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Alabama No. 1, Ohio State No. 2 in preseason coaches’ poll

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Nearly a month before the 2017 season kicks off in earnest, the first noteworthy of the meaningless preseason polls has been released.

With USA Today as its delivery vehicle, the Amway Coaches’ Poll released its initial ranking of the Top 25 teams in the country.  Not surprisingly, to some, 2016 national runner-up Alabama is ranked as the top team in the country.

Of the 65 “coaches” (winkwinknudgenudge) who participated in the voting, 49 of them cast their first-place votes for ‘Bama.  The Nos. 2 and 3 teams in the country, Ohio State and Florida State, respectively, received five and four first-place votes, respectively.  The only other team that received No. 1 nods was fifth-ranked and defending national champion Clemson with seven.

The remainder of the Top 10 is rounded out by No. 4 USC, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Washington, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 9 Michigan and No. 10 Wisconsin.

While there were four Big Ten teams in the Top 10, just one team from the SEC can make the same claim.  Overall, though, the latter conference lead all leagues with six teams in the Top 25, followed by the ACC and Big 12 with five each and the Big Ten and Pac-12 with four apiece.  The Group of Five program to crack the initial ranking was South Florida, with the AAC school coming in at No. 21.

For those who are curious, and before we get to the complete Top 25 rankings, below are the “coaches” (winkwinknudgenudge) who will vote in this particular poll throughout the 2017 season:

Major Applewhite, Houston; David Bailiff, Rice; David Beaty, Kansas; Bret Bielema, Arkansas; Craig Bohl, Wyoming; John Bonamego, Central Michigan; Terry Bowden, Akron; Jeff Brohm, Purdue; Matt Campbell, Iowa State; Rod Carey, Northern Illinois; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Butch Davis, Florida International; Dave Doeren, North Carolina State; DJ Durkin, Maryland; Shawn Elliott, Georgia State; Larry Fedora, North Carolina; Luke Fickell, Cincinnati; Jimbo Fisher, Florida State; P.J. Fleck, Minnesota; James Franklin, Penn State; Willie Fritz, Tulane; Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech; Bryan Harsin, Boise State; Clay Helton, Southern California; Tom Herman, Texas; Doc Holliday, Marshall; Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette; Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech; Joey Jones, South Alabama; Mike Leach, Washington State; Lance Leipold, Buffalo; Tim Lester, Western Michigan; Seth Littrell, North Texas; Rocky Long, San Diego State; Mike MacIntyre, Colorado; Gus Malzahn, Auburn; Derek Mason, Vanderbilt; Urban Meyer, Ohio State; Jeff Monken, Army; Philip Montgomery, Tulsa; Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina; Jim Mora, UCLA; Dan Mullen, Mississippi State; Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh; Ken Niumatalolo, Navy; Barry Odom, Missouri; Gary Patterson, TCU; Mike Riley, Nebraska; Rich Rodriguez, Arizona; Nick Rolovich, Hawaii; Nick Saban, Alabama; Tony Sanchez, UNLV; Mike Sanford Jr., Western Kentucky; Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State; Bill Snyder, Kansas State; Frank Solich, Ohio; Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee; Mark Stoops, Kentucky; Tyson Summers, Georgia Southern; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; Matt Wells, Utah State; Mark Whipple, Massachusetts; Kyle Whittingham, Utah; Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion; Everett Withers, Texas State.


World of college football reacts to tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter in helicopter crash

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As is the case across the entire world of sports, college football is reacting to the devastating news involving Kobe Bryant.

Sunday morning, Bryant was one of nine people killed — initial reports had the number at five — in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on his way to a travel basketball event.  The former NBA superstar, who retired from the sport following the 2015-16 season, was 41.

Adding to the devastation, one of Bryant’s daughters, who was also a player on her father’s travel basketball team, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Bryant, was killed in the crash as well.

Kobe and Gianna are survived by wife/mother Vanessa and three daughters/sisters.  The oldest is 17, the youngest will turn one in June.

In the hours after the heartbreaking news was confirmed, the world of college football mourned the passing of Kobe Bryant. Below is just a sampling.

 

Georgia state rep. proposes pay-for-play legislation with a twist that will make no one happy

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Ever since California’s SB 206 passed last September, more than a dozen states followed with their own versions of the Golden State’s Fair Pay to Play Act, to go along with a number of concurrent pushes in Washington. No matter your stance on the pay-for-play issue or what side of the political aisle you sit on, it seems we can all agree that politicians are not the people to solve this issue, and yet the NCAA kept dragging its feet, and dragging its feet, and draaaaggging its feeetttt and, well, here we are. And Sandra Scott‘s bill a large reason why.

Scott, a state representative in Georgia (D-Rex) has introduced HB 766, a type of compromise bill that will make no one happy.

The appeal, at least from the outside, of California’s SB 206, is that it would allow college athletes to capitalize on their popularity during the lifetime of that popularity while costing the school very little money, since the money would come from third-parties.

Scott’s bill does neither. In fact, it goes out of its way to do the opposite.

According to HB 766, Georgia would require its schools to set aside a third of all monies earned in postseason play into an escrow account, which would then be given to players upon graduation.

Read for yourself below.

To recap, Scott’s bill would cost the schools millions of dollars and also shut out a lot of the players who generate those millions. Why should, say, Jake Fromm be barred from having a hand in the money he produced for Georgia just because he went pro?

In short, Scott’s (well-meaning) bill would anger both schools and athletes while continuing the overly paternalistic attitudes adults have adopted toward college athletes that applies to no other demographic in college sports.

Trey Holtz set to join father Skip’s staff at Louisiana Tech

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Coaching is the family business for the Holtz family, and now two of them will work under the same roof.

As first reported by Bleed Tech Blue, Louis Leo Holtz, Jr., better known as Skip Holtz, has hired Louis Leo Holtz III, better known as Trey Holtz. The younger Holtz will serve as Louisiana Tech’s wide receivers coach.

Trey Holtz played his college ball at Texas under Mack Brown and Charlie Strong. A reserve quarterback, Holtz appeared in 23 games as a holder in 2015-16.

He then moved into the family business at Ohio State, where he worked as a graduate assistant for the past three years. Holtz worked with the Buckeyes’ running backs and tight ends, but will now coach receivers for his father’s staff. He replaces Todd Fitch, who left to become the offensive coordinator at Vanderbilt.

For the Holtz family, Skip hiring Trey is an act of history repeating itself. After serving as a GA at Florida State and Colorado State, Skip’s first full-time job came on his father Lou Holtz‘s staff as Notre Dame’s wide receivers coach in 1990. Skip was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1992 and became Connecticut’s head coach in 1994.

Two workers injured by falling beams at Bryant-Denny Stadium renovation

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Two workers were injured Saturday by falling beams at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The workers were laboring on a manlift when a pair of beams fell and struck the lift, trapping the workers, who were not named.

Firefighters responded around 5 p.m. Saturday to extract the workers, who were “seriously injured,” according to AL.com. After they were extracted, the workers were transported to DCH Regional Medical Center. Their condition was not known as of press time.

The workers were working on a $92.5 million phase of renovation to Bryant-Denny Stadium, announced in last fall. Crimson Tide AD Greg Byrne said in September that construction would be expedited to meet an aggressive schedule.

“We realized this is an aggressive construction schedule we are going to be talking about. However, our contractors are confident. They have expressed they will deliver this on time,” he said at the time.