In the history of college football there have been just 15 players to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season. That number may begin to increase a little more frequently now as college football adds more games to the schedule. With the addition of the College Football Playoff, the top two teams in college football could be about to play a 15-game season (12 regular season games, conference championship game, two College Football Playoff games), and star running backs on those teams will have a chance to pad the rushing totals like never before. For Georgia running back Todd Gurley, that is an exciting thought.
“If I could get 2,000 yards, that would be awesome,” Gurley said Thursday at Southeastern Conference media days (via The Telegraph). “If the Lord would bless me with that, oh my gosh. That’s going to be pretty hard to do in the SEC.”
Gurley is one of the nation’s top running backs, when healthy. Health was not so kind to him last season, but the expectations for the upcoming season are high. Despite missing three games in 2014, Gurley still led Georgia in rushing with 989 yards and 10 touchdowns. Getting to 2,000 rushing yards in a single season seems like a tall order, especially when you throw in the mix the likelihood Georgia mixes things up running the football with a talented Keith Marshall looking to get involved more in 2014. And that is just assuming Gurley stays healthy. Even if he does stay healthy, the odds Gurley puts up the kind of rushing numbers needed just to get to 2,000 yards may not be great. Gurley’s career high for rushing yards in a single game is 154 yards, which he did in last season’s season opener against Clemson.
Boston College running back Andre Williams is the newest member of the 2,000-yard club in college football. Since 2000, seven players have rushed for 2,000 yards in a season. The first to do so was Marcus Allen of USC in 1981. Barry Sanders holds the single-season rushing record with 2,628 rushing yards in 1988. Will a possible 15-game season by a star college running back of today’s era threaten the record held by Sanders? Perhaps at some point, but even a 15-game season would require quite a workload by even the best running backs in the country.
Just getting to 2,000 yards is an accomplishment in itself. It is not impossible for Gurley, or any running back in 2014, but the odds it happens are not good.
Feel free to update your planner accordingly, because the ACC and Big 12 championship games now have confirmed start times.
The Big 12 Championship Game will kick off Championship Saturday on Dec. 7 with a noon eastern kickoff. The game will be televised on ABC and will share a time slot with the MAC Championship Game (on ESPN or ESPN2).
The ACC Championship Game will once again be played in primetime with a 7:30 p.m. eastern start time scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7 on ABC. It will once again go opposite the Big Ten Championship Game on FOX, although the ACC will get a half-hour jump on the Big Ten title game.
With the ACC and Big 12 now on the schedule, here is the updated look at the conference championship game schedule:
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6
- Pac-12: 8:00 p.m. ET, ABC (Santa Clara, CA)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7
- Big 12: 12:00 p.m. ET, ABC (Arlington, TX)
- MAC: 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN 2 (Detroit, MI)
- Sun Belt: 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2 (TBD*)
- Conference USA: 1:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network (TBD*)
- American: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC (TBD*)
- Mountain West: 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN (TBD*)
- SEC: 4:00 p.m. ET, CBS (Atlanta, GA)
- ACC: 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC (Charlotte, NC)
- Big Ten: 8:00 p.m. ET, FOX (Indianapolis, IN)
* = The highest-seeded team in the conference hosts the conference championship game
A day after an alarming story accused Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio of recruiting a player he was warned could be a potential problem, Dantonio has responded alongside his lawyer. Dantonio defended himself against the claims of former assistant Curtis Blackwell and re-directed to previous comments Dantonio made regarding the player in question.
“The fact that Mr. Blackwell’s contract was not renewed has nothing to do with Auston Robertson,” Dantonio said in a statement on Friday. “Two years ago, I spoke at length about Auston Robertson when he was dismissed from the team in 2017. Rather than engage in a public argument with a former staffer, I refer you to those previous statements. Further, there have been multiple investigations into the program’s handling of sexual assaults, including Jones Day in 2017 and the NCAA in 2018, and they concluded that the program and myself committed no violations.”
Blackwell, a former Michigan State recruiting director, claimed he and multiple coaches asked Dantonio not to continue recruiting Robertson, who was guilty of misdemeanor battery in high school and later was arrested and charged with assault to his girlfriend just after his freshman season in East Lansing. Robertson was later removed from the program.
Dantonio concluded his statement by saying he will have no further comment due to ongoing litigation.
“Mr. Blackwell’s lawsuit concerns his allegations that his contract was not renewed because he refused to co-operate with investigations being conducted by the MSUPD and a law firm hired to evaluate the MSU football program’s compliance with sexual assault reporting policies,” Dantonio’s lawyer, Tom Kienbaum, said in a separate statement. “The lawsuit has nothing to do with the recruitment or actions of any student athletes, including Auston Robertson.”
After video surfaced seemingly suggesting Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel tried to hurt a Florida football player last weekend, head coach Mark Stoops confirmed Daniel will be on the field again this weekend against Mississippi State. What has not been confirmed, however, is whether or not Daniel will start the game for the Wildcats.
Video footage from last weekend’s victory over the Gators appeared to show Daniel attempting to twist the ankle of Florida quarterback Kyle Trask at the bottom of a pile at the end of the play. Trask denied any intent to injure to Trask but did admit he gets caught up in some smack talk on the field, which of course is perfectly normal in sports.
Stoops said he has discussed the alleged incident with Daniel and the SEC office. Whatever came out of those discussions will remain behind closed doors, because Stoops has decided to keep that all in-house. So if Daniel is not on the field to start the game for Kentucky’s defense, this may not be a coincidence. However, regardless of what happens, Daniel will be playing against Mississippi State.
New Mexico State may not have a rich bowl history, but the independent college football program has worked out an arrangement to secure a spot in a postseason bowl game in the next few years.
New Mexico State has reached an agreement with ESPN Events to reserve a spot in the New Mexico Bowl from 2020 through 2025, as long as the Aggies meet the NCAA bowl-minimum win total.
“New Mexico State University and our football program are excited to enter into an agreement with the New Mexico Bowl from 2020 through 2025,” New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia said in a released statement. “The proximity of the game from our campus as well as Albuquerque and the surrounding areas having the largest population of NM State alumni in the country outside of Doña Ana County is a perfect opportunity for our football program and Aggie Nation.”
New Mexico State would face a team from either the Mountain West Conference or Conference USA. In addition, New Mexico State can be chosen to play in any other bowl game not owned by ESPN if an opportunity is available to them.
New Mexico State is an independent program, which makes them free to work out their own bowl deals. But because most bowl games have deals in place with conferences, there are typically few bowl spots to go around for independent programs (unless you happen to be Notre Dame).
The Aggies played in a bowl game at the end of the 2017 season, which was the first bowl game for the program since 1960.