Arizona Wildcats

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Les Miles, head coach of the LSU Tigers, reacts during the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Bama’s still the favorite, but LSU makes significant gain in Bovada title odds

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Back in February, four other teams had, per Bovada.lv, better odds to win the 2016 College Football Playoff than LSU.  Six months later, and less than a month before the start of a new season, the Tigers lag behind just one.

Currently, Alabama, 7/1 in February, is listed as Bovada‘s favorite at 6/1.  Right behind them is SEC West rival LSU at 7/1 and 2016 playoff runnerup Clemson at 17/2.

Ohio State, Bovada‘s wagering favorite earlier this year, has seen its odds grow longer at 9/1.  Those are the same odds hated rival Michigan (15/2 in February) is getting from the gambling website.

Houston (66/1) and Boise State (150/1) are the only Group of Five teams listed.  BYU (250/1) as a football independent (for now?) is also included.

Below are the updated odds for the 2016 College Football Playoff championship, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

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Arizona lineman Zach Hemmila found dead Monday morning

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Sadly, tragedy has struck yet another college football program.

Arizona officials confirmed Monday that offensive lineman Zach Hemmila died suddenly either Sunday night or Monday morning.  A cousin discovered Hemmila’s body at his residence earlier today.

No cause of death is known at this time.

Hemmila, who would’ve been a senior in 2016, was just 22 years old.

“The only thought on my mind right now is with Zach Hemmila’s family,” a tearful Rich Rodriguez said in confirming the awful news. “We lost a great young man. Everybody in our program is hurting.”

According to the Wildcats head coach, he had just spoken to the lineman following a team meeting Sunday.  Rodriguez had also spoken to Hemmila’s father, who, along with Hemmila’s mother, were visiting with their son the past few days.

“As Coach said, he’s a great young man,” said athletic director Greg Byrne. “We’re just so deeply saddened. Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends, the team, his teammates, the coaches and everybody involved.”

Hemmila started six games last season.  He was slated to start at center for the Wildcats this season.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to anyone impacted by Hemmila’s passing.

Arizona, Virginia Tech announce way-into-the-future series

BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Running back Kevin Jones #7 of the Virginia Tech Hokies holds an American flag before the NCAA football game against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Lane Stadium on September 12, 2002 in Blacksburg, Virgina.  The Hokies defeated the Thundering herd 47-21.  (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)
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Don’t worry, you have time to make travel plans for this one.  A lot of time.

Virginia Tech announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series with Arizona.  The Wildcats will host the first game Sept. 8, 2029, in Tucson, with the Hokies returning the favor in Blacksburg Aug. 30, 2030.

In other words, the incoming freshmen in the recruiting class the year of the first game will, most likely, be entering kindergarten this 2016.

“Even though this series is 13 years away, we felt it was a unique opportunity to schedule a Pac-12 team home and home,” Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said in a statement. “Strength of schedule and securing high-quality, Power 5 opponents will continue to be paramount in the College Football Playoff era. Arizona AD Greg Byrne and I have a good relationship and we started this discussion back in the offseason.

“This series should provide a nice travel destination for our fans and alumni who can make it to Tucson and provide a wonderful experience for our student-athletes who haven’t seen that part of the country. We will continue to work on and tweak our non-conference schedule for the near term and the long term in a manner that is in the best interest of Virginia Tech. We are excited to announce this series with a high-quality opponent.”

The two football programs have never met before.  The last time Tech played a Pac-12 school in the regular season was 2004 against USC.

Arizona OL Keenan Walker arrested for assaulting a bouncer

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31:  Head coach Rich Rodriguez of the Arizona Wildcats watches warm ups before the Vizio Fiesta Bowl against the Boise State Broncos at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 31, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Arizona offensive lineman Keenan Walker was arrested earlier this month on “suspicion” of assaulting bouncers outside a Scottsdale nightclub, the Arizona Republic reported Wednesday.

Walker and a companion allegedly assaulted security staff when denied entrance to Scottsdale’s Dakota Bar around 1 a.m. on July 10. Both men were booked on charges of disorderly conduct and assault. Both have since been released.

Arizona has told the Arizona Daily Star it is aware of the incident and that Walker’s punishments will be handled internally.

The 6-foot-5 offensive tackle was rated the No. 2 prospect in Arizona when signing with the Wildcats out of high school as a member of the 2015 class. His enrollment was delayed after suffering a knee injury as a senior in high school.

Four of five 2015 finalists on 40-player Walter Camp POTY watch list

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 5: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw against the Akron Zips September 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most prestigious awards in college football becomes one of the last honors to release its preseason watch list.

The Walter Camp Player of the Year award, the fourth-oldest individual college football award, released Friday its list of 40 players to watch for the upcoming season.  Named in honor of the legendary head coach, the Camp POTY award has been handed out annually since 1967, with USC running back O.J. Simpson claiming the first two trophies.

The 2015 winner of the award was Alabama running back Derrick Henry.  The other four finalists, Iowa defensive back Desmond King, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, return for the 2016 season and, of course, are among the watch listers.

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, Washington State quarterback Luke Falk and LSU running back Leonard Fournette were semifinalists in 2015 and make an appearance on the list.

There are 15 quarterbacks, 11 running backs, three wide receivers and one tight end, as well as 10 players on he defensive side of the ball.  The breakdown on the latter front is five defensive backs, four linebackers and one defensive lineman.

The Big Ten leads all conferences with eight watch listers, immediately followed by the SEC’s seven.  The rest of the leagues, from most to least, include Pac-12 (six), ACC (five), Big 12 (four), AAC (two), MAC (two), Mountain West (two), Conference USA (one) and Sun Belt (one).  There also one each from independents BYU and Notre Dame.

Clemson is the only team with three players on the list.  Florida State, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M are the only ones with two each.

Below is the complete 2016 Walter Camp Ward preseason watch list:

Quarterbacks
J.T. Barrett, Junior, QB, Ohio State
C.J. Beathard, Senior, QB, Iowa
Josh Dobbs, Senior, QB, Tennessee
Luke Falk, Junior, QB, Washington State
Chad Kelly, Senior, QB, Ole Miss
DeShone Kizer, Junior, QB, Notre Dame
Tanner Mangum, Junior, QB, BYU
Baker Mayfield, Senior, QB, Oklahoma #
Nick Mullens, Senior, QB, Southern Miss
Josh Rosen, Sophomore, QB, UCLA
Seth Russell, Senior, QB, Baylor
Brett Rypien, Sophomore, QB, Boise State
Anu Solomon, RS Junior, QB, Arizona
Greg Ward, Senior, QB, Houston
Deshaun Watson, Junior, QB, Clemson *

Running Backs
Nick Chubb, Junior, RB, Georgia
Dalvin Cook, Junior, RB, Florida State *
Leonard Fournette, Junior, RB, LSU #
Royce Freeman, Junior, RB, Oregon
Wayne Gallman, Junior, RB, Clemson
Justin Jackson, Junior, RB, Northwestern
Marlon Mack, Junior, RB, South Florida
Christian McCaffrey, Junior, RB/KR, Stanford *
Samaje Perine, Junior, RB, Oklahoma
Donnel Pumphrey, Senior, RB, San Diego State
Larry Rose, Junior, RB, New Mexico State

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Corey Davis, Senior, WR, Western Michigan
Christian Kirk, Sophomore, WR, Texas A&M
Jordan Leggett, TE, Senior, Clemson *
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Junior, WR, USC

Defense
Myles Garrett, Junior, DE, Texas A&M #
Eddie Jackson, Junior, DB, Alabama *
Derwin James, Sophomore, DB, Florida State
Malik Jefferson, Sophomore, LB, Texas
Desmond King, Senior, DB, Iowa #
Jourdan Lewis, Senior, DB, Michigan *
Shawun Lurry, Junior, DB, Northern Illinois *
Raekwon McMillan, Junior, LB, Ohio State *
Jabrill Peppers, Sophomore, LB, Michigan
Anthony Walker, Junior, LB, Northwestern

# – 2015 Walter Camp First Team All-America selection
*- 2015 Walter Camp Second Team All-America selection