Auburn Tigers

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 06:  Former Auburn Tigers player Bo Jackson on the field before the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl on January 6, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Heisman winner Bo Jackson: No way I would allow my kids to play football today

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There are few more iconic sports advertising campaigns than the famous ‘Bo Knows’ Nike campaign surrounding former Auburn tailback Bo Jackson. As it turns out though, one of the greatest athletes of his generation didn’t know everything when it came to the game of football.

Specifically that would be about head injuries that come from playing the sport. Speaking to USA Today this week, the man who earned appearances in both the MLB All-Star game and the NFL Pro Bowl expressed some regret over playing the latter in light of new information and warned that he would never let his kids play the game that made him one of the most famous athletes in the country:

“If I knew back then what I know now,’’ Jackson told USA TODAY Sports, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.

“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.

“Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football.”

Jackson has three children and won the Heisman Trophy back in 1985 with the Tigers. He was responsible for many memorable moments on the Plains (in multiple sports) and has appeared on the sidelines for several big Auburn games over the years.

While he’s not the only ex-athlete to comment on the impact of CTE in recent years, it’s a bit shocking to hear him say he would never play the sport if he’d known then what he knows now. While he doesn’t regret the way things played out in terms of his professional career getting cut short because of a hip injury, Jackson’s comments as a legendary college football player on not letting his kids play the game are sure to be discussed quite a bit in the future by parents, players and coaches.

Reports: ‘No way,’ ‘no shot’ Art Briles becomes Auburn’s next OC

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 5: Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears looks on from the sidelines against the Texas Longhorns at McLane Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
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When Rhett Lashlee abruptly departed Auburn for UConn of all places, it left Gus Malzahn in need of a new offensive coordinator.  Less than 24 hours into the search, we can safely cross one name off the list.

In the immediate aftermath of Lashlee’s surprise departure, the highly-toxic name of Art Briles came up as a potential replacement.  The scandal-stained coach is certainly one of the best offensive minds in the sport, but the sexual assault scandal that resulted in his dismissal from Baylor has, at least for this season, made him an untouchable for almost any college football program.

Not that it’s really surprising, but one of those programs is indeed Auburn.

“No way” Briles becomes the the Tigers’ next coordinator, a high-level source told 247Sports.com.  But wait. there’s more.

Whatever direction Malzahn takes with his offense, it apparently — and rightly — won’t include Briles.

Auburn OC Rhett Lashlee leaves to take same job at UConn

EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 21: Players and fans of the Connecticut Huskies celebrate their 20-17 win over the 13th ranked Houston Cougars at Rentschler Field on November 21, 2015 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
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Wait, what?

Rhett Lashlee spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator at Auburn. In late September, Gus Malzahn handed the play-calling reins over to Lashlee, leaving those duties to his assistant for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Four months later?  UConn announced that new/old head coach Randy Edsall has hired Lashlee as his new coordinator on his Huskies coaching staff.  The abrupt and unexpected divorce on The Plains was apparently an amicable one as UConn’s announcement included a quote from Lashlee’s former boss, which indicated that his underling left “to implement and run his own offense.”

“Rhett has been a valuable asset to our program, helping Auburn to a national championship as a graduate assistant and another national championship appearance in 2013,” Malzahn said in the statement. “Our offenses have achieved great success and he has been a big part of that. This is a great opportunity for Rhett to implement and run his own offense. I’ve known Rhett for two decades and he’s a man of great character and integrity and this is another step towards his goal to become a head coach. I want to thank Rhett for all of his contributions and his friendship. I want to wish he and his wife Lauren all the best in this new endeavor.”

“Auburn is a special place to me and my family,” Lashlee said. “All four of our kids were born in Auburn and I’m happy to have been part of two SEC Championships and two National Championship games. The Auburn Family will always be special to us.”

According to the release, Lashlee signed a three-year contract worth $350,000 the first year.  In 2016, Lashlee made just a shade over $600,000 in what turned out to be his final season with the Tigers.

In addition to the coordinating role, Lashlee will also serve as quarterbacks coach for Edsall.

Said the head coach of his new coordinator, “He is one of the brightest offensive minds in college football and I know that his experience around some of the highest-powered offenses and top players in the country is going to be an incredible benefit to our program.”

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