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Justin Fields, Chuba Hubbard headline Maxwell Award preseason watch list

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#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.

Former WAC rivals Arizona, Wyoming announce way-into-the-future home-and-home

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Arizona and Wyoming are the latest to get in on the offseason scheduling news.

Both Arizona and Wyoming announced earlier this week that they have agreed to a future home-and-home series between the football programs.  The Cowboys will make the trek to Tucson on Sept. 14, 2030.  On Sept. 17, 2033, the Wildcats head to Laramie for the finale of the series.

Arizona and Wyoming last met in 1977, a 13-12 win. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 12-10.

The two schools are actually former conference rivals, which is where most of the games in the series were played.  The Cowboys and Wildcats were both founding members of the WAC, and played each other every year from 1962-77.  In 1978, Arizona left to join what became the Pac-10 with the addition of Arizona State from the WAC as well.

Courtesy of the Wyoming sports information department, there’s also this little tidbit:

Wyoming has played in Tucson three times since 1977 but they didn’t face the Arizona Wildcats in any of those three games. All three appearances were in bowl games. UW finished a very successful season in 2019 in Tucson, capturing the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl with a convincing 38-17 win over Georgia State. In 1993, Wyoming lost to Kansas State, 52-17, in the Copper Bowl, and in 1990 the Pokes lost a heartbreaker to California in the Copper Bowl by a score of 17-15.

In addition to the Wyoming series, Arizona also announced a 2025 game against Weber State.  The Pac-12 program and FCS school have never faced one another in football.

Injuries force Wyoming offensive lineman Patrick Arnold to end playing career

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Health issues have caused Wyoming to take a hit to its football roster.

Over the weekend, Patrick Arnold announced on Twitter that he is putting an end to the playing portion of his Wyoming football career.  The offensive lineman has been dealing with knee issues that have dogged him since his high school days.

As a true freshman, Arnold took a redshirt.  The past two seasons, the lineman played in 16 games, including all 12 this past season.  The Nebraska native started 10 games in that span, with four of those starts coming at the beginning of a 2018 campaign ended prematurely by injury.

With this decision, Arnold will now focus on his goal of becoming a doctor.

“I’ve always been a believer in being true to yourself, and as an athlete, that means knowing who you are on and off the field,” Arnold wrote. “As an athlete, I was fortunate enough to start 10 games for the Wyoming Cowboys, but football was never my highest priority.

“As a person away from the field, I have always had the dream of becoming a physician, and as a result, I have always been focused on my academic career. That being said, I recently graduated with my bachelor’s degree and was given the opportunity to continue my academics with the University of Wyoming as a master’s student. Given this opportunity, football no longer was a means to pay for school, and thus it was time to weigh the risk versus the rewards. After much thinking and self-reflection, I have found it in my best interest to retire as an athlete and focus on solely my academic career.

“I would like to thank the University of Wyoming for an experience that many can only dream of,” he said. “I would like to thank Coach (Craig) Bohl and his incredible staff for being invested me and blessing me with this opportunity. Finally, I would like to thank all of the Cowboy fans out there for their endless support. It’s been an amazing ride, but my future likes ahead, and it’s time for me to start on my next chapter.”

Wyoming is coming off an 8-5 football campaign, its third season in four years with the same record.  Included in that was an Arizona Bowl win over Georgia State.

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

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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.

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

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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.