Walter Camp Award unveils 2013 semifinalists

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One of the most prestigious awards in the country has released its list of players who are up for this year’s version of the hardware.

And, somewhat shockingly, defensive players are well represented, relatively speaking, among the group of 15 semifinalists unveiled by the Camp folks Wednesday.  Included in what’s normally considered that other side of the ball are UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

Of course, quarterbacks are well represented as well, with 10 players at that position included in the 15 semifinalists.  Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel is the only finalist for last year’s award, won by Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, among this year’s semifinalists.

Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Alabama’s AJ McCarron and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller were semifinalists a year ago who made the cut again this year.

Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona is the only running back on the list, while Texas A&M’s Mike Evans is the only wide receiver.  Florida State’s Jameis Winston is the lone freshman, while Evans, Manziel and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota are the only sophomores.

A&M and Alabama were the lone schools with more than one player.  The SEC (five), Pac-12 (three) and ACC (two) were the only conferences with more than one player.

Below are the 15 semifinalists and brief statistical notes, as provided by the Camp Foundation:

ANTHONY BARR, Senior, LB, UCLA – Has recorded 13.0 tackles for loss, including six sacks, for the 7-2 Bruins.

TAJH BOYD, Senior, QB, Clemson – Has thrown for 2,620 yards and 20 touchdowns for the 8-1 Tigers.

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, Junior, QB, Louisville – Has passed for 2,845 yards and 24 touchdowns for the 8-1 Cardinals.

KA’DEEM CAREY, Junior, RB, Arizona – Has rushed for 1,221 yards and 11 touchdowns for the 6-3 Wildcats.

DEREK CARR, Senior, QB, Fresno State – Has passed for 3,421 yards and 32 touchdowns for the 9-0 Bulldogs.

MIKE EVANS, Sophomore, WR, Texas A&M –  Has caught 57 passes for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns for the 8-2 Aggies.

JORDAN LYNCH, Senior, QB, Northern Illinois – Has 3,021 yards of total offense, including 12 rushing touchdowns, for the 9-0 Huskies.

JOHNNY MANZIEL, Sophomore, QB, Texas A&M – Second in the nation with 3,924 yards of total offense.  Has thrown for 31 touchdowns for the 8-2 Aggies.

MARCUS MARIOTA, Sophomore, QB, Oregon – Has passed for 2,531 yards , 22 touchdowns and zero interceptions for the 8-1 Ducks.

AJ MCCARRON, Senior, QB, Alabama – Has thrown for 2,041 yards and 19 touchdowns for the top-ranked and undefeated Crimson Tide (9-0).

BRAXTON MILLER, Junior, QB, Ohio State – Averaging 246.6 yards of total offense for the third-ranked Buckeyes (9-0).

C.J. MOSLEY, Senior, LB, Alabama – Has totaled 71 tackles and six tackles for loss for the nation’s top-scoring defense (10.6 points allowed per game).

BRYCE PETTY, Junior, QB, Baylor – Has thrown for 2,657 yards and 21 touchdowns for the fifth-ranked Bears (8-0).

MICHAEL SAM, Senior, DE, Missouri – Has recorded 10 quarterback sacks for the 9-1 Tigers.

JAMEIS WINSTON, Freshman, QB, Florida State – Has passed for 2,661 yards and 26 touchdowns for the second-ranked Seminoles (9-0).

Iowa bar unlocks locker of free beer for Nebraska fans after first Huskers win

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Taking a page right out of the Cleveland Browns playbook, a bar in Iowa celebrated the first Nebraska win of the season by ceremoniously unlocking a case full of beer to distribute to Nebraska fans at no cost.

Barley’s, a bar in Council Bluffs, Iowa, handed out free Budweiser to Nebraska fans gathering to watch the game against the Minnesota Gophers on Saturday. The bar started the promotion in an effort to “being Iowa Nice,” as the bar is a common gathering point for Nebraska fans in the state of Iowa. Naturally, the case was full of Budweiser in bottles of red and white, Nebraska’s colors.

Bud Lite sponsored a promotion for Cleveland Browns fans that promised to hand out free beer to fans after the Browns won their first game of the season this year. Two years ago, a bar in Florida made good on a free beer promo during UCF’s dreadful 0-12 season. Leave it to Scott Frost to end one free beer promo and be a part of another.

With best start in program history, UAB is bowl-eligible for second straight year since return from being shutdown

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It was not so long ago that the UAB football program was seemingly shut down for good, but the Blazers have sure taken advantage of life after death. With their 29-21 victory over North Texas on Saturday, clinched bowl-eligibility for a second straight season after being brought back from their abbreviated hiatus.

Going further, UAB head coach Bill Clark is now three-for-three in putting together a bowl-eligible season at UAB. UAB went 6-6 in Clark’s first season on the job in 2014. UAB did not play in a bowl game, however, as the school announced the program was shutting down at the end of the regular season and no bowl trip would be taken by the program. Clark stuck with the university as it decided to bring the football program back beginning in 2017, and Clark coached the program to a record of 8-5 last season, ending with a loss in the Bahamas Bowl.

UAB is also 10-0 at home since being revived as a program. The 6-1 start is also the best start for the Blazers in program history.

UAB has never played in back-to-back bowl games in program history. The Blazers have only played in two bowl games since 1996, but they are primed to be playing in their third this bowl season.

UAB is now in first place in the Conference USA’s West Division and looking to lock down a division championship next for a chance to capture the Conference USA title for the first time in program history. Not too shabby for a program that was left on the curb just a few years ago.

Lining up first winning season since 2011, could Virginia play for ACC championship?

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In his third season at Virginia, Bronco Mendenhall has the Cavaliers surprisingly in position to play in the ACC Championship Game for the first time in program history. Considering the state of the program when he took over a few years ago, that is a solid achievement.

Virginia’s 28-14 win at Duke on Saturday improved Virginia to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the ACC. On top of that, Virginia owns head-to-head tiebreakers against Miami and Duke. The only team sitting in front of Virginia in the ACC Coastal Division is Virginia Tech. If Virginia continues to handle their business the next few weeks with home games against North Carolina and Pittsburgh, that could set the stage for a showdown in Blacksburg on the final weekend of the regular season with the Coastal Division on the line.

Virginia Tech is 3-0 in the ACC. The Hokies have a schedule that is back-loaded with home games in the second half of the year too, although that includes some potential stiff challenges from Boston College and Miami in Blacksburg on top of Virginia on the final weekend of the year. Virginia Tech must also travel to Pittsburgh, where the Panthers are a tough team to figure out on any given week. You never know what could happen against the Panthers.

The remaining schedule may look more difficult for Virginia Tech, but the benefit of only having to go on the road just once for the rest of the season could give the Hokies the advantage.

Mendenhall may still have some work to do with the Virginia program, but after going 2-10 in his first season in 2016 and 6-7 last year, Mendenhall has Virginia eyeing up its first winning season since 2011. Whether or not that includes a trip to the ACC Championship Game at the end of the year, the 2018 season is already turning out to be a step forward for the program under Mendenhall.

LSU AD Joe Alleva wants SEC to overturn targeting suspension to Devin White

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During LSU’s win over Mississippi State on Saturday, Devin White was ejected for targeting on Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Because the ejection came in the second half of the game, White will be required to miss the first half of LSU’s next game. That next game comes up after LSU’s bye week, against Alabama. Now, LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva is looking to get the SEC to overturn the targeting suspension to White, allowing him to play from the start of LSU’s home game against Alabama in two weeks.

According to The Advocate, Alleva contacted the SEC headquarters to discuss the suspension with league officials as early as Saturday night. Targeting penalties and ejections cannot be appealed by the league office, but that is not stopping Alleva from giving it his best shot.

Video of the play that led to the targeting penalty can be seen below. It definitely falls under the category of some of the weaker targeting calls seen in college football.

The official statement from the SEC regarding the targeting call, which of course was reviewed during the game and then upheld following the review, was “the QB on the play was defenseless at the time of the contact. By rule, all targeting calls are reviewed. The call was reviewed and confirmed.”

There is almost no shot Alleva will get his way with this call, but it will raise some worthwhile discussions about the targeting penalty as if there isn’t enough of that to go around. But don’t expect the SEC to overturn this call. Doing so would set a precedent the SEC and every other conference should look to avoid doing. At some point, college football has to live or die with its targeting rules and enforcement. But there should be an analysis done on these types of calls at the end of the year in an effort to enhance the way it is officiated throughout the country.