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Bryce Love among 62 Doak Walker Award watch listers

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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).

Jake Browning, Jalen Hurts highlight Davey O’Brien Award watch list

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Once the Conference of Defenses, has the SEC morphed into the Conference of Quarterbacks?

According to the folks at the Davey O’Brien Award, that certainly could be the case as the hardware handed out annually to the nation’s top quarterback released its 2018 watch list Tuesday morning, with the SEC accounting for six of the 26 players listed.  Next up are the remaining Power Five conferences, with the Pac-12 leading that group with four, followed by three apiece for the Big Ten and ACC as well as two for the Big 12.  With two each, Conference USA and the MAC pace all Group of Five leagues, with the AAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt all seeing one player on the initial watch list.

Individually, there are a pair of two-time O’Brien Award semifinalists on the roll — Washington’s Jake Browning and Alabama’s Jalen Hurts (whether Hurts gets the opportunity to three-peat as a finalist is another matter entirely).  Additionally, there are six other 2017 semifinalists on the list as well — Clemson’s Kelly Bryant, Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald, West Virginia’s Will Grier, Penn State’s Trace McSorley, UCF’s McKenzie Milton and Arizona’s Khalil Tate.

Of the 26 players on the list, 13 are listed as seniors and 12 as juniors.  The lone sophomore is Georgia’s Jake Fromm.

Below is the complete 2018 Davey O’Brien Award Watch List:

Jake Bentley, South Carolina, (Jr., Opelika, Ala.)
Jake Browning, Washington (Sr., Folsom, Calif.)
Kelly Bryant, Clemson (Sr., Calhoun Falls, S.C.)
Mason Fine, North Texas (Jr., Peggs, Okla.)
Ryan Finley, NC State (Sr., Phoenix, Ariz.)
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State (Sr., Richmond Hill, Ga.)
Andrew Ford, UMass (Sr., Camp Hill, Penn.)
Jake Fromm, Georgia (So., Warner Robins, Ga.)
Will Grier, West Virginia (Sr., Charlotte, N.C.)
Justice Hansen, Arkansas State (Sr., Edmond, Okla.)
Justin Herbert, Oregon (Jr., Eugene, Ore.)
Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin (Jr., West Chester, Penn.)
Jalen Hurts, Alabama (Jr., Houston, Texas)
Tyree Jackson, Buffalo (Jr., Norton Shores, Mich.)
Daniel Jones, Duke (Jr., Charlotte, N.C.)
Kyle Kempt, Iowa State (Sr., Massillon, Ohio)
Brian Lewerke, Michigan State (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.)
Drew Lock, Missouri (Sr., Lee’s Summit, Mo.)
Trace McSorley, Penn State (Sr., Ashburn, Va.)
McKenzie Milton, UCF (Jr., Kapolei, Hawaii)
Nathan Rourke, Ohio (Jr., Oakville, Ontario)
Brett Rypien, Boise State (Sr., Spokane, Wash.)
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn (Jr., Stephenville, Texas)
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee (Sr., Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Khalil Tate, Arizona (Jr., Inglewood, Calif.)
Manny Wilkins, Arizona State (Sr., Novato, Calif.)

You’ll never guess who tops Phil Steele’s preseason top 25

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You may or may not realize it, but the 2018 college football season is practically here. The SEC and Big 12 begin Media Days Season next week. Watch List Season begins next week as well. The AP will release its top 25 within a number of weeks.

We got our first puff of white smoke Monday with the release of Phil Steele’s preseason top 25. Steele touts his preseason rankings as the most accurate predictor of the AP’s top 25, so take this as your unofficial pre-pre-season rankings.

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Washington
5. Georgia
6. Wisconsin
7. Miami
8. Notre Dame
9. Oklahoma
10. Texas
11. Michigan
12. Penn State
13. Michigan State
14. Boise State
15. Stanford
16. USC
17. Florida
18. Florida State
19. Auburn
20. TCU
21. Mississippi State
22. Utah
23. Boston College
24. Oregon
25. Arkansas State

Bigger shock: Texas in the top 10 or Boston College and Arkansas State in the rankings ahead of UCF?

Boise State agrees on new six-year extension worth over $12 million with Nike

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The swoosh will remain on the blue turf.

Boise State announced this week that the school has signed a new six-year extension with Nike to remain the Broncos’ apparel partner through 2024-25

“Continuing our partnership with Nike was a top priority for us,” AD Curt Apsey said in a release. “Nike has played a major role in the success of Boise State Athletics, and I’m excited to continue a relationship between what we feel are two innovative, forward-thinking brands. Our coaches were overwhelmingly in support of moving forward with Nike.”

The deal nearly doubles what the program was receiving from the Portland area outfitter and is worth $12,160,000 in cash and apparel over the lifetime of the contract. The Broncos had been carrying the swoosh on their football uniforms since 2003 and had the entire athletic department move to Nike beginning in 2011.

When you think elite in the world of sports and apparel, Nike is at the top of the list,”  football coach Bryan Harsin added. “We couldn’t be more fired up as a program to be outfitted by and affiliated with a brand as powerful as Nike. There is no doubt they make us better with the latest equipment technology, style and from a recruiting standpoint.”

While it’s a significant deal in terms of Group of Five programs, the contract does pale in comparison to some of the payouts schools have gotten at the Power Five level in recent years. Taking a few examples from just the Pac-12, old Boise State coach Chris Petersen just saw his Washington program sign a 10-year deal worth $119 million with adidas and Under Armour’s record-setting pact with UCLA covers 15 years worth a reported $280 million.

Still, for a successful program to double your money and stick with one of the most well-known shoe companies is still a nice offseason move for the Broncos.

Alabama (still) a massive favorite over Louisville, other Week 1 lines

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It’s been about four months since we checked in on the Week 1 betting lines in college football, highlighted by Alabama’s installation as a massive favorite for its date with Louisville in Orlando.

And in the four months since, the public has clearly lost faith in the Nick Saban Football Machine.

After starting as a 29.5-point favorite, Alabama has been downgraded… to a 28.5-point favorite, according to lines released by Bet Online.

Other lines of note:

  • UCF (-20.5) at Connecticut
  • Northwestern (+4.5) at Purdue
  • Colorado (-6) vs. Colorado State (at Denver)
  • San Diego State (+14.5) at Stanford
  • Florida Atlantic (+23) at Oklahoma
  • Oregon State (+38) at Ohio State
  • Texas (-10.5) at Maryland
  • Boise State (-10.5) at Troy
  • Arizona (-14) vs. BYU (at Phoenix)
  • Auburn (-3.5) vs. Washington (at Atlanta)
  • Ole Miss (-1.5) vs. Texas Tech (at Houston)
  • West Virginia (-7) vs. Tennessee (at Charlotte)
  • North Carolina (+6) at California
  • Michigan (+2) at Notre Dame
  • Alabama (-28.5) vs. Louisville (at Orlando)
  • Miami (-3) vs. LSU (at Dallas)
  • Virginia Tech (+6.5) at Florida State

Check out the entire list of lines here.