Articles By Steven Lassan

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It’s a new year, but there’s a similar theme for the Mountain West in 2015. is once again the favorite to win the league crown, as the Broncos have a good chance to run the table and finish unbeaten this year. But Boise State will have competition from Utah State, Colorado State and San Diego State.

 

The balance of power in the Mountain West is clearly in the Mountain Division this season, with San Diego State the frontrunner from the West Division. All six of the teams from the Mountain Division rank inside of the top 100 of Athlon’s final 128 projections for 2015. However, on the other side, the West Division has only two teams ranked inside of the top 100.

 

Athlon projects a -Boise State matchup in the 2015 Mountain West Championship. Below are five storylines to watch, followed by full conference predictions for this season.

 

5 Key Questions That Will Shape the Mountain West in 2015

 

1. How Will Reload at QB and RB?

The Broncos usually have little trouble finding the next standouts at quarterback and running back. But these positions could make-or-break ’s run at an appearance in one of college football’s top bowl games. Ryan Finley exited the spring as the frontrunner to replace Grant Hedrick at quarterback, while Jeremy McNichols and Cory Young are slated as the favorites to replace Jay Ajayi at running back. Stanford transfer Kelsey Young will also factor into the mix at running back, while Finley will be pushed in the fall by Thomas Stuart and Brett Rypien for the starting quarterback spot. How fast will coach Bryan Harsin develop the right answers at two critical positions?

Related:

 

2. Transfer Quarterbacks

There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding quarterback play in the Mountain West for the 2015 season. ’s Chuckie Keeton is one of the few proven options in this league, as Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State, and will have a new starting quarterback in 2015. The uncertainty extends to the teams projected to finish at the bottom of the Mountain West, as Hawaii, San Jose State and UNLV are looking for answers under center. Help is on the way in the form of transfers for some teams, as Wyoming (Cameron Coffman, Indiana), Hawaii (Max Wittek, USC) and San Diego State (Maxwell Smith, Kentucky) left Power 5 programs for a chance to start.

 

3. Back from Injury at

has been hit hard by injuries over the last two seasons, but the Aggies are an impressive 19-9 under Matt Wells. Getting quarterback Chuckie Keeton and linebacker Kyler Fackrell back to full strength will be huge for Utah State in 2015. Assuming Keeton and Fackrell are at 100 percent this fall, the Aggies should be Boise State’s top competition in the Mountain West. Keeton completed 51 of 92 passes for 426 yards and two scores in three games last season before missing the rest of 2014 with a leg injury. Fackrell suffered a torn ACL in the opener against Tennessee and did not return last year. Getting both players back is a huge boost for Utah State's Mountain West title hopes.

 

4. New Coaches

Two new coaches join the league for 2015, as hired Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to replace Jim McElwain (left for Florida), and replaced Bobby Hauck with successful high school coach Tony Sanchez. Bobo was one of the SEC’s top coordinators during his stint in Athens and should be a solid hire for the Rams. His top priority this fall will be finding a quarterback to replace Garrett Grayson, but Bobo inherits a solid offensive line and All-American receiver Rashard Higgins. The job is much tougher for Sanchez, as the first-year coach inherits a UNLV program that went 2-11 last season and returns just seven starters. Sanchez is going to need a few years to recruit and rebuild the talent level in the program, but two veteran coordinators (Kent Baer and Barney Cotton) should help his transition from the high school ranks to the FBS level.

 

5. Coaches on the Hot Seat

Is this a make-or-break year for Ron Caragher (SJSU) and Norm Chow (Hawaii)? Both Hawaii and San Jose State have the talent level to exceed last year’s win total, but both teams enter 2015 with plenty of uncertainty. The Spartans led the nation in pass defense in 2014 and third in the conference in yards allowed. However, the offense recorded only 19.3 points per game. The quarterback position is up for grabs this offseason, and the offense needs more punch from a rushing attack ranked near the bottom of the Mountain West. Hawaii hopes USC transfer Max Wittek is the answer under center, but there’s question marks about the offensive line and concerns up front on defense. 

 

Mountain West Conference 2015 Team Previews
Mountain Division
 
National
Rank:
832571965195
West Division
 
National
Rank:
1011149168110122

 

Visit the to order a copy of the 2015 National College Football Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 128 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

Mountain West Conference Predictions for 2015

     
Mountain Division
RankTeam Projected MW RecordProjected Overall Record
1

(No. 25)

8-012-1
.
2

(No. 51)

7-18-4
.
3

(No. 71)

5-37-5
.
4

(No. 83)

5-37-5
.
5

(No. 95)

3-55-7
.
6

(No. 96)

1-74-8
.
     
West Division
RankTeam Projected MW RecordProjected Overall Record
1

(No. 68)

6-28-5
.
2

(No. 91)

5-36-6
.
3

(No. 101)

4-45-7
.
4

(No. 110)

3-54-8
.
5

(No. 114)

1-73-10
.
6

(No. 122)

0-81-11
.
     
Mountain West Conference Championship
  over  

Mountain West 2015 Superlatives and Season Predictions
 Steven
Lassan
Mitch
Light
David
Fox
Mark
Ross
 
Offensive POYDonnel Pumphrey
RB, SDSU
Donnel Pumphrey
RB, SDSU
Donnel Pumphrey
RB, SDSU
Chuckie Keeton
QB, USU
Defensive POYKamalei Correa
DL, Boise State
Kyler Fackrell
LB, USU
Calvin Munson
LB, SDSU
Nick Vigil
LB, USU
Coach of the YearBryan Harsin
Boise State
Rocky Long
SDSU
Matt Wells
Utah State
Bryan Harsin
Boise State
Coach on Hot SeatNorm Chow
Hawaii
Norm Chow
Hawaii
Ron Caragher
SJSU
Norm Chow
Hawaii
Top FreshmanCory Young
RB, Boise State
Kanya Bell
WR, SJSU
Cory Young
RB, Boise State
Cory Young
RB, Boise State
Top NewcomerMaxwell Smith
QB, SDSU
Maxwell Smith
QB, SDSU
Dalyn Dawkins
RB, CSU
Dalyn Dawkins
RB, CSU
Sleeper TeamNew MexicoSan Jose StateWyomingSan Jose State
Top Coordinator HireKevin Clune
DC, USU
Kent Baer
DC, UNLV
Barney Cotton
OC, UNLV
Tyson Summers
DC, CSU
Key Position to WatchBoise State QB/RBBoise State RBBSU backfieldBoise State QB/RB
Hardest to EvaluateFresno StateColorado StateNevadaColorado State
Coach on the RiseMatt Wells
Utah State
Matt Wells
Utah State
Bryan Harsin
Boise State
Matt Wells
Utah State
Must-See GameBoise State at
Utah State
Boise State at
Utah State
Boise State at
Utah State
Boise State at
Utah State
Breakout PlayerDylan
Sumner-Gardner
S, Boise State
Cameron Coffman
QB, Wyoming
LaJuan Hunt
RB, USU
Tyler Ervin
WR/KR, SJSU
Comeback PlayerChuckie Keeton
QB, USU
Chuckie Keeton
QB, USU
Chuckie Keeton
QB, USU
Kyler Fackrell
LB, USU

Ranking the Mountain West Coaches for 2015

 

1. Matt Wells,

2. Craig Bohl,

3. Bryan Harsin,

4. Troy Calhoun,

5. Rocky Long,

 

Five QB Battles to Watch for 2015

 

1.
Ryan Finley vs. Brett Rypien and Thomas Stuart

 

2.
Nick Stevens vs. Coleman Key 

 

3.
Zack Greenlee vs. Kilton Anderson and Chason Virgil

 

4.
Tyler Stewart vs. Dante Mayes and Hunter Fralick

 

5.  
Maxwell Smith vs. Christian Chapman and Jake Rodrigues

 

Ranking the Mountain West Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Donnel Pumphrey,

2. Marteze Waller,

3. Jhurell Pressley,  

4. Shaun Wick,

5. Jacobi Owens,

 

The Top 5 Non-Conference Games for 2015

 

1. Washington at Boise State - Sept. 4

2. Utah State at Utah - Sept. 11

3. Air Force at Navy - Oct. 3

4. Boise State at BYU - Sept. 12

5. Utah State at Washington - Sept. 19

 

Key Coordinator Hires for 2015

 

1. Kevin Clune, Defensive Coordinator,

2. Tyson Summers, Defensive Coordinator,

3. Eliah Drinkwitz, Offensive Coordinator,

4. Kent Baer, Defensive Coordinator,

5. Al Borges, Offensive Coordinator,

 

Top Incoming Freshmen (from )

 

1. DeSean Holmes, WR,

2. Kanya Bell, WR,

3. Brett Rypien, QB,

4. Kyahva Tezino, LB,

5. Tae'on Mason, ATH,

6. Chason Virgil, QB,

7. Jeremy Kelly, DB,

8. Drew Berger, LB,

9. Akilan Butler, WR,

10. John Carroll, ATH,

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Mountain West Football 2015 Predictions
Post date: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - 11:30
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The has closed the gap on the SEC in recent years, but the conference is looking for its first national championship since 2004. 2015 will be an interesting setup in the , as Oregon and USC will be national title contenders, but no team from this league ranked inside of the top five in Athlon’s projected 128 rankings.

 

Will one team emerge as the dominant clear favorite in 2015? Or will this league see several teams finish 10-2 or 9-3?

 

Despite the departure of quarterback Marcus Mariota, Oregon is the favorite in the North. If the offense takes a step forward under senior quarterback Kevin Hogan, Stanford could improve off last year’s 8-5 mark and challenge the Ducks for the division crown.

 

While USC is the early frontrunner to win the South, , , and aren’t far behind.

 

Here’s a look at five things to watch in the in 2015, followed by Athlon’s predictions.

 

5 Key Questions That Will Shape the in 2015

 

1. Replacing Marcus Mariota

It won’t be easy for coach Mark Helfrich to replace Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota. While the Ducks may not match Mariota’s production at quarterback in 2015, they may not suffer much of a drop with Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams at the controls. Adams was a dynamic player on the FCS level, but he needs time to adjust to FBS play. With a game against Michigan State in early September, Adams will be tested right away. Helping his transition will be a deep backfield and receiving corps, along with an offensive line that regains the services of tackle Tyler Johnstone. With Washington rebuilding, California looking for the right answers on defense, and Stanford entering 2015 with question marks on both sides of the ball, Oregon is the clear No. 1 pick in the North. Just how high the Ducks finish nationally will be determined by Adams’ development under center.

Related:

 

2. Back Among the Nation’s Elite?

The Trojans are still recovering from scholarship sanctions, but coach Steve Sarkisian has the necessary pieces in place to challenge for a playoff bid. closed 2014 by scoring 40 points in back-to-back games, and the offense will remain one of the best in the Pac-12 behind senior quarterback Cody Kessler, a talented group of receivers and an improving line. But for USC to challenge for a playoff bid, its defense will be under the spotlight. The back seven should be in good shape with the return of linebacker Su’a Cravens and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. However, the line must replace end Leonard Williams and more overall depth is needed to close out games in the second half. Sarkisian’s first year had its share of ups and downs. Can Sarkisian elevate this program back into national title contention?

 

3. The South Division Outside of

USC is the favorite to win the South, but there’s little separating the Trojans from the rest of the division. Arizona State and ranked among Athlon’s projected top 25 teams for this season, with Arizona close behind. Is one of these teams capable of challenging USC? For all three teams, quarterback play will be crucial to catching USC, and each squad has promise under center. will turn to Mike Bercovici to replace Taylor Kelly, the Bruins have talented (but unproven) freshman Josh Rosen, and expects Anu Solomon to take a step forward in his second year under center. But there are other positions to watch outside of the quarterbacks. How Will UCLA’s offensive line develop? Is Arizona’s defense ready to take a step forward? Can Arizona State get enough production from its wide receivers to replace Jaelen Strong?

 

4. Chris Petersen’s Second Year at

Chris Petersen had high expectations for his debut at , but the Huskies only finished 8-6 and 4-5 in league play. One year does not determine how a coaching tenure will play out, and Petersen should be a good fit in Seattle for the long haul. However, just getting to a bowl game would be a good year for Petersen in 2015. The Huskies return only nine starters, feature uncertainty at quarterback and lose three standout defenders from last year’s unit. Petersen’s team is in rebuild mode for 2015, and non-conference games against Boise State and Utah State won’t make a winning record an easy assignment. How much will this team improve throughout the year? If the quarterback position remains an issue all year, could easily pass Washington in the North.

 

5. Rebuilds on Defense…Searches for Offense

For the first time under coach David Shaw, did not win at least 11 games in a season. Shaw set the bar high in his first three years, and the Cardinal must reload to get back in contention in the North. The defense is Stanford’s biggest concern. Only four starters from last year’s dominant group returns, but there’s a solid core of players ready to step up and replace some of the lost production. The line is arguably Shaw’s biggest concern, and California graduate transfer Brennan Scarlett will help this group right away in 2015. While the defense is rebuilding, Stanford won’t challenge for 10 wins once again without improvement on offense. Taking the next step on offense falls on the right arm of quarterback Kevin Hogan, who hopes to build off a solid three-game finish to 2014. Hogan should have plenty of help though, as Stanford’s line is one of the best in the Pac-12, and sophomore running back Christian McCaffrey is a player on the rise.

 

Pac-12 2015 Team Previews

North Division
 
National
Rank: 
47873244666
South Division
 
National
Rank:
30136723631

 

Visit the to order a copy of the 2015 Pac-12 Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 12 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

Pac-12 Predictions for 2015

     
North Division
RankTeam Projected Pac-12 RecordProjected Overall Record
1

(No. 8)

8-110-3
.
2

(No. 24)

5-48-4
.
3

(No. 46)

4-56-6
.
4

(No. 47)

4-56-6
.
5

(No. 66)

2-74-8
.
6

(No. 73)

1-83-9
.
 
South Division
RankTeam Projected Pac-12 RecordProjected Overall Record
1

(No. 6)

7-211-2
.
2

(No. 13)

7-29-3
.
3

(No. 23)

6-39-3
.
4

(No. 30)

5-48-4
5

(No. 31)

4-57-5
.
6

(No. 67)

1-85-8
.
Pac-12 Championship
over  

 

Pac-12 Superlatives and Season Predictions
 Steven
Lassan
Mitch
Light
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
Mark
Ross
 
Offensive POYCody Kessler
QB, USC
Cody Kessler
QB, USC
Cody Kessler
QB, USC
Cody Kessler
QB, USC
Cody Kessler
QB, USC
Defensive POYScooby Wright
LB, Arizona
Scooby Wright
LB, Arizona
Scooby Wright
LB, Arizona
Scooby Wright
LB, Arizona
Scooby Wright
LB, Arizona
Coach of the YearTodd Graham
Arizona State
Steve Sarkisian
USC
David Shaw
Stanford
Sonny Dykes
California
Steve Sarkisian
USC
Coach on Hot SeatMike Leach
Wazzu
Mike Leach
Wazzu
Mike MacIntyre
Colorado
Kyle Whittingham
Utah
Mike Leach
Wazzu
Top FreshmanJosh Rosen
QB, UCLA
Josh Rosen
QB, UCLA
Josh Rosen
QB, UCLA
Josh Rosen
QB, UCLA
Iman Marshall
DB, USC
Top NewcomerVernon Adams
QB, Oregon
Vernon Adams
QB, Oregon
Vernon Adams
QB, Oregon
Vernon Adams
QB, Oregon
Vernon Adams
QB, Oregon
Sleeper TeamCaliforniaCaliforniaStanfordArizonaCalifornia
Top Coordinator HireKalani Sitake
DC, Oregon State
Kalani Sitake
DC, Oregon State
Kalani Sitake
DC, Oregon State
Kalani Sitake
DC, Oregon State
Kalani Sitake
DC, Oregon State
Key Position to WatchUSC DLUSC RBStanford DLOregon DBUCLA QB
Hardest to EvaluateUCLAUCLAUCLAUCLAWashington
Coach on the RiseMike Norvell
OC, Arizona State
Scott Frost
OC, Oregon
Sonny Dykes
California
Mike Norvell
OC, Arizona State
Mike Norvell
OC, Arizona State
Must-See GameUSC at Oregon USC at OregonUSC at OregonUSC at OregonUSC at Oregon
Breakout PlayerJuJu Smith
WR, USC
Christian McCaffrey
RB, Stanford
Peter Kalambayi
LB, Stanford
Budda Baker
S, Washington
Christian McCaffrey
RB, Stanford
Comeback PlayerTyler Johnstone
OL, Oregon
Bralon Addison
WR, Oregon
Bralon Addison
WR, Oregon
Kevin Hogan
QB, Stanford
Bralon Addison
WR, Oregon

Ranking the 's Coaches for 2015

 

1. Todd Graham,

2. Rich Rodriguez,

3. David Shaw,

4. Chris Petersen,

5. Kyle Whittingham,

 

 

Ranking the 's Quarterbacks for 2015

 

1. Cody Kessler,

2. Jared Goff,

3. Anu Solomon,

4. Vernon Adams,

5. Mike Bercovici,

 

 

Ranking the 's Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Devontae Booker,

2. Paul Perkins,

3. Royce Freeman,

4. Nick Wilson,

5. Daniel Lasco,

 

 

The 's Top 5 Players on the Rise for 2015

 

1. Adoree' Jackson, CB/WR,

2. JuJu Smith, WR,

3. Budda Baker, S,

4. Christian McCaffery, RB,

5. Demario Richard, RB,

 

Related:

 

The Top 5 Non-Conference Games for 2015

 

1. Oregon at Michigan State - Sept. 12

2. USC at Notre Dame - Oct. 17

3. Texas A&M vs. Arizona State (Houston) - Sept. 5

4. Notre Dame at Stanford - Nov. 28

5. Washington at Boise State - Sept. 4

 

 

Key Coordinator Hires for 2015

 

1. Kalani Sitake, Defensive Coordinator,

2. Tom Bradley, Defensive Coordinator,

3. Jim Leavitt, Defensive Coordinator,

4. Dave Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator,

5. Aaron Roderick, Co-Offensive Coordinator,

 

Top Incoming Freshmen ()

 

1. Iman Marshall, DB,

2. Josh Rosen, QB,

3. Canton Kaumatule, DL,

4. Keisean Lucier-South, LB,

5. Rasheem Green, DL,

6. Chuma Edoga, OL,

7. Soso Jamabo, RB,

8. Osa Masina, LB,

9. Ronald Jones II, RB,

10. Porter Gustin, LB,

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Pac-12 Football 2015 Predictions
Post date: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - 11:00
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Just six months after announced its football team would be disbanded following the 2014 season, the Blazers are set to return to FBS competition.

 

School president Ray Watts announced the decision to reinstate the football program on Monday afternoon, but it’s uncertain when UAB will return to the gridiron.

 

Since the decision to eliminate the football team in December, UAB’s fanbase and the city of Birmingham stepped up with donations and overall support to help the program return.

 

With UAB keeping its football program, the Blazers will be allowed to remain in Conference USA.

 

It’s anticipated UAB will hit the field again in 2016, but many questions remain for the program. Bill Clark did an outstanding job in leading the Blazers to a 6-6 mark in 2014 and will return as the head coach. But UAB is also starting from scratch in terms of players and talent and it will take time to rebuild the roster.

 

Also, there’s the question of facilities. UAB plays in antiquated Legion Field and an on-campus facility or improved stadium is needed. The program is also raising to funds to improve the practice fields and invest in the overall facilities.

 

All of the questions surrounding the disbanding and resinstating of the program weren’t answered on Monday. However, thanks to the #FreeUAB movement on Twitter and some leaders in Birmingham and i, the Blazers will be back on the gridiron in the near future. 

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UAB Reinstates Football Team for 2016
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The has seen its share of changes recently, but this league should have more stability entering 2015. There’s a solid 12-team lineup in place with the addition of Navy, and the will have a title game in December at the home site of the divisional champion with the best record in league contests.

 

The winner of this league also has a good chance to claim the Group of 5 spot among ’s biggest games.

 

Cincinnati and Houston are Athlon’s picks to win the divisions and meet in the title game. Here are a few storylines to watch in 2015, followed by Athlon’s full predictions.

 

5 Key Questions That Will Shape the AAC in 2015

 

1. Defensive Concerns at and

Behind explosive and productive offenses, and are two of the league’s top contenders in 2015. But winning the conference championship for both programs will largely depend on the development of defense. Cincinnati allowed 27.2 points per game last season and gave up 33 plays of 30 yards or more. Coach Tommy Tuberville handed play-calling duties to Steve Clinkscale, and the new coordinator inherits five returning starters and question marks about the front seven. At Memphis, coach Justin Fuente lost rising star Barry Odom at coordinator and only return only three starters from a unit that held opponents to just 19.5 points per game in 2014. The development of defenses at Memphis and Cincinnati will have a huge impact on the battle to win the .

 

2. New Coaches, Big Impact

The welcomes three new coaches in its West Division for 2015. While none of the three are proven as a head coach in the collegiate ranks, all three programs received high marks for their offseason hire. Tom Herman comes to Houston after coordinating Ohio State’s offense, and the Cougars are Athlon’s pick to win the West Division in 2015. Chad Morris takes over at SMU after a stint as Clemson’s offensive coordinator. The Mustangs went 1-11 last year and should show big improvement in Morris’ debut. Tulsa hired Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery, and the Texas native’s background on offense should pay dividends for the Golden Hurricane in 2015.

 

3. Reloads on Offense

The Pirates were one of the top storylines at the start of 2014, as quarterback Shane Carden guided the program to wins over Virginia Tech and North Carolina. But lost four out of its last six games, and coach Ruffin McNeill’s team enters 2015 with question marks on offense. Carden and record-setting receiver Justin Hardy have expired their eligibility, and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley now calls the plays at Oklahoma. Sophomore Kurt Benkert has the difficult task of replacing Carden, but the Pirates have a solid offensive line and deep receiving corps to ease his transition into the lineup. With a schedule featuring matchups against Florida, Virginia Tech, BYU and a crossover game against Navy, East Carolina will be challenged to match last year’s 8-5 mark.

 

4. Joins the American Athletic Conference

leaves the Independent ranks to join the in 2015. The Midshipmen should be one of the top contenders for the league crown this year, as quarterback Keenan Reynolds returns after accounting for 29 scores in 2014. Under coach Ken Niumatalolo’s direction, Navy has won at least eight games in six out of the last seven years. While the Midshipmen have to travel to Memphis and Houston, Niumatalolo’s team misses Cincinnati, UCF and Temple from the East in crossover play. Navy’s style of play will be a challenge for the rest of the league. The Midshipmen also have the element of surprise in their conference debut.

 

5. Changes at

Is 2015 a make-or-break year for Taggart at ? Taggart was a good hire after guiding Western Kentucky to 14 victories in his final two seasons (2011-12). But in two years, the Bulls are just 6-18 under Taggart’s watch, and the third-year coach made a handful of changes this offseason in an effort to spark the program. South Florida has a new up-tempo, spread offense, as well as a new defensive play-caller in Tom Allen. Taggart has recruited well, but the pressure is building to produce a winner. Will the Bulls take a step forward? Or will the quarterback and offensive line concerns be too much to overcome?

 

American Athletic Conference 2015 Team Previews
East Division
 
National
Rank: 
4010972996263
West Division
 
National 
Rank:
505954102104106

 

Visit the to order a copy of the 2015 National College Football Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 128 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

 

American Athletic Conference Predictions for 2015

     
East Division
RankTeam Projected AAC RecordProjected Overall Record
1

(No. 40)

6-29-4
.
2

(No. 62)

5-37-5
.
3

(No. 63)

5-37-5
.
4

(No. 72)

5-36-6
.
5

(No. 99)

2-64-8
.
6

(No. 109)

1-73-9
.
     
West Division
RankTeam Projected AAC RecordProjected Overall Record
1

(No. 50)

6-29-4
.
2

(No. 54)

6-29-3
.
3

(No. 59)

6-28-4
.
4

(No. 102)

2-64-8
.
5

(No. 104)

2-64-8
.
6

(No. 106)

2-64-8
.
     
American Athletic Conference Championship
over  

 

American Athletic 2015 Superlatives and Season Predictions
 Steven
Lassan
Mitch
Light
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
 
Offensive POYKeenan Reynolds
QB, Navy
Keenan Reynolds
QB, Navy
Gunner Kiel
QB, Cincinnati
Keenan Reynolds
QB, Navy
Defensive POYTyler Matakevich
LB, Temple
Tyler Matakevich
LB, Temple
Tyler Matakevich
LB, Temple
Zeek Bigger
LB, ECU
Coach of the YearTom Herman
Houston
Tom Herman
Houston
Ken Niumatalolo
Navy
Matt Rhule
Temple
Coach on Hot SeatWillie Taggart
USF
Willie Taggart
USF
Willie Taggart
USF
Willie Taggart
USF
Top FreshmanTre'Quan Smith
WR, UCF
Tyreik Gray
RB, Houston
Tristan Payton
WR, UCF
Tre'Quan Smith
WR, UCF
Top NewcomerRyan Mack
OL, Memphis
Chance Allen
WR, Houston
Bryant Shirreffs
QB, UConn
Jae'Lon Oglesby
WR, Memphis
Sleeper TeamTempleSMUMemphisTulane
Top Coordinator HireTodd Orlando
Co-DC, Houston
Tom Allen
DC, USF
Major Applewhite
OC, Houston
Bill Young
DC, Tulsa
Key Position to WatchMemphis DL/LBCincinnati DLHouston QBCincinnati DL/LB
Hardest to EvaluateUSFEast CarolinaEast CarolinaNavy
Coach on the RiseJustin Fuente
Memphis
Tom Herman
Houston
Chad Morris
SMU
Justin Fuente
Memphis
Must-See GameCincinnati at
Houston
Cincinnati at
Houston
SMU at
Houston
UCF at
Cincinnati
Breakout PlayerMatt Davis
QB, SMU
Matt Davis
QB, SMU
William Stanback
RB, UCF
Greg Ward
QB, Houston
Comeback PlayerTerrell Stanley
DL, ECU
Zaire Williams
RB, Temple
Zaire Williams
RB, Temple
Zach Johnson
OT, Houston
Ranking the American Athletic Coaches for 2015

 

1. Tommy Tuberville,

2. Justin Fuente,

3. George O'Leary,

4. Ken Niumatalolo,

5. Ruffin McNeill,

 

Ranking the American Athletic Quarterbacks for 2015

 

1. Gunner Kiel,

2. Keenan Reynolds,

3. Paxton Lynch,

4. Greg Ward,

5. Justin Holman,

 

Ranking the American Athletic Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Marlon Mack,

2. Kenneth Farrow,

3. William Stanback,

4. Sherman Badie,

5. Mike Boone,

 

The American Athletic's Top 5 Players on the Rise for 2015

 

1. Greg Ward, QB,

2. Tre'Quan Smith, WR,

3. Matt Davis, QB,

4. Parry Nickerson, CB,

5. Noel Thomas, WR,

 

The Top 5 Non-Conference Games for 2015

 

1. Cincinnati at BYU - Oct. 17

2. Houston at Louisville - Sept. 12

3. Navy vs. Army (Philadelphia) - Dec. 12

4. Navy at Notre Dame - Oct. 10

5. Ole Miss at Memphis - Oct. 12

 

Key Coordinator Hires for 2015

 

1. Todd Orlando, Co-Defensive Coordinator,

2. Bill Young, Defensive Coordinator,

3. Tom Allen, Defensive Coordinator,

4. Brent Key, Offensive Coordinator,

5. Van Malone, Defensive Coordinator,

 

Top Incoming Freshmen (from )

 

1. Tristan Payton, WR,

2. Chad President, QB,

3. Tyreik Gray, RB,

4. T.J. Simmons, RB,

5. Kareem Ali Jr., DB,

6. Ross Trail, QB,

7. Rashard Causey, DB,

8. James Proche, WR,

9. Khalid McGee, DB,

10. Luke Hiers, OL,

Teaser:
American Athletic Conference 2015 Football Predictions
Post date: Monday, June 1, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, News
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The enters 2015 as a league in transition. No team from this conference was projected to make the playoff in Athlon Sports’ rankings for the upcoming season, and there’s a loss of star power with the departure of quarterback Jameis Winston, defensive end Vic Beasley and running back Duke Johnson.

 

In 2014, 13 out of the ACC’s 14 programs lost at least two games in league play. Florida State was the only exception, finishing with a perfect 8-0 mark. The Seminoles are the favorites to win the for the fourth consecutive year. But the gap between Florida State and the rest of the league has decreased in 2015.

 

While the is in transition, there’s no shortage of intrigue in the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions. Here’s a look at five things to watch in the for 2015, followed by Athlon’s predictions. 

 

5 Key Questions That Will Shape the in 2015

 

1. Jimbo Fisher Rebuilds (Reloads?) at

Florida State is coming off one of the best two-year runs by a program in recent memory. The Seminoles went 27-1 during that span and claimed the 2013 national championship. Fisher has returned this program back to the nation’s elite and enters 2015 with a rebuilding effort on his hands. Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson and Sean Maguire will compete to replace Jameis Winston, but the bigger question mark on this team is on defense after giving up 5.5 yards per play last year. With the departures of end Mario Edwards Jr. and tackle Eddie Goldman, along with a thin linebacking corps, the Seminoles are searching for answers on this side of the ball. Talent certainly isn’t an issue. How quickly does Florida State reload in 2015? If all of the young talent emerges, another playoff run is within reach. 

 

Podcast: Complete 2015 ACC Preview and Predictions



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2. Offense and Defense Question Marks at

Clemson’s defense was arguably the best in the nation last season, limiting opponents to 16.7 points per game and just four yards per play. Coordinator Brent Venables has a lot of work to do this offseason, as the Tigers return just two starters and suffered big losses at each level. The good news for Venables? There’s plenty of talent ready to emerge. But until the defense is stabilized, the offense may have to carry this team. Just like the defense, there’s question marks, but also a lot of promising talent. Sophomore Deshaun Watson is the ’s top quarterback, and the Tigers are loaded at the skill positions. The offense should remain one of the best in the conference, but how much will this unit miss coordinator Chad Morris? He left to be the head coach at SMU, and coach Dabo Swinney promoted Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott to the co-coordinator level.

 

3. Coastal Division Uncertainty

It seems to be an annual storyline in recent years, but the Coastal Division is a wide open race once again. should be the favorite with the return of quarterback Justin Thomas and an improving defense. However, coach Paul Johnson’s team loses seven of the top 10 rushers from last year, along with receiver DeAndre Smelter. Additionally, Georgia Tech plays crossover games against Clemson and Florida State. But if the Yellow Jackets stumble, which team will emerge? Virginia Tech has the top defense in the . However, question marks remain on offense. Is Miami ready to contend in Al Golden’s fifth year? Will North Carolina’s defense improve? Or is this the year where a surprise team like Pittsburgh or Duke wins the division? Questions abound in the Coastal in 2015. 

 

4. , and – Sleepers to Watch?

With the three projected top 25 teams for 2015 all suffering key losses from last season, there’s plenty of room for a sleeper to emerge. The gap between the top and the middle of the has closed a bit with the losses at the top three programs, but which team will take advantage? Is it Louisville? The Cardinals need to settle on a quarterback and rebuild the offensive line, but the defense should be stout once again. Pittsburgh has a favorable crossover by missing three of the top four teams in the Atlantic and returns two of the ACC’s top players in running back James Conner and receiver Tyler Boyd. How much will the defense improve in Pat Narduzzi’s first year? NC State closed 2014 by winning four out of its last five. The Wolfpack return 14 starters, including quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Another step forward in the win column wouldn’t be a surprise.

 

5. Pressure Building at and

2015 could be a make-or-break year for Virginia’s Mike London and Miami’s Al Golden. London is 23-38 in five years with the Cavaliers and has not played in a bowl since 2011. After showing progress last season with five victories, London needs to get Virginia back into the postseason in 2015. For Miami, the Hurricanes are still looking for the first appearance in the Championship. Miami showed signs of progress with a 9-4 record in 2013 but has just one season of more than seven wins under Golden. After going 6-7 last year, the pressure is building at Miami. Adding to Golden’s challenge in 2015 will be a rebuilt offensive line, the loss of running back Duke Johnson and the departure of standout linebacker Denzel Perryman. 

 

ACC 2015 Team Previews

Atlantic Division
   
National
Rank:
5614938398582

 

Coastal Division
 
National
Rank: 
52184342416135

 

Visit the to order a copy of the 2015 ACC Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 14 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

 

ACC Predictions for 2015

     
Atlantic Division  
RankTeam Projected ACC RecordProjected Overall Record
1
(No. 9)

 
6-211-2
.
2

(No. 14)

6-29-3
.
3

(No. 38)

5-37-5
.
4

(No. 39)

5-39-3
.
5

(No. 56)

3-56-6
.
6

(No. 82)

2-64-8
.
7

(No. 85)

1-73-9
.
     
Coastal Division    
RankTeam Projected ACC RecordProjected Overall Record
1

(No. 18)

6-28-5
.
2

(No. 35)

5-38-4
.
3

(No. 41)

5-38-4
.
4

(No. 42)

4-47-5
.
5

(No. 43)

3-57-5
.
6

(No. 52)

3-57-5
.
7

(No. 61)

2-64-8
.
ACC Championship
  over  

 

ACC 2015 Superlatives and Season Predictions
 Steven
Lassan
Mitch
Light
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Braden
Gall
 
Offensive POYJames
Conner, RB
Pittsburgh
Dalvin
Cook, RB
FSU
Deshaun
Watson, QB
Clemson
Dalvin
Cook, RB
FSU
Deshaun
Watson, QB
Clemson
Defensive POYJalen Ramsey
DB, FSU
Jalen Ramsey
DB, FSU
Kendall Fuller
CB, Va. Tech
Jalen Ramsey
DB, FSU
Jalen Ramsey
DB, FSU
Coach of the YearJimbo Fisher
Florida State
Jimbo Fisher
Florida State
Dave Doeren
NC State
Pat Narduzzi
Pittsburgh
Bobby Petrino
Louisville
Coach on Hot SeatMike London
Virginia
Mike London
Virginia
Mike London
Virginia
Al Golden
Miami
Larry Fedora
UNC
Top FreshmanDerwin James
S, FSU
Deon Cain
WR, Clemson
C.J. Stalker
LB, Virginia
Chris Taylor
WR, Duke
George Campbell, WR, FSU
Top NewcomerEverett Golson
QB, FSU
Devonte Fields
DL/LB, Louisville
Josh
Harvey-Clemons
S, UL
Devonte Fields
DL/LB, Louisville
Josh
Harvey-Clemons
S, UL
Sleeper TeamNC StateNC StateNC StateDukeMiami
Top Coordinator HireGene Chizik
DC, UNC
Josh Conklin
DC, Pittsburgh
Gene Chizik
DC, UNC
Jim Chaney
OC, Pittsburgh
Gene Chizik
DC, UNC
Key Position to WatchFlorida State DLVirginia Tech OLFlorida State OLClemson
LB
Florida State OL
Hardest to EvaluateMiamiMiamiMiamiNorth CarolinaMiami
Coach on the RiseJosh Conklin
DC, Pittsburgh
Scottie Montgomery
OC, Duke
Dave Doeren
NC State
Charles Kelly
DC, FSU
Dave Doeren
NC State
Must-See GameFSU at ClemsonFSU at
Clemson
FSU at ClemsonFSU at ClemsonFSU at Clemson
Breakout PlayerShaq Lawson
DE, Clemson
Joe Yearby
RB, Miami
Joe Yearby
RB, Miami
Joe Yearby
RB, Miami
Artavis Scott
WR, Clemson
Comeback PlayerLuther Maddy
DT, Va. Tech
Trey Edmunds
RB, Va. Tech
Kelby Brown
LB, Duke
Everett Golson
QB, FSU
Jabari Hunt-Days
DL, GT
 
Ranking the ACC's Coaches for 2015

 

1. Jimbo Fisher,

2. Bobby Petrino,

3. David Cutcliffe,

4. Paul Johnson,

5. Frank Beamer,

 

 

Ranking the ACC's Quarterbacks for 2015

 

1. Deshaun Watson, 

2. Brad Kaaya,
3. Justin Thomas,
4. Marquise Williams,
5. Jacoby Brissett,

 

Ranking the ACC's Running Backs for 2015

 

1. James Conner,

2. Dalvin Cook,

3. Jon Hilliman,

4. Joseph Yearby,

5. Shadrach Thornton,

 

 

The ACC's Top 5 Players on the Rise for 2015

 

1. Deshaun Watson, QB,

2. Dalvin Cook, RB,

3. Shaq Lawson, DE,

4. Rod Johnson, OT,

5. Wyatt Teller, OG,

 

Related:

 

Top 5 Non-Conference Games for 2015

 

1. Notre Dame at Clemson (Oct. 3)

2. Florida State at Florida (Nov. 28)

3. Georgia Tech at Notre Dame (Sept. 19)

4. Louisville vs. Auburn (Atlanta (Sept. 5)

5. Georgia at Georgia Tech (Nov. 28)

 

Related:

 

Key Coordinator Hires for 2015

 

1. Gene Chizik, Defensive Coordinator,

2. Josh Conklin, Defensive Coordinator,

3. Jim Chaney, Offensive Coordinator,

4. Tony Elliott/Jeff Scott, Co-Offensive Coordinator,

5. Todd Fitch, Offensive Coordinator,

 

Top Incoming Freshmen ()

 

1. Derwin James, S,

2. Josh Sweat, DL,

3. Tarvarus McFadden, DB,

4. Deon Cain, WR,

5. George Campbell, WR,

6. Mitch Hyatt, OL,

7. Christian Wilkins, DL,

8. Jacques Patrick, RB,

9. Jalen Dalton, DL,

10. Deondre Francois, QB,

Teaser:
ACC Football 2015 Predictions
Post date: Monday, June 1, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/urban-meyer-says-braxton-miller-will-return-ohio-state-2015
Body:

Braxton Miller’s future at has been a hot topic since the end of the 2014 season. But according to coach Urban Meyer, Miller will be playing for the Buckeyes in 2015. 

 

Meyer told reporters on Friday that Miller is “playing for Ohio State this fall.”

 

Additionally, Meyer mentioned Miller’s rehab is going well from shoulder surgery and is now throwing 35-yard passes.

 

Ohio State has three proven quarterbacks entering fall practice and plenty of uncertainty about which passer takes the first snap.

 

Here’s a quick take on each quarterback:

 

Cardale Jones

Jones entered the year as the third-string quarterback but finished as the team’s No. 1 after injuries to Miller and J.T. Barrett. Jones guided Ohio State to the national championship and was the only healthy quarterback out of this trio in the spring. He should be the favorite to take the first snap.

 

Braxton Miller

With Meyer’s comments on Friday, it’s safe to assume Miller will be back at Ohio State for 2015. Returning from a shoulder injury is no easy task for a quarterback. Could he play another position in 2015?

 

J.T. Barrett

Before suffering a season-ending leg injury against Michigan, Barrett threw for 34 touchdowns and 2,834 yards. There’s a lot of upside with Barrett, and he could work as the team’s No. 2 quarterback if Miller shifts to a different position. Assuming Barrett is at full strength, he should see playing time in 2015.

Teaser:
Urban Meyer Says Braxton Miller Will Return to Ohio State in 2015
Post date: Friday, May 29, 2015 - 12:31
All taxonomy terms: Baylor Bears, College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/baylor-unveils-new-gray-uniforms-2015
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Art Briles has transformed Baylor into one of college football’s top programs in recent years, and the Bears are expected to be one of the leading contenders for a spot in the four-team playoff this season.

 

And in the process of competing for the Big 12 title once again, Baylor will have a new set of gray uniforms for 2015.

 

The uniforms were tweeted by Briles on Friday morning and are a sharp design for the Bears. Needless to say, we like this scheme for Baylor:

 

Teaser:
Baylor Unveils New Gray Uniforms for 2015
Post date: Friday, May 29, 2015 - 12:10
Path: /college-football/ranking-college-footballs-graduate-transfer-qbs-2015
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Transfers are a big part of any season. And over the last few seasons, graduate transfers have become a bigger part of the offseason player movement landscape.

 

However, taking a transfer (graduate or four-year) isn’t necessarily a recipe for success. Graduate transfer quarterbacks were a mixed bag of success in 2014, as Cody Sokol (Louisiana Tech), Tyler Murphy (Boston College), Jameill Showers (UTEP), Andrew Hendrix (Miami, Ohio) and Blake Frohnapfel (UMass) turned in solid seasons. However, on the other side, Jake Heaps (Miami), Matt Joeckel (TCU), Brandon Connette (Fresno State), Jake Coker (Alabama) and Stephen Rivers (Vanderbilt) didn’t have much of an impact. And some quarterbacks (Virginia Tech’s Michael Brewer) fall into the wait and see category.

 

Just because a team lands a transfer doesn’t equal success for the upcoming year. However, graduate transfer quarterbacks can have an instant impact for teams needing a new starter under center. How do the 12 graduate transfer quarterbacks stack up for 2015? Here’s a ranking of the passers based upon likely impact.

 

Note: This only includes quarterbacks landing at a new team for 2015.

 

Ranking ’s Graduate Transfer QBs for 2015

 

1. Vernon Adams, (from Eastern Washington)

 

Marcus Mariota leaves big shoes to fill in Eugene. Regardless of whether Adams or Jeff Lockie gets the nod under center, the Ducks will have a hard time replicating Mariota’s production in 2015. But even if there’s a slight drop in performance, Oregon’s offense is still going to be among the best in the nation. Adams was a dynamic player at Eastern Washington, throwing for 10,438 yards and 110 touchdowns and adding 1,232 yards and 11 scores on the ground. It may take Adams a few games to adjust, but he has the talent to rank among the Pac-12’s best quarterbacks by the end of 2015.

 

Related:

 

2. Everett Golson, (from )

 

Jimbo Fisher is three-for-three in starting quarterbacks at Florida State going in the first round of the NFL Draft. Golson probably won’t extend that streak to four, but the South Carolina native is a key addition as the Seminoles continue the process of replacing Jameis Winston this fall. Golson threw for 5,850 yards and 41 touchdowns and added 14 rushing scores during his two-year stint as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. Sean Maguire has the edge in experience in Florida State’s offense, but Golson is already a proven quarterback on the Power 5 Conference/FBS level. 

 

Related:

 

3. Jake Rudock, (from )

 

Jim Harbaugh’s arrival should help Michigan’s offense take a step forward in 2015. The Wolverines can only go up after averaging only 20.9 points per game in 2014, and there’s a clear identity and direction now with Harbaugh at the helm. Rudock is a rare intra-conference transfer, as he left Iowa to use his final season of eligibility in Ann Arbor. The Florida native threw for 4,819 yards and 34 scores with the Hawkeyes and should start over Shane Morris in 2015.

 

Related:

 

4. Jeff Driskel, (from )

 

Louisiana Tech went the graduate transfer route last year and had success with former Iowa passer Cody Sokol. Driskel was regarded as a five-star recruit in the 2011 signing class and finished his Florida career with 3,411 passing yards and 23 scores. He also rushed for 552 yards and 23 touchdowns in four seasons of playing time with the Gators. Driskel didn’t quite match his recruiting hype at Florida, but he’s landed in a good situation at Louisiana Tech for the 2015 season.

 

5. Maxwell Smith, (from )

 

Shoulder injuries sidelined Smith’s career at Kentucky, but the California native has a good opportunity to thrive at San Diego State in 2015. In three years with the Wildcats, Smith threw for 3,070 yards and 21 scores to just nine interceptions. The senior finished spring at the top of San Diego State’s quarterback depth chart.

Related:

 

6. Nathan Peterman, (from )

 

Chad Voytik was solid in his first full year as the starter in 2014, throwing for 2,233 yards and 16 scores to just seven interceptions. He also rushed for 466 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games. Peterman transferred to Pittsburgh after three years at Tennessee and was recruited by Panthers’ offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to Knoxville in 2012. Peterman’s familiarity in this scheme should help, but Voytik has the edge to start.

 

7. Daxx Garman, (from )

 

Maryland is the third stop in Garman’s collegiate career. The Texas native redshirted in his only season at Arizona (2011) and spent the next three years at Oklahoma State. Garman played in nine games for the Cowboys in 2014, throwing for 2,041 yards and 12 scores. Garman has a strong arm and connected on 19 passing plays of 30 yards or more last season. With likely starter Caleb Rowe returning from injury, Garman is a good backup plan for coach Randy Edsall.

Related:

 

8. Adam Schulz, (from )

 

New coach Tom Herman should feel good about his starter (Greg Ward), but Schulz is a nice insurance option. The Wisconsin native played in eight games at Utah and started three contests in 2013. Schulz threw for 1,008 yards and six scores that season, including a 347-yard performance against Washington State.

 

Related:

 

9. Trey Anderson, (from )

 

FIU’s offense is looking for a spark after ranking 98th nationally in scoring last year. Youth at the quarterback spot had a lot to do with the offensive woes, but there’s hope for improvement with Alex McGough having another offseason under his belt. Anderson played in eight games during his Pittsburgh career and completed 25 of 53 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown to three interceptions.

 

10. Greyson Lambert, to ?

 

Lambert could move a few spots up on this list depending on his transfer destination. In two years with the Cavaliers, he threw for 1,972 yards and 11 touchdowns but also tossed 13 interceptions and completed 55.7 percent of his throws. Lambert started nine of Virginia’s 12 games in 2014.

 

11. Russell Bellomy, (from )

 

Bellomy played sparingly in his Michigan career and made only one appearance in 2014. The Texas native was a three-star recruit coming out of high school and will compete with Blake Bogenschutz and Austin Robinson for the starting job. Bellomy is a dual-threat option for coordinator Kevin Brown.

 

12. Josh Grady, (from )

 

Grady completed only 3 of 7 pass attempts for 27 yards during his three years of playing time at Vanderbilt. The Florida native also received snaps at receiver and finished his career in Nashville with seven catches for 89 yards. The Gators need depth at the quarterback spot, and first-year coach Jim McElwain plans to use the Florida native under center – and not at receiver – in 2015. Grady is likely slated to be the No. 3 quarterback for McElwain this year.

Teaser:
Ranking College Football's Graduate Transfer QBs for 2015
Post date: Friday, May 29, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/sec-win-total-projections-2015
Body:

The 2015 season is still a few months away. However, the news cycle never stops, and there’s plenty to keep the conversation going this summer.

 

Athlon Sports is counting down its rankings for 2015, while 5Dimes Sportsbook has released some early win total over/under odds for the upcoming season.

 

5Dimes’ win totals featured some interesting projections for Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama. Auburn was only 8.5, while the Crimson Tide is listed at 9.5 on the sportsbook.

 

With the win totals released, Athlon Sports is taking a look at all 14 of the teams and whether we would take the over, under or push on the projections for 2015.

 

SEC Win Total Projections: Over, Under or Push

 

East Division

 

: 7.5

 

Braden Gall: Over

Jim McElwain alone adds a win or two for this offense, and this team was WAY closer to winning the East than folks remember last year.

 

Steven Lassan: Under

I like the Jim McElwain hire, and the defense should be strong once again. However, the offensive line is a major issue, and a redshirt freshman (Will Grier) is likely to start at quarterback.

 

Mitch Light: Under

The defense should be stout, but there are too many issues on offense to expect this team to contend in the East.

 

: 9

 

Braden Gall: Over

The Dawgs are the clear-cut frontrunner in the East and get a bunch of big games at home. This is the most complete team in the easier division.

 

Steven Lassan: Over

The passing game is still a question mark, but the Bulldogs have the best backfield and one of the top defenses in the SEC. Outside of games against Alabama and Auburn, I don’t see a loss on this schedule.

 

Mitch Light: Over

The conference schedule is very tough — Georgia plays both Alabama and Auburn — but Mark Richt has the most complete team in the SEC.

 

Related:

 

: 6

 

Braden Gall: Under

This team is improving under Coach Stoops, and Patrick Towles could will them to a push. But I'm going under with that schedule.

 

Steven Lassan: Push

I might be too optimistic on Kentucky, but a bowl seems reasonable for the Wildcats in 2015. Boom Williams is a breakout candidate at running back, and the talent level has improved on the recruiting trail. The finale against Louisville could be a must-win game to get to six.

 

Mitch Light: Over

Mark Stoops talented young core is a year older and should break through with the school’s first winning season since 2009.

 

: 7.5

 

Braden Gall: Over

When in doubt, take the over with Gary Pinkel. The defensive line is starting to become a concern, but Maty Mauk should improve and keep the Tigers in the East race.

 

Steven Lassan: Over

Never count out Missouri in the SEC East under Gary Pinkel’s watch. While I don’t think this team will win the division again, reaching eight wins is reasonable – if quarterback Maty Mauk plays better in SEC games.

 

Mitch Light: Under

We’ve been wrong about Missouri in the past, but this could be the year the Tigers take a step back in the East.

 

: 7

 

Braden Gall: Push

Run as far away from this one as possible. South Carolina should be better on defense but is lacking in star power.

 

Steven Lassan: Push

South Carolina’s defense can’t be any worse than it was in 2014. That’s the good news. The bad news? There’s uncertainty at quarterback, two key starters gone from the offensive line and a lack of proven receivers outside of Pharoh Cooper. Additionally, crossover games against LSU and Texas A&M are tough.

 

Mitch Light: Push

Other than Pharoh Cooper, the Gamecocks don’t have many (or any) difference makers on offense.

 

: 7.5

 

Braden Gall: Over

There are some key swing games — Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri — that could result in a push. I think they get over the hump in one of those.

 

Steven Lassan: Over

Tennessee is Georgia’s top challenger in the East. Yes, the schedule is tough, but the talent level is improving, Josh Dobbs is back for a full year under center, and the defense is trending up.

 

Mitch Light: Over

The Vols boast some of the top young talent in the league. As long as Josh Dobbs stays healthy, this is an eight-win team.

 

Related:

 

: 3

 

Braden Gall: Over

There aren't a lot of wins there but this defense should be legit. One SEC win gets you the over.

 

Steven Lassan: Push

The Commodores will be better in coach Derek Mason’s second season. But games against Western Kentucky and Houston aren’t guaranteed wins, and it’s tough to find a win in SEC play.

 

Mitch Light: Over

The Commodores’ non-conference schedule is tricky, but Derek Mason’s club will find a way to win at least four games.

 

West Division

 

: 9.5

 

Braden Gall: Over

This may not be a national title-type team at Bama but losing three times in the regular season seems highly unlikely with that talent and Nick Saban calling the shots.

 

Steven Lassan: Over

Alabama has won at least 10 games in each of the last seven seasons. There are some concerns – quarterback, receiving corps and secondary – but the Crimson Tide isn’t short on talent. Nick Saban will keep this team among the nation’s best in 2015.

 

Mitch Light: Over

This is far from a perfect team, but Alabama still has fewer weaknesses than 99 percent of the teams in the nation.

 

Related:

 

: 8.5

 

Braden Gall: Under

I love what Bret Bielema has done and this team will be in every game it plays. But it needs balance against an elite schedule to win nine games.

 

Steven Lassan: Under

This is one of the toughest picks on the board. Arkansas is due for better luck in close games and has two swing contests against Tennessee and Missouri from the East. If Dan Enos helps the passing attack improve, the Razorbacks could hit nine victories.

 

Mitch Light: Under

The Hogs are a top-20 team, but a brutal schedule will prevent them from winning nine or 10 games.

 

Related:

 

: 8.5

 

Braden Gall: Over

Take the over and run. This is the best bet on this SEC board. Athlon Sports has the Tigers making the playoff, so 11 wins is essentially a must for that to happen. And it could easily.

 

Steven Lassan: Over

Easiest pick among the SEC teams. Take the over. Auburn is due to rebound back into the national title conversation this year. The offense is explosive behind quarterback Jeremy Johnson, and the defense will improve with Will Muschamp calling the plays.

 

Mitch Light: Over

The Auburn offense, led by QB Jeremy Johnson, will be explosive. This is a legitimate national title contender.

 

: 8

 

Braden Gall: Under

Like Carolina in the East, there are just too many questions to bet on LSU in anyway. I'd punt this one with anything from six to 10 wins possible for the Tigers.

 

Steven Lassan: Push

LSU is the hardest team to figure out in the SEC this season. Talent isn’t the issue, but there’s massive uncertainty at quarterback and a new scheme (and personnel concerns) on defense. If all of the pieces fall into place, the Tigers could finish 9-3 or 10-2. However, matching last year’s win total seems more realistic.

 

Mitch Light: Push

It wouldn’t surprise me if this team went 10–2 or 6–6. Let’s split the difference.

 

: 7

 

Braden Gall: Over

They may not finish in the top half of the West but last place could easily win seven games. I'll give Dak Prescott credit for one extra win somewhere.

 

Steven Lassan: Push

Another tough call. Mississippi State is losing a lot, but there’s also talent waiting to step into the lineup. The Bulldogs will get better as the season goes along, and senior quarterback Dak Prescott could pull off an upset late in the year to push Mississippi State to eight wins.

 

Mitch Light: Push

The Bulldogs have a star at quarterback in Dak Prescott but suffered heavy personnel losses elsewhere.

 

Related:

 

: 8.5

 

Braden Gall: Over

This team is a QB away from being a national title contender and still could be without one. The Rebels are closer to Bama/Auburn territory than LSU.

 

Steven Lassan: Over

Even with the losses in the secondary, Ole Miss should have one of the nation’s top defenses. While the quarterback spot and rushing attack is a concern, the talent at receiver is better, and the offensive line is improving. I think Ole Miss could go 10-2 in 2015.

 

Mitch Light: Over

The Rebels are my sleeper pick to flirt with a spot in the College Football Playoff.

 

: 7.5

 

Braden Gall: Over

There is a lot of upside here in terms of talent and coaching. However, it's very young or new to campus. If I had to bet, I'd take the over but I'd stay away from the volatile Aggies.

 

Steven Lassan: Over

One team is going to exceed preseason expectations in the West. Texas A&M is a good sleeper pick, as the Aggies are dynamic once again on offense, and the defense will be better under John Chavis. A crossover schedule with Vanderbilt and South Carolina certainly helps.

 

Mitch Light: Under

The Aggies are loaded with talent, but do the math: Not every team can win eight in the SEC West. 

 

Related:

 

 

Teaser:
SEC Win Total Projections for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 11:30
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Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers are glamour positions in . While offensive linemen and defensive players are just as important to winning a title, it’s no secret the skill players and quarterbacks grab the attention and headlines. With that in mind, Athlon has ranked the top 25 triplets in for the 2015 season.

 

How did we compile the rankings? Ranking the trios by conference is the first step, and to the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers ranked within each league. It’s important to weigh talent, production against Power 5 opponents, overall balance among the three players and projection for the 2015 season.

 

By Conference: |  |  |  | 

 

College Football's Top 25 Offensive Triplets for 2015
 
1.

QB: Cardale Jones 

RB: Ezekiel Elliott 

WR: Michael Thomas 
 

Regardless of who starts under center for coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes have one of the nation’s best trios. Jones is penciled in as the starter at quarterback after guiding Ohio State to a 3-0 record and a national championship in his short tenure under center. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 696 yards over the final three games of last year, and Thomas led all Ohio State receivers with 54 catches in 2014.

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2.

QB: Jeremy Johnson 

RB: Jovon Robinson 

WR: Duke Williams 

 

Gus Malzahn’s offense has averaged over 30 points per game in back-to-back seasons in contests. The 2015 version of ’s offense will be just as explosive, as quarterback Jeremy Johnson is a rising star, and there’s no shortage of skill talent, including All-America candidate at receiver Duke Williams.

 

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3.

QB: Seth Russell

RB: Shock Linwood 

WR: Corey Coleman 
 

Baylor has averaged over 40 points a game in four consecutive seasons. Good luck stopping the Bears in 2015. Even with quarterback Bryce Petty expiring his eligibility, Baylor is loaded with offensive talent. Russell has played well in limited action, and coach Art Briles has a strong track record of developing quarterbacks. Shock Linwood rushed for 1,252 yards and 16 scores last season, while the receiving corps is the nation’s best, headlined by Corey Coleman and KD Cannon.

Related:

 

4.

QB: Trevone Boykin 

RB: Aaron Green 

WR: Josh Doctson 
 

TCU’s offense showed major improvement under co-coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie in 2014. After averaging only 25.1 points per game in 2013, the Horned Frogs increased that total to 46.5 last season. Boykin also emerged as one of the nation’s most improved quarterbacks and opens 2015 as one of the favorites to win the Heisman. TCU has a solid crop of playmakers in place, including Aaron Green (7.2 ypc in 2014) and Doctson (11 TD catches).

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5.

QB: Deshaun Watson 

RB: Wayne Gallman 

WR: Artavis Scott 
 

Chad Morris will be missed as Clemson’s play-caller, but the Tigers should still have one of the ’s top offenses. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the nation’s rising stars and will be at full strength from a torn ACL by this fall. Scott and Gallman showed promise as freshmen last season and depth is plentiful at running back and receiver.

Related:
 

6.

QB: Anu Solomon 
RB: Nick Wilson 
WR: Cayleb Jones 
 

Arizona averaged 33.4 points per game in contests last season, and coach Rich Rodriguez’s offense could be even better in 2015. Quarterback Anu Solomon is returning to full strength after suffering from an ankle injury late in 2014. Wilson and Jones are among the ’s top playmakers.

 

7.

QB: Vernon Adams
RB: Royce Freeman 
WR: Byron Marshall
 

Marcus Mariota will be missed, but the Ducks offense should still remain among the ’s best. Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams replaces Mariota at quarterback, and Oregon’s running back and wide receiving corps are among the best in .

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8.

QB: Cody Kessler 
RB: Justin Davis 
WR: JuJu Smith 
 

The only thing holding USC back from ranking No. 1 on among Pac-12 schools on this list is the committee approach at running back. Will someone step up as the go-to back in 2015? Cody Kessler ranks as the Pac-12’s best quarterback, and JuJu Smith should have a huge year as the Trojans’ top receiver.

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9.

QB: Brandon Doughty

RB: Leon Allen

WR: Jared Dangerfield

 

With a loaded group of skill players and prolific senior quarterback Brandon Doughty, the Hilltoppers are the early favorites to win Conference USA. Doughty threw for 49 touchdowns last season and 4,830 yards, while Allen rushed for 1,542 yards on 272 attempts. Dangerfield led the team with 11 receiving scores and caught 69 passes.

 

10. 

QB: Jared Goff 
RB: Daniel Lasco 
WR: Kenny Lawler 
 

The Golden Bears ranked No. 2 in the (conference-only games) by averaging 37.6 points per contest last year. Don’t be surprised if that number climbs even higher in 2015, as coach Sonny Dykes has a loaded receiver corps, one of the nation’s rising stars at quarterback in Jared Goff, along with an underrated running back in Daniel Lasco.

 

11.

QB: Taysom Hill

RB: Jamaal Williams

WR: Mitch Mathews

 

BYU’s trio of Hill-Williams-Mathews could be ranked higher, but health is a question mark with two players. Hill missed the last eight games of 2014 due to a leg injury, while Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury in November. Mathews led the team with 73 catches for 922 yards last season.

 

12. 

QB: Chad Voytik 

RB: James Conner 

WR: Tyler Boyd 
 

Pat Narduzzi is known for his defensive acumen, but the first-year coach inherits some of the ACC’s top offensive talent. James Conner (RB) and Tyler Boyd (WR) are two of the nation’s top playmakers at their respective positions. Quarterback Chad Voytik played better in the second half of 2014 by tossing only one interception in his final six games.

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13.

QB: Everett Golson 

RB: Dalvin Cook 

WR: Travis Rudolph 
 

Jameis Winston leaves big shoes to fill, but coach Jimbo Fisher is one of the nation’s best quarterback coaches. Sean Maguire started one game last season (Clemson) and finished 2014 with 339 passing yards on 25 completions. However, Everett Golson is transferring to Florida State and is considered by many to be the favorite to take the first snap of 2015. Cook averaged 141.3 rushing yards over the final three games of 2014, while Rudolph caught 38 passes as a true freshman.

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14.

QB: Joshua Dobbs 

RB: Jalen Hurd 

WR: Marquez North 

 

Tennessee is on its way back into East title contention under third-year coach Butch Jones. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs shined in the second half of 2014, and the junior will be surrounded by a young and talented group of skill players. Hurd leads the way in the Volunteers’ backfield, but junior college recruit (and former Alabama running back) Alvin Kamara is a player to watch in 2015. Receiver Marquez North was limited by injuries last season.

 

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15.

QB: Dak Prescott 

RB: Ashton Shumpert 

WR: De’Runnya Wilson 

 

returns the ’s No. 1 quarterback in senior Dak Prescott. While running back Josh Robinson will be missed, there’s talent in place with Ashton Shumpert and Aeris Williams battling for carries. Wilson averaged 15.3 yards per catch in SEC games last year.

 

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16.

QB: Malik Zaire

RB: Tarean Folston

WR: Will Fuller

 

With Everett Golson transferring to Florida State, this is clearly Zaire’s team. The promising sophomore is a good fit for coach Brian Kelly’s offense but has only 35 career pass attempts. Folston rushed for 889 yards and six touchdowns last year and will be pushed for time by Greg Bryant and C.J. Prosise. Will Fuller (1,094 yards) should be in the mix for All-America honors at receiver in 2015. Zaire’s performance will determine how high this trio rises. 

 

17. 

QB: Christian Hackenberg 

RB: Akeel Lynch

WR: DaeSean Hamilton
 

Ranking Penn State at No. 2 among  triplets largely depends on how far the offensive line develops during the offseason. The Nittany Lions struggled up front in 2014 and prevented the offense from taking off in coach James Franklin’s first year. Improvement is expected up front, which should allow quarterback Christian Hackenberg to rebound after an up and down 2014 campaign. Akeel Lynch rushed for at least 75 yards in three out of his last four outings, while Hamilton – only a sophomore – is among the Big Ten’s top receivers.

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18.

QB: Baker Mayfield

RB: Samaje Perine 

WR: Sterling Shepard
 

Yes, the Sooners have a new scheme and coordinator (Lincoln Riley), but the offense is still going to rely heavily on one of the nation’s top backfields. Samaje Perine rushed for 1,713 yards and 21 scores as a true freshman in 2014, and he will have plenty of help from Joe Mixon and Alex Ross. Having a healthy Sterling Shepard at receiver should make a difference for new quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Related:

 

19.

QB: Josh Rosen 
RB: Paul Perkins 
WR: Jordan Payton 
 

Uncertainty remains at quarterback with the departure of Brett Hundley, but true freshman Josh Rosen is one of the top recruits in the 2015 signing class. Running back Paul Perkins led the with 1,575 rushing yards last season, and receiver Jordan Payton averaged 14.3 yards per reception in conference games.

 

20.

QB: Mike Bercovici 
RB: Demario Richard 
WR: D.J. Foster 
 

The Sun Devils have a balanced trio and could easily climb this list by the end of 2015. Bercovici has played well in limited action, and Richard is set to have a breakout year as Arizona State’s No. 1 running back. D.J. Foster will slide from running back to receiver to replace the production lost by Jaelen Strong.

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21.

QB: Zach Terrell

RB: Jarvion Franklin

WR: Corey Davis

 

This trio anchored one of the nation’s most improved teams in 2014. Franklin rushed for 1,551 yards and 24 scores as a true freshman, and Davis was one of the nation’s top big-play threats at receiver by averaging 18.1 yards per catch. Terrell threw for 26 touchdowns and completed 67.9 percent of his throws in his first full year as Western Michigan’s starter.

 

22.

QB: Patrick Mahomes

RB: DeAndre Washington

WR: Jakeem Grant

 

Offense is always a strength for Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders are loaded with talent for 2015. Patrick Mahomes is likely to start over Davis Webb, and the sophomore should improve off a solid stat line as a freshman (1,547 yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs). DeAndre Washington was the first 1,000-yard rusher in Lubbock since 1998. Jakeem Grant led the team in receptions and receiving yards last year.

 

23.

QB: Brandon Allen

RB: Jonathan Williams

WR: Keon Hatcher

 

The Razorbacks improved their scoring average by 11.2 points per game from 2013 to 2014. Expect this unit to take another step forward under new coordinator Dan Enos, as Arkansas returns an experienced quarterback in Brandon Allen and the nation’s top running back duo in Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams.

 

24.

QB: Matt Johnson

RB: Travis Greene

WR: Roger Lewis

 

Second-year coach Dino Babers wants to install a “Falcon Fast” offense in Bowling Green, and the Falcons averaged 30 points per game in 2014 despite losing quarterback Matt Johnson to an injury in Week 1. Johnson is back in 2015, and the offense is loaded with proven playmakers at running back and receiver. Greene rushed for 949 yards in 2014, while Lewis ranked third among MAC receivers with 1,093 yards.

 

25.

QB: Gunner Kiel

RB: Mike Boone

WR: Mekale McKay

 

Kiel battled injuries last season but still threw for 3,254 yards and 31 scores in his first year as Cincinnati’s starting quarterback. The Notre Dame transfer will have plenty of playmakers at his disposal at receiver, and the backfield is set with Mike Boone (650 yards as a freshman), along with Hosey Williams returning from injury. 

 

Just Missing the Top 25: Georgia, Texas A&M, Miami, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, NC State, Boise State, Utah State, Toledo, Arkansas State, Appalachian State

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College Football's Top 25 Offensive Triplets for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
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Post date: Friday, May 22, 2015 - 13:03
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/miami-provides-depth-look-recruiting-war-room-video
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Recruiting is the backbone of any college football program. Every coaching staff spends hours evaluating tape and discussing programs, but recruiting is still an inexact science.

 

And thanks to , we have a pretty good look at what goes on inside the war room at programs while discussing the top prospects.

 

In this video released by the school, the coaching staff is discussing whether or not to offer a prospect that plays safety.

 

There’s some interesting discussion about what it takes to play the position, whether or not elite speed is needed and some of the ins and outs about what Miami looks for in terms of talent.

 

Check out this awesome video going inside the Canes recruiting war room:

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Miami Provides In-Depth Look at Recruiting War Room (Video)
Post date: Friday, May 22, 2015 - 12:23
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-tens-offensive-triplets-2015
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The is known for possessing some of the nation’s top defenses, but this conference isn’t short on offensive talent for 2015. The has three potential first-round picks at quarterback in next year’s draft. Cardale Jones is expected to start over Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett at Ohio State, while Michigan State’s Connor Cook is back for his third year under center, and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg should improve under second-year coach James Franklin. Additionally, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott is a Heisman frontrunner, and Corey Clement should be a capable replacement for Melvin Gordon at running back.

 

To help pick the top offensive triplets in each of the Power 5 leagues, we devised a simple formula. We ranked the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers and assigned a 14 to the No. 1 player, with the point total decreasing to just one point to the No. 14 ranked player at each position. Only one player from each team was ranked per position.


Ranking the ’s Offensive Triplets for 2015

 

1.

Total Points: 40

QB: Cardale Jones (1)

RB: Ezekiel Elliott (1)

WR: Michael Thomas (3)
 

Regardless of who starts under center for coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes have one of the nation’s best trios. Jones is penciled in as the starter at quarterback after guiding Ohio State to a 3-0 record and a national championship in his short tenure under center. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 696 yards over the final three games of last year, and Thomas led all Ohio State receivers with 54 catches in 2014.

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2.

Total Points: 35

QB: Christian Hackenberg (3)

RB: Akeel Lynch (5)

WR: DaeSean Hamilton (2)
 

Ranking Penn State at No. 2 in triplets largely depends on how far the offensive line develops during the offseason. The Nittany Lions struggled up front in 2014 and prevented the offense from taking off in coach James Franklin’s first year. Improvement is expected up front, which should allow quarterback Christian Hackenberg to rebound after an up and down 2014 campaign. Akeel Lynch rushed for at least 75 yards in three out of his last four outings, while Hamilton – only a sophomore – is among the Big Ten’s top receivers.

Related:

 

3.

Total Points: 29

QB: Tommy Armstrong (5)

RB: Terrell Newby (7)

WR: De’Mornay Pierson-El (4)
 

Adapting to new coach Mike Riley’s pro-style offense will be the biggest challenge for the Cornhuskers in 2015. However, the pieces are in place for Nebraska to rank among the Big Ten’s best offenses. Armstrong threw for 2,695 yards and 22 scores last season and has one of the top receiving corps in the with Jordan Westerkamp and all-around threat De’Mornay Pierson-El. Terrell Newby and Imani Cross will replace Ameer Abdullah’s production at running back.

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4.

Total Points: 29

QB: Joel Stave (9)

RB: Corey Clement (2)

WR: Alex Erickson (5)
 

Don’t expect much in the way of change for Wisconsin’s offense under new coach Paul Chryst. The former offensive coordinator for the Badgers is back in Madison after a three-year stint as Pittsburgh’s coach. Corey Clement should be a capable replacement for running back Melvin Gordon. However, question marks remain about quarterback Joel Stave and the options at receiver beyond Alex Erickson.

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5.

Total Points: 28

QB: Wes Lunt (4)

RB: Josh Ferguson (6)

WR: Geronimo Allison (7)
 

The Fighting Illini have plenty of offensive firepower in place, and this trio could rank higher if receiver Mike Dudek wasn’t lost for an indefinite period of time with a torn ACL. Lunt was off to a good start last season before a leg injury limited him to just eight games. Ferguson has rushed for 700 yards in back-to-back years and has 100 receptions in that span.

 

6.

Total Points: 23

QB: Connor Cook (2)

RB: Madre London (12)

WR: Aaron Burbridge (8)
 

If the Spartans had proven No. 1 starters at running back and receiver, they would rank much higher on this list. Madre London is listed at running back here, but Delton Williams, LJ Scott and Gerald Holmes will be in the mix for carries. Connor Cook is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, and the senior needs Aaron Burbridge and DeAnthony Arnett to step up in 2015.

 

7.

Total Points: 22

QB: Nate Sudfeld (6)

RB: Jordan Howard (4)

WR: J-Shun Harris (13)
 

Kevin Wilson’s specialty is offense, and the Hoosiers should take a step forward on the stat sheet after quarterback Nate Sudfeld missed a chunk of 2014 due to a shoulder injury. Sudfeld was ready to join the ranks of the Big Ten’s best at quarterback in 2013, throwing for 2,523 yards and 21 scores. Howard rushed for 1,587 yards at UAB last year and is expected to be the top replacement for Tevin Coleman. Harris is the team’s top returning receiver from 2014 – 18 catches for 168 yards.

 

8.

Total Points: 22

QB: Chris Laviano (13)

RB: Paul James (9)

WR: Leonte Carroo (1)
 

The Scarlet Knights have some intriguing offensive weapons in place for the 2015 season. But can new coordinator Ben McDaniels settle on a quarterback? Chris Laviano exited spring with a slight edge on Hayden Rettig for the No. 1 spot. James gets the nod at running back, but sophomores Josh Martin and Robert Hicks are two names to remember. Carroo averaged 19.2 yards per catch in games last year.

 

9.

Total Points: 21

QB: Jake Rudock (7)

RB: Ty Isaac (8)

WR: Amara Darboh (9)
 

There’s little doubt Jim Harbaugh will generate some improvement out of Michigan’s offense in 2015. And if the pieces fall into place, the Wolverines should climb this list during the year. Jake Rudock is eligible immediately after transferring from Iowa and is expected to start over Shane Morris. Ty Isaac and Derrick Green are expected to share carries in the backfield. Amara Darboh will replace Devin Funchess as the No. 1 target in the passing attack.

Related:

 

10.

Total Points: 19

QB: C.J. Beathard (10)

RB: Jordan Canzeri (10)

WR: Tevaun Smith (6)
 

C.J. Beathard has replaced Jake Rudock as Iowa’s starting quarterback, and the Hawkeyes hope the Tennessee native helps the offense stretch the field more in 2015. Jordan Canzeri headlines a solid stable of running backs, while Tevaun Smith averaged a healthy 13.9 yards per reception in 2014.

 

11.

Total Points: 19

QB: Matt Alviti (12)

RB: Justin Jackson (3)

WR: Christian Jones (11)
 

Justin Jackson had a breakout year for the Wildcats in 2014, leading the team with 1,187 yards and 10 rushing scores. Jackson remains the top back for Northwestern and will be among the Big Ten’s best in 2015. The Wildcats will spend fall practice sorting out their quarterback situation, as three candidates – Clayton Thorson, Matt Alviti and Zack Oliver – are vying for the No. 1 spot. Christian Jones is coming off a torn ACL and missed all of 2014.

 

12.

Total Points: 12

QB: Mitch Leidner (8)

RB: Rodrick Williams (11)

WR: K.J. Maye (14)
 

Minnesota’s formula for success won’t change with a power rushing attack on offense. David Cobb will be missed, but Rodrick Williams and Rodney Smith should provide plenty of production. The bigger question mark on the Golden Gopher offense is a passing attack that managed only 147.3 yards in games last year.

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13.

Total Points: 9

QB: Caleb Rowe (11)

RB: Brandon Ross (13)

WR: Juwann Winfree (12)
 

There’s a lot of uncertainty for Maryland on both sides of the ball in 2015. A new defensive scheme is the team’s biggest concern, but the Terrapins have to replace quarterback C.J. Brown and dynamic receiver Stefon Diggs. Rowe is recovering from a torn ACL and is expected to return at full strength by this fall. More production is needed from the running backs, while Winfree headlines a receiving corps that lost four out of its top five targets from 2014.

 

14.

Total Points: 7

QB: Austin Appleby (14)

RB: Keyante Green (14)

WR: Danny Anthrop (10)
 

Finding the right quarterback in coach Darrell Hazell’s biggest priority this offseason. Is Appleby the starter? Or should redshirt freshman David Blough or Danny Etling take the first snap? The concerns on offense extend to the running back spot, but there’s promise with Green and Markell Jones in 2015. Anthrop averaged 16.2 yards per catch last season and could be among the Big Ten’s top receivers. However, he’s also recovering from a torn ACL.

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Ranking the Big Ten's Offensive Triplets for 2015
Post date: Friday, May 22, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-spring-national-championship-odds-2015
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Spring practice is over for all 128 teams, which means it’s a long wait until the teams officially hit the field once again in the fall.

 

But there’s no shortage of college football news, as oddsmaker Bovada has released its updated national championship odds for 2015.

 

And it should be no surprise the Buckeyes open as the favorite at 7/2 odds.

 

A look through the odds shows some intriguing numbers, as Auburn – potentially a co-favorite in the SEC West with Alabama – is 12/1, while the Crimson Tide is a 7/1 favorite.

 

Other teams with favorable odds? How about Baylor at 20/1 or Georgia at 25/1?

 

College Football's Post-Spring National Title Odds
TeamNational Title Odds
Ohio State7/2
Alabama7/1
TCU10/1
Auburn12/1
Florida State12/1
USC18/1
Baylor20/1
Notre Dame20/1
Clemson22/1
Oregon22/1
Georgia25/1
Michigan State25/1
Oklahoma25/1
LSU28/1
UCLA28/1
Stanford33/1
Arkansas40/1
Michigan40/1
Ole Miss40/1
Texas A&M40/1
Tennessee50/1
Arizona State66/1
Florida66/1
Mississippi State66/1
Nebraska66/1
Texas66/1
Miami75/1
Wisconsin75/1
Arizona100/1
Georgia Tech100/1
Louisville100/1
Penn State100/1
South Carolina100/1
Utah100/1
Virginia Tech100/1
Washington100/1
Missouri150/1
Boise State200/1
BYU200/1
Kansas State200/1
Texas Tech200/1
West Virginia250/1
North Carolina300/1
Boston College500/1
California500/1
Cincinnati500/1
Duke500/1
Iowa500/1
Marshall500/1
Maryland500/1
Minnesota500/1
Northwestern500/1
Oregon State500/1
Pittsburgh500/1
Rutgers500/1
USF500/1
UCF500/1
  

 

Teaser:
College Football's Post-Spring National Title Odds for 2015
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 14:29
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-12s-offensive-triplets-2015
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The is known for its offensive firepower, and the league isn’t short on talent at quarterback, running back or receiver for 2015. Baylor and TCU are the favorites to win the league title this year, and both teams appear at the top of the offensive triplet power rankings. The Bears need to find a new quarterback, but there’s a strong track record of finding the next standout passer under Art Briles. The Horned Frogs return one of the nation’s top quarterbacks (Trevone Boykin) and a solid group of running backs and receivers.

 

To help pick the top offensive triplets in each of the Power 5 leagues, we devised a simple formula. We ranked the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers and assigned a 10 to the No. 1 player, with the point total decreasing to just one point to the No. 10 ranked player at each position. Only one player from each team was ranked per position.

 

Ranking the Big 12’s Offensive Triplets for 2015

 

1.

Total Points: 27

QB: Seth Russell (3)

RB: Shock Linwood (2)

WR: Corey Coleman (1)
 

Baylor has averaged over 40 points a game in four consecutive seasons. Good luck stopping the Bears in 2015. Even with quarterback Bryce Petty expiring his eligibility, Baylor is loaded with offensive talent. Russell has played well in limited action, and coach Art Briles has a strong track record of developing quarterbacks. Shock Linwood rushed for 1,252 yards and 16 scores last season, while the receiving corps is the nation’s best, headlined by Corey Coleman and KD Cannon.

Related:

 

2.

Total Points: 25

QB: Trevone Boykin (1)

RB: Aaron Green (4)

WR: Josh Doctson (3)
 

TCU’s offense showed major improvement under co-coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie in 2014. After averaging only 25.1 points per game in 2013, the Horned Frogs increased that total to 46.5 last season. Boykin also emerged as one of the nation’s most improved quarterbacks and opens 2015 as one of the favorites to win the Heisman. TCU has a solid crop of playmakers in place, including Aaron Green (7.2 ypc in 2014) and Doctson (11 TD catches).

Related:

 

3.

Total Points: 25

QB: Baker Mayfield (5)

RB: Samaje Perine (1)

WR: Sterling Shepard (2)
 

Yes, the Sooners have a new scheme and coordinator (Lincoln Riley), but the offense is still going to rely heavily on one of the nation’s top backfields. Samaje Perine rushed for 1,713 yards and 21 scores as a true freshman in 2014, and he will have plenty of help from Joe Mixon and Alex Ross. Having a healthy Sterling Shepard at receiver should make a difference for new quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Related:

 

4.

Total Points: 22

QB: Patrick Mahomes (4)

RB: DeAndre Washington (3)

WR: Jakeem Grant (4)
 

Offense is always a strength for Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders are loaded with talent for 2015. Patrick Mahomes is likely to start over Davis Webb, and the sophomore should improve off a solid stat line as a freshman (1,547 yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs). DeAndre Washington was the first 1,000-yard rusher in Lubbock since 1998. Jakeem Grant led the team in receptions and receiving yards last year.

Related:

 

5.

Total Points: 18

QB: Mason Rudolph (2)

RB: Rennie Childs (8)

WR: Brandon Sheperd (5)
 

Oklahoma State’s 27.6 scoring average in 2014 was its first year under 30 points since 2009. The Cowboys should get their offense back on track in 2015, as quarterback Mason Rudolph is one of the rising stars in the , and there’s no shortage of weapons at receiver. Rennie Childs has the inside track on the starting running back spot. However, junior college recruit Chris Carson is a name to watch.

 

6.

Total Points: 14

QB: Skyler Howard (6)

RB: Rushel Shell (6)

WR: Jordan Thompson (7)
 

It’s a safe bet to assume Dana Holgorsen will find the right answers for West Virginia’s offense in 2015. Skyler Howard started the final two games of 2014 and threw for six touchdowns and 631 yards in that span. Although Howard showed promise, he also has to raise his completion percentage after recording a 50.9 mark in 2014. Kevin White will be tough to replace at receiver, and Daikiel Shorts, Thompson and Shelton Gibson are the frontrunners to lead the team in receiving. The running back position is a strength after Rushel Shell rushed for 788 yards in 12 games last year.

 

7.

Total Points: 13

QB: Tyrone Swoopes (7)

RB: Johnathan Gray (5)

WR: Marcus Johnson (8)
 

Don’t expect Texas to rank near the bottom of in offense for long. The Longhorns will have more growing pains in 2015, but coach Charlie Strong and coordinator Shawn Watson have this group trending in the right direction. Swoopes and Jerrod Heard are locked into a tight battle for the quarterback job, and regardless of who starts under center, Texas needs to develop a few options at receiver. Johnathan Gray rushed for 636 yards last season and should be better a full year removed from a torn Achilles.

Related:

 

8.

Total Points: 9

QB: Sam Richardson (8)

RB: Tyler Brown (10)

WR: Allen Lazard (6)
 

The Cyclones have potential to climb this list by the end of 2015. Sam Richardson was steady in his first year under coordinator Mark Mangino (2,669 yards, 18 TDs), while Allen Lazard or Quenton Bundrage (back from a torn ACL) provide big-play ability at receiver. Running back is the biggest uncertainty, but there’s potential with Tyler Brown or Mike Warren.

 

9.

Total Points: 6

QB: Joe Hubener (9)

RB: Charles Jones (9)

WR: Kody Cook (9)
 

It’s tough to count out coach Bill Snyder’s team in the title picture, but the Wildcats lost two key offensive standouts in quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett. Hubener did not start a game at quarterback in high school and will be pushed by true freshman Alex Delton and Jesse Ertz for snaps in 2015.

 

10.

Total Points: 6

QB: Michael Cummings (10)

RB: Corey Avery (7)

WR: Rodriguez Coleman (10)
 

It’s going to be a long year for new coach David Beaty. Out of the three names mentioned above, it’s uncertain if any will actually play for the Jayhawks in 2015. Cummings suffered a knee injury in the spring game, and Avery and Coleman were both suspended indefinitely. 

Teaser:
Ranking the Big 12's Offensive Triplets for 2015
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-spring-heisman-2015-odds
Body:

The 2015 season doesn’t begin until September, but there’s no shortage of news to keep the conversation moving until kickoff.

 

With Everett Golson transferring to Florida State, oddsmakers have shifted the outlook for the Heisman race.

 

on Wednesday morning to reflect Golson’s transfer, and the former Notre Dame passer is listed at 14/1.

 

Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott tops the list at 6/1, while LSU’s Leonard Fournette checks in at 15/2.

 

Below are the complete list of odds by Bovada (updated after Golson’s transfer), and three names we like that are good buy-low options:

 

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Talented sophomore takes control of Clemson’s high-powered offense.

 

Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn

Auburn is a dark-horse national title contender in 2015.

 

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Should be an All-American in 2015 after an impressive freshman campaign last year.

 

Post-Spring Heisman Odds from Bovada (updated May 20)
Player/Position/TeamOdds
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State6/1
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU15/2
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State8/1
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia8/1
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU8/1
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State12/1
Cody Kessler, QB, USC12/1
Everett Golson, QB, Florida State14/1
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama16/1
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA18/1
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State20/1
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson20/1
Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn20/1
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma20/1
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State25/1
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State28/1
Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin33/1
Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech33/1
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon33/1
Seth Russell, QB, Baylor33/1
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami40/1
D.J. Foster, RB/WR, Arizona State40/1
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State40/1
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh40/1
Malik Zaire, QB, Notre Dame40/1
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State40/1
Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona40/1
Taysom Hill, QB, BYU40/1
Jared Goff, QB, California50/1
Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State66/1
Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee66/1
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss66/1
Marquise Williams, QB, North Carolina66/1
Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona66/1

 

Teaser:
College Football's Post-Spring Heisman 2015 Odds
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 13:04
Path: /college-football/nebraska-or-michigan-which-team-has-better-chance-finish-top-25-2015
Body:

and are two of the ’s most intriguing teams to watch in 2015. Both programs have new coaches guiding the program, as former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh has returned to Ann Arbor, while Mike Riley was hired to replace Bo Pelini in Lincoln.

 

With the coaching changes at both programs, combined with an intriguing core of talent, the Cornhuskers and Wolverines have potential to finish among the nation’s top 25 teams this season.

 

But which program is more likely to do so? Athlon Sports continues its look at some of the top preseason storylines with a look at or and which is more likely to finish in the top 25. 

 

Nebraska or Michigan: Which Team has a Better Chance to Finish in the Top 25 in 2015?

 

Brent Yarina, (), Senior Editor

Nebraska is my pick. Actually, I’m not sure either will find itself in the top 25 by season’s end, but, if forced to pick one, the Cornhuskers are the safer pick. Being ranked at the bottom of the poll is all about getting to the eight-, nine-win mark, and Nebraska has the talent and schedule to get there. Personnel-wise, I trust Tommy Armstrong, De’Mornay Pierson-El (breakout player alert!), Jordan Westerkamp and the running back committee far more than what Michigan is rolling out there. Also, its Big Ten road games (Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue & Rutgers) are beyond manageable. The home games (Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan State & Iowa) are far more challenging, but Nebraska is 12-4 in home games since joining the conference.

 

Joshua Henschke, (),

I think it all depends on who can get the quarterbacks performing up to snuff the fastest. Both have new offensive schemes with new head coaches. Michigan needs to find an answer at quarterback, wide receiver and running back while Nebraska has Tommy Armstrong but needs a replacement for Ameer Abdullah's absence.

 

I think schedule alone gives the nod to Nebraska, it appears, on paper at least, to be easier. Michigan will need to finish with a strong finish to the season in order to achieve any type of Top 25 standing. Is it possible? Sure, but Michigan has a long way to go. I will have to give the nod to Nebraska right now, Michigan has too many questions that need immediate answers.

 

Steven Lassan ()

This is a tough one, as I think both teams have a good shot to finish in the top 25. But if I have to pick one, I would take Nebraska over Michigan. The Wolverines have a tougher path in the East Division with two top-10 teams in Ohio State and Michigan State, along with an improving Penn State squad. Jim Harbaugh is the nation’s top coaching hire for 2015, and Jake Rudock should provide stability at quarterback. But Nebraska’s path to a spot in the final top 25 poll is much easier. The Cornhuskers catch the Spartans in crossover play, but the other game (at Rutgers) in play against the East Division is very manageable. And Nebraska hosts Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa this year – three potential swing games in the West. Sure, there will be a transition period for Nebraska in coach Mike Riley’s first year. However, there’s also a lot to like about this team. If quarterback Tommy Armstrong settles into the new offensive attack, and the defense fills a few voids in the front seven, challenging for the West Division title isn’t out of reach. There’s no doubt Harbaugh is going to have Michigan playing better in 2015. But I like Nebraska to edge the Wolverines in the final rankings and push for a top-25 finish.

Related:

 

Sammy Jacobs, (),

The Michigan Wolverines and the Nebraska Cornhuskers are two big-time names in the Big Ten who are facing similar circumstances. Both teams will have new head coaches (Jim Harbaugh and Mike Riley) and will have to replace big-time pieces on their offense, for Michigan it is Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess, while Nebraska has to fill the shoes of Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell. So who has the better chance at finishing the 2015 season in the Top 25? Well, that would have to be the Cornhuskers. Let me tell you why. I figure it would take either team at least nine wins to crack the Top-25 based on the records of the teams in last year’s final poll. First, let’s look at the schedules. Michigan plays a much tougher non-conference schedule and is in the much harder East and plays Ohio State and Michigan State, while Nebraska gets to play both Purdue and Illinois. Michigan will be hard pressed to break the seven win mark as they try and break in a new quarterback Jake Ruddock - assuming he is the starter - and will have to replace a ton of talent on an already struggling offense. It could be difficult for the Huskers to sneak into the top-25 as well, but they do have the better opportunity for that to happen.

 

Braden Gall ()

Can I say both? I'd definitely lean Nebraska over Michigan if I had to pick one, but I think both are really good picks to overachieve their preseason rankings. Both rosters have talent, in particular, on defense. The two biggest differences on the field are the edge Nebraska gets in the scheduling department and in the offensive backfield. Mike Riley should be excellent on the ground with a two-headed rushing attack while Michigan may have not find its rushing identity right away. The Huskers play a significantly easier schedule within the Big Ten. Both play a tough road non-conference game and BYU at home outside of the Big Ten, but the Wolverines league slate is significantly more difficult. That alone gives Nebraska a really good shot at landing in the Big Ten title game while even a great year for Jim Harbaugh likely leads to a second- or third-place finish in the East.

Related:

 

Kevin McGuire (),

Michigan fans have every right to be excited about the future of the program with Jim Harbaugh taking control of the Wolverines, but expectations should be slightly scaled back in 2015. A schedule that opens on the road against Utah and includes BYU in non-conference play and later sees a late-season road game at Penn State followed by big, bad Ohio State the following week is not easy, and I did not even mention Michigan State visiting Ann Arbor. The Spartans have owned Michigan in the in-state rivalry lately, and they still seem to have the more well-rounded team heading into the new season.

 

Nebraska must play the Spartans as well, but Nebraska skips Ohio State this year. New head coach Mike Riley also has challenging non-conference match-ups against BYU and at Miami to deal with, but the schedule seems to be more favorable to the Huskers. Nebraska also has a solidified quarterback situation and a returning cast of receivers to keep the offense going while the defense brings back eight starters. Nebraska can afford a slow start more than Harbaugh and the Wolverines can this year.

 

J.P. Scott (), Athlon Sports Contributor Network

There isn’t much on Michigan's roster that would keep me up at night as an opposing coordinator. They simply don't have the horses to hang with Michigan State or Ohio State and will open as underdogs at Utah.

 

Iowa transfer Jake Rudock provides senior leadership at quarterback, but it’ll be a rebuilding effort for Jim Harbaugh during his first season.

 

On the other hand, Mike Riley inherits the core of a Nebraska team that was two plays from winning 11 games last year. His staff is talented enough to mold the Huskers into his vision quickly. Having arguably the best group of receivers in the won’t hurt.

 

The Huskers are good enough to beat every team on their schedule and they’ll likely reach double-digit wins.

 

I’ll take Nebraska.

 

Mark Ross ()

Jim Harbaugh was a home-run hire for Michigan, make no mistake about it, but I actually think first-year Nebraska coach Mike Riley is positioned for more success in Year 1 at his new school. Riley inherits a team that won nine games last season and returns its starting quarterback, along with several other key pieces on both side of the ball. Harbaugh, on the other hand, is in many ways starting over, not only instilling his philosophies and his way of doing things into the program, but also in terms of personnel, especially on offense.

 

Both fanbases should be pretty happy with the new direction their respective programs are heading, but in my opinion the Cornhuskers have the look of a potential top-25 team, while the Wolverines still seem a year away. Don’t forget that defending national champion Ohio State and an extremely talented and well-coached Michigan State team also reside in Michigan’s division, making Harbaugh’s job this season that much tougher.

Teaser:
Nebraska or Michigan: Which Team has a Better Chance to Finish in the Top 25 in 2015?
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 12:30
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The is losing some offensive star power with the departure of Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Miami’s Duke Johnson to the NFL. But there’s a talented group of young players ready to step up this season, starting with Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. The sophomore takes control of the Tigers’ high-powered attack and should keep coach Dabo Swinney’s team in the mix to win the . Pittsburgh running back James Conner and receiver Tyler Boyd are two of the best in the nation and will continue to carry the Panthers’ offense in 2015.

 

To help pick the top offensive triplets in each of the Power 5 leagues, we devised a simple formula. We ranked the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers and assigned a 14 to the No. 1 player, with the point total decreasing to just one point to the No. 14 ranked player at each position. Only one player from each team was ranked per position.

 

Ranking the ’s Offensive Triplets for 2015

 

1.

Total Points: 36

QB: Deshaun Watson (1)

RB: Wayne Gallman (6)

WR: Artavis Scott (2)
 

Chad Morris will be missed as Clemson’s play-caller, but the Tigers should still have one of the ’s top offenses. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the nation’s rising stars and will be at full strength from a torn ACL by this fall. Scott and Gallman showed promise as freshmen last season and depth is plentiful at running back and receiver.

Related:
 

2.

Total Points: 36

QB: Chad Voytik (7)

RB: James Conner (1)

WR: Tyler Boyd (1)
 

Pat Narduzzi is known for his defensive acumen, but the first-year coach inherits some of the ACC’s top offensive talent. James Conner (RB) and Tyler Boyd (WR) are two of the nation’s top playmakers at their respective positions. Quarterback Chad Voytik played better in the second half of 2014 by tossing only one interception in his final six games.

Related:

 

3.

Total Points: 34

QB: Everett Golson (6)

RB: Dalvin Cook (2)

WR: Travis Rudolph (3)
 

Jameis Winston leaves big shoes to fill, but coach Jimbo Fisher is one of the nation’s best quarterback coaches. Sean Maguire started one game last season (Clemson) and finished 2014 with 339 passing yards on 25 completions. However, Everett Golson is transferring to Florida State and is considered by many to be the favorite to take the first snap of 2015. Cook averaged 141.3 rushing yards over the final three games of 2014, while Rudolph caught 38 passes as a true freshman.

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4.

Total Points: 30

QB: Brad Kaaya (2)

RB: Joseph Yearby (4)

WR: Stacy Coley (9)
 

After an impressive freshman season, Kaaya returns as one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks in 2015. Kaaya led the with a 145.9 quarterback rating last year and tossed 26 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. With Duke Johnson off to the NFL, the Hurricanes need a few skill players to emerge to help Kaaya. Joseph Yearby will share time with Gus Edwards at running back, but Yearby is likely to be the starter after averaging 5.9 yards per carry last year. Miami needs Stacy Coley to regain his freshman form after averaging only eight yards per catch in 2014.

Related:

 

5.

Total Points: 27

QB: Marquise Williams (4)

RB: T.J. Logan (10)

WR: Ryan Switzer (4)
 

Under Larry Fedora’s watch, scoring points hasn’t been a problem for North Carolina. The Tar Heels have averaged at least 30 points per game in three consecutive seasons and should easily hit that mark in 2015. Marquise Williams ranked second in the last year by averaging 296.6 total yards per game. Logan averaged 4.9 yards per carry in 2014, while Switzer led the team with 61 receptions.

Related:

 

6.

Total Points: 23

QB: Jacoby Brissett (5)

RB: Shadrach Thornton (5)

WR: Bra’Lon Cherry (12)
 

Jacoby Brissett shined in his first season at NC State, throwing for 2,606 yards and 23 scores. The senior should be better in his second year and will push for All-ACC honors. The Wolfpack has to develop a few targets at receiver after Bo Hines decided to transfer after the 2014 season. Shadrach Thornton headlines one of the ’s deepest backfields.

 

7.

Total Points: 23

QB: Reggie Bonnafon (8)

RB: Brandon Radcliff (8)

WR: James Quick (6)
 

If Bonnafon settles into the starting job, Louisville’s offense could improve off last year’s scoring average (31.2). Bonnafon finished spring ahead of Kyle Bolin, Will Gardner and Tyler Ferguson, and the sophomore’s mobility is a huge asset with uncertainty on the offensive line. Radcliff will share carries with Jeremy Smith and L.J. Scott, and Quick is slated to move into the No. 1 receiver role after the departure of DeVante Parker.

 

8.

Total Points: 22

QB: Michael Brewer (9)

RB: J.C. Coleman (9)

WR: Isaiah Ford (5)
 

It’s no secret the strength of Virginia Tech is its defense. But the Hokies should show some improvement on this side of the ball after averaging only 19.4 points per game in contests in 2014. Michael Brewer tossed 15 interceptions last season and cutting that number in half would help the offense take a step forward. Isaiah Ford is primed for a breakout season after catching 56 passes in 2014, while J.C. Coleman headlines the ground attack after recording at least 95 yards in each of his final four games.

 

9.

Total Points: 20

QB: Darius Wade (14)

RB: Jon Hilliman (3)

WR: Sherman Alston (8)
 

The Eagles could climb this list by a few spots if Darius Wade quickly settles in at quarterback. Wade completed 3 of 8 passes for 23 yards and rushed for 12 yards as a freshman last year. The receiving corps doesn’t have a plethora of proven options, but Alston is an all-purpose threat. Hilliman rushed for 860 yards as a true freshman last season.

 

10.

Total Points: 19

QB: Matt Johns (12)

RB: Taquan Mizzell (7)

WR: Caanan Severin (7)
 

With Greyson Lambert transferring out of Charlottesville, Johns has a firm grip on the starting quarterback job. Getting more production out of the quarterback spot is a priority for coach Mike London this season, and Johns won’t have to look over his shoulder with Lambert out of the mix. Mizzell is a breakout candidate, and Severin returns after leading the team with 42 catches in 2014.

 

11.

Total Points: 16

QB: Justin Thomas (3)

RB: Broderick Snoddy (12)

WR: Ricky Jeune (14)
 

Uncertainty remains for the Yellow Jackets’ offense at running back and receiver. Quarterback Justin Thomas should be among the ’s top playmakers this season, but the junior needs help from the supporting cast. Snoddy averaged 10.1 yards per carry in 2014 and is expected to be at full strength after missing the final four games of last year with a leg injury. Jeune is a promising 6-foot-3 target looking for his first career catch in 2015.

Related:

 

12.

Total Points: 14

QB: Thomas Sirk (10)

RB: Shaquille Powell (11)

WR: Max McCaffrey (10)
 

Knowing coach David Cutcliffe’s track record at Duke, ranking the Blue Devils at No. 12 here is probably too low. Thomas Sirk showed promise in limited action last season, rushing for 238 yards and eight scores and completing 10 of 14 passes for 67 yards. Powell is expected to lead the team in rushing yardage, but he will have help from Shaun Wilson and Jela Duncan. McCaffrey should see more catches with the departure of Jamison Crowder to the NFL.

Related:

 

13.

Total Points: 10

QB: Terrel Hunt (11)

RB: Devante McFarlane (13)

WR: Steve Ishmael (11)
 

Having a healthy (and full) year from Terrel Hunt should help Syracuse’s offense find a spark after scoring only 17.1 points per game in 2014. McFarlane slides into the No. 1 role in the backfield after averaging six yards per carry on 28 attempts last season. Ishmael is a promising receiver for coordinator Tim Lester after he grabbed 27 receptions for 415 yards and three touchdowns in 2014.

 

14.

Total Points: 5

QB: John Wolford (13)

RB: Dezmond Wortham (14)

WR: Jared Crump (13)
 

The biggest question mark on Wake Forest’s roster isn’t any of the three positions listed above. Rather, it’s an offensive line that allowed 48 sacks in 2014 and enters 2015 with plenty of question marks. If that group improves, so should the production from Wolford, Wortham and Crump. Wolford completed 214 of 367 passes for 2,037 yards and 12 scores as a true freshman last year.

Teaser:
Ranking the ACC's Offensive Triplets for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/what-everett-golsons-transfer-means-florida-state-and-college-football
Body:

The battle to replace Jameis Winston at has extra competition. Former  starter Everett Golson announced his intention to transfer to Tallahassee on Tuesday, and the senior will be eligible immediately as a graduate student. Sean Maguire finished spring as the Seminoles' No. 1 quarterback, but Golson will provide depth at the position and push for the starting job in the fall.

 

Golson completed 443 of 745 passes during his two years at Notre Dame and threw for 5,850 yards and 41 scores. Golson also tossed 20 interceptions in two seasons as the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish.

 

What Everett Golson’s Transfer Means for Florida State

 

1. Taking Everett Golson is the Right Move for Florida State

 

Winston’s production, leadership and on-field performance simply won’t be replaced by in 2015. And regardless of whether it’s Sean Maguire or Golson taking the first snap, the Seminoles were in a transition season. But taking Golson is really a low-risk, high-reward move for Florida State. After Maguire, the Seminoles have talented freshmen in J.J. Cosentino, De’Andre Johnson and Deondre Francois and sophomore John Franklin III competing for snaps. That’s a lot of youth. Even if Golson doesn’t win the starting job, he’s a proven backup and a good insurance plan.

 

Considering Maguire’s small sample size of snaps, it’s hard to compare the two quarterbacks before fall practice. However, Golson is talented and has experience at a major college program. That’s an upgrade over Maguire’s resume so far in his career.

 

2. Golson is Not Guaranteed the Starting Job

 

Coach Jimbo Fisher has already made this clear. Maguire finished spring as the top quarterback in Tallahassee, and the junior has one career start (Clemson, 2014) under his belt. Maguire was a three-star prospect in the 2012 signing class and the No. 564 prospect by 247Sports. The New Jersey native clearly lacks the experience that Golson has from two years at Notre Dame. However, Maguire has a clear edge in learning the playbook – but Golson isn’t transferring to sit on the bench.

 

3. How Quickly Can Golson Learn Florida State’s Offense?

 

That’s the big question. Not every graduate transfer at quarterback has succeeded at his new destination. For every Russell Wilson (Wisconsin), there’s a handful of quarterbacks that couldn’t pick up the offense in time or acclimate to their new surroundings. Florida State’s offense is not easy to learn in a short amount of time. Fisher is one of the best in the nation at tutoring quarterbacks and developing offenses, and it’s not easy for a player with a couple of months to pick up the offense. If – and it’s a big if – Golson masters the offense by the end of August, he could start the full season at .

 

4. Golson’s Mobility Could be an Asset

 

In two years of snaps at Notre Dame, Golson rushed for 581 yards and 14 scores. Here’s why that could be important in 2015: Florida State’s offensive line returns only one starter. If the line struggles early, having a quarterback that can create plays outside of the pocket would be an asset for Fisher.

 

5. Does this Change Florida State’s Outlook in the ACC?

 

Not much. or Clemson was the favorite in the this season, and Golson’s decision to transfer might tip the scales slightly in favor of the Seminoles just a bit more. As we mentioned above, Florida State is in transition this year. The Seminoles return only 10 starters and have holes to fill on both sides of the ball. Golson probably won't have a season-defining impact but he is likely worth at least one win for Florida State.

 

6. Does this Push Florida State into National Title Contention?

 

As a team, is better with Golson in the mix. But Golson’s decision to play for the Seminoles doesn’t move this team into Playoff contention. Florida State has enough talent and a favorable schedule to win 10 or 11 games this year. However, becoming a Playoff team will depend heavily on how much the offensive line develops and if the defense improves after ranking ninth or worse in the in the four major categories. Golson certainly helps, but there are bigger question marks for Fisher than the quarterback.

 

7. Who Takes the First Snap for Florida State in 2015?

 

This battle will be close. Maguire started his only game against the nation’s top defense (Clemson) last year and had an up-and-down spring game (which doesn’t mean a whole lot). After spending three years in Fisher’s system, Maguire has a clear edge when it comes to knowledge of the playbook. But the guess here is Golson outperforms Maguire and takes the first snap for versus Texas State on Sept. 5.

Teaser:
What Everett Golson's Transfer Means to Florida State and College Football
Post date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 14:03
Path: /college-football/cal-footballs-new-rumored-white-helmets-are-awesome
Body:

’s blue and gold traditional uniforms could have some extra company in 2015. Pictures of a new white helmet have started to circulate recently, which features the school’s new logo instead of the “Cal” script.

 

Even if unveils these for just a game or two, it’s an awesome new look for coach Sonny Dykes’ team.

 

Needless to say, these helmets have our stamp of approval:

 

Teaser:
Cal Football's New (Rumored) White Helmets Are Awesome
Post date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 12:25
Path: /college-football/ranking-pac-12s-offensive-triplets-2015
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The is one of ’s top conferences for offense, and the league is loaded with talent headed into 2015. Even with Marcus Mariota leaving Oregon, there’s no shortage of proven options at quarterback, and the skill talent is deep at running back and receiver.

 

To help pick the top offensive triplets in each of the Power 5 leagues, we devised a simple formula. We ranked the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers and assigned a 12 to the No. 1 player, with the point total decreasing to just one point to the No. 12 ranked player at each position. Only one player from each team was ranked per position.

 

Ranking the Pac-12’s Offensive Triplets for 2015

 

1.

Total Points: 29
QB: Anu Solomon (3)
RB: Nick Wilson (4)
WR: Cayleb Jones (3)
 

Arizona averaged 33.4 points per game in contests last season, and coach Rich Rodriguez’s offense could be even better in 2015. Quarterback Anu Solomon is returning to full strength after suffering from an ankle injury late in 2014. Wilson and Jones are among the ’s top playmakers.

 

2.

Total Points: 27
QB: Vernon Adams (4)
RB: Royce Freeman (3)
WR: Byron Marshall (5)
 

Marcus Mariota will be missed, but the Ducks offense should still remain among the ’s best. Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams replaces Mariota at quarterback, and Oregon’s running back and wide receiving corps are among the best in .

Related:

 

3.

Total Points: 27
QB: Cody Kessler (1)
RB: Justin Davis (10)
WR: JuJu Smith (1)
 

The only thing holding USC back from ranking No. 1 on this list is the committee approach at running back. Will someone step up as the go-to back in 2015? Cody Kessler ranks as the Pac-12’s best quarterback, and JuJu Smith should have a huge year as the Trojans’ top receiver.

Related:

 

4.

Total Points: 26
QB: Jared Goff (2)
RB: Daniel Lasco (5)
WR: Kenny Lawler (6)
 

The Golden Bears ranked No. 2 in the (conference-only games) by averaging 37.6 points per contest last year. Don’t be surprised if that number climbs even higher in 2015, as coach Sonny Dykes has a loaded receiver corps, one of the nation’s rising stars at quarterback in Jared Goff, along with an underrated running back in Daniel Lasco.

 

5.

Total Points: 24
QB: Josh Rosen (9)
RB: Paul Perkins (2)
WR: Jordan Payton (4)
 

Uncertainty remains at quarterback with the departure of Brett Hundley, but true freshman Josh Rosen is one of the top recruits in the 2015 signing class. Running back Paul Perkins led the with 1,575 rushing yards last season, and receiver Jordan Payton averaged 14.3 yards per reception in conference games.

 

6.

Total Points: 21
QB: Mike Bercovici (5)
RB: Demario Richard (6)
WR: D.J. Foster (7)
 

The Sun Devils have a balanced trio and could easily climb this list by the end of 2015. Bercovici has played well in limited action, and Richard is set to have a breakout year as Arizona State’s No. 1 running back. D.J. Foster will slide from running back to receiver to replace the production lost by Jaelen Strong.

Related:

 

7.

Total Points: 19
QB: Sefo Liufau (7)
RB: Christian Powell (11)
WR: Nelson Spruce (2)
 

Expect to see plenty of Liufau to Spruce connections in Boulder this spring, as the Buffaloes ranked third in the Pac-12 with 545 pass attempts in 2014. Liufau is one of the conference’s rising stars, while Spruce tied for the lead with 12 touchdown catches last year. Christian Powell leads the way in the backfield after leading the team in rushing in each of the last three seasons.

 

8.

Total Points: 18
QB: Travis Wilson (8)
RB: Devontae Booker (1)
WR: Kenneth Scott (12)
 

If the passing game takes a step forward, there’s potential for the Utes to rank higher on the list by the end of 2015. Devontae Booker is coming off a standout 2014 campaign and ranks as Athlon’s top running back in the . Wilson cut his interceptions from 16 in 2013 to just five in 313 attempts last year.

Related:

 

9.

Total Points: 17
QB: Kevin Hogan (6)
RB: Christian McCaffrey (8)
WR: Devon Cajuste (8)
 

The Pac-12’s overall offensive depth pushes Stanford down this list a bit, but the Cardinal has a balanced and effective trio. Quarterback Kevin Hogan finished the year on a high note, and the offense should benefit from a full year of Christian McCaffrey as the go-to running back. Devon Cajuste averaged 16.4 yards per catch in 2014.

 

10.

Total Points: 10
QB: Seth Collins (12)
RB: Storm Woods (7)
WR: Victor Bolden (10)
 

Solving the quarterback position is new coach Gary Andersen’s biggest task this offseason. Collins enrolled in time to compete this spring and has an edge to start over redshirt freshman Nick Mitchell. Storm Woods should reach 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career, while Bolden is back after leading the team with 72 receptions in 2014.

Related:

 

11.

Total Points: 8
QB: Luke Falk (10)
RB: Jamal Morrow (12)
WR: River Cracraft (9)
 

This is another team poised to climb the rankings if the pieces fall into place. Luke Falk and Peyton Bender are locked into a tight battle for the starting quarterback spot, and the receiving corps is loaded with playmakers. Washington State won’t run the ball a ton, but Morrow caught 61 passes last year.

 

12.

Total Points: 8
QB: K.J. Carta-Samuels (11)
RB: Dwayne Washington (9)
WR: Jaydon Mickens (11)
 

Second-year coach Chris Petersen has a busy offseason ahead. Washington returns only nine starters, has uncertainty at quarterback and must replace three standout defensive players from 2014. K.J. Carta-Samuels gets a slight edge at quarterback, but Jeff Lindquist and Jake Browning aren’t far behind. Washington rushed for at least 100 yards in three out of his last four games and should see an increased workload in 2015.

Teaser:
Ranking the Pac-12's Offensive Triplets for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/ranking-secs-offensive-triplets-2015
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Proven offensive talent is plentiful in the this year. Quarterback Dak Prescott should be among the frontrunners to earn first-team All-America honors, while running back Nick Chubb is one of the leading candidates to win the Heisman. Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell should be back at 100 percent after a leg injury ended his 2014 season.

 

Ranking the best quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers by conference is a key part of any offseason preview. But what happens when you combine those three positions to form a trio? Of course, this is a fictional argument since there’s no game that compares the trios of any team. But it’s an interesting offseason question to debate.

 

To help pick the top offensive triplets in each of the Power 5 leagues, we devised a simple formula. We ranked the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers and assigned a 14 to the No. 1 player, with the point total decreasing to just one point to the No. 14 ranked player at each position. Only one player from each team was ranked per position. 

 

Ranking the SEC’s Offensive Triplets for 2015

 

1.

Total Points: 31

QB: Jeremy Johnson (2)

RB: Jovon Robinson (9)

WR: Duke Williams (3)

 

Gus Malzahn’s offense has averaged over 30 points per game in back-to-back seasons in contests. The 2015 version of ’s offense will be just as explosive, as quarterback Jeremy Johnson is a rising star, and there’s no shortage of skill talent, including All-America candidate at receiver Duke Williams.

 

Related:

 

2.

Total Points: 29

QB: Joshua Dobbs (3)

RB: Jalen Hurd (6)

WR: Marquez North (7)

 

Tennessee is on its way back into East title contention under third-year coach Butch Jones. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs shined in the second half of 2014, and the junior will be surrounded by a young and talented group of skill players. Hurd leads the way in the Volunteers’ backfield, but junior college recruit (and former Alabama running back) Alvin Kamara is a player to watch in 2015. Receiver Marquez North was limited by injuries last season.

 

Related:

 

3.

Total Points: 27

QB: Dak Prescott (1)

RB: Ashton Shumpert (13)

WR: De’Runnya Wilson (4)

 

and Arkansas tied for the third spot on this list, but let’s give the edge to the Bulldogs with the ’s No. 1 quarterback in senior Dak Prescott. While running back Josh Robinson will be missed, there’s talent in place with Ashton Shumpert and Aeris Williams battling for carries. Wilson averaged 15.3 yards per catch in SEC games last year.

 

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4.

Total Points: 27

QB: Brandon Allen (6)

RB: Alex Collins/Jonathan Williams (4)

WR: Keon Hatcher (8)

 

The Razorbacks improved their scoring average by 11.2 points per game from 2013 to 2014. Expect this unit to take another step forward under new coordinator Dan Enos, as Arkansas returns an experienced quarterback in Brandon Allen and the nation’s top running back duo in Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams.

 

Related:

 

5.

Total Points: 25

QB: Brice Ramsey (9)

RB: Nick Chubb (1)

WR: Malcolm Mitchell (10)

 

New coordinator Brian Schottenheimer doesn’t plan to alter the strength of Georgia’s offense, but the passing attack needs some work with a new quarterback and uncertainty at receiver. Running back Nick Chubb is one of the nation’s best, while the Bulldogs need a healthy year from receiver Malcolm Mitchell.

 

Related:

 

6.

Total Points: 24

QB: Kyle Allen (4)

RB: Tra Carson (11)

WR: Josh Reynolds (6)

 

The Aggies will have an explosive offense once again. Coach Kevin Sumlin’s team is loaded with talent at running back and receiver, while quarterback Kyle Allen should thrive in his first full season as the starter.

 

Related:

 

7.

Total Points: 23

QB: Jacob Coker (8)

RB: Derrick Henry (3)

WR: Robert Foster (11)

 

It wouldn’t be a surprise if finishes higher on this list in 2015. But ranking higher than No. 7 in the postseason largely depends on how far the Crimson Tide’s passing attack develops. Jacob Coker is the projected starter here, but David Cornwell is still in the mix. There’s talent at receiver. But who steps up to replace Amari Cooper?

 

Related:

 

8.

Total Points: 22

QB: Brandon Harris (12)

RB: Leonard Fournette (2)

WR: Travin Dural (6)

 

Quarterback remains a question mark for coach Les Miles, but LSU has one of the nation’s top running backs in sophomore Leonard Fournette, along with a cast of talented receivers. Travin Dural ranked third among receivers with eight catches for 30 yards or more in 2015.

 

9.

Total Points: 22

QB: Maty Mauk (5)

RB: Russell Hansbrough (5)

WR: Nate Brown (13)

 

Ranking Missouri ninth in the in offensive triplets seems low considering the success this team has had in finding new receivers under coach Gary Pinkel. Nate Brown appears to be the next standout receiver for the Tigers, but the offense also needs better play from quarterback Maty Mauk in SEC games (48.9 percent in league games last year). Russell Hansbrough might be the league’s most underrated running back.

 

10.

Total Points: 20

QB: Chad Kelly (10)

RB: Jaylen Walton (14)

WR: Laquon Treadwell (1)

 

The Rebels have the ’s No. 1 receiver in Laquon Treadwell, but question marks remain at quarterback and at running back. Junior college (and former Clemson) quarterback Chad Kelly is the frontrunner to replace Bo Wallace, while Jaylen Walton, Akeem Judd and Eugene Brazley all could share carries at running back.

 

11.

Total Points: 19

QB: Patrick Towles (7)

RB: Boom Williams (7)

WR: Ryan Timmons (12)

 

Kentucky has work to do on defense, but the offense returns nearly intact after averaging 29.2 points per game in 2014. Quarterback Patrick Towles ranked fifth in the with 226.5 passing yards per contest, and receiver Ryan Timmons led the team with 45 catches last year. Boom Williams is one of the SEC’s top breakout candidates in 2015.

 

12.

Total Points: 19

QB: Will Grier (11)

RB: Kelvin Taylor (10)

WR: Demarcus Robinson (5)

 

The pieces are in place for Florida’s offense to improve under first-year coach Jim McElwain. Will Grier edged Treon Harris for the starting quarterback job in the spring, and Kelvin Taylor and Demarcus Robinson should push for All- honors. Offensive line isn’t a factor here, but the Gators have major concerns about their starting five.

 

13.

Total Points: 18

QB: Connor Mitch (13)

RB: David Williams (12)

WR: Pharoh Cooper (2)

 

Pharoh Cooper was all-purpose threat for the Gamecocks last year, and the North Carolina native is also one of the SEC’s top receivers. David Williams and Brandon Wilds are expected to share carries in replacing Mike Davis. Both players averaged over five yards per carry in limited action last year. Connor Mitch is the frontrunner to replace Dylan Thompson and has only six career pass attempts.

 

Related:

 

14.

Total Points: 9

QB: Johnny McCrary (14)

RB: Ralph Webb (8)

WR: C.J. Duncan (14)

 

New play-caller Andy Ludwig has a lot of work to do this offseason. The Commodores averaged only 12.8 points per game in contests last season. Quarterback play remains a concern, but Ludwig has a promising running back to build around in sophomore Ralph Webb.

Teaser:
Ranking the SEC's Offensive Triplets for 2015
Post date: Monday, May 18, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/penn-state-dt-anthony-zettel-tackles-tree
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Penn State’s Anthony Zettel is one of the top defensive tackles in the nation. The Michigan native recorded 17 tackles for a loss and eight sacks in 13 games last season.

 

Despite his huge 2014 campaign, Zettel isn’t sitting idle this offseason. Instead, Zettel is keeping in shape by tackling a tree.

 

Showing proper tackling form, here’s a short video from Zettel just destroying a tree:
 

Teaser:
Penn State DT Anthony Zettel Tackles a Tree
Post date: Monday, May 18, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-12s-running-backs-2015
Body:

The had just three players rush for 1,000 yards in 2014, which was the fewest amount by a Power 5 conference. However, all three players – Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, Baylor’s Shock Linwood and Texas Tech’s DeAndre Washington – are back in 2015.

 

Perine is one of the nation’s top running backs after recording 1,713 yards and 21 scores in his freshman campaign in 2014. Baylor’s Shock Linwood ranked second on the conference in yards with 1,252, while Texas Tech’s DeAndre Washington was third with 1,103 yards. There’s some emerging names to watch in this conference, including West Virginia’s Rushel Shell and Wendell Smallwood, along with Texas senior Johnathan Gray.

 

To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2015. This was not a ranking of running backs only based on accomplishments so far or pro potential. All factors - pure talent, supporting cast, 2015 projection and scheme changes (just to name a few) - were considered and projected to rank the running backs in the for 2015.

 

Order the , featuring previews, predictions and rankings, as well as everything you need to prepare for the upcoming season.

 

Ranking the Big 12’s Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Samaje Perine,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Even though the Sooners have a new offensive scheme and coordinator, Perine is still a major part of the gameplan. He led all Oklahoma rushers with 1,713 yards and 21 scores last season and recorded five 100-yard efforts over his last six games. Perine also set the FBS single-game rushing record with 427 yards in a 44-7 rout over Kansas. Joe Mixon and Alex Ross will be involved, but Perine should push for All-America honors in 2015.

 

2. Shock Linwood,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Baylor’s explosive passing offense gets all of the attention in Waco, but Linwood has quietly emerged as one of the Big 12’s top running backs over the last two seasons. Linwood rushed for 881 yards and eight scores as a freshman in 2013 and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark with 1,252 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. He also recorded four 100-yard efforts in games in 2014.

 

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3. DeAndre Washington,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Washington ranked as the Big 12’s third-leading rusher last season, recording 1,103 yards and two scores on 188 attempts. The Texas native had just one game of more than 25 carries, but he made the most of his opportunities by averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Washington was also a key target in the passing game and showcased his versatility by catching 30 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns.

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4. Aaron Green,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Green quickly emerged as TCU’s go-to back after B.J. Catalon missed the final five games of 2014 due to injury. The Texas native recorded 922 rushing yards and nine scores on just 129 attempts. He was also a weapon for quarterback Trevone Boykin out of the backfield, catching 19 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Of running backs with at least 100 carries in the last season, Green recorded the highest yards per carry average (7.2).

 

Related:

 

5. Johnathan Gray,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

It’s a close call between Gray and West Virginia’s Rushel Shell for the No. 5 spot on this list. Gray suffered a torn Achilles in 2013 and missed the final four games of the season. However, he showed little rust in his return, rushing for 636 yards and seven scores in a backup role to starter Malcolm Brown. Gray recorded one 100-yard effort (West Virginia) and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. With Gray a full year removed from Achilles surgery, he should push for his best career season at Texas.

 

Related:

 

6. Rushel Shell,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Shell made an immediate impact in his first season as West Virginia’s go-to back. In 12 games, the Pittsburgh transfer recorded 788 yards and seven touchdowns, while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Shell posted three 100-yard efforts, including 146 in the regular season finale against Iowa State. Expect the Mountaineers to use Shell as the No. 1 back once again, but Wendell Smallwood and Donte Thomas-Williams will see their share of opportunities.

 

7. Wendell Smallwood,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Smallwood might be one of the Big 12’s most underrated players. In 13 games last season, the Delaware native ranked second on the team with 722 rushing yards and caught 31 passes for 326 yards. Smallwood should see a similar role in West Virginia’s offense this season and is one of the top all-purpose threats in the .

 

8. Joe Mixon,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Redshirt Freshman

 

Mixon was suspended for all of 2014 due to an off-field incident, but he’s primed for a breakout year for the Sooners. The California native was a five-star recruit in the 2014 signing class and ranked as the No. 21 overall prospect.

 

9. Alex Ross,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Oklahoma’s backfield is overflowing with talent, as Samaje Perine is already one of the best in the nation, and Joe Mixon is ready for a breakout year in his redshirt freshman campaign. But Ross shouldn’t be overlooked, as the Oklahoma native rushed for 614 yards and four scores in his first two seasons in Norman. Ross averages 6.7 yards per carry and was one of the nation’s top kickoff returners last year.

 

10. Corey Avery,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Avery is one of the few proven playmakers for new coach David Beaty. However, Avery’s status for 2015 is uncertain after he was suspended indefinitely at the end of spring. As a freshman last season, Avery rushed for 631 yards and five touchdowns and caught 18 passes for 189 yards and two scores.

 

Other Big 12 Running Backs to Watch in 2015

 

Tyler Brown/Mike Warren,

Iowa State’s backfield is filled with uncertainty, but the coaching staff has promising options in Brown and Warren. Brown recorded 109 yards in limited action last season, while Warren spent 2014 as a redshirt.

 

Duke Catalon/D’Onta Foreman,

Foreman rushed for 74 yards as a freshman last year, while Catalon spent 2014 as a redshirt. Both players will battle for carries and spell starter Johnathan Gray.

 

Rennie Childs/Chris Carson,

Oklahoma State must replace its top two leading rushers from last season, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about this backfield going into fall practice. Childs rushed for 294 yards and three scores in a reserve role in 2014, while Carson was a key pickup on the recruiting trail from Butler Community College.

 

Johnny Jefferson/Devin Chafin,

Jefferson and Chafin combined for 907 yards and 14 rushing scores last season. Both players will work as backups to Shock Linwood in 2015.

 

Charles Jones/Dalvin Warmack/Alex Barnes,

Jones rushed for 13 touchdowns last year, but Kansas State needs more from its rushing attack after averaging only 3.7 yards per carry in 2014. Warmack (redshirt) and Barnes are two potential breakout candidates - if they get enough opportunities in 2015.

 

De’Andre Mann,

If Corey Avery does not return to the team, Mann and junior college transfer Ke’aun Kinner will headline the Kansas rushing attack.

 

Shaun Nixon/Trevorris Johnson/Kyle Hicks,

Aaron Green will handle the bulk of the carries for TCU. However, there’s a talented trio of backs capable of spelling Green when he needs a rest. Johnson averaged 5.7 yards per carry on 53 attempts last year.

 

Justin Stockton,

Stockton is one of the Big 12’s fastest players and averaged 8.3 yards per rush in 2014. Expect the sophomore to be one of the conference’s top big-play threats in 2015.

 

Donte Thomas-Williams,

Four-star recruit in the 2014 signing class is ready to contribute after a redshirt year.

Teaser:
Ranking the Big 12's Running Backs for 2015
Post date: Friday, May 15, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-tens-running-backs-2015
Body:

The boasted the nation’s only two running backs that eclipsed 2,000 yards last season, and both players – Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman – have moved onto the NFL. But the running back position isn’t devoid of talent in the conference in 2015, as Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott is one of the nation’s best and is back to help the Buckeyes’ make another run at the national title.

 

Elliott is the clear No. 1 back in the , but Wisconsin’s Corey Clement should be a capable replacement for Gordon, and Northwestern’s Justin Jackson is a rising star entering his sophomore year.

 

To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2015. This was not a ranking of running backs only based on accomplishments so far or pro potential. All factors - pure talent, supporting cast, 2015 projection and scheme changes (just to name a few) - were considered and projected to rank the running backs in the for 2015.

 

Ranking the Big Ten’s Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Ezekiel Elliott,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Elliott is in the mix to be the nation’s top running back after a strong finish to the 2014 season. The Missouri native rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the final five games, including 220 or more in each of the last three. Elliott gashed Oregon for 246 yards and four scores in Ohio State’s national championship win.

 

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2. Corey Clement,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Melvin Gordon leaves big shoes to fill in Madison, but the Badgers are in great shape at running back. Clement is slated to move into the No. 1 role after working as Gordon’s top backup in 2014. In 14 games last season, Clement rushed for 949 yards and nine scores and averaged 6.5 yards per carry on 147 attempts.

 

3. Justin Jackson,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Venric Mark’s August departure created a void in Northwestern’s rushing attack, but Jackson quickly emerged as the go-to option for coach Pat Fitzgerald. In 12 games, Jackson recorded 1,187 yards and 10 scores and caught 22 passes for 201 yards and one touchdown. The Illinois native rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his last three games, including a 149-yard effort against Notre Dame.

 

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4. Jordan Howard,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Make no mistake: Tevin Coleman will be missed this year. However, Indiana found an excellent replacement in Howard, who was eligible to play immediately after transferring in from UAB. In 12 games with the Blazers last season, Howard recorded 1,587 yards and 13 scores. Howard posted solid outings against SEC competition (89 yards against Mississippi State and 90 yards against Arkansas) and gashed Southern Mississippi in the 2014 season finale for 262 yards.

 

5. Akeel Lynch,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Largely due to a struggling offensive line, Penn State’s rushing attack managed only 74.8 yards per game last season. The outlook on the Nittany Lions’ line is better in 2015, and the rushing game should show improvement on the stat sheet. Lynch led the team with 678 yards and also scored four of the team’s 13 rushing touchdowns. The second half of the year is where Lynch asserted himself as the team’s top back, rushing for 130 yards against Temple and 137 against Illinois. Lynch is a name that could climb this list by a couple of spots if Penn State’s offensive line takes a major step forward.

 

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6. Josh Ferguson,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

With standout receiver Mike Dudek out indefinitely with a torn ACL, the Fighting Illini need quarterback Wes Lunt and running back Josh Ferguson to take on an even bigger role in the offense this year. Ferguson has led the team in rushing yardage in back-to-back seasons and has 131 receptions in four years of playing time. Ferguson’s workload will likely increase this season after never surpassing 15 carries in any game in 2014.

 

7. Terrell Newby,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Replacing Ameer Abdullah isn’t going to be easy for new coach Mike Riley. The Cornhuskers have three potential replacements for Abdullah, with Newby exiting spring as the favorite. The California native has played in a reserve role over the last two seasons and posted nearly identical statistical outputs. Newby rushed for 297 yards on 67 attempts in 2014 and 298 yards on 54 carries in 2013. Imani Cross and Adam Taylor will also see time in the backfield this year.

 

8. Ty Isaac,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

This spot could go to Derrick Green, but let’s project Isaac to have an impact in his first year in Ann Arbor. Isaac was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and managed 236 yards on 40 carries as a freshman at USC in 2013. After sitting out last season due to transfer rules, Isaac was limited in the spring with an ankle injury. However, at 240 pounds, he’s a power runner and a good fit for coach Jim Harbaugh’s offense.

 

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9. Paul James,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

A running back from Rutgers should be on this list. But which one? Paul James led the Scarlet Knights with 881 yards and nine scores in 2013 and rushed for 363 yards through the first four games of 2014. However, James has battled injuries throughout his career, and sophomores Josh Hicks and Robert Martin emerged as breakout players at the end of last year. Will James return at full strength from a torn ACL? Or will Martin or Hicks claim the top spots in the Rutgers’ backfield?

 

10. Jordan Canzeri,

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Mark Weisman has expired his eligibility, leaving Iowa with Canzeri, LeShun Daniels, Jonathan Parker and Akrum Wadley battling for carries this offseason. Canzeri is the leading candidate to replace Weisman after finishing second on the team with 494 yards last year. However, a committee approach is likely for coach Kirk Ferentz in 2015.

 

Other Big Ten Running Backs to Watch in 2015

 

Imani Cross,

Cross has rushed for 1,184 yards and 22 rushing scores over the last three years in Lincoln. Terrell Newby is expected to start, but Cross will remain involved in Nebraska’s new offense.

 

Derrick Green,

Green was off to a promising start last year, rushing for 471 yards and three scores on 82 attempts before a season-ending clavicle injury. He will compete with Ty Isaac and De’Veon Smith for the No. 1 spot in Michigan’s backfield.

 

Keyante Green/Markell Jones,

The Boilermakers must replace their top two running backs from last season, with Green and Jones slated to battle for the top spot in the fall. Green rushed for 199 yards on 27 attempts in a reserve role in 2014, while Markell Jones is expected to push for time after winning Indiana’s Mr. Football award as a high school senior.

 

Josh Hicks/Robert Martin,

Promising sophomore duo will push Paul James for snaps this season.

 

Madre London/Gerald Holmes/LJ Scott/Delton Williams,

All signs point to Michigan State using a committee approach as it looks to replace Jeremy Langford. London, Holmes, Scott and Williams are talented, but will one runner clearly emerge as the No. 1 option?

 

Brandon Ross,

Quarterback C.J. Brown led the team with 539 rushing yards last season, while Ross finished second with 419 yards. The senior is slated to take the top spot in the backfield, but the Terrapins will utilize Wes Brown plenty in 2015.

 

Curtis Samuel,

Samuel should have a bigger role in Ohio State’s offense after averaging 6.6 yards per carry on 58 attempts in 2014.

 

Rodrick Williams,

If Williams is going to get the full workload in Minnesota’s offense, then the senior should be among the top 10 names on this list. However, redshirt freshman Rodney Smith is in the mix for carries, as well as talented redshirt freshman Jeff Jones (if he doesn’t stay at receiver). 

Teaser:
Ranking the Big Ten's Running Backs for 2015
Post date: Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 10:00

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