South Carolina Gamecocks

HUNTINGTON, WV - DECEMBER 06: A Marshall Thundering Herd helmet as seen on the sideleine at Joan C. Edwards Stadium during the Conference USA championship game on December 6, 2014 in Huntington, West Virginia. The Thundering Herd defeat the Bulldogs 26-23. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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South Carolina to pay Marshall $1.4 million for 2018 game

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The cost of doing scheduling business in big-time college football has gone up significantly.

The latest example?  Late this past week, Marshall announced that it has reached an agreement with South Carolina on a future game.  The Herd will travel to Columbia to take on the Gamecocks on Sept. 15, 2018.

And, according to the release, the athletic program will receive a $1.4 million guarantee for the one-off game with USC.

“We’re excited to play an SEC school, especially one that is in a fertile recruiting ground for our program and within driving distance for our fans,” said athletic director Mike Hamrick in a statement. “We had an opportunity to play a game of this caliber in 2018 and it was too good to pass up.”

The two football programs have met just once previously in football, a 24-21 Herd win over the Gamecocks in Columbia in 1998.

The week after the USC game, Marshall will play host to North Carolina State in the back-end of a home-and-home series.  MU also has agreements for future home-and-homes with Boise State (2019-20), Cincinnati (2017, 2019) and Navy (2021-2022).

2015 finalists Leonard Fournette, Christian McAffrey part of Walker Award watch list

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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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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Surprise! Media taps reigning champ Alabama as preseason SEC favorite

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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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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South Carolina suspends lineman charged with DUI

LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 29: A football helmet on the field for the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 29, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.    (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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Once again, it’s time to reset a “Days Without An Arrest” ticker that was halfway to double digits back to double zeroes.

According to The State, South Carolina sophomore Christian Pellage was arrested and charged with first-offense DUI late last week.  No details of what led to the charge have been made available.

As of right now, Pellage has been indefinitely suspended by Will Muschamp.  The first-year Gamecock head coach also indicated that the offensive lineman is also facing at least a one-game suspension.

“He is going to miss some game time,” Muschamp said at the SEC Media Days Thursday. “I am working through all the details with Christian.”

As a freshman last season, Pellage played in 12 games, with most of that action coming on special teams.  On the depth chart heading into summer camp, Pellage is listed as the No. 2 left guard.

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