If you’re a college football fan, there’s nearly a 50-50 chance that you’ll find one of your team’s players on this latest watch list installment.
The Mackey Award is next up to do the preseason deed, with the hardware going to the nation’s top tight end announcing a 64-player watch list Friday morning. Unlike most other awards, not a single semifinalist from a year ago are up for the award won by Arkansas’ Mark Andrews in 2017.
A total of five teams placed two players on the list, with three of those coming from — surprise!!! — the Big Ten. Iowa (Noah Fant, TJ Hockenson), Michigan (Zach Gentry, Sean McKeon) and Wisconsin (Zander Neuville, Kyle Penniston) represent that Midwest conference, while Louisville (Kemari Averett, Micky Crum) and South Carolina (KC Crosby, account for the other.
The Big Ten led all conferences with 12 players on the initial watch list, followed by the SEC (nine), ACC (seven), Pac-12 (seven), Mountain West (six) and Sun Belt (five). There are four watch listers each hailing from the AAC, Big 12 and MAC, while Conference USA placed three. There are also three tight ends from football independents.
Below is the complete 2018 John Mackey Award preseason watch list:
Another day, another one of these releases that signal yet another college football season is fast approaching.
The Doak Walker Award became the latest to release its offseason watch list, with a whopping 62 players comprising its initial grouping. The award has been handed out annually since 1990 to the nation’s top running back and is named in honor of the famed SMU halfback.
Headlining this year’s watch list is Stanford’s Bryce Love, who was named the 2017 winner of the Doak Walker Award. The list also features 2017 finalist Jonathan Taylor from Wisconsin, and semifinalists from last year Justice Hill from Oklahoma State and Devin Singletary from Florida Atlantic.
The ACC led all conferences with 10 players, followed by the SEC (nine), Pac-12 (eight), Big Ten (seven) and the Big 12 and MAC with six each. The next wave includes four apiece for Conference USA and Mountain West, three each for the AAC and the Sun Belt as well as two for those from Independents (BYU, UMass).
A total of three schools have two backs each listed: Florida State (Cam Akers, Jacques Patrick), Arkansas (Chase Hayden, Devwah Whaley) and Western Michigan (LeVante Bellamy, Jamauri Bogan).
With the Temple Owls getting set for the second season with Geoff Collins at the helm, it appears Temple may have new uniform swag to show off for 2018. With a new uniform reveal scheduled for July 12, it has been noticed that the Twitter account Collins uses has what could potentially be a preview of some new helmets that could be worn by the Owls this fall.
The cherry helmet on the right with the block lettering spelling out “Temple” is a throwback look Temple has worn in more recent years, and it will be nice to see that old look stay in the uniform rotation for Temple moving forward if this tease is any indication. The newer look would be the white helmet on the left, with a scripted “Temple” on the side in cherry. That appears to be a brand new look for Temple, and it doesn’t look too bad either.
A graphic previously shown off could also indicate a look at the color schemes for Temple’s football uniforms from Under Armor this season, including an all-black and all-gray combination.
As far as current uniform trends go, Temple is hitting on all of them; alternate black, alternate gray, and a color-coordinated helmets to go with each, including the white alternate helmet. We’ll have to wait and see just what these new uniforms look like next week, but there is no shortage of uniform swag on Broad Street for Temple.
It is worth a quick reminder that sometimes coaches have helmet designs that don’t ever see the light of day. That’s partly because they could be prototypes and ideas from a design team that never get chosen, or simply sit there just to look cool when high school recruits work their way through the football facilities.
When it comes to Temple though, the best helmets still include the Temple “T” logo for my money.
A stadium proposal for Temple University will not be filed this June, putting the future of a potential on-campus football home for the Owls on the sidelines for a little bit longer.
According to a report from The Temple News, the proposal for the on-campus athletic venue did not achieve its goal of obtaining enough support from the surrounding community in order to move forward with the plan. This was likely to be expected after the stadium plans stalled during a city council meeting earlier this year. This occurred shortly after protestors interrupted a town hall meeting about the project the previous week.
“We’re not there yet,” Temple Vice President of Public Affairs Bill Bergman said in the report. “We continue to work with neighbors, talk to neighbors. We’re really looking at what we need to do this summer.”
The stadium has failed to generate the kind of community support Temple was hoping to have as concerns about what the stadium will do to the community have been heated. Residents do not seem to have the positive vibes about a stadium that will play home to Temple football that the university officials have envisioned. To some, the construction of a football stadium that would also host other events seems like wasteful spending with resources that could be used in other ways.
Temple is currently playing home games at Lincoln Financial Field, home to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. The lease agreement for Temple runs through the end of the 2019 season. If Temple cannot get moving on their on-campus stadium plan, the Owls may have to look into an extension on the lease. Temple will have little problem getting an extension, but the university would probably prefer not to have to lock into an extended lease if playing on campus becomes a viable option.
The offseason of UCF athletic director Danny White continues.
No, this isn’t another article about the Knights’ being national champions or releasing marketing studies or anything, even, to do with the upcoming season. No, this has to do with his conference’s upcoming television deal. The AAC’s rights expire after the 2019-20 season as is typically the case with such deals, negotiations for what happens starting in 2020 are going to commence in the coming months.
Per The Athletic’s Chris Vannini, those current deals with ESPN and CBS pay the league around $21 million a year and many around conference are expecting a big jump soon in the payouts.
“I don’t know how the first five years of our conference could have gone any better, with across-the-board success, particularly in football,” White said. “Whether you look at television ratings, competitive success, New Year’s Day bowl wins, we’ve way outperformed.
“I think our current deal is way undervalued, and everybody understands that. We’re all really confident we’ll get a much more significant television deal that puts us on par with where we should be, with the Power 6 conferences.”
While the AAC and those in the league continue to push that they are on par with the other Power Five conferences, that simply isn’t the case when you look at everything from actual NCAA governance to the cold hard cash each league receives. Even the much discussed Pac-12 Networks is contributing more to the conference’s schools than the $21 million the AAC receives and the league itself falls far short of its peers when it comes to total revenue. In 2016-17 alone, AAC revenue dropped below $75 million compared to over $500 million for the Pac-12, SEC and Big Ten each. Even in the Big 12, Texas alone takes in nearly as much TV revenue from the Longhorn Network (roughly $15 million a year) as the entire AAC does.
Given that the original deals were signed in 2013 with ESPN and CBS back when realignment was going crazy, White is absolutely correct in his assessment that the current deal is a little undervalued and a solid increase is in the cards for the league in the not-to-distant future. But as far as that winding up coming close to what the Power Five are bringing in? It seems like a stretch to say the least.