Fascinating Camp Battles for College Football Playoff Contenders

Written by Brent Larsen
 from XL Sports Blog"

Fall camp is just around the corner in the college football world, and teams across the country will try to identify new starters throughout the month of August in preparation for their season openers. Some camp battles are more important than others, as they could play a huge factor in the race for College Football Playoff tickets.

Undoubtedly, the biggest opening that needs to be filled this summer is Alabama quarterback, as the Crimson Tide are a perennial threat to grab College Football Playoff tickets. Most assume the job has already gone to Florida State transfer Jacob Coker, who only arrived on campus this summer. However, despite the expectation that Coker will be immediately ready to step into McCarron’s shoes, Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will give senior Blake Sims a fair chance to upset the newcomer.

Across the state of Alabama, Auburn must find a replacement for promising DE Carl Lawson, who will miss most of the fall, if not the entire season, after injuring his knee during spring practice. Sophomore Elijah Daniel and junior college transfer DaVonte Lambert look like good pass rushing options, but the team could also use DTs Gabe Wright and Montravius Adams on the edge as well.

In Big Ten country, the Ohio State Buckeyes have to go about replacing All-American running back Carlos Hyde. With Braxton Miller’s health at a premium in 2014 as the Buckeyes hope to snag College Football Playoff tickets, it will be imperative for Urban Meyer and staff to identify at least one workhorse back to take the rushing load off their star quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott has the requisite size to handle a larger workload, and should be first in line to replace Hyde. Slotback Dontre Wilson is more of a multipurpose threat than true tailback, but should see his carries total climb as well.

The Oregon Ducks have many of the ingredients to contend for College Football Playoff tickets, but wide receiver could be the lone sore spot on the roster. Explosive junior Bralon Addison was lost for the year during spring ball, leaving the Ducks very inexperienced out wide. One player to keep an eye on is redshirt freshman Devon Allen, who just won the NCAA 110 meter hurdle title, as he clearly has speed to burn.


The Union

The National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday that the Northwestern University football players can unionize. This is a ruling that will make massive waves in college sports. This ruling makes the football ball players at Northwestern University employees of the university under federal law, creating the first college athlete’s union. The lead of the unionization of  college football was former Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter, with the help of  the United Steelworkers Union.

This is a huge leap forward in the college football world for those like me that believe that the college athletes deserve the right to earn money from playing their respective sport. The athletes that head the formation of the union say they are looking to receive better medical coverage, concussion testing, four-year scholarships, and are exploring the possibility of getting paid. It’s about time!

Northwestern University released a statement Wednesday saying that they will be filing an appeal saying that the players are students, not employees, but the government now does.

This is a huge move forward in college sports. This does not necessarily mean that players will get paid to play, but this does mean the players will finally have a say in new rules and regulations that are made by the NCAA much like how the NFL players use the NFLPA to have a say in rules made by the NFL.

It will be interesting how this plays out. Northwestern players will have to vote on seeing if the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) will be created but for the most part there is no doubt it will pass.  This will revolutionize college sports in the way it is perceived in the entertainment industry.


Heisman Hoax

The Heisman Trophy will be presented tonight to the best college football athlete. Yeah right, more like the college football player that got the most TV time during the season. A lot of “experts” are calling this Jameis Winston’s coronation, but there are other players that have a legitimate chance at winning the trophy. The 6 finalist are Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, AJ McCarron, Andre Williams, and of course Jameis Winston. But here is my argument; do you really want to win the Heisman?

Jay Berwanger was the first Heisman winner but never played a game in the NFL

Jay Berwanger was the first Heisman winner but never played a game in the NFL

The Heisman trophy has been awarded to the best college football player every year since 1935 when it was awarded to Jay Berwanger, a senior running back out of Chicago University. He was drafted in the NFLs first inaugural draft by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1936 but demanded too much of the Eagles ($1,ooo a game) so he was traded to the Chicago Bears. He did not sign right away to try to make the Olympic decathlon team but when he didn’t make it, he and the Bears weren’t able to agree on a contract and so he got a job at a local rubber factory and never played a down in the NFL.

Continue reading

2013 Heisman Trophy Watch

3 more weeks left in the college football season and there are very large doubts for Heisman candidates let alone who will win the trophy. What does the field look like? A little like this:

Name Pos. School Year Total
Jameis Winston QB Florida State Fr. 68
Andre Williams RB Boston College Sr. 37
AJ McCarron QB Alabama Sr. 32
Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M So. 31
Jordan Lynch QB Northern Illinois Sr. 21
Derek Carr QB Fresno State Sr. 14
Ka’Deem Carey RB Arizona Jr. 14
Marcus Mariota QB Oregon So. 8
Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh Sr. 6
Tajh Boyd QB Clemson Sr. 4
Braxton Miller QB Ohio State Jr. 2
Myles Jack LB/RB UCLA Fr. 2
Aaron Murry QB Georgia Sr. 1

Jameis Winston (FSU)

kANB0.AuSt.156Jameis Winston has the best numbers in college football. 3,163 yards, 69.6% completion percentage, 32 TD’s and only 7 INTs with a 91.2 RAW QBR. There a lot of things going for him but also a lot going against. The recent reports of a sexual assault charge could cost him the Heisman. If the situation does not get resolved or if he is convicted the Heisman voters will not vote him as the winner. The trophy not only represents the best on the field but also off the field and how the players represent the NCAA.

But all the reports aside, I don’t believe that in the end he will end up winning the Heisman. Although he has impressed everyone with complete blowouts, I think that same positive will be his down fall. He hasn’t had a Heisman moment. He hasn’t come in the 4th quarter to lead the Seminoles on a game winning drive. So with those two big negatives on his card, it wont be surprising if he starts losing votes.

Andre Williams (BC)

bos_u_bc_600x600The senior running back has come out of no were. He has about 500 yards in his first 3 years and up until recently he wasn’t really heard of. The NCAA’s leading rusher has just over 2000 yards now and 16 TDs. He is well on his way to being the first running back to win the trophy since Mark Ingram. Williams has led BC to a 7-4 record and there isn’t many bad things to say. He wasn’t even talked about when people guessed Heisman candidates; yet here he is.

AJ McCarron (Alabama)

Colorado_St_Alabama_F_t618The senior QB is the star of this Alabama power house that has a hard time producing NFL ready quarterbacks. The quarterback has the one thing that Jameis Winston lacks, a Heisman moment. My Heisman favorite led the Tide on a game winning 4th quarter over Texas A&M, proving that he has the composure to both be a Heisman and NFL QB. He has lead Alabama to another winning season with his 2399 yards and 23 TDs. He has the intangibles that will make him good at the next level.

What do you think?

Seminoles Have a Record Day

With a 59-3 win over Wake Forest, Florida State set two records in one game. The first being the amount of points scored in Wake Forest’s stadium. The previous record was 56 points set in 1994. Jameis Winston had two touchdowns in just a little over two quarters, adding to his Heisman like stats.

But the offense was not the only one putting up big points. The defense tied Florida States record of interceptions in a game, 6. Nate Andrews returning one of them for 56 yards. The defense also scored on Jalen Ramsey’s fumble recovery. A defense that can score is always a good sign especially towards the end of the year.

Big games are determined by big special teams plays. Although Florida State was projected to win their special teams came to play. Late in the game Levonte Whitifiled took one back 97 yards on spectacular return. Plays like that could end up being the difference in a big game for the Seminoles.

After watching this game do the Seminoles deserve to be number 1? The answer to that will be determined by how well the Crimson Tide play tonight against LSU. With all the media tension that Nick Saban has been under can the Tigers pull off the upset and boost Florida State up to number 1?

Week 11 Rankings


Alabama is once again first in the 3rd edition of the BCS Rankings. I personably believe that it is a legacy position and rightfully so, seeing that they have been the most dominate team in the NCAA. 

The Seminols were able to jump the Oregon Ducks to take No. 2. Florida State had a huge win against No. 7 Miami, 41-14 while Alabama and Oregon were on their bye week. 

Huge games are set up by the rankings. Alabama will have it’s arguably hardest matchup thus week when they go against No. 13 LSU. Oregon will have to face off against the other PAC-12 powerhouse in Stanford. All 4 teams are coming off bye weeks.

The Oregon, Florida State switch this week won’t stick around very long. If and when the Ducks beat Stanford, they will move back to No. 2. Florida State will have there work cut out for them is the want tone n the BCS Championship game when the bowl season rolls around.

Here are this weeks rankings, comment below with your reaction. Read ’em and weap.

Week 11 BCS Rankings
Ranking Team BCS Average
1 Alabama (8-0) .9797
2 Florida State (8-0) .9525
3 Oregon (8-0) .9435
4 Ohio State (9-0) .8720
5 Stanford (7-1) .7930
6 Baylor (7-0) .7745
7 Clemson (8-1) .7277
8 Missouri (8-1) .6890
9 Auburn (8-1) .6686
10 Oklahoma (7-1) .6084
11 Miami (FL) (7-1) .5246
12 South Carolina (7-2) .5111
13 LSU (7-2) .4525
14 Oklahoma State (7-1) .4395
15 Texas A&M (7-2) .4365
16 Fresno State (8-0) .3675
17 Michigan State (8-1) .3394
18 Northern Illinois (9-0) .3169
19 UCLA (6-2) .2904
20 Louisville (7-1) .2510
21 UCF (6-1) .2151
22 Arizona State (6-2) .1770
23 Notre Dame (7-2) .1662
24 Wisconsin (6-2) .1288
25 Texas Tech (7-2) .0986


20131001-151432.jpgCollege football finally has playoffs and in my opinion it is about time.  The fans of college football have been waiting forever to get a playoff system to figure out who is the real champion. Now were will it be played? Well of coarse the 2015 championship will be played in AT&T Stadium (Cowboy Stadium), like every high profile game in any sport. But were are we going from there?

Four cities are already in the running for the 2016 Championship game and six already in the 2017 running. Glendale, Ariz., Jacksonville, Fla., New Orleans and Tampa, Fla. are running for 2016. I personally think that New Orleans will win the vote. It is the second biggest stage behind Dallas. Championship games love being in New Orleans. San Francisco, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, San Antonio, South Florida and Tampa will be voted on for the 2017 game. San Francisco will have a brand new stadium that is looking very cool so I think it will be a shoe in for 2017.

Even though Tampa and Jacksonville are in both votes, officials have stated that the championship game will be held at a different venue every year.

This really shows the amount of college football football fans. It will be interesting how they decide what teams make the playoffs but it is a step forward.

Arian Foster Took Money in College

20130922-000240.jpgTexans star running back Arian Foster is tired if being bullied by the big bad NCAA. Foster came out in an SI.com article, “Schooled: The Price of College Sports,” saying he claimed money when he played at the University of Tennessee. During the documentary, Foster said he took money so he could afford rent and food when he played college ball.

“I just feel strong about the injustice that the NCAA has been doing for years,” Adrian said. “That’s why I said what I said. I’m not trying to throw anybody under the bus. … I feel like I shouldn’t have to run from the NCAA anymore. They’re like these big bullies. I’m not scared of them.” Most people would agree with him, the NCAA has become to big and has stretched past its jurisdiction. Who is to say whether or not a college athlete can’t sell an autograph to be able to buy dinner? Where does that power come from?

The NCAA will argue that they have to protect the amateurism of the college athlete, but for what? What is so sacred about it that causes us as a society, to criminalize athletes for making a few extra buck off their name? Johnny Manzel being most notably penalized for it over this off-season.

“They really have us hoodwinked into thinking taking money is wrong as a college athlete. It’s wrong for us, but it’s not wrong for them. I guarantee every NCAA official has a (BMW) or Benz or something. That’s not wrong, but it’s wrong for me to get $20 to get something to eat? Dez Bryant couldn’t get taken out to dinner by Deion Sanders, his mentor, he sat out a whole season because of that? That’s not wrong? But if you can drive around in a Benz, that’s OK? It’s not right.” Says Foster.

He goes on to explain his situation at Tennessee where he had no money. It would be either he paid the rent or bought food. He explained how he had to go to his coach for help and his coach brought him and 3 others 50 tacos, making a NCAA violation. Foster says he never took money from a coach in the program but that there were people outside of the program that helped.

The NCAA has created a system where colleges, merchandise stores, and video game companies (although EA and the NCAA terminated their contract) make millions of dollar$ off of a college athlete and his/her name, but that same athlete can’t make a dime off his name without causing an investigation and eventually a suspension.

NCAA Preseason Top 25

  1. Alabama-With the return of AJ McCarron at quarterback, TJ Yeldon at tailback and Amari Cooper at wide receiver what’s not to love about the Crimson Tide?
  2. Ohio State– Coming off an undefeated 2012 season with no bowl, Ohio State looks to get to where they should have been the BCS National Championship.  Braxton Miller and Urban Meyer are full steam ahead for Pasadena
  3. Oregon– With Coach Kelly going to Philly will the offense be as strong? If Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas have anything to say about it no.

    Don’t worry we got this!

  4. Louisville– Is it to early tosay teddy Bridgewater for Heisman? It may be, but after the season he had last year its hard to.  Louisville is a favorite to win their new confrence the ACC.
  5. Stanford– Kevin Hogan looks to be throwing to some new hands at Stanford with young talent coming in.  Going to three consecutive BCS Bowl games is nota bad thing either.
  6. Texas A&M– Johnny “Football”  “Heisman” “Twitter” Manziel.  With all the off season publicity that Manziel has brought to A&M will it be a good thing for him and the team or will Manziel have a sophomore slump.  Coach Kevin Sumlin looks to have backed Manziel in all his off season wrong doings.
  7. Georgia– Spurrier!! Do you thin the Gamecocks are ready for September 7?? The big match up that may decide the SEC East: South Carolina at Georgia September 7 .With Aaron Murray back at quarterback the Dogs look to be the favorite for the SEC East.  Although the Dogs must replace Jarvis Jones and other stud defense-men Murray looks to put the team on his back.
  8. South Carolina– Without Marcus Lattimore  the dogs look for new talent at the tailback position.  Freshman David Williams looks to be in the mix for the starting spot.  At quarterback Connor Shaw  and Connor Mitch looks to be in competition with each other.  Jadeveon Clowney will lead the defensive side of the ball with his big hits.  The Gamecocks need to be all to win the SEC East.
  9. Clemson–  Tajh Boyd throwing to Sammy Watkins is there a better combination than that?? Tajh may be one of the top quarterbacks at the end of the season with the spread offense that the Tigers run.  Clemson could win the ACC and maybe even have a chance at the BCS only if the defense steps up.  The offense may put up big numbers, but that means nothing without a defense.
  10. Michigan- After two consecutive years of Brady Hoke bringing in top 10 recruiting classes the Wolverines may be more of a threat than some people think.  Devin Gardner is the leader of the Wolverine offense that brought in the #5 tailback (Derrick Green).  Fitzgerald Toussaint returns from a broken leg that occurred last season.
  11. Florida
  12. Notre Dame
  13. Texas
  14. Oklahoma State
  15. Florida State
  16. LSU
  17. Oklahoma
  18. TCU
  19. UCLA
  20. Kansas State
  21. Boise State
  22. Nebraska
  23. USC
  24. Northwestern
  25. Wisconsin

Honorable Mention: Vanderbilt, Miami, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Ole Miss