- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
ARLINGTON, Texas – With four minutes left in what began as a waltz and turned into a grind, Jameis Winston decided to risk it.
Florida State held a slippery 30-24 lead over stubborn Oklahoma State. The No. 1-ranked Seminoles had the ball at midfield. Coach Jimbo Fisher called a crossing route to Rashad Greene, because of course he did. The guy who delivered a BCS Championship Game-changing 49-yard play last January was the only logical target here.
"Game’s on the line," Fisher said, "you go to your money guy."
But Greene was well covered as he ran across the middle, causing Winston to pump the ball once and hold it. With tight cornerback coverage and a linebacker dropping into the area, the senior was just barely open.
"I knew it was a tight window," Greene said.
Winston fired into it anyway, continuing his Year of Living Dangerously. On a night when he threw two interceptions that helped keep the Cowboys in the game, the defending Heisman Trophy winner dared a third and jammed the throw in there.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports3 days ago
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The trending topic is the Texas A&M quarterbacks, of course.
The previous one, who was presumed irreplaceable. And the present one, who replaced him with record-setting ease Thursday night.
But the biggest takeaway from the Aggies' seamless transition from Johnny Hasbeen to Kenny The Thrill Hill is this: Kevin Sumlin is building the perfect offensive beast in College Station. As long as he's the coach, it may not matter too much who is playing quarterback. It's all going to work.
In demolishing favored South Carolina 52-28, Sumlin showed that he (along with Auburn's Gus Malzahn) is the present and the future in the Southeastern Conference when it comes to drawing up ball plays and gameplans and recruiting the studs that make the schemes work. And Sumlin showed that at the expense of the man who innovated the league in the 1990s, Steve Spurrier.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports4 days ago
An annual rite of the opening week of college football is the last-minute, surprise withholding from competition of players due to NCAA eligibility concerns.
With the games upon us, expect the unexpected sight of some players not in uniform at kickoff this week.
Jon Duncan, NCAA director of enforcement, told Yahoo Sports Wednesday that there are some of those cases currently in play in Division I. He is forbidden by NCAA membership bylaws from speaking about specific cases, so the particulars are left open to guesswork at this moment. And the final decision on whether to sit players who might be ruled ineligible is left to the school itself.
"We have tried to prioritize institutions so they know as much as they can possibly know before the start of a football or basketball season," Duncan said.
That's a challenge, given the sheer workload facing enforcement at present. Duncan – with an assist from NCAA president Mark Emmert – wants the word out that contrary to popular belief, the enforcement staff is getting things done.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college football. Eligibility rulings sold separately:
The way last season ended was clearly a sign. This offseason wasn't going to be pretty.
After covering the final BCS Championship Game, The Dash walked out of the Rose Bowl at 1 a.m. Pacific Time to a non-existent rental car. It had been towed. After 90 minutes of wandering in consternation, The Dash and colleague Dan Wetzel wound up first in the back of a police van looking for the car through wire-reinforced windows, then as passengers in a taxi traversing from Pasadena, Calif., to Newport Beach. Arrival at hotel: 4 a.m. Cab fare: $254. Not including tip.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
Back by popular demand (or at least an absence of protest), we present the annual college football Most Intriguing Lists. The 2014 series wraps up with this list of the Most Intriguing People in Suits (And Stripes):
1. Jeff Long, Arkansas athletic director. Being boss of the Hogs is not why Long tops this list. Being chairman of the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee is why. Welcome to the most pressurized, scrutinized seat in the sport, Jeff.
2. Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner. Has established JerryWorld as the capital of college football. The College Football Playoff championship game will be played in his building Jan. 12. The most interesting game of the opening weekend will be there, too: Oklahoma State vs. Florida State on Saturday. Between those big-time bookends are four other college games – including the Cotton Bowl – further stamping the massive stadium as more than just the home of the Cowboys.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports11 days ago
The programming pom-pom wavers at CBS and ESPN don’t want to hear it. Paul Finebaum’s collection of crazies doesn’t want to hear it. The “SEC! SEC! SEC!” chanters don’t want to hear it.
But hear this: The Pac-12 should be the premier conference in college football in 2014. To quote Jim Morrison, the West is the best.
In a watershed year when access to the national title is broader than ever, Larry Scott’s league has three important things going for it:
[ Slideshow: Pac-12 football at a glance]
• The deepest pool of proven coaches it has ever had.
• The finest collection of quarterbacks in the nation. By a wide margin.
• The toughest schedules anywhere, in a year when strength of schedule (allegedly) will matter more than ever.
The combination may not yield a national champion, but it almost certainly will yield a College Football Playoff participant – and if things break right, possibly even two. Which could cause some folks south of the Mason-Dixon Line to threaten secession once again.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports12 days ago
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – After nearly an hour at the podium, Brian Kelly walked up the steps of Isban Auditorium in the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, his Notre Dame media day duties complete.
Behind him, director of football media relations Michael Bertsch was politely firing a pre-emptive shot at reporters, dissuading them from asking Fighting Irish players and assistant coaches questions about the potential academic scandal that threatens to derail this Notre Dame football season before it starts. Bertsch announced that players and coaches would not answer questions about the "ongoing investigation."
Walking up the steps, Kelly almost breezily echoed the words – seemingly to himself, but out loud: "Ongoing investigation."
The light tone was misleading. Are there two words college coaches like less than "ongoing investigation"? Probably only these two: "You're fired."
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports14 days ago
Back by popular demand (or at least an absence of protest), we continue the presentation of the annual Most Intriguing lists for college football. Here are the 25 Most Intriguing Games of 2014:
1. Auburn at Alabama, Nov. 29. As if this game hasn't carried enough payload for ages, consider: the winner has played for the national title each of the last five years. And then there is the unprecedented way the most recent meeting ended last November on The Plains. That's a lot to live up to, but this rivalry usually seems to find a way.
2. Michigan State at Oregon, Sept. 6. The marquee non-conference game of 2014 will do a lot to frame the early stages of the College Football Playoff debate, for these two teams and their conferences as well. Also an intriguing clash of stylistic opposites. The Big Ten really needs this one.
3. Florida at Florida State, Nov. 29. It's a long way to Thanksgiving, but a few of the things that could be on the line when this game is played: the Seminoles' defense of the national title; Jameis Winston's repeat Heisman Trophy bid; Will Muschamp's job; the Gators' viability as a power program.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports16 days ago
Four Notre Dame football players will be held out of practice and games while university officials investigate whether they were involved in suspected academic fraud, the school announced Friday evening.
If improprieties were found to have occurred that kept players eligible, the school said it will "voluntarily" vacate any victories in which the players participated.
Vowing to protect the academic integrity of the school, president Rev. John Jenkins and athletic director Jack Swarbrick said at a news conference that receiver DaVaris Daniels, cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore are at the center of the school's internal probe into allegations of cheating on tests and papers. The four were interviewed Friday, as Yahoo Sports previously reported, and are being withheld from team activities until the investigation is complete. School officials said non-athletes also are part of the probe, and stressed this is more an academic situation than an athletic one.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports19 days ago
HOOVER, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference's brief identity crisis may be over.
For the past two seasons – and especially in 2013 – a league built on fast and ferocious defense played touch football. Offenses ruled like never before. Scoreboards exploded. Shootouts proliferated.
Fans raised on 17-14 slobberknockers weren't quite sure how to react. Pat Dye surely thought the end of democracy was at hand. Bear Bryant must have gone through three packs of Chesterfields in Gridiron Heaven watching Alabama surrender 42 to Texas A&M and 34 to Auburn.
This is a conference that has produced the national statistical champion in scoring defense 21 times (including five times this century) and in scoring offense only twice (last time in 1996). Yet with a plethora of talented and experienced quarterbacks, a greater embrace of hurry-up offense and a lot of vulnerable defenses, the formerly rock-ribbed SEC closely resembled the Big 12.