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Manning Award releases its 30-player preseason watch list, including North Dakota State’s Trey Lance

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Count the Manning Award among the latest to release its preseason grouping of players to watch this season.  Provided there is a season, of course.

Thursday, the Manning Award, named in honor of the quarterbacking Mannings — ArchiePeyton and Eli — and sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced its 30-player preseason watch list.  The Manning, incidentally, goes to the nation’s top quarterback and is the only major trophy to take into account postseason performance.

Five of last year’s Manning Award finalists are included on this year’s watch list: Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Tanner Morgan (Minnesota), Kyle Trask (Florida) and Brady White (Memphis).

From the award’s release:

This year’s Watch List includes players from all 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences. The AAC, Big 12 and Big Ten lead the way with four selections, while the ACC, C-USA, the Pac-12 and the SEC each have three selections. There are 13 seniors on the list while the junior class is represented by 11 quarterbacks and the sophomore class has six.

Also included in the list is Trey Lance of FCS North Dakota State.

“It sure has been a unique offseason, but we’re still looking forward to the prospect of seeing a great group of quarterbacks compete this year,” Archie Manning said in a statement. “Our Watch List is once again an exceptional group of candidates, but every year is a new year and we’ll be watching closely to add the best newcomers to the list after we get things rolling. I’d also like to thank the Allstate Sugar Bowl for sponsoring this award; it means a lot to the entire Manning family that they include our name in recognizing the best quarterbacks in the country.”

Last year’s winner of the award was LSU’s Joe Burrow.

Below is the complete preseason watch list for this year’s Manning Award.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze resigning after calls to an escort service were found on his school-issued phone

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The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 20, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Big Ten could realign divisions yet again, according to PJ Fleck
THE SYNOPSIS: One year later, there’s been zero movement on any such change.

2018

THE HEADLINE: After inheriting only 38 scholarship players, David Beaty hopeful Kansas is up to 70 in 2018
THE SYNOPSIS: That is still an astonishing number.  38.  When the scholarship maximum at the FBS level is 85.  Beaty, though, was fired four months later by the Jayhawks.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze resigns after discovery of phone calls to escort service
THE SYNOPSIS: Two words: Burner.  Phone.  Freeze bounced back, though, as he was named as the head coach at Liberty in December of 2018.

2016

THE HEADLINE: With Big 12 expansion oncoming, AAC commish Mike Aresco bracing for the inevitable
THE SYNOPSIS: The American braced for nothing as the expected poaching never transpired.  Houston, Memphis and UCF were the AAC schools most connected to an expanded Big 12.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff? Not in Gary Pinkel’s world
THE SYNOPSIS: The then-Missouri head coach kicked up quite the kerfuffle over the football independent. “They don’t have independents in NFL,” Pinkel stated.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Jameis Winston on paying players: ‘free education… enough for me’
THE SYNOPSIS: Suffice to say, most college football players don’t share the former Florida State quarterback’s opinion on the subject.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Bobby Petrino feels the pieces are in place for SEC, BCS title run in 2011
THE SYNOPSIS: The Razorbacks did tie a school record with 11 wins that season, so Petrino wasn’t far off.

Eight FBS games impacted as MEAC suspends football, other fall sports seasons

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Go ahead and add the MEAC to the growing list of lower-level leagues giving up on football in the fall.

July 8, the Ivy League officially announced it was postponing all fall sports in 2020.  Five days later, the Patriot League of the FCS shut down all of its fall sports as well.  Friday, another FCS shoe has dropped as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) confirmed that it too has suspended football other fall sports seasons.  The release stated that “[a] decision is yet to be made on whether fall sports schedules will be moved to the 2021 spring semester.”

The reason for the suspension is, of course, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes continue to be our number one priority. We have made the decision to suspend all sports competitions after careful review of the current conditions and consideration of the potential exposure that regular travel to competitions may cause and ongoing extensive physical contact,” said Howard University President and Chair of MEAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, in a statement. “While our competitions have been suspended, each member institution will plan ongoing engagement of all student-athletes to ensure optimization of their physical and mental well-being as they continue their matriculation.”

“Obviously this is an arduous decision because everyone wants to have a fall season for student-athletes, fans and others,” said MEAC commissioner Dr. Dennis Thomas. “Part of our responsibility is to ensure the mental and physical health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff is paramount. It is imperative that everyone recognize that is our first and foremost responsibility.”

The move by the MEAC to at least suspend the 2020 football season will impact eight games vs. FBS schools:

  • Bethune-Cookman-USF
  • Florida A&M-UCF
  • Howard-Arkansas State
  • Morgan State-Appalachian State
  • Norfolk State-Charlotte
  • Norfolk State-East Carolina
  • North Carolina A&T-Liberty
  • North Carolina Central-Ohio

Ruffin McNeill joins NC State as special assistant to the head coach

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NC State football is welcoming a very familiar figure back to the Tarheel State.

In January, Oklahoma announced that Ruffin McNeill would be stepping down as outside linebackers coach.  While McNeill wasn’t retiring from the coaching profession, the Sooners confirmed, he left to help care for his ailing father.  In North Carolina.

Speaking of which, NC State confirmed Tuesday that McNeill jas joined Dave Doeren‘s extended football staff.  Specifically, McNeill will carry the title of special assistant to the head coach.

Suffice to say, the two men are very familiar with one another.  From the school’s release:

Doeren has known McNeill, who boasts four decades of coaching experience, for more than 20 years and their professional paths have crossed several times. When Doeren was a graduate assistant at USC in 1999, McNeill was the defensive line coach at nearby Fresno State. The two coached in the Big 12 together from 2002-05 – Doeren at Kansas and McNeill at Texas Tech – and for Doeren’s first three years at NC State, McNeill was the head coach at East Carolina.

“I’ve known Ruffin since the beginning of my coaching career,” Doeren said. “Not only is he one of my closest friends in the profession, but he’s been a mentor to me since I was 24 years old. We’ve crossed paths on the recruiting trail many times over the past 22 years and have been friends and competitors. Having a former head coach on our staff who I can trust and have known for almost my entire career is a huge benefit for me personally, as well as for our entire program.

“As a North Carolina native and a former coach at Appalachian State and ECU, Ruffin has great relationships and ties across our state. I am looking forward to working with him and want to welcome him and his wife Erlene to the Wolfpack family.”

In addition to serving as an advisor to Doeren, McNeill “will be a source of outreach for Wolfpack football to campus, alumni, and community groups on behalf of the program.” Player development analysis will also be a part of his job description.

Prior to being hired at Oklahoma in June of 2017, McNeill had been the line coach at Virginia since December of 2015. He also carried the title of assistant head coach with the Cavaliers.

Before his time in Charlottesville, McNeill was the head coach at his alma mater, East Carolina, from 2010-2015 before being abruptly kicked to the curb shortly after the season ended. From 2000-2009, he was an assistant at Texas Tech.

“Dave and I have been very good friends and colleagues and I’ve followed his career over the past 20 years,” said McNeill. “I have the highest respect for him as a coach and cherish our long friendship. Erlene and I are happy to be back in North Carolina and very appreciative of the opportunity.

“I look forward to being a resource for the entire staff, but especially for Dave. I’ve been in that chair and know the pressures that come along with it, so I hope to be a sounding board for him.”

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Ohio State getting set to answer NCAA charges

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 6, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Former Clemson, East Carolina RB Tyshon Dye dies in drowning accident
THE SYNOPSIS: Dye was a member of Clemson’s national championship team in 2016 and the runners-up squad in 2015.

2019

THE HEADLINE: Alabama football staff member arrested for DUI for second time since being hired
THE SYNOPSIS: This most certainly isn’t part of The Process™Josh Chapman played his college football for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.  As of this posting, he remains as part of the extended UA football staff.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Four-star QB-turned-minor league baseball player has football offers from three SEC schools
THE SYNOPSIS: Cord Sandberg ultimately chose Auburn over LSU, NC State.  In three career appearances, Sandberg completed six of his eight pass attempts for 106 yards and two touchdowns.  He also ran for 70 yards on 10 carries.  The Florida native will be a redshirt sophomore this coming season.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Arkansas, Notre Dame announce future home-and-home
THE SYNOPSIS: The Lou Holtz Bowl, y’all! The two teams will meet in South Bend Sept. 12 this season.  The back-end of the home-and-home is set for 2025 in Fayetteville.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Disturbing security video of FSU QB De’Andre Johnson (allegedly) punching woman surfaces
THE SYNOPSIS: Florida State dismissed Johnson very shortly after the video was released.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Urban Meyer finally talks Aaron Hernandez; says blaming him is ‘irresponsible’
THE SYNOPSIS: These were Meyer’s first public comments on the former Gator star’s stunning fall from glory.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Ohio State to answer NCAA charges on Friday
THE SYNOPSIS: The so-called Tat-gate violations had already cost Jim Tressel his job as the Buckeyes head coach.  And would’ve cost a handful of players, including Terrelle Pryor, five games in 2011.  Pryor, though, entered the 2011 Supplemental Draft.