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

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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.

Oregon’s Calvin Throckmorton headlines Outland Trophy watch list

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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.

Temple confirms changes to Rod Carey’s coaching staff

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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.”

Nearly 100 defensive players land on Nagurski Trophy watch list

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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.


Fourth Nebraska player popped for pot-related offense this offseason

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“It’s going to continue to be a problem, not just with us but college athletes everywhere, particularly with it being legalized other places. Our team understands I don’t care where it’s legal and where it isn’t. It’s illegal according to the NCAA.

“I don’t think it’s beneficial for guys who are trying to accomplish what our guys are trying to accomplish. We’re certainly not unique in that we’ve had a few problems with that, but we’re doing everything we can in trying to help kids not do it. We’ll keep fighting that battle.”

That was Scott Frost at the Big Ten Media Days last week, addressing the three Nebraska football players who had been cited at some point this offseason for possession of either marijuana or drug paraphernalia.  Unfortunately for the Nebraska head coach, it appears his “Just Say No” message when it comes to weed hasn’t wholly taken root as the Omaha World-Herald is reporting that defensive back Myles Farmer was cited late Monday night for suspicion of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

The incident that led to the citation being issued occurred at an on-campus residence, with the World-Herald writing that “[a] community service officer detected the smell of marijuana coming from the room.”

The football program is aware of the incident involving Farmer but will not comment publicly on what if any punishment the true freshman may be facing.

The 6-3, 205-pound Framer was a three-star member of the Cornhuskers 2019 recruiting class.

In addition to Farmer, wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (HERE), defensive back Jeramiah Stovall (HERE) and running back Maurice Washington (HERE) have all been cited for weed-related offenses this offseason.  Washington, of course, has bigger legal issues to worry about than a simple pot rap.