Maxwell Award
Getty Images

Justin Fields, Chuba Hubbard headline Maxwell Award preseason watch list

2 Comments

#WatchListSZN continues unabated, with the Maxwell Award next up on the preseason junket.

Friday morning, the Maxwell Award announced its preseason watch list consisting of 90 college football players from across the country.  Presently annually to the Collegiate Player of the Year, the Maxwell Award is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the sport.

None of the three finalists from a year ago, LSU quarterback and 2019 winner Joe Burrow, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, are on this year’s watch list.  Burrow and Young, incidentally, went 1-2 in the 2020 NFL Draft.  There are, however, six semifinalists from a year ago.

The Big Ten leads all conferences with 15 watch listers, followed by the ACC (14) and SEC (13).  The AAC and Mountain West, with nine apiece, have the most for Group of Five leagues.  And the other Power Fives?  The Pac-12 posted eight, the Big 12 seven.

Four individual schools, Alabama, Indiana, Louisville and Memphis, had three players apiece on the preseason watch list.  Another 11 have two each: Auburn, Boise State, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State and SMU.

Below is the complete preseason watch list for the 2020 Maxwell Award.

Colorado State’s top 2019 signee to transfer to SMU

SMU football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

SMU football will be the latest to benefit from Ye Olde Transfer Portal.

Last month, Brandon Crossley took the first step in leaving Colorado State by entering the NCAA transfer database.  This week, the defensive back confirmed to 247Sports.com that he will be transferring into the SMU football program.

Crossley was a three-star member of the Colorado State football Class of 2019 coming out of high school in Texas.  In fact, he was the highest-rated signee for the Rams in that cycle.

In his lone season at CSU, Crossley played in every game for the Rams.  His presumptive last appearance was the first start of his career, in the season finale against Boise State.  In those appearances, Crossley was credited with nine tackles and four passes defensed.

It’s highly likely that Crossley will have to sit out the 2020 season. If he officially transfers to the FBS school, of course.  That would then leave the cornerback with three seasons of eligibility to use with the Mustangs starting in 2021.

The Mustangs are coming off a 10-3 campaign, the program’s most wins since the pre-death penalty season of 1984.  In December, SMU announced it had reached an agreement on a contract extension with head football coach Sonny Dykes.

NCAA Council formally approves six-week preseason model for football, which will begin July 13 for teams that start season Sept. 5

UAB football
Getty Images
1 Comment

The NCAA is proceeding with a significant step toward prepping for the 2020 college football season.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the NCAA Div. I Oversight Committee was crafting a plan that would shape the path college football programs would take to prepare for the upcoming season.  Last week, the NCAA announced that it has finalized its proposal for a preseason model for the sport.  However, the plan still needed the approval of the NCAA Division I Council.

Thursday, that expected thumbs-up came to fruition as the council has approved what will essentially be a six-week preseason for college football.  The NCAA writes that, “[a]ssuming a first game on Sept. 5, the model begins summer access activities July 13 and adds meetings and walk-throughs July 24.  Preseason practice begins Aug. 7.” Schools that open the seasoning Week 0 (Aug. 29), all of the dates would get seven days subtracted from them.  It’s unclear if teams whose first games are Sept. 3 will follow the Sept. 5 model or not.

The activities mentioned do not include the ongoing voluntary on-campus workouts.

As for the particulars?  The NCAA referred to its previous release as a guideline:

… student-athletes may be required to participate in up to eight hours of weight training, conditioning and film review per week (not more than two hours of film review per week) from July 13-23.

Then, from July 24 through Aug. 6, student-athletes may be required to participate in up to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities per week (not more than four hours per day) as follows:

— Up to eight hours per week for weight training and conditioning.
— Up to six hours per week for walk-throughs, which may include the use of a football.
— Up to six hours per week for meetings, which may include film review, team meetings, position meetings, one-on-one meetings, etc.
— During this 14-day period, student-athletes are required to get at least two days off.

The model does not make any adjustments to the legislated 29-day preseason practice period. In the previous example, the school’s preseason practice period would begin Aug. 7 with a five-day acclimatization period, followed by the opportunity for up to 25 on-field practices.

Colorado State football player held at gunpoint after being mistaken for being a member of Antifa

Colorado State football
Getty Images
24 Comments

In an offseason full of bizarre headlines, this one involving a Colorado State football player may have taken the cake.

According to the Coloradoan, an unidentified playing member of the Colorado State football program and another man were held at gunpoint Thursday night.  Why?  Because another man, Scott Gudmundsen, thought they were members of Antifa.

The identity of the player involved has not been divulged.

From the newspaper’s account:

The Loveland man faces felony charges after calling police and saying there were two men wearing masks near his home. He said he was armed and was going to go confront them… The caller said he thought the two were members of the anti-fascist political group Antifa.

Officers responded and found Scott Gudmundsen dressed in fatigues and brandishing a rifle while holding two men on the ground at gunpoint. …

The two men in their 20s were roofing salesmen wearing polo shirts with the logo of their employers and surgical masks going house-to-house following a recent hail storm. Both are in their 20s.

Gudmundsen was arrested on one count each of suspicion of felony menacing and false imprisonment.

Following the incident, a letter sent by out by Colorado State University with several names attached, including new head football coach Steve Addazio, addressed the development.

Our student is a young man of color, while the perpetrator is white. Regardless of what investigators learn or reasons the perpetrator gives, we know this: Our student got up Thursday morning, worked out with his team, then showered, dressed, and went to work,” the community letter said. “Hours later, he was facing a stranger with a gun and hearing police sirens that had been inexplicably called on him. Given what we have seen happening in cities across this county, we know all too well that this encounter could have proceeded very differently.

Our students are all precious to us. This young man is precious to us, contributing to our campus community in many ways: as an athlete, as a leader, and as a thoughtful student,” the letter said. “He is also precious to his family, to his friends and teammates, and to the many, many people out there in this world whose lives he has not yet touched but someday will. He is too precious to lose to hate and ignorance, as are all the people of color who bring their talents, their voices, their anger and anguish and hope and determination to CSU.

NCAA Oversight Committee crafting six-week practice period ahead of start of season

NCAA college football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The on-ramp to the 2020 college football season is coming into focus.

A significant milestone was reached last month when the NCAA announced it would allow member institutions to commence voluntary on-campus workouts June 1.  June 17, the NCAA Division I Council is expected to vote on a plan that would shape the path college football programs would take to prepare for the upcoming season.

That plan is currently being crafted by the NCAA’s Division I Football Oversight Committee. A draft of that group’s plan is expected to be finalized this Thursday, June 11.  The committee will then submit their plan to Div. I Council for approval.

As it stands now, ESPN.com is reporting, the committee is working on what would be a six-week run-up to the upcoming college football season.  For schools that begin the next campaign Labor Day weekend, the current proposal calls for mandatory workouts to commence July 13, followed by enhanced training July 24.  A standard summer camp would then kick off Aug. 7.  During the mandatory workouts and enhanced training, players will not be permitted to wear either helmets or pads,  They will, though, be permitted to use footballs.

Coaches, who, other than strength staff, can’t oversee the current voluntary workouts, would be permitted to take part throughout the entire six-week practice period being developed.

Of course, the schools scheduled to start the college football season the week before Labor Day — Notre Dame-Navy in Annapolis included — would see the three phases of the plan initiated earlier.  Whether it’s exactly a week earlier remains to be seen, although that would make the most sense.

As we stated earlier, the plan is still being crafted.  Therefore, it isn’t finalized.  In that vein, the first phase, the mandatory workouts, could be shortened.  From ESPN.com:

West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, who is chair of the Football Oversight Committee, told ESPN’s Andrea Adelson that there is one area that might change between the proposed calendar and what gets approved on Thursday, and that is shortening the window between the start of required workouts on July 13 and the start of enhanced training on July 24.

“Some people are thinking the summer access is too long,” Lyons said, based on feedback the committee has already received. “There’s a concern by making that part a requirement, it extends it to too long a period and whether that should be adjusted to make it shorter. Instead of starting on the 13th, start on the 20th. I haven’t heard of all the concerns and that’s why it was put out to the conferences, to start getting more input.

Again, final approval from the Council is slated to be announced two weeks from Wednesday.  At that time, we’ll have a greater understanding as to exactly what the prep work for the upcoming college football season will entail.  Provided there is a 2020 college football season, of course.