Texas A&M Aggies

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 opens as Bovada’s early 2017 title favorite

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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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Peyton Manning, Steve Spurrier (again) among 13 elected to College Football Hall of Fame

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29:  Former Tennesse quarterback Peyton Manning and current quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts is honored alongside his former college coach Phillip Fulmer before the start of the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 29, 2005 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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If you’re looking for a class with star power, this one has it.  In spades.

Monday morning, the National Football Foundation announced the 2017 class that will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this year.  The group includes 19 players and three coaches.

Players:

  • BOB CRABLE – LB, Notre Dame (1978-81)
  • MARSHALL FAULK – RB, San Diego State (1991-93)
  • KIRK GIBSON – WR, Michigan State (1975-78)
  • MATT LEINART – QB, Southern California (2003-05)
  • PEYTON MANNING – QB, Tennessee (1994-97)
  • BOB McKAY – OT, Texas (1968-69)
  • DAT NGUYEN – LB, Texas A&M (1995-98)
  • ADRIAN PETERSON – RB, Georgia Southern (1998-2001)
  • MIKE RUTH – NG, Boston College (1982-85)
  • BRIAN URLACHER – DB, New Mexico (1996-99)

Coaches:

  • DANNY FORD – 122-59-5 (66.9%); Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
  • LARRY KEHRES – 332-24-3 (92.9%); Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012)
  • STEVE SPURRIER – 228-89-2 (71.8%); Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), South Carolina (2005-15)

Spurrier is already in the Hall of Fame as a player.  He will become just the fourth individual to be inducted as both a player and a coach, joining Bobby Dodd, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Bowden Wyatt.

In 2011, Faulk was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Gibson is likely known to most as the former Los Angles Dodgers baseball player, whose home run trot in the 1988 World Series remains one of the most iconic moments in the sport’s history.

Kehres is the only head coach at any level of college football to finish with a winning percentage above .900 — his Purple Raiders won a staggering 332 of 359 games (with three ties) for a .929 win percentage during the incredible run that lasted nearly three decades.

Urlacher is the first player from the University of New Mexico to be elected, while the “other” Adrian Peterson is just the second from Georgia Southern (Tracy Ham, 2007).

Longtime Iowa, Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis retires after 43 year career

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 2:  Running back Akrum Wadley #25 of the Iowa Hawkeyes slips a tackle by defensive back Marcell Harris #26 of the Florida Gators during a carry in the third quarter of the Outback Bowl NCAA college football game on January 2, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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In a semi-surprising move made on Friday afternoon, Iowa announced that longtime offensive coordinator Greg Davis would be retiring to wrap up a 43-year career in college football.

“I have had a wonderful five years with the Hawkeye football program. I would like to thank coach Ferentz, the entire staff, our players, and Iowa fans everywhere,” said Davis in a statement. “This is my decision, but not a decision that was reached lightly. I remain passionate about the game of football, and enjoyed teaching football to our players every day. Patsy has been a trooper through all these years; we have learned and enjoyed every step along the way. It’s time for me to get closer to our family.”

In addition to spending the past five seasons with the Hawkeyes, Davis is most closely associated with his 13 year tenure at Texas as Mack Brown’s offensive coordinator. He was the Frank Broyles Award winner as the nation’s best assistant coach back in 2005 when the Longhorns won the national title and made coaching stops at North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and Texas A&M.

Davis also served as head coach at Tulane from 1988 to 1991.

The news of Davis’ departure will likely be received well by Iowa fans as the team has struggled to score points during his tenure, a fact highlighted by the team’s disastrous loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl.

It will be interesting to see where Kirk Ferentz goes with his next staff hire, which will likely be made in the coming weeks.

Texas A&M WR Speedy Noil making quick exit to NFL in 2017

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 12:  Speedy Noil #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies runs past Derrick Jones #19 of the Mississippi Rebels at Kyle Field on November 12, 2016 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Texas A&M wide receiver Speedy Noil has made his decision, and it will no longer include playing for the Aggies. Noil announced, via Twitter, he will be declaring for the NFL Draft and leaving College Station behind a year early.

Noil joins fellow Aggie wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones in declaring early for the NFL Draft. Seals-Jones made his intention public last week. Texas A&M’s returning wide receiver unit is taking some hits through attrition between early departures and graduation. Christian Kirk is, for the moment, the only player returning who has had any impact in the passing game in 2017.

Noil appeared in nine games for the Aggies in 2016, in which he caught 21 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Noil, a five-star recruit out of high school in Texas A&M’s Class of 2014 showed great promise in his freshman season with 46 catches for 583 yards and five touchdowns, but the previous two seasons combined saw fewer receiving yards (551 yards) and fewer touchdowns (four) and more games missed due to suspension. The most recent suspension came last month as Texas A&M suspended Noil for the Aggies’ bowl game following an arrest for marijuana possession. It was Noil’s second arrest and third suspension in 13 months.

As he enters the rigors of the NFL Draft process, these are issues he will most certainly have to address in meetings and interviews with NFL representatives, but if he has cleaned up his act for the better and long-term, some NFL team may be getting a zippy wide receiver to throw into their offense or special teams unit.

16 college football games among most-watched non-NFL/Olympics events of 2016

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes shakes hands with head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines after a 42-13 Ohio State win at Michigan Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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This headline requires that major caveat above involving the NFL and Olympics, given that those two sports accounted for 45 of the 50 most-watched sporting events of 2016. So with those ratings juggernauts removed, we have a pretty good idea of what other sports people were watching last year between baseball, basketball, college football and the like.

The two College Football Playoff semifinal games played on New Year’s Eve had better ratings than 2015’s semifinals, but the ratings were still down from 2014’s games.

Sixteen college football games ranked in the top 50 most-watched sporting events of 2016, per Sports Media Watch. Those games:

No. 3: Alabama/Clemson College Football Playoff Championship (15.0 rating, 26.18m viewers)

No. 10: Alabama/Washington Peach Bowl Playoff Semifinal (19.34m viewers, no rating available)

No. 11: Clemson/Ohio State Fiesta Bowl Playoff Semifinal (19.24m viewers, no rating available)

No. 16: Michigan/Ohio State regular season (9.4 rating, 16.84m viewers)

No. 22: Stanford/Iowa Rose Bowl (7.4 rating, 13.55m viewers)

No. 25: Florida State/Michigan Orange Bowl (11.7m viewers, no rating available)

No. 28: Alabama/Florida SEC Championship (6.6 rating, 11.09m viewers)

No. 29: Notre Dame/Texas regular season (6.4 rating, 10.95m viewers)

No. 33: Alabama/LSU regular season (5.8 rating, 10.39m viewers)

No. 38: Notre Dame/Ohio State Fiesta Bowl (5.6 rating, 9.76m viewers)

No. 41: Louisville/Clemson (5.5 rating, 9.29m viewers)

No. 42: Penn State/Wisconsin Big Ten Champi0nship (5.3 rating, 9.19m viewers)

No. 43: Ohio State/Wisconsin regular season (5.2 rating, 8.96m viewers)

No. 44: Mississippi/Oklahoma State Sugar Bowl (5.1 rating, 8.94m viewers)

No. 45: Michigan/Florida Citrus Bowl (5.1 rating, 8.76m viewers)

No. 49: Texas A&M/Alabama regular season (5.0 rating, 8.46m viewers)

Both the 2016 Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl saw the lowest TV ratings in the history of those respective games, though an uninspiring matchup (Ole Miss/Oklahoma State) and a blowout (Stanford/Iowa) probably contributed to both.

Alabama or Ohio State were involved in nine of these 16 games, and expanding that further, 13 of the 16 involved a team from the Big Ten or SEC.

Also, here’s why the NFL and Olympics have to be factored out of these rankings: Without it, only last year’s Alabama/Clemson title game ranks in the top 50 at No. 26, and that fell behind six regular season NFL games.