Despite being undefeated and the number one team in the College Football Playoff ranking, the Clemson Tigers are playing the role of underdog for a second straight postseason game Monday night when they take on Alabama for the national championship. Alabama opened as a 5.5-point favorite and is currently anywhere between a 6.5 to seven-point favorite according to the latest odds. Alabama tends to get a couple of points leeway from the oddsmakers just for being Alabama, and most seem to understand that is always going to be the case. That doesn’t mean Clemson players have to like it.
Continuing the no-respect narrative orchestrated by head coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander suggested he has had enough hearing about how great Alabama is and is ready to prove Clemson is indeed the best team in the country.
“We are 14-0, and we were underdogs last week, it’s all a brand thing,” Alexander said Saturday during media day (via Al.com). “Everyone cares about the brand, the Alabama brand. I understand it’s a lot of fans, and they’ve done it for a long time, but this is a new year, and it’s our time.”
Alexander will be squaring off with Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley in one of the top matchups to watch in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. With that being the case, Alexander has been asked plenty about the man he will be covering Monday night.
Clemson appears to be run with the disrespect card to their advantage. If it worked against Oklahoma in the semifinal matchup in the Orange Bowl, the hope is it works again tomorrow night.
“They said Oklahoma was the best team, and we just went out there and proved them wrong,” Clemson safety Jayron Kearse said. “So that’s the same thing we have to do with Alabama. They say Alabama’s a seven-point favorite; we have to go out there and prove them wrong.”
For purely entertainment purposes, Alabama is 8-7 against the spread this season. Clemson is 7-8 against the spread, and 1-0 against the spread as an underdog.
Sadly, there’s yet another deadly shooting involving a college football player on which to report.
According to multiple media outlets in the Sacramento area, Sierra College defensive back Chancelor “Chance” Fields-Colbert was shot and killed very early Sunday morning following an incident during what was described as a college sendoff party in Fair Oaks. Fields-Colbert was shot once inside the residence in which the party was being held and managed to get out of the house before collapsing in an intersection a short distance away.
The sophomore from Fairbanks, Alaska, was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“It’s disbelief and shock,” the junior college’s head coach, Benjamin Noonan, told ABC’s Sacramento affiliate. “It’s been a nightmare these last 48 hours and the kids are, you know, pulling it together and just want to be around each other.”
As a freshman this past season, Fields-Colbert played in five games for the Wolverines.
With eight semifinalists from a year ago gone, the Outland Trophy’s 2019 preseason watch list takes on a decidedly fresh look this go ’round.
Headlining the 83-player group of the nation’s top interior linemen is Oregon’s Calvin Throckmorton, who is the only Football Writers Association of American All-American from a season ago on this year’s watch list. Throckmorton is one of 12 players from the Pac-12 listed, which is tied for third among all conferences with the Big 12; with 13 apiece, the Big Ten and SEC lead all leagues.
The ACC’s 10 is the fewest among Power Five conferences, while Group of Five leagues are paced by the AAC’s six. All 10 FBS conferences are represented, including the Mountain West (four), Conference USA (three), MAC (three) and Sun Belt (three). Independents account for four as well.
Throckmorton is one of four linemen from Oregon, tied with Michigan for the most of any single school. Georgia has three, while another 15 schools have two each.
A total of 32 offensive tackles are on the watch list, the most for any single position. That group is followed by 19 defensive tackles, 18 offensive guards and 14 centers.
Less than two weeks before training camp kicks off, Rod Carey has (again) finalized his first Temple coaching staff.
Earlier this month, it was reported that longtime Temple assistant and the program’s current special teams coordinator Ed Foley would be leaving the school and reuniting with Matt Rhule at Baylor. Monday, the Owls confirmed that Carey has promoted Tyler Yelk to outside linebackers coach. Yelk was a part of Carey’s Northern Illinois football staff this past season.
Additionally, it was announced by the football program that Brett Diersen has been hired as associate special teams coordinator. Diersen spent the 2018 season as the defensive line coach at SMU.
This will mark the third time Diersen and Carey have worked together, first at Wisconsin-Stout in 2000 and then again at Northern Illinois from 2013-17.
“Tyler is an excellent young coach and we promoted him to add balance to the coaching staff,” said Carey in a statement, making reference to the fact that there are now six full-time coaches with an offensive background and five on defense. “We are very fortunate to get a coach of Brett’s caliber in the role of special teams coordinator. I’ve known him for 20 years and am excited that he and his family can join us at Temple.”
Of all the watch lists released thus far this month, this one’s the biggest — literally.
Via the Football Writers Association of America, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Tuesday released its preseason list of players to watch, with a whopping 97 individuals making the award’s initial cut. All 10 FBS conferences are represented, as are 65 individual schools.
One first-team FWAA All-American (LSU safety Grant Delpit) made the initial watch list for the award given annually to the best defensive player in college football, while a trio of second-teamers from a year ago (Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall, Michigan State defensive end Kenny Willekes, Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo) made the cut as well.
Conference-wise, the SEC has the most with 18, followed the other four Power Five leagues in the Big Ten (15), ACC (12), Pac-12 (12) and Big 12 (11). The AAC led all Group of Five conferences with six, followed by Conference USA (four), Mountain West (four), MAC (three) and Sun Belt (two). Football independents accounted for five of the watch listers.
With four, Alabama led all individual schools. Iowa State, LSU, Notre Dame and Penn State placed three each, with another 16 schools placing two apiece on the list.
As for the positional breakdown, there are 36 linebackers, 28 backs, 21 ends and seven tackles.