Articles By David Fox

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When Stephen Curry took tiny Davidson College to the brink of the Final Four, any college basketball fan could tell the NBA what it has learned in recent years: Curry is something special.

 

The point guard this week earned NBA MVP honors, leading the Golden State Warriors to the best record in the league this season.

 

As the son of another NBA star, Curry path has been rare on a number of fronts. But he’s also the rare NBA superstar to come from outside of the college basketball power structure.

 

Of the last five NBA MVPs, two came directly from high school (LeBron James and Kobe Bryant), one from Europe (Dirk Nowitzki), one from Texas (Kevin Durant) and one from Memphis (Derrick Rose).

 

The last NBA MVP from a mid-major or low-major program was Santa Clara’s Steve Nash in 2005 and 2006. Before that, it was Karl Malone in 1999.

 

In honor of Curry’s rise from Davidson to NBA MVP, we’re looking back at the best small school players in the NBA, going back to Larry Bird.

 

1. Larry Bird, Indiana State

A Hall of Famer, three-time MVP, two-time Finals MVP and All-Star Game MVP, Bird is on the short list of best NBA players of all time. His career started at Indiana, but the French Lick, Ind., native found the Bloomington experience overwhelming. He landed at Indiana State to set up a legendary NCAA Tournament championship game with Michigan State and Magic Johnson for the first round in one of the greatest NBA rivalries.

 

2. Karl Malone, Louisiana Tech

A Hall of Famer and two-time NBA MVP, Malone stayed in his home state of Louisiana and led Louisiana Tech to its first NCAA Tournament bid in 1984 and a Sweet 16 in 1985. Since Malone left, the Bulldogs have won one NCAA Tournament game in three trips, none since 1991.

 

3. John Stockton, Gonzaga

A bit of an asterisk here: Gonzaga is a major program now, but not when Stockton signed with the Bulldogs in 1980. By the time Stockton left, the Zags would still have to wait 11 years for their first NCAA Tournament bid. Meanwhile, Stockton was on his way to becoming a Hall of Famer and the NBA’s all-time assist leader.

 

4. David Robinson, Navy

The Admiral was a National Player of the Year at Navy, leading the Midshipmen to a 30-win season and an Elite Eight. With the San Antonio Spurs, Robinson became a 10-time All-Star and a Hall of Famer before handing the torch to Tim Duncan.

 

5. Steve Nash, Santa Clara

Santa Clara reached the NCAA Tournament three times with Nash, a run that included an upset of Maryland in 1996. The Broncos haven’t made the NCAA Tourney since. Nash waited until his sixth season in the league to become a star, but since then, he became the top point guard of his era.

 

6. Scottie Pippen, Central Arkansas

Central Arkansas is a Division I program now, but Pippen played there, it was in the NAIA, making his rise to the No. 5 pick in the draft and Michael Jordan's running mate all that more impressive.

 

7. George Gervin, Eastern Michigan

Gervin’s college career did not end on high note. He was suspended and his coach resigned after Gervin punched a Roanoke College player unconscious during a Division II semifinal. Gervin’s career was less eventful as he won four NBA scoring titles, earned 12 ABA/NBA All-Star selections and landed in the Hall of Fame.

 

8. Dennis Rodman, Southeastern Oklahoma State

Like Pippen, Rodman was a star on the NAIA level before finding his way to the NBA. The public persona may have outweighed his on-court play, but Rodman finished his career with five championship rings, two All-Star selections and a spot in the Hall of Fame.

 

9. Stephen Curry, Davidson

In 2008, Curry led Davidson to NCAA Tournament upsets of Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin before a two-point loss to Kansas in the Elite Eight. His NBA career is young, but he’s an MVP, a two-time All-Star and two-time league leader in 3-pointers made and 3-pointers attempted.

 

10. Robert Parish, Centenary

Parish averaged 24.8 points per game and 18 rebounds per game for an AP top-20 team during his final season at Centenary, but his college career was destined to obscurity due to NCAA sanctions at Centenary. The same wouldn’t happen in the NBA as the Hall of Fame center won four NBA titles in his career with the Celtics and Bulls.

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Post date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 09:00
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About a month has passed since Duke defeated Wisconsin for the 2015 championship, and we’ve already had a busy offseason.

 

Coaches have been fired and hired and headed to the NBA. Underclassmen have put their names into the draft or elected to return. Most transfers and incoming freshmen have found their landing places.

 

In that case, now is as good a time as any to revisit our early top 25 for the 2015-15 season. Since we last took a snapshot of the national scene, our top two teams, Virginia and North Carolina, lost key players while Duke, Kentucky and — surprise! — Cal added key recruits.

 

1. Kentucky (38-1, 18-0 SEC)

Losses: F Karl-Anthony Towns, C Willie Cauley-Stein, G Aaron Harrison, G Andrew Harrison, F Trey Lyles, G Devin Booker, C Dakari Johnson

Returnees: G Tyler Ulis, F Alex Poythress, F Marcus Lee

New arrivals: C Skal Labissiere, G Isaiah Briscoe, G Charles Matthews, G Mychal Mulder

Outlook: In a rare string of recruiting losses, Kentucky lost out on guard Brandon Ingram (Duke), Cheick Diallo (Kansas), Malik Newman (Mississippi State) and Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV) in postseason commitments. Kentucky filled one spot with Mychal Mulder, a standout shooter from the junior college ranks. 

 

2. Duke (35-4, 15-3 ACC)

Losses: G Quinn Cook, C Jahlil Okafor, F Justise Winslow, G Tyus Jones

Returnees: F Amile Jefferson, G Matt Jones, G Grayson Allen

New arrivals: F Chase Jeter, G Luke Kennard, F Sean Obi, G Brandon Ingram, G Derryck Thornton

Outlook: If 2015 proved Duke could win a championship with a roster full of freshmen, the 2016 recruiting class proved Mike Krzyzewski could reload just as quickly. The team won’t be as stocked as the championship team, but the key holes have been filled with a big man (Jeter), a shooter (Kennard), a point guard (Thornton, who reclassified from the 2016 class to 2015) and a big, versatile shooter that has served Duke well in the past (Ingram). 

 

3. North Carolina (26-12, 11-7 ACC)

Losses: F J.P. Tokoto

Returnees: G Marcus Paige, F Brice Johnson, F Kennedy Meeks, F Justin Jackson, F Isaiah Hicks, G Nate Britt, G Joel Berry

Outlook: North Carolina was a candidate for preseason No. 1 the first time around with every key player returning. Since then, J.P. Tokoto elected to leave for the pros. Carolina should still be very good, but Tokoto was a standout defender. His departure tempers expectations a bit.

 

4. Kansas (27-9, 13-5 Big 12)

Losses: G Kelly Oubre, F Cliff Alexander

Returnees: F Perry Ellis, G Frank Mason, G Wayne Selden, G Brannen Greene, F Jamari Traylor, F Landen Lucas, G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

New arrivals: F Carlton Bragg, F Chieck Diallo

Outlook: Losing Oubre and Alexander is notable, but not unexpected in the big picture (even if both had uneven freshman seasons). The biggest victories came in recent weeks. Ellis decided to return to school, and Kansas was able to add top-10 forward Cheick Diallo, a freshman who should be an ideal fit in Kansas’ system.

 

5. Maryland (28-7, 14-4 Big Ten)

Losses: G Dez Wells, G Richaud Pack, F Evan Smotrycz

Returnees: G Melo Trimble, F Jake Layman, G Jared Nickens, G Dion Wiley

New arrivals: C Diamond Stone, F Robert Carter Jr.

Outlook: Maryland was one of the biggest surprises in 2014-15, finishing second in the Big Ten. Next season will bring legitimate expectations. Melo Trimble and Jake Layman are back. Moreover, landing the top-10 prospect Stone was a major coup for Mark Turgeon. Forward Robert Carter Jr. also will be eligible after averaging 11.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds at Georgia Tech in 2013-14.

 

6. Virginia (30-4, 16-2 ACC)

Losses: G Justin Anderson, F Darion Atkins

Returnees: G Malcolm Brogdon, F Anthony Gill, C Mike Tobey, G London Perrantes

Outlook: Virginia’s hopes of being a preseason No. 1 are probably dimmed with the surprising departure of Justin Anderson to the NBA Draft. That said, the Cavs’ preseason hopes last season were dampened when Joe Harris was believed to be an irreplaceable void. Virginia won the ACC regular season title anyway.

 

7. Michigan State (27-12, 12-6 Big Ten)

Losses: G Travis Trice, F Branden Dawson

Returnees: G Denzel Valentine, G Bryn Forbes, F Matt Costello, F Gavin Schilling, F Marvin Clark Jr., G Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr.

New arrivals: G Eron Harris

Outlook: Michigan State will miss Trice’s scoring punch and Dawson’s rebounding. Harris, who averaged 17.2 points per game for West Virginia in 2013-14, will help the former. Tum Tum Nairn will hold down the point guard spot and take over leadership of the team as just a sophomore. 

 

8. Iowa State (25-9, 12-6 Big 12)

Losses: G Bryce Dejean-Jones, F Dustin Hogue

Returnees: F Georges Niang, G Monte Morris, F Jameel McKay, F Abdel Nader

New arrivals: G Hallice Cooke, G Deonte Burton

Outlook: The biggest story of the Iowa State offseason will be coach Fred Hoiberg’s recovery from open-heart surgery. The Cyclones are in good hands with Niang and Morris still on board. As usual, transfers — Cooke from Oregon State, and Burton, a point guard from Marquette — will round things out. The Cyclones are still in contention for two graduate transfers (Michigan’s Max Bielfeldt and Providence’s Tyler Lewis).

 

9. Gonzaga (35-3, 17-1 West Coast)

Losses: G Kevin Pangos, G Byron Wesley, G Gary Bell Jr.

Returnees: F Kyle Wiltjer, C Przemek Karnowski, F Domantas Sabonis, G Kyle Dranginis, G Eric McClellan

Outlook: Wiltjer could have left to begin a pro career somewhere, but his return means he’ll be a potential national player of the year candidate. Replacing Pangos at point guard will be no small issue. Otherwise, this is a team built for another run. The replacements include a handful of players who saw few if any minutes last season — McClellan (who was dismissed from Vanderbilt before landing at Gonzaga), Josh Perkins (who missed all but five games with a broken jaw) or redshirt Bryan Alberts.

 

10. Oklahoma (24-11, 12-6 Big 12)

Losses: F TaShawn Thomas

Returnees: G Buddy Hield, G Isaiah Cousins, F Ryan Spangler, G Jordan Woodward

New arrivals: G Rashard Odomes

Outlook: The return of Hield, the Big 12 Player of the Year, is key as the Sooners look to stay in the mix in the Big 12. Most of the key pieces are back, but losing Thomas means the Sooners will rely even more heavily on the backcourt.

 

11. Notre Dame (32-6, 14-4 ACC)

Losses: G Jerian Grant, G Pat Connaughton

Returnees: F Zach Auguste, G Demetrius Jackson, G Steve Vasturia, F Bonzie Colson

Outlook: The departures of Grant and Connaughton probably mean Notre Dame won’t come within a hair of the Final Four again, but there are plenty of pieces for Notre Dame to make noise in the ACC. Colson is a future star.

 

12. Wisconsin (36-4, 16-2 Big Ten)

Losses: F Frank Kaminsky, F Sam Dekker, G Traevon Jackson, G Josh Gasser, F Duje Dukan

Returnees: F Nigel Hayes, G Bronson Koenig, G Zak Showalter

New arrivals: G Brevin Pritzl

Outlook: Hayes’ decision to return to school is critical. The Badgers won’t be Final Four contenders again, but don’t forget that the Badgers were a consistent top-four Big Ten team regardless of personnel before this run in the last two seasons.

 

13. Indiana (20-14, 9-9 Big Ten)

Returnees: G Yogi Ferrell, G James Blackmon Jr., F Troy Williams, G Robert Johnson, G Nick Zeisloft, F Hanner Mosquera-Perea

New arrivals: F Thomas Bryant, F Juwan Morgan

Outlook: Tom Crean could be well-positioned to return to the good graces of Indiana fans next season. Nearly everyone is back, and the frontcourt will get some desperately needed help from the 6-10 Bryant, a McDonald’s All-American.

 

14. Villanova (33-3, 16-2 Big East)

Losses: G Darrun Hilliard, F JayVaughn Pinkston, G Dylan Ennis

Returnees: G Josh Hart, G Ryan Arcidiacono, F Daniel Ochefu

New arrivals: G Jalen Brunson

Outlook: Hilliard was the closest thing Villanova had to a star player last season, but this was a balanced team with six guys averaging nine or more points per game. Losing Ennis, a graduate transfer, hurts. Nova adds the five-star point guard Brunson to a team that will already have a senior point guard in Arcidiacono.

 

15. Wichita State (30-5, 17-1 Missouri Valley)

Losses: F Darius Carter, G Tekele Cotton

Returnees: G Fred VanVleet, G Ron Baker, F Shaquille Morris, G Evan Wessel

Outlook: Wichita State already survived a tense moment when Alabama courted Gregg Marshall. Baker mulled the draft but elected to return to school. The Shockers can’t be dismissed as long as VanVleet and Baker are in the backcourt.

 

16. Arizona (34-4, 16-2 Pac-12)

Losses: F Stanley Johnson, G T.J. McConnell, F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, F Brandon Ashley

Returnees: C Kaleb Tarczewski, G Gabe York

New arrivals: F Ryan Anderson, G Allonzo Trier, F Ray Smith, G Justin Simon, C Chance Comanche

Outlook: McConnell, Johnson and Hollis-Jefferson are big losses. Yet Sean Miller continues to reload with 247Sports’ No. 2 recruiting class featuring four top-50 prospects and Anderson from Boston College (14.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg in 2013-14). 

 

17. Cal (18-15, 7-11 Pac-12)

Losses: F David Kravish

Returnees: G Tyrone Wallace, G Jordan Matthews, G Jabari Bird, F Christian Behrens

New arrivals: F Ivan Rabb, F Jaylen Brown

Outlook: Cal was already poised to take a step forward with the backcourt of Wallace, Matthews and Bird returning. Then, Cuonzo Martin beat out Kentucky, North Carolina and Michigan for the No. 2 small forward prospect (Jaylen Brown), adding to a recruiting class that already included No. 2 power forward (Ivan Rabb). Cal should contend for the Pac-12 title.

 

18. Utah (26-9, 13-5 Pac-12)

Losses: G Delon Wright

Returnees: G Brandon Taylor, G Jordan Loverage, F Jakob Poeltl, G Dakari Tucker, F Brekkott Chapman

Outlook: Wright could have the biggest impact of any single departure in the country. He’s a lockdown defender and an efficient point guard, two things not easily replaced. Poeltl could have gone to the draft as an intriguing prospect, but he elected for more seasoning in college after a dominant finish to last season.

 

19. Louisville (27-9, 13-6 ACC)

Losses: G Terry Rozier, F Montrezl Harrell, Wayne Blackshear

Returnees: G Quentin Snider, F Chinanu Onuaku, F Mangok Mathiang, G Anton Gill

New arrivals: G Trey Lewis, F Damion Lee, F Raymond Spalding, G Donovan Mitchell, F Deng Adel

Outlook: Rick Pitino bolstered his young roster with a pair of transfers, adding Trey Lewis from Cleveland State and Damion Lee from Drexel. Lee was arguably the top graduate transfer available after averaging 21.4 points per game last season. Lewis hit 96 3-pointers for Cleveland State. That will be a welcome sight after long-range shooting was a problem all year for the Cards.

 

20. SMU (27-7, 15-3 American)

Losses: C Yanick Moreira

Returnees: G Nic Moore, F Markus Kennedy, F Ben Moore

New arrivals: G Shake Milton

Outlook: SMU has been knocking on the door of postseason relevance for two seasons. First came a snub to the 2014 NCAA Tournament and then the questionable goaltending call in a loss to UCLA in the round of 64. Moreira is a substantial loss, but SMU returns enough to contend for another AAC title.

 

21. LSU (27-11, 11-7 SEC)

Losses: F Jarell Martin, F Jordan Mickey

Returnees: G Keith Hornsby, G Tim Quarterman, G Josh Gray, G Jalyn Patterson

New arrivals: F Ben Simmons, G Antonio Blakeney

Outlook: LSU underachieved in the Martin/Mickey era, reaching one NCAA Tournament and losing in a second-half collapse to NC State. The Tigers will be expected to contend in the SEC next season after adding Simmons, the top prospect in the 247Sports rankings. Blakeney is also a five-star prospect. LSU’s supporting cast of Hornsby, Quarterman and Patterson is solid.

 

22. Vanderbilt (21-14, 9-9 SEC)

Losses: F James Siakam, F Shelton Mitchell

Returnees: C Damian Jones, G Riley LaChance, G Wade Baldwin IV, F Luke Kornet, G Matthew Fisher-Davis, F Jeff Roberson

New arrivals: G Nolan Cressler

Outlook: The Commodores were an awfully young team last season and improved as the year went along. Jones’ decision to stay in school was huge. The one major departure is made up for by the arrival of Cressler, who averaged 16.8 points per game as a sophomore at Cornell.

 

23. NC State (22-14, 10-8 ACC)

Losses: G Trevor Lacey, G Ralston Turner

Returnees: G Cat Barber, F Kyle Washington, F Abdul-Malik Abu, F Caleb Martin, F Beejay Anya

Outlook: The unexpected departure of Lacey to the NBA Draft will dampen expectations. He was the Wolfpack’s most consistent player on a team that sorely needed consistency.

 

24. Butler (23-11, 12-6 Big East)

Losses: G Alex Barlow, F Kameron Woods

Returnees: G Kellen Dunham, F Roosevelt Jones, F Andrew Charbascz

New arrivals: G Tyler Lewis

Outlook: Dunham and Jones will be seniors, and 5-11 NC State transfer Lewis should take over the point guard spot. More important, Butler locked up coach Chris Holtmann with a contract extension. The gap between Butler and Villanova in the Big East is narrowing.

 

25. Michigan (16-16, 8-10 Big Ten)

Losses: G Max Bielfeldt

Returnees: G Caris LeVert, G Zak Irwin, G Derrick Walton, G Spike Albrecht, G Aubrey Dawkins 

Outlook: Michigan was a preseason top 25 team before everything went wrong, starting with an injury to star Caris LeVert. Before falling to .500, Michigan reached an Elite Eight and a national championship game. Let’s give John Beilein another chance at this, especially after LeVert elected to return to school.

 

Others of Note

 

Baylor (24-10, 11-7 Big 12)

Losses: G Kenny Chery, F Royce O’Neale

Returnees: F Taurean Prince, F Rico Gathers, F Johnathan Motley

Outlook: Not much was expected out of Baylor last season, but they made a nice run before losing to Georgia State in the NCAA Tournament. The Bears need to find a replacement for Chery at point guard to go with that solid front line.

 

Cincinnati (23-11, 13-5 American)

Returnees: F Octavius Ellis, G Troy Caupain, G Farad Cobb, F Gary Clark, G Kevin Johnson, F Shaquille Thomas

Outlook: Cincinnati’s roster returns essentially intact, but the Bearcats hope to have coach Mick Cronin for the season after he missed most of 2015 with a medical issue.

 

Florida State (17-16, 8-10 ACC)

Returnees: G Xavier Rathan-Mayes, G Brandon Montay, G Devon Bookert, G Phil Cofer

New arrivals: G Dwayne Bacon, G Malik Beasley

Outlook: A pick for a sleeper? Florida State returns nearly everybody to a mediocre team and adds two top-25 prospects at guard. 

 

Georgetown (22-11, 12-6 Big East)

Losses: C Josh Smith, G Jabril Trawick

Returnees: G D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, F Isaac Copeland, G Tre Campbell, F L.J. Peak, F Paul White

New arrivals: C Jessie Govan, F Marcus Derrickson, F Kaleb Johnson

Outlook: Placing expectations on Georgetown is always a tricky proposition. Smith-Rivera is already a star, and his return was critical to the Hoyas’ hopes. Copeland was a highly touted freshman and should start to reach his potential as a sophomore.

 

Oregon (26-10, 13-5 Pac-12)

Losses: G Joseph Young, G Jalil Abdul-Bassit

Returnees: F Elgin Cook, F Dillon Brooks, F Dwayne Benjamin, F Jordan Bell

New arrivals: G Tyler Dorsey

Outlook: The Ducks will need to find someone to replace the scoring that Young provided the last two seasons, but the Ducks got major contributions from last year’s freshman class. Oregon adds a top-30 point guard in a class with three top-100 freshmen

 

Purdue (21-13, 12-6 Big Ten)

Losses: G Jon Octeus

Returnees: C A.J. Hammons, G Rapheal Davis, F Vince Edwards, G Kendall Stephens, C Isaac Haas, G Dakota Mathias

Outlook: The seven-footer Hammons elected to return to Purdue rather than the NBA Draft, meaning the Boilermakers are gearing up to contend for the Big Ten title.

 

Texas (20-14, 8-10 Big 12)

Losses: F Jonathan Holmes, F Myles Turner

Returnees: G Isaiah Turner, G Javan Felix, C Cameron Ridley, G Demarcus Holland

New arrivals: G Eric Davis, G Kerwin Roach, C Shaquille Cleare

Outlook: How much of a difference can first-year coach Shaka Smart make? Many of the same pieces of a team that was picked to challenge for the Big 12 title last season will return. Adding two four-star freshmen in Davis and Roach and Maryland transfer Cleare means the pieces are in place for Texas to contend for an NCAA spot or more.

 

Texas A&M (21-12, 11-7 SEC)

Losses: F Kourtney Roberson, G Jordan Green

Returnees: G Danuel House, G Jalen Jones, G Alex Caruso,

New arrivals: C Tyler Davis, F D.J. Hogg, G Anthony Collins

Outlook: The Aggies were NIT bound after a disastrous SEC Tournament, but they were on the fringe for most of the season. They hope a standout recruiting class puts them over the top. USF point guard Anthony Collins is also eligible immediately.

 

West Virginia (25-10, 11-7 Big 12)

Losses: G Juwan Staten

Returnees: F Devin Williams, F Jonathan Holton, G Jevon Carter, G Daxter Miles Jr.

Outlook: The Mountaineers, who are still smarting from a 39-point loss in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky, will have to replace the point guard Staten, but they return nearly every other key player from a surprise team in 2014-15.

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Florida State has gone 39-3 during the last three seasons with three ACC titles, a national championship and a playoff appearance.

 

None of this is by accident or by fluke.

 

The Seminoles have had 29 players drafted during that span, a record for the modern era. In the 2015 draft, Florida State led all teams with 11 selections from Thursday through Saturday, starting with Jameis Winston as the No. 1 pick through guard Bobby Hart in the seventh round.

 

While Florida State was the top school, the SEC as usual led all leagues in the draft in a decade of dominance of sending players to the pro ranks.

 

Here’s a look at the top schools and a few notes on how schools performed in this year’s draft.

 

SchoolDraft PicksConferenceDraft Picks
1153
1047
839
735
726
7*12
610
65
54
53
5  
5  
5  
5  
5  
5  
5  
5  

*includes Missouri transfer Dorial Green-Beckham

 

• For the first time in five drafts, the SEC did not have the most first-round draft picks as the Pac-12 and ACC had nine apiece. The SEC had seven first-rounders. For the ninth consecutive draft, however, the SEC produced the most overall picks (54).

 

• Florida State produced the most picks with 11, giving the Seminoles 18 picks in the last two seasons. There’s a good reason the 2013 ‘Noles overwhelmed just about everyone they played.

 

• With 11 picks for Florida State and 10 for Louisville, the Seminoles’ 42-31 win over the Cardinals on Oct. 30 had the most draft picks of any game last season.

 

• On the other hand, TCU’s 42-3 win over Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl featured a grand total of three draft picks so far.

 

• Another oddity: Oklahoma State defeated Washington 30-22 in the Cactus Bowl. The Cowboys had one draft pick (defensive back Josh Furman, the 35h pick of the seventh round). Washington had three draft picks in that game, including two first-round picks. That doesn’t include first-round cornerback Marcus Peters, who was dismissed from Washington in early November.

 

• Ohio State is the first reigning national champion to be shut out of the first round of the NFL Draft since the 2002 Buckeyes. Ohio State’s five overall picks are the fewest for a reigning champion since 2010 Auburn (four).

 

• Not a bad problem to have: Alabama’s seven draft picks was the fewest for the Crimson Tide since 2011. Alabama has produced 44 picks since the 2010 draft.

 

• LSU’s four picks was the fewest for the Tigers since 2005.

 

• As has been trumpeted several times: Miami and Florida produced more draft picks than wins. Ereck Flowers an Phillip Dorsett became the first Miami players to go in the first round since 2008. The Hurricanes had seven players drafted but finished 6-7.

 

• Florida’s draft output was even more astonishing. The 7-5 Gators had eight players drafted, including six from an offense that 96th in yards per game. By one measure, the Will Muschamp era was more productive than the Urban Meyer era at Florida. Muschamp’s teams produced 5.5 draft picks per year (22 from the 2012-15 drafts) while Meyer’s produced five picks per year (30 from 2006-11).

 

• Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon was the Badgers’ first skill position player to be drafted in the first round since wide receiver Lee Evans in 2004 and first running back since Michael Bennett in 2001. Wisconsin’s first-round picks since 2004 have included four offensive linemen and two offensive linemen.

 

• The 2010 Texas A&M offensive line class may be one of the best classes for any position ever. Former coach Mike Sherman signed three first-round linemen (Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews and Cedric Ogbuehi) and fifth-rounder Jarvis Harrison.

 

• On a bit of a technicality, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was Oklahoma’s highest draft pick at No. 40. Green-Beckham was dismissed from Missouri, transferred to OU but never played. The next highest Sooner in the draft was No. 52 overall pick Jordan Phillips. Excluding Green-Beckham, Oklahoma has had only one top-50 pick since 2010, the draft when quarterback Sam Bradford, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and offensive tackle Trent Williams were all drafted in the top four.

 

• Two notable first-round droughts ended: Duke guard Laken Tomlinson became the Blue Devils’ first first-round pick since 1987, and Arizona State safety Damarious Randall became the Sun Devils’ first first-round pick since Terrell Suggs in 2003.

 

• Nine Power 5 teams were shut out of the draft: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Illinois, NC State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Syracuse and Vanderbilt. The Volunteers didn’t have a player drafted for the first time since 1963.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly delivered one of the most inspirational moments of the NFL Draft when he was the surprise guest picker on behalf of the Buffalo Bills in the second round.

 

A little more than a year ago, Kelly was fighting an aggressive return of oral cancer, originally diagnosed in June 2013. Through treatment, Kelly had part of his jaw and teeth removed, and tests in January cleared of cancer.

 

Kelly made his pick to a standing ovation in Chicago for one of the draft’s most touching moments. Watch:

 

 

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Perhaps no one was more happy not to hear his team called on Thursday than Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

 

Presumably, Meyer would have been pleased to hear an NFL team take his wide receiver Devin Smith in the first round, but whether Ohio State produced one first-round pick or none Meyer, that's a good thing.

 

For the first time since 2003 — the last time Ohio State won a national championship — the reigning national champion did not produce a first-round draft pick the following April. Since the start of the BCS era in 1998, Oklahoma in 2000 is the only other team that did not produce a first-round pick immediately after winning a national title.

 

Meyer won’t have the draft day brag sheet to take on the recruiting trail, or at least not one as impressive as past national champions. Not that it really matters.

 

Most of the draft picks from the 2014 national championship team will be playing for Ohio State in 2015.

 

This isn’t major news for anyone who has been paying close attention to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have all three quarterbacks in tow, including their top pro prospect at the position Cardale Jones. Defensive end Joey Bosa appears to be on pace for a first-round pick. Ezekiel Elliott may or may not continue Thursday’s run on first-round running backs, but he’ll be in the draft eventually. 

 

Linebackers Joshua Perry and Darron Lee are back. So is end-turned-tackle Adolphus Washington.

 

Even if Smith, defensive tackle Michael Bennett and cornerback Doran Grant are selected this weekend, the Buckeyes will have to wait until 2016 for their big draft celebration. 

 

That’s not totally uncommon for national championship teams. Since 1998, four reigning national champions produced four or fewer draft picks the following year — 2010 Auburn, 2008 Florida, 2003 USC and 2000 Oklahoma. The USC team went on to repeat in 2004. Florida started 13-0 in 2009 before losing to eventual national champion Alabama in the SEC title game. Only 2011 Auburn finished unranked.

 

Here’s a look at the national champions since 1998 and how they fared in the NFL Draft after their title season.

 

YearSchoolFirst RoundTotal PicksFollowing season
20140N/AN/A
20131713-1, No. 5, lost in CFP semifinal
20123911-2, No. 7, lost Sugar Bowl
20113813-1, No. 1, won BCS championship
2010248-5, NR, won Chick-fil-A Bowl
20092710-3, No. 10, won Capital One Bowl
20081313-1, No. 3, won Sugar Bowl
2007178-5, NR, won Chick-fil-A Bowl
2006299-4, No. 13, lost Capital One Bowl
20052610-3, No. 13, won Alamo Bowl
20042512-1, No. 1, lost Rose Bowl*
2003 (BCS)179-3, No. 16, lost Capital One Bowl
2003 (AP)1413-0, No. 1, won BCS championship
20020511-2, No. 4, won Fiesta Bowl
200151112-1, No. 2, lost Fiesta Bowl*
20000211-2, No. 6, won Cotton Bowl
19993711-2, No. 5, lost Orange Bowl*
1998159-3, No. 9, lost Fiesta Bowl

*Lost in national championship game

Teaser:
NFL Draft First-Round Shutout Great News for Ohio State
Post date: Friday, May 1, 2015 - 15:17
All taxonomy terms: Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/danny-shelton-lifts-nfl-commissioner-roger-goodell-draft-day
Body:

With both the top two picks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, watching the NFL Draft from home, viewers had to wait for a memorable interaction between a draftee and commissioner Roger Goodell.

 

Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton made it worth the wait. The No. 12 pick overall pick of the Cleveland Browns gave Goodell a bear hug and then lifted the commissioner off his feet. 

 

Watch here:

 

 

Teaser:
Danny Shelton Lifts NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Draft Day
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 22:18
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/floridas-basketball-program-built-continue-billy-donovan-legacy
Body:

College basketball coaching changes are in a weird place in 2016.

 

Gregg Marshall passed on Alabama to stay at Wichita State. He’ll make more than $3 million to coach the Shockers, he’ll have the institutional support of any major conference team, and he’ll enjoy near-ironclad job security.

 

Shaka Smart didn’t go to UCLA two years ago; he went to Texas this season. And who knows what kind of college job would have pulled Brad Stevens from Butler if the Boston Celtics never took a chance on the Bulldogs coach.

 

Florida isn’t Alabama. Nor is it UCLA. Perhaps not until the Gators hire a successor or two for Billy Donovan will we know exactly what Florida is in college basketball for the long haul.

 

The Gators lost a top-five college coach to the NBA on Thursday. If they didn’t know it before, the Gators will soon learn they aren’t hiring to a top-five job, perhaps not a top-10 job in college basketball.

 

That’s not exactly a bad place to be, considering that Donovan left Marshall for a job that wasn’t even close to top 10 or top 20 in 1996. There's no better way to say it: Donovan took Florida basketball to unimaginable heights. He took the Gators to their second Final Four in school history and added three more. He won 500 career games before he turned 50 and could be a Hall of Famer.

 

When Donovan was hired at Florida, the Gators had been to five all-time NCAA Tournaments and one Final Four. He went to 14 tournaments and four Final Fours, winning two titles.

 

The previous all-time wins leader had 235 victories and was fired amid NCAA sanctions. Donovan finished with 232 wins more than Norm Sloan at Florida and 363 wins more than Lon Kruger, the only other Florida coach to reach the Final Four.

 

Donovan probably have the court at the O’Connell Center named after him some day, and he built the program to a point where the Gators can chase after the most attractive names on the coaching market if they choose.

 

The question, though, is how Archie Miller and those of his ilk look at Florida.

 

They may see Florida as the two-time national champion and a team that has reached the Elite Eight six times in the last 10 seasons. Or as the only SEC program that can consistently challenge Kentucky in the league.

 

At the same time Florida has been putting up blue blood results, Florida can't claim to be a basketball blue blood like Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, UCLA or Kansas.

 

First, this isn’t a salary issue. Donovan’s salary kept up with those programs, ranking fifth behind Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari, Rick Pitino and Bill Self.

 

This isn’t a football school issue, either. The Gators may still be one of only a handful of schools — Ohio State, Texas, Michigan, Michigan State and Louisville — who can claim to be both right now. Beyond basketball, Florida’s non-revenue teams have thrived in the last 20 years.

 

Even if the institutional support is there, Florida’s ability to stay at the top is in question.

 

Florida has committed to a $1.2 million upgrade for the basketball weight room (also used by women’s basketball, golf and tennis). Meanwhile, the renovation to the O’Connell Center has been delayed a year.

 

Although Florida has upgraded its football facility and stadium in the last 15 years, the Gators tend to step into the facilities arms race cautiously. The Gators are the last program in the SEC to begin work on an indoor football facility.

 

In other words, Florida’s not going to renovate a facility just because its SEC brethren are.

 

Recruiting may be of greater concern if Florida is going to compete for titles on a yearly basis, especially in a league that has added Bruce Pearl, Rick Barnes and Ben Howland to keep pace with Calipari at Kentucky.

 

Florida is a good state for talent, but not one where the Gators can set up a base. Of the 20 top-50 prospects in the state of Florida since 2010, Florida has signed four of them.

 

That said, in-state recruiting in basketball isn’t the same as in football. Too many prospects move around from high school to high school or AAU team to AAU team.

 

Florida’s never struggled to bring McDonald’s All-Americans to Gainesville under Donovan. The Gators signed 14 in 19 season under Donovan and at a fairly consistent pace from Teddy Dupay, Mike Miller and Brett Nelson through Patric Young, Kenny Boynton and Kasey Hill.

 

There’s also a reason Donovan so embraced the emerging transfer market at a pace second only to Iowa State. 

 

Since the class of 2007 — after Florida’s first national championship, mind you — the Gators signed six McDonald’s All-Americans. Kentucky signed 24, Duke and North Carolina signed 18 each. Kansas signed 10. UCLA — a team Florida knocked out of the NCAA Tournament four times under two coaches during this span — signed nine.

 

Again, Florida shouldn’t be surprised it is hauling in fewer McDonald’s All-Americans than Duke, Kentucky, Kansas or North Carolina. But that much fewer with an established coach with two national titles on his resume?

 

Even if Florida won big with players who didn’t get the McDonald’s stamp of approval — Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Scottie Wilbekin for starters — those are pretty telling numbers.

 

Horford and Noah, highly touted recruits, became two-time champions under Donovan. Wilbekin was a three-star who ended up playing in three Elite Eights and a Final Four.

 

The next coach at Florida will know has quite a legacy to maintain. The question is if he’ll have the tools to do so.

Teaser:
Is Florida's Basketball Program Built to Carry the Billy Donovan Legacy?
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 18:27
All taxonomy terms: Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/get-nerdy-these-nfl-helmets-marvel-comics-mascots
Body:

Two of the most popular programming in America this week may be the NFL Draft and the premiere of The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

 

In other words, this is a good time to mash the two worlds together. What if the Avengers were the mascots for the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans.

 

We’ve already seen NBA logos re-imagined as football helmets and college football helmets re-designed among other new looks.

 

Now, designer Justin Kozisek brings us have NFL teams re-imagined with mascots from Marvel Comics. Some of the A-list heroes are there — Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and The Hulk, but Kozisek also digs deep for Fin Fang Foom, Sentry and Iron Fist.

 

It’s pretty much a bonanza for the 12-year-old version of ourselves.

 

 

MFL Helmets
Teaser:
Designer Re-Imagines NFL Teams with Marvel Comics Helmets
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 12:58
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/potential-coaching-candidates-replace-billy-donovan-florida
Body:

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is no stranger to conducting a job search in order to replace a championship coach.

 

He’s done it with Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer on the football side. And thanks to Billy Donovan’s brief dalliance with the Orlando Magic in 2007, he started the process to replace Donovan once before. Ironically, the likely replacement in ’07 was then-VCU coach Anthony Grant, who returned to the staff as an assistant this season.

 

Presumably, Donovan’s time with the Oklahoma City Thunder will be longer than his four-day tenure in Orlando, and the Gators will need to hire a new coach.

 

Here are a few potential candidates who might end up in the mix to replace the best basketball coach in program history.

 

Archie Miller, Dayton

He’s one of the hottest coaching candidates out there after taking Dayton to the Elite Eight and NCAA round of 32 in the last two seasons. The 2014-15 season was especially impressive as the shorthanded and undersized Flyers finished 13-5 in the Atlantic 10 and defeated Boise State and Providence in the NCAA Tournament. Miller, however, just agreed a contract extension through 2022 at Dayton. Is Miller waiting for a job like Florida or perhaps a bigger target?

 

Gregg Marshall, Wichita State

Alabama did all it could to woo Marshall from Wichita State, but he resisted. And to Wichita’s credit, the Shockers responded with a contract extension and a raise to a reported $3.3 million a year. Florida is a better situation than Alabama, will that be enough for the coach to both make the move and walk away from a school that did all it could to keep him. Marshall has turned Wichita State into one of the nation's premier programs, leading the Shockers to 30 wins in each of the last three seasons, including a Final Four in 2013 and a 35-1 season in 2013-14. Marshall also led Winthrop to seven NCAA Tournaments in nine seasons.

 

Chris Mack, Xavier

The last three Xavier coaches went to Wake Forest, Ohio State and Arizona with all enjoying success at the major conference level. Mack is just as capable to flourish at a higher level after three Sweet 16 appearances in six seasons.

 

Anthony Grant/John Pelphrey, Florida

The Gators are in a bind by making a coaching change in late April and early May. The carousel has slowed (in particular with Shaka Smart now at Texas and Marshall and Miller agreeing to contract extensions). Grant and Pelphrey have both won on the mid-major level at VCU and South Alabama, respectively. But they’re also back at Florida after being fired from SEC head coaching jobs.

 

Richard Pitino, Minnesota

Donovan did a good job of sending assistants to bigger and better jobs, but few of them would be realistic candidates. Shaka Smart just left VCU for Texas. Anthony Grant and John Pelphrey returned to Donovan’s staff because they were fired at Alabama and Arkansas, respectively. Matt McCall is 33 and was just hired at Chattanooga. That leaves Pitino, who was a Florida assistant for two seasons in between stints working for his father at Louisville. The 32-year-old Pitino is 14-22 in the Big Ten at Minnesota but led an impressive one-year turnaround in his first head coaching gig at FIU.

 

Mike White, Louisiana Tech

White turned down Tennessee hired Donnie Tyndall last season. The 38-year-old is primed for a move, but no NCAA Tournament appearances despite three Conference USA regular season titles is a bit concerning. The Bulldogs are 44-8 in C-USA the last three seasons, stalling in the league tournament each year.

 

Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh

The star has dimmed at bit for Dixon during the last four seasons. His program was once one of the biggest overachievers in the Big East, reaching the NCAA Tournament in each of his first seven years. Pitt has missed the Tournament in two of the last four seasons and has won only three Tournament games since the heartbreaking loss to Villanova in the 2009 Elite Eight.

 

Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa

Jacobson has been at Northern Iowa since 2001 and as head coach since 2006. The entire run includes six NCAA appearances. Jacobson led the Panthers to the Sweet 16 with an upset of No. 1 seed Kansas in 2010, but this year’s squad (31-4) may have been his best team in Cedar Falls.

 

Steve Prohm, Murray State

In four seasons at Murray State, Prohm has coached a team that went 31-2 in 2011-12 and another that won 25 in a row en route to a 27-5 record in 2014-15. He unearthed point guard Cam Payne out of Memphis two years ago and watched him develop into a pro prospect. He’s an Alabama graduate who was not a factor in the Crimson Tide’s coach search.

 

Brad Underwood, Stephen F. Austin

The former Frank Martin assistant has been a head coach for only two seasons, but it’s been quite the run. The Lumberjacks are 61-8 in two seasons with two Tournament appearances and two conference titles. His pressure defense has finished in the top 10 in defensive turnover rate in teach of the last two seasons.

 

Dan Hurley, Rhode Island

Arizona State just hired Hurley’s brother Bobby, but Dan has orchestrated arguably the better programs. He’s never been to the NCAA Tournament but has led dramatic improvement at two spots already. Wagner went 13-17 in his first season and 25-5 in his second. Rhode Island improved from 8-21 in his first year to 23-10 and an NIT appearance in his third.

 

Larry Krystkowiak, Utah

Krystkowiak led a major rebuilding project at Utah, taking over a shell of a roster and going 6-25 in his first season. The Utes improved their Pac-12 record each season and reached the Sweet 16 in 2015. Krystkowiak also took Montana to the NCAA Tournament twice, leading an upset over fifth-seeded Nevada in 2006. He also has significant experience in the NBA, including more than a year as a head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

Larry Shyatt, Wyoming

Florida might be in dire straits if the Gators get to Shyatt. It’s not that he’s a bad candidate. He was an assistant on Florida’s two national championship teams and took Wyoming to the NCAA Tournament last season. But he’s also 64 years old with a 70-84 tenure at Clemson on the resume. 

Teaser:
Potential Coaching Candidates to Replace Billy Donovan at Florida
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 11:38
All taxonomy terms: Baltimore Orioles, MLB
Path: /mlb/empty-camden-yards-eerie-place-baseball-game
Body:

One of the most bizarre games in Baltimore Orioles history was played in front of nobody.

 

The announced attendance for Wednesday’s game between the Orioles and Chicago White Sox was zero as Camden Yards was closed to the general public due to the ongoing civil unrest in Baltimore.

 

Though the game was closed to fans, it was open to the broadcast teams and other media members.

 

The sights and sounds of the game were ranged from humorous to downright eerie. Here’s a quick look:

 

 

 

 

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis hit a fourth-inning home run that reverberated through the empty stadium. Inside the stadium, the call from Gary Thorne of MASN could be heard from the booth where WGN's Hawk Harrelson was on the call for the White Sox.

 

 

 

At one point, Thorne was having enough fun to invoke Jim Nantz calling the Masters on this Adam Davis double.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaser:
An Empty Camden Yards is an Eerie Place for a Baseball Game
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 16:14
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/penn-state-coach-james-franklin-surprises-walk-scholarship
Body:

A football scholarship is no small matter, especially for those who have toiled as walk-ons for years.

 

Penn State head coach James Franklin surprised junior linebacker Von Walker on Tuesday with a surprise scholarship.

 

These videos are somewhat common now, but the clip of Walker calling his mom afterward is great. Check out the video:

 

Teaser:
Penn State Coach James Franklin Surprises Walk On with Scholarship
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 13:07
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-college-football-teams-nfl-draft-2005
Body:

A decade is a long time in college football. Dynasties begin and end. Conferences ebb and flow. National champions are crowned and de-throned.

 

Even as the SEC as a conference replaced USC as the sport’s dominant figure over the last decade, the Trojans remained the prominent team for the NFL draft through the last 10 years.

 

The Trojans have churned out more NFL Draft picks in the last 10 cycles than any other team, despite the SEC’s status as the powerhouse conference of the era.

 

Make no mistake, the SEC is a force on draft day. Alabama has produced more first-round picks than any other team in the last 10 years. Of the top 10 college teams in the NFL from 2005-14, four are from the SEC.

 

The SEC has sent more total players (466) and first-round picks (93) to the draft that any other league by a wide margin.

 

But as far as a single school in the last 10 drafts, USC is still on top.

 

Athlon Sports has looked at each power conference in the NFL Draft in the last 10 seasons. We’ve collected the top 25 teams here.

 

For a more in-depth look at each team in each power conference, we’ve collected them here:

ACC

Big 12

Big Ten

Pac-12

SEC

 

We've also collected the draft numbers for every active coach.

 

College Football's Top Teams in the NFL Draft

2005-2014

 

 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.681489-27 (.767)
2.6314104-27 (.794)
3.579105-28 (.789)
4.55794-37 (.718)
5.541380-40 (.667)
6.531680-30 (.727)
7.521392-24 (.793)
8.471194-36 (.723)
9.46675-50 (.600)
10.42696-35 (.733)
T11.41999-30 (.739)
T11.41585-44 (.659)
T13.40668-57 (.544)
T13.40578-48 (.619)
T13.40399-35 (.739)
16.39476-50 (.603)
T17.36484-46 (.646)
T17.36484-39 (.682)

T17.

36498-30 (.766)
20.35967-58 (.536)
T21.34992-37 (.713)
T21.34748-60 (.444)
T21.34677-49 (.611)
T21.34583-44 (.654)
25.33273-52 (.584)

FBS Conferences in the NFL Draft

2005-14

 

ConferenceTotal PicksFirst Round
46693
40363
38254
34238
23337
1346
1209
675
530
442

*in their current lineups

Teaser:
Ranking College Football Teams in the NFL Draft Since 2015
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-sec-teams-nfl-draft-2005
Body:

SEC fans like to brag about conference depth. On that, the NFL can probably agree.

 

No league has been more prolific in the NFL Draft than the SEC in the last decade. The league has had 466 players selected in the last 10 drafts, 63 more than any other conference.

 

In 2014, seven SEC teams had a team selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Ten teams have produced at least one-first round pick in the last three drafts.

 

None of this should come as too much of a surprise. Since 2006, four SEC teams have combined for seven national championships and several others have been national contenders late into the season.

 

Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?

 

For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.

 

Here’s how teams in the SEC fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.

 

*Data derived from Pro Football Reference

 

SEC NFL Draft Picks

2005-2014

 

 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.6314104-27 (.794)
2.55794-37 (.718)
3.531680-30 (.727)
4.471194-36 (.723)
5.35967-58 (.536)
T6.34992-37 (.713)
T6.34583-44 (.654)
8.30468-56 (.548)
9.26474-52 (.587)
10.25685-44 (.659)
11.18257-66 (.463)
T12.16453-69 (.434)
T12.16251-71 (.418)
14.14050-73 (.407)

 

• LSU’s and Georgia’s place atop the league in the last decade may be a surprise at first glance, given Alabama’s recent dominance and Florida’s run under Urban Meyer. But under further consideration, it makes sense. LSU and Georgia have been arguably the most consistent performers of the time span. Our 2005-14 window contains the tail end of the Mike Shula era at Alabama and most of the Will Muschamp era at Florida.

 

• Hard to believe, but Alabama was shut out of the 2008 NFL Draft. Since then, the Tide have had 41 players selected overall since the 2009 draft and 15 in the first round alone since the 2010 draft.

 

• The SEC has produced eight teams with 30 or more draft picks in the last 10 years. By comparison, the ACC has five, the Big 12 has two, the Big Ten has six, the Pac-12 has four.

 

• The SEC has accounted for four No. 1 overall selections (South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, Auburn’s Cam Newton, Georgia’s Matthew Stafford and LSU’s JaMarcus Russell) in our 10-year window. The current Pac-12 lineup is the only other league to produce more than one (Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Utah’s Alex Smith)

 

• Yet another sign of the turmoil Tennessee hopes it has left behind. The Volunteers have produced more draft picks than Auburn, South Carolina and Missouri in the last 10 years and so much less to show for it.

 

• Kentucky is the only SEC team in the last decade without a first-round pick. The Wildcats’ last first-rounder was Dewayne Robertson in 2003.

Teaser:
Ranking SEC Teams in the NFL Draft since 2005
Post date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-acc-teams-nfl-draft-2005
Body:

In the last three seasons, Florida State has rocketed past the field in the ACC, becoming the league’s only true national title contender the last two seasons.

 

The Seminoles have also dominated draft day for the league, no easy feat with teams like Miami and Clemson churning out draft picks.

 

Florida State produced 54 picks in the last 10 NFL Drafts, eight more than any other team in the league.

 

The Seminoles aren’t doing this cheaply or on legacy. FSU’s 13 first-round draft picks lead league by a wide margin — no other team in the ACC has produced more than seven in the last decade. And of Florida State’s 54 draft picks in the last 10 years, 22 have come in the last three seasons.

 

Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?

 

For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.

 

Here’s how teams in the ACC fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.

 

*Data derived from Pro Football Reference

 

ACC NFL Draft Picks

2005-2014

 

 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.541380-40 (.667)
2.46675-50 (.600)
3.41585-44 (.659)
4.40399-35 (.739)
5.34748-60 (.444)
6.29584-41 (.672)
T7.28555-67 (.451)
T7.28358-65 (.472)
9.24470-55 (.560)
10.21378-53 (.595)
11.20248-74 (.393)
12.19159-64 (.480)
13.17676-52 (.594)
14.2035-86 (.289)

 

• Since Notre Dame will play four or five ACC teams each season for the next few years, it’s worth noting the Irish produced 40 NFL Draft picks in the last 10 seasons, tied with Virginia Tech.

 

• For any other school, 46 NFL Draft picks in a decade would be reason to brag. For Miami, 46 NFL Draft picks in a decade is subpar. The Hurricanes haven’t had a first-round pick since Kenny Phillips in 2008, shocking for a team that produced 33 first-rounders and at least one per year from 1995-2008.

 

• Duke has the longest first-round drought in the ACC, dating back to linebacker Mike Junkin in 1987. Duke is followed by NC State (which had three first-rounders in the 2006 draft) and Miami (2008).

 

• Let’s take another minute to praise the job Duke’s David Cutcliffe has done. Duke has two NFL Draft picks in the last 10 years and the Blue Devils have still gone 11-5 in the league the last two years. After Duke’s two selections in the last two years, the next fewest Power 5 team is Kansas with nine.

 

• Boston College has produced more first-round picks that Clemson or Virginia Tech in the last decade. Who knew?

 

• Louisville fits right in. The Cardinals produced 29 draft picks and five first-rounders, putting them in the top half of the league despite recruiting for most of that time to the Big East and American.

Teaser:
Ranking ACC Teams in the NFL Draft since 2005
Post date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-pac-12-teams-nfl-draft-2005
Body:

As far as the NFL Draft goes, the Pac-12 is still USC’s league to rule.

 

Even as Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State have elevated their level of play in recent seasons, USC still casts a shadow on the rest of the conference in the NFL Draft.

 

True, most of USC’s draft picks in the last 10 years came from the Pete Carroll era. But USC has produced 28 more draft picks than any other team in the league over the last 10 drafts, a sign of the Trojans’ dominance and a sign that the program is still churning out pros despite NCAA sanctions.

 

That total will grow in this season’s draft with Leonard Williams a projected high first-round pick. When he’s selected, he will be — shockingly — USC’s first first-round pick since 2012.

 

Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?

 

For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.

 

Here’s how teams in the Pac-12 fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.

 

*Data derived from Pro Football Reference

 

Pac-12 NFL Draft Picks

2005-2014

 

 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.681489-27 (.767)
2.40668-57 (.544)
3.36498-30 (.765)
4.33273-52 (.584)
5.26369-59 (.539)
6.25172-54 (.571)
T7.24287-39 (.690)
T7.24072-54 (.571)
9.23160-63 (.487)
10.18244-80 (.355)
11.14247-76 (.382)
12.11138-82 (.317)

 

• USC has produced 14 first-round picks in the last 10 years. The rest of the Pac-12 South has produced eight.

 

• Oregon’s 36 draft picks over the last decade are a surprising total for a team that has played for two national titles in the last four seasons. The Ducks have the same amount of draft picks during the last 10 seasons as Nebraska and Penn State and fewer than Iowa, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Since 2008, Oregon has produced only two first-round picks, both in the same draft (Dion Jordan and Kyle Long in 2013).

 

• Not only are Oregon, Stanford and UCLA chasing USC in the draft, they’re chasing Cal. Under Jeff Tedford, the Bears produced 44 NFL Draft picks (only 38 of those are counted here). Cal went 9-18 in the Pac-12 in his final three seasons and sent 14 players to the draft after those three seasons. That’s part of the reason Sonny Dykes is coaching in Berkeley now.

 

• Stanford has produced 20 draft picks in the last four drafts, compared to 13 in the six drafts prior.

 

• Here’s a shocker: Arizona State has been shut out of the first round since Terrell Suggs in 2003.

Teaser:
Ranking Pac-12 Teams in the NFL Draft since 2005
Post date: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 13:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-ten-teams-nfl-draft-2005
Body:

If the national championship and potential preseason No. 1 ranking weren’t enough of a sign, Ohio State football is back on draft day, too.

 

Hard to believe, but the Buckeyes produced only one first-round pick (defensive end Cameron Heyward, selected 31st in 2011) in the draft between 2010 and 2013.

 

The Buckeyes had two first-round picks last season, the first time they had multiple first rounders since 2009. This year’s draft might not add too much to Ohio State’s first-round tally, but the wave is coming in 2016.

 

The question is how the rest of the Big Ten will be able to keep up.

 

Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?

 

For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.

 

Here’s how teams in the Big Ten fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.

 

*Data derived from Pro Football Reference

 

Big Ten NFL Draft Picks

2005-2014

 

 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.521392-24 (.793)
2.42696-35 (.733)
3.39476-50 (.603)
T4.36484-46 (.646)
T4.36484-39 (.683)
6.34677-49 (.611)
7.27178-50 (.609)
8.22544-77 (.369)
9.21375-51 (.595)
10.20255-69 (.444)
11.19357-66 (.463)
12.12041-78 (.345)
T13.11154-71 (.432)
T13.11168-57 (.544)

 

• Another sign that the Big Ten is dominated by Ohio State — the Buckeyes have 10 more draft picks and seven more first-rounders than anyone else in the league the last decade. That’s probably as much a function of Ohio State being Ohio State and traditional powers (Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska) riding a roller coaster in recent years.

 

• Let’s continue to heap praise on Mark Dantonio at Michigan State. The Spartans won the Big Ten two years ago and played in a major bowl game last season, yet the Spartans have had only one first-round draft pick (cornerback Darqueze Dennard in 2014) under Dantonio.

 

• No surprise here: Four of Wisconsin’s last five first-round draft picks were offensive linemen (center Travis Frederick, guard Kevin Zeitler and tackles Gabe Carimi and Joe Thomas). The other was defensive end J.J. Watt.

 

• More fodder for Kirk Ferentz detractors: Iowa trails only Ohio State and Wisconsin in draft picks in the last decade. Outright Big Ten titles in that draft time frame: Ohio State (four), Wisconsin (two), Iowa (none).

 

• The floor in this league is actually pretty good. Minnesota and Northwestern have produced only 11 draft picks each in the last decade, but the Gophers and Wildcats have played in 13 combined bowl games for those draft classes. 

 

• Indiana is the only team in the Big Ten without a first-round pick in the last 10 drafts. The Hoosiers’ last first-rounder was wide receiver Thomas Lewis in 1994.

Teaser:
Ranking Big Ten Teams in the NFL Draft since 2005
Post date: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-12-teams-nfl-draft-2005
Body:

If it seems the Big 12 is having a bit of an identity crises, that much is true in the NFL Draft, too.

 

Oklahoma and Texas are the powerhouses in the draft in the last decade. The Sooners and Longhorns have combined for 98 picks in the last 10 years. The other eight teams have combined for 135 during that span. 

 

OU and Texas have combined for nearly has many first-rounders (18) in the last 10 years as the rest of the league combined (19).

 

Yet Oklahoma and Texas are in trouble spots right now — Bob Stoops is coming off an eight-win season and cleaning house on his coaching staff; Texas is on Year Two of a new coaching staff.

 

Instead, TCU and Baylor are the top dogs in the league, and their draft day-performance is starting to show it, too.

 

Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?

 

For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.

 

Here’s how teams in the Big 12 fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.

 

*Data derived from Pro Football Reference

 

Big 12 NFL Draft Picks

2005-2014

 

 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.579105-28 (.789)
2.41999-30 (.767)
3.24293-33 (.738)
4.23389-38 (.701)
5.22559-63 (.484)
6.17685-44 (.661)
7.15168-55 (.553)
8.15183-44 (.654)
9.10050-73 (.407)
10.9151-70 (.421)

 

• From the “that can’t be right” file: Oklahoma State has a mere 17 draft picks in the last 10 years? Maybe Mike Gundy and predecessor Les Miles deserve more credit in Stillwater.

 

• How about TCU at third in the league in draft picks in the last 10 years? It’s a distant third behind Oklahoma and Texas, but third nonetheless. West Virginia and Baylor are right behind.

 

• Of Baylor’s 22 draft picks in the last decade, 15 have come in since 2011, including four of the Bears’ five first-rounders.

 

• Kansas State’s more-with-less stereotype holds weight here. Kansas State’s first-round pick in the last 10 years wasn’t even recruited by Bill Snyder. No. 17 overall pick Josh Freeman played his entire college career for Ron Prince. Snyder’s last first-round pick was cornerback Terence Newman in 2003.

 

• Iowa State hasn’t had a first-round draft pick since running back George Amundson in 1973, the longest drought for a Power 5 conference team by 14 years.

Teaser:
Ranking the Big 12 Teams in the NFL Draft Since 2005
Post date: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/former-fullback-kalani-sitake-defensive-coach-rise
Body:

One of football’s up-and-coming defensive coordinators got his start in the one of the most unlikely places — playing fullback for a school that was ground zero of the modern spread offense.

 

Kalani Sitake has been a defensive assistant in major college football for merely a decade, but he’s already one of the most intriguing names in the coaching ranks.

 

When the time came for the BYU fullback to enter the workforce in 2001, Sitake knew what he wanted to do, just not all the details.

 

“I just wanted to coach ball,” Sitake said. “I didn’t care where it was or what position.”

 

His first job was as a secondary and special teams coach at a junior college, not exactly the most logical landing spot for a guy who played offense under LaVell Edwards.

 

The gig lasted a year before he returned to BYU as a graduate assistant working with linebackers. During the first four years of his career at three stops, Sitake had coached defensive backs, linebackers, running backs, offensive line and tight ends.

 

That meant a ton of film study and a ton of phone calls to figure out the intricacies of each position.

 

“I’m kind of a football nerd where I try to watch as much film as I can on different schemes and different philosophies,” Sitake said. “I take a huge interest in learning as much as I can.

 

“When all your friends are football coaches, you just talk ball. Let’s say you’ve got a new position, it wouldn’t be hard to find a half a dozen guys who are willing to open up and share ideas.”

 

One of those would be Gary Andersen, who hired Sitake as running backs coach when Andersen was head coach at Southern Utah.

 

When head coach Kyle Whittingham and coordinator Andersen filled out their defensive staff at Utah following the departure of Urban Meyer to Florida in 2005, Andersen added Sitake as linebackers coach.

 

As Andersen left for his own head coaching job, Sitake had become one of the key figures in Utah’s transition from a Mountain West power to a solid Pac-12 program. Despite the step up in week-to-week competition, Utah had an above-average defense all four seasons in the Pac-12 under Sitake. 

 

The Utes led the Pac-12 in fewest yards per play in 2011, their first year in the league. They’ve led the league in sacks per game each of the last two seasons. They’ve ranked in the top three in the Pac-12 in fewest yards per carry in each of the last four seasons. Moreover, Sitake was the leader of many of Utah’s critical recruiting efforts.

 

He’d done enough to enjoy job security at Utah or eventually take a more high-profile coordinator position.

 

Instead, Sitake rejoined Andersen at Oregon State as defense coordinator. A lateral move was puzzling, particularly since Sitake left an $800,000 per year contract (including bonuses) on the table with Utah. Utes defensive line coach Ilaisa Tuiaki also left for Oregon State.

 

The move was considered to be indicative of a rift between Whittingham and his athletic director.

 

Sitake bristles at the episode and the attention he’s received, in part, because of the move to Oregon State.

 

“Coaching isn’t rocket science,” Sitake said. “There are people that try to sit there and try to blow up their contribution to it. I’m nothing. I’m really nothing. I’ve been lucky to have great people around me and really good players.”

 

But there’s also good reason why Andersen hired Sitake — for a third time, mind you.

 

Andersen has called him “a great technician,” and his defenses have been praised for the fundamentals — rarely being out of position and tackling soundly. 

 

This may make sense given his background, but Sitake often takes his defensive cues from effective offense.

 

Sitake refers to “identity” for his defense the same way he speaks of identity for Edwards’ offense at BYU.

 

Today’s up-tempo offenses aren’t as complex as traditional pro-style offenses. Sitake wants his defense to be just as focused on execution, not complexity.

 

“It’s simple but it has a few variables where it could be perceived as difficult,” Sitake said. “There’s a saying that if you keep it simple, it will be clean football. You look at all this fast-tempo offense, there’s not a lot to it. It’s just simple but executed really well.”

 

At the same time, Sitake spends time teaching offensive concepts to his defensive players.

 

Maybe it’s old habit for the former fullback, but it’s also part of the grand plan.

 

“We spend a lot of time on defense teaching what the offense is trying to do,” Sitake said. “I really believe that if you teach them the other side of the ball, you’re not memorizing, you’re understanding.”

 

Photo courtesy of Karl Maasdam.

Teaser:
Former Fullback Kalani Sitake is a Defensive Coach on the Rise
Post date: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/jameis-winston-explains-crab-leg-hook-befuddled-jim-harbaugh
Body:

The NFL Draft interview process is going to be interesting for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who is a contender for the No. 1 spot.

 

Among other off-field concerns Winston will need to address is the incident when he was cited for the theft of crab legs from a Tallahassee, Fla., Publix.

 

In a conversation with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch aired on ESPN’s Draft Academy, Winston attempted to explain his side.

 

This may not have helped.

 

Harbaugh, the former coach of the San Francisco 49ers, advised Winston to keep his response short and sweet — “I did something wrong, I’m sorry, and I learned.”

 

Winston, though, wanted to explain that the crab legs weren’t stolen; they were a hook up.

 

Here’s the video, the transcript and some editorial notes.

 

 

Fisch: I know there’s a story with the snow crabs or stone crabs or whatever it might have been, but you left it out when Coach asked you if you had any issues. I wouldn’t leave it out.

 

(ed. note: Stone crab is a Miami Beach fine dining staple and essentially localized to the famous Joe’s Stone Crab. Fisch did some good eating while offensive coordinator at Miami.)

 

Winston: Oh. Oh, man. Yeah.

 

Harbaugh: Stone crabs? (ed. note: Is this the first time Harbaugh has heard of this? That reaction says yes.)

 

 

Fisch: Whatever the whole theft thing was at Publix or whatever it might have been. I don’t know the whole — I just know it happened. That’s the elephant on the room for you. Everyone’s going to want to know what happened.

 

(ed. note: The crab legs are not the elephant in the room.)

 

Winston: OK.

 

Fisch: Don’t by accident just talk about the BB gun and your high school coach crying and forget about the fact that everyone on SportsCenter read about that incident because then it looks like you’re covering it up or you're hiding it.

 

(ed. note: Fisch mimics the ESPN crawl.)

 

 

Harbaugh: If you don’t want to go into it — “I screwed up. I f---ed up. Learned from it.” Be as serious as a heart attack.

 

Winston: How am I supposed to handle, like, if I just got them for free. Just say I messed up?

 

Harbaugh: If someone gave them to you for free? So what happened. Explain that to me. You got them for free? Explain that to me.

 

(ed. note: Harbaugh leans in as if he's the coach of the team potentially drafting Winston.)

 

 

Winston: A week before was my buddy’s birthday, and we got a cake and we met a dude inside Publix and he said anytime you come in here I got you. That day we just walked out. He hooked us up with that. When I got crab legs, I did the same thing. He just gave them to me and I walked out. Someone for inside the store had told the security that I didn’t pay for them, and that’s how the whole thing started.

 

Harbaugh: OK. Then, put that in a nice... Keep that in a tidy box. “I got some crab legs and people at the store reported that I didn’t pay for them. And they were right. I didn’t pay for them, and I f---ed up. I shouldn’t have been taking anything for free. I’ve learned.”

Teaser:
Jameis Winston Explains Crab Leg "Hook Up" To Befuddled Jim Harbaugh
Post date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 11:12
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/which-college-coaches-have-produced-most-nfl-draft-picks
Body:

This is a big year for Steve Spurrier. Not only does the Head Ball Coach turn 70, he’ll also see his 100th player picked in the NFL Draft.

 

During his time as a head coach at South Carolina, Florida and Duke, Spurrier has coached 99 players who were selected in the following NFL Draft, the most among active coaches.

 

Many outlets will count how many NFL Draft picks a particular school or conference can call their own, but we haven’t seen the tally yet for head coaches.

 

This, hopefully, will remedy that. Using Pro Football Reference as a resource, we charted every draft pick for active coaches in FBS.

 

The data wasn’t totally surprising — coaches who have been around for a while have churned out the most draft picks. Frank Beamer has coached long enough to watch multiple players of his drafted in the 12th round.

 

A few disclaimers:

 

• This exercise is looking merely at head coaches, mainly because it’s the most interesting and most easily quantifiable look. Coordinators and position coaches play as much of a role for these future pros as head coaches, if not more. At the same time, some of these guys would be drafted if they were coached by Vince Lombardi or Vince Gill.

 

• This is an inexact science. We assigned players to their most recent coach before the draft. For example, Urban Meyer coached Ohio State’s draft classes since 2013 and Florida’s NFL draft classes from 2006 to 2011 (he coached at Florida from 2005-10). In other words, a draftee may have played his first three seasons for Coach A and his senior season for Coach B. In that case, the tally goes to Coach B.

 

And on to the charts:

 

Total NFL Draft Picks, By Coach

 

 CoachTotal PicksPicks at Current School
1.Steve Spurrier, South Carolina9931
2.Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech9290
3.Nick Saban, Alabama8241
4.Mark Richt, Georgia7474
5.Bob Stoops, Oklahoma7070
6.Les Miles, LSU6760
7.Kirk Ferentz, Iowa5555
8.Bill Snyder, Kansas State507*
9.Larry Coker, UTSA470
10.Urban Meyer, Ohio State449
11.Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati400
T12.Brian Kelly, Notre Dame3619
T12.Frank Solich, Ohio366
14.Gary Patterson, TCU3434
T15.Mike Riley, Nebraska320
T15.Dennis Franchione, Texas State320*
17.Gary Pinkel, Missouri3127
T18.George O'Leary, UCF2914
T18.Bret Bielema, Arkansas294
20.Dabo Swinney, Clemson2828

*in his current stint with this team

 

Total First-Round Picks, By Coach

 

 CoachTotal PicksPicks at Current School
1.Nick Saban, Alabama2116
2.Larry Coker, UTSA200
3.Steve Spurrier, South Carolina174
4.Les Miles, LSU1513
5.Bob Stoops, Oklahoma1313
T6.Mark Richt, Georgia1111
T6.Urban Meyer, Ohio State112
8.Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech88
T9.Gary Pinkel, Missouri76
T9.Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati70

 

Draft Picks for Recently Retired/Inactive Coaches

 

CoachTotal Picks
Joe Paterno251
Bobby Bowden182
Mack Brown101
Phillip Fulmer92
Dennis Erickson%74
Jim Tressel69
Lloyd Carr62
Pete Carroll60
Mike Bellotti46
Butch Davis45

%still active as a position coach in college

Teaser:
Which College Coaches Have Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?
Post date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/reds-manager-bryan-price-delivers-profane-rant-ages
Body:

Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price secured a spot among great managerial rants in baseball history with an expletive-filled tirade with reporters after Monday’s 6-1 win over the Brewers.

 

Responding to a question from C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer on the status of All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco, Price lit into accurate reports about roster moves concerning his team.

 

The final tally was 77 “F” words and 11 “S” words. Quite impressive for a rant after game No. 13 of a 162-game season.

 

Teaser:
Reds Manager Bryan Price Delivers Profane Rant for the Ages
Post date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 09:19
All taxonomy terms: Philadelphia Eagles, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/tim-tebow-gets-another-chance-signs-philadelphia-eagles
Body:

Tim Tebow will receive at least one more shot at an NFL career after signing a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.

 

The 2007 Heisman winner and two-time national champion at Florida participated in an offseason workout for Philadelphia on Monday.

 

The signing of Tebow, who hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2012, is the latest in a number of high-profile unorthodox moves by Eagles coach Chip Kelly.

 

Tebow was a first-round NFL draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010 and went 7-4 as a starter in 2011, leading the Broncos to a playoff win in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

The Broncos traded Tebow to the New York Jets in 2012 where he played sparingly. He signed with the Patriots in 2013 but did not make the regular season roster.

 

Tebow is 8-6 as a starter in his career and has completed 47.9 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions, all with Denver.

 

Since he was cut by the Patriots, Tebow had been an analyst for the SEC Network.

 

 

Teaser:
Tim Tebow Gets Another Chance, Signs with Philadelphia Eagles
Post date: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 16:40
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-takes-no-1-spot-spring-game-attendance-record
Body:

Some day a college football program is going to hit six figures in attendance — for a spring game.

 

Ohio State came 609 fans short of the 100,000 mark Saturday when it drew what is presumed to be a record for spring game attendance.

 

The Buckeyes counted 99,391 fans to their spring scrimmage Saturday, and just think what it would have been had quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and/or Braxton Miller played. Would that might have been good for an extra 400 fans?

 

Spring game attendance is a tricky thing: Not every school tracks it. Tickets are often free. Many schools provide merely estimates.

 

That said, in recent years, several schools have provided attendance figures, so it’s worth looking at which schools had the biggest spring crowds.

 

Ohio State has the top two, but Alabama has six of the top 11 on record.

 

For this list, we used figures from 247Sports.com for crowds through 2013, AL.com for 2014 and Kevin McGuire of CollegeFootballTalk.com for 2015 so far.

 

Top Spring Game Attendance Figures Since 2007

 

 SchoolYearAttendanceNotes
1.201599,391Defending national champion
2.200995,722 
3.201192,310 
4.200792,138First season under Nick Saban
5.201091,312Defending national champion
6.200984,050 
7.201383,401First season under Gus Malzahn
8.201281,112First season under Urban Meyer
9.200880,149First season under Bo Pelini
10.201378,315Defending national champion
11.201278,315Defending national champion
12.201576,881First season under Mike Riley
13.200976,500 
14.201473,506 
15.201472,000First season under James Franklin
16.201470,465 
17.201468,548 
18.201568,000 
19.201565,175 
20.200965,000Defending national champion
21.201562,143 
22.201461,772 
23.201461,058 
24.201560,000First season under Jim Harbuagh
25.201153,818 

 

Teaser:
Ohio State Takes No. 1 Spot for Spring Game Attendance Record
Post date: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 13:48
Path: /college-football/texas-tech-needs-david-gibbs-reverse-defensive-woes
Body:

Spring practice for the Texas Tech defense may as well be spring training for a high school baseball team.

 

Always watching, new defensive coordinator David Gibbs is telling his players to keep their eye on the ball. Or more specifically the quarterback and when and where the ball is going.

 

A defender might break up a pass or get a takeaway, but if his eyes aren’t where Gibbs wants them to be, he’ll hear it.

 

“If your eyes aren’t in the right spot as you go through a progression, even if you make a play, he won’t be happy because it isn’t the way he teaches it,” safety J.J. Gaines said.

 

Texas Tech’s defense needs more than just eyes on the ball. The Red Raiders need their hands on the ball.

 

That’s why Gibbs is here. Texas Tech had only 15 takeaways last season, 18 the year before and 13 before that. The Red Raiders defense hasn’t had more than 20 takeaways in a season since 2010.

 

At one point, Texas Tech went 16 consecutive games without a positive turnover margin and 12 consecutive games in the red. Obviously, there’s an offensive component to all this, but in those 16 games, Texas Tech’s defense forced only 18 turnovers. Texas Tech went 5-11 overall and 2-10 in the Big 12 in those 16 games.

 

 

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



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Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, Houston was racking up turnovers at a near-record pace. The Cougars had twice as many takeaways as Texas Tech in 2014. They’ve had more takeaways in the last two seasons (73) than Texas Tech had in their last four (66).

 

If for no other reason than the stat sheet, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury had to give Houston’s defensive coordinator, Gibbs, a look. Whatever approach Gibbs brought to Houston, Texas Tech needs some of that magic touch if the Red Raiders are going to reverse their momentum.

 

“I don’t have any miracle answers,” Gibbs said. “Just because it worked at Houston doesn’t mean it’s going work here. But I also believe in the system that we’ve put in.”

 

Perhaps this is basic, but Gibbs is focusing on eye discipline to boost Texas Tech’s dismal turnover numbers. For a team that has the fewest takeaways in the Big 12 in the last three seasons (40), Gibbs has to start with the basics.

 

“We’re built on more pressure and keeping eyes on the quarterback and when the ball is thrown, where the ball is thrown, it allows you to have more guys breaking on the ball,” Gibbs said. 

 

The 47-year-old Gibbs is well-traveled. He’s coached defensive backs for three different NFL teams and has been a coordinator at Minnesota and Auburn.

 

His 2013 season at Houston was something of a breakout. Houston forced 43 turnovers, eight more than any other team in the country that year. The Cougars also averaged nearly a plus-2 turnover margin per game (plus-1.92).

 

How did Houston thrive on turnovers? Some of it was certainly ability and coaching. The Cougars were also a statistical anomaly.

 

According to Football Study Hall, teams recover roughly 50 percent of all fumbles and intercept 22 percent of passes defended (interceptions plus pass breakups). 

 

The 2013 Houston defense recovered 69.3 percent of fumbles and intercepted 31.3 percent of defending passes. Combined with the offense’s good fortune, Houston “nearly broke the system,” Football Study Hall’s Bill Connelly wrote.

 

In other words, Houston was lucky. But there’s something to be said about being at the right place at the right time.

 

“I believe you ask a basketball coach if you believe that his team got outhustled or outrebounded or watch a basketball game and one team always gets the loose balls, what’s the difference between a loose ball in basketball than a fumble in football? It’s hustle,” Gibbs said. “It’s guys running to the football. It’s a combination of things. Is it luck? Yeah, it’s luck.”

 

As much as Gibbs needs to reverse Tech’s turnover trend, he needs to repair a dismal run defense. The Red Raiders allowed a Big 12-worst 259.5 rushing yards per game and allowed 5.2 yards per carry, the eighth-worst average in the league.

 

Opponents weren’t afraid to average 50 carries per game against the Red Raiders because they knew Tech couldn’t do anything to stop it.

 

Defensive line has been a major issue, and Texas Tech is counting on a true freshman, Breiden Fehoko, to be an impact player. The linebackers are short on experience as well.

 

Perhaps some of the youth might be a good thing. Gibbs is the fifth person to coordinate the defense since Ruffin McNeill left before the 2010 season. 

 

In many ways, all the ingredients of a disorganized defense were present in Lubbock in recent years.

 

Gibbs is another new face, so where might he succeed where others have not? If Gibbs can get everyone in the right place at the right time, he’ll have a fighting chance to turn around the Red Raiders’ defense.

 

“That’s what happens on these bad defenses,” Gibbs said. “You got guys trying to do too much and then all heck breaks loose. I see it on good defenses. But the good defenses have good players behind the players making the mistakes. The problem at some of these places is that you don’t have the erasers. I’m not saying they were doing it last year, but they’re not going to do it this year.”

Teaser:
Texas Tech Needs David Gibbs to Reverse Defensive Woes
Post date: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/we-cant-stop-giggling-dizzy-punt
Body:

Move over Dizzy Bat, now we have Dizzy Punt.

 

What’s Dizzy Punt, you ask? Coaches at Dakota State, an NAIA program in Madison, S.D., show us, and we’re pretty much going to keep it on a loop for a few minutes.

 

(h/t @footballscoop)

 

Teaser:
What's a Dizzy Punt? Glad You Asked
Post date: Friday, April 17, 2015 - 14:55

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