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John Mackey Award names eight semi-finalists for top tight end award

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Eight of the nation’s top tight ends were officially named semi-finalists for this season’s John Mackey Award on Monday. The award, named after Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end and former Syracuse player John Mackey, is presented to the nation’s top tight-end as determined by a select voting panel.

This year’s semi-finalists are:

  • Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic
  • Hunter Bryant, Washington
  • Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
  • Brevin Jordan, Miami
  • Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
  • Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
  • Colby Parkinson, Stanford
  • Giovanni Ricci, Western Michigan

A couple of notable omissions from this list stand out. Florida’s Kyle Pitts, who has the second-most receptions and fifth-most receiving yards among the nation’s tight ends somehow slipped through the voters here. The sophomore for the Gators has averaged 4.2 receptions per game and has accounted for 566 yards and five touchdowns for the Gators. No other tight end in the SEC has more yards per game than Pitts. Penn State’s Pat Freiemuth being omitted was also slightly surprising. Freiermuth has seven touchdowns, easily more than any other Big Ten tight end this season and tied for third-most in the conference this season.

Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson won the John Mackey Award in 2018. Other past winners of the award include Dallas Clark of Iowa, Tyler Eiffert of Notre Dame, Jake Butt of Michigan, Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington, and Aaron Hernandez of Florida.

This year’s Mackey Award winner will be announced on Dec. 11th.

Upsets a mere rumor in early window as all six ranked teams hold serve

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If there is to be a Week 12 shakeup in the next edition of the College Football Playoff rankings, it won’t be as a result of the early television window.

In the noon block of kickoffs, six teams currently ranked in the CFP Top 25 squared off with unranked opponents.  And, in each of those matchups, the ranked teams held serve — in the majority of the cases by a comfortable margin for good measure.

There was, though, one potentially significant development to unfold during the early window.

  • No. 5 Alabama (-21) 38, Mississippi State 7 — The outcome was never in doubt and the final score doesn’t matter; the health of star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa moving forward absolutely does as the hip injury suffered by the junior late in the first half, and a couple of other injuries to Crimson Tide players for that matter, could play a significant role in helping to shape the playoff field next month.
  • No. 9 Penn State (-15) 34, Indiana 27 — The Hoosiers got as close as three points early in the fourth quarter as the Nittany Lions narrowly avoided a second straight loss, setting the stage for a huge Big Ten East matchup with No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus next Saturday.
  • No. 11 Florida (-6½) 23, Missouri 6 — *snore* *yawn* *ssstttrrreeetches* *scratches self* *snores again*
  • No. 14 Wisconsin (-15) 37, Nebraska 21 — Nice timing on that contract extension, Nebraska, as Jonathan Taylor rushes for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in the easy road win. This game marked the Badgers’ seventh-straight win over the Cornhuskers.
  • No. 15 Michigan (-13½) 44, Michigan State 10 — With pleas for civility ringing in their ears, Michigan beat its “little brother” in Ann Arbor for the first time since 2012 and earned a win in the rivalry for just the fourth time in the last dozen meetings.  It was also U-M’s most lopsided win in the series since a 49-3 blowout in 2002.
  • No. 22 Oklahoma State (-17½) 31, Kansas 13 — In Les Miles‘ return to Stillwater, the Cowboys had no problem whatsoever in extending its winning streak over the Jayhawks to 10 straight, with KU’s last win coming in 2007.  OSU’s Chuba Hubbard, who entered Week 12 as the nation’s leading rusher, ran for 122 yards in the romp.

In the 3:30 ET window, there are five more ranked vs. unranked matchups — No. 2 Ohio State at Rutgers, Wake Forest at No. 3 Clemson, No. 18 Memphis at Houston, No. 19 Texas at Iowa State and West Virginia at No. 24 Kansas State.  Later on, there are six additional such games — No. 1 LSU at Ole Miss, No. 17 Cincinnati at South Florida, No. 25 Appalachian State at Georgia State, UCLA at No. 7 Utah, New Mexico at No. 21 Boise State and Arizona at No. 6 Oregon.

Additionally, there are four games in which both teams are ranked — No. 23 Navy at No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 4 Georgia at No. 12 Auburn, No. 8 Minnesota at No. 20 Iowa and No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor.

LSU’s Joe Brady, Ohio State’s Jeff Hafley among nominees for Boyles Award as CFB’s top assistant coach

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The college football awards process is a pretty simple four phase process as you go from watch list season to the actual season to the semifinalist lists to the actual awards being announced in early December. As we approach Week 12 of the 2019 campaign, we’re firmly into the third phase of announcing a narrowing of the field and limiting who can actually take some hardware home after the regular season is finished.

To that end, The Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation announced on Wednesday the 41-person strong list of nominees for the Broyles Award, which goes to college football’s top assistant coach. As you would expect, there are quite a few big names under consideration as the assistants in question have either helped lead remarkable turnarounds with their specific side of the ball or have helped elevate their team into conference and/or the national title conversation.

Here’s the full list of 41 names and their titles:

ALABAMA – Steve Sarkisian, Offensive Coordinator/QB

APPALACHIAN STATE – Ted Roof, Defensive Coordinator

ARKANSAS STATE – Keith Heckendorf, Offensive coordinator/QB

AUBURN – Kevin Steele, Defensive Coordinator

BALL STATE – Joey Lynch, Offensive Coordinator/QB

BAYLOR – Phil Snow, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties

BYU – Aaron Roderick, Passing Game Coordinator/QB

CALIFORNIA – Tim DeRuyter, Defensive Coordinator

CENTRAL MICHIGAN – Charlie Frye, Offensive Coordinator/QB

CINCINNATI – Marcus Freeman, Defensive Coordinator

CLEMSON – Jeff Scott, Co-Offensive Coordinator/WR

FLORIDA – Billy Gonzalez, Wide Receivers

GEORGIA – Dan Lanning, Defensive Coordinator/Outside LBs

GEORGIA STATE – Brad Glenn, Offensive Coordinator

INDIANA – Kalen DeBoer, Offensive Coordinator/QB

IOWA – Phil Parker, Defensive Coordinator/DB

IOWA STATE – Tom Manning, Offensive Coordinator/Run Game Coordinator

LOUISVILLE – Dwayne Ledfors, Offensive Line

LOUISIANA – Ron Roberts, Defensive Coordinator

LSU – Joe Brady, Passing Game Coordinator/WR

MEMPHIS – Pete Lembo, Special Teams Coordinator

MICHIGAN – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator

MINNESOTA – Kirk Ciarrocca, Offensive Coordinator/QB

MISSOURI – Ryan Walters, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties

NAVY – Brian Newberry, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties

OHIO STATE – Jeff Hafley, Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary

OKLAHOMA – Alex Grinch, Defensive Coordinator/ Safeties

OLE MISS – Mike MacIntyre, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties

OREGON – Andy Avalos, Defensive Coordinator

OREGON STATE – Brian Lindgren, Offensive Coordinator/QB

PENN STATE – Brent Pry, Defensive Coordinator/LB

PITTSBURGH – Randy Bates, Defensive Coordinator

SAN JOSÉ STATE – Ryan Gunderson, Quarterbacks/Passing Game Coordinator

SMU – Rhett Lashlee, Offensive Coordinator/QB

TROY – Ryan Pugh, Offensive Coordinator/OL

TULANE – Will Hall, Offensive Coordinator/

UAB – David Reeves, Defensive Coordinator

UCF – Randy Shannon, Defensive Coordinator

UTAH – Morgan Scalley, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties

WESTERN KENTUCKY – Clayton White, Defensive Coordinator/CB

WISCONSIN – Jim Leonhard, Defensive Coordinator

Obviously there’s a ton of well deserving candidates but it might be hard to top LSU’s Brady for the award given how big of a jump the Tigers’ offense has made with his arrival in Baton Rouge. Ohio State’s Hafley and Oklahoma’s Grinch also have made huge strides with their respective teams but even at the Group of Five level there’s a ton of guys who have been terrific this season.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 10th and the award is usually a good sign for whoever takes home the trophy becoming a head coach in the near future. Former Alabama OC Mike Locksley won the Broyles Award last year while past winners have included Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and current Texas coach Tom Herman when he was at Ohio State.

No. 6 Georgia shuts out Missouri to move one step closer to third consecutive SEC East crown

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It was a pretty good day for No. 6 Georgia (8-1, 5-1 SEC). A shutout victory (27-0)over Missouri ( 5-4, 2-3 SEC) has Georgia one game away from playing for the SEC championship for the third consecutive season. But Georgia’s 27-0 victory came at a bit of an injury toll with a handful of Georgia players having to leave the game for various injury concerns.

Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager left the game with a shoulder injury late in the first half. At other points in the game, offensive linemen Cade Mays, Trey Hill, and Isaiah Wilson all left the game with injuries.

Jake Fromm threw three touchdown passes in the win, with two going to George Pickens. D’Andre Swift had a slow start to the game against the Tigers defense and ended the game with 83 rushing yards without a touchdown. It may not have been the best Georgia offensive production, but the defense more than took care of things against the Tigers. Mizzou converted just four third-down attempts all night while struggling to get to 189 yards of total offense.

Missouri is now officially eliminated from the SEC East race, as they can do no better than tie with Georgia and would lose on a head-to-head tiebreaker. But Georgia still has to win one more game in conference play to wrap up its third consecutive division crown. Georgia will clinch the division with any combination of a win against Auburn, a win against Texas A&M or a Florida loss to Missouri. Florida will play its SEC finale next week on the road against Missouri at noon eastern. So Georgia could know whether or not they have the division clinched or not by the time they take the field at Auburn (game time to be determined as of this post).

So, simply put, Georgia will clinch the SEC East next week if Florida loses to Missouri or Georgia beats Auburn. If neither one of those things happens next week, then it is on to Georgia’s SEC finale against Texas A&M to determine the fate of the division.

Georgia also picked a good day to win a game. Ranked sixth by the College Football Playoff selection committee, the Bulldogs won on a day that saw No. 4 Penn State lose on the road to No. 17 Minnesota and No. 3 Alabama come up short at home against No. 2 LSU. As far as one-loss teams go, it is a crowded field and Georgia’s loss is the worst any one-loss team has on its record (South Carolina). But Georgia also has a couple of the best wins with victories against Notre Dame and Florida in their pocket. How this all balances out in the eyes of the selection committee will be something to watch. It would not be expected Alabama falls too far given a hard-fought loss to LSU, and it is not a guarantee Penn State takes a massive tumble either (although Minnesota should make a nice jump). No matter what the selection committee says in their second batch of rankings on Tuesday, Georgia remains in a position to leave no doubt, as a one-loss SEC champion would be nearly impossible to leave out. That’s Georgia’s hope right now, at least. Of course, for that scenario to be in play, Georgia must keep hope alive with a win at Auburn next week.

Georgia leading Missouri at halftime, looking to keep firm grip on SEC East

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With a chance to remain one game on top of the SEC East, No. 6 Georgia is taking care of some work inside the division so far tonight. Georgia leads Missouri 16-0 at halftime in Athens, putting them one half away from securing a one-game lead in the division with head-to-head tiebreakers against every team in the division not named South Carolina.

It hasn’t been particularly pretty for Georgia. Jake Fromm has completed just nine of 20 passes for 122 yards, although one was for a touchdown to George Pickens. But all Georgia has managed to add has been a trio of Rodrigo Blankenship field goals, including a 48-yard kick.

Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager left the game late in the second quarter with an apparent arm injury. There was no immediate update on his status in the final minute of the half, so it is unknown what this means for the second half.

Missouri has not allowed the Georgia running game to get much momentum, with D’Andre Swift held to just 16 yards on five attempts. Missouri’s offense hasn’t had much luck either, of course.

With a pair of top four teams falling earlier today (Penn State, Alabama), a win by Georgia tonight could also move the Bulldogs into a playoff position in the next College Football Playoff rankings. But first, Georgia must finish this one off against the Tigers.