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Jared Goff becomes first Cal No. 1 pick since 1975, second Pac-12 No. 1 in four years

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As expected, the Los Angeles Rams selected California quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft Thursday night in Chicago, thereby re-launching their franchise with a new face to lead the club to glory — and all that good stuff.

We’re here to examine the college implications of Goff as the No. 1 pick, of which there are many. Cue the minutiae!

– Goff is California’s first No. 1 overall selection since Steve Bartkowski, also a quarterback, went to the Atlanta Falcons in 1975.

– He’s the second Pac-12 No. 1 overall pick in the last four years, the first since Stanford’s Andrew Luck went to the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. The last before him? USC’s Carson Palmer to the Bengals in 2003.

– Goff is the Pac-12’s 16th overall No. 1 pick; 11 of those 16 have been quarterbacks. The last non-quarterback Pac-12 player to go No. 1 overall was USC wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson to the New York Jets in 1996.

– Goff is the 14th quarterback to go No. 1 overall since Peyton Manning‘s selection in 1998. All other positions combined? Five. Each of those five players played on the offensive or defensive line. Coincidentally, Johnson is also the last skill player to hear his name called first overall.

– Each of the last three No. 1 picks (Jadeveon ClowneyJameis Winston, Goff) was an early-entry.

– The Power 5 conference with the longest No. 1 pick drought: the Big Ten. No Big Ten player has been the NFL’s top pick since Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long went No. 1 to the Miami Dolphins in 2008.

Stanford renames QB coaching position after Kevin Hogan

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The legacy of Kevin Hogan at Stanford will continue for years thanks to a gift from a pair of  Stanford alums. The school announced on Thursday the position of quarterbacks coach has been endowed by a gift from Kim and Eddie Poplawski in honor of the now former Cardinal quarterback.

“I am beyond humbled by this generous gift from Eddie and Kim Poplawski,” said Tavita Pritchard, Stanford’s first Kevin M. Hogan Quarterbacks Coach. “The legacy that Kevin Hogan left on the field can only be eclipsed by the caliber of his character. This gift is a great reminder of what makes our Stanford community so special.”

A statement from the generous donors praised Hogan.

“Our lives have been incredibly blessed by our, nearly four-decade old, connection to Stanford, and it is truly a pleasure and privilege to be able to honor Kevin and his family in this manner,” said Kim and Eddie Poplawski. “In our minds, Kevin has set the gold standard on many different levels for student-athletes. He leads by example with conviction and grace. He competes with intense passion, but always with respect and tremendous humility. He thoughtfully and thoroughly prepares himself for the challenges he faces on and off the field, while remaining keenly focused and concerned about the successes of others not just his own. 

“Kevin is a Stanford treasure who will always represent our university in a first-class manner no matter where his life’s journey leads him. It warms our hearts to be able to forever commemorate his legacy on The Farm.

Hogan was 36-10 as Stanford’s quarterback over the past four seasons and a part of three Pac-12 championship teams with two Rose Bowl victories along the way.

Stanford now has five football staff positions endowed with this newest renamed position. Head coach David Shaw is officially Stanford’s Bradford M. Freeman Director of football. Lance Anderson is the Willie Shaw Director of Defense. Mike Bloomgren is the Associate Head Coach and Andrew Luck Director of Offense. Shannon Terry holds the title of Kissick Family Director of Sports Performance.

Big 12, Pac-12 lead Maxwell Award semifinalists; SEC leads Bednarik semifinalists

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The push for the College Football Playoff is not the only thing heating up in November. Award season is started to come closer and closer. On Monday, the Maxwell Football Club released its list of semifinalists for two of the top individual awards in college football, the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Every Power 5 conference is represented on the Maxwell Award semifinalist list with 2 from the ACC, 4 from the Big 12, 2 from the Big Ten, 4 from the Pac-12 and 2 from the SEC. The SEC led the power conferences with seven players named to the Chuck Bednarik Award semifinalists with four.

Last year’s winner for the two Maxwell Football Club awards were Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (Maxwell Award) and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright (Bednarik Award). A quarterback has won the Maxwell Award 13 times since 2000 and has included players like Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise gives the Irish a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the list of all-time winners by school. Notre Dame and Penn State each have seven Maxwell Award winners for the most of all-time. Navy, Ohio State and Texas each have four winners.

Penn State also has more Bednarik Award winners than any other school with four. LSU has a chance to come within one with linebacker Kendall Beckwith named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award. Past winners of the Bednarik Award, first awarded in 1995, include Pat Fitzgerald, Charles Woodson, LaVar Arrington, Ndamukong Suh, Tyrann Mathieu, Manti Te’o and Aaron Donald.

The winners of the Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award will be announced on December 10, 2015 during ESPN’s college football awards show. Three finalists will be announced for each award prior to that on November 24. A formal presentation for the awards will be held during the Maxwell Football CLub’s annual awards gala in Atlantic City, New Jersey, currently scheduled for March 11, 2016 at the Tropicana Resort & Casino.

2015 Maxwell Award Semifinalists

2015 Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalists

  • LB Kendall Beckwith, LSU
  • NT Andrew Billings, Baylor
  • DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
  • DE Jonathan Bullard, Florida
  • DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
  • S Jeremy Cash, Duke
  • LB Su’a Cravens, USC
  • DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
  • CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
  • DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
  • CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
  • LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple
  • DE Carl Nassib, Penn State
  • DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
  • DE Emmanueal Ogbah, Oklahoma State
  • LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
  • CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
  • DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
  • LB Joe Schobert, Wisconsin
  • LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

No. 21 Stanford’s offense proving Cardinal are still a Pac-12 threat

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Anyone who watched No. 21 Stanford (3-1, 2-0 Pac-12) in the season opener at Northwestern may have thought the Cardinal were in for a long season with no offense to show for it. How quickly Stanford has turned things around now with two straight wins in Pac-12 play with 83 points scored. On Friday night the Cardinal put 42 on the board against Oregon State (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) to pull away from the Beavers in the Pac-12 North battle. All of a sudden Stanford once again looks like a real threat in the Pac-12, and looks equipped to take on Oregon later on this season, along with upcoming games against Arizona and UCLA.

Christian McCaffrey pounded the ball on the ground for Stanford with 206 rushing yards. Barry Sanders added 97 yards and scored two touchdowns, and quarterback Kevin Hogan was effective with his arm, completing nine of 14 pass attempts for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Friday night showed Stanford get back to the earlier roots of their rise as a program under Jim Harbaugh, with the running game setting the tone the way Toby Gerhart used to do before the Cardinal started riding high with Andrew Luck. That si the recipe for success at Stanford, especially since Hogan can tend to be a bit up and down at times. If Stanford is going to run the football as well as they did against Oregon State, then they will wear down opposing defenses and run the clock well in conference play. Stanford held the football for 34:35 in the win, and going 7-for-12 on third down conversions was a big reason why.

“We ran the ball very physically,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said after the game. “We’ve got a very physical offensive line that’s jelling together and we’ve got some dynamic runners who can make plays.”

Stanford gets their next two games at home in Palo Alto, and they will be pretty big matchups. Stanford will get what could or should be a ranked Arizona team coming in necxt week. The Wildcats are hosting UCLA tonight, so a loss could potentially drop No. 16 Arizona out of the top 25. Regardless of tonight’s result, Arizona should be a good challenge for the Cardinal. Stanford then gets 12 days to prepare for a Thursday night game at home against UCLA. UCLA enters tonight’s game at Arizona ranked ninth in the nation in the AP poll, and the Bruins face Arizona State next week.

This is a key stretch for Stanford if the Cardinal are to make a serious run in the Pac-12. All eyes may want to shift ahead to November 14 when Oregon visits Stanford, but the Cardinal have some huge opportunities to get through before that highly anticipated Pac-12 North matchup.

Colts and Giants may make sense for Nick Saban, but not as much as Alabama

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban has won national titles at two different college football programs. He has coached a Heisman Trophy winner. He has enough SEC championship and bowl championship rings to open a jewelry exchange. He is handsomely paid to be the head coach at one of the biggest programs in the sport. Why would he leave? If there is anything that could pry Saban away from Alabama, a chance to redeem himself in the NFL would seem to be among the most logical possibilities.

Saban recently caused a mild stir when he suggested he would likely still be coaching the NFL’s Miami Dolphins if the franchise just listened to him and allow him to sign free agent quarterback Drew Brees, the man who actually got Purdue to a Rose Bowl. The Dolphins ended up acquiring Daunte Culpepper via trade with the Minnesota Vikings that spring and former Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington via trade with the Detroit Lions. Good thinking there Miami. Saban eventually left the Dolphins to become the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, where he had the luxury of choosing his own quarterback on a yearly basis without interference from a front office. Needless to say, things have gone well for Saban in Tuscaloosa. Saban’s comments about his past at Miami though got Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk to think maybe this is an indication, or a secret code Saban is sending to those receiving the message in the NFL. Is Saban saying he is ready for a return to the NFL?

Florio says Saban may be saying he would be interested in returning to the NFL if the right team with the right franchise quarterback in place happened to come calling. The two franchises that make the most sense? The Indianapolis Colts (Andrew Luck) and the New York Giants (Eli Manning).

Personally, I can’t see Saban coaching anywhere else but Alabama. In my mind, Saban is far more likely to retire for good before jumping back into the world of the NFL. There was a time I thought Saban could potentially flirt with trying to redeem himself at the NFL level after things went south with the Dolphins, but Saban has just too good of a thing going at Alabama. From the rich contract and the ability to be in full control of whatever he wants, there are very few jobs out there that would make sense to Alabama to take up. As much as coaching in the NFL is considered the top level of the coaching profession, Saban has been there and seen the drawbacks firsthand. why get caught up in that again when you can keep plugging away and building national title contenders until retirement?