- Graham Watson at Dr. Saturday2 hrs ago
It’s not easy being No. 1.
Florida State, last year’s national champion, sits atop the recently released coaches poll in an unenviable position. No preseason No. 1 in the coaches poll has gone on to finish with that ranking since USC in 2004, and five of the past six preseason No. 1s have finished their season ranked No. 8 or lower.
There are just too many things that happen during the year that can change the outcome of the season. From injuries to disciplinary issues, the composition of a team can change in an instant and any hope of winning a national title can go down the drain with it.
That’s not to say I disagree with ranking Florida State at No. 1. It is, after all, coming off an undefeated season and does have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, who was far-and-away the best player on the field a year ago.
But to understand my dismay with preseason polls, one only has to look back to the top five that started last season and the top five that ended it.
Here’s what the 2013 preseason coaches poll looked like (with each team’s poll finish in parentheses):
And here’s what the coaches poll looked like at the end of the season (with each team’s preseason ranking in parentheses)
- Graham Watson at Dr. Saturday3 hrs ago
Wake Forest’s running game took a hit Thursday when the school announced that running back Dominique Gibson had been indefinitely suspended from the team.
An undisclosed violation of team rules was the only reason given for the discipline.
Gibson was the team’s top returning rusher with 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He and senior Orville Reynolds, who returned to running back after spending the past two seasons as a flanker, were in line to either battle for the starting role or become a two-back tandem as Wake Forest tried to resuscitate one of the nation’s more anemic offenses.
Wake Forest ranked 118 th nationally in total offense last season and 116 th in rushing offense with just 94.1 yards per game. The offense had just two games with more than 124 yards rushing and those games came against Presbyterian and Army. Of the Demon Deacons’ 24 offensive touchdown, 11 came on the ground.
For more Wake Forest news, visit DeaconsIllustrated.com.
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- Graham Watson at Dr. Saturday6 hrs ago
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner is putting Brady Hoke’s job security squarely on his shoulders this fall.
During Big Ten media days earlier this week, Gardner was asked several times about Hoke and whether the fourth-year head coach is fighting for his job this season.
"My job's to make sure he's not on the hot seat," Gardner said. "I'm going to make sure we win enough football games. And I’m going to play as hard as I can with my teammates, and I’m going to encourage my teammates, and my teammates are going to encourage me, and we're gonna make sure that's not a talking point."
Hoke came to Michigan with high expectations, and those expectations were heightened when he won 11 games his first season, the first 11-win season for the Wolverines since 2006. But since then, Hoke's teams have steadily declined. Michigan won eight games in 2012 and then struggled to 7-6 last year, which included a paltry 3-5 Big Ten record.
On Monday, Georgia offensive tackle John Theus took to Twitter to express his frustration with a form he claimed he was forced to sign in order to play for the Bulldogs.
It's a shame we have to sign this to play ball.. They have you fooled if you think it's not a business pic.twitter.com/lk45pIVKKo
Here’s a closer look at the form, which essentially grants permission for a player’s likeness to be used during broadcasts, media guides, programs, etc.
But Theus’ tweet tells only half the story.
According to Herb Vincent, the SEC’s associate commissioner for communications, players don’t have to sign this document to play, only to have their likeness used.
“Student-athletes aren’t required to sign the SEC form to play,” Vincent said in an email. “They only have to sign it if they want to allow their picture and name to be used to promote the games, their school, and the conference. If they don’t want any publicity about their athletic achievements, though, its fine for them to decline to sign the form.”
The jersey former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel wore during the home games of the 2012 season — Manziel’s Heisman-winning campaign — will go to auction in August.
The maroon jersey is autographed by Manziel in silver metallic pen and also has all of his stats from his Heisman season.
SCP Auctions, who announced Monday it had obtained the jersey though didn’t divulge from whom, said the jersey is authentic and thought the item could go for as much as $100,000, making it the most expensive collegiate jersey ever auctioned.
According to SCP Auctions, the highest known price ever paid for a game-worn collegiate jersey was $27,000 for a Notre Dame Paul Hornung jersey.
"This is his only game-used jersey from his college career that has come to market," Dan Imler, vice president of SCP Auctions told ESPN.com.
"It has been a long time since we've seen a player as polarizing as Johnny Football. He has got an electrifying personality and everyone is either rooting for or against him."
Quarterback Braxton Miller hasn't played an injury-free season during his time at Ohio State, but coach Urban Meyer thinks this season could change that.
During Big Ten media days on Monday, Meyer said Miller, who missed all of spring practices, was healthy after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
"He is ready to go," Meyer said. "He's full speed, best shape he's ever been in his life."
Miller suffered the injury in the 40-35 loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl, one of the many injuries Miller has suffered during his three playing seasons at Ohio State. Many of those injuries have been a product of Miller's scrambling. Miller, who is one of the nation’s best dual-threat quarterbacks, has rushed 557 times for 3,054 yards during his career.
But Miller said despite offseason conditioning and bulking up from 212 pounds to 221 pounds, he doesn’t plan to take the same kind of hits he’s taken in past seasons.
Braxton Miller up to 221 pounds (from 212) but still feels faster. As for taking same pounding as last year? "That ain't gonna happen."
Mark Dantonio didn’t want to put his team on too high of a pedestal.
Sure, Michigan State is coming off its best season in school history with a 13-1 record, Big Ten title and the first Rose Bowl crown since 1988, but Dantonio is trying to temper expectations in a league where the Spartans aren’t even the favorite this year.
“First of all, I termed ourselves one of the hunted, so I think that’s important to recognize — not ‘the hunted,'” Dantonio said during Big Ten media day on Monday. “We’re not looking for any entitlement, anybody to put us up there. We’ll get what we earn. Every game will be a challenge, beginning with our first game … We’ve had a knack for winning football games these last couple years, but we’ve also taken a step back at times. It’s important that we understand that we’ve done that.
“We’ve stuck our foot in the ground and driven forward when those things have happened. We found the inches last year, We have to continue to find those inches and gain even more ground because respectability could fly right out the window on us. I understand that. It’s what we’ve done lately that you’re basically judged on. We continue to build our future as we move forward.”
Returning Tennessee to its former glory has not been easy.
Since the Vols won the national title in 1998, they have won 10 or more games just four times, had six losing seasons, including four straight, and are on their third coach since Philip Fulmer was forced out in 2008.
And while many of the former players think Tennessee is on its way back behind second-year coach Butch Jones, it’s hard for them to let go out the years since Fulmer's departure.
"I really don't even want to say the names of the two guys who were there between Coach Fulmer and Coach Jones,” former linebacker Al Wilson told the Times Free Press. Wilson was one of several former Tennessee players working a youth football camp this past weekend and asked about his thoughts on the state of the program.
Marshall running back Kevin Grooms has been dismissed from the team following a Saturday arrest.
Grooms, C-USA’s Freshman of the Year in 2012, was arrested Saturday on charges of misdemeanor domestic assault by threat, felony burglary and daytime breaking and entering, misdemeanor petit larceny and fleeing on foot. The Marshall athletic department confirmed Grooms dismissal to the Charleston Daily Mail, saying he had been dismissed for a “violation of team rules and policies.”
Grooms time with the Marshall program hasn’t been great off the field.
According to the paper, Saturday’s incident was Grooms’ third arrest since April 2013.
On April 21, 2013, Grooms was arrested on misdemeanor charges of underage drinking and obstruction. He also was one of five people named in a civil suit filed in May seeking damages after a pedestrian claimed Grooms was in a car that struck him “while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, operating said motor vehicle at excessive speed.”
- Graham Watson at Dr. Saturday6 days ago
Over the years, we’ve seen high school football players use a lot of different gimmicks to announce their collegiate choice, but offensive lineman George Brown set the bar high for any future announcements.
As Brown, a four-star 2015 prospect from Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, sat behind a table with Alabama, Florida and Kentucky hats lined up, he stood up in front of the crowd and revealed his choice — by holding up what we thought was a live baby alligator.
Upon further review, it's actually illegal to possess an alligator in the state of Ohio, so Brown held up a dwarf caiman furnished by Cool Critters Outreach.