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UCF, UTEP, Pac-12 streak into new season, albeit not all in the same direction

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With the first full weekend of the 2018 college football season upon us, it’s time to bare down, strip away all the other nonsense and get to the meat of this post: streakers.

2017 national champion UCF* entered this season with the nation’s longest winning streak at 13 in a row. Thanks to Thursday’s thrashing of overmatched UConn, that streak now stands at 14 straight as Central Florida hasn’t dropped a game since a 31-13 Cure Bowl loss to Arkansas State on Dec. 17, 2016.

The only other FBS team with a double-digit winning streak at the moment is Lane Kiffin‘s FAU Owls, which have won 10 in a row after starting out the 2017 season 1-3. Northwestern, which dropped Purdue Thursday night, owns the longest Power Five plus streak at nine straight. The second-longest Power Five winning streak? Ohio State’s five in a row.

Troy, it should be mentioned since we’re here and all, has won seven straight for the fourth-longest winning streak in the country and second-longest amongst Group of Five teams.

Conversely, UTEP, which faces FCS Northern Arizona tonight, carries the burden of the nation’s longest losing streak at 12 straight. Four other FBS teams have double-digit streaks entering the new season — Kansas (11), Illinois (10) and Oregon State (10).

And then, bless their hearts, there’s the poor Pac-12.

Prior to Friday night’s action, 11 of the 12 schools in that Left Coast conference had entered the season on at least a one-game losing streak. Utah, which beat FCS Weber State Thursday night to stretch its winning streak to three games, was the only member of the conference that trundled its way into the 2018 season on a non-losing streak.

There was some good news on the losing streak front for the league Friday as both Stanford (31-10 over San Diego State) and Colorado (beatdown of in-state rival Colorado State) won last night, snapping losing streaks of two and three straight, respectively.

One final conference note: Alabama has the longest current winning streak in the SEC. While the reigning national champions holding that honor isn’t exactly a surprise, the fact that it’s a mere two in a row, and no other SEC team can even match it let alone top it, certainly raises an eyebrow.  Or at least an eyelash.

(*Don’t blame me, blame the NCAA and its 2018 FBS Records Book.)

UCLA DL Moses Robinson-Carr has been indefinitely suspended

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UCLA defensive lineman Moses Robinson-Carr has apparently been in the doghouse of Chip Kelly for a few weeks. The head coach of the Bruins confirmed to reporters today Robinson-Carr has been indefinitely suspended for violation of team rules.

The news of the suspension appears to answer some questions about his lack of availability in the last few weeks, as Kelly confirmed the suspension is a couple of weeks old. This would be the second time this season Robinson-Carr has been suspended by Kelly this season. Robinson-Carr was one of six players suspended by Kelly for UCLA’s season opener against Cincinnati.

Robinson-Carr previously played tight end and special teams for the Bruins, but he was converted to the defensive line to provide some depth. Robinson-Carr ha splayed in six games for UCLA this season.

UCLA faces rival USC this weekend.

Academics force App State’s Jermaine McDaniel to take sabbatical

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A familiar face in Appalachian State’s defensive line rotation early on in the season hasn’t been seen around of late, and now we know why.

Following practice Tuesday, Scott Satterfield confirmed that Jermaine McDaniel has left the football team as he focuses on getting his academic house in order.  The head coach did, though, leave the door open for the defensive end to return — if he decides to return to the sport.

“Well, No. 1, I love Jermaine,” Satterfield said according to the Winston-Salem Journal. “Awesome player for us. He just wants to focus on academics, and I’ll support him and whatever his decision is.

“That’s what he wanted to do, so we’ll just support him and wish him well finishing his academics and whatever career he decides to go into.”

The redshirt freshman played in the first six games of the 2018 season, recording a pair of sacks in that span.  However, he saw action in just one of the last four.

Despite missing all of that action, his two sacks are still tied for third on the Mountaineers.

2017 finalist Jonathan Taylor headlines Doak Walker Award semifinalists

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Not surprisingly, Jonathan Taylor will get another crack at claiming a piece of running back hardware.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Taylor was announced as one of the 10 semifinalists for the 2018 Doak Walker Award.  The Wisconsin sophomore was one of the three finalists for the 2017 award won by Stanford’s Bryce Love.  Despite the fact that Love returned for another season,  he’s not one of this year’s semifinalists as nagging injuries have hampered the senior all season long.

The nation’s top four backs in terms of rushing yards are represented, including Taylor (first, 1548 yards), Memphis’ Darrell Henderson (second, 1,446), Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin (third, 1,295) and Arizona’s J.J. Taylor (1,221).  Two others in the Top Ten — FAU’s Devin Singletary (sixth, 1,169), Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams (eighth, 1,159) — are included as well.

The other four to make the cut are Kentucky’s Benny Snell (11th, 1,089), Clemson’s Travis Etienne (13th, 1,076), Michigan’s Karan Higdon (18th, 1,005) and Boston College’s AJ Dillon (24th, 936).  Dillon moves up to ninth in yards per game (117) as he’s battled a leg injury for the last few weeks.

Higdon is the only senior in the group, while Benjamin, Dillon, Etienne and both Taylors are sophomores.  The other four are juniors.

Walter Camp Award announces 15 semifinalists

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An award that many consider the second-most prestigious in the sport has further narrowed the field of players who can claim this year’s honor.

Wednesday, the Walter Camp Foundation announced its 15 “Players to Watch,” essentially semifinalists, for its prestigious Player of the Year Award. The Walter Camp Award is voted on by the 130 FBS head coaches/sports information directors and is the fourth-oldest award in the sport.

“It’s been another exciting college football season with many teams and players still in the hunt for national recognition,” Camp Foundation president Michael Madera said in a statement. “We’ve identified some outstanding players and we know the final weeks of the regular season should be even more thrilling.”

Top-ranked Alabama is the only team with two semifinalists — quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams.  UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor are the only 2017 semifinalists to make the cut this year.

The 2017 Walter Camp Award winner was Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Josh Allen, Senior, Linebacker, Kentucky
Deandre Baker, Senior, Defensive Back, Georgia
Devin Bush, Junior, Linebacker, Michigan
Travis Etienne, Sophomore, Running Back, Clemson
Will Grier, Senior, Quarterback, West Virginia
Dwayne Haskins, Junior, Quarterback, Ohio State
Darrell Henderson, Junior, Running Back, Memphis
Trace McSorley, Senior, Quarterback, Penn State
McKenzie Milton, Junior, Quarterback, UCF
Gardner Minshew, Senior, Quarterback, Washington State
Kyler Murray, Junior, Quarterback, Oklahoma
Tua Tagovailoa, Sophomore, Quarterback, Alabama
Jonathan Taylor, Sophomore, Running Back, Wisconsin
Jerry Tillery, Senior, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
Quinnen Williams, Sophomore, Nose Guard, Alabama