Baylor’s Bryce Petty remains on pace for special season

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The talk last week by some college football observers was that Johnny Manziel was having such a magnificent season, he just might win a second Heisman.

They compared Manziel’s statistics with other Heisman candidates and concluded that, based on the numbers at least, Johnny Football was a shoo-in for the trophy.

But they seemed to have forgotten about Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty who, upon closer examination, might be having an even better season than Manziel.

Consider:

— Petty’s 206.23 passer rating not only leads the nation, it would break the NCAA record of 191.78 set by Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson in 2011. Manziel’s rating is also stellar at 186.86.

— Petty throws for 332.4 yards per game, which is a about a yard better than Manziel’s 331.3 average.  But the rub is that Petty is getting his yardage while attempting almost six fewer passes per game. Petty averages 25.9 passer per game while Manziel is at 31.5 per game. Overall, Manziel has thrown 82 more passes than Petty and has just 321 more yards on the year to show for it (he’s played 10 games, Petty has played nine).

— Manziel has 39 total touchdowns in 10 games, while Petty has 34 total touchdowns in nine games. So while Manziel averages 3.9 touchdowns per game, Petty averages 3.8. But, again, Manziel has run 139 more plays than Petty has this year. So Petty produces a touchdown every 8.4 plays that he’s involved in, while Manziel produces one every 10.8 plays. This is where Baylor’s numerous blowouts come into play, as Petty has missed a lot of second-half action as a result.

— Petty has 10 rushing touchdowns in nine games while Manziel has eight in 10 games.

— Petty has just one interception on the year while Manziel has 11.

— Manziel is superior in completion percentage (73 percent to 65.2 percent), total rushing yards (611 to 127) and touchdown passes (31 to 24).

Petty is on pace to have 3,989 passing yards, 32 touchdown passes, 168 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns by the time the Heisman vote is due, while Manziel is on pace for 3,975 yards, 37 touchdown passes, 732 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

So the two players are pretty much equal when it comes to projected passing yardage, while Manziel will likely have way more rushing yards. But when it comes to total touchdowns, Manziel’s pace is for 47 while Petty’s pace is 45.

But when you consider Petty’s passing efficiency number and his amazing lack of turnovers, plus the fact that he’s almost on par with Manziel despite being involved in far fewer plays, there’s a good argument to be made that, while both players are having amazing seasons, Petty’s is the most impressive overall.

Whatever the case, both of these special players should be in New York City come mid-December.

Clemson preseason depth chart lists Kelly Bryant as top QB, Trevor Lawrence as backup

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While some coaches fight tooth and nail to release any information about their program like who might be starting a game (cough, Jim Harbaugh, cough), that is not exactly how Clemson’s Dabo Swinney runs his shop. Case in point came Wednesday when the team released a “preseason” depth chart that featured few surprises but plenty of talent as the Tigers likely begin the year in the top four of just about everybody’s early polls.

Of course, the one storyline most people will focus on is the quarterback position for the team. Senior Kelly Bryant is listed as the starter as expected following spring practice but it is notable that there’s now a clear pecking order behind him as he fights off five-star freshman Trevor Lawrence, who was the clear No. 2 at the position following the transfer of Hunter Johnson. There seems to be some distance between Lawrence and fellow (redshirt) freshman Chase Brice, which means just about everybody will be wondering if No. 2 at the spot will eventually take over if Bryant gets off to a slow start in 2018 after some struggles in Clemson’s postseason run.

Elsewhere, there were a handful of positions that raised an eyebrow, including running back Travis Etienne jumping over last year’s starter at the position in Tavien Feaster. Adam Choice will also see plenty of time as that’s yet another deep spot for the team. Also notable is Kendall Joseph sliding over to take the starting job at middle linebacker in place of the guy who manned the same spot last season in Tre Lamar.

The school also notes that they have 17 returning starters (including both specialists), including their fearsome defensive line that “is the first in NCAA history to have four returning players who have been a first or second-team All-American previously.” Needless to say, Clemson will once again be the heavy favorite to win the ACC and make yet another trip to the national championship game.

Kentucky’s Marcus Walker charged with trafficking coke, weed

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The latest incident to trigger a resetting the “Days Without An Arrest” trigger is a rather serious-sounding one.

According to multiple media outlets in the area, Kentucky’s Marcus Walker was arrested early Thursday morning on multiple drug charges. WKYT-TV in Lexington reports that the defensive back was jailed — and remains jailed at this time — on charges of trafficking in cocaine and marijuana as well as one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Walker… was arrested at 4:40 a.m. Thursday by Lexington Police. He was allegedly trafficking in about 5 pounds of marijuana and 4 grams of cocaine, his arrest citation said. He was also charged with possessing drug paraphernalia.

A large amount of cash was also found when Lexington Police executed its search warrant at a home on Unity Drive, police said.

A UK spokesperson stated that the football program is “aware of the situation and are in the process of gathering more information.”

247Sports.com‘s composite board had Walker rated as a three-star recruit in the Class of 2015.  After redshirting as a true freshman, the Florida native played in 21 games the past two seasons — 12 in 2017, nine in 2016.  He’s been credited with 17 tackles in those two seasons, including a career-high seven in a 2016 win over Austin Peay.

Pitt, Wisconsin announce future home-and-home

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It’s been more than half a century since they last met, but a pair of teams from the ACC and Big Ten are set to get it on once again.  Eventually.

Both Pitt (head coach from 2012-14: Paul Chryst) and Wisconsin (current head coach: Paul Chryst) announced Thursday that the football programs have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series.  The Panthers will travel to Madison on Sept. 19, 2026, while the Badgers will make the trek to Heinz Field the following season on Sept. 11.

“In speaking with (Wisconsin athletic director) Barry Alvarez, we both felt this was a great scheduling opportunity,” Alvarez’s Pitt counterpart, Heather Lyke, said in a statement. “Despite our regional proximity, we’ve rarely played each other in football. It is a challenging and compelling non-conference game that our respective teams and fans can look forward to.”

The two teams have played each other twice previously, with the most recent coming during the 1967 season.  The last time the Badgers faced the Panthers in Pittsburgh came in 1937.

Pitt has won all three games in the mini-series, two of which were played in Madison (1938, 1967).

USC WR Joseph Lewis pleads no contest to domestic battery

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Late last week, USC wide receiver Joseph Lewis‘ trial in connection to a pair of domestic violence incidents was set to begin.  Less than a week later, the trial phase has come to an end before it really began.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lewis reached an agreement on a plea deal Wednesday that saw the Trojans football player plead no contest to two counts of domestic battery.  The Times reported that the plea arrangement came as jury selection was nearly complete and opening arguments in the case had been scheduled for the same day.

Lewis had been facing two years in jail; as part of the plea agreement, Lewis has been sentenced to 60 days in the Los Angeles County Jail, a sentence that will likely be reduced to 30 days based on what the newspaper describes as “good time, work time” credit.

Per the Times, the other terms of the plea deal include…

36 months summary probation… a 10-year ban on owning, using or possessing firearms; enrollment in a weekly yearlong domestic violence treatment program and a protective order that prohibits him from approaching within 100 yards of the victim or contacting her.

In late February, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to pursue a felony charge against the USC wide receiver after he was arrested on one count of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant.  At the time, though, it was reported that the case had been referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, which would decide whether misdemeanor charges would arise from the arrest.

Not long after, the city attorney’s office filed five misdemeanor counts against Lewis.  The charges stemmed from two separate incidents in February, and included three counts of domestic battery with an injury, false imprisonment and domestic battery without an injury.

In the wake of the arrest, Lewis was suspended from the football team.  In fact, his name was removed from the roster and remains that way.  While the player is hopeful he’ll be permitted to rejoin the team before the start of the upcoming season, the football program has yet to address said player’s status moving forward.

It should be noted that, thus far, no details of what led to the arrest and charges have been released.

A five-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, Lewis was rated as the No. 4 receiver in the country; the No. 6 player at any position in the state of California; and the No. 31 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. The only player rated higher in USC’s class that year was running back Stephen Carr.

As a true freshman last season, Lewis caught four passes for 39 yards. He had been expected to play a bigger role in the Trojans’ passing game this season, although the off-field situation will obviously be a factor in that.