Articles By Braden Gall

All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/podcast-official-2016-college-football-playoff-picks
Body:

The season is here and the guys have to make their official College Football Playoff picks for 2016.

 

Braden Gall, Mitch Light and David Fox pick every division winner, conference champion and announce their picks to make the College Football Playoff. The guys seed their top four and pick the last team standing.

 

Which league gets left out? What does a Group of 5 team have to do be deserving of a Playoff Berth (if anything)? Who would get in if the playoff was eight teams?

 

 

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Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: Official 2016 College Football Playoff Picks
Post date: Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 09:21
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-win-totals-prop-bets-and-gambling
Body:

Gambling advice is for entertainment purposes only (of course)!

 

Win totals, over/unders, prop bets and more take center stage on this edition of the Cover 2 Podcast.

 

Braden Gall, Mitch Light and David Fox offer their top win total picks for the 2016 season for every conference in football. Each of us gives our top win total over and win total under for each league.

 

Some teams we are convinced will win more than Vegas predicts — Texas A&M, Florida State, for example — while we make the case for many teams to underacheive — like, say, Baylor.

 

Listen for Vegas win total advice on every conference as well as individual player prop bets. And, lastly, can Fox explain what -1500 means for the Pac-12 winning the national title?

 

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: Win Totals, Prop Bets and Gambling
Post date: Monday, August 22, 2016 - 11:34
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-qb-extravaganza
Body:

Quarterbacks, Quartebacks, Quarterbacks!

 

It's the most important position on the field, so Braden Gall, Mitch Light and David Fox break down the QB position heading into the 2016 season.

 

- Which teams don't need great QBs to compete for championships and why we give the benefit of the doubt to programs like Alabama, Michigan and Florida State? What do we make of the Notre Dame situation and does Stanford fall into this category?

 

- Is there a changing trend in college football where younger players will get a chance to play earlier? This could be the case at Georgia, USC, Texas and Alabama this fall.

 

- Where do defense-first teams like Florida, TCU, Michigan State, Utah and Virginia Tech fit into this equation? Are Washington and Iowa in this group or do they have upside at the QB position?

 

- Which teams in college football will DEPEND on great QB play? Like say, Oregon, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, MIami, Baylor, Ole Miss, UCLA, Texas Tech and Washington State.

 

- There are some coaches known for developing QBs but have big question marks at the position. Auburn, Penn State, Mississippi State, Indiana and Wisconsin all have offense head coaches with unknowns under center.

 

- Which head coach's job is on the line if they don't get quality QB? Think West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado and Boston College. How do Cal, Illinois and Iowa State figure into this conversation?

 

- Who will be the breakout stars at QB this fall? Who are our favorite Group of 5 signal callers?

 

- We finish with a round of Rapid Fire quarterback questions like Who is the best named QB in football, who is the most underrated and which coach would you want to play for if you are a five-star gunslinger?

 

Check out the .

 

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Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: QB Extravaganza
Post date: Thursday, August 18, 2016 - 07:00
Path: /college-football-podcast-official-2016-sec-preview
Body:

The SEC preview is our final conference preview of the summer before our final College Football Playoff predictions (coming soon!). Braden Gall, Mitch Light and David Fox preview the Southeastern Conference in '16.

 

- How many teams are legitimate contenders for the SEC crown? The guys disagree.

 

- In the West, who belongs on the top tier with Alabama and LSU? It appears there might be three tiers in the West.

 

- What about the coaching situations in the West? Gus Malzahn, Les Miles and Kevin Sumlin are all facing critical years but who is closest to the hot seat and who needs to win now?

 

- What do we make of Dan Mullen at Mississippi State? How long do we expect to see him in Starkville? Is he the second best coach in the SEC?

 

- In the East, who is the top challenger to Tennessee? Do we believe in Butch Jones and what could derail their path to Atlanta?

 

- Georgia vs. Florida, go.

 

- Kirby Smart and the Sabanization of Athens continues every week with another headline. Has the new Georgia coach won the offseason or simply made obnoxious headlines?

 

- The SEC East bottom-half round robin should be a lot of fun if nothing else: Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky vs. Missouri vs. South Carolina? Is Mark Stoops the coach under the most pressure? And what do we make of new hires Barry Odom and Will Muschamp.

 

- BONUS ROUND: Who should the SEC target as a "home run" expansion selection if it was going to expand?

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: Official 2016 SEC Preview
Post date: Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - 07:00
Path: /college-football-podcast-group-5-apalooza
Body:

The guys are breaking down the Group of 5 today. Braden Gall, Mitch Light, David Fox give you teams to watch, coaches to watch, games to watch and debate if a G5 team can make the Playoff?

 

- What will happen to the Group of 5 teams longterm as the Power 5 continues to seperate itself financially from the rest of college football?

 

- Who is the top candidate for the G5 New Year's Six bowl berth? Is it all Houston's to lose and who are the other AAC candidates to keep an eye on this fall? Is the AAC on its own college football tier?

 

- Are Boise State and San Diego State the only contenders in the Mountain West and the best positioned teams to reach a New Year's Six Bowl? Where do the Sun Belt, C-USA and MAC champions fall in this conversation?

 

- Should the American Athletic Conference lose teams to Big 12 expansion, which teams are best positioned to move into the AAC as replacements? Which programs are rising through the G5 ranks as we speak? Could SMU and Tulane be poised to compete?

 

- Group of 5 coaches are always hot commodities come silly season so the guys break them all down. Will Bryan Harsin want to leave his alma mater? Should Matt Rhule and P.J. Fleck wait around for the right job or jump to the Power 5 as soon as possible? What about the up-and-downs of Willie Taggart's USF tenure? And why you need to know the name Willie Fritz.

 

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: Group of 5-A-Palooza
Post date: Thursday, August 11, 2016 - 08:00
Path: /podcast-official-2016-pac-12-football-preview
Body:

The Pac-12 conference goes under the microscope as hosts Braden Gall, Mitch Light and David Fox wrap up their Power 5 conference previews.

 

- Why are there no Pac-12 teams ranked in Athlon Sports' top 10? Does this mean that the league could get left out of the Playoff again in 2016? It may have everything to do with scheduling. No other league plays as many top 50 teams as the Pac-12.

 

- Why is Washington the pick? How good could this team?

 

- Stanford, Oregon and Washington State all appear poised to win the North Division as well. Why should you buy Wazzu, why you should sell Oregon and Stanford is just Stanford.

 

- Can Cal compete at all (we like Davis Webb) and how bad is Oregon State?

 

- What is with all of the coordinator changes in the Pac-12 and which names are the ones to watch.

 

- Is the South race simply USC vs. UCLA? Or can Utah work itself into division contention? We all agree on the pick to win the South and it seems pretty easily explained.

 

- How far have the Arizona schools fallen since winning the South recently?

 

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: Official 2016 Pac-12 Football Preview
Post date: Monday, August 8, 2016 - 11:52
Path: /podcast-official-2016-big-ten-football-preview
Body:

Braden Gall, Mitch Light and David Fox are back previewing the Power 5. Today, we dive deep into Big Ten country.

 

- First, the nine-game conference schedule? What are the advantages and disadvantages and do we like it? Who is it good for? Who does it hurt?

 

- The Big Ten West's repuation is on the line this fall. Right?

 

- Wisconsin has a lot of unknowns and one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Are the Badgers and Northwestern the pride of the B1G middle class or can they compete in the division?

 

- Was there any thought to picking against Iowa in the West Division (hint: not a chance). How good can this team be and can it compete with the big boys from the East?

 

- Tommy Armstrong could be the most important player in the conference this fall and the Cornhuskers season likely hinges on his performance (and, just maybe, the defense).

 

- Michigan vs. Ohio State? What seperates the two? Is the hype around Harbaugh legit? Does Michigan State belong on the same tier or in another class? Does the Big Ten race come down to one game on the final weekend of the regular season? Or can the Spartans crash the party?

 

- WHAT THE HELL, PENN STATE?

 

- What do we make of the new coaches at Maryland, Rutgers, Illinois and Minnesota. Who are we buying into long-term and who do we like in '16?

 

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: Official 2016 Big Ten Football Preview
Post date: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 - 16:34
Path: /podcast-playoff-breakdown-feat-eli-gold-robert-smith-bud-elliott-david-hood
Body:

We called in some reinforcements to break down our picks to make the College Football Playoff in 2016: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Clemson.

 

Alabama play-by-play great and author joins the Cover 2 to analyze the Alabama Crimson Tide. Could this team throw the ball more? Who will start at QB? What should fans make of the coaching changes? His updated book, , comes out August 15!

 

of compares this Florida State roster to the others that Jimbo Fisher has had in Tallahassee. Does the ACC race come down to the Clemson game? Can both the pass-catchers and offensive line develop into two of the nation's better units? Who starts at QB?

 

Great Ohio State running back dissects the Buckeyes new faces and overall talent in '16. How much will it help JT Barrett to be the unquestioned starter this fall? Does the Big Ten hang in the balance when Michigan comes to town?

 

of offers his insight on the Clemson Tigers. Is this the best offense in the nation? Can the defense be rebuilt a second year in a row and who are the emerging stars on that side of the ball? And why will the ACC get two teams into the Playoff?

 

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: Playoff Breakdown feat. Eli Gold, Robert Smith, Bud Elliott, David Hood
Post date: Monday, August 1, 2016 - 08:31
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, News
Path: /college-football/podcast-official-2016-acc-football-preview
Body:

Braden Gall, David Fox and Mitch Light officially preview the ACC in 2016.

 

- The State of the ACC Union is much stronger after last week's big announcements. The ACC Network is coming, the Grant of Rights has been extended and Notre Dame has been promised to the ACC.

 

- However, it could be what took place this offseason in the coaching ranks that takes the ACC to the next level of national prominence.

 

- Could Clemson and Florida State both make the Playoff? The guys all agree on something for once and try to poke holes in two great teams.

 

- Which teams are best suited to knock the Tigers or Noles off? Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Miami appear to be the top challengers. What are the strengths, weaknesses and concerns for each of the top challengers?

 

- Is Lamar Jackson really ready for stardom? Does the Hokies schedule make them the favorite in the Coastal? Is Mitch Trubisky capable of keeping the top offense in the nation clicking? Will the Mark Richt-Brad Kaaya marriage bring new love to South Florida?

 

- How good can Pitt be?

 

- Wake Forest, Boston College, NC State and Georgia Tech could all get to a bowl game this year but Duke may not? That doesn't sound right.

 

- How will new coaches fare at Syracuse and Virginia?

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: Official 2016 ACC Football Preview
Post date: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/podcast-official-2016-big-12-football-preview
Body:

Braden Gall, David Fox and Mitch Light officially preview the Big 12 in 2016.

 

- First, expansion. The Big 12 needs to add four teams if it expands and we explain why and who those teams should be. Houston, Cincinnati, BYU, Boise State, UConn, UCF, USF, Memphis and more could all be options.

 

- Oklahoma is the pick to win the league but are they good enough to make the playoff? What are the Sooners weaknesses?

 

- Will Charlie Strong do enough to keep his job in Austin? Will the young roster develop fast enough?

 

- How far could Baylor fall and will totally rebuilt lines of scrimmage be the reason?

 

- TCU is loaded on defense but will they get enough offense to win the Big 12?

 

- Oklahoma State has tons of experience returning so the Pokes could be the top challenger to their in-state rival.

 

- Texas Tech can score but can stop enough teams to move into contention?

 

- West Virginia and Kansas State look like opposites this fall. Which has a better shot at contention and which one could implode?

 

- How much fun will Iowa State be to watch the season and are there any reasons to watch Kansas?

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: Official 2016 Big 12 Football Preview
Post date: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 11:48
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/podcast-sec-media-days-jam-session
Body:

Braden Gall and David Fox are back in Nashville after returning from SEC Media Days and a honeymoon respectively. We've got a complete breakdown as well official championship predictions from 23 of our closest friends.

 

- Was Dan Mullen the biggest loser from SEC Media Days in Hoover? Was Nick Saban out of line or right on point in his verbal match with PAAWWWLLL? Was Hugh Freeze prepared for tough questions?

 

- Which coach was the most impressive? Which coach was best prepared to handle the tough questions? And which coach surprised the most? Who do we love more: Bret Bielema or Barry Odom?

 

- Getting to know the players is THE best part of SEC Media Days and the 2016 class was no exception. Who were the most impressive players in Hoover? (And who do we wish was there.)

 

- Which team has the biggest chip on its shoulder? (This one was easy.)

 

- We asked 23 different media experts to make their official SEC championship game predictions public and we put all 23 into one podcast. Names like Marcus Spears, Pat Forde, Tony Barnhart, Stewart Mandel, Brett McMurphy, Andy Staples, Barrett Sallee, Laura Rutledge, Adam Zucker and more offer up official SEC picks in 2016. 

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: SEC Media Days Jam Session
Post date: Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 15:44
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-ranking-college-footballs-best-coaching-staffs-2016
Body:

Personalities and college football experts on ranked the nation’s , , coaching staffs, defenses, head coaches, , stadiums, uniforms and fan bases and you can hear in-depth analysis on .

 

Among those taking part are former Alabama national championship quarterback , former Miami and North Carolina head coach Butch Davis, College Football Hall of Famer , hosts , , , myself as well as producers Mike Garvin, Dan Bezilla and Regina Ham, in a collection of expert polls titled #SXMTop16.

 

Today, we take a look at the game's top coaching staffs.

 

1. Alabama

It begins with The Don of College Football Nick Saban but it ends with the best support staff in the game today. In between is arguably the best combination of coordinators in college football with Lane Kiffin and Jeremy Pruitt as well as talented recruiters Tosh Lupoi and Mario Cristobal.

 

2. Ohio State

Urban Meyer is as good as it gets, but he’s also done a fantastic job replacing rising stars Tom Herman and Chris Ash. Greg Schiano and Luke Fickell are studs on the defensive side while Larry Johnson is an ace recruiter and excellent D-Line coach. The offensive staff should benefit from another year together (and J.T. Barrett starting from Week 1).

 

3. Clemson

Swapping Chad Morris for co-offensive coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott created some doubt for the Tigers last fall. But those two — and a healthy Deshaun Watson — are now running THE best offense in the game today. Brent Venables has resurrected his career at Clemson and will have his hands full with another rebuild this fall. And there’s never a dull moment in any locker room when Robbie Caldwell is there. This group needs to finish what it started last fall to justify its lofty ranking on this poll.

 

4. Oklahoma

Bob Stoops reinvented himself last fall with the hiring of offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. And packaged with DC Mike Stoops, the Sooners boast one of the best coordinator combos in the nation. Toss in experienced position coaches like Tim Kish and Kerry Cooks and Oklahoma boasts one of the best top-to-bottom staffs in the nation.

 

5. Michigan

Jim Harbaugh lost his defensive coordinator to a head coaching job at a Power 5 school and he might have upgraded. That’s how highly revered Don Brown is at running a defense. In fact, the Wolverines might have the best defensive staff in the nation with Brown, Greg Mattison, Michael Zordich and Chris Partridge all on one side of the ball. Jedd Fisch, Jay Harbaugh and Tim Drevno round out a quality offensive staff as well.

 

Podcast: Ranking the Conferences in 2016



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6. Stanford

Losing longtime defensive line coach Randy Hart this year hurts this staff, but David Shaw turns to Lance Anderson, Diron Reynolds, Peter Hansen and Duane Akina to continue Stanford’s elite defensive tradition. The offensive staff isn’t as star-studded but Mike Bloomgren, Tavita Pitchard, Lance Taylor and Morgan Turner know how to develop talent – and what to do with No. 5.

 

7. Michigan State

Replacing Pat Narduzzi wasn’t easy but Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel proved plenty capable in their Big Ten championship debut as co-defensive coordinators. Jim Bollman and Dave Warner don’t overthink things on offense either. Loyalty and stability is big part of what has made Mark Dantonio’s staff so successful.

 

8. TCU

Reinvention is a difficult thing for old football coaches to do but Gary Patterson did it to perfection when he hired Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham to run his offense two years ago. Jarrett Anderson will earn his money this fall with a rebuilt offensive line this summer, but he has been in Fort Worth for 19 years. On defense, there are no real concerns as long as GP is running the ship. Coordinator Chad Glasgow and D-Line coach Dan Sharp have been at TCU for a combined 40 years in various roles.

 

Related:

 

9. Notre Dame

Don’t be distracted by the mustache, Brian VanGorder knows how to coach defense. Brian Kelly also has Bob Elliott, Keith Gilmore, Mike Elston and Todd Lyght helping out on the defensive side. Meanwhile, Mike Sanford and Mike Denbrock are more than enough to assist in the offense.

 

10. LSU

Dave Aranda was arguably THE best assistant hire in the entire nation. He’s a fabulous defensive coordinator and should give Les Miles stability on that side of the ball. Package him with ace recruiter and D-Line extraordinaire Ed Orgeron and the Tigers D should be downright nasty in 2016. Offensively, this unit needs to prove itself.

 

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11. Florida State

This might be one of the more underrated staffs on this list and it’s still sitting near the top 10. Rick Trickett, Tim Brewster, Jay Graham and Randy Sanders form a solid group on offense (and on the recruiting trail) while Charles Kelly continues to grow into the role of defensive coordinator.

 

12. Tennessee

Aside from Aranda, Bob Shoop was the best hire in college football this offseason. Packaged with experienced offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, Butch Jones boasts one of the best sets of coordinators in football. This staff is a great mix of experienced veterans to the SEC and rising coaching names that may soon be getting promotions. This is a great coaching staff.

 

13. Washington

Defensively, this staff is as good as any in the nation with Pete Kwiatkowski, Bob Gregory and Jimmy Lake leading the way. Meanwhile, Jonathan Smith enters his third season running the offense after two seasons in Seattle. A breakthrough is coming for this group.

 

Related:

 

14. Oregon

The Ducks have experienced A LOT of turnover over the last few years, dropping this staff from one of the nation’s elite just a few years ago to middle of the Pac-12 last fall. However, the addition of Brady Hoke to the defense gives this group immediate life. There’s still a lot of experience with this group.

 

15. Ole Miss

This staff is sort of an enigma. Hugh Freeze has done some amazing things at Ole Miss and coordinators Dave Wommack, Dan Werner, Jason Jones and Matt Luke have done some great work. However, this group is under NCAA fire and Chris Kiffin is a featured prominently in the ongoing investigation.

 

16. Georgia

In very short order, Kirby Smart has assembled a well respected group of coaches. Jim Chaney and Sam Pittman on offense form a solid foundation while Mel Tucker shows up with some shiny jewelry to show for his one year on the defensive side of the ball at Alabama. This group has loads of upside.

 

Special thanks to . You can listen the best in college sports talk radio seven days a week, 24 hours a day only on College Sports Nation. and .

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Ranking College Football's Best Coaching Staffs in 2016
Post date: Thursday, July 7, 2016 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-ranking-college-footballs-best-mascots
Body:

Personalities and college football experts on ranked the nation’s , , coaching staffs, defenses, head coaches, mascots, stadiums, uniforms and fan bases and you can hear in-depth analysis on .

 

Among those taking part are former Alabama national championship quarterback , former Miami and North Carolina head coach Butch Davis, College Football Hall of Famer , hosts , , , myself as well as producers Mike Garvin, Dan Bezilla and Regina Ham, in a collection of expert polls titled #SXMTop16.

 

Today, we take a look at the mascots.

 

1. Mike The Tigers, LSU

There can’t be anything more intimidating than a 600-pound real Tiger welcoming you to the gridiron.  Which is what LSU’s opponents walk past right before they take the field in Tiger Stadium – as if 100,000 LSU fans wasn’t enough. The tradition began in 1936 and has been a staple in Baton Rouge ever since.

 

 

2. Uga, Georgia

The beautiful English bulldog that represents Georgia football has been a part of games in Athens since 1956. He has his own air-conditioned seat for the game and all Ugas are memorialized in a mausoleum near the main entrance of Sanford Stadium. Uga X, “Que”, is the current mascot.

 

3. Ralphie, Colorado

The pre-game running of Ralphie at Colorado home games is one of the coolest sights in college football. She — yes, it is and has always been a female bison – parades the team onto Folsom Field before the start of each half. Ralphie V weighs roughly 500 pounds.

 

4. The Tree, Stanford

The goofiest and silliest of all mascots deserves high marks simply for making people smile. I can’t explain it, but every time I see this Tree prancing around, I laugh. Since 1975, this bug-eyed bizarro has been befuddling opposing fans.

 

5. Sparty, Michigan State

The Spartans have one of the purest mascots in the game. Sparty is an overly muscular caricature of the Greek warriors Michigan State is named after. He is a prototypical mascot.

 

Podcast: Ranking the Conferences in 2016



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6. The Mountaineer, West Virginia

The official mascot of WVU football is traditionally selected annually from the student body population. There is a lengthy interview process and the eventual winner gets a hand-tailored costume and “must” attend every Mountaineer home and away football and basketball games. Pretty sweet gig if you can grow a killer beard.

 

7. Puddles, Oregon

Based on Disney’s Donald Duck, Puddles rides motorcycles, does push-ups, harasses Lee Corso and has a generally awesome time. He’s also been known to get into some trouble with opposing mascots from time to time as well. Oh, those tricky Ducks.

 

 

8. Bevo, Texas

As majestic a mascot as there is in college sports, Bevo “patrols” the Texas sidelines. And by patrol, we mean stands. The massive Texas steer has been on the sidelines in Austin since 1916 and has had 14 different generations.

 

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9. Big Al, Alabama

What exactly is a Crimson Tide? Technically, it’s a mass of Alabama players covered in mud wearing crimson (in 1907). But Big Al came around 23 years later when a sports writer coined the phrase “Red Elephants” to describe the unbeaten 1930 squad. And both names stuck ever since.

 

10. Chief Osceola, Florida State

The entrance is spectacular. A flaming spear firmly planted at midfield is just cool. Chief Osceola, based off and approved by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, rides his Appaloosa horse Renegade into every Florida State home game.

 

11. Brutus, Ohio State

12. Big Red, Nebraska

13. Smokey, Tennessee

14. Otto, Syracuse

15. War Eagle/Aubie, Auburn

16. Albert (and Alberta), Florida

 

Special thanks to . You can listen the best in college sports talk radio seven days a week, 24 hours a day only on College Sports Nation. and .

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Ranking College Football's Best Mascots
Post date: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/podcast-which-conference-best-worst-2016
Body:

Braden Gall and David Fox break down the Power 5 conferences in college football in 2016, is it important and how should it be determined?

 

- First, does it matter to the Playoff committee if one conference is better than another? Does conference supremacy matter or it is simply for bragging rights?

 

- Second, what is the "right" way to determine which league is better? National titles? Depth in the middle? Overall talent and coaching? Bowl records (NO!). How many teams could win the league? What about entertainment factor? How important is the quarterback position?

 

- So, . We both agree on one and two but disagree on who is third, fourth and fifth. And how does the AAC fit into this equation and whatever happened to the Mountain West?

 

- We also break down the best college towns in America. What defines a college town? Which towns are on our bucket list?

 

- We also spend some time breaking down Fox's wedding. It was awesome except that one DMX incident.

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: Which conference is best, worst in 2016?
Post date: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - 10:27
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-ranking-best-college-football-running-backs-2016
Body:

Personalities and college football experts on ranked the nation’s , running backs, coaching staffs, defenses, head coaches, mascots, stadiums, uniforms and fan bases and you can hear in-depth analysis on .

 

Among those taking part are former Alabama national championship quarterback , former Miami and North Carolina head coach Butch Davis, College Football Hall of Famer , hosts , , , myself as well as producers Mike Garvin, Dan Bezilla and Regina Ham, in a collection of expert polls titled #SXMTop16.

 

Today, we take a look at the running backs.

 
1. Leonard Fournette, LSU

He’s simply the best. Size, speed, power, vision, balance, production. Fournette can do it all and has done it all. Should he lead LSU to a division title there is no doubt he’ll be in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. There is no excuse for him not to get over 300 touches on offense this fall.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
300 1,953 22 6.5 19 253 1

 

2. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

The record-setting all-purpose dynamo does everything for Stanford. Not reflected in the stats below is 1,200 return yards and two more touchdowns. In all, he finished with an NCAA record 3,864 all-purpose yards on 434 total touches. With Kevin Hogan gone and a rebuilt offensive line, McCaffrey will have to carry his team to another Pac-12 title.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
337 2,019 8 6.0 45 645 5

 

3. Dalvin Cook, Florida State

There may not be a more explosive player in the country than Cook. He averaged a ridiculous 7.4 yards per carry, willing Florida State to victory numerous times while overcoming nagging injuries all season long. Fans can bet that if Cook can handle the workload, a 300-touch season is in the works in 2016.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
229 1,691 19 7.4 24 244 1

 

4. Samaje Perine, Oklahoma

It took first-year coordinator Lincoln Riley a few games to figure it out, but once he started feeding his running game, Perine delivered in a big way. The Sooners bowling ball rolled up 201 yards against Texas Tech, 166 against Baylor, 188 against TCU and 131 against Oklahoma State — all in the second half of the season. In two seasons, Perine has 3,062 yards, 37 touchdowns and the NCAA’s single-game rushing record (427).

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
226 1,349 16 6.0 15 107 1

 

5. Royce Freeman, Oregon

Freeman has quietly put together two monster seasons in Eugene. The bruising back brings power and speed to an offense designed around an explosive running game. Freeman has posted back-to-back 19 total TD seasons and has over 3,200 yards rushing entering his junior season.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
283 1,836 17 6.5 26 348 2

 

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6. Nick Chubb, Georgia

College football was robbed of one its stars last fall when Chubb was lost for the season with a torn ACL after six games. He was averaging over 8.0 yards per carry and had scored eight times. Should he return to form, fans in Athens should be treated to what would amount to his first full year as the true No. 1. His 1,547-yard freshman season came as a pseudo-backup to Todd Gurley.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
92 747 7 8.1 4 32 1
 
7. Jalen Hurd, Tennessee

Chubb, Fournette and Derrick Henry got all of the headlines as far as SEC backs go, but Hurd is just as good. The hulking tailback is less than 900 yards away from becoming Tennessee’s all-time leading rusher. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder leads what should one of the best running games in the entire nation.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
277 1,288 12 4.7 22 190 2
 
8. Saquon Barkley, Penn State

In just his third game as a college player, Barkley carried 21 times for 195 yards and two scores in a Big Ten win over Rutgers. Despite missing two games and playing behind a porous offensive line, Barkley still finished over 1,000 yards and five 100-yard games. He was one of the best freshmen in the nation last fall and will be one of the best sophomores in ‘16.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
182 1,076 7 5.9 20 161 1
 
9. Wayne Gallman, Clemson

After two years on the field, Gallman is 12th in school history in rushing and has an outside shot at putting his name at the top of the list with a big season (1,683 yards). He would pass the likes of C.J. Spiller, Andre Ellington, James Davis, Travis Zachery and Raymond Priester. Gallman is the perfect compliment to superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
283 1,527 13 5.4 21 213 1
 
10. Elijah Hood, North Carolina

The best player the nation hasn’t heard of plays tailback at North Carolina. Hood is the complete package at running back, rushing for 1,463 yards on 6.7 yards per carry in Larry Fedora’s division-winning offense. Look for the Heels to lean on Hood while breaking in a new quarterback this fall.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
219 1,463 17 6.7 13 71 0

 

11. James Conner, Pitt

Conner’s story is appropriately well told. The young man is returning from his battle with cancer after an earth-shattering 2014 campaign. Conner’s numbers earned him ACC Player of the Year. Pat Narduzzi (and the rest of the country) is looking forward to seeing the burly runner back on the field. (stats from 2014).

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
298 1,765 26 5.9 5 70 0
 
12. Shock Linwood, Baylor

The Bears offense spreads the ball around so much and takes so many big early leads that Linwood’s number are probably well below his talent and production. He only carried 196 times but was 20th nationally at 110.8 yards per game and averaged 6.8 yards per carry. Jim Grobe will feed him the rock.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
196 1,329 10 6.8 9 71 1
 
13. Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State

The smallish running back (5-9, 180) has shown that he could handle the work load by finishing 10th in the nation with 22.1 carries per game. His 1,653 yards were seventh nationally and actually worse than his impressive 1,873-yard sophomore campaign. With virtually everyone back in San Diego, look for Pumphrey to have a monster final season.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
309 1,653 17 5.4 28 416 3
 
14. Myles Gaskin, Washington

The other half of the Huskies dynamic freshman backfield (Jake Browning) was Gaskin. The freshman got off to a slow start but finished with at least 100 yards in his last four games and seven of his last nine. He also scored eight times in the final five games.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
227 1,302 14 5.7 6 19 0
 
15. LJ Scott, Michigan State

Scott’s numbers weren’t huge relative to others on this list but he had the most dramatic and important one-yard run of anyone in the nation. His Big Ten championship-winning, Playoff berth-clinching touchdown run capped a 22-play epic Spartans march against Iowa. Look for the 240-pounder to get the bulk of the carries this fall.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
146 699 11 4.8 3 15 0
 
16. Corey Clement, Wisconsin

A sports hernia limited Clement to just four games and 48 carries last year. But his offensive line wasn’t opening up traditional Wisconsin-like running avenues anyway. With an improved O-Line and healthy Clement, the Badgers could find themselves back in the Big Ten West hunt.

 

Att. Yds TD YPC Rec. Rec. Yds TD
48 221 5 4.6 2 19 0

 

Special thanks to . You can listen the best in college sports talk radio seven days a week, 24 hours a day only on College Sports Nation. and .

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Ranking the Best College Football Running Backs in 2016
Post date: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-ranking-best-college-football-quarterbacks-2016
Body:

Personalities and college football experts on ranked the nation’s top 16 quarterbacks, running backs, coaching staffs, defenses, head coaches, mascots, stadiums, uniforms and fan bases and you can hear in-depth analysis on .

 

Among those taking part are former Alabama national championship quarterback , former Miami and North Carolina head coach Butch Davis, College Football Hall of Famer , hosts , , , myself as well as producers Mike Garvin, Dan Bezilla and Regina Ham, in a collection of expert polls titled #SXMTop16.

 

Today, we take a look at the quarterbacks.

 
1. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

There's no real doubting who the best and most important player in college football will be in 2016. The Tigers quarterback was downright extraterrestrial in the postseason last fall and has Clemson poised for another run at the allusive national championship. He is as good a passer as he is a runner… and he’s a phenomenal athlete.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
4,104 35 13 67.8 156.25 1,105 12

 

2. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

The only player in the nation who can give Watson a run for his money in the “MVP” department is Mayfield. The Sooners go as their emotional leader carries them. His backyard style is as fun to watch as anything in the game today. And he, too, is chasing a return trip to the College Football Playoff.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
3,700 36 7 68.1 173.32 405 7

 

3. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

It was a bumpy road getting to Oxford, but all Kelly did in his first season as the starter was set more than a dozen school records, including total yards (4,542), passing yards and touchdowns, completion percentage and passing efficiency. He led the Rebels to 10 wins for the first time since 2003 and just the second time since 1971.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
4,042 31 13 65.1 155.86 500 10

 

4. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

Obviously his numbers listed below were limited by Cardale Jones (and one bad off-the-field decision). But when he was on the field, he was just as good as he was during his record-setting freshman season. In case you forgot, Barrett did this in his first season: 2,834 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 938 rushing yards and 11 additional touchdowns and a berth in the Big Ten title game.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
992 11 4 63.3 139.20 682 11

 

5. Brad Kaaya, Miami

This one takes some projecting and some deeper digging, but Kaaya has all of the skills of an elite signal caller. His supporting cast has been easily the worst of any name on this list and that has impacted his production. He can flat spin it and has a chance to blossom in a big way under Mark Richt.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
3,238 16 5 61.2 142.10 -119 2

 

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6. Greg Ward Jr., Houston

Ward has to stay healthy and become a more vocal leader but few players in the nation this side of Watson are more dynamic than the Cougars quarterback. Learning more how to play in the pocket could allow him to more even higher up this board.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
2,828 17 6 67.2 148.88 1,108 21
 
7. Josh Rosen, UCLA

From a pure talent standpoint, no one in college football throws a better pass than Rosen. The numbers and wins are impressive for a true freshman last fall but his school-record consecutive passes without an interception (245) might be the most notable. The sky is the limit for Rosen and you can pencil him in as the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
3,669 23 11 60.0 156.25 16 2
 
8. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

No returns to college football with more yards through the air last year than Kliff Kingsbury’s trigger man. He is more athletic than a traditional Air Raid quarterback and proved he could win games away from home with wins over Arkansas and Texas. And remember, someone forced Mayfield to leave Lubbock for reason.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
4,653 36 15 63.5 147.23 456 10
 
9. Seth Russell, Baylor

Certainly, Russell’s surgically repaired neck has to be fully healthy for Russell to stay in the top 10 (heck, his backup might be worthy of a spot on this list). Losing Art Briles hurts but his supporting cast is still amongst the best in the nation. His numbers last year in just seven games were as good as most hope for in a full season.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
2,104 29 6 59.5 189.72 402 6
 
10. Luke Falk, Washington State

No one threw (644) or completed (447) passes than Falk last year and no one returns to college football with more TD passes (38). His receiving corps is ridiculously talented and experienced and has Mike Leach calling plays.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
4,561 38 8 69.4 145.89 -115 3

 

11. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee

He will never be the pure passer like many of the rest of the names on this list but he is as smart as they come and can do a lot of things outside of the pocket. The Vols are poised to win the East for the first time in a decade because of his leadership and playmaking ability. If he can add the intermediate passing game to his arsenal, he could be unstoppable.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
2,291 15 5 59.6 127.01 671 11
 
12. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Most will only remember his huge performance against Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl (227 yards passing, 226 yards rushing) but that would be a mistake. He almost rushed for a 1,000 yards and turned an 0-3 record into an 8-2 finish when he was inserted into the starting line-up (eight starts). Oh, by the way, all of this as a true freshman. The sky is the limit if he can stay healthy and improve his passing ability.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
1,840 12 8 54.7 126.78 960 11
 
13. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

If Kizer was assured the starting job, a case could be made that he is easily a top 10 quarterback. After the Irish lost starter Malik Zaire, the backup freshman showed poise beyond his years and nearly led Notre Dame to a College Football Playoff berth. This QB decision won’t be an easy one for Brian Kelly.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
2,880 21 10 62.9 150.06 520 3
 
14. Jake Browning, Washington

Another true sophomore makes the list due to a remarkable freshman season. He started 12 of 13 games as a true freshman, becoming the first such player to start a season opener for the Huskies. Browning got better as the year went along and he has a phenomenal supporting cast back around him as the Pac-12 frontrunner.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
2,995 16 10 63.1 139.30 35 1
 
15. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

Mike Gundy removed the redshirt from Rudolph late in the 2014 season and his young freshman into the starting lineup. He’s gone 12-3 since then and has proven to be one of the nation’s top passers. If he continues to improve, he could push Mayfield for best signal caller in the Big 12.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
3,770 21 9 62.3 149.04 -35 1
 
16. C.J. Beathard, Iowa

Fearless leader is what comes to mind when breaking down Beathard. But he’s also more athletic than given credit, takes care of the football and is a perfect fit for the Iowa program. He led his team to a 12-0 mark before stumbling late in the year. If he can improve his play against the better teams, Iowa could return to the Big Ten title game.

 

Yds TD Int % Rat. Rush Yds TD
2,809 17 5 61.6 139.05 237 6

 

Special thanks to . You can listen the best in college sports talk radio seven days a week, 24 hours a day only on College Sports Nation. and .

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Ranking the Best College Football Quarterbacks in 2016
Post date: Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/podcast-what-will-college-football-look-2026
Body:

Braden Gall and David Fox look deep into their Mario Cristobal and try to predict how college football will look in ten years.

 

- To try to grasp where college football could be in 2026, we have to look back at the game in 2006. DVRs and HD TV was brand new, Twitter didn't exist and the WAC was a thing.

 

- How will technology changes impact the game? How will it impact how we view the game at home and in stadiums? What about eSports? Will we be practicing against holograms?

 

- What conferences will still exist and which are in danger? Will the Group of 5 break away (or join the NCAA)? Will we have two national champions? Which league will Texas be in?

 

- How will we determine a champion? Will we use home site locations? Will the playoff expand? What happens to bowl games? And will we have a true "national" championship game?

 

- And Fox is getting married this weekend! Vetoed songs, honey moons, first looks and lots more wedding analysis you don't want to miss.

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
Podcast: What will College Football look like in 2026?
Post date: Monday, June 27, 2016 - 16:36
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-ranking-best-towns-college-football
Body:

Be it a savory brat haze floating over State Street, towering Georgia pines surrounding the 40 Watt Club or 1.5 million bats emerging nightly from slumber, the uniqueness of college football is captured by the individuality of the college towns it calls home.

 

They are literally and figuratively the foundation of the sport.

 

Madison, Austin and Athens are just three of the dozens of exceptional locales in college football. All of them offer an original experience for college football goers every fall Saturday.

 

In an effort to determine the top destination, however, Athlon Sports asked 10 experts who have traveled the nation for decades visiting these football sanctuaries to rank their favorite places in the country. Of the 128 possible choices, 29 different towns got at least one vote, five different places got first place votes and only one, Madison, Wi., appeared on all 10 ballots.

 

The Voting Panel

 

, CBS Sports/SiriusXM

, SI

, Fox Sports

, Yahoo!

, AP

, The Solid Verbal

, Fox Sports

, College Football Writer

, ESPN

, SB Nation

 

The Results

 

 
1. Athens, Ga.

Rich in musical history, Athens’ natural charm has long lured college football fans to Northeast Georgia. Bordering the evergreen campus to the North, the Downtown District is home to some of the South’s best music venues, bars and restaurants. There is a plethora of parks, trails and greenways for those who like the fresh air, but come nightfall, be sure to find your way to The 40 Watt Club or Georgia Theatre for a show. Top it all off with Five Points, a mix of mansions and fine dining.

 

“It has it all. A great downtown area with a lot of great restaurants and bars, a pretty campus and my favorite football stadium.” - Pat Forde, Yahoo!

 

2. Madison, Wis.

The second-biggest city and state capital of Wisconsin is home to one of the greatest pedestrian thoroughfares in the nation. State Street connects campus with the downtown Capitol Square that towers over the entire city. Nestled between two gorgeous lakes — Monona and Mendota — Madison is equal parts wonderfully diverse cultural center and booze-fueled shindig featuring the World’s Largest Brat Festival and the State Street Halloween Party. An early morning brat haze welcomes fans from across the Big Ten every fall Saturday.

 

“On game days, the city connects to UW in a manner that’s more seamless than any town on this list. You’re not sure where gameday ends and Madison begins.” - Steven Godfrey, SB Nation

 

3. Austin, Texas

An inherently weird and progressive oasis in the heart of Texas, Austin offers big-city activities with a collegiate appeal. The downtown urban campus is surrounded by must-see attractions such as the famous Sixth Street food and music drag, Congress Avenue Bat Bridge and Colorado River. For BBQ, blues and football buffs, the Live Music Capital of the World is a perfect destination — just be sure to dodge the traffic jams and construction cranes.

 

“So much great everything.” – Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated

 

4. Boulder, Colo.

Located in the foothills of the great Rocky Mountains, Boulder is one of the most gorgeous college settings in the country. No major college football town is more intertwined with nature and the outdoors than home of the Buffaloes. Which may be why Boulder — with its clean mountain air and mild temperatures — is routinely ranked highly in health, quality of life and general happiness. Take the Chautauqua Trailhead to the top of Green Mountain for a view of Folsom Field; it’s a vista few campuses in college football can match.

 

“Welcome, everyone, to nature. Hippy style. The most walkable campus in all of college sports, from the spectacular views of the Flatirons to the Pearl Street area with its food and shops and vendors, Boulder is a jewel.” – Matt Hayes, College Football Writer

 

5. Ann Arbor, Mich.

Nicknamed “Tree Town” for its dense forestation, Ann Arbor is a beautiful combination of small college town and growing urban landscape. It’s a place steeped in political activism, outdoor activities and Big Blue football. The crisp autumn experience is unlike any found in the rival southern college football locales — and there’s a lot more to do here. A lunch stop at Zingerman’s is a must (many believe it to be the best deli in the nation) before sliding down to one of the city’s many breweries for a nightcap.

 

“This is a classic Big Ten town with college charm but also doesn’t turn into a ghost town 24 hours after a home game.” –  Bruce Feldman, FOX Sports

 

 
6. Oxford, Miss.

Quintessential is the word that comes to mind when thinking about the college town that houses Ole Miss. The Grove on a Saturday morning is a portrait of college football perfection, complete with the most glamorous and impressive tailgate in the nation. Oxford, known as art center of the South, has a rich literary history. Where else does a bookstore (Square Books) top the list of a city’s main attractions? After the game, mosey over to The Square for food, libations and more people watching.

 

“The square makes you feel like you’re in a [John] Grisham novel. It’s a really cool spot.” – Rick Neuheisel, SiriusXM/CBS Sports

 

“Everything you want in a college town. Small, traditional, deep-South charm. It’s the hospitality on The Square every day of the week, and the unforgettable fall Saturdays in The Grove. Drive by Faulkner’s Rowan Oak home, and soak in the stately south. Hotty Toddy, baby.” - Matt Hayes, College Football Writer

 

College Football: Breaking Down Athlon’s 2016 Top 25



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7. Eugene, Ore.

Residents can go north to a big city (Portland), west to a gorgeous coastline, east to snowboard (Mt. Bachelor) and south to The Golden State. All within 200 miles. Eugene marks the south end of the Willamette Valley, home to more than 40 breweries and where consuming said beverages is a pastime. In fact, it’s so important that “Animal House” was filmed here, and it houses the inspiration for Moe’s Tavern from “The Simpsons.” Bring a raincoat, but in case you forget yours, swing by Nike’s headquarters and pick one up. Eugene is as pristine a college football environment as there is in the country.

 

“Eugene is just cool; you could get from a hardcore football tailgate to a hemp shop within five minutes.” – Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

 

 
8. Palo Alto, Calif.

This is anything but a typical college town, but it’s an awfully cool place to hang out. Cost of living is high, but so is the standard of living — in the community, in the classroom and in the workplace. Nearly the entire student body population lives on campus, and the bars, shops and restaurants are as good (and relaxed) as any other college town in the nation. What makes this place unique, however, is that it’s in the heart of Silicon Valley — and, yes, that includes Erlich Bachman. It’s a city boiling over with future leaders of industry who push the boundaries of how a town should live, work and play. Essentially, this town’s “whole corporate culture is that there is no corporate culture.” There is no dead weight in this incubator.

 

“Definitely NOT your average college town. The vibe is more laid-back when it comes to football, which is refreshing. The masses don’t lose their minds when the Cardinal lose.” – Ralph Russo, Associated Press

 

“Everything is beautiful up there. Many great restaurants. The only thing keeping it out of the top five is the bar scene is probably too tame for most looking for a college town.” – Bruce Feldman, Fox Sports

 

9. Chapel Hill, N.C.

Sure, the rolling North Carolina hills are gorgeous and the campus is exemplary, but the food! This town prides itself on its farmers, chefs and Southern flavor. Be it James Beard Award-winning fine dining, or street food festivals, or Sugarland’s desserts, or The TOPO (Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery) for a nightcap after a big Tar Heel win, this town has a taste for everyone. Just stroll up and down Franklin Street for all of the above, music, movies and much more. It’s beautiful, it’s cultural and it’s uniquely American.

 

“Bustling Franklin Street with the adjacent campus make for an idyllic setting, both for students and visitors.” – Travis Haney, ESPN

 

10. Charlottesville, Va.

It’s hard not to be overcome with a sense of American history when walking through this picturesque college town. Reminders of Thomas Jefferson and both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars are everywhere, including the iconic Rotunda, Lawn and Monticello plantation. Edgar Allen Poe, James Madison, William Faulkner and James Monroe are just a few other historical luminaries to have called Charlottesville home. The classic brick and plaster is ubiquitous, including on the campus, the Downtown Mall and The Corner. Shenandoah National Park and its Skyline Drive offer plenty of outdoor scenery for those who favor nature over one of the city’s excellent vineyards or breweries (we recommend South Street).

 

“It’s definitely a nicer, old-money area, but holy wow is it gorgeous, green and idyllic. Feels like a stock photo in the best possible way.” – Dan Rubenstein, The Solid Verbal

 

The Votes

Rk Town Team Tot. Pts 1st Ballots
1. Athens 62/100 3 9/10
2. Madison 61/100 0 10/10
3. Austin 60/100 4 7/10
4. Boulder 42/100 0 6/10
5. Ann Arbor 39/100 1 7/10
6. Oxford 33/100 1 6/10
7. Eugene 32/100 0 8/10
8. Palo Alto 25/100 0 4/10
9. Chapel Hill 23/100 0 3/10
10. Charlottesville 17/100 0 3/10
11. Seattle 15/100 0 2/10
12. Knoxville 13/100 0 4/10
13. State College 13/100 0 3/10
14. Berkeley 13/100 0 3/10
15. Baton Rouge 13/100 0 3/10
16. West Point 10/100 1 1/10
17. Clemson 10/100 0 3/10
18. Tuscaloosa 9/100 0 1/10
19. South Bend 9/100 0 1/10
20. Laramie 9/100 0 1/10

ORV: Auburn, Ala., Tempe, Ariz., Colombia, Mo., Columbus, Ohio, Morgantown, W.V.

 

College Football: Others Receiving Votes



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Teaser:
Expert Poll: Ranking the Best Towns in College Football
Post date: Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 10:50
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-jeremy-foley-beer-and-gaming
Body:

Braden Gall and David Fox break down a slow news week in college football.

 

- Jeremy Foley is stepping down as Florida's Athletic Director. How impressive was his run and was he the first of a new type of AD.

 

- Ohio State will sell beer at games this year, bringing the total to more than 30 FBS schools selling alcohol at sporting events. What is the downside? Are there any negatives to selling booze at games?

 

- Why can't Baylor get out of his it's own way? Is the Board of Regents going to vote Art Briles back in place? What is the real solution for the Bears? (Hint: TELL THE TRUTH!)

 

- The guys break down the Athlon Sports preseason All-American and All-Conference teams.

 

- Finally, are eSports the future of college athletics? The Pac-12 Network seems to think gaming is the wave of the future.

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: Jeremy Foley, Beer and... Gaming?
Post date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 15:47
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-big-12-championship-game-vegas-odds-and-jeffery-simmons
Body:

Braden Gall, David Fox and Mitch Light are back in the booth talking the latest in college football.

 

- Did the Big 12 get it right by adding a conference championship game? What are the benefits and drawbacks of a 13th data point? How should the new divisions be divided?

 

- How good of a job is Baylor? Where does it rank nationally and within the Big 12? Where did it rank before Art Briles?

 

- Will Art Briles ever work again in college football? The guys disagree on this one.

 

- Did Mississippi State miss a chance to make a difference with Jeffery Simmons? What number of games would have been the right number to suspend Simmons?

 

- New Vegas odds are out for the 2016 national championship and the guys offer up their best bets and favorite long shots.

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: Big 12 Championship Game, Vegas Odds and Jeffery Simmons
Post date: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - 10:06
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-baylor-ole-miss-and-countdown-kickoff
Body:

Braden Gall, David Fox and Mitch Light are back in the booth talking the latest in college football.

 

- Mitch's 14-year old daughter explains satellite camps in one sentence.

 

- What were our reactions when we found out Baylor fired Art Briles? What (or who) could be next for the Bears? Has Baylor done enough to keep the NCAA at bay and should the NCAA be involved at all? How does Jim Grobe fit in and how have our preseason projections changed on Baylor? How is this situation different than Tennessee?

 

- How should the NCAA handle the Ole Miss self-imposed sanctions and should fans expect more punishment? What is the right punishment for the Rebels? And how will this noise impact the season? The guys disagree on what could happen in Oxford this season.

 

- To lighen the mood, the guys argue about something much less important: When is the actual start of the college football season? The international date line comes into play, time zones, weekends and weekdays. Are we 86 days from kickoff or 87? And what would your dream road/private plane/police escort opening weekend look like?

 

- Lastly, we are all saying goodbye to broadcasting legend Uncle Verne.

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: Baylor, Ole Miss and the Countdown to Kickoff
Post date: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - 10:42
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-preseason-2016-top-25-release
Body:

Braden Gall and Steven Lassan break down every single team in the .

 

- How deep is the Pac-12 and how many teams could legitimately win the title? And will the "surprise" conference champ make the Playoff?

 

- Can the Big 12 bounce back after a rough showing in the first two years of the Playoff era. Is there a clearcut top four in the league vying for a championship and how close could this league come to missing the playoffs again?

 

- There are six teams in the SEC ranked in the top 25 but how many have a legit chance at winning the league and getting into the postseason?

 

- Seriously, how awesome could Florida State and Clemson be in 2016? And don't count out Louisville.

 

You can order your preseason .

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: Official 2016 Top 25 Release
Post date: Monday, May 16, 2016 - 09:46
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-big-12-expansion-implosion-and-kentucky-derby
Body:

Braden Gall and David Fox break down the latest in Big 12 expansion and preview the 2016 college football magazines. (We also have some fun by naming Kentucky Derby horses too.)

 

- What do the latest data reports mean for the future of the Big 12? What is the right structure for the Big 12?

 

- Who should the league target for expansion and should the Big 12 add a title game?

 

- What happens if Oklahoma decides to leave the Big 12? Who goes with them? Where would they land? And what happens to the rest of the Big 12?

 

- Are we concerned about the new norm in Big 12 football or is this just a regular sports cycle?

 

- To lighten the mood after all of that expansion talk, the guys offer up their favorite college football names for The Kentucky Derby. Bong Mask wasn't one of them.

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: Power 5 Round Table, Art Briles and Idaho
Post date: Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 16:21
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/2016-nfl-draft-day-2s-best-available-prospects
Body:

In 2015, there were 25 second-round picks who played in at least 14 games as rookies. Of the 17 Rookie of the Week winners, eight were picked outside of the first round. Sure, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Todd Gurley and Amari Cooper were elite-level draft picks and performed as such. But championship teams are built on Day 2 selections.

 

Related:

 

So after , here are our favorite players left on the board for Day 2 (second and third rounds):

 

A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

Unless the NFL knows something major that the rest of the world doesn't, there is literally no reason this guy should still be on the board. Baring another Tunsiling, there's no excuse for this type of slide for a player as physical and as dominant as Robinson. Teammate Jarran Reed, also still available, might be the best run-stopper in this entire class.

 

The Injured Linebackers

Both UCLA's Myles Jack and Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith are special athletes. They've probably been the best athlete on any field they've ever stepped on. But both are dealing with severe knee injuries and teams are clearly scared off by the risk involved. If healthy, they are both superstars.

 

Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

He's not as talented as either fellow former Crimson Tide linebackers Dont’a Hightower or C.J. Mosley, but he's extremely physical, is the leader of a championship defense and is well coached. He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played.

 

The Quarterbacks

There may not be an elite QB prospect on the board like there has been in the past around this time of the draft (Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees). But Connor Cook, Christian Hackenberg and Dak Prescott all possess the size, leadership and talent to be a starting NFL quarterback. Especially, for the “have-nots” in the league right now.

 

Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

He may be a touch undersized but he has elite-level playmaking ability, great quickness/change of direction skill and played at a high level against the toughest competition FBS has to offer. The Freshman All-American turned first-team All-ACC corner will be a great value pick on Day 2.

 

Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma

Smallish receivers tend to go in the mid-to-later rounds and we saw two excel last year in Tyler Lockett (3rd, Seattle) and Stefon Diggs (5th, Minnesota). Shepard doesn’t have the explosiveness of either but he is extremely mature, runs great routes, has elite hands and is a leader on and off the field. He will catch a ton of passes in the slot.

 

Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky

The former five-star prospect stated his collegiate career at Ohio State but finished it dominating at the lower ranks. He’s very open about his off-the-field issues (which is smart) and if those mistakes are behind him, his athletic ability plays on Sundays in a big way.

 

Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State

He isn’t a tackle on the next level but he’s going to be a great guard. All Whitehair did at Kansas State was start 51 times in four years, earning some sort of All-Big 12 honor after each season. He is tough, has great instincts and can play right away.

 

Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

He will need to get bigger and tougher but make no mistake; this is a three-down tight end that should start right away in the NFL. Henry was an elite prospect who was a three-year starter and Mackey Award winner as the best tight end in the nation. He has every possible tool needed to excel on the next level.

 

Su’a Cravens, LB, USC

He should remind fans of last year’s first-round Pac-12 safety-turned-linebacker Shaq Thompson. He has great instincts, natural athletic ability and is great in space (as a former defensive back should be). He’s undersized for the LB position but makes up for it with toughness and athletic ability.

 

Also considered: Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State; Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina; Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor; Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana; Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida

Teaser:
2016 NFL Draft: Day 2's Best Available Prospects
Post date: Friday, April 29, 2016 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-power-5-round-table-art-briles-and-idaho
Body:

Braden Gall, Mitch Light and David Fox are back in the studio talking college football, previewing all five power five conference and more.

 

- Should Art Briles' job be in jeopardy because of what has happened at Baylor?

 

- Idaho is dropping to the FCS ranks, will this be a developing trend?

 

The guys then broke down all five Power 5 leagues, previewing the upcoming magazine. For the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12, the guys answer these questions:

 

- Which team is the toughest to pinpoint?

- Which team is the best sleeper candidate?

- Who is the darkhorse Heisman candidate?

- Who made the best coaching hire in the off-season?

- What is your favorite conference matchup of the year?

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: Power 5 Round Table, Art Briles and Idaho
Post date: Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 13:11

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