Articles By Braden Gall

Path: /college-football/top-25-quarterback-head-coach-combinations-2015
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The two most important pieces of any college football program is the head coach and the quarterback.

 

Elite leadership on the field and elite leadership on the sideline can carry a team to a division or conference championship. Not too many teams have won national championships without high-level talent at both positions.

 

Here are the best 25 quarterback-head coach combinations in college football in 2015:

 

1. Ohio State: Urban Meyer-Cardale Jones

Meyer might be the top coach in the land right now and no quarterback is hotter than Jones — be it on social media, in the playoffs or in the 2016 NFL Draft prospect rankings. The defending national champs are a default No. 1 until someone knocks them off. This is the best coach and quarterback in the Big Ten entering the season.

 

2. Mississippi State: Dan Mullen-Dak Prescott

Mullen has worked minor miracles in Starkville, reaching unprecedented heights at Mississippi State. Prescott is a second-team All-American and the best quarterback in the SEC. He may also be a first-round pick like only a few others on this list.

 

3. Michigan State: Mark Dantonio-Connor Cook

Few players and coaches mesh better from a personality and schematic fit. Cook embodies all that is Spartans football, is a natural leader and one of the top NFL prospects at his position. Big numbers and an upset of the Buckeyes could cement his legacy in Michigan State lore. This is the No. 3-ranked coach and No. 2-ranked quarterback in the Big Ten this fall.

 

4. TCU: Gary Patterson-Trevone Boykin

Ranked behind only Art Briles and Bill Snyder in the Big 12, Patterson reinvented himself last year by shaking up the offense and the result was a near Playoff berth and the creation of an All-American quarterback. Boykin accounted for 4,608 yards of total offense, good for fourth nationally last year and the top returning number in college football.

 

5. Penn State: James Franklin-Christian Hackenberg

The numbers and production won’t match this lofty ranking. However, Hackenberg could easily be the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and Franklin achieved things at Vanderbilt that no coach in school history had ever accomplished. If the O-line and running game come around, these two could soar through the Big Ten this year.

 

6. USC: Steve Sarkisian-Cody Kessler

Coach Sark is ranked as just the ninth-best coach in the Pac-12 but that is mostly due to the tremendous depth of talent this league has on its sidelines. Kessler is the most underrated player in the nation and the best signal-caller in a league stacked with great QBs. Should this duo win the Pac-12 or land in the Playoff, Sarkisian will move up the Pac-12 rankings.

 

7. Auburn: Gus Malzahn-Jeremy Johnson

Malzahn is a genius and is ranked ahead of multiple coaches with national championships in the SEC right now. Johnson, meanwhile, is poised for a huge season in an offense that churns out points and yards. In fact, Johnson is ranked behind only Prescott in the SEC entering the fall.

 

8. Arizona State: Todd Graham-Mike Bercovici

Graham was voted as the best coach in the Pac-12 by a narrow margin. Bercovici proved last season in mop-up duty that he is more than capable running the Sun Devils' offense and is a big-time playmaker of his own. His NFL stock should soar this year because of his cannon right arm and potential run at a Pac-12 title.

 

9. Clemson: Dabo Swinney-Deshaun Watson

If this was a Chad Morris-Deshaun Watson combination, it might be the best in the nation. Watson is that good when healthy and is clearly the best in the ACC. Swinney was voted as the sixth-best coach in the ACC and needs to prove he can do it again without Morris. Swinney is a great motivator and recruiter but how much game-planning and play-calling is he doing on Saturdays?

 

10. Arizona: Rich Rodriguez-Anu Solomon

RichRod has proven to be one of the game’s best minds and is a perfect fit in Arizona. He and his quarterbacks — be it Pat White or Denard Robinson or Solomon — have produced some special seasons and Solomon’s first in Tucson last year was no exception. Look for a slight regression this fall while the offense rebuilds, but huge things from this duo in two years.

 

Related: 10 Biggest Wild Card Teams in College Football in 2015

 

11. Cal: Sonny Dykes-Jared Goff

This one is sneaky good since Dykes ranked just 11th in the Pac-12 coaches rankings (again, mostly due to the incredible depth of talent out West). But Goff is getting NFL looks and will post monster numbers in his third year under center.

 

12. BYU: Bronco Mendenhall-Taysom Hill

If healthy, few players in the nation are as talented and productive as Hill. And Mendenhall has proven his worth over the long haul in Provo. He’s never had a losing season.

 

13. Baylor: Art Briles-Seth Russell

The best coach in the Big 12 churns out great QBs and Russell is just the next great one in a long line of elite Bears quarterbacks. Russell is already considered the third-best signal-caller in the league.

 

14. Georgia Tech: Paul Johnson-Justin Thomas

Johnson has won a ton of games and handful of division titles in Atlanta with his triple option offense. Thomas proved quickly last year that this team had just been missing a QB and that he might be the best one Johnson's had at Tech.

 

15. Navy: Ken Niumatalolo-Keenan Reynolds

Niumatalolo has posted just one losing season at Navy and has never lost to Army. Reynolds is already holds the NCAA record for career rushing touchdowns (64) by a quarterback and is just 13 behind Montee Ball for the all-time record.

 

16. Tennessee: Butch Jones-Joshua Dobbs

Jones has yet to win big but all signs are pointing to legit title contention in the very near future. His recruiting and CEO-manship alone make him a rising star. Dobbs, who has very little starting experience, is poised to become one of the SEC’s best in 2015.

 

17. Missouri: Gary Pinkel-Maty Mauk

Pinkel has the edge over Jones, his SEC East peer, winning both meetings and holding a 3-0 overall record against Tennessee. Pinkel also is one of the most respected minds in the game. Mauk, despite 3,021 yards of total offense and 27 total touchdowns, is still only scratching the surface of his ability.

 

18. Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin-Kyle Allen

Allen is a future pro and has elite-level upside and a bunch of talented wideouts to throw to this fall. His growth could be extraordinary this fall. Sumlin has made the Big 12 to SEC transition with ease, but isn't the hot commodity he was a few years ago (but still really good).

 

19. Miami: Al Golden-Brad Kaaya

Many are down on Golden but he got no favors when he took over the scandal-ridden Hurricanes program. Now, he has one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Kaaya “The Messiah” and the pressure is on to win.

 

20. Cincinnati: Tommy Tuberville-Gunner Kiel

This QB-coach combo is the frontrunner to win the American Athletic Conference. Kiel threw for 3,254 yards and 31 touchdowns in his first full season and is starting to deliver on his massive recruiting hype.

 

21. Notre Dame: Brian Kelly-Malik Zaire

22. Oklahoma State: Mike Gundy-Mason Rudolph

23. Utah State: Matt Wells-Chuckie Keeton

24. Stanford: David Shaw-Kevin Hogan

25. NC State: Dave Doeren-Jacoby Brissett

Teaser:
Top 20 Quarterback Head Coach Combinations in 2015
Post date: Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NFL, News
Path: /college-football/top-25-acc-2016-nfl-draft-prospects-watch
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The 2015 NFL Draft is over and more than 400 players have begun the next chapter of their football careers.

 

So what better time than now to look ahead to next spring and the 2016 NFL Draft. Here are the top 25 ACC and Notre Dame prospects to watch in 2015:

 

1. Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (5-11, 195)

The Hokies' star coverman might actually be as good as Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III. The five-star recruit has started every game of his two-year career and is going to be an All-American entering '15

 
2. Ronnie Stanley, OL, Notre Dame (6-5, 315)

He's got the size and talent to be an elite blocker on the next level and has held his own very well against elite defensive talent (Leonard Williams, Stanford, LSU).

 

3. Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State (6-1, 204)

How many five-star recruits start all 13 games as a true freshman for a team that goes 14-0 and wins a national title? Ramsey is now an upperclassman, the veteran star of the Noles' defense.

 

4. Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame (6-2, 235)

He can play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end in a 3-4 or just about anywhere else on the field. He's a freakish athlete who will vault himself into the first round.

 

5. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt (6-2, 190)

He regressed as a sophomore but his freshman season was no fluke. He has excellent athletic ability and can run all of the routes in the stem. Look for a huge bounce-back season from the Panthers wideout.

 

6. Nate Andrews, S, Florida State (5-11, 210)

The less-heralded of the two star FSU safeties isn't any less talented. He's got great size and could be just as highly regarded as Ramsey come draft time.

 

7. James Conner, RB, Pitt (6-2, 240)

He’s a beast of tailback who is impossible to tackle with one defender. He rolled up 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns a year ago, showing he’s a true workhorse back.

 

8. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson (5-10, 190)

He’s just a redshirt sophomore but he showed why he was so highly touted coming out of high school. The star cornerback started all 13 games in his first season, earning freshman All-American honors along the way.

 

9. Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson (6-3, 270)

He posted 34 tackles and 3.5 sacks as a backup last year. He will be asked to step into a massive role after the Tigers' D-Line lost so much this offseason. Look for Lawson to become a household name this fall.

 

10. Sheldon Day, DE, Notre Dame (6-2, 285)

One of the quickest of the Irish defensive linemen heading into ’15, Day posted 40 tackles, 7.5 for a loss and nine quarterback hurries last fall. He could be an undersized tackle or traditional defensive end depending on where he lands.

 

Related: 5 Things I'd Change about the College Football Playoff

 

11. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson (6-4, 210)

Williams blossomed a year ago into a star deep threat and is the next in a long line of elite pass catchers from Death Valley. He has great size and posted 1,030 yards as a sophomore.

 

12. Landon Turner, OG, North Carolina (6-4, 325)

The preseason first-team All-ACC lineman is one of the best interior blockers in the nation. According to UNC, Turner posted five games with at 10 knockdown blocks and is poised for a big senior season in Chapel Hill.

 

13. Devonte Fields, DE, Louisville (6-4, 240)

The former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year has dealt with major off-the-field issues but has gotten his second chance at Louisville. If he’s focused and committed to football, Fields could be a monster coming off of the edge for Bobby Petrino.

 

14. Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame (6-5, 301)

Martin moves back to center this fall and will be the pivot for the Irish O-Line. He could be the top center prospect in the country in next year’s draft class.

 

15. Dadi Nicolas, DE, Virginia Tech (6-4, 236)

Where he plays on the next level may impact his draft stock. He’s undersized for a true defensive end but would excel off of the edge as an outside backer in a 3-4.

 

Related: 10 Biggest Wildcard Teams in College Football in 2015

 

16. Deon Bush, S, Miami (6-1, 205)

He’s got great size and is the best defensive player in a Hurricanes uniform. He led the ACC with five forced fumbles and finished with 53 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.

 

17. Terrance Smith, LB, Florida State (6-1, 231)

He battled injuries all season last fall and missed a bunch of time in the offseason nursing a turf toe issue. But Smith was a huge part of each of the last three ACC titles. He posted 86 tackles last fall.

 

18. James Burgess, LB, Louisville (6-0, 230)

When it comes to athletic ability, Burgess has rare talent. He flies around the field like a safety but is right at home attacking the running game. He’s not overly big but he plays bigger than his frame, collecting 71 tackles and 10.0 for a loss.

 

19. KeiVarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame (5-11, 190)

Academic issues sidelined Russell all of last season but he was getting preseason All-American love prior to the suspension.

 

20. Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson (6-3, 210)

The nephew of Jevon Kearse, Jayron’s athletic ability will be intriguing to the NFL. He made tons of plays last year, posting 60 tackles and two interceptions as a lanky sophomore.

 

Related: 10 Teams Guaranteed NOT to make the College Football Playoff

 

21. Jeremy Cash, S, Duke (6-2, 205)

He’s got great size and is incredibly well-coached. The All-American was the only defensive back in the nation to register at least 100 tackles (111), 10.0 tackles for a loss (10.5) and five sacks (5.5).

 

22. Jarron Jones, DT, Notre Dame (6-6, 315)

If he’s 100 percent healthy and focused, Jones has elite upside. He posted 40 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss, but is returning from a severe foot injury. He also needs to be more consistent.

 

23. Max Redfield, S, Notre Dame (6-1, 198)

The prized recruit blossomed last season as a leader in the Irish secondary. He finished second on the team with 68 tackles and has the speed-size combination the NFL is looking for.

 

24. Brandon Facyson, CB, Virginia Tech (6-2, 190)

He missed nine games last year with a shin injury and broke his leg in December. If he returns to form, the redshirt sophomore could be poised to return to his freshman All-American status.

 

25. Reggie Northrup, LB, Florida State (6-1, 226)

This is all projection, as Northrup is returning from a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl loss to Oregon. However, he was the leading tackler with 122 stops last year and has the talent to play on Sundays.

 

Best of the Rest:

26. Quinshad Davis, WR, North Carolina

27. Corey Robinson, WR, Notre Dame

28. Jabari Hunt-Days, DT, Georgia Tech

29. Tracy Howard, CB, Miami

30. Adam Gotsis, DT, Georgia Tech

31. Stacy Coley, WR, Miami

32. Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pitt

33. Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

34. Taquan Mizzell, RB, Virginia

35. Jamal Golden, S, Georgia Tech

36. Jon Heck, OT, North Carolina

37. Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State

Teaser:
Top 25 ACC 2016 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch
Post date: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/10-biggest-wild-card-college-football-teams-2015
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The Athlon Sports college football preseason Top 25 countdown starts on Wednesday.

 

Predicting college football is an inexact science that’s more difficult to pinpoint than any other sport due to roster turnover, as well as the volatility when it comes to developing personnel and new coaches.

 

We use depth charts, recruiting rankings, stats, schedules, history, coaching and gut instincts to predict each conference to the best of our abilities. Getting it right is our top priority.

 

But that doesn’t mean that certain teams are darn near impossible to figure out. Here are the 10 biggest wildcard teams in college football entering our Top 25 countdown.

 

Clemson

The Tigers are going to be one of the best teams in the ACC but how good could they be nationally? There is a lot to like about this team with star quarterback Deshaun Watson and overall depth that’s as talented as any team in the league. But this team only returns two starters on defense and four on offense. Lastly, offensive mastermind Chad Morris is now coaching at SMU. This team could be an ACC champion and Playoff contender — or 8-4.

 

Florida

A new coach alone makes a team tough to pinpoint in the preseason. But one without a starting quarterback and a lopsided depth chart makes it even tougher. There are loads of talent on defense but few proven players along the offensive line or under center. Most believe in this coaching staff and the SEC East is fairly wide open, but it’s tough to gauge how good the Gators will be in 2015.

 

Florida State

This is the most-talented team in the ACC and one of the top two or three rosters in the nation. But the offensive line is totally reworked, Sean Maguire is taking over at quarterback and only three starters are back on offense. The defense will be salty with seven starters back and a schedule that sets up for another ACC title run. But is this a Playoff team again or just a really good ACC team?

 

Related: The Top Running Backs in the ACC in 2015

 

LSU

There are 13 starters back for LSU as Les Miles once again boasts one of the top 10 collections of players in the nation. However, none of that is under center (for now) and he has to replace John Chavis as his defensive leader. The offense should run through uber-talented running back Leonard Fournette and the defense should be fine, but this team is trending in the wrong direction, faces one of the toughest schedules in the nation and has major QB concerns. This team could finish in any of the seven slots in the SEC West and it wouldn’t surprise anyone.

 

Nebraska

The Big Ten's West Division appears to be wide open and Nebraska has as good a shot of winning it as anyone else in the league. Six starters are back on both sides of the ball, including star power up front in the all-important trenches. Does new head coach Mike Riley have a quarterback that fits his system on the roster and can the Huskers overcome scheduling imbalance to win the West? Definitely. Could the Big Red lose to BYU, Miami, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan State? Also yes.

 

Related: 10 Teams Guaranteed NOT to make the College Football Playoff

 

Oklahoma

Bob Stoops is coming off one of his worst seasons in Norman and, traditionally, his teams perform better when entering a season without expectations. This team won’t be picked by anyone ahead of Baylor or TCU but is the top challenger to the top two squads in the Big 12. If Baker Mayfield flourishes in Lincoln Riley’s system and six returning defensive starters improve, watch out for the Sooners.

 

Oregon

Much of the Ducks' success in ’15 hinges on graduate transfer quarterback Vernon Adams and his ability to pick up the offense quickly in summer camp. The offense is downright sick, loaded with elite playmakers at nearly every position. The defense, in particular the secondary, has some major holes to plug. And Stanford is gaining significant ground in the Pac-12 North race this summer. Oregon’s ceiling is high, but are the Ducks a Playoff team or a Holiday Bowl team?

 

Tennessee

The talent is undeniably better and so is the team. But the defensive line is still very thin and the Vols play some of the best running teams in the nation. Dual-threat quaterback Joshua Dobbs should have better support up front along the line and at the skill spots but he has just a handful of starts under his belt. Can this team overcome a brutal schedule, exorcise some demons against Florida, Alabama or Missouri and contend in the SEC East? Or is this a five-loss team? The Big Orange’s youth makes this an interesting team to keep an eye on heading into the summer.

 

Texas

What do we know about Texas? Charlie Strong is an excellent coach who has a proven track record. His defense will be salty, physical and disciplined. And that the Longhorns have little to no offense. This team plays differently than anyone else in the league, making them interesting. But Tyrone Swoopes is still more liability than playmaker. With 11 starters back, this team is a total wildcard in the Big 12 this fall.

 

Related: 9 Quarterbacks Who Need to Transfer and the 9 Teams that Need Them

 

USC

There are seven starters back on defense and seven back on offense, including the best quarterback in the Pac-12 in Cody Kessler. The roster has more recruiting star power on it than any other team in the league, and by a wide margin. But the schedule is nasty — especially, within the division, the Pac-12 South — and questions about the overall depth still remain. Can the coaching staff get the most out of the Trojans? If so, this team could make the Playoff. If not, USC could finish fourth in the division.

Teaser:
10 Biggest Wildcard College Football Teams in 2015
Post date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/5-things-wed-change-about-college-football-playoff
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The first year of the College Football Playoff was a resounding success.

 

Television pulled huge ratings. Athletic departments are richer and conference coffers are overflowing. The bowl games were showcased. The regular season was amplified.

 

And the fans got the postseason tournament they’ve wanted for decades.

 

But that doesn’t mean it can’t get better. Here are five ways to improve the College Football Playoff.

 

Expand to 6 (not 8)

The Playoff’s television contract is in effect for 12 years but no one in any position of power thinks the structure will stick for the full length of the deal. Expansion is coming whether we like it or not, it should just be six teams and not eight. Eight teams allow for three-loss teams to join the conversation and exclusivity is a good thing. Six teams fixes the “conference championship” argument and then some. The top two seeds get byes just like half of the NFL Playoff bracket. It's perfect and the Big 12 can't complain.

 

Use home sites

Get rid of the stupid bowl games. They mean absolutely nothing and have been grandfathered into a position of extreme power and wealth. The best part of college football isn’t a three-quarters full Superdome, it’s the pageantry of being on campus in the largest venues in American sports. It’s the Horseshoe. It’s the Big House. It’s Between the Hedges and in The Swamp. It’s Death Valley, the Capstone and the 40 Acres. Let’s showcase this part of the sport and award home-field advantage to the better teams while we're at it. Don’t listen to Bill Hancock, there are still 36 other bowl games that keep the sanctity of the bowl system intact. And can you really expect to ask fans to travel to three consecutive neutral site games?

 

Related: 10 Biggest Wildcard Teams in College Football in 2015

 

Make the title game truly national

Home sites shouldn't be used for the final tilt, however. This is a national championship game not a regional championship or a Southern championship. The Super Bowl is rotated throughout the country and is played in every region for a reason. This national championship belongs to everyone and should be played all over the place. Indianapolis, Detroit, New York, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area (Santa Clara to be exact) have all proven they can host massive sporting events. Every region of the country deserves to host this great spectacle.

 

Limit rankings release to three weeks

One of the only major complaints in the first year of the Playoff was the rankings release. It’s completely fabricated by ESPN to drive ratings and create discussion on Tuesdays. It was genius business but isn’t in the best interest of the sport. The rankings need three releases. One at the end of November, one the week before Championship Saturday and a final release on Sunday following.

 

Related: 10 Teams Guaranteed NOT to make the College Football Playoff

 

Semifinals on New Year’s Day

It’s not an issue yet because both semifinals in Year One fell on New Year’s Day. But the ’15 playoff will feature two games on New Year’s Eve. The Rose Bowl’s exclusive spot on New Year’s Day has forced other games to be moved to a far less viewable slot the night before. College football should own New Year’s Day every year like it did last season. Here is yet another reason to remove the bowls from the equation.

Teaser:
5 Things We'd Change About the College Football Playoff
Post date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/10-teams-guaranteed-not-make-college-football-playoff-2015
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The Athlon Sports 2015 preseason college football top 25 countdown begins this Wednesday and hearts are already breaking across the nation.

 

Every season, the Athlon Sports Top 25 starts the national conversation about where teams’ expectations lay heading into camp.

 

Preseason Top 25 polls miss on teams — both good and bad. But one thing is true, your favorite team needs to be in the preseason top 25 to win a national championship.

 

No team since Georgia Tech in 1990 has won a national championship after beginning the season unranked. In fact, only two teams since 1990 have even played in a national championship game entering the season unranked: Notre Dame in 2012 and Auburn in 2013 — which needed more than one miraculous finish to get there.

 

The beauty of the College Football Playoff is that it has cast a wider national title net, but only four teams get in. Below are 10 power conference teams that are guaranteed NOT to be in the College Football Playoff and where they rank in the preseason:

 

Kansas (No. 103)

The Jayhawks lost 16 of their 22 starters from a year ago and are under new leadership. David Beatty was hired for his ability to recruit and the trail might be the only place Kansas will win in 2015. A winless Big 12 campaign is likely for the lowest-ranked Power 5 team.

 

Syracuse (No. 85)

Only seven total starters return for the Orange this summer. Scott Shafer’s squad is the lowest-ranked ACC team in the preseason polls and a repeat of last year’s 1-7 ACC record is likely. With LSU and USF in the non-conference, anything more than three wins might be considered a small victory.

 

Purdue (No. 84)

The Boilermakers showed slight signs of improvement last year in Darrell Hazell’s second season. But his record is 4-20 for a reason and this team lost six straight games to end the season. There are 16 starters back but only a few winnable games on the schedule.

 

Wake Forest (No. 82)

With 13 starters back and a second-year coach in Dave Clawson, there should be more optimism in Winston-Salem than other towns on this list. That said, Wake Forest wasn’t very competitive a year ago and anything over four wins in ’15 would be a success.

 

Vanderbilt (No. 79)

The Dores are the most talented team on this list but a nasty schedule and terrible offense make it nearly impossible for Vandy to compete in the SEC. There are 17 starters back so this team should be improved even if it doesn’t translate to wins. Keep in mind, Derek Mason was crushed by Temple and nearly lost to UMass and Old Dominion last year.

 

Related: Ranking College Football's Rosters in 2015

 

Iowa State (No. 74)

Paul Rhoads may never get a fair shake because Iowa State is really tough place to win. With just four starters back on defense, stopping Big 12 offenses will be hard to do this fall. A win over Kansas might be the high-water mark for ISU in league play this fall.

 

Oregon State (No. 73)

The Beavers have a new coach (who is well respected) and just two starters back on defense and lost the Pac-12’s all-time leading passer. The schedule is downright ridiculous, both in the league and out, and more than one Pac-12 win could be considered a positive.

 

Colorado (No. 67)

This team is getting better under Mike McIntyre ever so slightly but not enough to take big strides in 2015. Playing 13 games may give this team an outside shot a bowl game but that is still extremely unexpected.

 

Washington State (No. 66)

Mike Leach’s team took a step back last year and now replaces Connor Halliday under center. The Cougars return 13 starters and their only saving grace is getting to face two other teams (Oregon State, Rutgers) on this list.

 

Rutgers (No. 65)

Only Virginia (No. 61) is a higher-ranked, “last-place” team in the preseason projections. After a bounce back to a bowl game last season, Kyle Flood’s squad returns just eight starters and faces the toughest schedule in the B1G.

Teaser:
10 Teams Guaranteed NOT to Make the College Football Playoff
Post date: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/top-25-big-ten-2016-nfl-draft-prospects-watch
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The 2015 NFL Draft is over and more than 400 players have begun the next chapter of their football careers.

 

So what better time than now to look ahead to next spring and the 2016 NFL Draft. Here are the top 25 prospects that could be drafted from the Big Ten:

 

1. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State (6-4, 230)

He got no support from his running game or offensive line last fall, but Hackenberg has all the NFL tools to be the best QB prospect in the draft next year. He's a more athletic version of Eli Manning. It's hard to keep elite QBs from being the top pick.

 

2. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (6-4, 265)

The best pure pass rusher in this class, Bosa has already proven himself as one of the best in college football. He is likely to be avoided by most offenses in '15 so the numbers may not improve, but his stock won't go anywhere. He's one of the best players in the nation period.

 

3. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (6-2, 235)

The freakish redshirt sophomore had a coming-out party in the College Football Playoff, earning MVP honors of the Sugar Bowl. He could blossom into the best linebacker in the nation due to elite speed, instincts and physicality.

 

4. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (6-3, 218)

He's got the size, the arm and is an above-average athlete. He wins games and takes care of the football as well. He's a pure leader who could be on the only team capable of knocking off Ohio State.

 

5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (6-0, 225)

The top Heisman Trophy candidate entering the season was an absolute monster in the Playoffs. He carried his team to a national championship and should be the top back taken if he can stay healthy.

 

Related: Top 32 2016 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

 

6. Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State (6-4, 255)

There is a good chance he's the starter for Ohio State when the season opens, and his overall arm talent is what makes him the best QB prospect on the OSU roster. And a second national title could cement his first-round status.

 

7. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State (6-5, 255)

Calhoun could have left school early last fall but elected to return. His stock can't change much but as long as he continues to deliver on his tremendous ability on a championship-level defense, he will be a first-rounder.

 

8. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (6-6, 317)

He struggled some with Shawn Oakman (a potential first-round pick from Baylor) in the Cotton Bowl but has been Cook’s blindside anchor. He’s solid against both the run and the pass and will have a chance to lead MSU to a Big Ten title.

 

9. Joshua Perry, OLB, Ohio State (6-4, 254)

The tackling machine isn’t the flashiest or most explosive player on the Buckeyes' defense but he’s one of the most consistent. He led the national champs in tackles last year with 124 and added 8.5 for a loss and 3.0 sacks. There are few players at his position with his size.

 

10. Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska (6-2, 300)

Randy Gregory got all of the headlines but Collins developed into a star in his own right last fall as just a sophomore. The disruptive tackle posted 45 tackles, 10.5 for a loss and 4.5 sacks — arguably a better season than Gregory. The sky is the limit for Collins.

 

11. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (6-7, 315)

He’s a massive guy with a long frame who has excelled against some of the best in the business. This offensive line dominated in the national title game and against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

 

12. Adolphus Washington, DL, Ohio State (6-4, 290)

With Michael Bennett and Steve Miller gone, more of the D-line onus will fall to this former big-time recruit. He’s got great size and length and makes more plays than the average tackle. He needs to prove he can be the focal point after 48 tackles, 10.5 for a loss and 4.5 sacks.

 

13. Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State (5-11, 205)

The former five-star recruit finished second on the team in tackles last year (92) and has proven himself a playmaker in short order. He doesn’t have great size but has the elite athleticism that NFL pass defenses are looking for and he elevated his game in the Playoffs.

 

14. Anthony Zettel, DT, Penn State (6-4, 278)

Getting Zettel back this season was a big win for defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and company. The big fellas clogged the middle for one of the best defenses in the league last fall, posting 42 tackles, 17.0 tackles for a loss and 8.0 sacks.

 

15. Kyle Carter, TE, Penn State (6-3, 240)

A trio of talented wide receivers and the departed Jesse James took the spotlight from Carter last fall. But make no mistake, he’s got NFL ability. He only caught 16 passes last season but fans in Happy Valley (as well as Mr. Hackenberg) are expecting a big leap forward in ’15.

 

16. Tyler Marz, OT, Wisconsin (6-5, 321)

The next in a long line of UW blockers with NFL upside. Guards and centers from Madison have had better careers in the NFL but Marz will lead what is once again one of the best running games in the nation.

 

17. Theiren Cockran, DE, Minnesota (6-6, 257)

He’s rangy and versatile. He can play outside backer in a 3-4 but has excelled as a true end for Jerry Kill. Should the Florida native blossom into an All-Big Ten player, his stock could soar come draft day.

 

18. Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin (5-11, 210)

Wisconsin knows how to run the ball and the next guy in line is Clement. He’s not as gifted as Melvin Gordon but could be just as productive. He’s rushed for 1,496 yards and 16 touchdowns on 7.0 yards per carry as a backup over the last two years behind Gordon.

 

19. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State (6-2, 225)

Scouts aren’t sure what to make of Barrett. He’s a solid athlete with a solid arm and has great size but does he do anything at an elite, NFL level? There is no doubting his leadership and production, however, after 45 touchdowns in 12 games as a redshirt freshman starter last fall.

 

20. Dan Voltz, C, Wisconsin (6-3, 311)

The highly-touted center prospect enters his redshirt junior year as a Rimington Trophy watch list member. The former freshman All-American missed the second half of the season last year and if he can prove he’s fully healthy, he will move up this list quickly.

 

Related: Grading the First Round of the 2015 NFL Draft

 

21. Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota (6-0, 196)

Murray is an incredibly productive cornerback for the Gophers. He totaled 69 tackles last fall for a team one half of football away from winning its division. All Minnesota players are well-coached and he could be the best player on the team in ’15.

 

22. Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State (6-1, 200)

He’s smart, savvy, hard-working and very athletic. He’s long and rangy as well. Apple proved to be a big playmaker from the corner position. He registered 5.5 tackles for a loss, 10 pass breakups, three interceptions and 53 tackles.

 

23. Darius Hamilton, DL, Rutgers (6-4, 255)

He can play in multiple schemes but likely projects as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system. Hamilton was one of the top recruits in school history and he delivered with 45 tackles, 11.5 for a loss and 6.0 sacks last fall. A step forward in ’15 could push him into the top three rounds.

 

24. Wayne Lyons, DB, Michigan (6-1, 193)

Folks in Ann Arbor will learn his name quickly after transferring in from Stanford. Lyons played in 41 games with the Cardinal, posting 126 tackles and three interceptions before coming to Michigan. He instantly makes this defense better and he is a potential All-Big Ten selection.

 

25. Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State (6-1, 212)

If Miller wants to put together a year of tape for NFL scouts, he will likely have to play wide receiver. He might be able to play QB for another college program, but he’s not an NFL signal-caller. But should he prove he can make the transition, his stock could rise quickly.

 

Best of the Rest:

26. Jordan Lucas, CB, Penn State (6-0, 198)

27. Leonte Caroo, WR, Rutgers (6-1, 205)

28. James Ross, LB, Michigan (6-1, 225)

29. Kyle Kalis, OL, Michigan (6-5, 292)

30. Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (6-3, 210)

31. Blake Countess, CB, Michigan (5-10, 185)

32. Jack Allen, C, Michigan State (6-2, 295)

33. Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana (6-6, 300)

34. Michael Caputo, S, Wisconsin (6-1, 212)

35. Nick VanHoose, CB, Northwestern (6-0, 190)

36. Chris Carter, DT, Ohio State (6-4, 342)

37. Vincent Valentine, DT, Nebraska (6-3, 320)

38. Nyeem Wartman, OLB, Penn State (6-1, 236)

39. Sojourn Shelton, CB, Wisconsin (5-9, 180)

40. Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska (6-6, 290)

Teaser:
Top 25 Big Ten 2016 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch
Post date: Friday, May 8, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/everett-golson-braxton-miller-trevor-knight-quarterbacks-transfer-college-teams
Body:

Everett Golson has announced that he will transfer from Notre Dame with one season of eligibility left.

 

Golson isn’t the only talented quarterback who could decide to leave school in the coming weeks knowing that he isn’t likely to start.

 

And there are plenty of big-time teams with conference championship aspirations that need starting signal-callers to put them over the top.

 

So it got me thinking. Who are the best quarterbacks in the nation who won’t be starting this fall, what are the best teams in the nation in need of a QB and which ones fit the best?

 

Here are nine quarterbacks and teams that need to get together:

 

Everett Golson, Notre Dame: Florida

Jim McElwain needs a guy who can run his system quickly and efficiently. That’s Golson. He’s got a great arm, great wheels and was the best player on the field for the Irish in the BCS title game drubbing against Alabama. This makes Florida the top challenger to Georgia in the East.

 

Related: 15 Teams That Could Land Everett Golson

 

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: Texas

The Wichita Falls, Texas, native likely isn’t going to beat out Cardale Jones and should return home to the Lone Star State. The Horns could be a Big 12 contender along with Baylor and TCU if they could just get quality QB play. Barrett gives them that and more. Try 45 touchdowns in 12 games as a freshman last season.

 

Trevor Knight, Oklahoma: Alabama

Oh, the irony. Jake Coker clearly isn’t taking control of the job like he was supposed to — this year or last. But with elite talent and a coordinator who loves to chuck it around, Knight could return to prominence at Alabama. He isn’t likely to beat out Baker Mayfield and he's very accustomed to Crimson and Cream color schemes.

 

Braxton Miller, Ohio State: Ole Miss

Hugh Freeze might be one player away from winning an SEC title and Miller could be the guy. He fits the spread offense Freeze wants to run and might be relegated to third string in Columbus. This would be a blast to watch.

 

Max Browne, USC: Louisville

Bobby Petrino has been churning out NFL Draft picks but is a big-armed quarterback away from contending in the ACC this fall. The tall, pocket passer from USC isn’t going to start and would be a perfect fit in Louisville’s system.

 

Kyler Murray, Texas A&M: LSU

Talk about fun to watch. Murray is just a freshman but isn’t likely to beat out future pro Kyle Allen anytime soon. Why not ship him next door to LSU and give the Tigers an instant playmaker at a position they been lacking for nearly a decade?

 

Drew Barker, Kentucky: Nebraska

It’s no secret that Mike Riley wants a pro-style, pocket passer running his offense. But he doesn’t have that on his roster right now. The highly-touted and rocket-armed Barker won’t beat out incumbent Patrick Towles and has all the tools to excel in Lincoln.

 

Davis Webb, Texas Tech: Michigan

Webb looks to be the odd man out in Lubbock but knows how to chuck it around in a big way. The lanky pocket passer would fit well into Jim Harbaugh’s system and gives him a better option than Jake Rudock entering the year. Michigan is good quarterback play away from being a very dangerous team in the B1G.

 

Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina: Georgia

Possibly the best backup quarterback in the ACC, Trubisky has been beaten out by Marquise Williams multiple times. Georgia needs a tall, strong-armed, pro-style passer. This marriage could result in Mark Richt’s first SEC title in a decade.

Teaser:
9 Quarterbacks Who Need to Transfer and 9 Teams That Need Them
Post date: Friday, May 8, 2015 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/top-25-SEC-2016-NFL-Draft-Prospects-Watch
Body:

The 2015 NFL Draft is over and more than 400 players have begun the next chapter of their football careers.

 

For the ninth straight year, the SEC had the most players drafted (54) of any league in college football. With a host of stacked rosters and elite talents taking the field in 2015, that trend should continue once again in 2016. Here are the top 25 NFL Draft prospects to watch in the SEC this fall:

 

1. Laremy Tunsil, OL, Ole Miss (6-5, 305)

He could easily be the top pick as the best offensive tackle in the draft. He has the size, the athleticism and is significantly better than any offensive lineman in the 2015 NFL Draft.

 

2. A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (6-4, 320)

He won't stuff the stat sheet but tackles rarely do. Yet, Robinson is a beast in the middle who must be accounted for on every play — more often than not by more than one blocker. He's big and extremely physical.

 

3. Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss (6-4, 280)

From a size and strength standpoint, few players in the country can match Nkemdiche's ability. He played end early in his career and has shifted inside and dominated in both spots. Look for him to take the next step in 2015.

 

4. Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn (6-2, 255)

The knee injury may scare some scouts away, but Lawson can clear away all the doubt with a huge '15 campaign. He was essentially the best player on the Auburn defense two years ago as just a freshman and will become a household name in short order this fall.

 

5. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss (6-2, 230)

A broken leg isn't nearly as concerning as knees or hips so once Treadwell steps back onto a field, it won't take long for his elite talent to show that he's the top receiver in the '16 class.

 

Related: Top 25 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in 2015

 

6. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida (5-11, 195)

An elite freshman All-American, teams were already staying away from VH3 last season. So he might be avoided completely this fall. That won't have much impact on his overall stock — which is the best cover corner in the nation.

 

7. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama (6-6, 240)

The best all-around tight end prospect in the nation unfortunately has been extremely underused by the Crimson Tide offense. He is an elite blocker and an elite pass catcher as well.

 

8. Leonard Floyd, DE/LB, Georgia (6-4, 238)

The dynamic, hybrid edge player flourished in Jeremy Pruitt's system last fall and should produce another huge season for what could be the best defense in the SEC. He's rangy, athletic and productive.

 

9. Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee (6-0, 190)

He may not have the flashy speed and quickness of other cornerbacks ahead of him in the draft, but few players in the nation are as instinctual and make as many plays as the Vols' star defensive back.

 

10. Vadal Alexander, OL, LSU (6-6, 340)

He's a massive road-grader and will produce big numbers in the running game. There is more than one solid LSU O-line prospect in this unit, but Alexander is the best of the bunch.

 

11. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (6-3, 240)

He's an absolute beast. Cut from the Larry Johnson/Steven Jackson mold, few players have ever had the size-athleticism combo that Henry possesses. Now, if Lane Kiffin could just give him the ball a few hundred times.

 

12. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (6-2, 230)

He may not have the arm talent of the pure pocket passers in the NFL but few have his heart, toughness, physicality and leadership. He's a great athlete who is a better thrower of the ball than scouts think.

 

13. Tony Conner, S, Ole Miss (6-0, 217)

The fourth member of the highly-touted 2013 Rebels' signing class could find himself in the first round alongside Tunsil, Treadwell and Nkemdiche. Conner flies around the field and makes big plays consistently.

 

14. Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State (6-5, 308)

He didn’t blossom into the star last year many expected but his stock hasn’t slipped too far. He’s a monster in the middle and could develop into an All-American this fall after just 26 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and 3.0 sacks in ’14.

 

15. Duke Williams, WR, Auburn (6-2, 224)

From a talent standpoint, Williams could be one of the first SEC players taken in the draft. But he needs to refine his game, be more consistent with his hands and learn how to run routes on the next level to become an NFL star.

 

16. Eddie Jackson, CB, Alabama (6-0, 195)

The former big-time recruit has slowly developed into one of the best athletes in the Bama secondary. He posted 41 tackles a year ago and will be the leader of the Tide defensive backfield this fall.

 

17. Marquez North, WR, Tennessee (6-4, 220)

North could be the best wideout in the league if he stays healthy and Joshua Dobbs develops. He has elite hands, great ball skills, a huge frame and excellent athleticism. He could easily be a first-round pick.

 

18. Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn (6-5, 230)

If Auburn’s offense churns out yards and points like many expect, Johnson could fly up draft boards. He has a huge frame and a big arm with better than average athletic ability. The pocket passer could make this Tigers offense nearly unstoppable.

 

19. Josh Augusta, DT, Missouri (6-4, 335)

The man-mountain in the middle will continue Mizzou’s recent run of elite NFL defensive line prospects. He didn’t play full-time last year but is poised for a breakout season.

 

20. John Theus, OT, Georgia (6-6, 313)

Theus has been in the starting lineup from the beginning and has seen his game develop nicely over his career in Athens. He has gone from weak link as a freshman to an All-SEC performer. The former five-star recruit has all the right NFL tools.

 

21. Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama (6-2, 250)

The leading returning tackler for the Tide (93) will be one of the top true linebacker prospects in the draft next year. The NFL doesn’t normally take too many LBs in the first round but that doesn’t hurt his stock within his position rank.

 

22. Travin Dural, WR, LSU (6-2, 192)

Similarly to Robinson, Dural must get good QB play to shine this fall. That said, he’s more polished but slightly smaller than Robinson. He’s a big play waiting to happen after averaging 20.5 yards per catch last fall.

 

23. Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida (6-2, 200)

The physical tools have been there all along but it has taken some time for him to develop. He has an elite size and speed combination and could vault into the first round should he refine his game (and get good QB play).

 

24. Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas (5-11, 224)

There isn’t much difference between one Arkansas back and the other, so fans in Fayetteville could expect both to be drafted fairly quickly next fall. He’s posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons entering his third year.

 

25. Kendall Beckwith, LB, LSU (6-2, 245)

The rising junior blossomed midway through his freshman season and only continued to make plays last fall (77 tackles). He has a chance to rise quickly in the national conversation as one of the best tacklers in the SEC. How will he fit into Kevin Steele’s new scheme?

 

Best of the Rest:

26. Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia (6-3, 252)

27. Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU (5-11, 191)

28. Jalen Mills, S, LSU (6-0, 194)

29. Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama (6-4, 313)

30. Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas (6-0, 224)

31. Denver Kirkland, OT, Arkansas (6-5, 343)

32. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss (6-3, 227)

33. Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU (6-6, 309)

34. Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 325)

35. Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida (6-3, 277)

36. Curt Maggitt, LB, Tennessee (6-3, 251)

37. Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn

38. Taveze Calhoun, CB, Mississippi State (6-1, 185)

39. Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama (6-3, 282)

40. Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia (5-11, 215)

Teaser:
Top 25 SEC 2016 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch
Post date: Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/new-england-patriots-tom-brady-cheated-deflategate
Body:

I don’t care about Tom Brady’s balls.

 

But apparently the rest of the world is obsessed with the New England Patriots. So much so that attorney Ted Wells’ investigation into “Deflategate” churned out 243 pages of information about slightly underinflated footballs.

 

The general thesis appears to be that two team employees, Jim McNally and John Jastremski, doctored footballs and that Tom Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities.”

 

It also found that the Patriots and Bill Belichick had nothing to do with it.

 

Brady broke the rules (and lied about it). They intentionally deflated his footballs. Roger Goodell should and will punish him with appropriate force.

 

My concern is how the general public — or Goodell, for that matter — defines "appropriate force." The commissioner hasn't exactly been consistent in his punishments (SEE: Sean Payton and Ray Rice).

 

I said it when the story initially broke in January, and I’ll say it again now. Should we be quick to criticize an organization with a questionable track record when it comes to the rules? Certainly, but did the Patriots defeat the Colts by more than five touchdowns because the balls were slightly softer? Have the Patriots been the best team in the AFC for more than a decade because of slightly less air in their footballs?

 

No, because it’s ludicrous.

 

Did this “scandal” have any impact whatsoever on the outcome of the Super Bowl?

 

No. Take back the Super Bowl ring? Make him ineligible for the Hall of Fame? Forfeit all 2016 draft picks? 

 

Just stop, Internet.

 

For decades, quarterbacks have been scuffing, inflating, deflating, spitting on, greasing up and using every other imaginable trick in the book to get a football exactly how they want it. Sometimes, they go too far. Sometimes, they break the rules.

 

Sometimes, they get caught and should be punished.

 

Brady should be punished. Suspend him for a game or two — which would cost him roughly $500,000 per weekend — or fine him or take a late-round pick from the team. Or all three.

 

But let’s not for one second suggest that pigskin PSI had anything to do with the absolute beat down the Pats administered to the Colts in the AFC Championship game. That with 16-percent more air in their balls, the Patriots wouldn’t have won the AFC East or made it to the Super Bowl.

 

This is a multi-billion dollar industry that routinely pushes the envelope of sportsmanship across the board. When people break the rules, they get punished. Jumping offside is cheating, and it’s a 5-yard penalty.

 

Brady deserves to get punished, but it better fit the crime.

 

After that, I don’t want to hear another word about his balls.

Teaser:
Brady, Patriots Cheated: Punishment Should Fit Crime
Post date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 16:34
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NFL, News
Path: /college-football/early-2016-nfl-draft-prospect-rankings
Body:

The 2015 NFL Draft is over and more than 400 players have begun the next chapter of their football careers.

 

So what better time than now to look ahead to next spring and the 2016 NFL Draft. Here are the top 32 prospects that could be drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft:

 

1. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State (6-4, 230)

He got no support from his running game or offensive line last fall, but Hackenberg has all the NFL tools to be the best QB prospect in the draft next year. He's a more athletic version of Eli Manning. It's hard to keep elite QBs from being the top pick.

 

2. Laremy Tunsil, OL, Ole Miss (6-5, 305)

He could easily be the top pick as the best offensive tackle in the draft. He has the size, the athleticism and is significantly better than any offensive lineman in the 2015 NFL Draft.

 

3. A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (6-4, 320)

He won't stuff the stat sheet but tackles rarely do. Yet, Robinson is a beast in the middle who must be accounted for on every play — more often than not by more than one blocker. He's big and extremely physical.

 

4. Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss (6-4, 280)

From a size and strength standpoint, few players in the country can match Nkemdiche's ability. He played end early in his career and has shifted inside and dominated in both spots. Look for him to take the next step in 2015.

 

5. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (6-4, 265)

The best pure pass rusher in this class, Bosa has already proven himself as one of the best in college football. He is likely to be avoided by most offenses in '15 so the numbers may not improve, but his stock won't go anywhere. He's one of the best players in the nation period.

 

6. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (6-2, 235)

The freakish redshirt sophomore had a coming-out party in the College Football Playoff, earning MVP honors of the Sugar Bowl. He could blossom into the best linebacker in the nation due to elite speed, instincts and physicality.

 

7. Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn (6-2, 255)

The knee injury may scare some scouts away, but Lawson can clear away all the doubt with a huge '15 campaign. He was essentially the best player on the Auburn defense two years ago as just a freshman and will become a household name in short order this fall.

 

8. Ronnie Stanley, OL, Notre Dame (6-5, 315)

He's got the size and talent to be an elite blocker on the next level and has held his own very well against elite defensive talent (Leonard Williams, Stanford, LSU).

 

9. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss (6-2, 230)

A broken leg isn't nearly as concerning as knees or hips so once Treadwell steps back onto a field, it won't take long for his elite talents to show that he's the top receiver in the '16 class.

 

10. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida (5-11, 195)

An elite freshman All-American, teams were already staying away from VH3 last season. So he might be avoided completely this fall. That won't have much impact on his overall stock — which is the best cover corner in the nation.

 

11. Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (6-1, 235)

Jack matches Lee from a talent standpoint and has produced on both sides of the ball a la Shaq Thompson. His numbers are huge and he's poised for another monster season as the star of the UCLA defense.

 

12. Su'a Cravens, S, USC (6-1, 225)

He has elite-level athleticism, size, range and has been making big-time plays the second he stepped onto the field. The former five-star prospect has completely lived up to the hype and is poised for a massive junior year.

 

13. Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor (6-8, 275)

"Scary athlete" doesn't begin to explain what Oakman is along the defensive line. He's intimidating, massive and could be leading Baylor to a third consecutive Big 12 title.

 

14. Scooby Wright, OLB, Arizona (6-1, 240)

He may not have a true position in certain NFL defensive schemes but he's a guy who simply makes plays wherever he is slotted. Case in point: 163 tackles, 29.0 for a loss, 14.0 sacks and six forced fumbles don't happen on accident.

 

15. Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (5-11, 195)

The Hokies' star coverman might actually be as good as Hargreaves. The five-star recruit has started every game of his two-year career and is going to be an All-American entering '15.

 

16. Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State (6-1, 204)

How many five-star recruits start all 13 games as a true freshman for a team that goes 14-0 and wins a national title? Ramsey is now an upperclassman, the veteran star of the Noles' defense.

 

17. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (6-3, 218)

He's got the size, the arm and is an above-average athlete. He wins games and takes care of the football as well. He's a pure leader who could be on the only team capable of knocking off Ohio State.

 

18. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (6-0, 225)

The top Heisman Trophy candidate entering the season was an absolute monster in the Playoffs. He carried his team to a national championship and should be the top back taken if he can stay healthy.

 

19. Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State (6-4, 255)

There is a good chance he's the starter for Ohio State when the season opens, and his overall arm talent is what makes him the best QB prospect on the OSU roster. And a second national title could cement his first-round status.

 

20. Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame (6-2, 235)

He can play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end in a 3-4 or just about anywhere else on the field. He's a freakish athlete who will vault himself into the first round.

 

21. Spencer Drango, OL, Baylor (6-6, 310)

He's a beast who anchored the Bears' two Big 12 titles the last two years. He could have easily entered the draft and been one of the top picks in the '15 Draft but could work his way into the top 10 with another stellar season in Waco.

 

22. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt (6-2, 190)

He regressed as a sophomore but his freshman season was no fluke. He has excellent athletic ability and can run all of the routes in the stem. Look for a huge bounce-back season from the Panthers wideout.

 

23. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama (6-6, 240)

The best all-around tight end prospect in the nation unfortunately has been extremely underused by the Crimson Tide offense. He is an elite blocker and an elite pass catcher as well.

 

24. Leonard Floyd, DE/LB, Georgia (6-4, 238)

The dynamic, hybrid edge player flourished in Jeremy Pruitt's system last fall and should produce another huge season for what could be the best defense in the SEC. He's rangy, athletic and productive.

 

25. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State (6-5, 255)

Calhoun could have left school early last fall but elected to return. His stock can't change much but as long as he continues to deliver on his tremendous ability on a championship-level defense, he will be a first-rounder.

 

26. Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA (6-4, 310)

When it comes to upside, Vanderdoes has as much as anyone in the nation. The big-time prep star has delivered quickly on his potential and should blossom into a superstar this fall.

 

27. Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee (6-0, 190)

He may not have the flashy speed and quickness of other cornerbacks ahead of him in the draft, but few players in the nation are as instinctual and make as many plays as the Vols' star defensive back.

 

28. Vadal Alexander, OL, LSU (6-6, 340)

He's a massive road-grader and will produce big numbers in the running game. There is more than one solid LSU O-Line prospect in this unit, but Alexander is the best of the bunch.

 

29. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (6-3, 240)

He's an absolute beast. Cut from the Larry Johnson/Steven Jackson mold, few players have ever had the size-athleticism combo that Henry possesses. Now, if Lane Kiffin could just give him the ball a few hundred times.

 

30. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (6-2, 230)

He may not have the arm talent of the pure pocket passers in the NFL but few have his heart, toughness, physicality and leadership. He's a great athlete who is a better thrower of the ball than scouts think.

 

31. Tony Conner, S, Ole Miss (6-0, 217)

The fourth member of the highly-touted 2013 Rebels' signing class could find himself in the first round alongside Tunsil, Treadwell and Nkemdiche. Conner flies around the field and makes big plays consistently.

 

32. Nate Andrews, S, Florida State (5-11, 210)

The less-heralded of the two star FSU safeties isn't any less talented. He's got great size and could be just as highly regarded as Ramsey come draft time.

 

Next Best: Eddie Jackson, CB, Alabama; Jared Goff, QB, Cal; DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon; Travin Dural, WR, LSU; Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida; Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State; Duke Williams, WR, Auburn; Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama; Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma; James Conner, RB, Pitt; 

Teaser:
Early 2016 NFL Mock Draft Prospect Rankings
Post date: Monday, May 4, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/2015-nfl-draft-day-twos-best-available-prospects
Body:

The first round of the 2015 NFL Draft is in the books.

 

Tampa Bay did the right thing by taking Jameis Winston No. 1 and Tennessee pulled the trigger on its future leader by taking Marcus Mariota with the No. 2 pick.

 

But there are tons of elite prospects still left on the board on day two of the NFL Draft. The second, third and fourth rounds of the draft are loaded with great talents every year and ’15 won’t be any different.

 

Joel Bitonio, Derek Carr, Lamarcus Joyner, Jordan Matthews and Jeremy Hill were all second-rounders last season. Here are our favorite players left on the board entering the second round:

 

Landon Collins, S, Alabama

The fact that the Crimson Tide playmaker fell out of the first round is astonishing, and he is clearly the best player on the board entering Day 2. He's lightning-quick and explosive and is one of the best tacklers in the class. Coverage skills aren't elite and that's likely what has dropped him on boards.

 

Randy Gregory, OLB/DE, Nebraska

He’s got elite-level athleticism but many have questioned his desire to be great in the NFL. Be it the marijuana issue or his weight fluctuations. He also doesn’t fit naturally into either the 4-3 or 3-4 scheme.

 

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

He’s got the size. He’s got the numbers. He’s got the wins. He’s got the athleticism. Once he refines his deep ball, he could be a big-time playmaker under center. He won’t last long in the second round. He's clearly better than the rest of the QB class left in this draft.

 

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri/Oklahoma

As gifted as Calvin Johnson and as troubled as Jameis Winston. His off-the-field issues are a major question mark despite never actually being charged with anything. On the field, there is no doubting his ability. He’s a superstar from a talent perspective.

 

Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

There really isn’t much difference between first-round selections Kevin White or DeVante Parker and Strong. He’s got a huge frame and produced big numbers on a winning team. He’s raw but has massive upside.

 

Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA

The younger brother of Eagles standout, Mychal, Eric was equally as decorated in college. Kendricks won both the Butkus and Lott Trophies his final season and was the defensive leader for the only UCLA team to win at least nine games in three straight seasons. He’s a plug-and-play prospect.

 

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

The 5-foot-8, 205-pound running back was electric with the ball in his hands — both as a receiver and runner. When Nebraska needed a big play, he delivered. He rarely gets tackled cleanly and he is a hard-working football nerd.

 

T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt

The big blocker has only played offensive line for two years after playing along the D-line for the Panthers. He's a bit of a project but has elite-level upside and raw talent. He won't last long.

 

Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma

He’s just a redshirt sophomore but he’s got tons of upside. Phillips has a massive frame at 6-foot-5 and 329 pounds with plenty of quickness and burst. If he can sustain consistency, he could be a dominant player in the NFL.

 

Jalen Collins, CB, LSU

Few covermen bring the size NFL teams are craving right now on the outside like Collins does at 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds. He got great coaching at LSU and was one of the few Tigers who played up to their potential.

 

Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State

He’s not overly big (6-2, 290) but he has every intangible possible. He’s a great leader, he’s as smart as any prospect in the draft and he’s been a winner his entire career. A Jurrell Casey comparison is apt for this mid-rounder.

 

Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State

McKinney has the body of a defensive end but the instincts, quicks and overall game of an inside backer. As the game has evolved, getting bigger and faster, McKinney could be the next breed of middle linebacker.

 

Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami

The second round is where the NFL finds linebackers and 2015 won’t be any different. Perryman is a fantastic inside tackler with great instincts. He got very little help from his fellow defenders and still posted big numbers. Perryman is one of a handful of great LBs still left on the board.

 

Jake Fisher, OL, Oregon

Just pop in the tape of the Ducks with Fisher in the lineup and without. Oregon was a totally different squad when the anchor at left tackle was in the game. He has great athleticism and the size needed to excel at the tackle position. Center Hroniss Grasu also fits into this mold as one of the best players in this draft at his position.

 

Duke Johnson, RB, Miami

He’s small and got hurt a bunch at Miami but this guy can flat out pick up yards. His Combine stats don’t tell the story of his outright playing speed. Johnson is a big play waiting to happen and is a perfect complementary back in the modern NFL offense.

 

Paul Dawson, LB, TCU

Don’t worry about his Combine stats, just watch the tape. He was all over the field for the Big 12 co-champs a year ago, posting 136 tackles, 20.0 for a loss, 6.0 sacks and four interceptions. He made huge plays in huge spots and will do the same in the NFL.

 

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama

Looking for a guy who plays bigger, faster, stronger and more consistently than his measurables? Yeldon is your guy. He consistently got tough yards against the best defenses in the nation and rarely got knocked backwards. He’s a lock to produce on the next level.

 

Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State

He under-produced at times but has every tool needed to be an excellent NFL D-lineman. He’s big, fast, athletic, agile, flexible and coordinated. Once focused, he could be an every-down starter. A number of other Seminoles could fall on this list as well: Mario Edwards, Nick O'Leary, P.J. Williams, Rashad Greene and Tre Jackson to name a few.

 

Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State

Slot receivers are the new norm and few players bring as much to the position as Lockett does. He’s small (5-9, 185) but has blazing speed and produced in a huge way for KSU. He also excels on trick plays and on special teams.

Teaser:
2015 NFL Draft: Day Two's Best Available Prospects
Post date: Friday, May 1, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/grading-first-round-2015-nfl-draft
Body:

Until the new crop of NFL first-rounders hits the field, grading the first round of the NFL Draft is just educated guesswork.

 

Having said that, fans in Tampa Bay and Tennessee should be brimming with excitement as they welcome new starting quarterbacks. Others are left scratching their heads.

 

Below are four different grades for the 32 first-round picks in the 2015 NFL Draft:

 

A: Franchise-changing selection. A great value at key position of need.

 

B: An instant starter who contributes right away.

 

C: Solid pick but has a question of value, upside, risk or position of need.

 

F: A questionable selection with poor value and heavy risk.

 

Grade: A

 

NameTeamPickPos.NCAA
Jameis WinstonNo. 1QBFlorida State
The best QB prospect since Andrew Luck is a complete package at the position... on the field.
Amari CooperNo. 4WRAlabama
Complete professional at the position. Elite hands, speed and polish. Immediate starter and outside star for Derek Carr.
Leonard WilliamsNo. 6DLUSC
Arguably the best player in the draft at No. 6? Lined up next to Sheldon Richardson? Are you kidding?
Andrus PeatNo. 13OTStanford
The best offensive tackle prospect in the draft is a perfect value and need for the Saints.
Shaq ThompsonNo. 25OLBWashington
One of the best pure athletes in the draft who can play multiple positions on multiple sides of the ball. Take him and find a spot for him later.

 

Grade: B

 

NameTeamPickPos.NCAA
Marcus MariotaNo. 2QBOregon
Game-changer at most important position makes this franchise instantly interesting and watchable again.
Dante Fowler Jr.No. 3OLBFlorida
Lack of consistency keeps him from being an "A," but is a star in the making otherwise.
Kevin WhiteNo. 7WRWest Virginia
Loads of upside and talent but has plenty of work left to his game. Was this the most pressing need for the Bears?
Vic BeasleyNo. 8OLBClemson
Awesome player who might be best "B" on the list. Productive big-play machine who was a leader for a winning program.
Todd GurleyNo. 10RBGeorgia
Elite talent, potentially the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson... if he's fully healthy. Injury history keeps him off the "A" line.
DeVante ParkerNo. 14WRLouisville
Got their guy and provided Ryan Tannehill with a playmaker. Big, physical, talent but needs to stay on the field.
Melvin GordonNo. 15RBWisconsin
Only slightly less talented than Gurley. Extremely intelligent and hard-working player with plenty of burst.
Cam ErvingNo. 19OLFlorida State
Versatile prospect who excelled at both center and tackle. Immediately helps everyone on the offense.
Nelson AgholorNo. 20WRUSC
Smaller version of Cooper. Extremely polished pro's pro at the position. Will need no preparation to play and will help special teams too.
Bud DupreeNo. 22OLBKentucky
Productive and dependable player who fits a need and defensive scheme perfectly. A great value as well.
Shane RayNo. 23OLBMissouri
Extremely talented player whose character isn't nearly as big a question mark as late slide indicated. Excellent value.
Laken TomlinsonNo. 28OGDuke
What's not to like? A terrifyingly strong road-grader to protect Matthew Stafford who wants to be a neurosurgeon.
Malcom BrownNo. 32DTTexas
One of the best values in the first round. Elite defensive space-eater will flourish in Pats system.

 

Grade: C

 

NameTeamPickPos.NCAA
Brandon ScherffNo. 5OGIowa
Really solid potential guard but won't play tackle and may never be a star. A huge reach passing on Cat Williams.
Ereck FlowersNo. 9OTMiami
Big-time upside but a project who lacked consistency against only moderate competition. Needs development and could have been a reach. 
Trae WaynesNo. 11CBMichigan State
Thin draft class pushed Waynes higher on the boards. Fills a need but questions about his upside remain.
Danny SheltonNo. 12DTWashington
Giant space-eater improves physicality but may lack overall quickness, explosiveness to be a star.
Kevin JohnsonNo. 16CBWake Forest
Solid but not elite player taken early in the round at a position that may not have been the top need.
Marcus PetersNo. 18CBWashington
Could be best pure coverman in the draft but drops to a "C" due to discipline question marks.
Cedric OgbuehiNo. 21OTTexas A&M
Very athletic and lean but large prospect. Major knee injury in January and some underachievement last fall drop him to "C."
D.J. HumphriesNo. 24OTFlorida
Talented upside but lacks overall size and polish to contribute right away. Has also had major injury issues in the past.
Damarious RandallNo. 30SArizona State
Will likely play cornerback. Has major size for that position but questions about his transition. Would inside linebacker been a better option?

 

Grade: F

 

NameTeamPickPos.NCAA
Arik ArmsteadNo. 17DTOregon
A+ for snagging extra picks but few players did less with more than Armstead while in college. Huge risk selection. 
Breshad PerrimanNo. 26WRUCF
More talented, more productive options all over the board and it feels like a luxury pick in the first round. 
Byron JonesNo. 27CBUConn
Combine creation who never excelled in a lower-tiered league. Was never even all-league in the American Athletic Conference.
Phillip DorsettNo. 29WRMiami
Speedy player but a one-trick pony who isn't much better than other small, slot receivers. Other positions were a greater need.
Stephone AnthonyNo. 31ILBClemson
Solid player at a position of need... if this was the end of the second round. Never was an elite player despite elite physical tools.

 

Teaser:
Grading the First Round of the 2015 NFL Draft
Post date: Friday, May 1, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/11-crazy-predictions-2015-nfl-draft
Body:

There shouldn’t be much drama with the No. 1 pick, but the first round of any NFL Draft is never boring.

 

Throw Chip Kelly, Jerry Jones, Roger Goodell, Adrian Peterson, the Browns, Rex Ryan and 32 million of their closest friends (and wanna-be analysts) into a brand-spanking new blender in Chicago and fireworks are bound to ensue. And entertain.

 

Part of what makes the NFL Draft one of the biggest sporting events of the year is its unpredictable nature.

 

Players drop, owners reach, trade offers are flying and some teams (looking at you Minnesota) have even passed on drafting anyone at all.

 

So what craziness should fans be looking for this weekend?


Brett Hundley is a first-round pick

Hundley is a poor man’s version of Mariota with a big frame, a winning track record, huge production and well above-average athleticism. Don’t be surprised if Hundley is a first-round draft pick Thursday night. How awesome would it be if Kelly and the Eagles don’t trade with anyone and simply draft Hundley at No. 20?

 

Trading up for Marcus Mariota

The most obvious and talked about trade for any team in the league is the move up to the second pick to presumably take Mariota. Tennessee doesn’t want to pick No. 2 and many teams — San Diego, Cleveland, Philadelphia — have shown interest. However, don’t be surprised if a surprise team ends up making the move to get the second pick and draft the Heisman winner. Like, say, the Cardinals? Either way, someone is trading up to draft Mariota.

 

Related: Don't be Stupid Tampa Bay, Take Winston No. 1

 

Browns will ruin their future

With Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel last year, the Browns might have set their franchise back years. Should they screw up two more first-round picks again this year, this team is all but guaranteed another decade of losing. Offering a Redskins-esque package to trade up to draft Mariota or taking risks on players like wide receivers Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett, defensive lineman Arik Armstead or defensive back Byron Jones would ruin any chance of making the playoffs in Cleveland.

 

New WR record

In 2004, Larry Fitzgerald led a deep wide receiver class that still owns the first-round NFL Draft record for the most taken (7). Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Jaelen Strong, Dorial Green-Beckham, Perriman, Dorsett and Devin Smith have all seen their stock fly as high as the first round. I'm saying eight get picked tonight, setting a new record.

 

Dorial Green-Beckham is a top 10 pick

DGB has legitimate off-the-field issues that he will need to answer, but his on-the-field talent may be second-to-none at his position. He is 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds with elite-level athleticism. Should he mature and behave, he could be the best player in the entire draft.

 

The Raiders will do something intelligent

Odds are either Leonard Williams or Cooper will be available for the Raiders with the fourth pick — and they could be the best two prospects in the draft. And, yes, Oakland will do the right/intelligent/smart thing and draft either Williams or Cooper.

 

Chip Kelly will blow our minds

This could be trading for Peterson. This could be shipping Sam Bradford to Cleveland. This could be trading up to get Mariota. This could be naming Tim Tebow his starting quarterback four months before Week 1. I have no idea what it will be but you can bet Kelly will do something totally off the wall. And it will be totally calculated. 

 

Jerry Jones will get more airtime than his pick

Jones took offensive guard Zack Martin with the 16th pick in the draft last season. The year before he traded up to take center Travis Frederick with the 31st pick. Both selections elicited a collective “Who?” from fans in Big D. Both players have been studs for the Cowboys in two years and we should expect much of the same this season. Don’t say who this time when Jones selects Kevin Johnson, Jordan Phillips, Damarious Randall or Jalen Collins. Just trust in the newer, savvier Jones.

 

Related: The Top 100 Prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft

 

Not one but two RBs go in the first round

A running back hasn’t been selected in the first round since 2012 and that involved a total bust (Trent Richardson), a guy who’s already retired (David Wilson) and Doug Martin. However, not only will one running back get drafted in this year’s first round but expect to see two players from this position called on Thursday night. Look for Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon to both land in the first round.

 

Adrian Peterson won’t be traded

The biggest name to be traded during the first round of the NFL Draft could be Peterson. He doesn’t want to be a Viking any longer but it doesn’t make a ton of sense for Jones to mortgage the Cowboys' future to get him. Arizona, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Jacksonville also make sense but will the price be right? No, Peterson will be a Viking after the NFL Draft and that means he will be in the Minnesota backfield in Week 1.

 

The first-round trade record will be broken

The rookie wage scale has changed the way the league views first-round picks. They are less valuable and therefore more likely to be traded. The 2012 set the record with 16 of the 32 picks traded. The 2013 draft saw 14 different picks traded and last April featured nine picks traded in the first round. Look for the tonight's wheeling and dealing to break the 2012 record.

Teaser:
11 Crazy Predictions for the 2015 NFL Draft
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/dont-be-stupid-tampa-bay-take-jameis-winston
Body:

Jameis Winston is going to be the new starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

 

This time of year, narratives floated to the media are intentionally misleading so it’s hard to know what to believe. If anything.

 

So it comes with great comfort that I can report that I have no sources, no inside information, no shadowy figures telling me that Winston will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

 

It would just be that stupid for the Bucs to pass on the Florida State signal-caller.

 

Like most who have covered Winston’s transition from five-star prep recruit to Heisman Trophy quarterback to NFL prospect, I’m as tired of talking about his maturation process and personal decision-making as much as the next guy.

 

His behavior has been highly suspect at best and allegedly abhorrent at worst. But when it comes to his on-the-field talent, Winston is the best quarterback prospect to enter the NFL Draft since Andrew Luck.

 

Related: NFL Draft 2015: Ranking the Quarterbacks

 

He was the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the nation coming out of Hueytown (Ala.) High School in the class of 2012. After redshirting, all Winston did was lead his team to an undefeated BCS national championship, winning a Heisman Trophy and smashing the NCAA record book along the way.

 

In 2014, against a much tougher schedule with a less talented supporting cast and under a significantly brighter spotlight (some of his own doing), Winston led Florida State to another undefeated ACC championship.

 

He’s big. He’s strong. He’s got a great arm. He’s a leader. He’s a winner. He produced big numbers. And he’s clutch when the game is on the line.

 

What more could you possibly want on the field from a quarterback prospect?

 

Facing certain playoff elimination against Notre Dame in the final 10 minutes? No big deal, Winston drove the Noles for the game-winning touchdown. Trailing 24-7 in the third quarter on the road against Louisville? How about 35 points in the final 24 minutes. Down six points with 11 minutes remaining against rival Miami on the road? Yawn, two drives produce 10 points and another come-from-behind victory.

 

Boston College? Florida? Georgia Tech?

 

And it seems entirely too convenient to forget the final 1:19 of the BCS era. Winston’s seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive against Auburn in the Rose Bowl was downright masterful. He completed 6-of-7 passes to win the national championship.

 

Time and time again, Winston did what the NFL defines as the ultimate success: Just win baby. Only once in 27 tries did anyone ever beat Winston during his entire college career. He started 25 regular season football games and he won every one.

 

The off-the-field decision-making is a major issue that only hours of face-to-face meetings clarify.

 

But with a strong personality for a head coach in Lovie Smith, a host of elite playmakers surrounding him and a Sunshine State zip code, the Tampa Bay Bucs would be absolutely foolish not to take Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. 

Teaser:
Don't Be Stupid Tampa Bay, Take Jameis Winston
Post date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/ranking-2015-nfl-draft-top-100-prospects
Body:

It’s here. NFL Draft week is finally here.

 

For three straight days, 32 fanbases will watch the future of the NFL fall into place as 256 former college players hope to hear their team called between Thursday and Saturday. Super Bowls are won and lost every year on draft weekend and 2015 won’t be any different.

 

With that in mind, here are our Top 100 prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft.

 

2015 NFL Draft Top 100

 

 PlayerTeamPos.HtWt
1Jameis Winston*QB6’4”232
2Leonard Williams*DT6’5”298
3Amari Cooper*WR6’1”210
4Marcus Mariota*QB6’4”222
5Dante Fowler Jr.*DE6’2”261
6Andrus Peat*OT6’7”312
7Brandon ScherffOL6’5”320
8Todd Gurley*RB6'0"222
9Kevin WhiteWR6'2"215
10Vic BeasleyOLB6'3"245
11Alvin DupreeOLB6’4”267
12La’el CollinsOT6’5”321
13Shane Ray*OLB6’3”245
14Landon Collins*S6’0”222
15Dorial Green-Beckham*WR6’5”237
16Melvin Gordon*RB6'0"215
17Trae Waynes*CB6'0"186
18Randy Gregory*OLB6'4"235
19Marcus Peters*CB5'11"198
20Jaelen Strong*WR6'2"217
21Malcom Brown*DT6’4”320
22DeVante ParkerWR6'2"209
23Danny SheltonDT6’2”332
24Ereck Flowers*OT6’5”324
25Shaq Thompson*OLB6’2”231
26Eddie Goldman*DT6’3”320
27TJ ClemmingsOT6’5”305
28Cameron ErvingOL6’5”308
29Benardrick McKinney*ILB6’4”249
30D.J. Humphries*OT6'5"307
31Eric KendricksILB6’0”230
32Nelson Agholor*WR6’1”198
33Jalen Collins*CB6'1"203
34Kevin JohnsonCB6’0”188
35Mario Edwards Jr.*DE6’3”294
36Denzel PerrymanILB5'10"236
37Brett Hundley*QB6’3”227
38Arik Armstead*DE6’7”296
39Hau’oli KikahaOLB6’3”253
40Jordan Phillips*DT6’6”335
41Maxx Williams*TE6’5”250
42Ameer AbdullahRB5'8"205
43Paul DawsonILB6'0"235
44Jay AjayiRB5'11"221
45Cedric OgbuehiOT6’5”300
46P.J. Williams*CB6’0”196
47Jake FisherOT6’6”299
48Breshad Perriman*WR6’2”214
49Stephone AnthonyILB6'2"243
50Duke Johnson*RB5’9”206
51Byron MooreCB6'0"199
52A.J. CannOG6’3”311
53Hroniss GrasuC6’3”297
54Preston SmithDE6’4”263
55T.J. Yeldon*RB6'1"221
56Laken TomlinsonOG6’3”320
57Owamagbe OdighizuwaDE6’3”270
58Eli Harold*OLB6'3"247
59Tyler LockettWR5'9"182
60Carl DavisDT6’5”315
61Damarious RandallS5'11"196
62Michael BennettDT6’2”288
63Tre’ JacksonOG6’4”330
64Trey FlowersDE6'2"266
65Devin Funchess*WR6'4"232
66Anthony HarrisSS6’1”190
67Devin SmithWR6'0"197
68Tevin Coleman*RB5'11"206
69Ifo Ekpre-OlomuCB5’9”195
70Eric RoweCB6'0"205
71Grady JarrettDT6’1”295
72Nate OrchardOLB6'3"255
73Rashad GreeneWR5'11"182
74Bryce PettyQB6'2"230
75Quinten RollinsCB6’0”203
76Kwon Alexander*OLB6’2”230
77Ronald Darby*CB5’11”195
78Rob HavensteinOT6’8”327
79Sammie Coates*WR6’2”212
80Danielle Hunter*OLB6’6”240
81Henry AndersonDE6’6”295
82Jamison CrowderWR5’9”185
83Buck Allen*RB6'0"221
84Markus GoldenDE6‘3”260
85Ali MarpetHobartOG6'3"307
86Donovan Smith*OT6’5”335
87Stefon Diggs*WR6'0"195
88Phillip DorsettWR5'9"185
89Steven NelsonCB5’11”195
90Cody PrewittSS6’2”217
91Daryl WilliamsOT6'5"327
92Sean MannionQB6'5"229
93Senquez GolsonCB5’9”176
94Hayes PullardILB6'0"240
95Garrett GraysonQB6'2"213
96Josh ShawCB6’1”200
97B.J. FinneyC6'3"318
98Doran GrantCB5'10"200
99Ty MontgomeryWR6’2”215
100Gerod Holliman*FS6’0”201
Teaser:
2015 NFL Draft Top 100 Prospects
Post date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/nfl-draft-2015-ranking-quarterbacks
Body:

It's the most important position on the field and Super Bowls aren't won without them.

 

The quarterback has become the star of the biggest sport in American culture. It's why 12 of the last 16 NFL Drafts have started with a signal-caller. 

 

Yet, the two starting quarterbacks in last year's Super Bowl weren't highly touted NFL Draft prospects, as Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick and Russell Wilson was a third-round selection.

 

So while most of the draft talk this month has centered on Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota, that doesn't mean there isn't talent elsewhere in this quarterback class.

 

Can Brett Hundley develop a down-the-field arm? Can Bryce Petty overcome his system moniker? Is Sean Mannion going to be the steal of this draft? Here is what you need to know about the 2015 QB class and how they stack up against one another.

 

1. Jameis Winston, Florida State (6-4, 232)

Stats: 26-1, 7,964 yds, 65 TDs, 28 INTs, 284 rush yds., 7 TDs

 

There isn't much to add to Winston's already over-covered career. He is the most pro-ready pocket passer an NFL Draft has seen since Andrew Luck. He flat out wins games (26-1 is pretty good) and delivered in the fourth quarter time and time again. His numbers dipped his senior season, but that is easily explained by a much tougher schedule, a much less talented supporting cast and a much brighter spotlight. His off-the-field maturity and decision-making are the only real reasons for concern. He was the best player coming out of high school at his position and all he did was win a Heisman Trophy, BCS title and two ACC championships.

 

Comp: Less mature, slower Andrew Luck

 

2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon (6-4, 215)

Stats: 36-5, 10,796 yds, 105 TDs, 14 INTs, 2,237 rush yds., 29 TDs

 

He wins big and he does it with class and efficiency. His numbers in just three seasons as a starter are freakish and his athletic ability is second to none in this QB class. He rarely turned the ball over and led his team to within one win of a national title. Is he a strong enough personality? Can he read NFL defenses pre-snap and adjust on the fly on his own? The first question may not be fair (or matter) but the second one is extremely important and justified.

 

Comp: Disciplined, mature Colin Kaepernick

 

3. Brett Hundley, UCLA (6-3, 227)

Stats: 29-11, 9,966 yds, 75 TDs, 25 INTs, 1,747 rush yds, 30 TDs

 

The record book at UCLA was completely rewritten by Hundley in three years as a starter. His production in both the passing and running game was obvious, but his 29 wins are No. 2 all-time in school history and that might be more important. UCLA had never won at least nine games in three straight seasons until Hundley and only twice before in school history had the Bruins won 10 games in back-to-back seasons. He has great size, great athleticism and played with a relatively mediocre supporting cast on offense. He will need to develop his downfield accuracy but he has all the tools to be a starting QB in the NFL.

 

Comp: Smaller Blake Bortles

 

Related: Top 10 Must-See NFL Games of 2015

 

4. Sean Mannion, Oregon State (6-5, 220)

Stats: 21-22, 13,600 yds, 83 TDs, 54 INTs, -806 rush yds, 2 TDs

 

One look at the stats and fans should understand what type of player Mannion is. He's a statuesque pocket passer with a huge frame and big arm. His 13,600 yards and 83 touchdowns are impressive but the 21-22 starting record (albeit at a tough place to win) and 54 interceptions can't be ignored either. Mannion could be a starter should he land in the right system, like say, under Bill O'Brien.

 

Comp: Less efficient Derek Carr

 

5. Bryce Petty, Baylor (6-3, 230)

Stats: 21-4, 8,195 yds, 62 TDs, 10 INTs, 338 rush yds, 21 TDs

 

He won a ton of games and delivered Baylor their only two Big 12 championships in school history. He's also a much better athlete than given credit for, and is tough as nails when it comes to taking hits and leading his team. Petty will get knocked for playing in Art Briles' system and he will need to be more accurate down the field to earn a starting spot on an NFL roster.

 

Comp: Less polished Teddy Bridgewater

 

6. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State (6-2, 220)

Stats: 19-16, 9,190 yds, 64 TDs, 27 INTs, 283 rush yds, 4 TDs

 

Grayson has a lot going for him. He won at a good clip under an pro-style offensive guru in Jim McElwain and was a major part of a program-changing turnaround. He posted big numbers, has a good frame and strong arm but will need to refine his delivery to become a starter on the next level. His level of competition is also questionable, however, his teams did upset Power 5 programs each year he started. Otherwise, Grayson could become a very capable NFL backup.

 

Comp: Less athletic Andy Dalton

 

7. Shane Carden, East Carolina (6-2, 221)

Stats: 25-12, 11,991 yds, 86 TDs, 30 INTs, 253 rush yds, 24 TDs

 

He throws a nice ball and posted big numbers and tons of wins for East Carolina — try 110 total touchdowns and 25 wins. Does he have an elite arm? Should his level of competition be a major concern? Was his offense a pass-happy, QB-friendly system? These are all fair questions, but he is a quality leader who should stick around in the NFL as a backup signal-caller.

 

Comp: Taller Chase Daniel

 

8. Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion (6-1, 213)

Stats: 31-13, 14,959 yds, 132 TDs, 37 INTs, 1,320 rush yds, 22 TDs

 

Talk about production. Few can match Heinicke's college stats but few played against more questionable competition than the ODU quarterback. The three-time captain is well-built but undersized and has little experience under center in a pro-style offense. Learning that style of offense and all of its intricacies is a major limitation on his upside. That said, he is accurate and makes good decisions and that might give him a chance to stick around.

 

Comp: Matt Barkley

 

9. Connor Halliday, Washington State (6-4, 198)

Stats: 10-18, 11,304 yds, 90 TDs, 50 INTs, -477 rush yds

 

Few players in history have posted the passing numbers that Halliday did under Mike Leach at Washington State. He isn't a great athlete, has been hurt periodically, didn't take snaps under center much and took way too many chances. However, he's got good feet and really understands the nuances of throwing the football. Should he land in a pocket-passing offense, he has a chance to stick.

 

Comp: Thinner Zach Mettenberger

 

10. Hutson Mason, Georgia (6-2, 207)

Stats: 11-4, 3,492 yds, 29 TDs, 7 INTs, -5 rush yds, 6 TDs

 

The deep sleeper of the group is a guy who only got one year of starting experience. However, Mason was extremely efficient with 21 touchdown passes and just four interceptions in his only year under center and he did it against the best conference in the nation. His overall lack of experience and arm strength are big concerns, but he has the size, is accurate, faced the best in college football and played in a pro-style offense. Watch out for Mason.

 

Comp: Matt Flynn

Teaser:
NFL Draft 2015: Ranking the Quarterbacks
Post date: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-pac-12-college-towns-expert-poll
Body:

The old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” couldn’t be more true when it comes to ranking college towns.

 

Do you prefer larger metropolitan areas? Do you enjoy the isolated peace and quiet of a quaint small town? Cost of living, nightlife, food, culture, weather, surrounding geography and more go into evaluating a city.

 

Every college campus is unique and each one brings something different to the table.

 

When evaluating a bigger city like Seattle or Los Angeles against small towns like Eugene or Corvallis, personal opinions will vary greatly. So we had some fun asking Pac-12 experts to rank their favorite Pac-12 locations and here is what we learned:

 

The Voting Panel:

 

Anthony Herron, ESPN/Pac-12 Network

Pat Forde, Yahoo!

Scott Wolf, LA Daily News

Dennis Dodd, CBSSports

Dan Rubenstein, SB Nation

Stewart Mandel, Fox Sports

George Schroeder, USA Today

Ryan Abraham, USCFootball.com

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports/SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

Voting: A first-place vote was worth one point and a last-place vote was worth 11 points.

 

RkJobVotes (1st)
1.15 (6)
Boulder, Colo. If you like the college town lifestyle, then there are few places in the world more perfectly suited for you than Boulder. Just north of Denver, the great outdoors offer more to do than nearly any place in the country. It got six of the possible 10 first-place votes. Craft brews are plentiful, the people are laid back and the scenery is second to none. When it comes to realignment, few towns fit in better with their new league than Boulder.
2.42
Seattle, Wash. Seattle, L.A., Tempe and Palo Alto all basically tied for second place behind Boulder. In Seattle's case, the weather can be drab but the landscapes are breathtaking and the fans are among the best in the conference when it comes to passion and support. The food scene is outstanding and the vibe is very laid back. Seattle is routinely voted one of the best places to live in this great nation. It got two second-place votes and three third-place nods. Where else can you tailgate on a lake?
3.43
Los Angeles, Calif. It's nowhere near what a true college town is and the difference even between the two campuses is vast. However, Los Angeles is the home for both the Bruins and Trojans and it offers things to fans and visitors that most college cities cannot. The glitz and glamour of the City of Lights is matched only by its beauty and phenomenal weather. Cost of living and traffic don't help, but the bucket list of things to do is literally endless. It got one second-place vote and three third-place votes.
4.44 (2)
Tempe, Ariz. The home of the Sun Devils might be the most polarizing campus town in the league. It got two first-place votes and two second-place votes, but also was ranked eighth by two panelists. The weather is great, the golfing is among the nation's best and the, uh, wildlife is eye-popping. Tempe is voted as one of the best party schools in the nation every year for a reason. And easy access to Phoenix is cool too.
5.47 (1)
Palo Alto, Calif. Just a few votes behind Tempe, Seattle and Los Angeles, Palo Alto offers a unique living experience. Silicon Valley grew up and around the campus on the south side of the Bay Area, as Stanford has become the central economic focus of the area. It's a rich area of forward-thinking, progressive individuals who also get to party in the big city. Where else could the genius of Erlich Bachman thrive?
6.59
Eugene, Ore. If you love the Oregon Ducks, doing things outside and NIKE gear, then Eugene is your spot. Six voters placed Eugene between fifth and seventh on the list, landing Oregon smack dab in the middle of the Pac-12 rankings. There is plenty of greenspace and the city is starting to develop.
7.65
Berkeley, Calif. This picturesque town isn't only home to the top public school in the nation, but also offers the lifestyle of a big city. It's the best of both worlds. The vibrancy of youth provides plenty of music, art entertainment and the Gourmet Ghetto comes highly recommended. If you don't like progressive thinking, it might not be your favorite place. Which is why it got a second-place vote and an 11th-place vote.
8.74
Tucson, Ariz. Just 60 miles from the Mexican border, Tucson is one of the bigger cities in the college world at over 500,000 people. It's also one of the more non-descript. There are plenty of outdoors, must-see spots and plenty of history/art museums, but there also is a reason it was ranked between seventh and 10th by seven of the 10 voters.
9.75
Salt Lake City, Utah This city has the lowest unemployment of any Pac-12 town. It's also cool enough to have hosted an Olympic Games (2002). The outdoor events are fantastic, the city has tons of history and the campus is surging into its Pac-12 chapter. It's also becoming more diverse with every passing year. This city might be more of an unknown for Pac-12 fans than the rest of the locales.
10.90 (1)
Corvallis, Ore. Certainly the most underrated town on this list, Corvallis got a first-place vote but still finished 10th. Known for outdoor activities surrounding the Cascade Mountains, the Beavers' home town is known for a high quality of living and (no joke) a high life expectancy. There isn't a ton going on within the downtown streets considering its small size (roughly 50,000), but it's very friendly.
11.106
Pullman, Wash. It's not easy to get to and there isn't much to do once you're there. At fewer than 30,000 people, it's one of the smallest college towns in the nation. It got eight last-place (11th) votes out of 10 with the other votes being for 10th and eighth.

 

Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast: Early 2015 Pac-12 Preview



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Teaser:
Ranking the Pac-12 College Towns (Expert Poll)
Post date: Friday, April 24, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/mississippi-state-bulldogs-2015-football-schedule-and-analysis
Body:

After the best season in school history, many are asking one question: what sort of encore can be expected from Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs?

 

Mullen has recruited this roster into better shape than it’s been in decades and the return of Heisman candidate Dak Prescott cannot be overstated.

 

However, there are a lot of missing parts that need to be replaced and the schedule in the SEC West might be the biggest obstacle for Mullen and State to break through and reach Atlanta for the first time since 1998.

 

Related: Cover 2 College Football Podcast: Early SEC 2015 Preview

 

2015 Mississippi State Schedule

 

Bye: Week 9, * - Thurs.

 

WkOpp.DateLocation
1.Sept. 5Hattiesburg, MS
The gracious Mullen has played small teams on the road before and will do it again in the season opener (even if there is a heavy maroon tint to the crowd). The edge in this in-state rivalry actually belongs to Southern Miss (14-13), but it wasn't much of a game last fall with MSU winning 49-0. It marked the first time the two had played since 1990 and undoubtedly the fans in the state appreciate this matchup. 
2.Sept. 12Starkville, MS
This was an embarrassment in Death Valley last year, as Dak Prescott physically abused the Tigers. It was the first loss in the series for LSU since 1999 and the Bayou Bengals have won seven straight in Starkville.
3.Sept. 19Starkville, MS
A tune-up/breather game located between two SEC West Tigers is perfectly situated for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs beat Northwestern State in the only previous two meetings by a combined score of 81-0 in 1945-46.
4.Sept. 26Auburn, AL
In just the fourth week of the year, State fans will know a lot about their team with games against LSU and Auburn both taking place before October. The Tigers have won 11 of the last 14 meetings in a series traditionally dominated by Auburn. However, Dan Mullen has won two out of three by an average margin of 16.5 points. Dak Prescott vs. Jeremy Johnson? Yes, please.
5.Oct. 3College Station, TX
The all-time series is tied at four. These two met four times before World War II, have played three times in SEC play and met in the Independence Bowl in 2000. This has been a high-scoring affair over the last three seasons and the Aggies were embarrassed a year ago in Starkville. Texas A&M has never lost at home to MSU.
6.Oct. 10Starkville, MS
Troy once was a sneaky-good Sun Belt team but hasn't been the same in recent years. After facing three huge SEC West foes in the first month, back-to-back easy wins should be a welcome sign. State is 3-1 all-time against Troy with the lone loss coming back in 2001.
7.Oct. 17Starkville, MS
Manny Diaz Bowl A sneaky-good Bulldogs team last year put up big numbers on offense and created big plays on defense. Which is why Mullen re-hired Tech's defensive coordinator Manny Diaz this offseason. Technically, La-Tech has won two of the last three against Mississippi State — even if those games took place in 1996 and 2008 respectively. Still, this was a six-point MSU win in 2011 the last time they met. The Bulldogs are 8-3 all-time against, uh, the Bulldogs.
8.Oct. 24Starkville, MS
Last year's thrilling 45-31 win, due in large part to the efforts of now-departed running back Josh Robinson, evened the all-time series at 21 apiece. But it was also the sixth straight win by the Bulldogs over the Wildcats. Kentucky is improving but winning in Starkville will be a tall task and could give MSU three lop-sided wins in a row heading into the bye week and November.
10.Nov. 5*Columbia, MO
Mississippi State has yet to beat Missouri, but these two programs have only played each other twice. These games happened in 1981 and '84, so things are slightly different these days. A primetime Thursday night affair could feature the best two quarterbacks in the league in Maty Mauk and Prescott. This is a sneaky great late-season matchup.
11.Nov. 14Starkville, MS
Last fall, No. 1 Mississippi State entered Tuscaloosa and narrowly lost 25-20, eventually launching the Tide into the Playoffs. The roles could easily be reversed this season should the Tide get to this point unbeaten. Saban has won the last three trips to Starkville by a combined score of 75-17 with the last loss for the Tide in this series coming in 2007 in Davis Wade Stadium.
12.Nov. 21Fayetteville, AR
Arkansas owns a15-9-1 all-time series lead over the Bulldogs but Dan Mullen has reversed that trend of late. Mississippi State as won the past three matchups. The last two meetings have been physical, low-scoring brawls that were decided by one score each. Look for another huge late-season showdown between these two on Nov. 21.
13.Nov. 28Starkville, MS
Egg Bowl Dan Mullen has been solid against Ole Miss but the Rebels have won two of the last three against their archrival. The last four have gone the way of the home team so Ole Miss is looking to buck that trend in '15. The fate of the SEC West could be hanging in the balance in Dak Prescott's final regular season game.

 

Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast: Early 2015 SEC Preview



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Teaser:
Mississippi State Bulldogs 2015 Football Schedule and Analysis
Post date: Friday, April 24, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/miami-hurricanes-2015-schedule-and-analysis
Body:

Miami hasn't been the big dog on the block in the ACC for more than a decade. 

 

But it doesn't mean that Al Golden doesn't have one of the most talented rosters in the ACC, as well as a rising star under center in Brad Kaaya.

 

The Coastal Division has been a wide-open free-for-all for the last few years and that doesn't appear to be any different heading into 2015. This means that there are plenty of speed bumps, but also plenty of opportunities for Miami this fall. And should things fall right, a division crown is well within reach.

 

Related: Cover 2 College Football Podcast: Early 2015 ACC Preview

 

2015 Florida State Schedule

 

Bye: Week 4, * - Thurs., ** - Fri.

 

WkOpp.DateLocation
1.Sept. 5Miami, FL
Miami has faced Bethune-Cookman twice before and handled the Wildcats with ease both times. The Canes won by a combined score of 83-24 at home in 2011-12. Expect a smooth opener for Golden's squad.
2.Sept. 11*Boca Raton, FL
The only meeting between two rosters full of players who likely know each other very well was a 34-6 Miami blowout over the Owls in 2013.
3.Sept. 18Miami, FL
Historic Rivalry Aside from Nebraska's 41-31 win last season in Lincoln, this matchup has historically carried with it national title implications. The five previous meetings came in a national title situation beginning with the infamous two-point try to cap the 1983 season. Nebraska leads the all-time series 6-5. Both teams have eyes on a division crown in their respective leagues and a win in this game could catapult one into conference play.
5.Oct. 1**Cincinnati, OH
These two programs have met 12 times. Cincinnati won the first meeting 20-7 in Cincinnati in 1947. The Hurricanes have dominated since, winning the next 11, including a 55-34 drubbing last season in their first meeting since 1998. Gunner Kiel versus Brad Kaaya should be fun to watch.
6.Oct. 10Tallahassee, FL
Rivalry Game I Florida State was won five straight in this series, but the Hurricanes hung tough last year before losing by four points. Miami has played well in Doak Campbell over the years. Since 2000, the Canes are 4-3 in Tallahassee, including a close, four-point loss in 2011.
7.Oct. 17Miami, FL
Division Title Game I Both Tech and Miami have their sights set on wresting the Coastal Division crown from Georgia Tech. The Canes crushed the Hokies in impressive fashion last year in Blacksburg, but this game is located in tough territory schedule-wise, coming between FSU and Clemson. Al Golden is 2-2 against Frank Beamer's bunch while at Miami and the Canes lead the all-time series 19-13.
8.Oct. 24Miami, FL
Watson vs. Kaaya Clemson has to go on the road in crossover play after facing two physical running games (Georgia Tech, Boston College). These two haven't met since 2010 and Miami holds a 6-3 edge in the series, but Canes fans should be ready to be inundated with Clemson supporters in a game that could feature the best two quarterbacks in the ACC.
9.Oct. 31Durham, NC
Miami is 10-2 all-time against Duke and Golden is 3-1 against the Blue Devils since arriving in South Florida. This was a tightly-played 22-10 win for Miami last year at home, but The U lost ugly (48-30) the last time it visited Durham. How beat up are the Canes after three straight with the Noles, Hokies and Tigers?
10.Nov. 7Miami, FL
Prior to joining the ACC, Miami and Virginia had faced one another just once, in the 1996 Carquest Bowl. Virginia actually owns the ACC all-time series record with a 6-5 mark since, including taking four of the last five. The Wahoos embarrassed the Hurricanes 30-13 in Charlottesville a year ago and a loss at home to Virginia could cost Golden more than just the division.
11.Nov. 14Chapel Hill, NC
Elimination Game This game constantly seems to deliver since the duo landed in the same division. The series is 6-5 Miami in 11 ACC meetings with six games decided by one score. The Hurricanes crushed the Heels 47-20 a year ago and North Carolina will look for revenge at home this fall. 
12.Nov. 21Miami, FL
Division Title Game II If Miami gets to this point of the season still in contention in the Coastal; it's likely that this game would decide which team goes to the ACC title game. The Yellow Jackets own the all-time series 11-9 but Golden has been solid against Tech, going 3-1 during his time in the ACC. However, the Jackets took care of business last year 28-17 in Atlanta. Miami has won three straight over Tech in Miami.
13.Nov. 27**Pittsburgh, PA
Fans will look at this game on the schedule and perceive it as possibly the sixth- or seventh-most important game. The Hurricanes better not fall into that trap, however, as Pitt could be one of the more improved teams in the division. Don't be surprised if the Panthers are still in Coastal contention come Thanksgiving weekend. Pitt won 35-23 last year in Miami, snapping the Canes' eight-game winning streak over the Panthers.

 

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Teaser:
Miami Hurricanes 2015 Schedule and Analysis
Post date: Friday, April 24, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Arkansas Razorbacks, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/arkansas-razorbacks-2015-football-schedule-and-analysis
Body:

The first offseason for Bret Bielema was dramatically different than his second in Fayetteville.

 

Arkansas got back to a bowl game after a winless SEC campaign and fans and prognosticators alike are excited about the Hogs' potential in 2015. The roster is in great shape and the Razorbacks' identity makes them tough to face every weekend.

 

There are still question marks at key positions but the schedule in the SEC West might be the biggest obstacle to Bielema leading Arkansas back to the SEC Championship Game for the first time in nearly a decade.

 

Related: Cover 2 College Football Podcast: Early SEC 2015 Preview

 

2015 Arkansas Schedule

 

Bye: Week 7

 

WkOpp.DateLocation
1.Sept. 5Fayetteville, AR
Two previous meetings between UTEP and Arkansas led to two very lop-sided wins (by 32 points in 1989, 39 in 2010) for the Hogs. Expect a similar outcome in the season opener.
2.Sept. 12Little Rock, AR
Toledo is a feisty MAC program but won't be able to compete in the trenches with a team as big and physical as Arkansas. Look for a second-straight blowout for the Hogs to start the season in the first-ever meeting between the Rockets and Razorbacks.
3.Sept. 19Fayetteville, AR
These old-school rivals got things renewed a year ago and it was all Hogs. Arkansas' 49-28 win in Lubbock featured 68 rushing attempts, 438 yards and seven scores in the first meeting between the two programs since 1991. The Hogs have owned the all-time series 29-7.
4.Sept. 26Arlington, TX
Rivalry Restored One of the great aspects to TAMU landing in the SEC West is the renewed rivalry with Arkansas. This was a thriller last season, as Kenny Hill led a wild comeback in overtime. The Hogs lead all-time 41-27-3, but have lost three straight to the Ags. This is a huge early-season pecking order game in the West.
5.Oct. 3Knoxville, TN
A sneaky awesome early October matchup could feature two surging unbeaten programs. It will be the third physical matchup for Tennessee's defense in the first five weeks. The Vols are 13-4 all-time against the Hogs and haven't lost at home in the series since 1992 (the 1998 matchup needs no explanation). Arkansas won 49-7 in Fayetteville in 2011 in the last meeting.
6.Oct. 10Tuscaloosa, AL
Alabama has won eight straight in this series but last year's 14-13 win in Fayetteville is one neither side will ever forget. In fact, before the streak started, Arkansas owned an 8-7 series edge in SEC games. The last time these two met in Tuscaloosa, however, was a 52-0 beatdown. The Hogs should be able to keep it much closer this time around.
8.Oct. 24Fayetteville, AR
Upset Alert Regardless of how the coaches diffuse the rivalry, Gus Malzahn vs. Bret Bielema is a great coaching dynamic. And travelling to Fayetteville is always hard — especially, when it will be easy for Auburn to look ahead to Ole Miss. How Arkansas fares against both Alabama schools in back-to-back games (with an off-weekend between) will likely determine if it is a contender or not. Strangely enough, Hogs fans have to wait until Week 8 for the home SEC opener.
8.Oct. 31Fayetteville, AR
A Halloween tilt with lowly UT-Martin could be gruesome for the Skyhawks. Look for the backups to get plenty of reps as Arkansas prepares for one of the toughest Novembers in college football. 
9.Nov. 7Oxford, MS
Houston Nutt Bowl This time the revenge factor plays in Ole Miss' favor after getting crushed by Arkansas a year ago. This has been an extremely even series over the years despite the 30-0 score from last fall. The Hogs lead the series 32-28-1 and the two have split the last six meetings in Oxford.
10.Nov. 14Baton Rouge, LA
The Golden Boot One of the more underrated and always heated rivalries in the SEC West could be a big revenge spot for LSU. The Hogs thrashed the Tigers 17-0 in Fayetteville last season. LSU leads the series 37-21-2 all-time.
12.Nov. 21Fayetteville, AR
Arkansas owns a 15-9-1 series lead over the Bulldogs but Dan Mullen has reversed that trend of late. Mississippi State has won the past three matchups. The last two meetings have been physical, low-scoring brawls that were decided by one score each. Look for another huge late-season showdown between these two on Nov. 21.
13.Nov. 28Fayetteville, AR
This was a fantastic late-season showdown a year ago, no matter which rooting side you were on. The 21-14 win sent Mizzou to Atlanta with an East championship. These two have met only six times and the Tigers have won four of them. The last win for the Hogs over Mizzou came in the 2003 Independence Bowl.

 

Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast: Early 2015 SEC Preview



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Teaser:
Arkansas Razorbacks 2015 Football Schedule and Analysis
Post date: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-12-college-towns-expert-poll
Body:

The old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” couldn’t be more true when it comes to ranking college towns.

 

Do you prefer larger metropolitan areas? Do you enjoy the isolated peace and quiet of a quaint small town? Cost of living, nightlife, food, culture, weather, surrounding geography and more go into evaluating a city.

 

Every college campus is unique and each one brings something different to the table.

 

When evaluating a bigger city like Fort Worth or Austin against small towns like Lubbock or Stillwater, personal opinions will vary greatly. So we had some fun asking 12 Big 12 experts to rank their favorite Big 12 locations and here is what we learned:

 

The Voting Panel:

David Ubben, Fox Sports

Chip Brown, HornsDigest.com

Pat Forde, Yahoo!

Dennis Dodd, CBSSports

Stewart Mandel, Fox Sports

Blair Kerkhoff, KC Star

George Schroeder, USA Today

Chris Level, RedRaiderSports.com

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Allen Kenney, BlatantHomerism.com

Tim Fitzgerald, GoPowerCat.com

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports/SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

Voting: A first-place vote was worth one point and a last-place vote was worth 10 points.

 

RkJobVotes (1st)
1.14 (10)
Austin, Texas There are few places in the world as cool as Austin — and they will tell you about it too. Great food, crazy awesome music and the only part of Texas that isn't table-top flat. The rolling hill country, boating and golf only add to the long list of stuff to do in the Lone Star State capital. There is a reason Austin got all but two first-place votes. Sixth Street is a must for a first-time visitor.
2.35 (1)
Fort Worth, Texas The massive metroplex in North Texas got one first-place vote and if big cities are your thing, there aren't too many options in the Big 12. The attractions in DFW are endless and well known — professional sports, Texas State Fair, bars, beers and honky tonks. If small town living is your thing, then Fort Worth won't suit you. TCU's hometown got six second-place votes and two third-place votes along with that one first-place selection.
3.43 (1)
Lawrence, Kan. It won't be confused with any of the other towns on fall Saturdays, but this town is extremely underrated nationally and got one vote as the Big 12's best town. The gorgeous campus is soaked in rich sports tradition (mostly basketball) and is just down the road from Kansas City. The personality is a bit eclectic and that makes hanging out in Lawrence a fun experience. The music scene here is excellent and the BBQ ain't bad either.
4.56
Norman, Okla. Sort of a mini-Oklahoma City, Norman got three third-place votes, but also was picked as low as ninth. The downtown area has plenty of charm and the small town streets are welcoming. Certainly, game days take this town to a different level unlike places like Lawrence. Campus Corner comes highly recommended.
5.69
Morgantown, W.V. The mountains are gorgeous. The campus is awesome on game day. The parties and nightlife are fantastic (insane is perhaps a more fitting descriptor). But it's not easy to get to for any long-distance travelers, which also is the case with many Big 12 outposts. However, outside of the university and the mountains, there isn't a whole lot else going on — which is why Morgantown was voted as high as second and as low as tenth.
6.78
Manhattan, Kan. The true outposts in the Big 12 will fill the bottom half of this league, beginning with The Little Apple. Some love the small town (it got a second-place vote) and others do not (two last-place votes). There are some killer breweries (at plenty of bars in Aggieville) and plenty of food spots but that's about it.
7.84
Lubbock, Texas It's 350 miles to Fort Worth or Waco, 340 miles to Norman and 370 miles to Austin or Stillwater — Lubbock's nearest Big 12 counterparts. It redefines middle of nowhere. It's got country music, dust and Texas Tech football. And it's much larger than outsiders would probably guess at nearly 250,000 residents. 
8.87
Stillwater, Okla. One of the smallest college towns in big-time college football at less than 50,000 people, Stillwater is a great party town but has little else to offer. To quote one expert on this panel, "Eskimo Joe's has been a Big 12 landmark" for more than two decades. So there's that.
9.92
Ames, Iowa A true college town, this might be the most bizarre ranking on this list. Ames is routinely ranked as one of the better places to live in the Midwest, complete with great small town living and some decent nightlife. It got two 10th-place votes and five ninth-place votes. For the record, I voted Ames fifth.
10.102
Waco, Texas The new facilities have changed the look and feel of this town but not enough to get it out of the Big 12 basement. Waco got four 10th-place votes and three ninth-place votes. Unless you are Chip or Joanna Gaines (or maybe John McClain), I'd suggest continuing up or down I-35 to Austin or DWF.

Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast: Early 2015 Big 12 Preview



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Teaser:
Ranking the Big 12 College Towns (Expert Poll)
Post date: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/usc-trojans-2015-schedule-and-analysis
Body:

USC comes into a season in a familiar situation — the frontrunner to win its division.

 

Fans will add to that Pac-12 championship and College Football Playoff aspirations as well.

 

And with good reason. The Trojans have by far the best collection of players in the Pac-12.

 

But depth may still be an issue and navigating a schedule that could feature upwards of eight ranked opponents makes winning a league title incredibly difficult.

 

2015 USC Trojans Schedule

 

Bye: Week 4, * - Thurs., ** - Fri.

 

WkOpp.DateLocation
1.Sept. 5Los Angeles, CA
USC will begin its season as easily as any team in the nation with two cupcakes. Arkansas State isn't a terrible mid-major program, but shouldn't challenge the Trojans in any way. It's the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
2.Sept. 12Los Angeles, CA
Idaho will be even less competitive than the Red Wolves in Week 2. USC has won all eight meetings with ease over the Vandals. Considering what USC will face over the next two weeks, the Men of Troy deserve to ease their way into the season.
3.Sept. 19Los Angeles, CA
Pac-12 Title Preview I This hard-hitting physical contest has been one of the best rivalries in the Pac-12 for years. USC won the last two meetings on game-ending plays in the final minutes but Stanford had won four straight in the series prior. The last five meetings have been one-score games and it could easily be a preview of the Pac-12 title game.
4.Sept. 26Tempe, AZ
Instant Drama Wild things have happened lately when these two get together. Arizona State won on a historic Hail Mary on the game's final play last year and Lane Kiffin lost his job after losing to ASU the year before. The Sun Devils have won three of the last four but USC had won 11 straight prior. This game could decide the Pac-12 South Division race.
6.Oct. 8*Los Angeles, CA
Primetime Showdown The Huskies and Trojans get the national spotlight to themselves on a Thursday night. USC owns a 51-28-4 all-time record against UW and has won nine of the last 11 meetings. These teams haven't met since 2012. 
7.Oct. 17South Bend, IN
Historic Rivalry As good a rivalry as there is in college football, Notre Dame leads the all-time series 45-35-5. USC smoked the Irish 49-14 in Coach Sark's first shot at the Irish but the Trojans had lost three of the previous four meetings with Brian Kelly. The 2015 meeting could feature two top-10 teams vying for a Playoff spot. Sounds good to me.
8.Oct. 24Los Angeles, CA
USC is 9-4 all-time against Utah and had won the first three meetings since the Utes entered the Pac-12. However, late-game heroics from Utah in last year's 24-21 victory resulted in just the second win in the series for the Utes since 1916. Only once has Utah won in L.A. — also in 1916.
9.Oct. 31Berkeley, CA
Upset Alert The Men of Troy have owned their northern rivals, maintaining a 67-29-5 all-time advantage. USC has won 11 straight in the series with the last loss coming in 2003 in Berkeley (when some guy named Aaron Rodgers was the QB for Cal). The Bears are improving and proved that last year with just an eight-point loss to the Trojans. USC needs to be on upset alert.
10.Nov. 7Los Angeles, CA
One of the best games of 2014 out West was USC's 28-26 win, as Zona missed a game-winning field goal to end the game. USC has won two straight, four of the last five and 11 of the last 13. So while it sounds like USC has owned the series, these games have been incredibly competitive. Eight straight games have been decided by one score or less.
11.Nov. 13**Boulder, CO
In four Pac-12 meetings, Colorado has allowed 195 points to the Trojans in four losses. But CU's struggles against the Trojans extend beyond their brief history as divisional foes. In fact, the Trojans are 9-0 all-time against the Buffaloes and 2015 probably won't change this trend.
12.Nov. 21Eugene, OR
Pac-12 Title Preview II USC and Oregon could enter this game undefeated with both division titles, a Pac-12 title and potential Playoff berth hanging in the balance. Oregon should be playing its best football and will be looking for revenge for what took place the last time the Trojans paid a visit to Autzen Stadium - a thrilling 38-35 USC victory in 2011. Otherwise, Oregon has won three of four meetings with the most recent one occurring in 2012.
13.Nov. 28Los Angeles, CA
City of Lights Rivalry The longtime intra-city rivalry has been a game of streaks. UCLA won eight straight from 1991-98 before USC won seven straight from 1999-05 and then five straight from 2007-11. Yet, UCLA has won the last three by double-digits. The season finale could also be a South Division championship game.

 

Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast: Early 2015 Pac-12 Preview



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Teaser:
USC Trojans 2015 Schedule and Analysis
Post date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/ranking-acc-college-towns-expert-poll
Body:

The old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” couldn’t be more true when it comes to ranking college towns.

 

Do you prefer larger metropolitan areas? Do you enjoy the isolated peace and quiet of a quaint, small town? Cost of living, night life, food, culture, weather, surrounding geography and more go into evaluating a city.

 

Every college campus is unique and each one brings something different to the table. And the ACC's collection of towns is extremely unique.

 

When evaluating big cities like Atlanta, Miami, Pittsburgh or Boston against a small town like Blacksburg, personal opinions will vary greatly. So we had some fun asking ACC experts to rank their favorite ACC locations. Here is what we learned:

 

The Voting Panel:

 

Wes Durham, FOX Sports/ACC Network

Mark Packer, SiriusXM College Sports Nation

Tony Barnhart, AJC/SEC Network

Julius Hodge, ACC Digital Net

Bud Elliott, TomahawkNation.com

Jon Meterparel, IMG Sports-Boston College

Mark Ennis, ESPN 680-Louisville

David Hood, Tigernet.com

Amanda Busick, College Sports Reporter

Jerry DiPaola, Pitt Trib Review

Lachlan McLean, Sports Talk 840-Louisville

Nate Mink, Syracuse.com

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports/SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

Voting: A first-place vote was worth one point and a last-place vote was worth 14 points.

 

RkJobVotes (1st)
1.41 (6)
Charlottesville, Va. It's got historic tradition and beauty. It's got a great party scene. It's located in a beautiful part of the country. The campus is gorgeous, the downtown mall is a blast, the vineyards are excellent and the presidential tradition is everywhere. It's hard not to get caught up in the rich vibe when visiting Virginia's campus. Be sure to check out Edgar Allen Poe's Room. Charlottesville got six first-place votes, by far the most of any ACC locale.
2.42 (1)
Chapel Hill, N.C. There is just a lot going on in Chapel Hill. The architecture is awesome, the weather is great and the natural scenery and outdoor activities are fantastic. The food is among the nation's best for a small town and the bar/music/art night scene is as good as any in the Southeast (check out Franklin Street). Chapel Hill barely missed out being voted the No. 1 town in the ACC with eight votes in the top three. 
3.47 (3)
Clemson, S.C. How many towns are named after the university? Formerly known as Calhoun, the town voted to change its name to Clemson in 1943. This represents all that is a small college town. The passion is what gives Clemson the best stadium in the league, the best gameday atmosphere and the most interwoven city. It's got great food joints and Lake Hartwell is always a good time. It's also a quick drive to three different states. Clemson got more first-place votes than any town not named Charlottesville.
4.69 (1)
Tallahassee, Fla. Considered one of the better "college towns for grownups," Tallahassee tends to keep people around. It's much larger than the average college town at over 300,000 residents, but has that medium-sized charm. Geography allows for plenty of beach life to shine through and there are endless festivals, dining and night attractions for visitors. The Florida state capital is the top city in the second tier according to the voting.
5.87 (1)
Raleigh, N.C. The most underrated stadium and gameday experience in the ACC is probably in Raleigh. The town loves its Wolfpack and it loves to party — which is probably why it got one first-place vote (and why people keep telling me to try Cook Out). It also was voted 10th or worse in the ACC by four different panelists. Check out Glenwood Ave. and Fayetteville Street. A trip to Raleigh for a sporting event is surely a good time. It's also one of three ACC towns that can claim a Stanley Cup, if that counts for anything?
6.93
Louisville, Ky. Of all of the big cities in the ACC, Louisville has the most charm. Wrapped by the Ohio River, there is tons to do, no matter what your fancy. Churchill Downs is a must-see while a developing area south of town known as Bardstown Road is as vibrant as any city south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Breweries, boating, golf, a growing music scene (SEE: Forecastle) and more make Louisville the best big city in the ACC.
7.98
Blacksburg, Va. If you want a truly small town located in the middle of the mountains, Blacksburg is your place. Few towns embody the vibe and feel of the campus like the architecture of Virginia Tech. The stone buildings are gorgeous and the mountains offer plenty to do outdoors. If you prefer city life, this isn't your cup of tea, which is why the Hokies' hometown was ranked as high as second by one panelist while four others voted it outside of the top 10.
8.108
Atlanta, Ga. The capital of Georgia is a polarizing city for sure. The traffic is downright miserable, the city itself goes on forever in every direction and the fans generally haven't supported many sports teams. Yet, the urban lifestyle is a big draw for many and the food scene is among the best in the nation. Short trips to beaches and mountains offer plenty of easy access to outdoor activities. It's not for everyone but there is a reason the metro areas boasts over five million residents.
9.113 (1)
Miami, Fla. Coral Gables itself is small village located just south of the sprawling metroplex that is Miami. The night life and allure of beach living in Miami is a huge draw for some (it got one first-place vote) but there is very little that is unique about campus life at The U. Which is why it was ranked last by two voters. For the record, this is the only town in the Power 5 with a first-place AND last-place vote.
10.114
Durham, N.C. The third-ranked city within the triangle was voted as highly as fourth by two voters and was voted last by another — which seems to be a theme among all ACC towns. At 250,000 residents, Duke's hometown is right in the middle in terms of size in the ACC as well. It's not as big as Raleigh and it's not as cool as Chapel Hill.
11.132
Pittsburgh, Pa. It's a big city and it has all of the advantages of traditional big cities. Huge infrastructure, technology growth as well as professional sports teams can overwhelm the university and its role within the community. Let's face it, the Panthers will always be the second-most important football team in the Steel City.
12.134
Chestnut Hill, Mass. If this were strictly based on Boston, it would be hard to imagine it falling this far down the list. Boston is a fantastic city with vibrant energy and steeped in American history. However, eight miles down the road is Chestnut Hill. While gorgeous, the campus is sort of an after-thought within the city (sort of like the sports teams). Still, it's hard to believe living on the outskirts of such an extraordinary city could rank as the 12th-best place in the ACC. It got four last-place votes.
13.136
Winston-Salem, N.C. The fourth-most desirable location of the North Carolina ACC schools is Winston-Salem. While the other three form the triangle of education and basketball, W-S is located just west of Greensboro, far from both the Smoky Mountains and the Outer Banks. It got three last-place votes, but also was voted as high as fifth.
14.152
Syracuse, N.Y. There is a reason that Syracuse's population has been dropping every decade since the 1950s. The weather is brutal for most of the year and its located in the middle of upstate New York — which is sort of close to Lake Erie, right? To quote one Athlon employee from New York, "It's a poor man's Rochester."

 

Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast: Early 2015 ACC Preview



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Teaser:
Ranking the ACC College Towns (Expert Poll)
Post date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/do-pittsburgh-steelers-really-have-toughest-nfl-schedule-2015
Body:

Pittsburgh SteelersAccording to the numbers, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2015.

 

Their opponents' winning percentage was .579 a year ago (147-107-2) — tops in the NFL entering this season.

 

The Bengals (.563), 49ers (.561), Seahawks (.559) and Cardinals (.559) round out the top five.

 

However, normally there is one major issue with using the previous year’s outcomes to determine the next year’s strength of schedule:

 

No one gets to play last year’s teams.

 

Typically, using last year’s opponent’s winning percentage is a surface-level way to address scheduling difficulties and it rarely paints an accurate picture. It’s short-sighted and lacks the depth needed to analyze roster churn, home-road splits, bye weeks and aging talent.

 

However, this one time it might be right.

 

The Steelers really do have the toughest path to the playoffs.

 

Notice anything special about those top five schedules listed above? The teams hail from two divisions, the NFC West and AFC North.

 

Both are considered the toughest divisions in their respective conferences and both divisions will have to face each other this fall.

 

It doesn’t end there for Pittsburgh, however.

 

If six games with the AFC North and four with the NFC West — including road trips to Seattle and St. Louis — weren’t tough enough, Pittsburgh also must face the projected champions of the AFC East (New England) and AFC South (Indianapolis), as well as the entire AFC West. That's as hard a schedule as any AFC team could possibly have.

 

Meanwhile, division rival Baltimore gets the Jaguars and the Dolphins in swing games, while the Bengals get the Texans and the Bills and Cleveland faces the Titans and Jets.

 

The list of quarterbacks the Steelers will face this season includes Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco (twice), Philip Rivers (perhaps), Andy Dalton (twice), Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith.

 

That doesn’t include games against rising second-year starter Derek Carr as well as the Arizona Cardinals and a Jeff Fisher team on the road.

 

Basically, this team gets no breaks. In the first five weeks, Mike Tomlin faces two of the last three defending Super Bowl champs, the 49ers and the Chargers and Rams on the road. Then to wrap things up from Week 12-16, Pittsburgh faces a ridiculous five-game stretch that goes as follows: at Seattle, Indianapolis, at Cincinnati, Denver and at Baltimore.

 

Using last year’s win totals is normally a foolish way to determine what lies ahead for a team. But this slate really does appear to be the toughest in the NFL.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 Schedule

Teaser:
Do the Pittsburgh Steelers Really Have the Toughest NFL Schedule in 2015?
Post date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, News
Path: /college-football/dallas-cowboys-2015-football-schedule-and-analysis
Body:

Dallas Cowboys 2015 Football ScheduleDeMarco Murray isn't in Dallas any longer but Jerry Jones is clearly thinking Super Bowl still. He's assembled a roster that appears poised to make a deep postseason run and finish what it couldn't a year ago.

 

The Cowboys have franchised Dez Bryant, signed Greg Hardy, brought in Darren McFadden and resigned a bunch of quality role players from last year's team.

 

But can Tony Romo lead this team to a second consecutive NFC East title for the first time since 1995-96? Here is a game-by-game breakdown of the Cowboys' 2015 schedule:

 

2015 Dallas Schedule

 

WkOpp.DateLocation
1.Sept. 13Arlington, TX
Dallas has swept the Giants in each of the last two seasons but are just 2-4 in their last six at home against the G-Men. All four wins over the last two seasons have been by 10 points or less. Jason Garrett is 2-2 in season openers.
2.Sept. 20Philadelphia, PA
Back-to-back divisional games to start the year make the first two weeks extremely important for Dallas. Especially, considering who will be running the ball for the Eagles. The Boys have won three straight in Phily but have split with the Eagles in each of the last two years.
3.Sept. 27Arlington, TX
Atlanta is the third of four games in a row against NFC playoff contenders. Garrett has only faced the Falcons once, a 19-13 win in Atlanta in 2012.
4.Oct. 4New Orleans, LA
Sean Payton and Garrett are extremely familiar, having faced each other in three straight seasons. Dallas won easily last season 38-17 at home but lost the two previous meetings. In fact, the Saints have won eight of the last 10 against Dallas dating back to 1998.
5.Oct. 11Arlington, TX

The defending champs come to town capping a brutal first month for the Boys. Garrett has only faced the Patriots once, a 20-16 loss in Foxboro in 2011. This could be the highest-rated game of the regular season.

 

Related: 10 Must-See NFL Games in 2015 Season

6.BYEOct. 18 
The off weekend comes at a great time after five tough tests to start the year — and with three big NFC games coming up.
7.Oct. 25East Rutherford, NJ
Dallas better not look ahead to Seattle in Week 8 or a trip to New Jersey could be costly. Dallas has won three straight on the road against the Giants and Garrett is 3-1 in his career in East Rutherford.
8.Nov. 1Arlington, TX
The Cowboys shocked the NFL world by going into Seattle and winning 30-23 a year ago. Since 2008, Dallas has won four out of five against the Hawks and Garrett is 2-1 in those games. This is a potential NFC Championship Game preview.
9.Nov. 8Arlington, TX
DeMarco Murray's homecoming will be must-see TV regardless of what happens in the Week 2 meeting. Garrett is 1-3 against the Birds at home.
10.Nov. 15Tampa, FL
Dallas has dominated the all-time series with Tampa 13-3 and has won five straight over the Bucs dating back to 2006. Could this game feature Tony Romo vs. Jameis Winston?
11.Nov. 22Miami, FL
These two teams have only faced each other 13 times in history and haven't played since the last rotation in 2011. Dallas won 20-19 in Miami and this could be a major upset alert moment with huge NFC tilts coming up over the next three weeks.
12.Nov. 26Arlington, TX
Facing a physical Carolina team on just four days rest on a Thursday night could create some problems. Dallas is 9-3 all-time against Carolina and hasn't lost to the Panthers since 2004 (5-0). Garrett is 1-0 against the Panthers. 
13.Dec. 7Landover, MD
Garrett is 5-3 against the Redskins and 3-1 in Landover, including a 44-17 drubbing a year ago. This will be the first of two meetings with the Skins in the final five weeks.
14.Dec. 13Green Bay, WI
This game would be phenomenal even if it wasn't a rematch of a memorable NFC Divisional playoff game. Dallas has lost four straight to the Packers, three of which have come at Lambeau Field — like this one. Garrett is 0-2 against Green Bay.
15.Dec. 19Arlington, TX
Todd Bowles will be nearing the end of his first season as the Jets head coach after two seasons as the Cardinals defensive coordinator. Strangely enough, these two have met 10 times total but only three times in Dallas. The Boys won the last meeting in Big D 34-3 in 2007.
16.Dec. 27Orchard Park, NY
 Dallas has won three straight against the Bills, as Buffalo hasn't topped the Boys since 1996. Garrett crushed Buffalo 44-7 in his only meeting back in '11. 
17.Jan. 3Arlington, TX
The season finale could be the easiest division game of the year for the Boys. Garrett is just 2-2 against Washington at home. This will be the 112th meeting between the two historic rivals.
Teaser:
Dallas Cowboys 2015 Football Schedule and Analysis
Post date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 08:00

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