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USC LB Porter Gustin set for surgery, to miss at least two weeks

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Poor Porter Gustin, he just can’t quite seem to avoid getting bitten by the injury bug.

Initial reports on Tuesday had Gustin being carted off USC’s practice field and headed for an MRI on what was believed to be an injured knee. According to the Orange County Register the next day, the MRI revealed a “slightly torn” meniscus in Gustin’s left knee that is expected to sideline the redshirt junior linebacker for several weeks.

In an update to the original reporting, the football program confirmed the surgery as well as acknowledging that Gustin could be sidelined for 2-4 weeks.

On the short end of that timeline, Gustin would be sidelined for no games; on the long end, he’d miss the season opener against UNLV Sept. 1.  And, should the rehab linger longer than expected —  head coach Clay Helton it’s “sometimes five [weeks], depending on people, how they heal” — a road trip to Texas in Week 2 and the Pac-12 opener against Stanford down on The Farm in Week 3 could also come into play.

A toe injury suffered in September ultimately caused Gustin to miss the last 10 games of the 2017 season. The year before, Gustin led the Trojans in tackles for loss in starting all 13 games.

Earlier this offseason, Gustin was named to Bednarik (HERE) and Butkus (HERE) Award preseason watch lists.

Cal has the most amazing, sensational, dramatic bobblehead giveaway honoring “The Play” complete with trombone

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Get ready to make a little more room in your bobblehead collection, because Cal is about to give away one you will want to add to your collection unless you are a Stanford fan.

Cal is taking the most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heart-rending, exciting, thrilling finish in school history, and easily one of the most memorable moments in college football history, The Play, and using it as the inspiration for a bobblehead giveaway to 10,000 fans attending this year’s home game on November 17. The opponent for that game, of course, is Stanford.

Not only does the bobblehead of former Cal player Kevin Moen making his final jump into the end zone for a game-winning touchdown against the Cardinal, but it also includes a poor trombone sitting on the ground as a tribute to the trombone player in the Stanford band who was on the receiving end of the collision with Moen.

What other signature college football plays should be given a bobblehead treatment?

Helmet sticker to California Golden Blogs.

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State 1-2-3 in preseason Coaches’ Top 25

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Not surprisingly, some very familiar faces reside at the top of the first major poll of the 2018 season.

Early Thursday afternoon, USA Today released its preseason coaches’ poll, with reigning national champion Alabama sitting comfortably at No. 1.  Not only that, but the Crimson Tide garnered 61 of the 65 first-place votes.

The only others to receive first-place votes are 2017 College Football Playoff semifinalist Clemson (three) and Ohio State (one), although the Buckeyes have a little more to worry about than their placement in a meaningless preseason poll.  The Top Five is rounded out by No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Oklahoma, while Nos. 6-10 are Washington, Wisconsin, Miami, Penn State and Auburn, respectively.

Below is the remainder of the first coaches’ poll of the 2018 season:

11. Notre Dame
12. Michigan State
13. Stanford
14. Michigan
15. USC
16. TCU
17. Virginia Tech
18. Mississippi State
19. Florida State
20. West Virginia
21. Texas
22. Boise State
23. UCF
24. LSU
25. Oklahoma State

For those who keep score of such things, the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC have the most teams in the Top 25 with five each, followed by the ACC’s four and the Pac-12’s three.  Just two Group of Five squads made the initial cut, one apiece from the AAC and Mountain West.

Bryce Love, Ed Oliver headline Walter Camp Award preseason watch list

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What is arguably the second-most prestigious award in college football has officially joined in on the watch listing fun.

The Walter Camp Foundation became the last (?) of the major awards to release its preseason watch list, with a total of 50 individuals making the cut as the players to watch for its 2018 Player of the Year Award.  Headling that half-century group is a pair of 2017 Camp All-Americans — Stanford running back Bryce Love and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver.

All FBS conferences are represented, led by nine each for both the Big Ten and ACC.  The ACC (eight) and Big 12 (seven) are next, followed by the Pac-12 (five), AAC (four), Conference USA (three), MAC (one), Mountain West (one) and Sun Belt (one).  Two football independents, Army and Notre Dame, made the initial cut as well.

A total of nine schools placed two players each on the watch list: Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, TCU, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Of the 50 watch listers, 38 come from the offensive side of the ball.  The breakdown of that group goes 17 quarterbacks, 15 running backs, five wide receivers and one tight end.  An even dozen are, obviously, defensive players — seven defensive linemen, three linebackers, two defensive backs.

Breaking down the group by classes, there are 17 seniors, 25 juniors and eight sophomores.

Cam Akers, RB, Sophomore, Florida State
Darius Anderson, RB, Junior, TCU
Rodney Anderson, RB, Junior, Oklahoma
Ben Banogu, DE, Sophomore, TCU
Nick Bosa, DL, Junior, Ohio State #
Spencer Brown, RB, Sophomore, UAB
Jake Bentley, QB, Junior, University of South Carolina
A.J. Brown, WR, Junior, Ole Miss
Jake Browning, QB, Senior, Washington
Devin Bush, LB, Junior, Michigan #
Raekwon Davis, DL, Junior, Alabama
AJ Dillon, RB, Sophomore, Boston College
J.K. Dobbins, RB, Sophomore, Ohio State
T.J. Edwards, LB, Senior, Wisconsin #
Noah Fant, TE, Junior, Iowa
Mason Fine, QB, Junior, North Texas
Ryan Finley, QB, Senior, North Carolina State
Rashan Gary, DE, Junior, Michigan
Myles Gaskin, RB, Senior, Washington
Joe Gilles-Harris, LB, Junior, Duke #
Will Grier, QB, Senior, West Virginia
Justice Hansen, QB, Senior, Arkansas State
Damien Harris, RB, Senior, Alabama
Darrell Henderson, RB, Junior Memphis
Justice Hill, RB, Sophomore, Oklahoma State
Collin Johnson, WR, Junior, Texas
Diontae Johnson, WR, Junior, Toledo
Jaquan Johnson, DB, Senior, Miami (Fla.)
Dexter Lawrence, DL, Junior, Clemson
Brian Lewerke, QB, Junior, Michigan State
Drew Lock, QB, Senior, Missouri
Bryce Love, RB, Senior, Stanford *
Trace McSorley, QB, Senior, Penn State
McKenzie Milton, QB, Junior, UCF
Steven Montez, QB, Junior, Colorado
Ed Oliver, DL, Junior, Houston *
Malcolm Perry, QB, Junior, Navy
Ahmmon Richards, WR, Junior, Miami (Fla.)
Brett Rypien, QB, Senior, Boise State
Kyle Shurmur, QB, Senior, Vanderbilt
David Sills, WR, Senior, West Virginia #
Devin Singletary, RB, Junior, Florida Atlantic
Benny Snell, RB, Junior, Kentucky
Jarrett Stidham, QB, Junior, Auburn
Khalil Tate, QB, Junior, Arizona
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Sophomore, Wisconsin #
Christian Wilkins, DL, Senior, Clemson #
Greedy Williams, DB, Sophomore, LSU
Brandon Wimbush, QB, Senior, University of Notre Dame
Darnell Woolfolk, RB, Senior, Army-West Point

* 2017 Walter Camp All-America First-Team selection
# – 2017 Walter Camp All-America Second-Team selection

Lou Groza, Ray Guy Awards release their respective watch lists

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Kickers and punters are football players, too, and thus get their own preseason recognition along with everybody else.

Both the Lou Groza and Ray Guy Awards released their watch lists Wednesday morning, with the former including kickers and the latter 27 punters. Headlining both groups is Utah’s Matt Gay, who won the 2017 Lou Groza Award and is looking to join Florida State’s Sebastian Janikowski (1998-99) as the only two-time winner of the kicking trophy.

One other finalist for the 2017 Groza Award is included in this year’s watch list — Utah State’s Dominik Eberle.

On the Ray Guy side of the watch list ledger, Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky is the lone returning finalist for the 2017 award claimed by Michael Dickson of Texas.  Three other 2017 semifinalists are listed — Ohio State’s Drue Chrisman, Missouri’s Corey Fatony and Arkansas State’s Cody Grace.

LOU GROZA AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST
Florida State junior Ricky Aguayo
Oklahoma State junior Matt Ammendola
San Diego State senior John Baron II
Georgia Southern junior Tyler Bass
Georgia junior Rodrigo Blankenship
FIU sophomore Jose Borregales
Colorado State senior Wyatt Bryan
Minnesota senior Emmit Carpenter
Mississippi State sophomore Jace Christmann
San Jose State senior Bryce Crawford
Louisville junior Blanton Creque
Utah State junior Dominik Eberle
Wisconsin senior Rafael Gaglianone
Utah senior Matt Gay
Clemson senior Greg Huegel
Texas A&M senior Daniel LaCamera
Baylor junior Connor Martin
Missouri junior Tucker McCann
UCLA junior JJ Molson
Michigan junior Quinn Nordin
UNLV senior Evan Pantels
Arizona State sophomore Brandon Ruiz
UTSA sophomore Jared Sackett
Oklahoma senior Austin Seibert
Southern Miss senior Parker Shaunfield
Colorado sophomore James Stefanou
Stanford junior Jet Toner
Toledo senior Jameson Vest
Notre Dame senior Justin Yoon
Ohio junior Louie Zervos

RAY GUY AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST
Adam Nunez, TCU
A.J. Cole III, NC State
Alex Kinney, Colorado
Anthony Lotti, Wisconsin
Austin Seibert, Oklahoma
Bailey Cate, Old Dominion
Blake Gillikin, Penn State
Caleb Lightbourn, Nebraska
Cody Grace, Arkansas State
Corey Fatony, Missouri
Corliss Waitman, South Alabama
Dane Roy, Houston
Derek Adams, Kent State
Drue Chrisman, Ohio State
Jake Bailey, Stanford
Jake Hartbarger, Michigan State
Jamie Sackville, SMU
Joe Schopper, Purdue
Logan Tyler, Florida State
Matt Bonadies, Middle Tennessee
Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
Oscar Bradburn, Virginia Tech
Pressley Harvin III, Georgia Tech
Ryan Stonehouse, Colorado State
Stefan Flintoft, UCLA
Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse
Wade Lees, Maryland