Fresno State Bulldogs

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Max Wittek #13 of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors looks to elude the defense of Raekwon McMillan #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the third quarter at Ohio Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Hawaii 38-0.   (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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2015 finalist Raekwon McMillan of Ohio State headlines Butkus Award watch list

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I’m running out of ways to lead these things, so let’s just get to it, shall we?

Tuesday, yet another watch list was released, with the Butkus Award unveiling its list of 51 linebackers to watch this season.  The Butkus Award, given out annually since 1985 to the nation’s best linebacker, is named in honor of former Illinois great Dick Butkus.

Last year’s award went to Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith.  Raekwon McMillan, he of the getting-trucked-by-a-woman McMillans, made this year’s watch list after being a finalist for last year’s award.

The SEC led all conferences with 12 selections, followed by the Big Ten’s 10.  The Big 12 and ACC were next with six and five players, respectively, while the AAC and Mountain West led Group of Five leagues with four each.  That’s the same number as the Pac-12.

The Sun Belt was the lone FBS conference without a representative.

Alabama was the only school with three linebackers selected.  Houston, Kansas State, Louisville, Ohio State and Penn State, with two each, were the only other programs with more than one.

There is also one non-FBS watch lister: Nick DeLuca of FCS power North Dakota State.

Below is the complete 2016 Butkus Award preseason watch list:

Ryan Anderson, Alabama
Kendall Beckwith, LSU
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
Dante Booker, Ohio State
Ben Boulware, Clemson
Tyus Bowser, Houston
Richie Brown, Mississippi State
Riley Bullough, Michigan State
Jason Cabinda, Penn State
Jeff Camilli, Fresno State
Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
Jermaine Carter, Maryland
Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
Kevin Davis, Colorado State
Jarrad Davis, Florida
Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State
Brooks Ellis, Arkansas
Jordan Evans, Oklahoma
Devonte’ Fields, Louisville
Salamo Fiso, Arizona State
Reuben Foster, Alabama
T.J. Holloman, South Carolina
Travin Howard, TCU
Shane Huber, UMass
Malik Jefferson, Texas
Josey Jewell, Iowa
Peter Kalambayi, Stanford
Harvey Kangi, BYU
Keith Kelsey, Louisville
Micah Kiser, Virginia
Elijah Lee, Kansas State
Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
Matt Milano, Boston College
Charmeachealle Moore, Kansas State
Nyles Morgan, Notre Dame
Calvin Munson, San Diego State
Hardy Nickerson, Illinois
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee
T.J. Ricks, Old Dominion
Auggie Sanchez, USF
Michael Scherer, Missouri
Cameron Smith, USC
Steven Taylor, Houston
Austin Valdez, Bowling Green
Tanner Vallejo, Boise State
Azeem Victor, Washington
Anthony Walker, Northwestern
Nyeem Warman-White, Penn State
Tim Williams, Alabama
Eric Wilson, Cincinnati
Taylor Young, Baylor

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

Fresno State, USC announce new 3-game series

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Joe Fernandez #84 of the Fresno State Bulldogs makes a catch for a touchdown against  Justin Wyatt #29 of the USC Trojans during the game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 19, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Fresno State can tell recruits it will play at least one Power 5 opponent in each of the next eight seasons after amounting a new scheduling agreement with USC.

The Trojans will host the Bulldogs in 2019, 2022 and 2025.

USC leads the all-time series between the California schools 3-1, including comfortable victories in 2013 and ’14.

Prior to that, the Bulldogs memorably challenged a loaded USC squad featuring Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush in a 2005 clash. Fresno State led 42-41 in the fourth quarter, but the Trojans prevailed 50-42.

Fresno State’s only win in the series came in the 1992 Freedom Bowl when quarterback Trent Dilfer engineered a 24-7 triumph.

Taking on power conference teams is nothing new for Fresno State, which is set to play at Nebraska on Sept. 3.

The Bulldogs will play at Alabama and Washington next season, at Minnesota and UCLA in 2018 and host Minnesota in 2019. In 2020, they have a trip to Texas A&M on the docket while 2021 includes visits to Oregon and UCLA.

After the 2022 tilt with the Trojans, the Bulldogs will travel to Arizona State in 2023.

UTEP confirms addition of ex-Fresno State QB Zack Greenlee

Zack Greenlee
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In January, Fresno State announced that Zack Greenlee had decided to transfer out of the Bulldogs program.  Three months later, the quarterback revealed via Twitter that he would be transferring to UTEP.

Two months later, that move has been confirmed.

In a press release, UTEP announced that Greenlee has indeed been added to the Miners’ football roster.  As a graduate transfer, Greenlee is eligible to play immediately in 2016.

As an added bonus for both the player and team, Greenlee has a year of eligibility he can use in 2017.

Greenlee started last season as Fresno State’s  starter, but wound up losing the job shortly after serving a suspension. All told, Greenlee started five games in 2015 after entering the year with one career start.

In the games in which he did play, Greenlee completed just under 47 percent of his 156 passes for 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.  Six of those touchdowns came in a 42-14 win over Hawaii, while five of his six interceptions came in the last three games of the year.

Greenlee was a three-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2013 recruiting class.

UTEP the landing spot for ex-Fresno State QB Zach Greenlee

Zack Greenlee
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Nearly three months after leaving a Mountain West school, Zack Greenlee has landed at one in Conference USA.

On his Twitter account late Saturday night, Greenlee announced that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at UTEP.  Greenlee joins the Miners as a graduate transfer, which means he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

As an added bonus for UTEP?  Greenlee will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Greenlee started last season as Fresno State’s  starter, but wound up losing the job shortly after serving a suspension. All told, Greenlee started five games in 2015 after entering the year with one career start.

In the games in which he did play, Greenlee completed just under 47 percent of his 156 passes for 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.  Six of those touchdowns came in a 42-14 win over Hawaii, while five of his six interceptions came in the last three games of the year.

Greenlee was a three-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2013 recruiting class.