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Déjà vu all over again: Talk resurfaces of Nick Saban wanting Texas job after winning 2012 title at Alabama

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During the 2013 season, it was an open secret that Texas, even as Mack Brown was technically in place as head coach, was in lust with Nick Saban, with the Alabama coach’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, reportedly playing point man in at least a couple of meetings with those connected to the Longhorns football program.  Even as Saban, and perhaps more importantly his wife, publicly stated on a couple of occasions that he was staying put, there was significant angst in Tuscaloosa as UA officials were “getting nervous about the lack of a response” from Saban on a new contract proposal.

While a book detailed the flirtation with the Longhorns, Saban very publicly stated in July of 2014 that he “had no conversations with [Texas] and wasn’t offered anything.” However, in a late-June podcast relayed by our own Zach Barnett over at his main gig at FootballScoop.com, Dallas billionaire and former UT regent Tom Hicks claimed that Saban utilized his agent to reach out to university officials expressing interest in the Texas job after Alabama had claimed the 2012 national championship, the head coach’s third in four years.

Hicks had previously claimed in September of 2013 that he and Wallace Hall Jr., the other regent to which he referred in the podcast, had met with Sexton for 45 minutes, although the portrait at the time was painted as Hicks setting up the call with the agent to gauge the coach’s interest; this time around, however, Hicks intimates that it was the other way around as the agent, again per Hicks, approached him.

“Another regent and I had the conversation with Saban’s agent and [Sexton] said, ‘If Saban was a business guy, he’d be what you would call a turnaround artist. He’s not a long-term CEO. Fix it, win and go on. He knows he will never catch Bear Bryant’s legacy in Alabama, but he’d like to create his legacy that he’s won national championships at more schools than anybody else. He’s done it at LSU and Alabama, and he knows he can win a national championship at Alabama; he knows he can,'” Hicks stated on the podcast, referring to Texas being the school that could put the future Hall of Famer in singularly rarefied air.

Given Saban’s reported interest, Hicks then went to Brown to broach the idea of the current UT head coach gracefully stepping down to make way for his replacement, the man who bested him for the 2009 national championship.  Suffice to say, that meeting didn’t go well.

Describing him as “bright red” with “[s]team coming out of his ears,” Brown, per Hicks, stated, “‘That guy is not coming here to win a national championship with my players.'”

That 2013 season, Brown guided Texas to an 8-5 record — that marked the fourth straight season of nine or fewer wins — and resigned his post in December. Brown was replaced by Charlie Strong, who made it through three seven-loss seasons before being dismissed in November of 2016.

Saban, meanwhile, has guided the Crimson Tide to a 78-8 record the past six seasons and added two more national championships to his resume.  Whether he ever, as Hicks alluded to, catches Bryant’s legacy in Tuscaloosa remains to be seen, but Saban has tied the coaching great with six career titles.

Love lost as Memphis LB enters transfer portal

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For the third time this offseason, Memphis has seen a member of its football program sucked into the infamous portal.

Citing a source familiar with the decision, the Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that Nyle Love has entered his name into the transfer database.  No specific reason was given for the departure, although positioning on the depth chart would be a likely place to start.

Other FBS schools will be able to contact Love without receiving U-M’s permission, with the linebacker also retaining the ability to return to the Tigers if he so desires.  As we have noted multiple times in the past, the school now also has the option to strip Love of his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

If Love moves on to another FBS school, it’s very likely he’ll have to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Love didn’t play a down for Tigers after coming to the AAC school as a three-star 2018 signee.

USC confirms JT Daniels is still Trojans’ starting QB

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The drama in the Land of Troy, such as it was, is officially over.

For most, there was a three-man battle for USC’s starting quarterback job throughout this offseason — incumbent JT Daniels, Matt Fink and Jack Sears.  Tuesday, the Trojans ended the competition charade by confirming that Daniels will indeed be the team’s starter when they open the 2019 season later this month.

Most intriguing, though, is the fact that true freshman Kedon Slovis, who has been mostly an afterthought in the competition, has been chosen as the true sophomore Daniels’ backup over Fink, a redshirt junior, and Sears, a redshirt sophomore.

Daniels started 11 games as a true freshman for the Trojans this past season, with Sears starting the other.  Fink seriously contemplated a transfer this offseason before opting to remain at USC.  Slovis, meanwhile, was a three-star 2019 signee who was rated as the No. 26 pro-style quarterback in the country.

In his first season as a starter, Daniels completed almost 60 percent of his 363 passes for 2,672 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Michigan transfer Brandon Peters wins starting QB job at Illinois

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Michigan transfer Brandon Peters has won the quarterback derby at Illinois, Lovie Smith announced Tuesday.

“We loved Brandon when we got a chance to know him during the recruiting process,” Smith said. “Now that we’ve seen him on the field, he has been everything we though he would be. He has really thrown the ball well and is a better runner than he’s given credit for. Most importantly, he has moved into a leadership role for us. We’re pumped up about Brandon leading us heading into the season.”

A former 4-star recruit, the Avon, Ind., native is a graduate transfer who still has two years of eligibility remaining.

At Michigan he appeared in 10 games with four starts, completing 53 percent of his 110 throws for 680 yards and four touchdowns.

Illinois opens its season Aug. 31 at home versus Akron.

Trevor Lawrence headlines Preseason AP All-American team

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Everyone and their blog now has an All-American team; so many are out there, in fact, that if we wrote about all of them we’d never write about anything else.

But there’s something different about being a Preseason AP All-American, and as such we’d be remiss if we didn’t add to our historical record here at CFT.

Most notably, Trevor Lawrence nudged out Tua Tagovailoa for the First Team quarterback job, where he’s joined by running back Travis Etienne and linebacker Isaiah Simmons on the First Team. Alabama also had three First Teamers — wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, defensive tackle Raekwon Davis and linebacker Dylan Moses.

The SEC led all conferences with eight First Team selections, followed by the Big Ten’s seven.

Without further ado, behold the 2019 Preseason AP All-America First Team:

OFFENSE
QB: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
RB: Travis Etienne, Clemson; Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
WR: Jerry Jeudy, Alabama; Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
TE: Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
C: Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
OG: Ben Bredeson, Michigan; Shane Lemieux, Oregon
OT: Walker Little, Stanford; Andrew Thomas, Georgia
AP: Rondale Moore, Purdue
K: Andre Szmyt, Syracuse

DEFENSE
LB: Joe Bachie, Michigan State; Dylan Moses, Alabama; Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
S: Andre Cisco, Syracuse; Grant Delpit, LSU
CB: Paulson Abedo, Stanford; Bryce Hall, Virginia
DE: AJ Epenesa, Iowa; Chase Young, Ohio State
DT: Derrick Brown, Auburn; Raekwon Davis, Alabama
P: Braden Mann, Texas A&M