Missouri Tigers

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 5: Alabama Crimson Tide raise the trophy into the air after defeating the Florida Gators 29-15 in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Surprise! Media taps reigning champ Alabama as preseason SEC favorite

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If history is an indicator, Alabama should be very concerned right about now when it comes to its hopes of defending its title.

With another SEC Media Days in the books, the conference released the results of its media poll, with ‘Bama targeted by that group as the overwhelming favorite.  Based on the league’s points system, ‘Bama, with 223 points to win the SEC championship, easily lapped LSU and its 59.  Tennessee, Georgia and Florida from the East Division are next with 29, seven and five, respectively.

Being the favorite, though, doesn’t exactly bode well for Nick Saban and his troops.

UA, with 2,220 points, received 246 first-place votes to win the West.  Others in that division receiving first-place votes are LSU (76), Ole Miss (five), Texas A&M (three) and Arkansas (one).  Mississippi State is projected to finish last, 372 points ahead of fifth-place Auburn (890-518).

Over in the East, every team but Kentucky and Missouri received first-place votes.  Tennessee received 225 of those, followed by Florida (57) and Georgia (45).  Vanderbilt actually received a pair of first-place votes, while South Carolina, projected to finish in the East’s cellar, received a pair as well in the anonymous voting.

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Mizzou AD Mack Rhoades leaving for same job at Baylor

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 9: University of Missouri-Columbia Athletic Director Mack Rhoades speaks to the media during a news conference on the campus of University of Missouri - Columbia on November 9, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri. University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned today amid protests over racial tensions at the university.  (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
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Apparently, there’s at least one person who doesn’t view the situation in Waco as being as toxic as most.

According to multiple media outlets, Mack Rhoades is set to leave as the athletic director at Missouri to take the same job at Baylor.  While neither schools have confirmed the development, Mizzou head football coach Barry Odom acknowledged it at the SEC Media Days a short time ago.

Rhoades would replace Ian McCaw, who was swept up in the sexual assault scandal at BU and “resigned” in late May. Rhoades has been at Mizzou for a little over a year, coming to the SEC school from Houston.

Interestingly, Rhoades hired Tom Herman as the Cougars’ head coach, kicking off a renaissance in the football program. With the Bears looking for a permanent replacement for the fired Art Briles, Herman’s name will certainly be at the front and center of the speculation when it comes to a new hire at Rhoades’ new school.

UPDATED 3:57 p.m. ET: Baylor has since confirmed the hiring of Mack Rhoades as their new athletic director.

2015 finalist Raekwon McMillan of Ohio State headlines Butkus Award watch list

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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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

Ex-Mizzou RB apparently transfers to FCS instead of retiring

COLUMBIA , MO - SEPTEMBER 5:  Chase Abbington #39 of the Missouri Tigers looks for a hole as he runs against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Back in March, Missouri head coach Barry Odom announced that Chase Abbington had not only left his football team but the sport of football period.

Four months later?  Never mind, at least on the latter front.

As pointed out in a tweet from Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Abbington’s name is now listed on the official online roster of Southeast Missouri State.  Attempts to confirm the development with SEMO officials have been unsuccessful.

If Abbington does indeed suit up for the Redhawks in 2016, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016 as they play at the FCS level.  This upcoming season will be his last year of eligibility, although he does have a redshirt available.

Abbington was a four-star member of Mizzou’s 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Missouri. However, academics forced the in-state product out of state to a Kansas junior college for two years before rejoining the Tigers in 2015.

In 10 games last season, Abbington averaged 6.5 yards per carry, albeit on just six attempts.

SEC accounts for 27 of 88 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch listers

IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 21: Defensive back Desmond King #14 of the Iowa Hawkeyes comes up with the ball after a turnover in the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers on November 21, 2015 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
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Watch list season continues to roll along, with an award dedicated to the best defensive player in the country the latest to roll out its preseason honors.

In conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, the Bronko Nagurski Award released a watch list consisting of 88 players on the defensive side of the ball.  Defensive backs occupied the most spots with 31, followed 29 linebackers and 28 linemen (21 ends, seven tackles).

The SEC’s 27 players listed more than doubled the 13 each of the Big Ten and Pac-12, and was six more than the combined totals of the other two Power Five conferences (ACC 11, Big 12 10). The MAC had the most of any Group of Five conference with four, followed by the Mountain West (three), American Athletic (two), Conference USA (two) and Sun Belt (one). Players from independent programs accounted for the final two watch listers.

Three of the players on the watch list — Desmond King of Iowa, Shawun Lurry of Northern Illinois and Myles Garrett of Texas A&M — were first-team FWAA All-Americans in 2015, while two others — Eddie Jackson of Alabama and Jourdan Lewis of Michigan — were named to the second-team.

The Nagurski Trophy, handed out annually since 1993, is named in honor of Bronko Nagurski, the legendary Minnesota Golden Gopher fullback and defensive lineman. Nagurski was a charter member of both the college and pro football halls of fame.

Last year’s honoree was Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich.

Below is the complete 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list:

Montravius Adams, Auburn, DT
Jamal Adams, LSU, DB
Jonathan Allen, Alabama, DE
Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado, DB
Budda Baker, Washington, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, DB
Derek Barnett, Tennessee, DE
Kendell Beckwith, LSU, LB
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin, LB
Quin Blanding, Virginia, DB
Ben Boulware, Clemson, LB
Richie Brown, Mississippi State, LB
Riley Bullough, Michigan State, LB
Josh Carraway, TCU, DE
Lorenzo Carter, Georgia, LB
Tony Conner, Ole Miss, DB
Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, LB
Jarrad Davis, Florida, LB
Hunter Dimick, Utah, DE
Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech, DE
Devonte Fields, Louisville, DE
Salamo Fiso, Arizona State, LB
Kylie Fitts, Utah, DE
Reuben Foster, Alabama, LB
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, DE
Davon Godchaux, LSU, DT
Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M, DE
Charles Harris, Missouri, DE
Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville, DB
Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss, DE
Treyvon Hester, Toledo, DT
Travin Howard, TCU, LB
Shane Huber, Massachusetts, LB
Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, DB
Adoreé Jackson, USC, DB
Eddie Jackson, Alabama
Derwin James, Florida State, DB
Malik Jefferson, Texas, LB
Josey Jewell, Iowa, LB
Sidney Jones, Washington, DB
Andrew King, Army, LB
Desmond King, Iowa, DB
Micah Kiser, Virginia, LB
Carl Lawson, Auburn, DE
Elijah Lee, Kansas State, LB
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, DB
Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State, DE
William Likely, Maryland, DB
Lowell Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Shawun Lurry, Northern Illinois, DB
Jamal Marcus, Akron, DE
Marcus Maye, Florida, DB
Malik McDowell, Michigan State, DT
Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
Fabian Moreau, UCLA, DB
Calvin Munson, San Diego State, LB
Lewis Neal, LSU, DE
Hardy Nickerson, Illinois, LB
Steven Parker, Oklahoma, DB
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, LB
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee, LB
TJ Ricks, Old Dominion, LB
Isaac Rochell, Notre Dame, DE
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State, DE
Duke Shelley, Kansas State, DB
Cameron Smith, USC, LB
Weston Steelhammer, Air Force, DB
Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State, DB
Jamar Summers, UConn, DB
Cameron Sutton, Tennessee, DB
Jalen Tabor, Florida, DB
Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson, DB
Steven Taylor, Houston, LB
Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma, DB
Tanner Vallejo, Boise State, LB
Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA, DT
Azeem Victor, Washington, LB
Anthony Walker Jr., Northwestern, LB
Charles Walker, Oklahoma, DE
DeMarcus Walker, Florida State, DE
Carlos Watkins, Clemson, DT
Tre’Davious White, LSU, DB
Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh, DB
Marcus Williams, Utah, DB
Tim Williams, Alabama, LB
Deatrich Wise Jr., Arkansas, DE
Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech, DB
Chris Wormley, Michigan, DE