Walker.

Two finalists for last year’s award have made the cut this preseason — LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.

The SEC led all conferences with 13 watch listers, followed by the Big 12 (9), Big 12 (9), Pac-12 (9), ACC (8), Mountain West (6), Sun Belt (6), MAC (5), Conference USA (4) and AAC (3).  There were also four from independents (BYU, Notre Dame).

Those two independents were two of the 13 schools with two running backs listed, the others being Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Cal, Duke, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

Below is the complete 2016 Doak Walker Award preseason watch list:

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UTEP star RB Aaron Jones not facing game suspension over DUI

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 5:  Aaron Jones #29 of the UTEP Miners runs the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Miners 48-13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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It appears one of the most talented but unheralded running backs in the country has made his way out of his head coach’s doghouse.

In February of this year, UTEP’s Aaron Jones was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.  In early March, head coach Sean Kugler said in a statement that “[w]e are waiting for the process to fully develop and once I have all the facts, I will evaluate the situation.”

Wednesday, Jones entered into a pretrial diversion program that will see the charge dismissed if he meets certain conditions. That same day, Kugler released a statement saying that, essentially, Jones had been punished enough.

“Aaron’s situation was handled internally as is the case with every player,” the coach said. “He has been punished harshly and I consider this matter to be put behind him, he will not be suspended further.”

Jones, who went to high school in El Paso, led the Miners in rushing in 2014 (1,321 yards) and 2013 (811). He sustained a season-ending ankle injury two games into the 2015 season; at the time of the injury, his 209 yards rushing were far and away the Miners’ leading rusher (Autrey Golsen, 19 yards at the time).  Despite missing the last 10 games of the season, he finished third on the team in rushing behind Jeremiah Laufasa‘s 381 yards and LaQuintus Dowell‘s 276.

Even as he’s missed a total of 14 games because of injury, including four games at the end of his true freshman season in 2013, Jones is currently eighth on the school’s all-time rushing list.

Earlier today, Jones was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list.

2015 finalist Jordan Leggett of Clemson among 45 TEs on Mackey Award watch list

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 7: Jordan Leggett #16 of the Clemson Tigers is tackled by Lamarcus Brutus #42 of the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
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Hey, at least this one is somewhat selective.

Continuing the preseason watch list dump is the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation’s top tight end and named in honor of the former Syracuse standout and NFL Hall of Famer.  This year, a total of 45 tight ends appear on the award’s initial watch list.

Headlining this year’s preseason list is Clemson’s Jordan Leggett, a finalist for last year’s honor.  Arkansas’ Hunter Henry was the recipient of the 2015 Mackey, which has been given out annually since 2000.

All 10 FBS conferences as well as one independent (Notre Dame) are represented, led by the SEC’s seven.  The Big Ten is next with six, followed by the ACC and MAC with five apiece and four each from Conference USA, the Mountain West, the Pac-12 and the Sun Belt.  The spread-happy Big 12, with two, has the fewest of not only the Power Five conferences but any league, period.

More than half (27) of the watch listers are seniors, with juniors making up 13 of the 45.  The remaining five players are sophomores.

Below is the complete 2016 Mackey Award watch list:

2016 Mackey Award watch list

Michigan, Ohio State as co-B1G favorites among Bovada conference title odds

25 Nov 1995:  General view of a game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Michigan won the game, 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
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You know how I know we’re getting closer to the start of the 2016 season?  I look at the calendar, of course.  Well, that and another batch of odds being released by a Las Vegas book.

Bovada.lv has once again served as the releaser, with the oddsmaker releasing its conference championship odds.   Last year’s title game participants, Alabama and Clemson, are solidly(ish) favored to win the SEC and ACC, respectively, while a College Football Playoff semifinalist, Oklahoma, is set as the overwhelming favorite to claim the Big 12.

One of the more interesting set of odds comes from another Power Five conference.

In the Big Ten East, two-time defending division winner Ohio State is listed as a 1/1 favorite, slightly ahead of rival Michigan at 5/4.  That’s for the division championship; when it comes to the overall conference championship, Bovada has the Buckeyes and Wolverines listed as co-favorites at 7/4.  Those numbers are well ahead of the next B1G squad, 2015 CFP semifinalist Michigan State (7/1), with all of those odds for the conference further illustrating how little is thought of the B1G West.

Below are the complete set of conference championship odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the AAC Championship
Houston 1/1
South Florida 7/2
Cincinnati 11/2
Temple 15/2
Memphis 11/1
Navy 11/1
UConn 20/1
East Carolina 33/1
Tulsa 33/1
SMU 75/1
Central Florida 100/1
Tulane 200/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division
Clemson 10/11
Florida State 5/4
Louisville 6/1
NC State 14/1
Boston College 40/1
Syracuse 50/1
Wake Forest 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the ACC Coastal Division
Miami 3/2
Pittsburgh 3/1
Virginia Tech 3/1
North Carolina 17/4
Georgia Tech 10/1
Duke 20/1
Virginia 40/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the ACC Championship
Clemson 3/2
Florida State 9/4
Miami 9/1
Louisville 10/1
North Carolina 10/1
Pittsburgh 14/1
Virginia Tech 14/1
Georgia Tech 16/1
NC State 20/1
Duke 40/1
Syracuse 75/1
Virginia 75/1
Wake Forest 75/1
Boston College 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Big Ten East Division
Ohio State 1/1
Michigan 5/4
Michigan State 6/1
Penn State 101
Indiana 33/1
Maryland 33/1
Rutgers 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Big Ten West Division
Iowa 1/1
Nebraska 2/1
Wisconsin 4/1
Northwestern 9/1
Minnesota 14/1
Illinois 25/1
Purdue 33/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Big Ten Championship
Michigan 7/4
Ohio State 7/4
Michigan State 7/1
Iowa 9/1
Nebraska 9/1
Wisconsin 14/1
Penn State 18/1
Northwestern 33/1
Minnesota 40/1
Illinois 50/1
Indiana 50/1
Maryland 50/1
Purdue 100/1
Rutgers 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Big 12 Championship
Oklahoma 2/3
Oklahoma State 5/1
TCU 5/1
Baylor 8/1
Texas 17/2
West Virginia 12/1
Kansas State 33/1
Texas Tech 33/1
Iowa State 100/1
Kansas 250/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Conference USA Championship
Southern Miss 9/4
Marshall 11/4
Western Kentucky 7/2
Middle Tennessee 5/1
Louisiana Tech 6/1
FAU 16/1
Rice 20/1
UTEP 25/1
FIU 33/1
Charlotte 100/1
North Texas 100/1
UTSA 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the MAC Conference Championship
Western Michigan 5/2
Northern Illinois 11/2
Toledo 11/2
Bowling Green 13/2
Akron 15/2
Central Michigan 15/2
Ohio 15/2
Buffalo 14/1
Kent State 14/1
Miami (Ohio) 18/1
Ball State 40/1
Eastern Michigan 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Mountain West Conference Championship Game
Boise State 5/4
San Diego State 11/4
San Jose State 10/1
Air Force 15/2
Utah State 10/1
Colorado State 12/1
Nevada 12/1
New Mexico 18/1
Fresno State 33/1
UNLV 33/1
Hawaii 50/1
Wyoming 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Pac 12 North Division
Stanford 8/5
Washington 7/4
Oregon 3/1
Washington State 13/2
California 10/1
Oregon State 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Pac 12 South Division
UCLA 7/5
USC 7/4
Utah 5/1
Arizona State 13/2
Arizona 15/2
Colorado 20/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Pac 12 Championship Game
Stanford 3/1
UCLA 7/2
Washington 4/1
Oregon 11/2
USC 11/2
Utah 12/1
Washington State 14/1
Arizona 20/1
Arizona State 20/1
California 22/1
Colorado 50/1
Oregon State 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the SEC East Division
Tennessee 4/5
Georgia 2/1
Florida 9/2
Missouri 16/1
Kentucky 25/1
South Carolina 25/1
Vanderbilt 25/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the SEC West Division
Alabama 4/5
LSU 9/4
Auburn 7/1
Ole Miss 12/1
Arkansas 14/1
Texas A&M 14/1
Mississippi State 20/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the SEC Championship
Alabama 7/4
LSU 7/2
Tennessee 7/2
Georgia 9/1
Ole Miss 10/1
Texas A&M 16/1
Auburn 18/1
Florida 18/1
Arkansas 20/1
Kentucky 50/1
Missouri 50/1
Mississippi State 50/1
South Carolina 66/1
Vanderbilt 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to Win the Sun Belt Championship
Appalachian State 9/4
Arkansas State 9/4
Georgia Southern 5/2
UL Lafayette 8/1
Troy 10/1
Georgia State 14/1
Idaho 25/1
South Alabama 25/1
New Mexico State 33/1
UL Monroe 40/1
Texas State 100/1

Deshaun Watson, Christian McCaffrey headline Maxwell watch list

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 05:  Running back Christian McCaffrey #5 of the Stanford Cardinal stiff arms cornerback Iman Marshall #8 of the USC Trojans on a kick return during the first quarter of the Pac-12 Championship game at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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One of the most prestigious awards in college football has thrown its annual hat into the watch list ring.

Tuesday morning, the Maxwell Football Club unveiled its 2016 watch list for the Maxwell Award, a group this year that consists of 90 players from all 10 FBS conferences as well independents in BYU and Notre Dame.  Two finalists for the 2015 version of the Maxwell Award, handed out annually since 1937 to the nation’s player of the year, won by Alabama running back Derrick Henry are included in the 90-player group — Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.

The ACC, with 15 players named to the watch list, paces all conferences, followed by 12 apiece for the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12.  Interestingly, the SEC has the fewest of any Power Five conference with just nine.

Of the Group of Five leagues, the AAC, Conference USA and Mountain West lead with six apiece.  The MAC is next with five, while the Sun Belt brings four to the watch list party.  A total of thee players come from independents, two from Notre Dame and one from BYU.

Baylor and Clemson lead all individual schools with three players apiece.

Of the 90 players listed, 72 of them play either quarterback or running back — 39 of the latter, 33 of the former.  There are 16 wide receivers on the list, and two tight ends.

Below is the complete watch list for the 2016 Maxwell Award:

2016 Maxwell Award watch list