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Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has decided to transfer with one season of eligibility remaining. The senior is eligible immediately as a graduate transfer, so there will be plenty of suitors for his services.
Golson threw for 5,850 yards and 41 scores during his two years at Notre Dame. Additionally, he tossed 20 interceptions on 745 attempts. While Golson had his share of ups and downs during his career in South Bend, he guided the Fighting Irish to an appearance in the national championship game in 2012.
Where will Golson land? Here are 15 teams to watch:
15 Teams That Could Land Everett Golson for 2015
Alabama has options to replace Blake Sims, including Florida State transfer Jacob Coker and talented freshmen Blake Barnett and David Cornwell. Coker was expected to push for the starting job last year, but Sims started all 14 games for the Crimson Tide. Although Coker finished spring at the top of the depth chart, did he play with enough consistency to ease the concerns of the coaching staff with a new quarterback taking over?
First-year coach Jim McElwain’s biggest concern on offense isn’t at quarterback, as the offensive line is a major question mark for 2015. However, the Gators have plenty of uncertainty here, as redshirt freshman Will Grier edged Treon Harris for the top spot in the spring. Harris threw for 1,019 yards and nine scores last year, but Grier is a better fit for this offense. McElwain’s offense at Colorado State averaged 321.6 passing yards per game in 2014.
It’s probably a longshot for Golson to end up in Tallahassee, as Sean Maguire finished spring with a clear hold on the No. 1 job. However, replacing Jameis Winston is no easy task, and Maguire has only one previous start. Coach Jimbo Fisher is one of the best quarterback and offensive minds in the nation, which has to be appealing to Golson with one year of eligibility and an opportunity to impress NFL scouts in 2015.
The Tigers struggled mightily on offense last season and averaged only 162.9 passing yards per game. Uncertainty remained for LSU in the spring, as neither Anthony Jennings or Brandon Harris staked a clear claim for the No. 1 spot. Jennings led the team with 11 passing scores last year, but there’s more upside with Harris. The Tigers aren’t lacking for talent at receiver but quarterback play remains a big concern for coach Les Miles. LSU has to be one of the early favorites for Golson’s services.
Just like Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino has no problem adding numbers to the quarterback position. The Cardinals aren’t in bad shape at quarterback for 2015, as sophomore Reggie Bonnafon is promising, and Tyler Ferguson is eligible after transferring from Penn State.
Jim Harbaugh is a quarterback guru, but the Wolverines already added Iowa transfer Jake Rudock to the team this spring. Michigan also has freshmen Zach Gentry and Alex Malzone competing with Rudock and Shane Morris for time in the fall. There’s more competition in Ann Arbor than some of the other teams on this list.
The Rebels have three candidates vying for the starting job, including junior college recruit (and former Clemson quarterback) Chad Kelly. DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan are also in the mix this fall, but Kelly is believed to have an edge over both for the starting job. Golson would be an upgrade over the three options on the roster. However, how quick can he pickup the offense and get acclimated to the supporting cast?
Golson will probably end up at a Power 5 team, but Miami, Ohio is a wildcard program to watch. Former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin finished his first year as the program’s head coach, with the RedHawks finishing 2-10 last season. With Andrew Hendrix expiring his eligibility, Martin is expected to hand the offensive controls over to redshirt freshman Gus Ragland. Golson would be a key pickup if Martin can recruit him to Oxford.
Golson is a native of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the Gamecocks have an opening at quarterback after Dylan Thompson expired his eligibility this offseason. Connor Mitch finished spring at the top of the depth chart, but he has attempted only six passes in his career at South Carolina. Would coach Steve Spurrier be willing to take a chance on Golson for one year? It certainly makes sense.
Third-year coach Willie Taggart is squarely on the hot seat entering 2015, and the Bulls are switching to an up-tempo attack that would seem to fit Golson’s strengths. Mike White transferred in the spring, leaving Quinton Flowers (8 of 20 in 2014) as the favorite to win the job.
If LSU is the early favorite to land Golson, Texas might be No. 2. The Longhorns had only two scholarship quarterbacks in the spring, with true freshman Kai Locksley arriving this summer to compete with Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes for snaps. Heard closed the gap on Swoopes this spring, setting up an intriguing battling for the No. 1 spot in the fall. If Golson transfers here, his first game of 2015 would be against…Notre Dame.
Cyler Miles is not expected to return to the team in 2015, leaving coach Chris Petersen with three inexperienced candidates competing for the No. 1 spot. Jeff Lindquist is the team’s most experienced option, completing 10 of 30 passes for 162 yards and one score last year. However, the Huskies got a good look at freshmen K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jake Browning this spring, and both players are squarely in the mix to start.
Former Notre Dame assistant Bob Diaco is entering his second year as UConn’s head coach. The Huskies ranked No. 10 in the American Athletic Conference in passing offense last year, with NC State transfer Bryant Shirreffs finishing spring at the top of the depth chart. Golson would be an immediate upgrade and starter if he transfers to UConn.
Quarterback play is arguably the biggest concern for coach Mike London’s team this season. Matt Johns edged Greyson Lambert for the No. 1 spot in the spring, but this job is still up for grabs. Johns and Lambert combined for 18 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions last year. And just an interesting side note: Virginia’s second game of 2015 is against Notre Dame.
New coach Paul Chryst inherits an offense that averaged only 148.7 passing yards per game last season. The Badgers have a strong rushing attack and defense to lean on but improving in the win column and pushing Ohio State or Michigan State for the No. 1 spot in the Big Ten depends on improved quarterback play. Joel Stave is back as the starter, but he only threw nine touchdown passes to 10 interceptions last year.
If you ever wanted to see Charles Barkley dress up as Bruno Mars, today is your lucky day.
The "Inside The NBA" cast participated in a lip sync battle and it was even better than expected. Barkley was a little more coordinated than most would have guessed, and Kenny "The Jet" Smith showed off his incredible moves as well.
This is without a doubt the best sports show on television.
How does a program react to a historic season that includes a win in the inaugural College Football Playoff, a Pac-12 Conference championship and a Heisman Trophy?
“Initially, a lot of tears,” Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said, referring specifically to the way the Ducks’ 2014 campaign ended: with a 42-20 loss in the College Football Playoff championship round to Ohio State.
“A lot of emotion with a really special team,” he added. “That was a team that was unbelievably close, and a lot of great people that will never be together again...When you get that close, with that group, it's certainly more emotional."
There is more sweet than bitter for Oregon to take away from 2014: Marcus Mariota winning the Heisman, Helfrich claiming the Pac-12 title and the Ducks’ 59-20 thrashing of defending national champion Florida State in the Rose Bowl are all program-defining moments.
But the championship game loss to Ohio State is the last memory Oregon made heading into the 2015 season, giving the program something on which to marinate for the eight long months between the playoff’s end, and September’s start to a new season.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Helfrich said. “We’d certainly like to have that problem every year.”
Having that problem of playing in another national championship game this season hinges on Oregon replacing several key pieces from last year’s “special team.”
Mariota is the most obvious: a three-year starter who smashed Duck records, running the offense for which the program has become synonymous with expertise.
The man Mariota played behind – center Hroniss Grasu – was integral in the Ducks' offensive line becoming more physical last season, after a heavily scrutinized 2013. Grasu and tackle Jeff Fisher were both selected in last weekend’s NFL Draft, along with All-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who missed the College Football Playoff with a torn ACL.
Oregon isn’t just replacing talented playmakers. The departing corps featured the Ducks’ emotional leaders, which explains the scene Helfrich described immediately after the title game.
Ultimately, however, the 2015 Ducks were afforded very little time to lament their losses.
“It’s different, new…in that the [national championship] game was considerably later not just on the calendar, but just how our academic calendar falls,” Helfrich explained. “It also affects your weight room and everything [when] you go through that phase in winter. Some adjustments had to be made.”
Winter term began at the University of Oregon on Jan. 5, and the national championship game was played a week later. For Helfrich and his staff, the next month was dedicated to finalizing the 2015 recruiting class.
Spring practices — which just ended last Saturday with the intrasquad scrimmage—opened on March 31.
The Ducks haven’t had much chance to breath, so the coming lull before fall camp begins in August is the first significant opportunity for Oregon football to take stock of its successes in 2014, and how it can possibly be improved upon in 2015. Jumping right back in with the Ohio State game still fresh could be a blessing for the Ducks. Helfrich said Oregon’s coaches used the shortcomings and successes as teaching tools the same way they would any other game.
Then, once those lessons extracted and applied in practice, Helfrich said of the next step: "Flush it."
Shaquille O'Neal always gives people what they want.
The NBA on TNT host took a tumble during the telecast, and the internet quickly jumped on the old meme generator.
Even O'Neal couldn't help but to laugh at himself.
This guy is winning so far keepem comin pic.twitter.com/wZQM8DdMdg— SHAQ (@SHAQ) May 7, 2015
SUPERMAN IS IN DA BUILDING pic.twitter.com/wIgJJkEAw3— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) May 7, 2015
Maymeather vs shaqiou pic.twitter.com/951Ct3i6sS— SHAQ (@SHAQ) May 7, 2015
Success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national title contention. However, similar to any position on the field, statistics may not tell the full story when judging a coaching tenure.
This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. It's always easier for programs with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.
A couple of other factors to consider when ranking coaches: How well are the assistants paid? A staff with two of the nation’s top coordinators could be a sign the head coach is better as a CEO and may not be as strong in terms of developing gameplans. How is the coach in the X’s and O’s? Can the coach recruit? Are the program’s facilities on par with the rest of the conference? Much like assistants, a program needs good facilities to win big. If a team is winning at a high level with poor facilities and a small budget, it reflects positively on the head coach. Is the coach successful at only one stop? Or has that coach built a solid resume from different jobs?
Again, wins are important. But our rankings also take into account a blank slate. If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far and their career trajectory? Remember, you don't get the assistants - only the head coach. And head-to-head wins do not matter for this ranking.
Ranking the Pac-12's Football Coaches for 2015
1. Todd Graham, Arizona State
Record at Arizona State: 28-12 (3 years)
Career Record: 77-41 (9 years)
It’s a close call between Graham and Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez for the No. 1 spot among current Pac-12 coaches. The Sun Devils enter 2015 as one of the favorites for the conference title, and Graham has guided the program to 28 wins over the last three seasons. The Sun Devils won the South Division in 2013 and tied for second in '12 and '14. Under Graham’s watch, Arizona State has clearly removed the label of a program that struggles to reach expectations. And the Sun Devils are in the midst of a stadium renovation that will only help Graham and this staff sell a program that has inked back-to-back top-25 signing classes. Graham’s success isn’t just limited to Arizona State, as he helped Rice make a six-game improvement in the win column in 2006, won 36 games in four years at Tulsa and went 6-6 in his only season at Pittsburgh.
2. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
Record at Arizona: 26-14 (3 years)
Career Record: 146-98-2 (21 years)
Rodriguez is in the process of elevating Arizona into a yearly contender for the Pac-12 title. The Wildcats claimed the South Division championship last season with a 7-2 conference record and won double-digit games (10) for the first time since 1998. Additionally, the 10 wins last year was only the third time in program history that Arizona has won more than nine in a season. Rodriguez only went 15-22 in three years at Michigan, but he won 60 games in seven seasons at West Virginia and guided the program to three finishes in the final Associated Press poll from 2005-07. The bad news for the rest of the Pac-12: Rodriguez is really just getting started and this program is only going to get better in the coming years.
3. David Shaw, Stanford
Record at Stanford: 42-12 (4 years)
Career Record: 42-12 (4 years)
For the first time in Shaw’s tenure at Stanford, the Cardinal are coming off a season with fewer than 11 wins. After winning 34 games through Shaw’s first three years, Stanford regressed to 8-5 but still finished second in the North with a 5-4 conference record. Under Shaw’s direction, the Cardinal has finished inside of the top 11 of the final Associated Press poll three times and played for the conference title in back-to-back years (2012-13). Additionally, Shaw and his staff continue to do an excellent job on the recruiting trail, signing top-25 classes in four out of the last five years. The biggest challenge for Shaw in 2015 will be improving an offense that averaged only 23.8 points per game in conference play last year (11th in the Pac-12). Even with significant departures on defense, Stanford can push Oregon in the North if Shaw is able to find the right answers on offense.
4. Chris Petersen, Washington
Record at Washington: 8-6 (1 year)
Career Record: 100-18 (9 years)
After one of the most successful stints by a coach during the BCS era, Petersen decided to make the jump to a Power 5 job and replaced Steve Sarkisian at Washington. Petersen went 92-12 at Boise State and led the Broncos to double-digit win seasons in seven out of his eight years. But Petersen didn’t quite find the same success in his first year with the Huskies. Washington’s defense had three first-team All-Pac-12 selections on defense, but a struggling secondary and offense dropped Petersen’s first team to just 8-6 overall and 4-5 in Pac-12 play. Petersen and his staff will be tested even more in 2015, as Washington returns only nine starters, loses standout defenders Shaq Thompson, Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha, and could have a true freshman start at quarterback.
5. Kyle Whittingham, Utah
Record at Utah: 85-43 (10 years)
Career Record: 85-43 (10 years)
Whittingham has successfully transitioned Utah from a Mountain West team to a solid Pac-12 program in just four years. The Utes don’t have the resources or recruiting base of a UCLA or USC, but Whittingham’s team knocked off both programs last year as well as Stanford and Michigan en route to a 9-4 record. Utah also finished No. 21 in the final Associated Press poll – it’s first top-25 finish since 2009 – and claimed its first winning mark in Pac-12 play (5-4). In his 10-year tenure in Salt Lake City, Whittingham is 85-43 overall and has led his team to eight bowl games.
6. Gary Andersen, Oregon State
Record at Oregon State: First Year
Career Record: 49-38 (7 years)
Andersen’s move from Wisconsin to Oregon State came as a surprise, but the Utah native is a great hire for this program. In two seasons at Wisconsin, Andersen went 19-7 and guided the Badgers to a Big Ten West Division title in 2014. Prior to Wisconsin, Andersen guided Utah State to a 26-24 record in four years. To show how big of an impact Andersen had on the Aggies – in the four years prior to his arrival in Logan, Utah State won only nine games. Utah State won 26 during Andersen’s four years, including 18 over the last two. Andersen is a proven winner at two different jobs and was a successful assistant at Utah prior to becoming a head coach. Oregon State is rebuilding in 2015, but Andersen’s hire will pay big dividends for the Beavers.
7. Mark Helfrich, Oregon
Record at Oregon: 24-4 (2 years)
Career Record: 24-4 (2 years)
Helfrich is the only current Pac-12 coach to play for the national championship and has picked up where Chip Kelly left off by guiding Oregon to a 24-4 record over the last two years. The Ducks finished No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll after a loss to Ohio State in college football’s national championship in January. Helfrich and his staff navigated several injuries and overcame an early loss against Arizona to win the Pac-12 title and finish 13-2 overall. Prior to his promotion from offensive coordinator to head coach with the Ducks, Helfrich was an assistant at Arizona State, Colorado and Boise State. Helfrich won’t have Marcus Mariota in 2015, but the third-year coach has this program in great shape and poised to continue finishing near the top of the Pac-12.
8. Jim Mora, UCLA
Record at UCLA: 29-11 (3 years)
Career Record: 29-11 (3 years)
A case could be made Mora should be higher among his conference peers. In three seasons at UCLA, the Bruins are 29-11 under his watch and have won six Pac-12 games each year. Mora guided UCLA to the Pac-12 South title in 2012 and finished (or tied) for second in the other two seasons. High expectations surrounded this program last year, but the Bruins were easily handled by Oregon in mid-October and on Nov. 28 lost to Stanford 31-10 with a berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game up for grabs. Mora has recruited four consecutive top-20 classes, so talent isn’t an issue for this program. Contending for the South Division in 2015 should be a reasonable expectation, but the Bruins have to replace quarterback Brett Hundley.
9. Steve Sarkisian, USC
Record at USC: 9-4 (1 year)
Career Record: 43-33 (6 years)
By this time next year, Sarkisian could rank higher on this list – if USC ends up winning the Pac-12 as the early odds for 2015 suggest. Sarkisian’s first year with the Trojans had its share of ups and downs. USC beat Stanford 13-10 in Week 2 but lost 37-31 at Boston College the following Saturday. The Trojans lost on the last play of the game to Arizona State and in the final seconds to Utah. With better depth due to the end of NCAA scholarship sanctions, USC should have the manpower needed to close the door in tight games. Prior to taking over at USC, Sarkisian went 35-29 at Washington and guided the Huskies to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-13. The challenge for Sarkisian is simple: Get USC back among the nation’s elite and contend for national championships. Is he the right coach to do so?
10. Mike Leach, Washington State
Record at Washington State: 12-25 (3 years)
Career Record: 96-68 (13 years)
Entering his fourth year in Pullman, Leach is still looking to elevate Washington State into a consistent winner and a bowl team every season. At Texas Tech, Leach guided the Red Raiders to an 84-43 record in 10 years and never finished a season with fewer than seven victories. But winning at a high level has been much tougher at Washington State. The Cougars are 12-25 over the last three years, and a 6-7 team from 2013 is bookended by 3-9 records in '12 and '14. Offense is Leach’s specialty, and Washington State has ranked in the top 10 nationally of passing offense from 2012-14. But fixing the defense has to be a priority after allowing at least 36 points in Pac-12 games in each of the last three years.
11. Sonny Dykes, California
Record at California: 6-18 (2 years)
Career Record: 28-33 (5 years)
The depth of the Pac-12’s coaching prowess is on full display when Sonny Dykes ranks as the No. 11 coach on this list. After a successful 22-15 stint at Louisiana Tech from 2010-12, Dykes is 6-18 in two seasons at California. The Golden Bears went 1-11 in 2013, but showed marked improvement last fall. California finished 5-7 overall and lost four games by eight points or less. Dykes has this program trending in the right direction, and the offense should be among the nation’s best in 2015. If Dykes can solve the defensive woes, California will make a bowl game this year.
12. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado
Record at Colorado: 6-18 (2 years)
Career Record: 22-39 (5 years)
MacIntyre didn’t inherit much to work with when he replaced Jon Embree after the 2012 season. The Buffaloes are 6-18 over the last two years and have won only one contest in conference play. While the overall record isn’t pretty, MacIntyre has this program on the right track. Colorado lost four Pac-12 games by five points or less last season, and with an experienced roster returning in 2015, the Buffaloes should show progress in the win column. Prior to Colorado, MacIntyre went 16-21 at San Jose State, including a 15-9 mark over the final two years. MacIntyre should move up this list in the coming seasons.
The Cavaliers would probably want this one back.
The team released a promotional ad for the series against the Bulls and it was a little tone-deaf to say the least. In the video, a Cavaliers fan throws his significant other, who's a Bulls fan, to the ground in shock and disgust.
The Cavliers were going for an "All In" theme for their campaign, but the actual execution of it comes across all wrong.
Source: Awful Announcing
The 2015 NFL Draft is over and more than 400 players have begun the next chapter of their football careers.
For the ninth straight year, the SEC had the most players drafted (54) of any league in college football. With a host of stacked rosters and elite talents taking the field in 2015, that trend should continue once again in 2016. Here are the top 25 NFL Draft prospects to watch in the SEC this fall:
1. Laremy Tunsil, OL, Ole Miss (6-5, 305)
He could easily be the top pick as the best offensive tackle in the draft. He has the size, the athleticism and is significantly better than any offensive lineman in the 2015 NFL Draft.
2. A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (6-4, 320)
He won't stuff the stat sheet but tackles rarely do. Yet, Robinson is a beast in the middle who must be accounted for on every play — more often than not by more than one blocker. He's big and extremely physical.
3. Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss (6-4, 280)
From a size and strength standpoint, few players in the country can match Nkemdiche's ability. He played end early in his career and has shifted inside and dominated in both spots. Look for him to take the next step in 2015.
4. Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn (6-2, 255)
The knee injury may scare some scouts away, but Lawson can clear away all the doubt with a huge '15 campaign. He was essentially the best player on the Auburn defense two years ago as just a freshman and will become a household name in short order this fall.
5. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss (6-2, 230)
A broken leg isn't nearly as concerning as knees or hips so once Treadwell steps back onto a field, it won't take long for his elite talent to show that he's the top receiver in the '16 class.
6. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida (5-11, 195)
An elite freshman All-American, teams were already staying away from VH3 last season. So he might be avoided completely this fall. That won't have much impact on his overall stock — which is the best cover corner in the nation.
7. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama (6-6, 240)
The best all-around tight end prospect in the nation unfortunately has been extremely underused by the Crimson Tide offense. He is an elite blocker and an elite pass catcher as well.
8. Leonard Floyd, DE/LB, Georgia (6-4, 238)
The dynamic, hybrid edge player flourished in Jeremy Pruitt's system last fall and should produce another huge season for what could be the best defense in the SEC. He's rangy, athletic and productive.
9. Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee (6-0, 190)
He may not have the flashy speed and quickness of other cornerbacks ahead of him in the draft, but few players in the nation are as instinctual and make as many plays as the Vols' star defensive back.
10. Vadal Alexander, OL, LSU (6-6, 340)
He's a massive road-grader and will produce big numbers in the running game. There is more than one solid LSU O-line prospect in this unit, but Alexander is the best of the bunch.
11. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (6-3, 240)
He's an absolute beast. Cut from the Larry Johnson/Steven Jackson mold, few players have ever had the size-athleticism combo that Henry possesses. Now, if Lane Kiffin could just give him the ball a few hundred times.
12. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (6-2, 230)
He may not have the arm talent of the pure pocket passers in the NFL but few have his heart, toughness, physicality and leadership. He's a great athlete who is a better thrower of the ball than scouts think.
13. Tony Conner, S, Ole Miss (6-0, 217)
The fourth member of the highly-touted 2013 Rebels' signing class could find himself in the first round alongside Tunsil, Treadwell and Nkemdiche. Conner flies around the field and makes big plays consistently.
14. Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State (6-5, 308)
He didn’t blossom into the star last year many expected but his stock hasn’t slipped too far. He’s a monster in the middle and could develop into an All-American this fall after just 26 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and 3.0 sacks in ’14.
15. Duke Williams, WR, Auburn (6-2, 224)
From a talent standpoint, Williams could be one of the first SEC players taken in the draft. But he needs to refine his game, be more consistent with his hands and learn how to run routes on the next level to become an NFL star.
16. Eddie Jackson, CB, Alabama (6-0, 195)
The former big-time recruit has slowly developed into one of the best athletes in the Bama secondary. He posted 41 tackles a year ago and will be the leader of the Tide defensive backfield this fall.
17. Marquez North, WR, Tennessee (6-4, 220)
North could be the best wideout in the league if he stays healthy and Joshua Dobbs develops. He has elite hands, great ball skills, a huge frame and excellent athleticism. He could easily be a first-round pick.
18. Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn (6-5, 230)
If Auburn’s offense churns out yards and points like many expect, Johnson could fly up draft boards. He has a huge frame and a big arm with better than average athletic ability. The pocket passer could make this Tigers offense nearly unstoppable.
19. Josh Augusta, DT, Missouri (6-4, 335)
The man-mountain in the middle will continue Mizzou’s recent run of elite NFL defensive line prospects. He didn’t play full-time last year but is poised for a breakout season.
20. John Theus, OT, Georgia (6-6, 313)
Theus has been in the starting lineup from the beginning and has seen his game develop nicely over his career in Athens. He has gone from weak link as a freshman to an All-SEC performer. The former five-star recruit has all the right NFL tools.
21. Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama (6-2, 250)
The leading returning tackler for the Tide (93) will be one of the top true linebacker prospects in the draft next year. The NFL doesn’t normally take too many LBs in the first round but that doesn’t hurt his stock within his position rank.
22. Travin Dural, WR, LSU (6-2, 192)
Similarly to Robinson, Dural must get good QB play to shine this fall. That said, he’s more polished but slightly smaller than Robinson. He’s a big play waiting to happen after averaging 20.5 yards per catch last fall.
23. Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida (6-2, 200)
The physical tools have been there all along but it has taken some time for him to develop. He has an elite size and speed combination and could vault into the first round should he refine his game (and get good QB play).
24. Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas (5-11, 224)
There isn’t much difference between one Arkansas back and the other, so fans in Fayetteville could expect both to be drafted fairly quickly next fall. He’s posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons entering his third year.
25. Kendall Beckwith, LB, LSU (6-2, 245)
The rising junior blossomed midway through his freshman season and only continued to make plays last fall (77 tackles). He has a chance to rise quickly in the national conversation as one of the best tacklers in the SEC. How will he fit into Kevin Steele’s new scheme?
Best of the Rest:
26. Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia (6-3, 252)
27. Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU (5-11, 191)
28. Jalen Mills, S, LSU (6-0, 194)
29. Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama (6-4, 313)
30. Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas (6-0, 224)
31. Denver Kirkland, OT, Arkansas (6-5, 343)
32. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss (6-3, 227)
33. Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU (6-6, 309)
34. Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 325)
35. Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida (6-3, 277)
36. Curt Maggitt, LB, Tennessee (6-3, 251)
37. Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
38. Taveze Calhoun, CB, Mississippi State (6-1, 185)
39. Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama (6-3, 282)
40. Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia (5-11, 215)
The battle between Cleveland and Chicago doesn't only involve the Cavaliers and the Bulls. Cardale Jones wants to get in on some of the action.
The Ohio State quarterback was in attendance for Game 2 and made an attempt to pump up the crowd by saying it's time to bring another championship to the state.
Obviously, Joakim Noah didn't want to hear any of that.
Noah on bench watching Cardale Jones on the public address mic mouthed, "you ain't in the SEC"— Anthony Lima (@SportsBoyTony) May 7, 2015
Nothing any player says ever stays a secret so when word got back around to Jones, he couldn't help but to tweet to the Bulls star.
@JoakimNoah watch yo mouth before I give you these hands chump— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) May 7, 2015
I'm at @JoakimNoah neck the rest of the series for that comment— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) May 7, 2015
Add this to the long list of reasons Noah doesn't like coming to Cleveland.
In a poll conducted by Athlon Sports, former SEC players say Florida and LSU are the toughest road trips.
Nearly all of them said they’ve sustained a concussion at some point in their careers. But almost none of them took money from a bag man or sold an autograph.
Through the course of the 2014 football season, Athlon Sports conducted a straw poll of 11 former SEC players, active from the late 1990s through the 2013 season.
In exchange for candid answers, Athlon granted our subjects anonymity on a wide variety of subjects from coaches they’d want to see work with their kids to advice they would give to their younger selves.
We also asked about some of the most pressing issues of the day regarding concussions and amateurism.
These are the results:
1. What is the toughest road trip in college football?
Arkansas — “because it’s a two-hour drive from the airport.”
2. Which active coach would you want to coach your child?
• Mark Richt, Georgia
• Nick Saban, Alabama
• Butch Jones, Tennessee
• Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
• Gus Malzahn, Auburn
• Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
• Will Muschamp, Florida
• Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati
• No answer
3a. If your child could be a student-athlete at any school, which would you want it to be?
• “Oregon or Alabama”
• “Stanford or Harvard”
• Vanderbilt, “the Harvard of the South”
• Notre Dame
3b. Is this the same school you attended?
• 6 Yes
• 5 No
4. What was the biggest factor in recruiting that led you to pick the college you attended?
• “Playing the best of the best.”
• “Recruited to play WR, most schools recruited me to play D.B”
• “It was close to home and the love there was incredible.”
• “Connection to the head coach.”
• “Championship contender.”
• “Starting our own tradition and winning the SEC championship.”
• “Support system, close to family and friends.”
• “Grew up a fan.”
• “Close to home, great school.”
• “Opportunity to play right away.”
• “Home state.”
5. What piece of advice would you give to yourself at age 18 before beginning your college career?
• “Enjoy every last minute. It goes by fast.”
• “Focus from the moment you get on campus.”
• “Don’t pick a school based on football alone but a school that will make you a better person.”
• “Commit earlier to film study.”
• “It goes fast. Don’t worry. It works out well.”
• “Relax. You made it to the NFL.”
• “Don’t be so hard headed.”
• “Never take it for granted. Enjoy every moment.”
• “Time flies, enjoy it.”
• “Stay away from social media.”
• “Stay humble.”
6. What change in college athletics would you want to see in the next 5-10 years?
Pay players (“or allow them to profit from their name and fame.”)
• “Expand the playoff to eight teams, top four teams get a bye.”
• “Better medical support for athletes.”
• “Hold players more accountable to academics.”
• “Eight-team playoff.”
• “Better support system for students past playing years.”
• “No more NCAA.”
7a: Did you ever sustain a concussion or other serious head injury when you played in college?
• 8 Yes (one respondent expanded: “not all concussions were documented because as a competitor you always wanted to play.”
• 3 No
7b. How long after the concussion or head injury did you play or practice again?
• “Didn’t practice all week, but played the next Saturday because we were down by 14.”
• “A day or two.”
• “One week.”
• “One or two days later.”
• “Two days.”
• “Next day.”
• “No time missed.”
• “Right after.”
8. During your college career, did you ever sell your autograph or memorabilia?
• 10 No
• 1 “I wish.”
• 1 “Well... does the barter system count?”
9. During your college career or during recruiting, did you ever receive any impermissible benefits from a booster, agent or “bag man?”
• 9 No
• 2 Yes
• 1 “I wish.”
Rob Gronkowski is never one to shy away from the camera. When that camera is asking about the Deflate-gate reports, a different kind of Gronk comes out.
WBZ Boston caught up with the Patriots tight end and when asked about his thoughts on the information found in the Wells Report, he did what he does best. Gronk brought out the big guns ... and flexed them.
I don’t care about Tom Brady’s balls.
But apparently the rest of the world is obsessed with the New England Patriots. So much so that attorney Ted Wells’ investigation into “Deflategate” churned out 243 pages of information about slightly underinflated footballs.
The general thesis appears to be that two team employees, Jim McNally and John Jastremski, doctored footballs and that Tom Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities.”
It also found that the Patriots and Bill Belichick had nothing to do with it.
Brady broke the rules (and lied about it). They intentionally deflated his footballs. Roger Goodell should and will punish him with appropriate force.
My concern is how the general public — or Goodell, for that matter — defines "appropriate force." The commissioner hasn't exactly been consistent in his punishments (SEE: Sean Payton and Ray Rice).
I said it when the story initially broke in January, and I’ll say it again now. Should we be quick to criticize an organization with a questionable track record when it comes to the rules? Certainly, but did the Patriots defeat the Colts by more than five touchdowns because the balls were slightly softer? Have the Patriots been the best team in the AFC for more than a decade because of slightly less air in their footballs?
No, because it’s ludicrous.
Did this “scandal” have any impact whatsoever on the outcome of the Super Bowl?
No. Take back the Super Bowl ring? Make him ineligible for the Hall of Fame? Forfeit all 2016 draft picks?
Just stop, Internet.
For decades, quarterbacks have been scuffing, inflating, deflating, spitting on, greasing up and using every other imaginable trick in the book to get a football exactly how they want it. Sometimes, they go too far. Sometimes, they break the rules.
Sometimes, they get caught and should be punished.
Brady should be punished. Suspend him for a game or two — which would cost him roughly $500,000 per weekend — or fine him or take a late-round pick from the team. Or all three.
But let’s not for one second suggest that pigskin PSI had anything to do with the absolute beat down the Pats administered to the Colts in the AFC Championship game. That with 16-percent more air in their balls, the Patriots wouldn’t have won the AFC East or made it to the Super Bowl.
This is a multi-billion dollar industry that routinely pushes the envelope of sportsmanship across the board. When people break the rules, they get punished. Jumping offside is cheating, and it’s a 5-yard penalty.
Brady deserves to get punished, but it better fit the crime.
After that, I don’t want to hear another word about his balls.
It's hard to remember what life was like before everyone could sum up their thoughts in 140 characters.
After news of the Wells Report on Patriots and Deflate-gate broke, many NFL players couldn't help but to express their thoughts. You can read the full report here.
It's May and the Deflategate is still an issue.— Andre Carter (@mr_carter93) May 6, 2015
After 4 months of extreme, detailed investigation.. NE might have, probably, possibly, maybe deflated balls... Most likely.— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) May 6, 2015
Well Well Wells— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 6, 2015
They are still talking about this Pats football thing.. Ugh.. Season has been over.. Move on.. It was a blow out anyway..— Lance Ball (@LanceBall35) May 6, 2015
They still on this deflate stuff?????— Jahvid Best (@J4hvidbest) May 6, 2015
Omg somebody please tell me these text messages from the Patriots report are not real...If so I'm going to the hospital of laughter— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) May 6, 2015
Not everyone has what it takes to be a quarterback. The main thing necessary is heart.
D.J. Vanderwerf has the heart of a champion and won't give up no matter what the odds are. The high school student plays basketball, baseball, and football for Sweetwater High School in Tennessee. Although there was doubt about him being able to play such a tough sport, Vanderwerf proved them all wrong.
"People doubted me at first, that I couldn't really do anything with my leg," Vanderwerf said. "The coaches had questions about my mobility, if my leg would stay on. You know, if I got hit, if I'd get hurt easily. If I'd hurt the other kids. Once I started played they realized that I can do anything that anybody else does."
Sports aren't the only thing on the young athletes mind. Vanderwerf has a long-term goal of helping others with disabilities.
"I'd like to actually become a prosthetist, that's the person that makes the things that I wear," Vanderwerf said. "I expect to go to college. I'd like to play a sport in college, preferably football. But we'll see."
6. Anthony Davis, Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors
Anthony Davis’ playoff debut was not a disappointment. He might not have won a game against the talent-wealthy Warriors, but he did everything within his vast powers to stop them. Any of his four performances could be sincerely chosen in this slot, but his 36-point, 11-rebound effort in his final fight against an inevitable fate was an especially alluring bit of action from the 21-year-old. It shouldn’t be long before he swivels around to the other end of the table, and is playing the role of fearsome overdog.
5. John Wall, Game 2 against the Toronto Raptors
26 points, 17 assists. Wall erased any doubts about who the superior team was in this contest, which was the spark that led his Wizards to a clean sweep of the Raptors. Perhaps the game’s most underrated point guard, Wall stepped into an NBA defense with an ease to suggest it was his kitchen, and made judicious decisions about who in his lineup to feed as he distributed to men left open by the swarms of bodies his elite speed demands when he takes it to the hole. If you want to learn how to play the position perfectly, watch film from this outing.
4. Blake Griffin, Game 1 against the Houston Rockets
With Chris Paul sitting out and taking care of a hamstring he pushed to the limit against the San Antonio Spurs, the Clippers were left for dead by many against Houston. But Blake Griffin went as hard as one can go against an unsuspecting Rockets squad, and put together a triple-double for the ages as he point-forwarded his team to a shocking upset. His 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists were the numbers of a man with a skill set that goes way beyond the supreme dunking that he’s known for. Griffin reminded the league that he’s an all-around wunderkind in this game.
3. Steph Curry, Game 3 against the New Orleans Pelicans
The lengthy, explosive Pelicans were a bad matchup for the indomitable Warriors, and many expected them to steal a game or two against the odds-on favorites to win the title. That prediction seemed to be coming true in Game 3 of the first-round joust between the two teams, as New Orleans put their foot down and carried a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter. Then, the MVP became the MVP all over again. Curry scored 17 points in the closing quarter and overtime to lead the Warriors to a commanding 3-0 lead in the series, capping a colossal comeback with a double-take three-pointer through a crowd in the corner, which sent the game to an extra period the Warriors had full control of. You’re never too far behind when you’ve got Steph.
2. Mike Conley, Game 2 against the Golden State Warriors
Twitter was calling it “The Broken Face Game” before it was even close to over. Conley stormed into the roaring Oracle Arena with no loss of confidence, despite playing for the first time in nearly two weeks and nursing a bludgeoned mug behind a plastic mask. He scored nine quick points for the Grizzlies and set the tone after Steph Curry’s MVP ceremony, putting the bay area on alert. He gave Steph trouble all night defensively, and hit an emphatic three-pointer late in the game, himself, that all but put the game out of reach. This showing could be a turning point in the championship equation.
1. Chris Paul, Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs
One leg, no problem. Paul tweaked his hamstring amidst the most memorable game of the season, but it didn’t stop him from leading the Clippers to a victory over the defending champion Spurs that felt like a title-winner. His game-sealing floater with just a second left will populate highlight reels for the next decade, and instantly goes down as the most iconic image in the career of the NBA’s most underappreciated floor genius. Paul’s always had the hearts of those who understand the intricacies of the game — now, he’s got an emotionally charged moment to corral fans beyond the sport.
— John Wilmes
This is pretty awesome.
Some guy fooled a news station into thinking he was Rory McIlroy's cousin, and it wasn't even that hard to do. At about the 1:30 mark in the video, they interview a man by the name of "Jarly McIlroy" who talks about his faux cousin, Rory.
It’s not the first time it’s happened: On the heels of Steph Curry’s emotionally exhausting MVP reception, the Golden State Warriors laid an egg. Dropping Game 2 of their second-round series with the Memphis Grizzlies, 97-90, they looked flummoxed. It was Golden State’s first home loss since the Chicago Bulls beat them there in January.
A lot of their being off had less to do with too many feelings, though, and more to do with how the Grizzlies took to the battle straight to the Warriors’ face.
Speaking of faces, Memphis starting point guard Mike Conley, Jr. returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a facial fracture after a brutal collision against the Portland Trail Blazers, and put in an inspiring performance. With a plastic mask over his blood-red eye and plate-infused tissue, he led his team with 22 points, and his defense on Curry helped hold the MVP to just 19 points on 7-for-19 shooting.
Tony Allen, the Grizzlies’ ceaseless Grindfather, did his part by injecting swagger into the visiting team’s efforts. The day before the contest, he said Curry’s offensive mastery was “nothing I ain’t never seen before,” and he was quick to remind the world of his own accolades after several important plays last night. “First-team, All-Defense,” he said repeatedly:
Now tied 1-1, this series is a sudden hotbed of intrigue. With personalities this big, stories aren’t lacking — but the one you can expect to hear time and time over is about the state of NBA basketball. The Warriors represent the zenith of its pace-and-space evolution, begat more than a decade ago by Steve Nash and the seven-seconds-or-less Phoenix Suns. And Memphis, of course, opposes that with a steely, hard, half-court style that favors post-ups and methodical clock-winding. It’ll be thrilling to see which iteration wins out.
— John Wilmes
It’s now been 14 years since that fateful day in February 2001 Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed on the last lap of the Daytona 500. There’s now an entire generation of race fans whose only connection to the NASCAR Hall of Famer is through YouTube clips, hand-me-down stories or watching son Dale Jr. wheel around the track. The driver many attribute for the sport’s epic growth is no longer with us as stock car racing fights hard against a gradual decline.
It’s important to note that as the Earnhardt name resurfaces this week in the wake of an emotional victory at Talladega. The track that was once so good to the father finally fell back into the son’s good graces, as Dale Jr. captured a checkered flag there for the first time since the fall of 2004. Afterwards, he was clearly thankful and aware of how people in the Alabama area seem to rally around the Earnhardt name.
“It made me think about his birthday, how much I miss him, how much he meant to me and so many more people that I can't even fathom the number of folks that he had a relationship with in this sport,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “All his fans out there really enjoyed seeing him compete.”
It’s a nostalgic victory bound to make any longtime fan happy with the outcome; stories of glory races past are all over the place this week. But old memories don’t make new race fans; competition does. Lost in the Earnhardt Sr. connection was the fact ‘Dega had just 27 lead changes, the fewest for any restrictor plate event there since 2002.
The dance back to the finish line, often a nail-biting affair saw Earnhardt running on cruise control, many of the drivers behind him content to rest on their laurels after already punching a playoff bid earlier in the season. The anti-climactic battle at the front was about as appetizing as the cookie-cutter, blasé endings we’ve seen this season at 1.5-milers like Las Vegas, Texas and Atlanta.
So while having Earnhardt, NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver in victory lane again may seem like a boost, an overreliance on one famous name is a tough way to brand your future. You don’t see people using Michael Jordan’s name these days in order to grow the NBA, right? Earnhardt’s win still coincided with yet another decline in TV ratings; no Sprint Cup race has posted a true year-to-year audience increase since mid-March. That’s the other problem with past memories, you see; they can’t be used to cover up present problems.
Earnhardt Jr. turns 41 this year. His father, if alive today would be 64 and long since retired. At some point, no Earnhardt will be racing at the sport’s top level. Jeff Gordon, one of the sport’s other big names is leaving after this season at the age of 44. Who will be the names people will call on next? Who will be the fan favorites the current 18-34 generation will follow?
It’s a question to ponder these days when the biggest story is remembering a driver, well, some people never saw. Through The Gears we go…
FIRST GEAR: Hendrick Motorsports Perfects Their Plate Package
Earnhardt Jr., Gordon and Jimmie Johnson dominated Sunday’s race at Talladega, combining to lead 164 of 188 laps. With Earnhardt leading the final 27 circuits, it was clear what organization had a leg up at a track where restrictor plates typically keep any of the 43 cars that start from having an advantage.
“From a team dynamic, I'm real happy,” said Johnson. “It strengthens our race shop. To finish 1-2 with the cars, the morale boost it gives the company, our shop, that's where my mindset is.”
Earnhardt, once a plate race expert now has won Daytona and Talladega within the last two years, a huge confidence boost after a series of oh-so-close performances. It also gives HMS confidence they can run up front during the Chase at the one track where bad luck can bite anytime. Following Gordon’s pole-winning run at Daytona, a race where he had the dominant car back in February and it’s clear the rest of the field has catching up to do.
On another note, the win was great not just for Earnhardt but first-year crew chief Greg Ives who almost didn’t stay for the race. Ives’ eight-year-old daughter broke her arm this weekend but convinced her father to stay for the main event. His reward? A bid in the Chase and a sigh of relief that the No. 88 team won’t be one of those trying to sneak into the field on points.
SECOND GEAR: “Big One” Puts Bayne In the Spotlight
Talladega had only one “Big One,” the multi-car wrecks that come with the territory in plate races. This incident saw Trevor Bayne spin out on his own, the air sucked from him down the backstretch as Paul Menard made a move to the outside. The resulting spinout collected a dozen cars and left the No. 6 car a smoldering mess.
“I hate that a lot of cars got torn up,” he said afterwards. “When you get too close to somebody, it just pulls you around.”
It was a clear low point for a driver whose only Cup claim to fame is a victory in the 2011 Daytona 500. Bayne, who has yet to score a top-5 finish since that race now sits a lowly 29th in the Sprint Cup standings, a whopping 217 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. With several strong drivers in Roush Fenway’s XFINITY Series program, Bayne’s leash is getting shorter as a once promising talent seems overwhelmed running the Cup Series full-time.
THIRD GEAR: Parity Shaping Up Playoff Field
As we disengage from Talladega and move forward, the first 10 races have filled up half of NASCAR’s September postseason field. Eight winners during that stretch are reasonable, but what’s interesting is they’ve come from four different organizations. Two drivers apiece have qualified through the following teams…
Penske Racing (Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski)
Hendrick Motorsports (Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.)
Stewart-Haas Racing (Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch)
Joe Gibbs Racing (Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin)
So while certain drivers have led more laps (Harvick, Busch) or run up front more consistently, no organization has a true advantage on paper as the playoffs begin to take shape. More notable are the teams shut out of victory lane, a group that includes Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing (see above) and Michael Waltrip Racing.
FOURTH GEAR: The Underdog Effect
Talladega wasn’t as good as it usually is to NASCAR’s underfunded crowd, brought back to equality through restrictor plates. But several drivers in the middle tier came out of the race with a fresh start. Sam Hornish Jr. earned his first top-10 result (sixth) since returning to the Cup Series full-time with Richard Petty Motorsports. Josh Wise earned a top-10 result (tenth) with a Phil Parsons Racing team that is rumored to be sold as early as this week. Sophomore Cole Whitt (13th) led the race for a bit in his strongest performance yet for Front Row Motorsports.
Having these names run close to the front gives a slight blend of variety NASCAR badly needs. Drivers like Wise and Whitt need to pray for a top-20 finish at almost any other track on the circuit, leading to far too much predictability. That’s why fans enjoy these events; they know anyone within the 43-car field is capable of winning under the right circumstances.
Danica Patrick, her future in question is clinging to the last spot in the current Chase standings. With GoDaddy not returning to the No. 10 Chevrolet, it could open up a spot at Stewart-Haas Racing for 2016. NASCAR, of course would want Patrick to return but keep an eye on what’s developing at Joe Gibbs Racing. Erik Jones is scheduled to sub for Kyle Busch this week and if the 18-year-old does well JGR’s hand might be forced to move him up. That could put a driver like Denny Hamlin in play, a veteran who has far more statistical success in this sport than Patrick… David Ragan was a disappointing 38th in his final substitute race for Busch. He’ll move over to the No. 55 Toyota starting this week and fill in for an ailing Brian Vickers the rest of the season at Michael Waltrip Racing… What is wrong with Austin Dillon? The sophomore, whose engine went up in flames at Talladega, has no finish better than 10th this season. He’s clearly slumping while teammates Menard and Ryan Newman have scored top-5 finishes and contended for wins.
Photos by Action Sports, Inc.
LeSean McCoy will no longer be playing the state of Pennsylvania, and that's a hard concept to grasp for some.
The Bills running back is speaking out on his former coach Chip Kelly and the way things went down in Philadelphia. From the beginning it seems McCoy and Kelly never had a good relationship.
"The relationship was never really great," McCoy told ESPN. "He wants the full control. You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That's the truth. There's a reason ... It's hard to explain with him. But there's a reason he got rid of all the black players — the good ones — like that."
Pretty strong words from someone who had plans on spending his career with the Eagles. A coach's arrival can change the dynamic of an entire football team.
McCoy wasn't the only player who felt things weren't right with Kelly.
"Other players have talked about it," McCoy said. "But that's one of the things where you don't even care no more. I'm on a new team, ready to play. So it's nothing to do with Chip. I have no hatred toward him, nothing to say negative about him. When he got [to Philadelphia], I didn't know what to expect."
One thing that shocked the running back was the exit of DeSean Jackson.
"When he let DeSean go last year, I was like 'C'mon. DeSean Jackson?' So it is what it is," McCoy said.
One thing is for sure, McCoy plans to show the Bills what they've gained with him this season.
Success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national title contention.
With that in mind, Athlon continues its countdown to the season by ranking the college football coaches by conference. Needless to say, ranking college football coaches is no easy task. Similar to any position on the field, statistics may not tell the full story when judging a coaching tenure.
What was the criteria used to rank coaches? This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. However, it’s easier for programs like Alabama, Florida, Ohio State and Texas with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.
A couple of other factors to consider when ranking coaches: How well are the assistants paid? A good program is willing to spend big to keep its assistants. And a staff with two of the nation’s top coordinators could be a sign the head coach is better as a CEO and may not be as strong in terms of developing gameplans. How is the coach in the X’s and O’s? Can the coach recruit? Are the program’s facilities on par with the rest of the conference? Much like assistants, a program needs good facilities to win big. If a team is winning at a high level with poor facilities and a small budget, it’s reflects positively on the head coach. Is the coach successful at only one stop? Or has that coach built a solid resume from different jobs?
Again, wins are important. But our rankings also take into account a blank slate. If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far, how well they recruit, gameday tactician and how they develop talent? And what about their career potential? Is there upside or is the coach trending down?
Related: SEC Coach Rankings for 2015
Ranking the Big Ten’s Football Coaches for 2015
1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Record at Ohio State: 38-3 (3 years)
Career Record: 142-26 (13 years)
There was never really any doubt about his place among the nation’s best coaches, but if there was, Meyer clearly solidified his top billing with Ohio State’s 2014 season. The Buckeyes lost their No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks, yet won 14 games and claimed the national championship over Oregon. In three seasons at Ohio State, Meyer is 38-3 and has not lost a regular season game in Big Ten play. The 2014 national title was Meyer’s third as a head coach, as he claimed two during his tenure at Florida (2006, 2008). In addition to his national championships in Gainesville, Meyer went 65-15 with the Gators, 22-2 in two years at Utah and 17-6 in two seasons with Bowling Green.
2. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
Record at Michigan: First Year
Career Record: 58-27 (7 years)
Harbaugh is the right coach to return Michigan back among the nation’s elite. At three different coaching jobs, Harbaugh has delivered a quick turnaround and won at a high level. At San Diego from 2004-06, Harbaugh went 29-6 and lost only two games over the final two years. Harbaugh moved to the FBS level in 2007 at Stanford and won 29 games in four seasons. The Cardinal missed a bowl appearance in the first two years, but managed 20 wins over Harbaugh’s last two seasons, including a 12-1 finish in 2010. Harbaugh left Stanford for the NFL and won 44 games with the 49ers from 2011-14. San Francisco lost in the NFC Championship Game twice under Harbaugh’s watch and lost to Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII. As a former Michigan quarterback and player under Bo Schembechler, Harbaugh knows what it takes to win in Ann Arbor. Expect to see the Wolverines back among the top 10-15 teams in the nation in the next few years.
3. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Record at Michigan State: 75-31 (8 years)
Career Record: 93-48 (11 years)
Dantonio has transformed Michigan State from an underachieving program to one of the best in the Big Ten. The Spartans have won at least 11 games in four out of the last five years and finished No. 3 nationally after winning the Big Ten Championship Game and Rose Bowl in 2013. Under Dantonio’s watch, Michigan State also has claimed four consecutive bowl victories and went 15-1 in conference play from 2013-14. And if you needed any more information on why Dantonio is among the nation’s best: The Spartans have six seasons of 10 or more wins in program history. Four of those have come with Dantonio at the helm.
4. James Franklin, Penn State
Record at Penn State: 7-6 (1 year)
Career Record: 31-21 (4 years)
Franklin will return Penn State back to contention for the Big Ten title and as a consistent top-25 team – it just may take a little longer than we anticipated. High expectations surrounded the Nittany Lions last year, but Franklin’s team finished 7-6 and won only two games in Big Ten play. Fixing the offensive line is Franklin’s top priority in 2015, and there’s hope for improvement with one of the nation’s top assistants (Herb Hand) leading this group. Franklin went 24-15 in three years with Vanderbilt and recorded back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2012-13. Considering what Franklin managed to accomplish at Vanderbilt – the SEC’s toughest job – combined with the success on the recruiting trail, it’s only a matter of time before Penn State wins again at a high level.
Related: Penn State 2015 Schedule Analysis
5. Jerry Kill, Minnesota
Record at Minnesota: 25-26 (4 years)
Career Record: 152-99 (21 years)
As we mentioned above, college football coaches can’t be judged strictly on wins and losses. Kill is a perfect example of why record isn’t the best indicator of coaching ability, as he’s only 25-26 in four years with Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have made significant improvement under his watch, going from 3-9 in his first year to three consecutive bowl games. And Minnesota is coming off back-to-back eight-win seasons and finished 5-3 in Big Ten play last year – the first winning mark in conference play since 2003. Kill is a proven winner at four other coaching stops in his career, including a 23-16 record at Northern Illinois and a 55-32 mark at Southern Illinois.
6. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
Record at Northwestern: 60-53 (9 years)
Career Record: 60-53 (9 years)
Northwestern is coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time under Fitzgerald and is 4-12 in Big Ten play over the last two years. While it’s easy to only judge coaches by recent history, this is not an easy job and Fitzgerald has won 60 games since 2006. Additionally, the Wildcats went to five consecutive bowl games from 2008-12, including a 10-win campaign in '12, concluding with just the program’s second postseason victory. Considering what Fitzgerald has accomplished at one of the Big Ten’s toughest jobs, what could he do at a program with more resources?
7. Mike Riley, Nebraska
Record at Nebraska: First Year
Career Record: 93-80 (14 years)
Nebraska’s hire of Riley came as a surprise, but the Idaho native seems to be the right coach at the right time. The Cornhuskers won at least nine games in each of Bo Pelini’s seven seasons, yet never finished higher than 14th in the Associated Press poll or claimed a conference title. That’s the challenge for Riley in 2015 and beyond. Can he elevate Nebraska back into contention for a national title or compete with Ohio State and Michigan for Big Ten championships? Oregon State is a challenging job, yet Riley won 93 games in 14 seasons and guided the Beavers to a winning conference record in six of those years. Another mark in favor of Riley’s hire is his experience in recruiting and finding talent in Texas and California. Also, Riley and his staff did a good job of developing talent while in Corvallis. If Nebraska can’t beat Ohio State or Michigan for five-star recruits, it needs to develop three-star talent into five-star players.
8. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Record at Iowa: 115-85 (16 years)
Career Record: 127-106 (19 years)
Ferentz enters 2015 as the nation’s third-longest tenured coach. Over the last 16 seasons, Ferentz’s tenure with the Hawkeyes has experienced its share of ups and downs. And entering 2015, it’s fair to wonder where this program is headed after a 9-7 mark in Big Ten play over the last two years. Iowa has won 10 games at least four times under Ferentz but has not finished better than 8-5 since 2010. Maintaining success at a program for a long period isn’t easy, and as the nation’s ninth highest-paid coach in 2014, Ferentz is drawing plenty of criticism from the Iowa fanbase. In Athlon’s recent expert poll, Iowa tied with Maryland as the No. 7 coaching job in the Big Ten. This program has its share of challenges (in-state talent in recruiting), but there's really no reason why the Hawkeyes can't contend for the Big Ten West Division title each year.
9. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Record at Maryland: 20-30 (4 years)
Career Record: 94-100 (16 years)
Edsall’s tenure at Maryland got off to a rocky start with a 2-10 record in 2011. But since that two-win campaign, the Terrapins are 18-20 over the last three seasons and finished their first year in the Big Ten with a 7-6 record and a 4-4 mark in conference play. Prior to Maryland, Edsall went 74-70 at UConn, guiding the Huskies to the Fiesta Bowl and a share of the Big East title in 2010. After earning back-to-back bowl appearances, Edsall’s next challenge is to elevate Maryland into the Big Ten East Division’s top tier, which includes Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State. That’s not an easy task, but with the talent available in the Maryland/Washington, D.C. area, Edsall should be able to keep some of those players at home. This fall looks like a rebuilding season for Maryland, but Edsall should have this team in contention for a bowl.
10. Kevin Wilson, Indiana
Record at Indiana: 14-34 (4 years)
Career Record: 14-34 (4 years)
Indiana is one of the Big Ten’s toughest jobs, but Wilson has this program moving in the right direction. The Hoosiers won only one game in Wilson’s first year (2011), improved to 4-8 in 2012 and just missed on a bowl game in '13 by finishing 5-7. Bad luck hit Indiana last season, as this program was poised to hit six wins but starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld was lost midway through the year with a shoulder injury. Sudfeld is back in 2015, giving the Hoosiers an opportunity to push for six wins once again. Considering Wilson’s background on offense, along with Indiana’s production on that side of the ball over the last four years, scoring points won’t be a problem. However, the defense has allowed six yards per play in Big Ten games in five consecutive seasons. That must be addressed for this program to move forward.
11. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
Record at Wisconsin: First Year
Career Record: 19-19 (3 years)
Gary Andersen surprisingly departed Wisconsin for Oregon State this offseason, but the Badgers were able to turn to a familiar name in Chryst. After three years as Pittsburgh’s head coach, Chryst is coming back to Madison to guide a program that has won at least 10 games in four out of the last six seasons. In addition to being a Madison native, Chryst played quarterback for the Badgers and served as an assistant with the program in 2002 and again from 2005-11. There’s no denying that Chryst is an excellent fit at Wisconsin. However, he was only 19-19 in three seasons with the Panthers.
12. Tim Beckman, Illinois
Record at Illinois: 12-25 (3 years)
Career Record: 33-41 (6 years
Beckman enters 2015 facing a make-or-break year at Illinois. The Fighting Illini have showed some improvement in Beckman’s tenure by increasing their win total by two games in each year after a 2-10 mark in 2012. Illinois finished 4-8 in 2013 and improved to 6-7 with a 3-5 mark in Big Ten play in 2014. While improvement has been noticeable in the overall win column, this program is just 4-20 in Big Ten games over the last three years and has not finished higher than fifth in its division. Beckman’s tenure got off to a rough start, but things have stabilized over the last two years. A few more wins this fall would help Beckman ensure a fifth season.
13. Kyle Flood, Rutgers
Record at Rutgers: 23-16 (3 years)
Career Record: 23-16 (3 years)
Rutgers was one of the Big Ten’s biggest surprises last year. In the Scarlet Knights’ debut in their new conference, Flood guided the program to an 8-5 record and a 3-5 mark in Big Ten play. Rutgers improved late in the season and finished with wins in three out of their last four games, including a 40-21 victory over North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl. The 8-5 record in 2014 was the second winning mark during Flood’s tenure, as he finished 9-4 in his debut (2012) and finished 2013 with a 6-7 mark. Keeping Rutgers in bowl contention in the Big Ten East will be a challenge in 2015. And Flood’s task was made even more difficult when Ralph Friedgen decided not to return to his staff in 2015. Flood was on the hot seat entering 2014, but a solid 8-5 record in the first season of Big Ten play has reduced some of the pressure on him.
14. Darrell Hazell, Purdue
Record at Purdue: 4-20 (2 years)
Career Record: 20-30 (4 years)
After guiding Kent State to a 16-10 record in two years, including an impressive 11-3 mark in 2012, Hazell appeared to be the right coach for Purdue. After two years with the Boilermakers, however, it's apparent that there’s still a lot of work ahead for Hazell. Purdue is only 4-20 over the last two seasons and has won only one game in Big Ten play. The Boilermakers had two losses in conference play by seven points or less, but lost three out of their last four games by 15 points or more. Hazell has made small gains through his first two years. However, plenty of work remains going into 2015, and Hazell needs to show progress in year three.
The Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight is over, but the aftermath is far from that.
According to Pacquiao, his shoulder injury was a major problem during the fight and most likely had an effect on the outcome. Mayweather took to Instagram to talk a little bit about making excuses.
A photo posted by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on
Mayweather's captions reads, "19 years in the fight game and I've had one excuse: 'Don't have an excuse'. Winners win and losers have excuses."
Pretty bold statement fromt the champ.
Whether it was the amount of teams in the league, getting left out of the playoff, a championship game, the nine-game schedule or expansion, the Big 12’s future has been an ongoing debate since the last round of conference realignment.
But on Tuesday, the league took a step in the right direction by deciding not to add a conference championship game.
At last week’s playoff committee meeting, executive director Bill Hancock mentioned the 13th game and how it helped Ohio State reach the four-team playoff in 2014. And following last week’s meetings, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby certainly sounded like someone who was ready to implement a 13th game to help his league match the other Power 5 conferences.
But let’s take a step back and revisit the final week of the season. How often will a team with a No. 3 quarterback destroy a Power 5 team in the conference championship game by 59 points? It’s pretty rare. Florida State won by only two points in the ACC Championship over Georgia Tech. If the Seminoles lost to the Yellow Jackets, Baylor would have been the No. 4 team in the playoff.
The Big 12 was just a couple of points or breaks away from getting one team in the playoff last year. So what’s the rush to change? There should be zero.
While the Big 12 is the only Power 5 league without a conference title game, adding one doesn’t necessarily help this league in the playoff mix. In fact, a 13th game on an annual basis could hurt the Big 12 champion more than it helps.
Right now, the Big 12 has a good setup. The round-robin schedule allows every team to play one another and an additional conference championship game would only add the potential for a loss for the league’s No. 1 team.
One look through the history of the Big 12 Championship should give the athletic directors enough of a reason to not add a conference championship game. In 1996, No. 3 Nebraska lost to an unranked Texas team. No. 3 Kansas State was upset by Texas A&M in 1998, No. 3 Texas lost to No. 9 Colorado in 2001, and the most memorable result was No. 1 Oklahoma losing to No. 15 Kansas State 35-7 in 2003.
College football is a cyclical sport. Conferences are up in some years, down in others. One season of data on the college football playoff isn’t enough to make enough long-term decisions about a league. If the Big 12 gets left out of the playoff in seven out of the next eight years because it doesn’t have a conference championship game – then it’s time to revisit the issue.
The Big 12 could help itself a little by implementing a non-conference rule forcing every team to play a Power 5 opponent outside of league games. That’s an easy way to bolster the strength of schedule metric. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt the overall conference strength if Oklahoma and Texas were back among the nation’s elite once again.
Could a Big 12 Championship matchup help the conference? Sure. But it’s a 50-50 shot. The champion isn’t guaranteed to win the game, and there’s as much potential for this game to hurt the No. 1 team.
Until there’s clear proof that the Big 12’s playoff hopes are hindered on a yearly basis by not having a conference title game, not adding a 13th contest or expanding is the way go.
This doesn’t happened too often, but in this case, the Big 12 got it right by just staying the course.
If you're going to sit courtside at a Laker game, you have to know proper etiquette.
Julie Bowen still has some things to learn. The "Modern Family" actress spoke with Jimmel Kimmel about her Warriors vs. Lakers experience. Spoiler: It didn't end well.
When Stephen Curry took tiny Davidson College to the brink of the Final Four, any college basketball fan could tell the NBA what it has learned in recent years: Curry is something special.
The point guard this week earned NBA MVP honors, leading the Golden State Warriors to the best record in the league this season.
As the son of another NBA star, Curry path has been rare on a number of fronts. But he’s also the rare NBA superstar to come from outside of the college basketball power structure.
Of the last five NBA MVPs, two came directly from high school (LeBron James and Kobe Bryant), one from Europe (Dirk Nowitzki), one from Texas (Kevin Durant) and one from Memphis (Derrick Rose).
The last NBA MVP from a mid-major or low-major program was Santa Clara’s Steve Nash in 2005 and 2006. Before that, it was Karl Malone in 1999.
In honor of Curry’s rise from Davidson to NBA MVP, we’re looking back at the best small school players in the NBA, going back to Larry Bird.
1. Larry Bird, Indiana State
A Hall of Famer, three-time MVP, two-time Finals MVP and All-Star Game MVP, Bird is on the short list of best NBA players of all time. His career started at Indiana, but the French Lick, Ind., native found the Bloomington experience overwhelming. He landed at Indiana State to set up a legendary NCAA Tournament championship game with Michigan State and Magic Johnson for the first round in one of the greatest NBA rivalries.
2. Karl Malone, Louisiana Tech
A Hall of Famer and two-time NBA MVP, Malone stayed in his home state of Louisiana and led Louisiana Tech to its first NCAA Tournament bid in 1984 and a Sweet 16 in 1985. Since Malone left, the Bulldogs have won one NCAA Tournament game in three trips, none since 1991.
3. John Stockton, Gonzaga
A bit of an asterisk here: Gonzaga is a major program now, but not when Stockton signed with the Bulldogs in 1980. By the time Stockton left, the Zags would still have to wait 11 years for their first NCAA Tournament bid. Meanwhile, Stockton was on his way to becoming a Hall of Famer and the NBA’s all-time assist leader.
4. David Robinson, Navy
The Admiral was a National Player of the Year at Navy, leading the Midshipmen to a 30-win season and an Elite Eight. With the San Antonio Spurs, Robinson became a 10-time All-Star and a Hall of Famer before handing the torch to Tim Duncan.
5. Steve Nash, Santa Clara
Santa Clara reached the NCAA Tournament three times with Nash, a run that included an upset of Maryland in 1996. The Broncos haven’t made the NCAA Tourney since. Nash waited until his sixth season in the league to become a star, but since then, he became the top point guard of his era.
6. Scottie Pippen, Central Arkansas
Central Arkansas is a Division I program now, but Pippen played there, it was in the NAIA, making his rise to the No. 5 pick in the draft and Michael Jordan's running mate all that more impressive.
7. George Gervin, Eastern Michigan
Gervin’s college career did not end on high note. He was suspended and his coach resigned after Gervin punched a Roanoke College player unconscious during a Division II semifinal. Gervin’s career was less eventful as he won four NBA scoring titles, earned 12 ABA/NBA All-Star selections and landed in the Hall of Fame.
8. Dennis Rodman, Southeastern Oklahoma State
Like Pippen, Rodman was a star on the NAIA level before finding his way to the NBA. The public persona may have outweighed his on-court play, but Rodman finished his career with five championship rings, two All-Star selections and a spot in the Hall of Fame.
9. Stephen Curry, Davidson
In 2008, Curry led Davidson to NCAA Tournament upsets of Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin before a two-point loss to Kansas in the Elite Eight. His NBA career is young, but he’s an MVP, a two-time All-Star and two-time league leader in 3-pointers made and 3-pointers attempted.
10. Robert Parish, Centenary
Parish averaged 24.8 points per game and 18 rebounds per game for an AP top-20 team during his final season at Centenary, but his college career was destined to obscurity due to NCAA sanctions at Centenary. The same wouldn’t happen in the NBA as the Hall of Fame center won four NBA titles in his career with the Celtics and Bulls.
The sports world is still missing Stuart Scott. When the SportsCenter host passed away from cancer in January, it left a void in every sports fan's heart.
During the Sports Emmys on Tuesday, the late Scott was up for an award but didn't win. Ernie Johson, deserving of the award in his own right, did the classiest thing after winning. The NBA on TNT host gave his award to Scott's daughters, Taelor and Sydni.
"This belongs with Stuart Scott," Johnson said.
Even before he was deemed "Chef Curry with the pot," Steph Curry has always been the one with the shot.
"Ball Is Life" released a mixtape of the MVP during the San Francisco Pro Am competition. Curry was just as much fun to watch back then as he is now. This kid was bred for amazing passes, ankle-breaking crossovers, and crazy shots.