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CFT 2018 Preseason Previews: Playoff Predictions

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Every season is a snowflake, in that each set of circumstances is unique to the dynamics and characters of that season and is unlikely to be repeated again. We saw Ohio State jump TCU in Baylor in 2014. The 2016 debate saw a 1-loss non-division champion (Ohio State) jump a 2-loss conference champion (Penn State), despite the non-champion losing to the champion. Last year we saw a non-division champion that lost its final regular season game (Alabama) fend off a 2-loss conference champion (Ohio State).

But one lesson has remained constant: talent wins out. The College Football Playoff has not been kind to the underdog. With the understanding that there’s really no such thing as a Cinderella in a system that selects excludes 126 of the 130 teams, the biggest upset we’ve seen is… Ohio State over Alabama in 2014? And given what we know now, that Buckeyes win wasn’t an upset at all. Only three “developmental” programs have reached the Playoff in four seasons — Oregon in 2014, Michigan State in 2015 and Washington in 2016. Oregon blew out an overrated Florida State team, then was blown out itself by Ohio State in the championship game. Michigan State lost to Alabama 38-0 in the 2015 Cotton Bowl. Washington was dusted 24-7 by Alabama in the 2016 Peach Bowl.

Meanwhile, Alabama has reached three straight title games. They played Clemson twice, and Georgia once.

Getting to the College Football Playoff is extremely hard for anyone to do. Winning it, for anyone other than the elite of the elite, has proven to be impossible. Such a reality appears in the CFT staff’s picks for the 2018 CFP field.

Kevin
Orange Bowl: Clemson over Penn State
Cotton Bowl: Alabama over Oklahoma
CFP National Championship: Alabama over Clemson

Bryan
Orange Bowl: Clemson over Wisconsin
Cotton Bowl: Alabama over Washington
CFP National Championship: Clemson over Alabama

Zach
Orange Bowl: Clemson over Washington
Cotton Bowl: Georgia over Wisconsin
CFP National Championship: Clemson over Georgia

John
Orange Bowl: Ohio State over Clemson
Cotton Bowl: Georgia over Washington
CFP National Championship: Ohio State over Georgia

Kansas settles David Beaty lawsuit for $2.55 million when they could’ve just paid his $3 million buyout two years ago

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Our long national nightmare when it comes to a former Kansas football coach is over.  Or something like that.

In early November of 2018, Kansas announced that David Beaty would be fired as head football coach upon the conclusion of that regular season.  At the time, athletic director Jeff Long stated that the university would honor the terms of Beaty’s contract, which included a $3 million buyout payable over a six-month period.  That never actually happened.  And led to a contentious lawsuit.  One that involved the school needing to euphemistically find “a dead hooker” in Beaty’s past.  Because of minor NCAA violations.

Friday, the university announced that it has reached a settlement with Beaty.  For $2.55 million.  Which means, after nearly two years worth of lawyers fees and such are factored in, the university likely ended up… costing itself money they could’ve saved if they had just paid Beaty the money he was contractually owed in the first place.

Kudos, KU.  Below is the university’s attempt at a face-saving statement:

Today, Kansas athletics entered into a $2.55 million financial settlement with former head football coach David Beaty, ending all litigation and disputes. Despite the settlement, the University maintains that the facts and principles behind its position remain intact.  For the betterment of KU, and driven by a willingness to move forward during a time of uncertainty in college athletics, the University has now put this matter behind us.  All funds to be paid as part of the settlement will come from the original amount placed in escrow during the 2018-2019 fiscal year following Beaty’s separation from KU.

In four seasons as the Jayhawks head coach, Beaty went 6-42 overall and 2-34 in Big 12 play.  In mid-November of 2018, Kansas confirmed that former LSU head coach Les Miles would be taking over for Beaty.

Former North Carolina standout Tommy Davis killed in motorcycle accident

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A North Carolina football program running on an offseason high is now mourning the loss of one of its own.

According to multiple media outlets, Tommy Smith died Thursday from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.  Details surrounding the accident are not known.

The Goldsboro, North Carolina, native was 37 years old.

From 2002-05, Smith was a standout defensive lineman for the Tar Heels.  In a statement, the North Carolina football program addressed his passing.

We are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of one of our Tar Heel brothers, Tommy Davis. The Carolina Football Family extends its deepest condolences to Tommy’s family and friends.

His first two seasons in Chapel Hill, Smith was a part-time starter.  In his last two seasons, Smith started every game for the ACC school.  Smith combined for 18 tackles for loss and 11½ sacks his junior and senior seasons.

The 6-2, 257 Smith went undrafted in 2016.  Over the next three years, he spent time on practice squads with New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Washington.

In 2011, he returned to North Carolina as a graduate assistant.  He spent the 2012 season in that capacity as well.  In 2013, Smith served as the defensive line coach at Saint Joseph’s, a Div. II program in Indiana.

Iowa confirms addition of Northern Illinois grad transfer Jack Heflin

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Iowa has officially added a talented and experienced Group of Five player to its roster.

In May, Jack Heflin was one of three Northern Illinois starters to enter the NCAA transfer database the same day.  A little over a week later, the defensive tackle announced on Twitter that he’s headed to Iowa football.

Friday, Iowa football confirmed Heflin’s addition to the Hawkeyes as the lineman signed with the program.  As a graduate transfer, Heflin is eligible to play immediately for the Big Ten school.  The upcoming season, though, will serve as his final year of eligibility.

Based on his resume, Heflin should contribute immediately to the Hawkeyes.

Heflin was a two-star member of the 2016 recruiting class for the Huskies.  NIU was his only FBS offer coming out of high school in Indiana.

In leading NIU in tackles for loss with 8½, sacks with three and forced fumbles with three, Heflin started all 11 games in which he played in 2019. MAC coaches named him second-team all-conference this past season.  He was also third-team All-MAC the previous season.  All told, Heflin started 28 of the 38 games in which he played.

In those appearances, Heflin was credited with 72 tackles, 17½ tackles for loss, nine sacks, three forced fumbles and one blocked kick.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including USC officially being stripped of its 2004 BCS championship

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 6, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Three West Virginia safeties now in transfer portal
THE SYNOPSIS: And two of those were starters.  Even for the portal, this is a bit of overkill.

2017

THE HEADLINE: USC QB Sam Darnold remains prohibitive Heisman favorite according to latest odds
THE SYNOPSIS: This is exactly why, while fun, preseason Heisman odds are utterly useless.  In 2017, Darnold didn’t even finish in the Top 10 in the voting.  The voting, incidentally, that earned Baker Mayfield the stiff-armed trophy that year.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Jeff Gordon to drive Penn State car at Pocono
THE SYNOPSIS: This post had a surprisingly healthy number of comments.  For whatever reason.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Incoming Tar Heel charged for stealing $53,000 in watches and jewelry
THE SYNOPSIS: Just gotta get this off my chest.  It’s charged “with.” Not charged “for.” You’re arrested “for.” And as “for” the player?  Tight end Avery Edwards ended up catching 19 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns.  At Maryland.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Bobby Bowden would serve on playoff selection committee
THE SYNOPSIS: The former Florida State head coach and College Football Hall of Famer never did serve.  Because he wasn’t asked.  Dadgummit, though, they should’ve asked the coaching legend.

2011

THE HEADLINE: USC stripped of ’04 BcS title
THE SYNOPSIS: This headline won’t pick any Trojan Nation scabs, will it?