Articles By All
You want to make Dallas great? Vote Dirk Nowitzki!
The Mavericks star gets in his best Donald Trump wig in order to "build a wall of noise" and throw his hat in the ring for his city.
Vote Nowitzki 2016.
At the National Championship game Monday, there was one guy on the Alabama sideline that stood out. Not Lane Kiffin.
During a failed 2-point conversion by Clemson, Deshaun Watson veered off to the sideline and was yelled at by a man on the sideline while on the ground. Many football fans mentioned it but proceeded to let it go and get back into the game.
Thanks to the best of Twitter, people are trying to put two and two together to figure of the guy yelling is Nick Saban's son. How that makes them feel better, we'll never know.
Obviously it doesn't change anything but as with most things on the internet, people aren't going to let this go without a definitive answer.
The 2015 Georgia Bulldogs will be remembered for a lot of things. This team finished 10-3, marking the 10th time in the last 15 years that Georgia has reached double digits in the win column. The outgoing senior class will graduate with 40 wins to its credit. That’s pretty good for a team that played in only one SEC Championship Game in the past four years. It’s not easy to average 10 wins a season in any conference, let alone the SEC.
This season also will also be remembered as the year Mark Richt was fired. That’s right, the head coach who led the Bulldogs to two SEC titles, six SEC East Division championships, 145 regular season wins and nine bowl victories, was let go after another disappointing 10-win season (although Richt didn’t coach Georgia in its TaxSlayer Bowl victory over Penn State).
I say that tongue-in-cheek but it bears a lot of truth. This Georgia team may go down as the most disappointing 10-win team in a long time. I mean how many teams begin the season ranked in the AP top 10, finish with 10 wins and are then left out of the last top 25 poll? That’s just as amazing as finishing undefeated in my opinion. Even AP college football writer Ralph D. Russo thinks so:
According to STATS research, Georgia 1st team in a Power 5 league to win 10 and finish unranked, dating back to 1996 https://t.co/O8QHxsnxI0— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) January 12, 2016
1996! Pre-BCS days for those too young to know your college football history. Steve Spurrier was still running the fun-and-gun at Florida, Bob Stoops was still a defensive coordinator (also at Florida) and Alabama was saying farewell to Gene Stallings and welcoming in Mike DuBose.
So in 20 years of voting, no other 10-win team has ever missed out on the top 25 at the end of the year. But if you look at the Bulldogs’ schedule and results, it’s pretty self-explanatory why few of the AP voters felt Georgia deserved a top-25 ranking. While the Bulldogs’ three losses all were against teams that finished in the top 25, Alabama (1), Tennessee (22) and Florida (25), not one of Georgia’s wins were against a top 25 opponent.
In fact, the Bulldogs’ best win is even an arguable fact. Georgia Southern finished the season with nine victories, but the Eagles are a Sun Belt team whose seniors can brag about starting their career as a FCS member and making the move to FBS. The Bulldogs also needed overtime to win that game, which was at home.
Auburn and Penn State both finished with seven wins so they count as “quality” victories over Power 5 conference teams for Georgia. But the Bulldogs’ other seven wins aren’t nearly as impressive, including those against a team that lost eight games, two that loss nine and one that went 2-11. Combined, Georgia’s 2015 opponents had a winning percentage of .414. I didn’t look it up but that may be the worst for a team that won 10 games.
The AP voters did at least give Georgia the most votes out of all of the teams that didn’t make the cut. Georgia finished with 109 votes, just 17 votes short of No. 25 Florida. The Coaches Poll was a bit kinder to Georgia, as the Bulldogs were actually ranked above the Gators, who defeated their SEC East rivals 27-3 during the season so that makes total sense. (Insert sarcasm here.)
Six other teams finished the 2015 season with double-digit wins but did not land in the final AP Top 25 poll – Marshall (10-3), Temple (10-4), San Diego State (11-3), Bowling Green ( 10-4), Toledo (10-2), and Appalachian State (11-2). Out of those teams, San Diego State finished with the most votes, receiving 44. But none of these teams are a part of a Power 5 conference like Georgia.
I will say this, no one does forgettable 10-win seasons quite like Richt but this one takes the cake. Here’s to you, 2015 Georgia Bulldogs, and your history-making season.
— Written by Justin Nails, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @justinnails.
Sports fans live and die with their teams.
Although fans root for certain teams based on players they like or how they were raised, others go off of location. Born and raised in Chicago? Chances are good that you're a Bulls and Bears fan. Location, location, location.
It's no surprise that when a team moves, their fans are not too pleased about it. With the recent plans to relocate the St. Louis Rams back to Los Angeles, let's take a look at franchise moves that some fans may still be hurt by.
5. Brooklyn Dodgers —> Los Angeles Dodgers
As most sports franchise moves, this one begins with money. Owners of a team want a new stadium and when they don't get it, they make a threat. Before you know it, that threat becomes reality. For the youngsters it's difficult to hear the word "Dodgers" and not think about LA, but the more nostalgic sports fans will always acknowledge them as Brooklyn's team. At least New Yorkers have the Yankees and Mets to lean on.
4. Los Angeles Rams —> St. Louis Rams
Although it's a moot point now, it's hard to imagine being a Rams fan and losing your team to St. Louis. Some football fans will say things just never seemed right after the team was transported to Missouri. Legendary running back Eric Dickerson had to root for Missouri probably all the while holding on to hope that his team would come back home. Now that they finally are heading back west, it's safe to say he's pretty ecstatic about it.
3. Cleveland Browns —> Baltimore Ravens
People joke that people in Cleveland don't have much aside from their sports team, but it could be argued that it's partly true. When Art Modell tried to move the Browns to Baltimore, lawsuits were filed and fans went crazy. In the Browns last game of the season, the Dawg Pound was so out of control that they had to move to the opposite side of the field. Ripped out seats and fires were the last memory of the Browns in Cleveland until 1999 when they got the new Browns in town.
2. Seattle SuperSonics —> Oklahoma City Thunder
This one hurt. A city like Seattle with such rich basketball history was "rewarded" by having their team relocated by a new owner who, despite what he claimed, had every intention on moving them to Oklahoma City. Clay Bennett ripped the hearts from every Seattle fan's chest. Seeing Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook make it to the NBA Finals and remain elite in the Western Conference has to hurt Sonics fans year after year, especially with no immediate plans to get a franchise of their own. There will never come a day when Oklahoma City Thunder sounds better than Seattle SuperSonics.
1. Baltimore Colts —> Indianapolis Colts
Imagine going to sleep one night and everything makes sense. Then imagine waking up and your sports team (and world) is gone. That's what happened to fans in Baltimore when their team was moved in the middle of the night to Indianapolis. Of course it doesn't help things that the Colts would eventually draft Peyton Manning and a Super Bowl win. Baltimore of course got the Ravens and a Super Bowl win of their own.
Only time will tell how the people of St. Louis (and Nelly) will react to their city no longer being home to an NFL team.
Even though the 2015 season just ended on Monday night, it’s never too early to consider the early favorites for the 2016-17 College Football Playoff.
William Hill Sportsbook has provided the first glance into Vegas’ early favorites for 2016, with two familiar teams (Clemson and Alabama) leading the way at the top.
The Tigers are listed at 6/1 odds, followed by the Crimson Tide at 7/1. Another playoff team from 2015 (Oklahoma) is listed at 10/1.
Here are the full and very early odds from the sportsbook for next season:
|San Diego State||300/1|
Alabama has been one of the top teams in college football over the past couple of decades, but how do Nick Saban’s four national championship teams at Alabama and one at LSU compare to other past national championship teams?
For the purposes of this updated ranking of top national championship teams, we will go back to the start of the BCS Championship Era in 1998 and roll right on up to the second season of the College Football Playoff. Here is how the champs stack up.
Note: Opponent’s ranking at time in parentheses
1. Miami, 2001 (12-0, 7-0)
Head Coach: Larry Coker
Since the dawn of the BCS Era, few teams have carried the amount of NFL talent on one roster the way the 2001 Miami Hurricanes did. Larry Coker stepped in as head coach following Butch Davis’ departure for the NFL, and he took over a program as locked and loaded that any coach would dream of running. The season started off with a dominating victory over Penn State, which set the tone for the championship run. Miami ripped through Florida State, avoided a letdown against Boston College and nipped Virginia Tech while blitzing through the rest of the schedule, which included victories against four top-15 teams before the BCS National Championship Game. Nebraska wiggled its way into the national championship game but was clearly out of its league against Miami in the Rose Bowl. Miami’s 37-14 victory over the Cornhuskers capped an undefeated season for the best national championship team of the era.
Sept. 1: Miami 33, Penn State 7
Sept. 8: Miami 61, Rutgers 0
Sept. 27: Miami 43, Pitt 21
Oct. 6: Miami 38, Troy 7
Oct. 13: Miami 49, (14) Florida State 27
Oct. 25: Miami 45, West Virginia 3
Nov. 3: Miami 38, Temple 0
Nov. 10: Miami 18, Boston College 7
Nov. 17: Miami 59, (14) Syracuse 0
Nov. 24: Miami 65, (12) Washington 7
Dec. 1: Miami 26, (14) Virginia Tech 24
Jan. 3: Miami 37, (4) Nebraska 14
2. USC, 2004 (13-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Pete Carroll
The Trojans had to settle for the rare split national title during the BCS years in 2003, but left no doubt about who the top team was in ’04. USC started the season as the No. 1 team in the country and never lost a grip on the top spot in the poll, picked up a Heisman Trophy season from quarterback Matt Leinart and saw the running duo of Reggie Bush and LenDale White give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares all season long. In all, this USC team, which destroyed Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for the national championship, saw 18 players get selected in either the first or second round of the NFL Draft and was absolutely loaded on offense, is arguably one of college football’s best in decades.
Aug. 28: USC 24, Virginia Tech 13
Sept. 11: USC 49, Colorado State 0
Sept. 18: USC 42, BYU 10
Sept. 25: USC 31, Stanford 28
Oct: 9: USC 23, (7) Cal 17
Oct. 16: USC 45, (15) Arizona State 7
Oct. 23: USC 38, Washington 0
Oct. 30: USC 42, Washington State 12
Nov. 6: USC 28, Oregon State 20
Nov. 13: USC 49, Arizona 9
Nov. 27: USC 41, Notre Dame 10
Dec. 4: USC 29, UCLA 24
Jan. 4: USC 55, Oklahoma 19
3. Texas, 2005 (13-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Mack Brown
The 2005 season saw No. 1 USC and No. 2 Texas on a season-long collision course for the national championship. The two remained in the top two spots of the poll all season long, setting up the game for the ages in the Rose Bowl for the BCS National Championship. But before Texas could let Vince Young turn in a game legends are made of, the Longhorns first had to get through the regular season. An early victory over No. 4 Ohio State was later followed up with blowout wins over Oklahoma, No. 10 Texas Tech and rival Texas A&M before tearing up Colorado, 70-3, in the Big 12 Championship Game. In the national title clash with defending champion USC, Young did it all in leading Texas to the victory. This Texas team had four consensus All-Americans and went on to send 24 players through the NFL Draft, while beating perhaps the best team to not win a national title since 1998.
Sept. 3: Texas 60, ULL 3
Sept. 10: Texas 25, (4) Ohio State 22
Sept. 17: Texas 51, Rice 10
Oct. 1: Texas 51, Missouri 20
Oct. 8: Texas 45, Oklahoma. 12
Oct. 15: Texas 42, (24) Colorado 17
Oct. 22: Texas 52, (10) Texas Tech 17
Oct. 29: Texas 47, Oklahoma State 28
Nov. 5: Texas 62, Baylor 0
Nov. 12: Texas 66, Kansas 14
Nov. 25: Texas 40, Texas A&M 29
Dec. 3: Texas 70, Colorado 3
Jan. 4: Texas 41, (1) USC 38
4. Florida State, 2013 (14-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
We are not so far removed from watching Florida State be the dominant force in college football. Jimbo Fisher’s best team since succeeding Bobby Bowden brought the Seminoles back to the national championship discussion with a dominant start to the year. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston got things started by jumping head first into the Heisman Trophy discussion after his debut performance on a Monday night at Pittsburgh, and it was off to the races from there. Florida State’s offense was filthy. The Florida State defense was nasty, holding opponents to 14 points or fewer 11 times before facing Duke in the ACC Championship Game. A win in Charlotte sent Florida State’s juggernaut squad off to Pasadena for a matchup with SEC champion Auburn. A 34-31 come-from-behind victory over the SEC champs (FSU was down 18 points at one point) provided the validation needed for Florida State’s perfect season and snapped the SEC’s winning streak in the BCS title game.
Sept 2: Florida State 41, Pitt 13
Sept. 14: Florida State 62, Nevada 7
Sept. 21: Florida State 54, Bethune-Cookman 6
Sept. 28: Florida State 48, Boston College 34
Oct. 5: Florida State 63, (25) Maryland 0
Oct. 19: Florida State 51, (3) Clemson 14
Oct. 26: Florida State 49, NC State 17
Nov. 2: Florida State 41, (7) Miami 14
Nov. 9: Florida State 59, Wake Forest 3
Nov. 16: Florida State 59, Syracuse 3
Nov. 23: Florida State 80, Idaho 14
Nov. 30: Florida State 37, Florida 7
Dec. 7: Florida State 45, (20) Duke 7
Jan. 6: Florida State 34, (2) Auburn 31
5. Alabama, 2009 (14-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Nick Saban was hired by Alabama to win and win big. It did not take long to deliver on that expectation. With Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram (the first Heisman winner in Alabama history) and steady Greg McElroy at quarterback, Alabama had the makings of a reliable offense, but it was Alabama’s defense that took the Crimson Tide to the next level. Alabama held three ranked SEC teams to fewer than 16 points on the way to Atlanta for a showdown with Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow and the No. 1 Florida Gators. This one was no match as Alabama squashed the Gators, 32-13, to advance to the national championship game, where it took out Texas quarterback Colt McCoy early on and never gave the Longhorns much of a chance. Alabama ended up sending 11 players through the first round of the NFL Draft in the years that followed.
Sept. 5: Alabama 34, (7) Virginia Tech 24
Sept. 12: Alabama 40, FIU 14
Sept. 19: Alabama 53, North Texas 7
Sept. 26: Alabama 35, Arkansas 7
Oct. 3: Alabama 38, Kentucky 20
Oct. 10: Alabama 22, (20) Ole Miss 3
Oct. 17: Alabama 20, (22) South Carolina 6
Oct. 24: Alabama 12, Tennessee 10
Nov. 7: Alabama 24, (9) LSU 15
Nov. 14: Alabama 31, Mississippi State 3
Nov. 21: Alabama 45, UT-Chattanooga 0
Nov. 27: Alabama 26, Auburn 21
Dec. 5: Alabama 32, (1) Florida 13
Jan. 7: Alabama 37, (2) Texas 21
6. Florida, 2008 (13-1, 7-1)
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
Florida jumped out to a nice 3-0 start in 2008 with big victories over Hawaii, Miami and Tennessee, but Ole Miss stunned the Gators in the swamp in the fourth game of the season. From that point on, Florida was unbeatable. With Tim Tebow energizing the team with his leadership, Florida went on a tear with a decisive victory over Arkansas, a 30-point blowout of No. 4 LSU, a 39-point win over No. 10 Georgia, 50-point victory over No. 24 South Carolina, a 30-point thumping of No. 23 Florida State and then an 11-point triumph over No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Against No. 2 Oklahoma, Florida pulled away for a 24-14 victory to wrap up the national title.
Aug. 30: Florida 56, Hawaii 10
Sept. 6: Florida 26, Miami 3
Sept. 20: Florida 30, Tennessee 6
Sept. 27: Ole Miss 31, Florida 30
Oct. 4: Florida 38, Arkansas 7
Oct. 11: Florida 51, (4) LSU 21
Oct. 25: Florida 63, Kentucky 5
Nov. 1: Florida 49, (8) Georgia 10
Nov. 8: Florida 42, Vanderbilt 14
Nov. 15: Florida 56, (24) South Carolina 6
Nov. 22: Florida 70, The Citadel 19
Nov. 29: Florida 45, (23) Florida State 15
Dec. 6: Florida 31, (1) Alabama 20
Jan. 8: Florida 24, (2) Oklahoma 14
7. Tennessee, 1998 (13-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Phillip Fulmer
The first national champion of the BCS Era came one year after Peyton Manning moved on to bigger and better things in the NFL. Tee Martin took over as quarterback and Phillip Fulmer had plenty of talent around Martin to put together a strong season with a strong backfield with Travis Henry and Jamal Lewis and Peerless Price catching passes. The Vols’ defense held nine opponents to 18 points or fewer while racking up five wins against top 25 teams, including a confidence-boosting 20-17 victory over Steve Spurrier and the Florida Gators. Paired up against Florida State in the BCS Championship Game, the Vols came out on top with a 23-16 win in the first BCS National Championship Game.
Sept. 5: Tennessee 34, (17) Syracuse 33
Sept. 19: Tennessee 20, (2) Florida 17
Sept. 26: Tennessee 42, Houston 7
Oct. 3: Tennessee 17, Auburn 9
Oct. 10: Tennessee 22, (7) Georgia 3
Oct. 24: Tennessee 35, Alabama 18
Oct. 31: Tennessee 49, South Carolina 14
Nov. 7: Tennessee 37, UAB 13
Nov. 14: Tennessee 28, (10) Arkansas 24
Nov. 21: Tennessee 59, Kentucky 21
Nov. 28: Tennessee 41, Vanderbilt 0
Dec. 5: Tennessee 24, (23) Mississippi State 14
Jan. 4: Tennessee 23, (2) Florida State 16
8. Alabama, 2011 (12-1, 7-1)
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Alabama took care of business left and right, whipping aside ranked opponents at ease – 27-11 vs. No. 23 Penn State, 38-14 vs. No. 14 Arkansas, 38-10 vs. No. 12 Florida – to remain on a collision course with division foe LSU. The much hyped Game of the Century between the top two teams in the country turned into a field goal extravaganza with Alabama coming up short, 9-6, in overtime in November. Little did we know at the time, these two teams would get a rare rematch in the BCS Championship Game despite Alabama not winning or playing for the SEC championship. Alabama, with a roster featuring nine first-round NFL Draft picks, would score their revenge in a big way by completely mastering LSU and keeping the Tigers from crossing the 50-yard line until the second half. This may have been Saban’s best defense.
Sept. 3: Alabama 48, Kent State 7
Sept. 10: Alabama 27, (23) Penn State 11
Sept. 17: Alabama 41, North Texas 0
Sept. 24: Alabama 38, (14) Arkansas 14
Oct. 1: Alabama 38, (12) Florida 10
Oct. 8: Alabama 34, Vanderbilt 0
Oct. 15: Alabama 52, Ole Miss 7
Oct. 22: Alabama 37, Tennessee 6
Nov. 5: (1) LSU 9, Alabama 6
Nov. 12: Alabama 24, Mississippi State 7
Nov. 19: Alabama 45, Georgia Southern 21
Nov. 26: Alabama 42, Auburn 14
Jan. 9: Alabama 21, (1) LSU 0
9. Oklahoma, 2000 (13-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
The revival of Oklahoma football hit full force in 2000 when the Sooners showed off a fully equipped offense with quarterback Josh Heupel and defense early on and scored major victories in October. Oklahoma’s key three-game stretch with wins over No. 11 Texas, No. 2 Kansas State and No. 3 Nebraska came by a combined score of 135-59. The Sooners later handed Kansas State another loss in the Big 12 Championship Game to clinch a spot in the BCS Championship Game against Florida State. Stoops’ defense shut down a potent FSU offense and Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke and scored a 13-2 victory for the national championship.
Sept. 2: Oklahoma 55, UTEP 14
Sept. 9: Oklahoma 45, Arkansas State 7
Sept. 23: Oklahoma 42, Rice 17
Sept. 30: Oklahoma 34, Kansas 16
Oct. 7: Oklahoma 63, (11) Texas 14
Oct. 14: Oklahoma 41, (2) Kansas State 31
Oct. 28: Oklahoma 31, (3) Nebraska 14
Nov. 4: Oklahoma 56, Baylor 7
Nov. 11: Oklahoma 35, (23) Texas A&M 31
Nov. 18: Oklahoma 27, Texas Tech 13
Nov. 25: Oklahoma 12, Oklahoma State 7
Dec. 2: Oklahoma 27, (8) Kansas State 24
Jan. 3: Oklahoma 13, (3) Florida State 2
10. Florida State, 1999 (12-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
With Chris Weinke and Peter Warrick on offense, few teams could handle Florida State’s offense. The Seminoles scored 40 points or more in each of their first five games, which included victories over No. 10 Georgia Tech and No. 20 NC State. A 31-21 victory over No. 19 Miami helped push Florida State on its championship drive, and a season-ending victory over No. 4 Florida locked Bobby Bowden’s squad into the championship game, where it managed to outlast Virginia Tech quarterback Mike Vick in the Sugar Bowl for a 46-29 victory. This was Bowden’s second national championship team.
Aug. 28: Florida State 41, Louisiana Tech 7
Sept. 11: Florida State 41, (10) Georgia Tech 35
Sept. 18: Florida State 42, (20) NC State 11
Sept. 25: Florida State 42, North Carolina 10
Oct. 2: Florida State 51, Duke 23
Oct. 9: Florida State 31, (19) Miami 21
Oct. 16: Florida State 33, Wake Forest 10
Oct. 23: Florida State 17, Clemson 10
Oct. 30: Florida State 35, Virginia 10
Nov. 13: Florida State 49, Maryland 10
Nov. 20: Florida State 30, (4) Florida 20
Jan. 4: Florida State 46, (2) Virginia Tech 29
11. Alabama, 2012 (13-1, 7-1)
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Coming off a national championship season with a loaded roster once again, Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide set the tone right out of the gate with a complete dismantling of No. 8 Michigan, 41-14, in Arlington. That was followed by two straight shutouts, including a 52-0 blasting of Arkansas. Everything was running smoothly for Alabama until a November afternoon when SEC newcomer Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel scored a wild upset in Tuscaloosa, but Alabama was one play away from avoiding the upset. Alabama remained in the national title hunt though and snuck back into the BCS Championship Game where it dominated and overpowered undefeated top-ranked Notre Dame, 42-14.
Sept. 1: Alabama 41, (8) Michigan 14
Sept. 8: Alabama 35, Western Kentucky 0
Sept. 15: Alabama 52, Arkansas 0
Sept. 22: Alabama 40, FAU 7
Sept. 29: Alabama 33, Ole Miss 14
Oct. 13: Alabama 42, Missouri 10
Oct. 20: Alabama 44, Tennessee 13
Oct. 27: Alabama 38, (13) Mississippi State 7
Nov. 3: Alabama 21, LSU 17
Nov. 10: (15) Texas A&M 29, Alabama 24
Nov. 17: Alabama 49, Western Carolina 0
Nov. 24: Alabama 49, Auburn 0
Dec. 1: Alabama 32, (3) Georgia 28
Jan. 7: Alabama 42, (1) Notre Dame 14
12. LSU, 2003 (13-1, 7-1)
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Before Nick Saban arrived on the scene to return Alabama to its place among college football’s elite, Saban’s first job in the SEC ended with a bang. In 2003, Saban’s LSU Tigers led the nation in defense and allowed just 11 points per game. With Joseph Addai running the football and a steady passing attack, the Tigers made their case for the rightful title of national champion with victories over four ranked teams in SEC play and a BCS championship victory over Oklahoma. LSU settled for a share of the national title after the AP gave USC its No. 1 spot, but nobody in Baton Rouge is complaining.
Aug. 30: LSU 49, UL Monroe 7
Sept. 6: LSU 59, Arizona 13
Sept. 13: LSU 35, Western Illinois 7
Sept. 20: LSU 17, (7) Georgia 10
Sept. 27: LSU 41, Mississippi State 6
Oct. 11: Florida 19, LSU 7
Oct. 18: LSU 33, South Carolina 7
Oct. 25: LSU 31, (17) Auburn 7
Nov. 1: LSU 49, Louisiana Tech 10
Nov. 15: LSU 27, Alabama 3
Nov. 22: LSU 17, (15) Ole Miss 14
Nov. 28: LSU 55, Arkansas 24
Dec. 6: LSU 34, (5) Georgia 13
Jan. 4: LSU 21, (3) Oklahoma 14
13. Auburn, 2010 (14-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Gene Chizik
Auburn’s national championship run may have been a flash in the pan, but it was an incredible flash in the pan. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton towered over the competition and was unbeatable and unflappable, but he was not alone. Auburn was loaded on defense, led by Nick Fairley. Teams could score on Auburn’s defense, but the Tiger offense was ticking with Newton’s Heisman run. The highest-scoring Auburn team in school history put 65 points on No. 12 Arkansas and rallied from a deep hole in the Iron Bowl against Alabama before dropping 56 points on No. 18 South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game. Auburn capped the 2010 season with a BCS Championship win over Chip Kelly and Oregon thanks in large part to Michael Dyer managing to defy gravity to keep a run alive.
Sept. 4: Auburn 52, Arkansas State 26
Sept. 9: Auburn 17, Mississippi State 14
Sept. 18: Auburn 27, Clemson 24
Sept. 25: Auburn 35, (12) South Carolina 27
Oct. 2: Auburn 52, UL Monroe 3
Oct. 9: Auburn 37, Kentucky 34
Oct. 16: Auburn 65, (12) Arkansas 43
Oct. 23: Auburn 24, (6) LSU 17
Oct. 30: Auburn 51, Ole Miss 31
Nov. 6: Auburn 62, UT-Chattanooga 24
Nov. 13: Auburn 28, (9) Alabama 27
Dec. 4: Auburn 56, (18) South Carolina 17
Jan. 10: Auburn 22, (2) Oregon 19
14. Ohio State, 2002 (14-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Jim Tressel
Today Ohio State is regularly in the national title mix, but it was not always that way. Jim Tressel changed the way we view Ohio State starting with the 2002 season. Fueled by freshman running back Maurice Clarett and a particularly strong defense, the Buckeyes rolled through their regular season schedule, which was highlighted along the way by a 25-7 victory over No. 10 Washington State, a 13-7 victory over No. 17 Penn State, a 34-3 win over No. 19 Minnesota and a 14-9 victory over No. 12 Michigan. That helped place Ohio State in the role of underdog against the defending national champions, the supremely talented No. 1 Miami Hurricanes, in a classic Fiesta Bowl overtime thriller. The game was not without controversy of course with a pass-interference call against the Hurricanes that is still intensely debated to this day, but Ohio State claimed the only BCS title by a Big Ten team nonetheless. This Ohio State team sent 14 players through the 2004 NFL Draft, in addition to five each in ’03 and ’05.
Aug. 24: Ohio State 45, Texas Tech 21
Sept. 7: Ohio State 51, Kent State 17
Sept. 14: Ohio State 25, (10) Washington State 7
Sept. 21: Ohio State 23, Cincinnati 19
Sept. 28: Ohio State 45, Indiana 17
Oct. 5: Ohio State 27, Northwestern 16
Oct. 12: Ohio State 50, San Jose State 7
Oct. 19: Ohio State 19, Wisconsin 14
Oct. 26: Ohio State 13, (17) Penn State 7
Nov. 2: Ohio State 34, (19) Minnesota 3
Nov. 9: Ohio State 10, Purdue 6
Nov. 16: Ohio State 23, Illinois 16
Nov. 23: Ohio State 14, (12) Michigan 9
Jan. 3: Ohio State 31, (1) Miami 24
15. Ohio State, 2014 (14-1, 8-0)
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
Ohio State’s most recent national championship managed to defy plenty of odds and naysayers. Of course, this also was the expectation when Ohio State hired Urban Meyer. After getting through a brief postseason ban and missing out on a Big Ten title the previous season, Meyer’s Buckeyes in 2014 were supposed to be one year away from competing for a national title. The preseason loss of Braxton Miller meant Ohio State had to work with a backup QB in J.T. Barrett for the majority of the season, and that inexperience may have cost Ohio State early on with a home loss to Virginia Tech. After the loss though, the Buckeyes went on a roll and scored their biggest wins at the perfect time. A 49-37 victory over No. 7 Michigan State thrust the Buckeyes back in the national title chase and a 59-0 blowout of No. 11 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game with Ezekiel Elliott and third-string QB Cardale Jones leading the way gave the Big Ten champs enough of a push to sneak past co-Big 12 champions Baylor and TCU for the fourth and final College Football Playoff spot. Ohio State then took out SEC champion Alabama and Nick Saban in the Sugar Bowl and pulled away from Pac-12 champion Oregon and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota to lay claim to the first College Football Playoff national championship.
Aug. 30: Ohio State 34, Navy 17
Sept. 6: Virginia Tech 35, Ohio State 21
Sept. 13: Ohio State 66, Kent State 0
Sept. 27: Ohio State 50, Cincinnati 28
Oct. 4: Ohio State 52, Maryland 24
Oct. 18: Ohio State 56, Rutgers 17
Oct. 25: Ohio State 31, Penn State 24 (2OT)
Nov. 1: Ohio State 55, Illinois 14
Nov. 8: Ohio State 49, (7) Michigan State 37
Nov. 15: Ohio State 31, Minnesota 24
Nov. 22: Ohio State 42, Indiana 27
Nov. 29: Ohio State 42, Michigan 28
Dec. 6: Ohio State 59, (11) Wisconsin 0
Jan. 1: Ohio State 42, (1) Alabama 35
Jan. 12: Ohio State 42 (2) Oregon 20
16. Alabama, 2015 (14-1, 7-1)
Head Coach: Nick Saban
The 2015 Alabama Crimson Tide grew from a losing experience the previous two seasons. Two years ago Alabama had been trounced by Oklahoma and in the first year of the College Football Playoff top-seeded Alabama was taken out by a red-hot Ohio State. In 2015, Alabama finished the job it could not do either of the previous two seasons. Despite an early loss to Ole Miss, Alabama used the best offensive line in the country to protect Heisman Trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry and let the nation’s best front seven handle business on defense. Alabama racked up a big season-opening win against No. 20 Wisconsin in Arlington (35-17), destroyed No. 8 Georgia in Athens (38-10) and dismantled No. 4 LSU and derailed Leonard Fournette’s Heisman campaign while laying the final pieces of the track for Henry’s run. This time the Playoff would see a different ending with a complete manhandling of Big Ten champion Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl (38-0) and a thrilling 45-40 victory over No. 1 and previously unbeaten Clemson despite a performance for the ages from Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson. This win saw Nick Saban call a perfectly timed and executed onside kick to help seize the momentum and his Crimson Tide charges showed the ability to break big plays in the clutch to grab Saban’s fourth national title in seven years at Alabama. Saban is responsible for five of the national titles on this list.
Sept. 5: Alabama 35, (20) Wisconsin 17
Sept. 12: Alabama 37, Middle Tennessee 10
Sept. 19: (15) Ole Miss 43, Alabama 37
Sept. 26: Alabama 34, UL Monroe 0
Oct. 3: Alabama 38, (8) Georgia 10
Oct. 10: Alabama 27, Arkansas 14
Oct. 17: Alabama 41, (9) Texas A&M 23
Oct. 24: Alabama 19, Tennessee 14
Nov. 7: Alabama 30, (4) LSU 16
Nov. 14: Alabama 31, (20) Mississippi State 6
Nov. 21: Alabama 56, Charleston Southern 6
Nov. 28: Alabama 29, Auburn 13
Dec. 5: Alabama 29, (18) Florida 15
Dec. 31: Alabama 38, (3) Michigan State 0
Jan. 11: Alabama 45, (1) Clemson 40
College Football Podcast: Alabama-Clemson Recap
17. Florida, 2006 (13-1, 7-1)
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
The rise of the Tim Tebow hype train hit its stride in 2006, but the Gators had more to offer than just Tebow. Florida’s stacked defense with Derrick Harvey, Reggie Nelson and Jarvis Moss set the tone every time the Gators stepped on the field. The Gators were tripped up once during the regular season, by Auburn, but Florida scored victories over ranked Tennessee, LSU and Georgia to remain in the hunt for a national title shot. A victory over Florida State followed by a 38-28 win against No. 8 Arkansas placed Florida in the BCS Championship Game as a significant underdog against the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the Gators’ defense treated Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith like a rag doll, sacking him five times and limiting him to just 35 yards through the air.
Sept. 2: Florida 34, Southern Miss 7
Sept. 9: Florida 42, UCF 0
Sept. 16: Florida 21, (13) Tennessee 20
Sept. 23: Florida 26, Kentucky 7
Sept. 30: Florida 28, Alabama 13
Oct. 7: Florida 23, (9) LSU 10
Oct. 14: (11) Auburn 27, Florida 17
Oct. 28: Florida 21, (25) Georgia 14
Nov. 4: Florida 25, Vanderbilt 19
Nov. 11: Florida 17, South Carolina 16
Nov. 18: Florida 62, Western Carolina 0
Nov. 25: Florida 21, Florida State 14
Dec. 2: Florida 38, (8) Arkansas 28
Jan. 8: Florida 41, (1) Ohio State 14
18. LSU Tigers, 2007 (12-2, 6-2)
Head Coach: Les Miles
The 2007 LSU Tigers were the only national champion since the start of the BCS era to win a national title with two losses, but LSU more than made up for it with an impressive list of victories. That included a 48-7 shelling of No. 9 Virginia Tech and victories over No. 14 South Carolina, No. 7 Florida, No. 19 Auburn and No. 18 Alabama. The only losses suffered by LSU each came in triple overtime, against Kentucky and Arkansas. LSU still managed to sneak into the BCS Championship Game following an SEC title game victory over No. 15 Tennessee as chaos captivated the college football world. Against No. 1 Ohio State, LSU quarterback Matt Flynn tossed four touchdowns and the defense shut down the Buckeyes enough for a 38-24 national championship victory for Les Miles.
Aug. 30: LSU 45, Mississippi State 0
Sept. 8: LSU 48, (9) Virginia Tech 7
Sept. 15: LSU 44, Middle Tennessee 0
Sept. 22: LSU 28, (14) South Carolina 16
Sept. 29: LSU 34, Tulane 9
Oct. 6: LSU 28, (7) Florida 24
Oct. 13: (18) Kentucky 43, LSU 37 (3 OT)
Oct. 20: LSU 30, (19) Auburn 24
Nov. 3: LSU 41, (18) Alabama 34
Nov. 10: LSU 58, Louisiana Tech 10
Nov. 17: LSU 41, Ole Miss 24
Nov. 23: Arkansas 50, LSU 48 (3 OT)
Dec. 1: LSU 21, (15) Tennessee 14
Jan. 7: LSU 38, (1) Ohio State 24
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. McGuire also writes for CollegeFootballTalk.com and hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
Numbers and statistics are a huge part of college football. Every week during the regular season, reading updated box scores and stats is like Christmas for fans and media members. Some stats like total offense and total defense are overrated, but each help paint a picture for a team or particular game. The same can be said after bowl games. While postseason matchups are just one game in sample size of around 13 contests, the bowl games often produce plenty of interesting or intriguing totals. Additionally, the bowl season often allows players to reach various statistical milestones they couldn't hit with just 12 regular season matchups.
Whether the stats are historic, advanced or just an observation from a box score, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the college football bowl action:
20 Amazing College Football Stats from the 2015-16 Bowl Season
4: National Titles by Alabama Under Nick Saban
Alabama’s 45-40 victory over Clemson in the national championship secured the Crimson Tide’s fourth title in seven seasons. And the list of accomplishments and accolades for coach Nick Saban continues to grow, as Alabama has won at least 10 games in eight consecutive seasons and has not finished lower than 10th in the final Associated Press poll during that span.
4,000/1,000: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson Sets FBS Record
Thanks to a monster performance in the national title (478 overall yards), Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson became the first player in FBS history to reach 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
51: Clemson’s Streak of Wins When Leading Into Fourth Quarter
Alabama’s outstanding special teams play helped to lead a 24-point fourth quarter in the national championship, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 45-40 victory. The fourth-quarter performance by Alabama ended Clemson’s streak of wins (51) when leading going into the final 15 minutes.
31: TCU Ties Largest Rally in Bowl History
The odds were stacked against TCU in the Alamo Bowl with starting quarterback Trevone Boykin suspended and a 31-0 deficit at halftime on the scoreboard. However, behind backup quarterback Bram Kohlhausen – and a sluggish Oregon offense without its quarterback Vernon Adams – the Horned Frogs scored 31 unanswered points in regulation to tie (Texas Tech, 2006 Insight Bowl) the largest comeback in bowl history.
645: Baylor Sets Bowl Record for Most Rushing Yards in Single Game
Injuries hit Baylor’s offense hard in the final month of the season, leaving coach Art Briles’ team without quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham and Seth Russell, along with All-America receiver Corey Coleman for the Russell Athletic Bowl matchup against North Carolina. While Russell, Stidham and Coleman were missed, Briles and his staff showed why they are one of the best in the nation by tweaking the offense to fit the personnel available for the bowl game. The Bears gashed North Carolina for 645 rushing yards – a FBS bowl record – on 84 attempts. Johnny Jefferson led the way with 299 rushing yards, while Devin Chafin (161) and Terence Williams (97) also made key contributions.
88: Career Touchdowns by Navy QB Keenan Reynolds
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds clinched his spot in FBS history in the Midshipmen’s 44-28 victory over Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl. Reynolds completed 9 of 17 passes for 126 yards and one score and added 144 rushing yards and there touchdowns on the ground. Reynolds ends his career in Annapolis with 88 career touchdowns, which is the most by a player in FBS history.
87: Career Touchdowns by Louisiana Tech RB Kenneth Dixon
Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon finished his prolific career in Ruston with 87 overall touchdowns – just one short of Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Dixon rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns and caught six passes for 113 yards and two scores in Louisiana Tech’s 47-28 win over Arkansas State in the New Orleans Bowl.
3,017: Michigan QB Jake Rudock’s Season Passing Yardage Total
Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock capped a solid season with a standout performance in the Wolverines’ 41-7 victory over Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Rudock threw for 278 yards and three scores against the Gators, which pushed his season yardage total to 3,017. Rudock is just the second quarterback in school history to reach 3,000 passing yards in a single season.
625/10: Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott’s Rushing Yards and TDs in Bowl Career
Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott only received carries in three bowl games during his career, but he made the most of his opportunities. In those three contests – 2015 Sugar Bowl, National Championship against Oregon and 2016 Fiesta Bowl), Elliott recorded 625 rushing yards and 10 scores.
50-4: Ohio State’s Record Over Last Four Seasons
Ohio State’s senior class closed a prolific four-year run with a victory over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. The win over the Fighting Irish gave the Buckeyes' senior class a 50-4 mark over the last four seasons, which ties Boise State (2008-11) for the most victories in a four-year span.
0.6: Northern Illinois’ Average Yards Per Play Against Boise State
Boise State thoroughly dominated Northern Illinois in a 55-7 rout in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Broncos limited the Huskies to seven first downs, 0.6 average on yards per play, generated five sacks and allowed zero offensive plays longer than 12 yards.
9,000/2,500: Miss. State QB Dak Prescott’s Career Totals Enter FBS Record Book
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott finished his career as only the fourth player in FBS history to pass for more than 9,000 yards and rush for over 2,500. The other three quarterbacks? Florida’s Tim Tebow, Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick.
100: Tennessee RB Jalen Hurd Sets School Bowl Record
Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd became the first player in school history to eclipse 100 rushing yards in two bowl games. Hurd recorded 130 yards and one score against Northwestern this season and rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts against Iowa last year.
200: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson Joins Elite Company With 200/200 Performance
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is a rising star to watch for 2016, as the true freshman eclipsed 200 passing yards and 200 rushing yards in the Cardinals’ 27-21 win over Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl. Jackson is only the third player in FBS history to reach that mark in a bowl. Additionally, Jackson’s 226 rushing yards against the Aggies is the second most by a quarterback in a bowl.
3: Consecutive 1,000-Yard Seasons by Arkansas RB Alex Collins
Arkansas running back Alex Collins finished his career in Fayetteville with a standout performance (185 yards and three scores) against Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. The junior is off early to the NFL, but his career ends at Arkansas with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Collins is only the third player in SEC history to reach 1,000 rushing yards in three consecutive years.
123-16: Final Scores in Northwestern’s Three Losses in 2015 Season
Northwestern won 10 games for the fourth time in school history this season, but the Wildcats were easily handled (123-16) in their three losses.
368: Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey Sets Rose Bowl Record for All-Purpose Yards
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey gashed Iowa for 368 all-purpose yards in the 45-16 Rose Bowl victory for the Cardinal. McCaffrey rushed for 172 yards, caught four passes for 105 yards and added 91 overall yards on returns. The 368 all-purpose yards by McCaffrey were the most in a Rose Bowl.
55: Virginia Tech Sets Bowl Record With 55 Points Against Tulsa
Frank Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech ended on a high note. The Hokies defeated Tulsa 55-52 to send the retiring coach out with a victory and finish the 2015 season at 7-6 overall. The 55 points scored by Virginia Tech in the Independence Bowl were the most by the Hokies in their bowl history.
3: Wins By 5-7 Teams in the Bowl Season
Allowing 5-7 teams to participate in bowl games wasn’t necessarily the most popular idea, but teams with a losing record weren’t fazed by the chatter. Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State won their postseason matchups, moving 5-7 teams to 3-0 in bowl games this year.
1: Akron and Western Michigan Win First Bowl Games in School History
Akron edged Utah State 23-21 in a defensive battle in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 22. The victory over the Aggies was the Zips’ first bowl win in program history and propelled Akron to its highest win total (eight) since joining the FBS level. Western Michigan defeated MTSU 45-31 in the Bahamas Bowl to also earn the first postseason victory in program history.
* After losing only 10 turnovers in the regular season, Florida State lost five in its loss against Houston in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
* West Virginia and Arizona State combined for 85 points and 1,196 yards in the Cactus Bowl.
* USC recorded only 286 yards of total offense against Wisconsin in the 23-21 Holiday Bowl loss. The 286 yards were the fewest by the Trojans in 2015.
* Florida managed only 28 total yards in the second half of its Citrus Bowl loss to Michigan.
* Michigan State recorded a season-low 29 rushing yards in the Cotton Bowl loss against Alabama.
* Clemson’s defense recorded 18 tackles for a loss in its playoff games against Oklahoma and Alabama.
* Ole Miss’ victory over Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl gave the program its first double-digit win total (10) since 2003.
* Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel threw for a career-high 458 yards in the program’s bowl win over Arkansas State.
* WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty ended a prolific career with a huge performance in the Miami Beach Bowl victory over USF. Doughty threw for 461 yards and three scores and completed 32 of 44 passes against the Bulls. Doughty threw a touchdown pass in 28 consecutive games to end his career.
* LSU averaged 10.3 yards per play in its 56-27 victory over Texas Tech. The 10.3 mark is only the second time since 2008 the Tigers averaged double digits in yards per play.
* Three Duke players rushed for over 100 yards in the Pinstripe Bowl victory over Indiana.
* Nebraska recorded 326 rushing yards in its Foster Farms Bowl win over UCLA. That’s the highest mark for the Cornhuskers under new coach Mike Riley.
* MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill set the FBS record (327) for most completions by a freshman in a single season.
* Georgia Southern rushed for seven touchdowns in its 58-27 bowl win over Bowling Green.
* Auburn’s defense held Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch to 108 passing yards in the Birmingham Bowl. The 108 passing yards are the fewest by Lynch against a FBS opponent in 2015.
The Lords of the National Football League have decided one fan base, and possibly two, that care about their pro football teams should lose them in favor of a market that does not.
The reason, we will be told, is the venues the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders play in are no longer suited for pro football, the fans and communities that supported these franchises and made their owners rich be damned.
But after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ violent 18-16 AFC wild-card game victory against the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday night, perhaps the Edward Jones Dome, Qualcomm Stadium, and O.co Coliseum aren’t the only venues that should be viewed as obsolete.
Football fans are odd birds. If somebody asked you to pay more than $100 dollars for the “privilege” to sit in the cold rain for hours among 63,257 angry people and on top of that pay obscenely inflated prices for concessions and parking, you’d ask if their next proposition was for the sale of magic beans.
But throw “supporting your football team” into the equation, and we can’t wait to take out our credit cards for this fleecing!
I know. I’ve had Pittsburgh Steelers season tickets for 20 years.
As such, I can make these legitimate requests. First, the franchise of my choice stay in the metropolitan area I desire, and two, that the venue I attend be safe.
And to be safe, I need to be protected from the elements.
Much has been said about the violence both on and off the field at Paul Brown Stadium last Saturday, but doesn’t it stand to reason that after being soaked in a cold rain, both fans and players would become unpleasant?
Now throw in the fact the game lasts three and a half hours because of the excessive penalties and incomplete passes that occur from playing in such an environment and the drama and circumstances of the game. While the violence that occurred, be it Vontaze Burfict’s late hit on Antonio Brown or the six fan arrests and bottles thrown onto the field, should not be condoned, it cannot be unexpected.
And it could have been prevented if Paul Brown Stadium was equipped with stadia technology that has been around since 1961.
That was the year Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena became the first sports venue to be built with a retractable roof.
Now it’s 2016. Why isn’t every stadium built this way?
Yes, some are. But 25 of the current venues used regularly for NFL games have been built in the last 30 years. Of them, only seven were or will be built with roofs, retractable or otherwise, and the Edward Jones Dome could be replaced by an outdoor venue if the Rams somehow moved to the Carson, Calif., site.
Yes, the list will grow to eight once the Vikings move into U.S. Bank Stadium for the 2016 season. Throw the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (built in 1975) and the list increases to nine.
That only means in 2016, more than a half-century after indoor sports venues were created, more than two-thirds of NFL venues ask their fans to sit in and players to play in the elements, be it cold, heat or precipitation.
Somehow, in a world in which a stadium is obsolete because it doesn’t have enough luxury boxes, keeping the vast majority of fans in a comfortable and safe environment is forgotten.
Yes, I understand the romanticism of football being played in the elements. The most famous game in NFL history is probably the “Ice Bowl” because of the minus-15 degree temperature it was played in.
There was also a fan at Lambeau Field that died of exposure that day. We seem to forget that.
Times have changed. The mud-caked uniform is a thing of the past. Just two years ago some critics were lamenting a Super Bowl being played outside in the New York City metropolitan area, fearing the weather would potentially affect the game and the players the way it certainly did in Cincinnati Saturday night. It’s why former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle wanted the Super Bowl played indoors or in warm weather.
Why not every game?
While it’s not practical to, say, construct some sort of climate dome over all existing open-air stadiums immediately, insisting new stadiums be built with retractable roofs is. At the very least, this would mean more comfortable, safer environments for the players and fans alike, not just the elite in luxury boxes.
In return, Personal Seat Licenses and tickets could easily command greater prices, benefiting the ruling class as well.
And the violence in the stands and on the field that occurred in Cincinnati would be significantly decreased.
— Written by Marky Billson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. An experienced beat reporter and sports writer, Billson began contributing to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2000. He has covered the Steelers, Pitt Panthers, MLB and more during his career. Follow him on Twitter @MarkyBillson.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Braden Gall, Mitch Light and David Fox recap Alabama's thrilling win over Clemson for the 2015 National Championship.
- Who was Alabama's MVP?
- Did special teams win Bama the game?
- Where does Nick Saban rank historically against Bear Bryant and others?
- Where does this Bama team rank against Saban's other title winners?
- Where will Lane Kiffin be coaching next fall?
- What will Clemson's squad look like in 2016?
-The guys also offer up some replacements (some serious and others not so much) for Jeff Long as the Committee Chairman.
- And a quick look at the first weekend of action in 2016 already has the gang fired up.
Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com/podcast, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.
For the most part, people are in agreeance that the Alabama-Clemson game was one for the ages.
It was entertaining, competitive, and had a little something in it for everybody. Despite all of that, ratings were still down. On "The Herd with Colin Cowherd", the host had an interesting theory and stated that people are simply bored with Alabama's dominance. Not too long ago Herd called the Crimson Tide the "Wal-Mart of college football", what ever that means.
"Not all dynasties are the same," Cowherd said. "America is bored with this dynasty."
As the final piece of confetti dropped to the University of Phoenix Stadium turf Monday, another college football season officially concluded. Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s fifth national championship since the 2003 season gave the ’15 campaign an ending that felt an awful lot like many of those written in the last 12 years.
But 2015 was hardly a repeat of seasons past, as the year’s bowl season proved. An unprecedented number of bowls -- 41 -- and the second season of the College Football Playoff made for new storylines. Some of the subplots that closed out this season write the early chapters for the 2016 campaign.
WINNER: Viewers of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game
Fans’ lasting memory of the 2015 college football season will be Monday’s national title tilt between Alabama and Clemson, a matchup fit for the sport’s biggest stage.
The Crimson Tide’s win was the most competitive national championship since Florida State and Auburn two seasons ago, but played at a much higher level for the duration. The final-minute finish brought back memories of the last title game played in Arizona, the 2011 BCS Championship Game between Oregon and Auburn. However, Monday’s contest provided more excitement for the full 60 minutes.
Alabama-Clemson was arguably the best national championship game since the epic 2006 Rose Bowl between USC and Texas. From the torrid, back-and-forth pace, to star players Derrick Henry and Deshaun Watson showing up in a big way, this year’s championship had everything a viewer could want.
LOSER: TV Executives
The potential challenges of hosting the College Football Playoff semifinal matchups on New Year’s Eve were a hot topic throughout the 2015 offseason, and the concerns of naysayers were confirmed when the Orange and Cotton Bowls returned viewership ratings almost six points below the previous year. The Cotton Bowl drew a rating of 9.9, the Orange a 9.3.
In contrast, last season’s Sugar Bowl semifinal between Ohio State and Alabama garnered a 15.3 viewership. The Florida-State Oregon Rose Bowl Game scored a 15.5. Initial reports following Monday’s championship suggest the lag in viewership carried over to the finale.
Source: Last night's CFP championship game pulled a 15.8 overnight rating on ESPN, down 15 percent from last year.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) January 12, 2016
The 2016 editions of the Rose and Sugar Bowl drew record highs this season, per SportsTVRatings.com, but the Playoff is Disney’s centerpiece. To that end, BroadcastingCable.com reports ESPN owes advertisers $20 million in lost revenue for the New Year’s Eve setback.
WINNER: The SEC
The 2015 regular season was not good to the SEC. Though Alabama was dominant much of the season, the conference lacked another standout team, as evidenced by losses to The Citadel, Toledo, Texas Tech, Memphis and an especially painful missed opportunity against Oklahoma, as well as near-misses versus Georgia Southern and Florida Atlantic.
Bowl season was the cure-all for college football’s most boisterous conference, however. A combined 9-2 record, capped with Alabama’s 45-40 defeat of Clemson in the national championship game, gave SEC proponents reason to puff their chests after a humbling few months, dating back to the 2014-15 bowl season.
LOSER: The Rest of the Power 5
The four Power 5 conferences not named the SEC had varying degrees of success in bowl season. The Pac-12 finished above .500 with its record 10 postseason participants, but Jan. 2 losses by Arizona State and Oregon denied the Conference of Champions a boastful offseason at 6-4.
Arizona State and Oregon’s setbacks were the Big 12’s gain, but West Virginia and TCU winning on what was ostensibly the last day of bowl season only improved the conference to 3-4 overall.
The Big Ten finished, appropriately, an even 5-5. A .500 mark isn’t exactly terrible, and the conference scored some impressive victories. Nebraska, Ohio State and Michigan were all dominant against high-profile opponents. However, Northwestern and Michigan State’s lopsided losses to the SEC ensure a spring and summer of negative narrative about the once-burgeoning Big Ten revival.
WINNER: Nebraska and the Rest of the 5-7 Teams
The proliferation of bowl games in 2015 left more postseason invitations than eligible teams. Three 5-7 regular-season finishers -- Minnesota, Nebraska and San Jose State -- all received bowl invites, the most ever in a single season. And all made good on their unlikely opportunities.
Nebraska scored the most impressive win of the trio, dominating a UCLA team that was just a few weeks removed from an 8-3 mark and top 20 ranking. The Cornhuskers used a 326-yard rushing onslaught to wear down the Bruin defense in a 37-29 win. Nine different Nebraska ball carriers toted the rock for positive yardage in the deluge.
With its impressive bowl victory, Nebraska set a positive tone for head coach Mike Riley’s second season.
Fellow 5-7 finishers San Jose State and Minnesota defeated Georgia State and Central Michigan, respectively. Both used stout defensive efforts to give their head coaches, Ron Caragher and Tracy Claeys, their first career bowl wins.
The Bruins’ Foster Farms Bowl loss to Nebraska concluded a final month collapse, which began with a home defeat against Washington State. Rebounding at Utah put UCLA in position to reach the Pac-12 Championship Game, but head coach Jim Mora’s first career loss to rival USC denied the Bruins a shot at the Rose Bowl Game.
The egg laid in the Foster Farms Bowl compounded UCLA’;s season-ending disappointment. The Bruins did not receive a single vote in the final Associated Press Top 25, the first time in Mora’s four seasons as head coach they garnered zero poll support to conclude the campaign.
WINNER: The Heisman Trophy
Heisman Hangover is a mythical affliction that can impact both winners -- Troy Smith and Sam Bradford come to mind -- and finalists alike. Manti Te’o’s BCS National Championship Game flop is a notable, recent example.
In this year’s postseason, however, all three Heisman finalists produced at the highest level. Winner Derrick Henry rumbled to 158 yards and three touchdowns to cap his campaign, while runners-up Deshaun Watson and Christian McCaffrey played arguably the best games of their illustrious careers in bowls.
Watson passed for 405 yards and four touchdowns, and rushed for another 73 yards in Monday night’s national title game. McCaffrey electrified the Rose Bowl with 368 yards of total offense, scoring on the first play from the scrimmage with a 75-yard reception. He later returned a punt for a touchdown, making him just the third player in college football history to score via run, pass, reception, kickoff return and punt return in the same season.
LOSER: Bowl Game Matchups
This year’s bowl season was plagued by a number of bad matchups, which made for some lopsided contests. The Jan. 2 shootouts between TCU-Oregon and Arizona State-West Virginia saved what was a brutal run in the post-Christmas bowl games. Sixteen of the contests played between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 were decided by double digits.
The frustrating part for many observers is that more intriguing matchup possibilities existed. A Rose Bowl Game pitting Stanford against Ohio State, and a Fiesta Bowl featuring Notre Dame vs. Iowa likely would have produced more competitive games.
While Michigan was rocking Florida, and Tennessee was beginning its hype for 2016 with a rout of Northwestern, one couldn’t help but wonder how a Wolverines-Volunteers or Wildcats-Gators game might have gone.
WINNER: Keenan Reynolds and Kenneth Dixon
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds and Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon were engaged in a season-long chase for the NCAA career record in touchdowns from scrimmage. Former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball set the record in 2012, leaving Madison with 83.
Dixon surpassed Ball on the first night of bowl season, scoring four times -- twice on the ground and twice on receptions -- in Louisiana Tech’s defeat of Arkansas State. His four scores gave Dixon a final career tally of 87.
Having established a new record at the end of the regular season, Reynolds again set a new mark in the Military Bowl with three rushing touchdowns. He exits college football with a remarkable 88 touchdowns scored from scrimmage, all of which came via the run -- another NCAA record. And, were that not impressive enough, Reynolds set the new career touchdown mark in a game wherein he led in passing yards, rushing yards and receiving yards.
LOSER: Kenneth Dixon’s Jersey
En route to his record-setting night, Dixon had to change out of his No. 28 when the stitching was ripped out. When he broke the record, Dixon was actually sans number.
WINNER: Frank Beamer
Frank Beamer’s legacy at Virginia Tech is virtually unparalleled. In an era of coaches jumping for more attractive opportunities, be it the NFL or with programs offering more prominent stages, Beamer remained committed to Blacksburg for nearly three decades.
It’s only fitting Beamer said farewell on a high note.
His Hokies outlasted Tulsa in the Independence Bowl, 55-52, one of the most exciting of the postseason entries.
LOSER: The American Athletic Conference
Beamer’s replacement, Justin Fuente, engineered a minor miracle with his quick turnaround of Memphis. However, without its head coach, a dream season that included brief flirtations with the New Year’s Six (if not a Playoff bid) came to a disappointing conclusion in a 31-10 loss to Auburn.
Reggis Ball was dismissed from the program shortly after the game, the result of his stealing the game ball from an equipment manager.
Memphis’ loss was one of six for the American Athletic Conference. The league enjoyed a great regular season, scoring wins over such opponents as Ole Miss and Penn State. However, bowl losses for Memphis, Temple, South Florida, Tulsa, Connecticut and Cincinnati put an unfitting bow on an otherwise strong campaign.
Only Navy and Houston won, but Houston’s bowl victory was a biggie.
WINNER: Houston Cougars
The Group of 5 is now 2-0 in New Year’s Six bowls, thanks to Houston’s dominant, 38-24 defeat of Florida State. The Cougars capped a 13-1 season ranked No. 8 in the final AP Poll, and the retention of head coach Tom Herman for another year promises big things for the program.
Houston returns star, dual-threat quarterback Greg Ward Jr. in 2016, making it the team to beat in the American once again. With a schedule that includes Oklahoma and Louisville, Houston could build a resume impressive enough to threaten crashing the College Football Playoff, should the Cougars navigate 2016 undefeated -- something no team could do in ’15 after Clemson’s loss to Alabama.
Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship loss to Alabama will linger. But very soon those around the Clemson football program will look forward to 2016. And when they do, there will be reason for great optimism.
The best quarterback in the country will be back. With him will be almost all of the skill position talent and the return of perhaps the team’s most dangerous weapon. On the other side of the ball, the coordinator has proven that he knows how to rebuild a defense with new parts.
Here is what Clemson eyes will be spying this offseason following a remarkable journey that came up just a bit short.
QB Deshaun Watson
RB Wayne Gallman
WR Artavis Scott
WR Ray-Ray McCloud
WR Germone Hopper
WR Hunter Renfrow
TE Jordan Leggett
OT Mitch Hyatt
C Jay Guillermo
OG Tyrone Crowder
WR Charone Peake
OT Joe Gore
OG Eric Mac Lain
DE Kevin Dodd
DT Carlos Watkins
DT Christian Wilkins
LB Ben Boulware
S T.J. Green
S Jayron Kearse (may leave early for the NFL)
CB Cordrea Tankersley
CB Mackensie Alexander (may leave early for the NFL)
DE Shaq Lawson
DT D.J. Reader
LB B.J. Goodson
LB/S Travis Blanks
Three Offseason Storylines to Watch
1. The Health of Mike Williams
The Clemson offense was extremely potent this year, right until the very end. It’s scary to think what it could have been had Williams not broken a bone in his neck when he crashed into the goal post in the first quarter of the season’s opening game. When healthy, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Williams is a big-play threat that is capable of adding another dimension to the Tigers’ already high-powered offense. Williams may not participate all that much in the spring practices, but he has been making steady progress and his every move from now until the season opener against Auburn will be closely monitored.
2. Young Defenders Stepping Forward
Clemson lost nine starters off of the 2014 defense... and the unit got better. The Tigers will again lose several key members of a stalwart defense, especially if underclassmen expected to return instead opt for the NFL. Can defensive coordinator Brent Venables work his magic once again? Perhaps, but it may be an even greater challenge the second time around. While this year’s defense was statistically better than the 2014 group, the depth is not the same due to the losses following last season. That means that aren’t as many seasoned replacements waiting in the wings. This offseason will be the time for young players like Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant and Adrian Baker to show that they can be part of the next wave of great Clemson defenders.
3. Managing Expectations
Despite losing some key contributors, Clemson will again be ranked among the nation’s elite. Despite the title game loss, the Tigers are now the hunted. This is new territory for Dabo Swinney’s crew, a team that thrived on being the young upstarts. Deshaun Watson will go into the season as a leading Heisman candidate after finishing third this season. It’s not easy. The team will hear all winter, spring, and summer about how good it will be next fall. Swinney has to convince his players not to buy into the hype.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.
The postseason college football format might be new, but the results for Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide remain the same. Alabama snagged its first national championship of the College Football Playoff era Monday night, defeating No. 1 Clemson 45-40 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Saban’s standing as college football’s preeminent coach becomes even more solidified as the win earned him his fifth national title overall, and his fourth with the Crimson Tide. As long as he lingers in Tuscaloosa, it’s safe to say that Alabama will remain a title contender. Can the Tide, however, withstand yet another mass exodus of talent and punch a ticket to an encore national championship performance in 2016?
Let’s take a look at the key returnees, departures and questions facing the team next season:
RB Bo Scarbrough
WR Calvin Ridley
WR ArDarius Stewart
TE O.J. Howard (he could leave early for NFL)
LT Cam Robinson
LG Ross Pierschbacher
QB Jake Coker
RB Derrick Henry
RB Kenyan Drake
WR Richard Mullaney
C Ryan Kelly
DE Da’Shawn Hand
DE Dalvin Tomlinson
LB Reuben Foster (he could leave early)
LB Tim Williams (he could leave early)
CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
CB Marlon Humphrey
DT A’Shawn Robinson
DE Jonathan Allen
DE Jarran Reed
LB Reggie Ragland
LB Reuben Foster
CB Cyrus Jones
S Geno Matias-Smith
Three Offseason Storylines to Watch
1. Life without Derrick Henry
The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner leaves Tuscaloosa as the SEC’s and Crimson Tide’s all-time leading rusher. Alabama is hardly unfamiliar with this predicament. The Tide have been able to successfully insert replacements for each of its outgoing backs throughout the Saban era. But losing Henry will have an impact. Bo Scarbrough is the likely recipient to carry his baton. Scarbrough’s hulking size (6-2, 240) quickly draw comparisons to his predecessor. Scarbrough carried 18 times for 104 yards and a touchdown this season. He also saw action in Alabama’s Cotton Bowl victory over Michigan State where he rushed for 17 yards on three attempts. Behind Scarbrough are rising sophomore and former five-star recruit Damien Harris, and former four-star recruit Desherrius Flowers. Flowers rejoined Alabama this month after being ruled ineligible in 2015.
2. New Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt
For the first time in nine seasons, a new defensive coordinator will join the Crimson Tide coaching staff as Kirby Smart has departed for Georgia. The move paves the way for Pruitt to return to Tuscaloosa after stints at Georgia and Florida State. Although Saban’s defensive wizardry will continue to command the respect of opposing coaches, one can’t help but wonder just how much the loss of college football’s highest-paid coordinator will impact the Tide. Pruitt should have no problem adjusting to the pressure cooker that is Alabama football, as he guided the Seminoles’ defense to the 2014 BCS National Championship in his first year as Florida State’s defensive coordinator. Pruitt’s also a fierce recruiter who will make an immediate impact on the recruiting trail.
3. Who Emerges as Alabama’s Long-term Quarterback?
For all of Alabama’s accomplishments during its current run, the quarterback position is one spot that has largely underwhelmed. That should change. There are several highly regarded signal-callers on the Tide’s roster that could transform Alabama’s reputation for producing NFL-talent quarterbacks. Rising redshirt junior Cooper Bateman earned the first start of his career in Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss. He went on to complete 37 passes for 291 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in 2015. Bateman will compete with youngsters David Cornwell and Blake Barnett for the starting job next season. Barnett, a Southern California native, is the early favorite to push Bateman for the starting job next season.
— Written by Elton Hayes, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. A Washington, D.C.-based sports writer, Hayes is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and he also has been an invited guest on “The Paul Finebaum Show.” Follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)
College football’s 2015-16 bowl season is officially over. A whopping 41 postseason games dotted the schedule this year, with Alabama edging Clemson 45-40 for the national championship on Monday night. The Crimson Tide’s close victory over the Tigers and entertaining title game made up for a few blowouts in the New Year’s Six matchups. However, the bowl season produced plenty of entertaining games, including TCU’s 47-41 triple-overtime victory over Oregon, Duke’s 44-41 overtime win against Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl, and the West Virginia-Arizona State shootout in the Cactus Bowl.
The bowl season had several big-time performances from players at every position, but here are Athlon Sports' picks for the 2015-16 All-Bowl Team.
College Football's 2015-16 All-Bowl Team
|First Team||Second Team|
QB Bram Kohlhausen
RB Alex Collins
RB Devine Redding
RB Derrick Henry
AP Tyler Ervin
San Diego State
FB Chris Swain
WR Michael Thomas
WR Kenny Lawler
WR Calvin Ridley
TE Hunter Henry
OL Sebastian Tretola
OL Jason Spriggs
OL Jerald Hawkins
OL Eric Mac Lain
OL Graham Shuler
DL Delvon Simmons
DL Kenny Clark
San Diego State
DL Aziz Shittu
DL Kamalei Correa
LB Darron Lee
LB Reggie Ragland
LB Aiavion Edwards
CB Brendon Clements
William Jackson III
CB Mackensie Alexander
S Derwin James
S Josh Harvey-Clemons
K Jaden Oberkrom
P JK Scott
KR Shaun Wilson
PR Cyrus Jones
There are few things that strike up a conversation at the office more than the Powerball. Okay, maybe “The Bachelor” and if you think “Making a Murderer” focal point Steven Avery did the crime or not but not much else. Everyone is asking the same question and thinking of all the possible things you can do with $1.5 billion (and counting).
I’ve gone over this scenario a million times in my own head. What I would do with the money. How I would spend it. Most of my ideas start and finish with paying off bills and retiring to a local dive bar with cheap drinks and good wings. But the sports fan in me was intrigued by the notion of owning a team.
Now let’s get one thing clear. No one is taking the entire Powerball jackpot home. First, taking the lump sum cuts into your winnings by around 38 percent. So you’re already down to around $930 million cash value (based on $1.5 billion jackpot). Second, the government is going to tax you at the highest rate they can, around 39.6 percent. The first 25 percent is automatically withheld because it is such a large sum of winnings. The other 14.6 percent can be put off until tax time 2017, so that’s a bit of a break. Factor in state and local taxes and the amount of ACTUAL money you can be taking home is around $420 million, give or take.
Like anything else in the world of money, there are things you can do to cut down on the amount of money you lose to taxes. You can gift the money to a spouse or give some to charity but none of that is going to lessen the sting of knowing that $1.5 billion is nowhere near the amount you will actually receive. That’s still a nice chunk of change for any of you reading this article.
So you have to be smart with your money. Invest. Take the money and make money. And what better way to do that than to buy a sports team? The business of sports is growing each and every year. So I started thinking of how I could get into the game. During my search, I stuck with the four big leagues in the U.S., the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.
The unfortunate part of my search was that sports teams aren’t cheap. Teams are worth more than ever before. Not one NFL, MLB or NBA team could be bought solely with the Powerball winnings. You would need partners. Now, some might see that as an easier road. Just spend enough to become a partner and let someone else make all the choices on what the team does as you sit back and hopefully rake in the benefits. But If I’m going to buy a team, I would want it to be mine. I would want to make all the decisions. So in that case, with being the sole owner, you really only have one option; the NHL.
According to Forbes, more than half of NHL teams, 16 to be exact, are valued at $400 million or less. This includes the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators. Some teams are worth more and others have less debt but let’s be real, as a Powerball winner, you’re going to buy a team that you like or that is close to where you want to live.
Still, for $400 million it looks like you could own a professional team and in most cases still have money left over. And who knows, you could play your cards right, grow your investment and someday be able to own an NBA team or maybe even a baseball team.
Even with the Powerball winnings, you should just forget about the NFL. Leave that to the professionally rich.
— Written by Justin Nails, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @justinnails.
I first broke into the sports blogging/writing world covering the Oakland Raiders and the AFC West for a now defunct Raiders fan blog. I was never a fan, but I learned a couple of things about the Raiders' devoted followers rather quickly: there are a lot of them and they are everywhere.
For that reason, the rumors floating around about owner Mark Davis pursuing a potential move to San Antonio if the franchise's Los Angeles bid fails come as no surprise to me. Texas is perhaps the nation's most football-crazed state. San Antonio is perhaps the nation's most football-starved metro. The area yields some of the top high school talent in the nation every year. They pack the Alamodome for the Alamo Bowl every December, regardless of what teams are playing. And the people of San Antonio take pride in the fact that, though they are Texans, they are different than those who live in Dallas, Houston or Austin.
I've spent enough time there over the years to know that San Antonio and the people who call the city home are unique. They deserve a professional football franchise as unique as they are.
Should the Raiders move to the Alamo City, they would immediately have a serviceable home in the Alamodome — even if only temporarily. The city would embrace the team just as it embraces the beloved Spurs and embraced the Saints in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And let's face it, from a less important fashion standpoint, the good people of San Antonio could rock Raiders and Spurs gear simultaneously and look good doing it.
Honestly, I'm not sure why any team outside of the Lakers would want to call L.A. home. It's an event town that just looks at sports as something else to do and attend in between and during other events.
San Antonio is a sporting event town, and Raider home games would be huge events on their own eight times a year.
The move also would create an immediate rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. Two of the NFL's most storied, equally loved and hated franchises would now reside less than 300 miles from one another.
Some people will always associate the Raiders with California, but I'm on record saying that the Raiders might be the one American sports franchise that doesn't really need a city to call home. The Raiders have never played for Oakland, Los Angeles or California. The Raiders play for Raider Nation — the original Nation — everywhere they go. They could even drop their home city's name altogether and simply be "The Raiders." It doesn't matter where the Raiders move, because Raider Nation always moves with them. But with a city as great as San Antonio to call home, why wouldn't you want the city's name?
San Antonio Raiders. It just rolls off the tongue.
Long story short, I like the idea of an NFL team in San Antonio. The city would embrace it and the fans would support it, which is more than you can say for NFL franchises that have historically called Los Angeles home. The Autumn wind is a Raider, and it could very well being blowing into South Texas sometime real soon.
Alabama took its trophy and left. Unfortunately they forgot someone.
After Alabama beat Clemson 45-40, the Tide's offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin was apparently a little too slow to exit the stadium and the team's buses left without him. He can be seen walking and saying, "Will you stop that last bus?" However, his request would fall on deaf ears.
The Alabama team buses aren't here anymore. Lane Kiffin is. pic.twitter.com/CoerIM49VA— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) January 12, 2016
Kiffin figured the best thing to do was to go back and soak in the moment. Good choice.
After the Alabama team buses rolled out without him, Lane Kiffin rolled back into the stadium. pic.twitter.com/GEPFW2dud2— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) January 12, 2016
His team just won the National Championship so it's safe to assume he didn't have too much trouble getting a ride back to the hotel.
On Tuesday Kiffin tweeted that he made it safe and out. Call off the search party.
Made it!!! pic.twitter.com/ABDoJnJxRn— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) January 12, 2016
Maybe it was Steve Harvey that slipped Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive tackle Vincent Valentine the note that he should declare early for the NFL Draft. Maybe it was his decision all along and he wanted to go through the official process to feel like he did it the right way.
Regardless, Valentine made the wrong choice by joining teammate Maliek Collins in declaring early for the draft.
There are a number of reasons why Big Vince might’ve shrugged his shoulders and said, “why not?” He’s already graduated, which is the whole purpose behind that “student-athlete” label that keeps getting tossed around.
He could come back for another year, but that would mean risking severe injury and maybe his stock simply doesn’t move up. So many valid reasons to move on, but Valentine made a crucial error where his tag-team partner did not.
Collins knew he was going, had everything in the works and is already working with professionals in regards to training, proper diet and everything else necessary to prepare him for a future in the NFL. He may even receive an invite to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in late February.
Meanwhile, Valentine has done none of this. Collins is the superior defensive tackle while Valentine has done little to give anyone paying close attention to this year's crop at the position a reason to move him up prospective draft boards.
Another confusing element is that on paper, Valentine didn’t exactly have a banner year in 2015. He started seven games of 10 played, recorded 10 tackles (four solo), four tackles for a loss and three sacks.
Compare that to Collins who tallied 29 tackles (14 solo), seven tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks in all 13 games played. Keep in mind he was double-teamed the a large chunk of the time.
Valentine’s going to have to work double (maybe triple) time to get back into gear if he wants to climb those draft boards. He must show that he has the work ethic and proper eating habits to become the player an NFL organization wants him to be.
If he can’t do that, then his senior season may end up being the biggest “what if?” in Big Vince’s career.
Alabama earned its fourth national championship in seven seasons under Nick Saban, edging Clemson 45-40 in a back-and-forth, entertaining battle in Glendale, Ariz. on Monday night. After several blowouts in bowl season and in the New Year’s Six matchups, the national title game for the 2015 season lived up to the hype and was one of the best matchups of the year. The Crimson Tide and Tigers exchanged punches and scores throughout all four quarters, with the two teams combining for 1,023 overall yards in the game and 40 points in the fourth quarter.
Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry opened the scoring with a 50-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and eventually sealed the victory for the Crimson Tide with a one-yard plunge with just over a minute remaining. The second half was 30 minutes of momentum swings for both teams. Clemson led 24-21 late in the third quarter and had Alabama on its heels after stopping the Crimson Tide’s offense on the next drive. However, Alabama’s defense held the Tigers’ explosive attack and a timely onside kick call early in the fourth quarter eventually moved the momentum and lead on the scoreboard for good in favor of the Crimson Tide.
Five Takeaways from Alabama’s CFB National Championship Win
1. Alabama’s Special Teams Were…Special
The best coaching decision of the night belongs to Alabama’s Nick Saban. After tying the game at 24 with just over 10 minutes left, Saban called for an onside kick. The call was executed perfectly by kicker Adam Griffith and defensive back Marlon Humphrey caught the short kick, allowing the Crimson Tide to gain a possession on Clemson. The following possession? A touchdown gave the Crimson Tide the lead (for good) at 31-24. Punter JK Scott averaged 42.4 yards per punt return and his height on kicks limited Clemson to just 22 punt return yards. Kenyan Drake returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, extending Alabama’s lead to 38-27. Special teams are often overlooked, but the Crimson Tide’s played a huge role in this game.
2. Big Plays by QB Jake Coker and TE O.J. Howard
Alabama tight end O.J. Howard has all of the physical gifts to be a prominent force in the passing game for the Crimson Tide. However, Howard entered Monday night’s matchup with just 33 catches for 394 yards. The junior took advantage of a few critical breakdowns in the Clemson secondary and hauled in five passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Coker’s final stat line (16 of 25 for 335 yards) was solid, but the senior had an uneven performance. However, Coker connected with Howard on three passing plays of at least 50 yards and made a key 38-yard completion to ArDarius Stewart.
3. Solid Performance for the Heisman Trophy Winner
Another game, another workmanlike effort for Alabama running back Derrick Henry. The Heisman Trophy winner recorded 158 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries, including a 50-yard score in the first quarter. Henry also reached paydirt on a one-yard run with less than two minutes remaining, which extended Alabama’s lead to 45-33 and essentially clinched the national title for this team.
4. The Best Player on Monday Night was QB Deshaun Watson
Alabama won the national championship, but Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson had the top individual performance. The Heisman Trophy finalist provided plenty of headaches for the Crimson Tide defense, completing 30 of 47 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns and added 73 yards on the ground. Some of Watson’s best plays weren’t recorded in the stat column. When pressure collapsed the pocket, Watson was able to create just enough room for throwing lanes and avoid sacks. He should be the favorite to win the Heisman in 2016.
5. Clemson More Than Held its Own in the Trenches
The battle in the trenches was a key focal point headed into Monday night’s game. Alabama’s defensive line was the best in the nation during the regular season, and the offensive line improved over the second half. However, it was Clemson’s defensive line that won the battle on Monday night. The Tigers sacked quarterback Jake Coker five times and limited running back Derrick Henry to 4.4 yards per carry. End Kevin Dodd wreaked havoc all night around the line of scrimmage, recording seven tackles (five for a loss) and three sacks.
CFB National Championship Awards
Offensive MVP: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Even though Clemson came up short on the scoreboard, a strong case could be made quarterback Deshaun Watson deserves this award. However, let’s hand the hardware to Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who caught five passes for 208 yards and three scores. Howard also delivered a clutch catch for the Crimson Tide, taking a short pass and rumbling 63 yards on 2nd and 12 with just over five minutes to go.
Defensive MVP: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Eddie Jackson was the official pick at the game, but let’s give a tip of the cap to Evans as the Athlon Sports Defensive MVP of the national championship. The sophomore recorded three tackles (two for a loss) and two sacks. Evans’ two sacks were the only ones recorded by Alabama against Clemson’s high-powered attack.
Special Teams MVP: Kenyan Drake, RB/Adam Griffith, K, Alabama
Alabama’s special teams played a huge role in the victory over the Tigers. Punter JK Scott averaged 42.4 yards per punt, but it’s Drake and Griffith splitting this award after delivering clutch plays in the second half. Griffith perfectly executed an onside kick in the fourth quarter, allowing the Crimson Tide to take a 31-24 lead with just over 10 minutes to go in the final period. Drake also followed with a clutch play in the fourth quarter, returning a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, edging Alabama’s lead to 38-27. Drake finished with 196 yards on five kickoff returns.
On a rare occasion, the offense gets to take a possession off.
Thanks to Alabama's Kenyan Drake, the Tide offense got to do just that. He torched Clemson for a 95-yard return.
Kenyan Drake!! 95 yards! 🏃🏾💨💨💨 pic.twitter.com/zJK2sfv9ic— Jasmine Watkins (@JasmineLWatkins) January 12, 2016
Here's a cool shot of the touchdown from ESPN's pylon cam.
Probably the best angle of Drake's TD. pic.twitter.com/j35ugqWroH— Athlon Sports (@AthlonSports) January 12, 2016
Ciara sang the National Anthem before the Alabama Clemson game and there was at least one person happy with how she looked.
Russell Wilson, Ciara's boyfriend, couldn't help but to tweet words of encouragement.
Others, mainly Bonnie Bernstein, were not all that impressed with the way the singer was dressed. She wants someone to at least think of the children.
Dear Ciara. You're stunning. But this is a National Championship Game. Kids are watching. Cover up.— Bonnie Bernstein (@BonnieBernstein) January 12, 2016
Serious question, how much more covered could Ciara have been? She looks like she was late for a prom date.
Clemson and Alabama will be involved in what can only be described as a battle.
This is the video the Tigers will watch before they take the field against the Tide. This video could convince anyone that anything is possible so Alabama will have their work cut out for them with this hungry Clemson team.
During Saturday's game between the Steelers and Bengals, there were a lot of strange things that went down.
In the fourth quarter, there was a hit on Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown. And boy was it ever a hit. Brown's body momentarily goes limp and that hit garnered a 15-yard-penalty which ultimately led to another penalty and a Steelers field goal to win.
On Monday's Dan Patrick Show, Pacman Jones says the Steelers receiver was faking it. He also said Brown deserves a "Grammy" for his performance. Obviously he means Oscar but we get the point.
On Saturday, the Miami Dolphins became the first NFL team to fill their head coaching vacancy this offseason. The team officially named Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase as the 12th head coach in franchise history. Gase will replace Joe Philbin (fired a month into the 2015 season) and Dan Campbell (interim head coach after Philbin was fired). Gase also is the league's youngest head coach at 37 years old.
Gase has an excellent track record of coaching quarterbacks. Both Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler enjoyed some of the best seasons of their respective careers working with Gase. The Dolphins now hope that he can work his magic and help quarterback Ryan Tannehill take that next step in his development.
Tannehill had a mediocre 2015 season. While the fourth-year quarterback threw for 4,208 yards and 24 touchdowns, a lot of those yards and touchdown came during garbage time.
After finishing 16th in the NFL in Total QB Rating (QBR) in 2014, Tannehill plummeted to 29th this season, placing him behind the likes of embattled Houston Texans starter Brian Hoyer, as well as rookies Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, to name a few. Gase said he hasn’t had time to study Tannehill’s game, but he will look at film so he can evaluate him.
“Well this is where we’re at right now with Ryan (Tannehill), I’ve seen him play very minimal games,” Gase said. “I’ve seen him play live once, not counting a preseason game where we played him at Denver. I know he had a pretty good game against us that game. We’re going to go back. We’re going to evaluate everything from the quarterback on down as far as offensive personnel. So really, at this point, we’re not ready to make any kind of predictions.”
If Gase does decide to keep Tannehill as his long-term quarterback, he will have tailor his offense around him. Former Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor tried to make Tannehill fix his game in order to fit into his scheme, but it didn’t work.
Gase has a reputation of being a quarterback whisper. This season while with the Bears, Cutler had his most efficient season as a pro. Cutler threw for 3,659 yards and 21 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions. He finished with a competition percentage of 64.4 and a passer rating of 92.3.
Cutler’s turnaround was one of the reasons Dolphins owner Stephen Ross decided to hire Gase as head coach.
“Adam (Gase) is exceptionally intelligent and I knew he was a great coordinator,” Ross said. “You saw what he did with Cutler and it is amazing the respect he has in the coaching community. He is a first-time head coach and there will be bumps along the road and but I have the most confidence in him.”
When he was the Broncos’ offensive coordinator in 2013, Gase helped Manning have the most prolific season of any quarterback in NFL history. Manning’s 5,477 passing yards and 55 passing touchdowns are both NFL records.
Probably the most surprising thing that came from Saturday’s press conference was that Gase will be the person that will have the final say in determining the Dolphins’ 53-man roster.
“As it relates to the final 53, ultimately – while we will work collaboratively – ultimately those decisions will rest with Adam (Gase), Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum said. “This way our players know that they are ultimately held accountable to him and that’s who they will be answering to.”
Tannenbaum and new general manager Chris Grier will still be in charge of personnel. It is rare that a first-time head coach will receive so much power, but it appears the Dolphins really wanted Gase as their head coach.
Gase is the third head coach Ross has hired since becoming the Dolphins’ owner in 2008. Ross first hired Tony Sparano, who took the Dolphins to the playoffs in 2008, but was unable to duplicate the same success again and was fired in ‘12. Then Ross hired Joe Philbin, but he went just 24-28 in his three-plus seasons.
Like Philbin, Gase is an offensive-minded coach. Unlike Philbin, Gase called plays as an offensive coordinator. Gase will have his work cut out for him as the Dolphins finished 6-10 this season and haven’t made the playoffs or finished above .500 since 2008.
The man Gase chooses to be the team’s defensive coordinator could determine how quickly the team can turn things around. If Gase can hire the right person to build a scheme around Ndamukong Suh, the team should improve from its No. 25 ranking in 2015 and that will likely result in more wins.
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)
From a performance standpoint, Ole Miss and Stanford came out on top thanks to the play of their verbal commits. Quarterback Shea Patterson, a 5-star Ole Miss commit, won MVP honors throwing for 90 yards with two scores. Patterson set the tone on the opening drive, nailing Stanford wide receiver commit Simi Fehoko on a 35-yard touchdown pass. Patterson connected with Javon McKinley in the second quarter for another score to help seal MVP honors.
Stanford had another standout in the game, 4-star quarterback K.J. Costello. Costello also threw two touchdown passes showing various uncommitted recruits in the 2016 and '17 class what could be had if they head to Palo Alto for college. Fellow Cardinal commit, 4-star linebacker Curtis Robinson, made his own mark when he recovered a fumble in the first quarter, which set up the West’s second score.
On the recruiting side, the biggest winners of the day were the five different schools that added top talent while getting free publicity for their respective programs. Georgia, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Michigan, and TCU each landed a recruit at some point during the game.
Dylan Crawford, a high school teammate of Costello at Santa Margarita Catholic (Calif.), was the first to announce when he chose Michigan. Crawford’s commitment helped push Michigan ahead of Ole Miss (No. 3), Notre Dame (No. 4) and Ohio State (No. 5) in rivals.com's class rankings, with the Wolverines only trailing LSU.
Texas defensive tackle Ross Blacklock was the second player to announce deciding to stay in-state to play for TCU. In the third quarter, wide receiver Donnie Corley also decided to stay in-state picking Michigan State.
Notre Dame got a big, sure-handed, quick wideout when McKinley (6-2, 195) committed to the Fighting Irish in the fourth quarter. McKinley joins big British Columbia target Chase Claypool (6-5, 215) and speedy First Coast (Jacksonville, Fla.) receiver Kevin Stepherson as part of a Notre Dame class that currently consists of 22 verbal commitments.
Perhaps the biggest haul of the day, and one that was of little surprise, was when tight end Isaac Nauta decided to return home to play for the Georgia Bulldogs. Nauta, considered the No. 1 tight end in the 2016 recruiting class, was a one-time verbal commitment to Florida State. Before the 2015 season began, Nauta not only transferred from Buford High School to IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) but also decommitted from the Seminoles opening his recruiting back up.
Few feared that when Mark Richt was fired at the end of the season as Georgia’s head coach that Nauta might not head to Athens to join first-year head coach Kirby Smart. But a pairing with another 5-star and U.S. Army All-American participant, quarterback Jacob Eason (Lake Stevens, Wash.), was a combination that helped bring Nauta back into the Georgia fold.
Another standout from the game was do-everything uncommitted athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. The Elbert County (Bowman, Ga.) 5-star talent had three receptions for 36 yards and one carry for five yards, but flashed his speed returning two punts for 57 yards and two kickoffs for 45 collecting 143 all-purpose yards.
Another tight end talent that flashed his skills was Devin Asiasi. The De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) 4-star recruit only caught one pass but made it count on a 25-yard touchdown reception.
Defense travels and so does athlete/cornerback Jack Jones. Jones, a 4-star recruit from Long Beach Poly (Calif.) was one of the more impressive defenders in the game coming up with eight tackles, a pass breakup, and one interception for the West.
— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManInLA.