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What do Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher have that Nick Saban doesn’t? A No. 1 overall NFL draft pick


The NFL draft is coming up later this week, and a handful of college football coaches could potentially have their first player chosen first overall. Among those looking to join a short list of active head coaches with a top overall draft pick on their watch includes Penn State’s James Franklin, USC’s Clay Helton and Wyoming’s Craig Bohl.

There are just six active head coaches in FBS that have sent a player to the top of the NFL draft order, and only one of those coaches are currently at the same school they had a player go No. 1 overall. Stanford’s David Shaw was the head coach of the Cardinal when Andrew Luck went with the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft to the Indianapolis Colts. The other five coaches on the current list have since moved on to another job since they had a player go with the first pick in the draft. Three of those active coaches will have new jobs starting this fall.

Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M was the head coach of Florida State when quarterback Jameis Winston went first overall in 2015. More recently, Sonny Dykes was the head coach at Cal when Jared Goff went to the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. Dykes is now the head coach at SMU. And just last year, Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin saw defensive end Myles Garrett go to the Cleveland Browns from Texas A&M with the first pick.

The two other coaches on the list of active coaches with a top draft pick are Urban Meyer of Ohio State and Mark Richt of Miami. Meyer was getting settled in at Florida after leaving Utah, but he was watching admirably as Utah quarterback Alex Smith went to the San Francisco 49ers with the first pick in 2005. Richt’s top draft pick from his time at Georgia was quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was taken first overall by the Detroit Lions in 2009.

You may have noticed (as if the headline didn’t give it away) there are some notable head coaches in college football without a top overall draft pick. Despite all the success of Nick Saban at Alabama, including a factory of NFL talent sent through the draft in recent years, a top overall pick continues to elude Saban. Not that he is worried about such a thing of course. Alabama’s NFL draft output is far more impressive when you realize quantity and quality are not short on supply in Tuscaloosa. During Saban’s time at Alabama, the highest draft pick from the school has been running back Trent Richardson with the third overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft (Cleveland Browns). Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus also went third overall to the Buffalo Bills in 2011.

But again, Alabama may not have a first overall pick, but the Crimson Tide lead the pack when it comes to first-round draft picks.

Here is a list of all the active head coaches with one No. 1 overall NFL draft pick:

  • Kevin Sumlin, Arizona: Myles Garrett, DE (2017)
  • Sonny Dykes, SMU: Jared Goff, QB (2016)
  • Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: Jameis Winston, QB (2015)
  • David Shaw, Stanford: Andrew Luck, QB (2012)
  • Mark Richt, Miami: Matthew Stafford, QB (2009)
  • Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Alex Smith, QB (2005)

Wyoming’s Josh Allen is considered one of the favorites to be chosen with the first pick Thursday night in the NFL draft, which would add Craig Bohl to the list (and he gets some of the credit for No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Carson Wentz, too). Penn State running back Saquon Barkley would add James Franklin to the list. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is another trendy pick for the top pick, but his head coach, Jim Mora, is no longer an active coach at this time. Sam Darnold of USC would add Clay Helton to the list, and Lincoln Riley would make the jump into the conversation if Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield happens to go first overall.

We’ll find out Thursday night if a new coach joins the list or not.

NIU needed to buy back $273,619 worth of tickets to hit NCAA attendance requirements

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College football is a great sport but, while everybody is playing the same game between the lines, what happens off the field is hardly a bastion of equality. For every time Michigan packs the Big House or Alabama sells out Bryant Denny Stadium, there are other schools — chiefly at the Group of Five level, but not always — who are just struggling to get by in the booming business college athletics has become.

Which leads us to another form of #MACtion that is far less exciting than the midweek games you’re used to seeing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays: buying tickets to meet NCAA attendance minimums.

As detailed by student newspaper Northern Star, Northern Illinois announced their home attendance for the 2017 season at 67,748, but an audit obtained by the paper showed that scanned tickets totaled only 44,084 in the same time period. With six home games, that latter figure would have put the school below the NCAA’s FBS attendance threshold of 15,000 per home game.

The end result? NIU had to purchase 56,345 tickets for a whopping $273,619 in order to comply with the regulations and hit the minimum number of paid tickets for each home game.

“I’d garner if you did research on [on ticket buy backs], you would probably find 100 percent ratio where schools our size or in our conference do something similar to what we do,” athletic director Sean Frazier said.

Frazier is probably not wrong about NIU being one of many schools who have to employ the practice but it speaks to the wild NCAA accounting hoops that some schools have to go through each year. As a result, the next time you hear a Group of Five school is getting a big check as part of a revenue guarantee game, just note that part of that money could be going to tickets at home as well if the stadium isn’t quite rocking like it should be on a Saturday afternoon.

Odds: Michigan a TD favorite at Michigan State

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The line might serve as a measuring stick of whether the Michigan Wolverines are a bona fide power in the Big Ten.

The Wolverines, led by quarterback Shea Patterson, are 7-point road betting favorites against the Michigan State Spartans with an 41.5-point total for Saturday’s game at sportsbooks monitored by

The OddsShark College Football Database shows that the Wolverines are 2-8 straight-up and 0-10 against the spread in their last 10 games against the cross-state rival Spartans, but Michigan State happens to be 0-4 ATS in its last four home games. The Wolverines are also 10-2 straight-up and 5-6-1 against the spread as a favorite on the road since Jim Harbaugh took over as as their coach in 2015.

The total has gone OVER in three of the last four Michigan-Michigan State matchups, with an average total of 43.75.

Elsewhere, the Stanford Cardinal are 2.5-point road favorites against the Arizona State Sun Devils with a 57-point total in a Thursday matchup. The total has gone UNDER in seven of Stanford’s last nine games against Arizona State, with an average combined score of 48.44. Arizona State is 5-0 SU and ATS in its last five home games.

The LSU Tigers are 6.5-point betting favorites against the Mississippi State Bulldogs with a 45-point total. Mississippi State is 4-0 ATS in its last four games against LSU. LSU is 7-0 SU and ATS in its last seven home games, with an average winning margin of 21.14 points.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are 29-point road favorites against the Tennessee Volunteers with a 57-point total. Alabama is 1-4 ATS in its last five road games. The total has gone UNDER in four of Tennessee’s last five home games against teams with winning records.

The Auburn Tigers are 3.5-point road favorites against the Mississippi Rebels with a 62.5-point total. Auburn, coming off losses against Mississippi State and Tennessee, is 7-0 SU in its last seven games after consecutive losses. The total has gone OVER in 10 of Ole Miss’ last 13 games against its conference.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are 13-point road favorites against the Purdue Boilermakers with a 68.5-point total. Ohio State is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games against Purdue. The total has gone OVER in 15 of Purdue’s last 21 home games, with an average combined score of 61.1.

The Clemson Tigers  are 17.5-point favorites against the North Carolina State Wolfpack with a 56-point betting total. North Carolina State is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games against Clemson. Clemson is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games.

The Washington Huskies are 15.5-point favorites against the Colorado Buffaloes with a 51.5-point total. Colorado is 0-8 SU and ATS in its last eight games against Washington. Washington is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 home games after consecutive road games.

The Oklahoma Sooners are 8-point favorites against the TCU Horned Frogs with a 61.5-point total. The total has gone UNDER in seven of Oklahoma’s last nine games against TCU, with an average combined score of 54.78. The total has gone UNDER in 11 of TCU’s last 12 games against its conference. TCU is 2-7 ATS in its last nine games.

The Wisconsin Badgers are 25-point favorites against the Illinois Fighting Illini with a 58-point total. The total has gone OVER in six of Illinois’ last eight road games, with an average combined score of 55.75. Wisconsin is 1-5 ATS in its last six games.

Report: Ex-Notre Dame RB Josh Adams collected $500k after going undrafted thanks to loss of value insurance policy

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Loss of value insurance policies have been talked about quite a bit for high profile college football players over the years but the success rate on guys who slip in the draft due to injury actually collecting on said policies has been hit or miss. For everybody like former Michigan tight end Jake Butt, who collected $543,000 two years ago after an ACL injury in the Orange Bowl, there’s somebody like Arkansas tailback Rawleigh Williams III who is forced to go to court to argue for his claim to be paid out.

You can count former Notre Dame running back Josh Adams on the positive side of the ledger however, as ESPN’s Darren Rovell confirmed with an insurance advisor that he picked up a $500,000 check as part of his policy after going undrafted this past spring.

Adams left school early after leading the Irish in rushing his final two years in South Bend but a foot injury plagued him throughout the pre-draft process and he wound up not getting selected. He eventually signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent and has seven carries for 29 yards with the team so far this season. Though the Super Bowl champs have a crowded backfield, there’s also a big opportunity for Adams in the weeks ahead with starter Jay Ajayi out for the year with an injury.

Although Adams is probably still at least a little upset at going undrafted to begin his pro career, he managed to land in a good spot and that half a million dollar check will certainly take the sting out of things as well.

Washington LB Amandre Williams announces transfer from the program

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One of the Pac-12’s best defenses is looking a little thinner than it was a week ago.

In a post on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, Washington backup linebacker Amandre Williams announced he was leaving the football program on Wednesday night just ahead of his team’s big conference test against Colorado over the weekend.

Williams had played in every game so far this season and made three tackles against Auburn in the season opener but it appears as though that was not enough playing time for him.

“This thing isn’t for everybody,” head coach Chris Petersen told the Seattle Times on Thursday. “Some guys need more playing time than they’re getting. And so they’ve got to make decisions.”

The linebacker was considered a three-star recruit coming out of near by Kent, Washington in high school by 247Sports but was counted on to provide depth behind a trio of upperclassmen at the linebacker position. Williams’ departure leaves Tevis Bartlett as the starter on the outside in the team’s base personnel while sophomore Ryan Bowman figures to be the next guy in the pecking order to take more snaps along with Jake Wambaugh.

Williams’ older brother, DeShon, is a tight end on the team but he appears to be staying put with the Huskies for now.

Even with their first conference loss to Oregon last week, the Huskies remain in the hunt for the Pac-12 North title but will have their work cut out for them in Seattle on Saturday sans their backup linebacker when Colorado comes to town.