Articles By Steven Lassan

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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
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The Big 12 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 Big 12 for 2015.

 

Order the 2015 Athlon Sports Big 12 Preview, 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, Oklahoma

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, Baylor

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 Big 12 games in 2014.

 

Related: Baylor's Art Briles Ranks as the Big 12's No. 1 Coach

 

3. DeAndre Washington, Texas Tech

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.

Related: Texas Tech Needs David Gibbs to Reverse Defensive Woes

 

4. Aaron Green, TCU

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 Big 12 last season, Green recorded the highest yards per carry average (7.2).

 

Related: TCU's Trevone Boykin Ranks as the Big 12's No. 1 Quarterback for 2015

 

5. Johnathan Gray, Texas

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: Texas Ranks as the Big 12's No. 1 Coaching Job

 

6. Rushel Shell, West Virginia

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, West Virginia

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 Big 12.

 

8. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

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, Oklahoma

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, Kansas

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

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, Texas

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

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, Baylor

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, Kansas State

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, Kansas

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, TCU

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, Texas Tech

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, West Virginia

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
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The Big Ten 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 Big Ten, 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 Big Ten for 2015.

 

Ranking the Big Ten’s Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

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.

 

Related: Ohio State's Urban Meyer is the Big Ten's No. 1 Coach for 2015

 

2. Corey Clement, Wisconsin

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, Northwestern

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.

 

Related: Ranking the Big Ten's Football Coaching Jobs for 2015

 

4. Jordan Howard, Indiana

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, Penn State

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.

 

Related: Penn State's Christian Hackenberg Ranks as the Big Ten's No. 3 QB for 2015

 

6. Josh Ferguson, Illinois

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, Nebraska

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, Michigan

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.

 

Related: Where is Jim Harbaugh in the Big Ten Coach Rankings for 2015?

 

9. Paul James, Rutgers

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, Iowa

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, Nebraska

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, Michigan

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, Purdue

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, Rutgers

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

 

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

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, Maryland

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, Ohio State

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, Minnesota

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
Path: /college-football/ranking-pac-12s-running-backs-2015
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The Pac-12 is a loaded league for running back talent in 2015. Utah’s Devontae Booker is coming off a huge season in his first year with the Utes and ranks as the conference’s top back. But UCLA’s Paul Perkins is a close second, and the junior will take on an even bigger role in the offense with quarterback Brett Hundley’s departure.

 

The depth of the league’s running backs extends to Oregon’s Royce Freeman. The sophomore might be the league’s most talented running back, but Thomas Tyner is expected to see plenty of carries in 2015. Arizona’s Nick Wilson and California’s Daniel Lasco round out the top five backs in the Pac-12 this 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 Pac-12 for 2015.

 

Ranking the Pac-12’s Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Devontae Booker, Utah

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

In Booker’s first season in Salt Lake City, the California native emerged as the Pac-12’s top running back. In 13 games, Booker rushed for 1,512 yards and 10 scores and caught 43 passes for 306 yards. Booker led the Pac-12 by averaging 22.5 rushing attempts per game and recorded seven 100-yard efforts. His best performance came in a 29-23 overtime win over Oregon State with 229 yards on 32 carries. Defenses often stacked the box against Booker with an inconsistent passing game, yet the junior college product managed to average 116.3 rushing yards per game in 2014.

 

2. Paul Perkins, UCLA

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

It’s a close call between Booker and Perkins for the top spot in this article. A slight edge goes to Booker, but Perkins led the Pac-12 by averaging 121.2 rushing yards per game in 2014. He also recorded nine scores on the ground and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Perkins posted six 100-yard efforts and had three games where he averaged at least nine yards per rush. With Brett Hundley off to the NFL, Perkins will be the focal point of UCLA’s offense in 2015. 

 

3. Royce Freeman, Oregon

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Just based on overall talent, a strong case could be made Freeman is the No. 1 back in the Pac-12. As a true freshman in 2014, Freeman recorded 1,365 yards and 18 scores and caught 16 passes for 158 yards. The California native also posted six 100-yard efforts, including a 114-yard game against Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship. With Thomas Tyner back at full strength, Freeman’s totals may not climb much in 2015.

Related: Oregon Turns the Page from "Emotional" Ending

 

4. Nick Wilson, Arizona

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Rich Rodriguez handed the Arizona backfield to a pair of freshmen last year, and Anu Solomon (QB) and Wilson (RB) delivered in a big way. Solomon passed for 3,793 yards, while Wilson led the team with 1,375 yards and 16 scores. Wilson missed the game against USC due to an ankle injury but still tied for the Pac-12 lead in runs of 30 yards or more (seven). And here’s the scary thought for the rest of the Pac-12: Wilson is only going to get better in 2015.

Related: Arizona's Rich Rodriguez is the Pac-12's No. 2 Coach for 2015

 

5. Daniel Lasco, California

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Lasco might be the Pac-12’s most underrated player. While California’s passing attack and quarterback Jared Goff grabs most of the headlines, Lasco quietly rushed for 1,115 yards and 12 scores last season. The Texas native also grabbed 33 receptions in 12 games and ended the year with three 100-yard efforts over his final four contests. At 210 pounds, Lasco is versatile, has the size to attack defenses between the tackles but also possesses the necessary quickness to hit the outside.

Related: California's Jared Goff Ranks as the Pac-12's No. 2 QB for 2015

 

6. Demario Richard, Arizona State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Richard is the first of two breakout candidates to rank inside of the top 10 for 2015. Just how confident is Arizona State’s coaching staff in Richard’s ability to carry the rushing attack this year? D.J. Foster was moved from running back to receiver after rushing for 1,081 yards in 2014. Richard recorded 478 yards and four scores on 84 attempts and also caught 13 passes for 156 yards and four touchdowns last year. Expect big things from Richard over the next few seasons in Tempe.

Related: Arizona State's Todd Graham Ranks as the Pac-12's No. 1 Coach

 

7. Thomas Tyner, Oregon

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Tyner made a splash as a freshman in 2013 serving as a backup to Byron Marshall, rushing for 711 yards and nine scores on 115 carries. Most expected Tyner to move into the top spot in the Oregon backfield, but Royce Freeman stole the spotlight as a true freshman and finished with the team lead in rushing yardage. Tyner finished 2014 with 573 yards and five scores but also missed four games due to injury. The junior could rank higher on this list based on talent. However, how will the carry situation play out in Eugene this year?

 

8. Storm Woods, Oregon State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

New coach Gary Andersen plans on altering Oregon State’s offensive approach, and Woods should see more opportunities in 2015. The Texas native has led the Beavers in rushing yardage in two out of the last three years and nearly reached the 1,000-yard mark in 2012. Woods averaged 6.4 yards per carry in 2014 and is poised for his best season in an Oregon State uniform.

Related: Oregon State's Kalani Sitake is a Defensive Coach on the Rise

 

9. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

McCaffrey is poised for a breakout year in his sophomore campaign. The Colorado native rushed for only 300 yards as a freshman in 2014. However, 217 of those yards came in the final four games of the year, including a 77-yard effort on eight carries against Utah. McCaffrey also showed why he’s an all-purpose threat for coach David Shaw, catching 17 passes for 251 yards and averaging 17.1 yards on nine punt returns.

 

10. Dwayne Washington, Washington

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Washington was a bright spot on a Washington offense that ranked ninth in the Pac-12 in scoring last season. The California native was voted as the team’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player after rushing for 697 yards and nine scores in 2014. Washington battled injuries last season but closed out 2014 by rushing for at least 100 yards in three out of his last four games, including a 135-yard effort against Washington State.

 

Other Pac-12 Running Backs to Watch in 2015

 

Kalen Ballage, Arizona State

Demario Richard is Arizona State’s big-play back, while Ballage is 6-foot-3 power rusher from Colorado. Ballage recorded 126 yards on 42 attempts last season and is due for an uptick in carries with D.J. Foster moving to receiver. And how’s this for versatility: Ballage may play a few snaps on defense this year.

 

Justin Davis/Tre Madden/Ronald Jones, USC

Will the Trojans find a No. 1 back or use a committee approach? Coach Steve Sarkisian has some talented options to choose from, including Davis who rushed for 595 yards last year. Madden recorded 703 yards in 2013, while Jones was a four-star recruit in the 2015 signing class.

 

Christian Powell, Colorado

Colorado’s backfield depth is improving under coach Mike MacIntyre, and the Buffaloes are expected to use a committee approach once again in 2015. Powell has led the team for rushing in three consecutive seasons but has never recorded higher than 700 yards in a season.

 

Remound Wright, Stanford

Wright led Stanford with 601 yards and 11 rushing scores last season. The senior is expected to retain a major role in the Cardinal backfield for 2015, but Christian McCaffrey is expected to slide into the No. 1 job.

 

Gerard Wicks/Jamal Morrow, Washington State

It’s no secret the Cougars are a pass-first offense, and coach Mike Leach’s team had the fewest rushing attempts of any FBS program last year. Wicks and Morrow combined for just 585 yards and four scores in 2014 and return as the top options in 2015. Morrow also grabbed 61 receptions last season.

Teaser:
Ranking the Pac-12's Running Backs for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-secs-running-backs-2015
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The SEC could be the nation’s best conference for running backs in 2015. Georgia’s Nick Chubb should be a first-team All-American, while LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Alabama’s Derrick Henry should be in the mix for second or third-team honors.

 

And the depth in the conference extends past the top three names with the nation’s top running back duo in Arkansas’ Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins, while Missouri’s Russell Hansbrough is an underrated player after topping 1,000 yards in 2014.

 

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 SEC for 2015.

 

Ranking the SEC’s Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Nick Chubb, Georgia

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Georgia’s rushing attack never missed a beat despite losing Todd Gurley to a suspension and torn ACL in 2014. Chubb emerged as one of the nation’s top running backs over the second half of last season, finishing the 2014 campaign with 1,547 yards and 14 scores. The five-star recruit in the 2014 signing class averaged 165.4 rushing yards over the final eight games.

 

Related: Ranking the SEC's College Towns for 2015

 

2. Leonard Fournette, LSU

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Fournette ranked as the No. 1 player in the 2014 247Sports Composite and showcased his talent by finishing the year with 1,034 yards and 10 scores. Both of those totals led all LSU rushers, while his 5.5 yards per carry average ranked fifth among SEC backs with at least 180 carries. Fournette recorded only 187 carries last year, so there’s an opportunity to increase his workload by at least 50 attempts in 2015.

 

3. Derrick Henry, Alabama

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

With T.J. Yeldon off to the NFL, Henry is ready for his chance to be the No. 1 back in Tuscaloosa. The Florida native led Alabama with 990 rushing yards on 172 attempts last season and tied with Yeldon with 11 rushing scores. Expect Henry to eclipse 200 carries and reach 1,000 yards in his junior campaign. At 6-foot-3 and 242 pounds, Henry is one of the most physically gifted runners in the nation.

 

Related: Alabama's Nick Saban is the SEC's No. 1 Coach for 2015

 

4. Jonathan Williams, Arkansas

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Williams and teammate Alex Collins are essentially 4a and 4b here. Williams led the Razorbacks with 1,190 yards last season and edged Collins in yards per carry (5.6 to 5.4). The senior also rushed for more yards in SEC games than Collins (575 to 520) and finished the 2014 season by recording 105 yards on 23 attempts against Texas in the Texas Bowl.

Related: Arkansas Razorbacks 2015 Schedule Analysis

 

5. Alex Collins, Arkansas

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

As we mentioned above, it’s essentially a coin flip between Williams and Collins for the No. 4 spot. Collins led Arkansas with 1,026 yards in 2013 but finished 90 yards behind Williams (1,190 to 1,100) in 2014. The Florida native recorded only one 100-yard effort in SEC games last season and scored in eight out of Arkansas’ 13 contests in 2014.

 

6. Russell Hansbrough, Missouri

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Hansbrough was one of only seven running backs in the SEC to reach 1,000 yards last year and might be the conference’s most underrated rusher. In 14 games, Hansbrough rushed for 1,084 yards and 10 scores last season and recorded four 100-yard efforts. He also finished the year on a high note, rushing for 114 yards on 15 attempts against Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl.

 

7. Jalen Hurd, Tennessee

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Hurd ranked as the No. 40 recruit in the 2014 247Sports Composite and led the Tennessee rushing attack with 899 yards in his true freshman season. The Tennessee native was also a valuable pass catcher out of the backfield by grabbing 35 receptions for 221 yards and two scores. Hurd is expected to remain the No. 1 back for the Volunteers, but after the offense generated only 11 rushing plays of 20 yards or more last season, expect to see junior college recruit (and former Alabama running back) Alvin Kamara heavily involved in 2015.

 

8. Boom Williams, Kentucky

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Looking for the SEC’s next breakout star at running back? Take a look at Kentucky’s Boom Williams. The Georgia native is due for a bigger role in the backfield after leading the Wildcats with 486 rushing yards and five scores on just 74 carries in 2014. Williams had only two games of more than 10 carries, including the season finale against Louisville (18 carries for 126 yards). He also averaged 10.5 yards per play last year and emerged as an all-purpose threat with game-changing ability on kickoffs and as a receiver.

 

9. Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Vanderbilt’s offense struggled mightily last season, averaging only 12.8 points per game in SEC contests. But Webb was a bright spot for coach Derek Mason, leading the Commodores with 907 rushing yards. Webb also led the team with four rushing scores and added 10 receptions. Vanderbilt’s offense still has a lot of question marks entering 2015, but Mason and new coordinator Andy Ludwig can rely on Webb for a 1,000-yard season.

 

10. Jovon Robinson, Auburn

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Robinson isn’t guaranteed to be the starter with Peyton Barber and Roc Thomas also pushing for snaps, but the junior college transfer was a huge pickup for coach Gus Malzahn on the recruiting trail. Robinson ranked as the No. 1 junior college product by 247Sports and was the 2013 NJCAA national player in the year after rushing for 2,387 yards and 34 touchdowns. He was also a four-star recruit coming out of high school, so talent certainly isn’t an issue for Robinson. And with a standout offensive line in place, Robinson could have a huge season – if he’s able to approach 200 carries.

 

Related: Auburn's Jeremy Johnson Ranks as the SEC's No. 2 QB for 2015

 

Other SEC Running Backs to Watch in 2015

 

Peyton Barber/Roc Thomas, Auburn

Jovon Robinson is expected to start, but Barber and Thomas will see their share of opportunities.

 

Tra Carson, Texas A&M

The Aggies ranked 13th in the SEC in rushing attempts last season, so opportunities are limited for the backs. Carson led the team with 581 rushing yards in 2014, and the 235-pound senior will headline the Texas A&M rushing attack once again.

 

Kenyan Drake, Alabama

Drake was off to a fast start in 2014 (271 total yards in five games) but suffered a season-ending leg injury against Florida. If he’s at full strength in 2015, Drake could be a top 10 running back in the SEC this year.

 

Alvin Kamara, Tennessee

Former Alabama running back is back in the SEC after a stint at Hutchinson Community College. Jalen Hurd is still Tennessee’s starter, but Kamara is going to see plenty of opportunities.

 

Keith Marshall/Sony Michel, Georgia

Injuries have limited Marshall to just eight games over the last two seasons. But if he’s healthy, he should team with Sony Michel to provide depth to spell starter Nick Chubb.

 

Ashton Shumpert/Aeris Williams, Mississippi State

Josh Robinson departs after rushing for 1,203 yards in 2014, but Mississippi State is still in good shape at running back. Shumpert rushed for 232 yards over the final five games last season, while Williams ranked as the No. 254 recruit in the 2014 247Sports Composite.

 

Kelvin Taylor, Florida

With Matt Jones leaving for the NFL, Taylor is set to assume the top spot in Florida’s backfield. As a sophomore in 2014, Taylor rushed for 565 yards and six scores. How high Taylor climbs on this list will largely depend on an offensive line that is a major question mark in 2015.

 

Jaylen Walton, Ole Miss

The Rebels need more production from their rushing attack after averaging only 143.4 rushing yards in SEC contests last year. Walton led the team with 586 yards in 2014 but will be pushed for snaps by Akeem Judd.

 

David Williams, South Carolina

Brandon Wilds is expected to begin the starter, but Williams is a name to remember after averaging 5.7 yards per carry on 45 attempts last year.

Teaser:
Ranking the SEC's Running Backs for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-accs-running-backs-2015
Body:

Five players in the ACC topped the 1,000-yard mark in 2014, with three of those players slated to return in 2015. Pittsburgh’s James Conner and Florida State’s Dalvin Cook are the top options returning at running back, and both players should be Heisman contenders this year. Quarterback Justin Thomas is the other ACC player that eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards last season. Will another name join Conner and Cook in the 1,000-yard department? Keep an eye on Boston College’s Jon Hilliman and Miami’s Joseph Yearby.  

 

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 ACC for 2015.

 

Ranking the ACC's Running Backs for 2015

 

1. James Conner, Pittsburgh

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Conner is the reigning ACC Player of the Year and ranked third nationally in 2014 with 26 rushing scores. In two seasons with the Panthers, Conner has rushed for 2,564 yards and 34 scores. He will remain the focal point of Pittsburgh’s offense in 2015 and should push for All-America honors once again.

 

2. Dalvin Cook, Florida State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Cook ranked as the No. 13 prospect in the 2014 247Sports Composite and emerged as Florida State’s go-to back in the second half of 2014. Cook rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his final three games, including a 177-yard effort against Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship. With Jameis Winston off to the NFL, Cook will be the Seminoles’ best offensive weapon in 2015.

 

Related: Florida State's Jimbo Fisher is the ACC's No. 1 Coach for 2015

 

3. Jon Hilliman, Boston College

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

As a true freshman last season, Hilliman ranked second on Boston College’s offense with 860 rushing yards and led the team with 13 rushing scores. The New Jersey native recorded three 100-yard efforts, including 148 yards against Penn State in the Pinstripe Bowl. Hilliman should be an even bigger part of the Eagles offense in 2015.

 

4. Joseph Yearby, Miami

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Yearby’s spot on this list is a projection, and the sophomore could be one of the ACC’s top breakout stars for 2015. Duke Johnson won’t be easy to replace, but Yearby flashed potential in a limited role last year by rushing for 509 yards and one score on 86 attempts. The Miami native ranked as the No. 44 recruit in the 2014 247Sports Composite and is expected to start, but junior Gus Edwards will also see plenty of opportunities.

 

Related: Miami Hurricanes 2015 Schedule Analysis

 

5. Shadrach Thornton, NC State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Thornton leads an underrated backfield for third-year coach Dave Doeren. In 13 games last season, Thornton rushed for 907 yards and nine scores and recorded his best rushing performances in the final three games. Just based on proven stats and talent, Thornton could be higher on this list. However, with Matt Dayes and freshmen Johnny Frasier, Reggie Gallaspy and Nyheim Hines returning, Thornton may not see much of an uptick in carries this year.

 

6. Wayne Gallman, Clemson

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Gallman provided a spark for Clemson’s offense in the second half of 2014, and the sophomore heads into 2015 at the top of a talented backfield. In 13 games, Gallman rushed for 769 yards and four scores and caught 24 passes for 108 yards. He rushed for 191 yards in the 35-17 win over rival South Carolina and added two other 100-yard efforts in 2014. Clemson has depth at running back, but Gallman could push for 1,000 yards.

 

Related: Clemson's Deshaun Watson Ranks as the ACC's No. 1 QB for 2015

 

7. Taquan Mizzell, Virginia

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Mizzell could easily finish much higher on this list in 2015. The Virginia native was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and has worked in a reserve role in his first two years with the Cavaliers. During his Virginia career, Mizzell has rushed for 464 yards and three scores and caught 68 passes for 435 yards. There’s no denying Mizzell is one of the ACC’s most talented running backs. Is he ready to take the next step and become Virginia’s go-to back in 2015?

 

8. Brandon Radcliff, Louisville

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Radcliff didn’t see much playing time in 2013, but the Miami native emerged as Louisville’s top running back in 2014. He led the team with 737 rushing yards and recorded 12 scores on the ground. Radcliff posted at least 17 carries in each of his last three games and posted a season high of 136 yards against Notre Dame. Louisville’s offensive line is a concern, and there’s good depth in the backfield, but Radcliff could approach 1,000 yards this season.

 

9. J.C. Coleman, Virginia Tech

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

With Marshawn Williams (injury) and Shai McKenzie (off-field incident) uncertain for 2015, Coleman is slated to be the top running back for Frank Beamer. Despite recording only 65 rushing yards through the first nine games, Coleman led the Hokies with 533 yards last season and recorded three rushing scores. The Virginia native came on strong at the end of 2014 and finished the year with at least 95 yards in each of the final four games. Coleman’s best effort came against Cincinnati in the Military Bowl by recording 157 yards on 25 attempts.

 

10. T.J. Logan, North Carolina

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Logan emerged from a crowded backfield to lead North Carolina running backs with 119 carries last season. The North Carolina native ranked second on the team with 582 yards but finished the year with two 100-yard efforts over the final three games. Logan will likely share carries with Elijah Hood in 2015.

 

Related: Can Gene Chizik Save North Carolina's Defense?

 

Other Running Backs to Watch

 

Dennis Andrews, Georgia Tech

Andrews showed some promise late in 2014 by recording 81 yards on nine attempts over the final four games of 2014.

 

Matt Dayes, NC State

Dayes recorded 573 yards and eight scores on 104 attempts last year. Five of his eight rushing touchdowns came over the final four games. He also caught 32 passes for 321 yards. A solid No. 2 to Shadrach Thornton.

 

Gus Edwards, Miami

Edwards will push Joseph Yearby for the No. 1 job. As a sophomore last year, Edwards rushed for 349 yards and six scores.

 

Elijah Hood, North Carolina

Touted recruit in the 2014 signing class should improve after only rushing for 259 yards last season.

 

Devante McFarlane, Syracuse

McFarlane has showed potential in limited action, averaging 6.1 yards per carry over the last two years. He’s slated to take on a bigger role in the backfield in 2015.

 

Mario Pender, Florida State

Pender flashed his talent and potential in a limited role last season, rushing for 206 yards and four scores on 41 attempts.

 

Shaquille Powell, Duke

Powell led all Duke players with 618 rushing yards last season. He’s slated to start in 2015, but the Blue Devils have options here, including Jela Duncan (back from academic suspension) and Shaun Wilson (7.7 ypc in 2014).

 

L.J. Scott/Jeremy Smith, Louisville

Scott and Smith should see plenty of opportunities in coach Bobby Petrino’s offense as backups to Brandon Radcliff.

 

Broderick Snoddy, Georgia Tech

Snoddy averaged a robust 10.1 yards per carry on 28 rushing attempts last year. If he’s healthy from a season-ending leg injury, Snoddy will be one of Georgia Tech’s top options at running back.

 

Dezmond Wortham, Wake Forest

Wake Forest’s offense is searching for some punch in the rushing attack after averaging only 1.3 yards per carry in 2014. The offensive line must improve to help the running backs, but the Demon Deacons need Wortham or Isaiah Robinson to provide more big plays in 2015.

Teaser:
Ranking the ACC's Running Backs for 2015
Post date: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/former-illinois-football-player-simon-cvijanovic-blasts-coach-tim-beckman-twitter
Body:

It’s no secret Illinois’ coach Tim Beckman is on the hot seat entering 2015. Beckman’s win total has improved by two games in back-to-back years after winning only two games in his debut. However, after a 6-7 record in 2014, it’s critical for Beckman to post a winning mark in 2015.

 

And Beckman is only going to be under more scrutiny in 2015 after a series of tweets from former player Simon Cvijanovic (@IlliniSi on Twitter).

 

The tweets from Cvijanovic are only one side of the story, and there are others who came to the Beckman’s defense on Sunday night. 

 

Which side is more believable? We've collected some of Cvijanovic's tweets, as well as some from other players (current and former) and other sources. 

 

 

Teaser:
Former Illinois Football Player Simon Cvijanovic Blasts Coach Tim Beckman on Twitter
Post date: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-12s-college-football-coaches-2015
Body:

Success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national title contention. However, similar to any position on the field, statistics may not tell the full story when judging a coaching tenure.

 

This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. It's always easier for programs with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.

 

A couple of other factors to consider when ranking coaches: How well are the assistants paid? A staff with two of the nation’s top coordinators could be a sign the head coach is better as a CEO and may not be as strong in terms of developing gameplans. How is the coach in the X’s and O’s? Can the coach recruit? Are the program’s facilities on par with the rest of the conference? Much like assistants, a program needs good facilities to win big. If a team is winning at a high level with poor facilities and a small budget, it reflects positively on the head coach. Is the coach successful at only one stop? Or has that coach built a solid resume from different jobs?

 

Again, wins are important. But our rankings also take into account a blank slate. If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far and their career trajectory? Remember, you don't get the assistants - only the head coach. And head-to-head wins do not matter for this ranking.

 

Ranking the Big 12’s Football Coaches for 2015

 

1. Art Briles, Baylor

Record at Baylor: 55-34 (7 years)

Career Record: 89-62 (12 years)

 

Briles has completely changed the perception of Baylor football over the last seven years. Prior to Briles’ tenure, the Bears did not play in a bowl or post a winning record from 1995-2007. Baylor went 8-16 in Briles’ first two years, but has played in five consecutive bowl games and tied or won the conference championship in back-to-back years. The Bears are 22-4 over the last two seasons and have three double-digit victory totals in three out of the last four years. Prior to taking over at Baylor, Briles went 34-28 at Houston. Briles is a Texas coaching lifer and has changed this program from one of the bottom teams in the Big 12 into a conference championship contender. The talent level on this team has improved with four consecutive top-40 signing classes, and the program just opened brand-new McLane Stadium in 2014. Momentum at Baylor is at an all-time high with Briles at the controls – and it doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon.

 

2. Bill Snyder, Kansas State

Record at Kansas State: 187-94-1 (23 years)

Career Record: 187-94-1 (23 years)

 

There’s not a coach in the nation doing more with less every year. Kansas State is not an easy job, yet Snyder continues to keep the Wildcats in contention for the Big 12 title on a yearly basis. Kansas State won only three games in the four previous years prior to his hire in November 1988, and after a 1-10 record in his first season, Snyder’s teams have won fewer than six games only four times and claimed double-digit victories in seven years. Don't forget that following his retirement after the 2005 season, Kansas State went just 17-20 in three years under Ron Prince before Snyder returned in November 2008. Regardless of how much talent or key personnel Kansas State loses, the Wildcats are always a threat to win the conference championship and finish among the top 25 teams in the nation. Developing and finding talent in the junior college ranks is one of Snyder’s biggest strengths. Kansas State doesn’t recruit at a high level, so it’s important to develop talent and find ways to win games with less. That’s exactly what Snyder has accomplished, as from 2011-14, the Wildcats have the best record in Big 12 games (27-9).

 

3. Gary Patterson, TCU

Record at TCU: 132-45 (14 years)

Career Record: 132-45 (14 years)

 

Coming off a 12-1 season and a No. 3 ranking in the final Associated Press poll, TCU is among the favorites to contend for the 2015 national championship. The Horned Frogs have come a long way in a short amount of time since joining the Big 12. TCU finished 7-6 in its Big 12 debut in 2012 but followed that up with a 4-8 mark in 2013, thanks in large part to a struggling offense. The The 8-1 mark in conference play last season is easily the best of TCU’s three-year stint in the Big 12. In Patterson’s 14 years, the Horned Frogs have won 132 games and claimed 10 or more victories in nine of those seasons. Winning at a high level is nothing new for Patterson in Fort Worth. In 2010, TCU finished No. 2 nationally with a 13-0 mark, No. 7 in 2008 and No. 6 in 2009. With Patterson at the helm, TCU will be a consistent threat to win the Big 12 title.

 

Related: TCU's Trevone Boykin Ranks as the Big 12's No. 1 QB for 2015 

 

4. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

Record at Oklahoma: 168-44 (16 years)

Career Record: 168-44 (16 years)

 

With 16 seasons at Oklahoma, Stoops is the second-longest tenured coach in college football. The Sooners have consistently ranked among the Big 12’s best under Stoops, winning at least 10 games in 12 of his years in Norman. Additionally, Stoops has guided Oklahoma to eight Big 12 titles and one national championship (2000). Winning at a high level and competing for a spot in one of college football’s top bowl games has become the norm for the Sooners under Stoops. However, Oklahoma finished 8-5 in 2014, which was the worst mark under Stoops since 2009 (8-5). Maintaining success at one job for a long period of time is no easy task for any college football coach. Stoops will try to get the program back on track with a few staff changes, including new offensive play-caller Lincoln Riley. There’s no question Stoops is among the best in the nation, and it will be interesting to see if 2014 was just a small blip on the radar or if it’s the beginning of a down period for the program. 

 

5. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

Record at Oklahoma State: 84-44 (10 years)

Career Record: 84-44 (10 years)

 

Oklahoma State took a step back in the win column in 2014, needing a late punt return for a touchdown to beat Oklahoma and secure bowl eligibility for the ninth consecutive season. The win over Washington in the Cactus Bowl gave Oklahoma State its ninth winning season in Gundy’s 10 years. The Cowboys have won at least 10 games in three out of the last five seasons and finished No. 3 nationally in 2011. Gundy consistently has Oklahoma State finishing in the top half of the Big 12, and the Cowboys are poised to return to the top 25 after last year’s 7-6 mark. Gundy’s name popped up in the rumor mill for other jobs over the last three offseasons, but the former Oklahoma State quarterback seems to be reenergized headed into 2015. 

 

Related: Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph is a Player on the Rise for 2015

 

6. Charlie Strong, Texas

Record at Texas: 6-7 (1 year)

Career Record: 43-23 (5+ years)

 

As expected, Strong had to reset the foundation at Texas. The Longhorns finished 6-7 last year and won five games in Big 12 action. However, Texas beat only two teams with a winning record and was thoroughly dominated by TCU and Arkansas in the final two games of 2014. The Longhorns only went 16-11 in Big 12 games over Mack Brown’s final three years and recorded just one finish in the final Associated Press poll in that span. The program clearly slipped in Brown’s final four years, and Strong needs a little time to rebuild the talent and get Texas back into contention for Big 12 championships. It’s only a matter of time before that happens, as Strong went 37-15 in four years at Louisville, including a 23-3 record from 2012-13. 

 

Related: Texas Ranks as the No. 1 Coaching Job in the Big 12

 

7. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia

Record at West Virginia: 28-23 (4 years)

Career Record: 28-23 (4 years)

 

Under Holgorsen’s direction over the last four years, West Virginia has made the successful transition from the Big East to the Big 12. The Mountaineers won the Big East title in Holgorsen’s first season and finished 7-6 in their Big 12 debut in 2012. After stumbling to a 4-8 record in 2013, West Virginia rebounded with a 7-6 record in 2014 and claimed its first winning mark in conference play since joining the Big 12. And with 15 starters back for 2015, West Virginia should have a good chance to improve on last year’s record. Holgorsen is a highly regarded offensive mind and is settling into his role as the head coach. With Holgorsen stabilizing the program and competing in the Big 12, the future looks bright in Morgantown. 

 

8. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

Record at Texas Tech: 12-13 (2 years)

Career Record: 12-13 (2 years)

 

Kingsbury was one of the nation’s top assistants when he was tapped to replace Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech in 2013. And the Red Raiders started Kingsbury’s tenure on a high note, winning their first seven games and jumping as high as No. 16 in the Associated Press poll. But Texas Tech lost its last five regular season games and used a bowl victory over Arizona State to finish 8-5. 2014 was a step back for Kingsbury, as the Red Raiders slipped to 4-8 and recorded three wins by seven points or less against Central Arkansas, UTEP and Iowa State. There’s no doubt Kingsbury is one of the Big 12’s top offensive minds and will have his unit performing at a high level. However, fixing the defense has to be a priority after allowing 42.8 points in Big 12 games in 2014. Hiring David Gibbs should pay dividends for the defense, which should allow Texas Tech to return to the postseason in 2015.

 

Related: Texas Tech Needs David Gibbs to Reverse Defensive Woes

 

9. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State

Record at Iowa State: 29-46 (6 years)

Career Record: 29-46 (6 years)

 

Iowa State is one of the nation’s toughest Power 5 jobs. The in-state recruiting base is small, the Big 12 slate isn’t easy and you have to be good at developing talent or mining the junior college ranks for quick fixes. As an Iowa native, Rhoads knows all about the challenges of coaching in Ames. He also served as an assistant with the Cyclones in 1995-99. In six years as the program’s head coach, Rhoads is 29-46 overall with three bowl appearances. Iowa State has slipped after earning back-to-back bowl bids in 2011-12 with a 5-19 mark over the last two years. Rhoads is a good coach that can squeeze the most out of his roster. However, after a winless record in Big 12 play, Rhoads needs to get the program back to qualifying for a bowl game.

 

10. David Beaty, Kansas

Record at Kansas: First Year

Career Record: First Year

 

Beaty is a former Kansas assistant and comes to Lawrence after a three-year stint at Texas A&M. He has never been a head coach, but the Jayhawks hope his recruiting ties to Texas and previous experience at Kansas help to turn around a program that has not won more than three games in each of the last five years. Beaty retained last year’s interim coach Clint Bowen but isn’t inheriting much to work with going into 2015 and just getting to three or four wins would be a good year for the Jayhawks. With a lack of head coaching experience and only two years as a coordinator on the collegiate level, Beaty is still largely an unknown.

Teaser:
Ranking the Big 12's College Football Coaches for 2015
Post date: Friday, May 8, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/15-teams-land-notre-dame-transfer-qb-everett-golson
Body:

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has decided to transfer with one season of eligibility remaining. The senior is eligible immediately as a graduate transfer, so there will be plenty of suitors for his services.

 

Golson threw for 5,850 yards and 41 scores during his two years at Notre Dame. Additionally, he tossed 20 interceptions on 745 attempts. While Golson had his share of ups and downs during his career in South Bend, he guided the Fighting Irish to an appearance in the national championship game in 2012.

 

Where will Golson land? Here are 15 teams to watch:

 

15 Teams That Could Land Everett Golson for 2015

 

Alabama

Alabama has options to replace Blake Sims, including Florida State transfer Jacob Coker and talented freshmen Blake Barnett and David Cornwell. Coker was expected to push for the starting job last year, but Sims started all 14 games for the Crimson Tide. Although Coker finished spring at the top of the depth chart, did he play with enough consistency to ease the concerns of the coaching staff with a new quarterback taking over?

 

Florida

First-year coach Jim McElwain’s biggest concern on offense isn’t at quarterback, as the offensive line is a major question mark for 2015. However, the Gators have plenty of uncertainty here, as redshirt freshman Will Grier edged Treon Harris for the top spot in the spring. Harris threw for 1,019 yards and nine scores last year, but Grier is a better fit for this offense. McElwain’s offense at Colorado State averaged 321.6 passing yards per game in 2014.

 

Florida State

It’s probably a longshot for Golson to end up in Tallahassee, as Sean Maguire finished spring with a clear hold on the No. 1 job. However, replacing Jameis Winston is no easy task, and Maguire has only one previous start. Coach Jimbo Fisher is one of the best quarterback and offensive minds in the nation, which has to be appealing to Golson with one year of eligibility and an opportunity to impress NFL scouts in 2015.

 

LSU

The Tigers struggled mightily on offense last season and averaged only 162.9 passing yards per game. Uncertainty remained for LSU in the spring, as neither Anthony Jennings or Brandon Harris staked a clear claim for the No. 1 spot. Jennings led the team with 11 passing scores last year, but there’s more upside with Harris. The Tigers aren’t lacking for talent at receiver but quarterback play remains a big concern for coach Les Miles. LSU has to be one of the early favorites for Golson’s services.

 

Louisville

Just like Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino has no problem adding numbers to the quarterback position. The Cardinals aren’t in bad shape at quarterback for 2015, as sophomore Reggie Bonnafon is promising, and Tyler Ferguson is eligible after transferring from Penn State.

 

Michigan

Jim Harbaugh is a quarterback guru, but the Wolverines already added Iowa transfer Jake Rudock to the team this spring. Michigan also has freshmen Zach Gentry and Alex Malzone competing with Rudock and Shane Morris for time in the fall. There’s more competition in Ann Arbor than some of the other teams on this list.

 

Ole Miss

The Rebels have three candidates vying for the starting job, including junior college recruit (and former Clemson quarterback) Chad Kelly. DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan are also in the mix this fall, but Kelly is believed to have an edge over both for the starting job. Golson would be an upgrade over the three options on the roster. However, how quick can he pickup the offense and get acclimated to the supporting cast?

 

Miami, Ohio

Golson will probably end up at a Power 5 team, but Miami, Ohio is a wildcard program to watch. Former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin finished his first year as the program’s head coach, with the RedHawks finishing 2-10 last season. With Andrew Hendrix expiring his eligibility, Martin is expected to hand the offensive controls over to redshirt freshman Gus Ragland. Golson would be a key pickup if Martin can recruit him to Oxford.

 

South Carolina

Golson is a native of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the Gamecocks have an opening at quarterback after Dylan Thompson expired his eligibility this offseason. Connor Mitch finished spring at the top of the depth chart, but he has attempted only six passes in his career at South Carolina. Would coach Steve Spurrier be willing to take a chance on Golson for one year? It certainly makes sense.

 

South Florida

Third-year coach Willie Taggart is squarely on the hot seat entering 2015, and the Bulls are switching to an up-tempo attack that would seem to fit Golson’s strengths. Mike White transferred in the spring, leaving Quinton Flowers (8 of 20 in 2014) as the favorite to win the job.

 

Texas

If LSU is the early favorite to land Golson, Texas might be No. 2. The Longhorns had only two scholarship quarterbacks in the spring, with true freshman Kai Locksley arriving this summer to compete with Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes for snaps. Heard closed the gap on Swoopes this spring, setting up an intriguing battling for the No. 1 spot in the fall. If Golson transfers here, his first game of 2015 would be against…Notre Dame.

 

Washington

Cyler Miles is not expected to return to the team in 2015, leaving coach Chris Petersen with three inexperienced candidates competing for the No. 1 spot. Jeff Lindquist is the team’s most experienced option, completing 10 of 30 passes for 162 yards and one score last year. However, the Huskies got a good look at freshmen K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jake Browning this spring, and both players are squarely in the mix to start. 

 

UConn

Former Notre Dame assistant Bob Diaco is entering his second year as UConn’s head coach. The Huskies ranked No. 10 in the American Athletic Conference in passing offense last year, with NC State transfer Bryant Shirreffs finishing spring at the top of the depth chart. Golson would be an immediate upgrade and starter if he transfers to UConn.

 

Virginia

Quarterback play is arguably the biggest concern for coach Mike London’s team this season. Matt Johns edged Greyson Lambert for the No. 1 spot in the spring, but this job is still up for grabs. Johns and Lambert combined for 18 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions last year. And just an interesting side note: Virginia’s second game of 2015 is against Notre Dame.

 

Wisconsin

New coach Paul Chryst inherits an offense that averaged only 148.7 passing yards per game last season. The Badgers have a strong rushing attack and defense to lean on but improving in the win column and pushing Ohio State or Michigan State for the No. 1 spot in the Big Ten depends on improved quarterback play. Joel Stave is back as the starter, but he only threw nine touchdown passes to 10 interceptions last year.

Teaser:
15 Teams That Could Land Notre Dame Transfer Everett Golson
Post date: Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 14:41
Path: /college-football/ranking-pac-12s-college-football-coaches-2015
Body:

Success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national title contention. However, similar to any position on the field, statistics may not tell the full story when judging a coaching tenure.

 

This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. It's always easier for programs with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.

 

A couple of other factors to consider when ranking coaches: How well are the assistants paid? A staff with two of the nation’s top coordinators could be a sign the head coach is better as a CEO and may not be as strong in terms of developing gameplans. How is the coach in the X’s and O’s? Can the coach recruit? Are the program’s facilities on par with the rest of the conference? Much like assistants, a program needs good facilities to win big. If a team is winning at a high level with poor facilities and a small budget, it reflects positively on the head coach. Is the coach successful at only one stop? Or has that coach built a solid resume from different jobs?

 

Again, wins are important. But our rankings also take into account a blank slate. If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far and their career trajectory? Remember, you don't get the assistants - only the head coach. And head-to-head wins do not matter for this ranking.

 

Ranking the Pac-12's Football Coaches for 2015

 

1. Todd Graham, Arizona State

Record at Arizona State: 28-12 (3 years)

Career Record: 77-41 (9 years)

 

It’s a close call between Graham and Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez for the No. 1 spot among current Pac-12 coaches. The Sun Devils enter 2015 as one of the favorites for the conference title, and Graham has guided the program to 28 wins over the last three seasons. The Sun Devils won the South Division in 2013 and tied for second in '12 and '14. Under Graham’s watch, Arizona State has clearly removed the label of a program that struggles to reach expectations. And the Sun Devils are in the midst of a stadium renovation that will only help Graham and this staff sell a program that has inked back-to-back top-25 signing classes. Graham’s success isn’t just limited to Arizona State, as he helped Rice make a six-game improvement in the win column in 2006, won 36 games in four years at Tulsa and went 6-6 in his only season at Pittsburgh.

 

Related: Arizona State is a Team on the Rise in 2015

 

2. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

Record at Arizona: 26-14 (3 years)
Career Record: 146-98-2 (21 years)

 

Rodriguez is in the process of elevating Arizona into a yearly contender for the Pac-12 title. The Wildcats claimed the South Division championship last season with a 7-2 conference record and won double-digit games (10) for the first time since 1998. Additionally, the 10 wins last year was only the third time in program history that Arizona has won more than nine in a season. Rodriguez only went 15-22 in three years at Michigan, but he won 60 games in seven seasons at West Virginia and guided the program to three finishes in the final Associated Press poll from 2005-07. The bad news for the rest of the Pac-12: Rodriguez is really just getting started and this program is only going to get better in the coming years.

 

3. David Shaw, Stanford

Record at Stanford: 42-12 (4 years)

Career Record: 42-12 (4 years)

 

For the first time in Shaw’s tenure at Stanford, the Cardinal are coming off a season with fewer than 11 wins. After winning 34 games through Shaw’s first three years, Stanford regressed to 8-5 but still finished second in the North with a 5-4 conference record. Under Shaw’s direction, the Cardinal has finished inside of the top 11 of the final Associated Press poll three times and played for the conference title in back-to-back years (2012-13). Additionally, Shaw and his staff continue to do an excellent job on the recruiting trail, signing top-25 classes in four out of the last five years. The biggest challenge for Shaw in 2015 will be improving an offense that averaged only 23.8 points per game in conference play last year (11th in the Pac-12). Even with significant departures on defense, Stanford can push Oregon in the North if Shaw is able to find the right answers on offense. 

 

4. Chris Petersen, Washington

Record at Washington: 8-6 (1 year)

Career Record: 100-18 (9 years)

 

After one of the most successful stints by a coach during the BCS era, Petersen decided to make the jump to a Power 5 job and replaced Steve Sarkisian at Washington. Petersen went 92-12 at Boise State and led the Broncos to double-digit win seasons in seven out of his eight years. But Petersen didn’t quite find the same success in his first year with the Huskies. Washington’s defense had three first-team All-Pac-12 selections on defense, but a struggling secondary and offense dropped Petersen’s first team to just 8-6 overall and 4-5 in Pac-12 play. Petersen and his staff will be tested even more in 2015, as Washington returns only nine starters, loses standout defenders Shaq Thompson, Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha, and could have a true freshman start at quarterback. 

 

Related: Washington safety Budda Baker is a Player on the Rise for 2015

 

5. Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Record at Utah: 85-43 (10 years)

Career Record: 85-43 (10 years)

 

Whittingham has successfully transitioned Utah from a Mountain West team to a solid Pac-12 program in just four years. The Utes don’t have the resources or recruiting base of a UCLA or USC, but Whittingham’s team knocked off both programs last year as well as Stanford and Michigan en route to a 9-4 record. Utah also finished No. 21 in the final Associated Press poll – it’s first top-25 finish since 2009 – and claimed its first winning mark in Pac-12 play (5-4). In his 10-year tenure in Salt Lake City, Whittingham is 85-43 overall and has led his team to eight bowl games. 

 

6. Gary Andersen, Oregon State

Record at Oregon State: First Year

Career Record: 49-38 (7 years)

 

Andersen’s move from Wisconsin to Oregon State came as a surprise, but the Utah native is a great hire for this program. In two seasons at Wisconsin, Andersen went 19-7 and guided the Badgers to a Big Ten West Division title in 2014. Prior to Wisconsin, Andersen guided Utah State to a 26-24 record in four years. To show how big of an impact Andersen had on the Aggies – in the four years prior to his arrival in Logan, Utah State won only nine games. Utah State won 26 during Andersen’s four years, including 18 over the last two. Andersen is a proven winner at two different jobs and was a successful assistant at Utah prior to becoming a head coach. Oregon State is rebuilding in 2015, but Andersen’s hire will pay big dividends for the Beavers.

 

Related: Gary Andersen is one of the top coaching hires for 2015

 

7. Mark Helfrich, Oregon

Record at Oregon: 24-4 (2 years)

Career Record: 24-4 (2 years)

 

Helfrich is the only current Pac-12 coach to play for the national championship and has picked up where Chip Kelly left off by guiding Oregon to a 24-4 record over the last two years. The Ducks finished No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll after a loss to Ohio State in college football’s national championship in January. Helfrich and his staff navigated several injuries and overcame an early loss against Arizona to win the Pac-12 title and finish 13-2 overall. Prior to his promotion from offensive coordinator to head coach with the Ducks, Helfrich was an assistant at Arizona State, Colorado and Boise State. Helfrich won’t have Marcus Mariota in 2015, but the third-year coach has this program in great shape and poised to continue finishing near the top of the Pac-12. 

 

Related: Oregon is the No. 2 Coaching Job in the Pac-12

 

8. Jim Mora, UCLA

Record at UCLA: 29-11 (3 years)

Career Record: 29-11 (3 years)

 

A case could be made Mora should be higher among his conference peers. In three seasons at UCLA, the Bruins are 29-11 under his watch and have won six Pac-12 games each year. Mora guided UCLA to the Pac-12 South title in 2012 and finished (or tied) for second in the other two seasons. High expectations surrounded this program last year, but the Bruins were easily handled by Oregon in mid-October and on Nov. 28 lost to Stanford 31-10 with a berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game up for grabs. Mora has recruited four consecutive top-20 classes, so talent isn’t an issue for this program. Contending for the South Division in 2015 should be a reasonable expectation, but the Bruins have to replace quarterback Brett Hundley.

 

9. Steve Sarkisian, USC

Record at USC: 9-4 (1 year)

Career Record: 43-33 (6 years)

 

By this time next year, Sarkisian could rank higher on this list – if USC ends up winning the Pac-12 as the early odds for 2015 suggest. Sarkisian’s first year with the Trojans had its share of ups and downs. USC beat Stanford 13-10 in Week 2 but lost 37-31 at Boston College the following Saturday. The Trojans lost on the last play of the game to Arizona State and in the final seconds to Utah. With better depth due to the end of NCAA scholarship sanctions, USC should have the manpower needed to close the door in tight games. Prior to taking over at USC, Sarkisian went 35-29 at Washington and guided the Huskies to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-13. The challenge for Sarkisian is simple: Get USC back among the nation’s elite and contend for national championships. Is he the right coach to do so?

 

Related: USC's Cody Kessler Ranks as the Pac-12's No. 1 QB for 2015

 

10. Mike Leach, Washington State

Record at Washington State: 12-25 (3 years)

Career Record: 96-68 (13 years)

 

Entering his fourth year in Pullman, Leach is still looking to elevate Washington State into a consistent winner and a bowl team every season. At Texas Tech, Leach guided the Red Raiders to an 84-43 record in 10 years and never finished a season with fewer than seven victories. But winning at a high level has been much tougher at Washington State. The Cougars are 12-25 over the last three years, and a 6-7 team from 2013 is bookended by 3-9 records in '12 and '14. Offense is Leach’s specialty, and Washington State has ranked in the top 10 nationally of passing offense from 2012-14. But fixing the defense has to be a priority after allowing at least 36 points in Pac-12 games in each of the last three years.

 

11. Sonny Dykes, California

Record at California: 6-18 (2 years)

Career Record: 28-33 (5 years)

 

The depth of the Pac-12’s coaching prowess is on full display when Sonny Dykes ranks as the No. 11 coach on this list. After a successful 22-15 stint at Louisiana Tech from 2010-12, Dykes is 6-18 in two seasons at California. The Golden Bears went 1-11 in 2013, but showed marked improvement last fall. California finished 5-7 overall and lost four games by eight points or less. Dykes has this program trending in the right direction, and the offense should be among the nation’s best in 2015. If Dykes can solve the defensive woes, California will make a bowl game this year.

 

Related: California's Jared Goff Ranks as the Pac-12's No. 2 QB for 2015

 

12. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado

Record at Colorado: 6-18 (2 years)

Career Record: 22-39 (5 years)

 

MacIntyre didn’t inherit much to work with when he replaced Jon Embree after the 2012 season. The Buffaloes are 6-18 over the last two years and have won only one contest in conference play. While the overall record isn’t pretty, MacIntyre has this program on the right track. Colorado lost four Pac-12 games by five points or less last season, and with an experienced roster returning in 2015, the Buffaloes should show progress in the win column. Prior to Colorado, MacIntyre went 16-21 at San Jose State, including a 15-9 mark over the final two years. MacIntyre should move up this list in the coming seasons. 

Teaser:
Ranking the Pac-12's College Football Coaches for 2015
Post date: Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-tens-college-football-coaches-2015
Body:

Success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national title contention.

 

With that in mind, Athlon continues its countdown to the season by ranking the college football coaches by conference. Needless to say, ranking college football coaches is no easy task. Similar to any position on the field, statistics may not tell the full story when judging a coaching tenure.

 

What was the criteria used to rank coaches? This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. However, it’s easier for programs like Alabama, Florida, Ohio State and Texas with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.

 

A couple of other factors to consider when ranking coaches: How well are the assistants paid? A good program is willing to spend big to keep its assistants. And a staff with two of the nation’s top coordinators could be a sign the head coach is better as a CEO and may not be as strong in terms of developing gameplans. How is the coach in the X’s and O’s? Can the coach recruit? Are the program’s facilities on par with the rest of the conference? Much like assistants, a program needs good facilities to win big. If a team is winning at a high level with poor facilities and a small budget, it’s reflects positively on the head coach. Is the coach successful at only one stop? Or has that coach built a solid resume from different jobs?

 

Again, wins are important. But our rankings also take into account a blank slate. If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far, how well they recruit, gameday tactician and how they develop talent? And what about their career potential? Is there upside or is the coach trending down?

 

Related: SEC Coach Rankings for 2015

 

Ranking the Big Ten’s Football Coaches for 2015

 

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Record at Ohio State:
38-3 (3 years)

Career Record: 142-26 (13 years)

 

There was never really any doubt about his place among the nation’s best coaches, but if there was, Meyer clearly solidified his top billing with Ohio State’s 2014 season. The Buckeyes lost their No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks, yet won 14 games and claimed the national championship over Oregon. In three seasons at Ohio State, Meyer is 38-3 and has not lost a regular season game in Big Ten play. The 2014 national title was Meyer’s third as a head coach, as he claimed two during his tenure at Florida (2006, 2008). In addition to his national championships in Gainesville, Meyer went 65-15 with the Gators, 22-2 in two years at Utah and 17-6 in two seasons with Bowling Green.

 

Related: Ohio State Ranks as the No. 1 Coaching Job in the Big Ten

 

2. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

Record at Michigan: First Year

Career Record: 58-27 (7 years)

 

Harbaugh is the right coach to return Michigan back among the nation’s elite. At three different coaching jobs, Harbaugh has delivered a quick turnaround and won at a high level. At San Diego from 2004-06, Harbaugh went 29-6 and lost only two games over the final two years. Harbaugh moved to the FBS level in 2007 at Stanford and won 29 games in four seasons. The Cardinal missed a bowl appearance in the first two years, but managed 20 wins over Harbaugh’s last two seasons, including a 12-1 finish in 2010. Harbaugh left Stanford for the NFL and won 44 games with the 49ers from 2011-14. San Francisco lost in the NFC Championship Game twice under Harbaugh’s watch and lost to Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII. As a former Michigan quarterback and player under Bo Schembechler, Harbaugh knows what it takes to win in Ann Arbor. Expect to see the Wolverines back among the top 10-15 teams in the nation in the next few years.

 

Related: Jim Harbaugh is the No. 1 College Football Coach Hire for 2015

 

3. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

Record at Michigan State: 75-31 (8 years)

Career Record: 93-48 (11 years)

 

Dantonio has transformed Michigan State from an underachieving program to one of the best in the Big Ten. The Spartans have won at least 11 games in four out of the last five years and finished No. 3 nationally after winning the Big Ten Championship Game and Rose Bowl in 2013. Under Dantonio’s watch, Michigan State also has claimed four consecutive bowl victories and went 15-1 in conference play from 2013-14. And if you needed any more information on why Dantonio is among the nation’s best: The Spartans have six seasons of 10 or more wins in program history. Four of those have come with Dantonio at the helm. 

 

Related: Michigan State's Connor Cook Ranks as the Big Ten's No. 2 QB in 2015

 

4. James Franklin, Penn State

Record at Penn State: 7-6 (1 year)

Career Record: 31-21 (4 years)

 

Franklin will return Penn State back to contention for the Big Ten title and as a consistent top-25 team – it just may take a little longer than we anticipated. High expectations surrounded the Nittany Lions last year, but Franklin’s team finished 7-6 and won only two games in Big Ten play. Fixing the offensive line is Franklin’s top priority in 2015, and there’s hope for improvement with one of the nation’s top assistants (Herb Hand) leading this group. Franklin went 24-15 in three years with Vanderbilt and recorded back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2012-13. Considering what Franklin managed to accomplish at Vanderbilt – the SEC’s toughest job – combined with the success on the recruiting trail, it’s only a matter of time before Penn State wins again at a high level.

 

Related: Penn State 2015 Schedule Analysis

 

5. Jerry Kill, Minnesota

Record at Minnesota: 25-26 (4 years)

Career Record: 152-99 (21 years)

 

As we mentioned above, college football coaches can’t be judged strictly on wins and losses. Kill is a perfect example of why record isn’t the best indicator of coaching ability, as he’s only 25-26 in four years with Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have made significant improvement under his watch, going from 3-9 in his first year to three consecutive bowl games. And Minnesota is coming off back-to-back eight-win seasons and finished 5-3 in Big Ten play last year – the first winning mark in conference play since 2003. Kill is a proven winner at four other coaching stops in his career, including a 23-16 record at Northern Illinois and a 55-32 mark at Southern Illinois.

 

6. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Record at Northwestern: 60-53 (9 years)

Career Record: 60-53 (9 years)

 

Northwestern is coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time under Fitzgerald and is 4-12 in Big Ten play over the last two years. While it’s easy to only judge coaches by recent history, this is not an easy job and Fitzgerald has won 60 games since 2006. Additionally, the Wildcats went to five consecutive bowl games from 2008-12, including a 10-win campaign in '12, concluding with just the program’s second postseason victory. Considering what Fitzgerald has accomplished at one of the Big Ten’s toughest jobs, what could he do at a program with more resources?

 

7. Mike Riley, Nebraska

Record at Nebraska: First Year

Career Record: 93-80 (14 years)

 

Nebraska’s hire of Riley came as a surprise, but the Idaho native seems to be the right coach at the right time. The Cornhuskers won at least nine games in each of Bo Pelini’s seven seasons, yet never finished higher than 14th in the Associated Press poll or claimed a conference title. That’s the challenge for Riley in 2015 and beyond. Can he elevate Nebraska back into contention for a national title or compete with Ohio State and Michigan for Big Ten championships? Oregon State is a challenging job, yet Riley won 93 games in 14 seasons and guided the Beavers to a winning conference record in six of those years. Another mark in favor of Riley’s hire is his experience in recruiting and finding talent in Texas and California. Also, Riley and his staff did a good job of developing talent while in Corvallis. If Nebraska can’t beat Ohio State or Michigan for five-star recruits, it needs to develop three-star talent into five-star players. 

 

8. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

Record at Iowa: 115-85 (16 years)

Career Record: 127-106 (19 years)

 

Ferentz enters 2015 as the nation’s third-longest tenured coach. Over the last 16 seasons, Ferentz’s tenure with the Hawkeyes has experienced its share of ups and downs. And entering 2015, it’s fair to wonder where this program is headed after a 9-7 mark in Big Ten play over the last two years. Iowa has won 10 games at least four times under Ferentz but has not finished better than 8-5 since 2010. Maintaining success at a program for a long period isn’t easy, and as the nation’s ninth highest-paid coach in 2014, Ferentz is drawing plenty of criticism from the Iowa fanbase. In Athlon’s recent expert poll, Iowa tied with Maryland as the No. 7 coaching job in the Big Ten. This program has its share of challenges (in-state talent in recruiting), but there's really no reason why the Hawkeyes can't contend for the Big Ten West Division title each year.

 

9. Randy Edsall, Maryland

Record at Maryland: 20-30 (4 years)

Career Record: 94-100 (16 years)

 

Edsall’s tenure at Maryland got off to a rocky start with a 2-10 record in 2011. But since that two-win campaign, the Terrapins are 18-20 over the last three seasons and finished their first year in the Big Ten with a 7-6 record and a 4-4 mark in conference play. Prior to Maryland, Edsall went 74-70 at UConn, guiding the Huskies to the Fiesta Bowl and a share of the Big East title in 2010. After earning back-to-back bowl appearances, Edsall’s next challenge is to elevate Maryland into the Big Ten East Division’s top tier, which includes Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State. That’s not an easy task, but with the talent available in the Maryland/Washington, D.C. area, Edsall should be able to keep some of those players at home. This fall looks like a rebuilding season for Maryland, but Edsall should have this team in contention for a bowl. 

 

10. Kevin Wilson, Indiana

Record at Indiana: 14-34 (4 years)

Career Record: 14-34 (4 years)

 

Indiana is one of the Big Ten’s toughest jobs, but Wilson has this program moving in the right direction. The Hoosiers won only one game in Wilson’s first year (2011), improved to 4-8 in 2012 and just missed on a bowl game in '13 by finishing 5-7. Bad luck hit Indiana last season, as this program was poised to hit six wins but starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld was lost midway through the year with a shoulder injury. Sudfeld is back in 2015, giving the Hoosiers an opportunity to push for six wins once again. Considering Wilson’s background on offense, along with Indiana’s production on that side of the ball over the last four years, scoring points won’t be a problem. However, the defense has allowed six yards per play in Big Ten games in five consecutive seasons. That must be addressed for this program to move forward.

 

11. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin

Record at Wisconsin: First Year

Career Record: 19-19 (3 years)

 

Gary Andersen surprisingly departed Wisconsin for Oregon State this offseason, but the Badgers were able to turn to a familiar name in Chryst. After three years as Pittsburgh’s head coach, Chryst is coming back to Madison to guide a program that has won at least 10 games in four out of the last six seasons. In addition to being a Madison native, Chryst played quarterback for the Badgers and served as an assistant with the program in 2002 and again from 2005-11. There’s no denying that Chryst is an excellent fit at Wisconsin. However, he was only 19-19 in three seasons with the Panthers.  

 

Related: Wisconsin RB Corey Clement is a Player on the Rise for 2015

 

12. Tim Beckman, Illinois

Record at Illinois: 12-25 (3 years)

Career Record: 33-41 (6 years
 

Beckman enters 2015 facing a make-or-break year at Illinois. The Fighting Illini have showed some improvement in Beckman’s tenure by increasing their win total by two games in each year after a 2-10 mark in 2012. Illinois finished 4-8 in 2013 and improved to 6-7 with a 3-5 mark in Big Ten play in 2014. While improvement has been noticeable in the overall win column, this program is just 4-20 in Big Ten games over the last three years and has not finished higher than fifth in its division. Beckman’s tenure got off to a rough start, but things have stabilized over the last two years. A few more wins this fall would help Beckman ensure a fifth season.

 

13. Kyle Flood, Rutgers

Record at Rutgers: 23-16 (3 years)

Career Record: 23-16 (3 years)

 

Rutgers was one of the Big Ten’s biggest surprises last year. In the Scarlet Knights’ debut in their new conference, Flood guided the program to an 8-5 record and a 3-5 mark in Big Ten play. Rutgers improved late in the season and finished with wins in three out of their last four games, including a 40-21 victory over North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl. The 8-5 record in 2014 was the second winning mark during Flood’s tenure, as he finished 9-4 in his debut (2012) and finished 2013 with a 6-7 mark. Keeping Rutgers in bowl contention in the Big Ten East will be a challenge in 2015. And Flood’s task was made even more difficult when Ralph Friedgen decided not to return to his staff in 2015. Flood was on the hot seat entering 2014, but a solid 8-5 record in the first season of Big Ten play has reduced some of the pressure on him. 

 

14. Darrell Hazell, Purdue

Record at Purdue: 4-20 (2 years)

Career Record: 20-30 (4 years)

 

After guiding Kent State to a 16-10 record in two years, including an impressive 11-3 mark in 2012, Hazell appeared to be the right coach for Purdue. After two years with the Boilermakers, however, it's apparent that there’s still a lot of work ahead for Hazell. Purdue is only 4-20 over the last two seasons and has won only one game in Big Ten play. The Boilermakers had two losses in conference play by seven points or less, but lost three out of their last four games by 15 points or more. Hazell has made small gains through his first two years. However, plenty of work remains going into 2015, and Hazell needs to show progress in year three.   

Teaser:
Ranking the Big Ten's College Football Coaches for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-gets-it-right-no-conference-championship-game-needed
Body:

Whether it was the amount of teams in the league, getting left out of the playoff, a championship game, the nine-game schedule or expansion, the Big 12’s future has been an ongoing debate since the last round of conference realignment.

 

But on Tuesday, the league took a step in the right direction by deciding not to add a conference championship game.

 

At last week’s playoff committee meeting, executive director Bill Hancock mentioned the 13th game and how it helped Ohio State reach the four-team playoff in 2014. And following last week’s meetings, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby certainly sounded like someone who was ready to implement a 13th game to help his league match the other Power 5 conferences.

 

But let’s take a step back and revisit the final week of the season. How often will a team with a No. 3 quarterback destroy a Power 5 team in the conference championship game by 59 points? It’s pretty rare. Florida State won by only two points in the ACC Championship over Georgia Tech. If the Seminoles lost to the Yellow Jackets, Baylor would have been the No. 4 team in the playoff.

 

The Big 12 was just a couple of points or breaks away from getting one team in the playoff last year. So what’s the rush to change? There should be zero.

 

While the Big 12 is the only Power 5 league without a conference title game, adding one doesn’t necessarily help this league in the playoff mix. In fact, a 13th game on an annual basis could hurt the Big 12 champion more than it helps.

 

Right now, the Big 12 has a good setup. The round-robin schedule allows every team to play one another and an additional conference championship game would only add the potential for a loss for the league’s No. 1 team.

 

One look through the history of the Big 12 Championship should give the athletic directors enough of a reason to not add a conference championship game. In 1996, No. 3 Nebraska lost to an unranked Texas team. No. 3 Kansas State was upset by Texas A&M in 1998, No. 3 Texas lost to No. 9 Colorado in 2001, and the most memorable result was No. 1 Oklahoma losing to No. 15 Kansas State 35-7 in 2003.

 

College football is a cyclical sport. Conferences are up in some years, down in others. One season of data on the college football playoff isn’t enough to make enough long-term decisions about a league. If the Big 12 gets left out of the playoff in seven out of the next eight years because it doesn’t have a conference championship game – then it’s time to revisit the issue.

 

The Big 12 could help itself a little by implementing a non-conference rule forcing every team to play a Power 5 opponent outside of league games. That’s an easy way to bolster the strength of schedule metric. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt the overall conference strength if Oklahoma and Texas were back among the nation’s elite once again.

 

Could a Big 12 Championship matchup help the conference? Sure. But it’s a 50-50 shot. The champion isn’t guaranteed to win the game, and there’s as much potential for this game to hurt the No. 1 team.

 

Until there’s clear proof that the Big 12’s playoff hopes are hindered on a yearly basis by not having a conference title game, not adding a 13th contest or expanding is the way go.

 

This doesn’t happened too often, but in this case, the Big 12 got it right by just staying the course.

Teaser:
The Big 12 Gets it Right: No Conference Championship Game is Needed
Post date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/wake-forest-unveils-new-football-uniforms-and-helmets-2015
Body:

Wake Forest’s black and gold uniforms and helmets are getting a new look for the 2015 season. The Demon Deacons unveiled the new look on Tuesday, which features three different jerseys, including the usual black and white designs. And there’s a new black jersey, featuring gold on the sleeves.

 

There’s also some tweaks to the helmet, including a shiny gold design, as well as two different black variations. Here's the full gallery from the official Wake Forest site.

 

 

The school also released a video to debut the uniforms:

 

Teaser:
Wake Forest Unveils New Football Uniforms and Helmets for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 13:33
Path: /college-football/ranking-secs-college-football-coaches-2015
Body:

Success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national title contention. However, similar to any position on the field, statistics may not tell the full story when judging a coaching tenure.

 

This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. It's always easier for programs with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.

 

A couple of other factors to consider when ranking coaches: How well are the assistants paid? A staff with two of the nation’s top coordinators could be a sign the head coach is better as a CEO and may not be as strong in terms of developing gameplans. How is the coach in the X’s and O’s? Can the coach recruit? Are the program’s facilities on par with the rest of the conference? Much like assistants, a program needs good facilities to win big. If a team is winning at a high level with poor facilities and a small budget, it reflects positively on the head coach. Is the coach successful at only one stop? Or has that coach built a solid resume from different jobs?

 

Again, wins are important. But our rankings also take into account a blank slate. If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far and their career trajectory? Remember, you don't get the assistants - only the head coach. And head-to-head wins do not matter for this ranking.

 

Ranking the SEC’s Football Coaches for 2015

 

1. Nick Saban, Alabama

Record at Alabama: 91-17 (8 years)

Career Record: 182-59-1 (19 years)

 

Maintaining a place among college football’s elite every year is no easy task. However, as long as Alabama has Saban, the Crimson Tide will factor into the Playoff mix and remain among the nation’s top threats to win the national championship every season. In Saban’s eight years in Tuscaloosa, Alabama has won 10 games at least seven times and has not lost more than one game in SEC play in four years. And of course, we can’t forget about the three national championships during the BCS era. Additionally, the Crimson Tide has seven consecutive finishes inside of the top 10 in the final Associated Press poll. Recruiting and developing talent is another strength of the program under Saban, as Alabama has reeled in the No. 1 recruiting class over the last five seasons and 48 players have been drafted since 2009. 

 

Related: Alabama Ranks as the SEC's No. 1 Coaching Job

 

2. Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Record at Auburn:
20-7 (2 years)
Career Record: 29-10 (3 years)

 

In just three seasons as a head coach, Malzahn has already entrenched his name among the best in the nation. After a 9-3 record at Arkansas State in 2012 (his first as a head coach on the FBS level), Malzahn has guided Auburn to a 20-7 mark over the last two years. The Tigers played for the 2013 national championship and finished No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll after the loss to Florida State. Auburn slipped to 8-5 last year, but Malzahn should have this team back in contention for the SEC title in 2015. Prior to being a head coach on the FBS level, Malzahn was one of the nation’s top offensive coordinators at Auburn and Tulsa, with a one-year stop at Arkansas in 2006. He’s also known for his stint as a high school coach at Springdale High School in Arkansas from 2001-05. Malzahn is one of the game’s top X’s and O’s tacticians on offense and upgraded his defense with the addition of Will Muschamp as his new coordinator.

 

3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina

Record at South Carolina: 84-45 (10 years)

Career Record: 226-85-2 (25 years)

 

Spurrier enters 2015 ranked No. 2 among active FBS coaches with 226 career wins. South Carolina slipped in 2014 after three consecutive 11-win seasons, but Spurrier has elevated a program that had only one 10-win campaign prior to his arrival in 2005. Additionally, out of the six times the Gamecocks have won at least nine games, four of those have taken place under Spurrier’s watch. And Spurrier’s track record is no secret, as he went 122-27-1 at Florida from 1990-2001 and 20-13-1 at Duke from 1987-89. It’s not easy for coaches to maintain success over a 20-year span. Spurrier has had to tweak a few things along the way, but as evidenced by his recent success at South Carolina, he’s still one of the game’s top coaches.

 

4. Mark Richt, Georgia

Record at Georgia: 136-48 (14 years)

Career Record: 136-48 (14 years)

 

Georgia hasn’t won a SEC title since 2005, but the Bulldogs usually rank near the top of the conference. Richt has guided Georgia to three double-digit win seasons over the last four years, and the Bulldogs finished No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll in 2007. The talent level certainly isn’t an issue for Georgia, as the program owns the No. 3 roster in the SEC over the last five seasons. And with a 7.6 national average, the talent level is in place for the Bulldogs to contend for a national title. Under Richt’s direction, Georgia has never finished lower than third in the East and has lost more than two games in SEC play only five times over the last 14 years.

 

5. Gary Pinkel, Missouri

Record at Missouri: 113-66 (14 years)

Career Record: 186-104-3 (24 years)

 

Pinkel has been a consistent winner throughout his tenure at Missouri. The Tigers average 8.1 wins a season under Pinkel and have claimed back-to-back East Division titles after a 5-7 record in their SEC debut. Prior to joining the SEC, Missouri posted seven consecutive winning campaigns from 2005-11, including a 12-2 mark and a No. 4 finish in the final Associated Press poll in 2007. Pinkel’s success isn’t limited to just Missouri, as he went 73-37-3 in 10 years at Toledo. Despite a national recruiting rank of 39th nationally over the last five years, the Tigers won the SEC East in back-to-back years and will begin 2015 as one of the favorites in the division once again. That’s a huge credit to Pinkel and his staff’s ability to find and develop talent every year. 

 

6. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

Record at Mississippi State: 46-31 (6 years)

Career Record: 46-31 (6 years)

 

Mullen is the perfect example of why job hierarchy within a conference matters when ranking coaches. Mississippi State is the toughest job in the SEC West, and this program’s 27.4 finish nationally over the last five years in recruiting ranks No. 7 within its own division. However, the Bulldogs are 46-31 under Mullen and are coming off just the third double-digit win season in program history. Last season, Mississippi State climbed as high as No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for the first time and finished No. 11 in the final ranking – the second-highest mark in school history. Since a 5-7 mark in Mullen’s debut, Mississippi State has recorded a winning record in five consecutive years and is 22-26 in the SEC. Even though the Bulldogs suffered some heavy personnel losses this offseason, Mullen has elevated this program and the talent level has improved to ensure a quick rebuild.

 

Related: Mississippi State's Dak Prescott ranks as the SEC's No. 1 QB for 2015

 

7. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss

Record at Ole Miss: 24-15 (3 years)

Career Record: 54-22 (6 years)

 

Ole Miss has made steady improvement under Freeze, including a nine-win campaign in 2014. The Rebels have made a bowl game in all three of Freeze’s seasons in Oxford and went as high as No. 3 in the Associated Press poll in 2014. And if injuries didn’t take a toll on the 2014 team, Ole Miss easily could have won 10 games for the first time since '03. While Freeze doesn’t have the track record of some of the coaches in this league, he’s already a proven winner at three different jobs. In addition to the 24 wins at Ole Miss, he went 20-5 at Lambuth from 2008-09 and 10-2 at Arkansas State in '11. As we mentioned in the introduction, it’s not a list of career accomplishments. Based upon what Freeze inherited and has done in three years at Ole Miss, his career trajectory is higher than several names on this list.

 

8. Les Miles, LSU

Record at LSU: 103-29 (10 years)

Career Record: 131-50 (14 years)

 

2015 is shaping up to be one of the most interesting years of Miles’ tenure at LSU. The Tigers have slipped in the SEC pecking order over the last three seasons and last year finished outside of the Associated Press top 25 poll for the first time since 2008. LSU’s 4-4 mark in SEC play in 2014 was the first non-winning record in conference games in six seasons. Additionally, Miles lost top assistant and defensive coordinator John Chavis to rival Texas A&M, and the offense ranked 13th in the SEC in scoring last year. Plenty of question marks surround LSU for 2015, but Miles has showed before he’s capable of getting the program back among the best in the SEC. The Tigers went 17-9 from 2008-09, yet rebounded with four consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins from 2010-13. LSU has averaged a 6.8 finish nationally in recruiting rankings over the last five years. With that type of talent in place, the Tigers have the necessary pieces in place to get back to the top of the SEC.

 

9. Butch Jones, Tennessee

Record at Tennessee: 12-13 (2 years)

Career Record: 62-40 (8 years)

 

The arrow on Tennessee’s program under Jones' leadership is clearly pointing up entering 2015. The Volunteers went 5-7 in Jones’ first season but improved to 7-6 and returned to a bowl for the first time since 2010. Upgrading the talent on Tennessee’s roster has been a priority for Jones, and the coaching staff has inked back-to-back top-10 signing classes. With the talent on the rise, a solid core of personnel in place, and a team that won four out of its final five games, Tennessee is poised to take another step forward in 2015. Prior to Tennessee, Jones guided Central Michigan to a 27-13 record in three years (2007-09) and led Cincinnati to a 23-14 mark from 2010-12.

 

Related: Tennessee is a Team on the Rise for 2015

 

10. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M

Record at Texas A&M: 28-11 (3 years)

Career Record: 63-28 (7 years)

 

Texas A&M has made a successful transition to the SEC under Sumlin’s watch. In addition to fielding an explosive offense, the Aggies are 28-11 over the last three years and have a 13-11 record in SEC play in that span. With the program entrenched in the nation’s toughest conference, along with facility upgrades to compete with the SEC’s elite, Sumlin will be looking to push Texas A&M even higher in the conference standings. The Aggies’ win total in SEC games has declined from six (2012) to four (2013) to three (2014). While the offense has been among the league’s best since 2012, the defense has struggled mightily. But Sumlin took a big step in fixing that side of the ball by hiring John Chavis away from LSU. Prior to the last three seasons at Texas A&M, Sumlin guided Houston to a 35-17 record in four years from 2008-11. 

 

11. Bret Bielema, Arkansas

Record at Arkansas: 10-15 (2 years)

Career Record: 78-39 (9 years)

 

The overall coaching depth in the SEC is on display when Bielema ranks as the No. 11 coach on this list. Arkansas has showed marked improvement under Bielema in the last two years, and the Razorbacks are poised to take another step forward in 2015. After a 3-9 mark and a winless record in SEC play in 2013, Arkansas finished 7-6 and lost four games by a touchdown or less last fall. The Razorbacks closed 2014 by winning four out of their final six games, including a 31-7 destruction of Texas in the Texas Bowl. Prior to Arkansas, Bielema went 68-24 at Wisconsin and led the Badgers to four seasons of double-digit wins. The Razorbacks are clearly headed in the right direction, and Bielema’s physical style of play fits right at home in the SEC.

 

Related: Arkansas Razorbacks 2015 Schedule and Analysis

 

12. Jim McElwain, Florida

Record at Florida: First Year

Career Record: 22-16 (3 years)

 

After three seasons at Colorado State, McElwain was tapped as the replacement for Will Muschamp at Florida. Although Muschamp guided the Gators to an 11-2 mark in 2012, this program underachieved over the last four years with a 29-21 record. McElwain seems like the right coach to get the program back on track after a 22-16 record with the Rams, as well as a previous stint as an offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2008-11. Colorado State improved its win total in each of McElwain’s three years, including a 10-win mark in 2014. Prior to calling the plays at Alabama, McElwain made stops as an assistant at Fresno State, Michigan State, Louisville and in the NFL with the Raiders. His offensive background will pay dividends for a program that has struggled mightily on that side of the ball in recent years.

 

13. Mark Stoops, Kentucky

Record at Kentucky: 7-17 (2 years)

Career Record: 7-17 (2 years)

 

Kentucky is making progress under Stoops, making the jump from two wins in 2013 to five in '14. The Wildcats also went 2-6 in SEC play last year, equaling the amount of conference victories recorded from 2012-13. Kentucky was close to bowl eligibility in 2014, losing to Florida by six in three overtimes and by four to Louisville in the regular-season finale. The overall talent level and direction of this program have each improved since Stoops took over after the 2012 season. The next challenge is getting Kentucky to the postseason. With 12 starters back, that could happen this fall.

 

14. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Record at Vanderbilt:
3-9 (1 year)
Career Record: 3-9 (1 year)

 

James Franklin left big shoes to fill in Nashville after leading the Commodores to three consecutive bowl appearances. While repeating that success in the first year was going to be tough for Mason, Vanderbilt slipped to 3-9 and went winless in SEC play for the first time since 2009. The Commodores also lost four conference games by 20 or more points, and two of their three wins came by less than three points. Mason plans on taking over the defensive play-calling duties in 2015 and a staff overhaul should help the offense improve after averaging only 12.8 points per game in SEC contests. Mason had plenty of success as a coordinator at Stanford. Will the Commodores show big improvement in year two?

Teaser:
Ranking the SEC's College Football Coaches for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-accs-college-football-coaches-2015
Body:

Success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national title contention. However, similar to any position on the field, statistics may not tell the full story when judging a coaching tenure.

 

This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. It's always easier for programs with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.

 

A couple of other factors to consider when ranking coaches: How well are the assistants paid? A staff with two of the nation’s top coordinators could be a sign the head coach is better as a CEO and may not be as strong in terms of developing gameplans. How is the coach in the X’s and O’s? Can the coach recruit? Are the program’s facilities on par with the rest of the conference? Much like assistants, a program needs good facilities to win big. If a team is winning at a high level with poor facilities and a small budget, it reflects positively on the head coach. Is the coach successful at only one stop? Or has that coach built a solid resume from different jobs?

 

Again, wins are important. But our rankings also take into account a blank slate. If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far and their career trajectory? Remember, you don't get the assistants - only the head coach. And head-to-head wins do not matter for this ranking.

 

Ranking the ACC’s Football Coaches for 2015

 

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Record at Florida State:
58-11 (5 years)

Career Record: 58-11 (5 years)

 

Fisher has returned Florida State to the nation’s elite, guiding the Seminoles to a 27-1 mark over the last two seasons and the 2013 national championship. Under Fisher’s watch, Florida State has averaged 11.6 wins a season and has three consecutive finishes in the final Associated Press poll. Replacing Jameis Winston won’t be easy, but Fisher is one of the nation’s best at talent evaluation, and the Seminoles will continue to win at a high level under his watch.  

 

Related: Ranking the ACC's Football Coaching Jobs

 

2. Bobby Petrino, Louisville

Record at Louisville: 50-13 (5 years)

Career Record: 92-34 (10 years)

 

Petrino’s return to Louisville was a success, as the Cardinals finished 9-4 in their first season in the ACC. And Petrino’s team was neck-and-neck with the top teams in the conference, losing by just six points to Clemson and was defeated by Florida State after leading the defending national champs going into the fourth quarter. In Petrino’s 10 years as a college head coach, he’s won at least eight games every season but one. The Cardinals have some key pieces to replace for 2015, but the program is in good shape for the long haul with Petrino in control.

 

3. David Cutcliffe, Duke

Record at Duke: 40-48 (7 years)

Career Record: 84-77 (13 years)

 

Cutcliffe has elevated Duke into an annual bowl team in the ACC, and after winning the Coastal Division title in 2014, the Blue Devils finished second last season. How big of a difference has Cutcliffe made with Duke since 2008? The 10-win 2013 campaign, and the 19 victories in a two-year span are the best marks in school history. Cutcliffe is regarded for his work with offenses and quarterbacks, but he deserves more credit for his work as a head coach, especially at a program like Duke where it’s not easy to maintain success.  

 

4. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Record at Georgia Tech: 58-35 (7 years)

Career Record: 165-74 (18 years)

 

2014 wasn’t necessarily a make-or-break year for Johnson at Georgia Tech, but it was fair to wonder where the program was headed after a 14-13 mark from 2012-13. The Yellow Jackets entered 2014 with low expectations and delivered with a surprising 11-3 season and a Coastal Division title. In Johnson’s seven seasons in Atlanta, Georgia Tech has never finished under .500 in conference play. Additionally, the Yellow Jackets have played for the ACC Championship three times. 

 

5. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech

Record at Virginia Tech: 231-115-2 (28 years)

Career Record: 273-138-4 (34 years)

 

Beamer is college football’s longest-tenured coach entering the 2015 season. Virginia Tech has won 231 games under Beamer’s watch, which includes a streak of eight consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins from 2004-11. While Beamer’s longevity deserves plenty of consideration here, it’s also worth noting Virginia Tech is just 22-17 over the last three seasons and has not finished in the final Associated Press poll in that span after recording 12 top-25 finishes in 13 years from 1998-2011. The Hokies tied for second in the Coastal Division in 2013 but slipped to fourth in 2012 and fifth in 2014. Can Beamer return this program back to the top of the Coastal in 2015? 

 

6. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

Record at Clemson: 61-26 (7 years)

Career Record: 61-26 (7 years)

 

Swinney has helped Clemson football reach its potential with four consecutive seasons of at least 10 victories. The Tigers have not lost more than two games in ACC play during that span and finished No. 8 in the final Associated Press poll in 2013. Swinney is also regarded for his work on the recruiting trail, as Clemson has averaged a 13.2 finish – including two top-10 classes – among all 128 teams over the last five seasons. It’s no secret the Tigers invested heavily in their coordinators – Chad Morris (now at SMU) and defensive play-caller Brent Venables – to allow Swinney to focus on being the program CEO. What type of impact will Morris leaving have on the offense? That’s the big question facing Clemson in 2015 and beyond.

 

Related: Clemson's Deshaun Watson is the ACC's No. 1 QB in 2015

 

7. Steve Addazio, Boston College

Record at Boston College: 14-12 (2 years)

Career Record: 27-23 (4 years)

 

Even though he’s won only 14 games in two seasons at Boston College, Addazio is off to an impressive start with the Eagles. In the two years prior to Addazio’s tenure, Boston College went 6-18 and missed out on a bowl appearance in both seasons. But Addazio has made the Eagles a tough out in the ACC once again, and the program is coming off back-to-back bowl appearances. Addazio’s tenure is even more impressive when you consider he was able to mesh his systems with the returning talent in 2013, as well as recruit a graduate transfer (Tyler Murphy) at quarterback with a slightly different approach on offense. With only nine returning starters, Addazio has a tough assignment just getting Boston College back to a bowl in 2015. However, the track record suggests the Eagles will be pushing for a winning record once again. 

 

8. Al Golden, Miami

Record at Miami: 28-22 (4 years)

Career Record: 55-56 (9 years)

 

2015 is a critical season for Golden at Miami. The Hurricanes are just 16-16 in four years of ACC play under Golden and 28-22 overall. For a program that has the ability to recruit at a top 10-15 level, a .500 mark in conference games is a troubling sign. Golden did inherit some obstacles when he took over the program, including the Nevin Shapiro scandal and NCAA investigation, which was a cloud hanging over the program for over two years. Prior to taking over at Miami, Golden went 27-34 at Temple, which included a 17-8 record over the final two years (2009-10). With one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks in Brad Kaaya, Miami has the potential to challenge for the Coastal Division title. But potential has been the key word surrounding this program for a few years. It’s time for Golden to deliver.  

 

9. Dave Doeren, NC State

Record at NC State: 11-14 (2 years)

Career Record: 34-18 (4 years)

 

If NC State picks up in 2015 where it left off last season, it’s a safe bet Doeren will rank higher on this list next year. The Wolfpack showed marked improvement in Doeren’s second season, going from a 3-9 and winless team in the ACC in 2013 to an 8-5 squad in 2014. NC State also finished 3-5 in ACC games and won four out of its final five games, including a 35-7 rout over rival North Carolina. Prior to NC State, Doeren went 23-4 at Northern Illinois and guided the Huskies to an appearance in the Orange Bowl in the 2012 season. Recruiting at NC State is on the rise too, as the Wolfpack have signed back-to-back top-35 classes after not finishing higher than 54th from 2011-13.

 

10. Larry Fedora, North Carolina

Record at North Carolina: 21-17 (3 years)

Career Record: 55-36 (7 years)

 

The ongoing NCAA investigation/uncertainty at North Carolina certainly isn’t helping Fedora’s tenure in Chapel Hill. However, the Tar Heels have regressed in wins since posting an 8-4 record in 2012. North Carolina finished 7-6 in 2013 and slipped to 6-7 in 2014. Aside from the regression in the win column, the biggest concern for Fedora has to be fixing a defense that ranked 14th in the ACC in yards per play allowed. The hire of Gene Chizik as the team’s coordinator should address that side of the ball, and North Carolina has one of the league’s most talented offenses in place. Could 2015 be the best year of Fedora’s tenure with the Tar Heels?

 

11. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest

Record at Wake Forest: 3-9 (1 year)

Career Record: 93-88 (15 years)

 

Prior to taking over at Wake Forest, Clawson was a successful head coach at three previous stops. From 1999-2003, Clawson went 29-29 at Fordham, with 19 of those victories coming in the final two seasons. After five years with the Rams, Clawson went 29-20 with two FCS playoff appearances at Richmond, followed by a 32-30 mark at Bowling Green from 2009-13. Clawson didn’t inherit a loaded roster and finished 3-9 with just one of those wins coming in conference play. However, Clawson seems to have Wake Forest moving in the right direction with a talented, young core in place for 2015 and '16.  

 

12. Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh

Record at Pittsburgh: First Season

Career Record: First Season

 

If we are buying stock in coaches for 2016 and beyond, Narduzzi is on the must-have list. The former Michigan State coordinator is ready to be a head coach after leading one of the nation’s top defenses from 2007-14. The Spartans ranked in the top five nationally for fewest yards per play and points allowed per game from 2011-13. Narduzzi’s defense was a big reason why Michigan State won at least 11 games in four out of the last five years. Pittsburgh is on its fourth coach in six seasons. However, Narduzzi seems like the right coach at the right time for the Panthers. 

 

Related: Grading College Football's New Coaching Hires for 2015

 

13. Mike London, Virginia

Record at Virginia: 23-38 (5 years)

Career Record: 47-43 (7 years)

 

London entered 2014 on the hot seat but managed to earn another season in Charlottesville after the Cavaliers finished 5-7 and lost five games by eight points or less. London enters 2015 in the same situation, as his contact expires at the end of 2016 and there’s pressure to get Virginia back into a bowl game after three consecutive losing seasons. Recruiting has been a strength for London and his staff, with the Cavaliers averaging a 31.8 finish nationally since 2011. The 31.8 mark ranks No. 6 among ACC teams, ahead of three other Coastal Division teams in Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and Duke. But despite the success on the recruiting trail, Virginia has won only five games in ACC play over the last three seasons. 2015 is a make-or-break year for London.

 

14. Scott Shafer, Syracuse

Record at Syracuse: 10-15 (2 years)

Career Record: 10-15 (2 years)

 

Shafer went 7-6 in his first season at Syracuse (2013), but the Orange regressed to 3-9 last season. The four-win decline had a lot to do with injuries to key players, including quarterback Terrel Hunt. Improving the offense has to be a priority for Shafer and coordinator Tim Lester, especially since the Orange managed only 24 points in their final three games. Prior to Shafer’s promotion to head coach, he worked as a defensive coordinator with the Orange from 2009-12. Additionally, he made stops as an assistant at Michigan, Stanford, Western Michigan, Illinois and Northern Illinois. Syracuse seemed to be trending in the right direction after 2013. But after a three-win campaign last year, can Shafer get the program back into contention for a bowl? With a new athletic director coming, the pressure is on Shafer to produce.

Teaser:
Ranking the ACC's College Football Coaches for 2015
Post date: Monday, May 4, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/colorado-updates-uniforms-and-unveils-new-gray-alternates-2015
Body:

Colorado’s classic white and black jerseys are some of the best in the Pac-12. But every uniform needs an occasional refresh, and that’s exactly what the Buffaloes are doing headed into 2015.

 

On Friday, Colorado updated its white and black uniforms, along with a brand new gray jersey.

 

Overall, these are really sharp uniforms for the Buffaloes:

 

 

Teaser:
Colorado Updates Uniforms and Unveils New Silver Alternates for 2015
Post date: Friday, May 1, 2015 - 19:29
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/oregon-releases-new-salute-state-uniforms-2015-spring-game
Body:

Oregon is set to close spring practice with its final scrimmage of the season on Saturday.

 

It’s a big spring in Eugene, as the Ducks are looking for a replacement for Marcus Mariota, as well as searching for new starters on defense.

 

Different uniforms and designs are nothing new for Oregon, so it’s no surprise the Ducks have unveiled new “Salute the State” jerseys and helmets for Saturday’s game.

 

Check out the Oregon spring game uniforms for 2015:

Teaser:
Oregon Releases New "Salute the Day" Uniforms for 2015 Spring Game
Post date: Friday, May 1, 2015 - 11:57
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/san-francisco-49ers-unveil-new-alternate-black-uniforms-2015
Body:

It’s hard to beat the traditional scarlet and gold uniforms that the San Francisco 49ers have each season.

 

But there’s a new look coming to the team in 2015. The 49ers unveiled a new black alternate jersey on the first day of the 2015 NFL Draft. The team also unveiled matching pants to give San Francisco all black uniforms.

 

This isn’t an awful look, but why mess with San Francisco’s traditional uniforms? 

Teaser:
San Francisco 49ers Unveil New Alternate Black Uniforms for 2015
Post date: Friday, May 1, 2015 - 11:07
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-12s-quarterbacks-2015
Body:

The Big 12 is known for its high-scoring offenses and quarterback play, but the league enters 2015 with several unknowns under center. TCU’s Trevone Boykin is the clear favorite for first-team all-conference honors and one of the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy. However, after Boykin is a host of unproven names. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph ranks as our No. 2 quarterback after a promising finish to 2014, while we project Baylor’s Seth Russell to continue the successful run of signal-callers in Waco.

 

To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2015. This was not a ranking of quarterbacks 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 quarterbacks in the Big 12 for 2015.

 

Ranking the Big 12 Quarterbacks for 2015

 

1. Trevone Boykin, TCU

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Under new co-coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham, Boykin emerged as the Big 12’s top quarterback and one of the most improved players in the nation. TCU’s offense averaged 46.5 points per game last year, which was a significant bump from the 25.1 mark in 2013. Boykin threw for 3,901 yards and 33 scores last season and ranked second on the team with 707 yards and eight touchdowns. The senior is among the nation’s leaders for the 2015 Heisman Trophy.

 

2. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Rudolph’s emergence at the end of 2014 is a big reason why Oklahoma State is poised to move up the Big 12 standings in 2015. The true freshman did not play through the first 10 games but started the final three contests and guided the Cowboys to a 2-1 mark in that span. Rudolph ended the year with 853 yards and six scores, while completing 57 percent of his passes. With an improving offensive line and one of the Big 12’s top receiving corps, Rudolph should push for all-conference honors in 2015.

 

3. Seth Russell, Baylor

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Russell takes the reins of Baylor’s high-powered offense after Bryce Petty expired his eligibility. Since 2010, the starting quarterback for coach Art Briles has passed for at least 3,500 yards in each season. Additionally, in three out of the last five years, the starter has eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark. Russell threw for 804 yards and eight scores in limited action last year, which included one start against Northwestern State while Petty was out due to a back injury.

 

4. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Putting Mahomes at No. 4 assumes he beats out Davis Webb for the job and starts all 12 regular season games. As a true freshman last year, Mahomes threw for 1,457 yards and 16 scores, with a bulk of his production coming in the final three games. Mahomes also brings a different element to the offense with his dual-threat potential. He only managed 104 yards on 46 attempts last season, but the rushing ability only adds to what should be a dynamic Texas Tech offense in 2015.

 

5. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Oklahoma finished spring without a definitive answer under center, but all signs point to Mayfield taking the first snap of the 2015 season. Mayfield sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules after leaving Texas Tech following the 2013 campaign. In Mayfield’s only season with the Red Raiders, he threw for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 186 yards and three scores. In Oklahoma’s spring game, Mayfield led all quarterbacks with 176 passing yards.

 

6. Skyler Howard, West Virginia

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Howard entered spring neck-and-neck with William Crest for the No. 1 spot under center. However, Howard pull ahead throughout the offseason workouts, which may allow the West Virginia coaches to use Crest in an all-purpose role in 2015. Howard gained valuable experienced at the end of 2014 by starting the final two games and threw for 346 yards and three scores against Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl. The junior college recruit was slated to redshirt last season but injuries to Crest and Clint Trickett forced him to play. Considering the track record of quarterbacks in Dana Holgorsen’s offense, it’s safe to assume Howard will post big numbers if he picks up where he left off in the bowl game and the Mountaineers find a replacement for star receiver Kevin White.

 

7. Tyrone Swoopes/Jerrod Heard, Texas

 

There’s a ton of potential with Texas’ quarterback situation in 2015. But will the Longhorns get consistent production from their signal-callers? Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard were both four-star recruits in the 247Sports Composite and finished spring in a tight battle for the No. 1 spot. Last year, Swoopes completed 224 of 384 passes for 2,409 yards and 13 scores. He also rushed for 262 yards and four touchdowns. Heard did not play as a redshirt, but he finished the spring on a high note by completing 20 of 29 passes for 177 yards in the spring game. The upside is there for both quarterbacks to take a step forward in 2015, especially with the offense shifting to more of a spread approach. 

 

8. Sam Richardson, Iowa State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Richardson was steady in his second full year as Iowa State’s starter, completing 254 of 451 passes for 2,669 yards and 18 scores. He missed the matchup against Kansas due to injury, but in Big 12 contests last year, the Florida native averaged 239 passing yards per game. The Cyclones should be better on offense in 2015, especially with a talented receiving corps in place, featuring the return of Quenton Bundrage from injury, along with the development of sophomore receiver Allen Lazard. Richardson should also benefit from another offseason to learn under coordinator Mark Mangino. With the returning talent at receiver, No. 8 might be too low for Richardson.

 

9. Joe Hubener, Kansas State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Hubener is the favorite to replace the underrated Jake Waters under center for K-State in 2015. The Kansas native has an interesting backstory, as he joined the program as a walk-on after never starting a game at quarterback in high school. In two seasons of playing time with the Wildcats, Hubener has completed 9 of 17 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown. He has rushed for 147 yards and three scores on 29 rushing attempts. Competing with Hubener for the starting job is sophomore Jesse Ertz and incoming freshman Alex Delton.

 

10. Michael Cummings/Montell Cozart, Kansas

 

Cummings is penciled in as the starter in Lawrence, but a knee injury in the spring game has clouded his availability for 2015. If Cummings returns in time, he should be the starter after completing 137 of 244 passes for 1,715 yards and nine scores last year. But if Cummings is sidelined for the full season, Cozart is the likely replacement. He threw for 701 yards and five scores and started five games in 2014. If the Jayhawks look to the future, true freshmen Ryan Willis or Carter Stanley could get a chance to play.

Teaser:
Ranking the Big 12's Quarterbacks for 2015
Post date: Friday, May 1, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-tens-quarterbacks-2015
Body:

It’s no secret Ohio State’s quarterback battle is the most intriguing storyline in college football this year. Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett will compete this fall to take the first snap against Virginia Tech, and the winner of the competition – assuming they start the full year – should be a Heisman candidate.

 

Michigan State’s Connor Cook ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten quarterback, and the steady senior is poised to keep the Spartans in the hunt for 10 wins. After Cook, there’s a group of intriguing quarterbacks, starting with Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg. The junior hopes to rebound after a sluggish 2014 season.

 

To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2015. This was not a ranking of quarterbacks 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 quarterbacks in the Big Ten for 2015. 

 

Ranking the Big Ten Quarterbacks for 2015

 

1. Cardale Jones/Braxton Miller/J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

 

The Buckeyes have three proven and talented quarterbacks competing for the top spot this offseason. We listed all three names here, but the early favorite to take the first snap of the season has to be Cardale Jones. With Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett recovering from injuries, Jones has been the top quarterback in the spring and played well in Ohio State’s final three games last year. If Jones starts the full season, he should be one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and a Heisman contender.

 

2. Connor Cook, Michigan State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Michigan State is 23-3 with Cook entrenched as the starting quarterback, and the senior should keep the Spartans among the nation’s top 10 teams in 2015. In two years as the starter, Cook passed for 46 touchdowns to just 14 interceptions and 5,969 yards. Cook isn’t going to post monster statistical totals in Michigan State’s offense, but he rarely makes mistakes and has earned back-to-back second-team Big Ten honors.

 

3. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

2014 was a struggle for Penn State’s offense. With a rebuilding offensive line, the passing and rushing attacks for the Nittany Lions were never able to get on track. The overall depth and talent is better up front for Penn State in 2015, which should allow the offense to take a step forward in coach James Franklin’s second season. Hackenberg’s passing totals regressed from throwing 2,955 yards and 20 scores in 2013 to 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2014. Talent isn’t an issue for Hackenberg, but he needs more help from the offensive line.

 

4. Wes Lunt, Illinois

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

It’s a tossup among quarterbacks No. 4-7 on this list. Lunt is arguably the most talented passer out of that bunch, but he has yet to put everything together for a full season of production. However, that could change in 2015. Lunt’s 2014 season was limited by a leg injury, and he finished the year with 1,763 yards and 14 passing scores. The Fighting Illini offense will miss Mike Dudek’s playmaking ability at receiver while he recovers from a torn ACL. However, the cupboard at receiver isn’t bare for Lunt. Geronimo Allison (14.59 ypc in 2014), Justin Hardee and Malik Turner provide three capable options in the passing game.

 

5. Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Armstrong move up this list by the end of November. Of course, that’s assuming the junior has an easy transition to a new offense. New coach Mike Riley is changing up Nebraska’s offense to more of a pro-style attack, and Armstrong has to progress as a passer this season. In 13 games last year, Armstrong passed for 2,695 yards and 22 scores. He also added 705 yards and six scores on the ground. With Jordan Westerkamp, Jamal Turner and De’Mornay Pierson-El returning at receiver, everything is in place for Armstrong to succeed in 2015.

 

6. Nate Sudfeld, Indiana

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Sudfeld’s 2014 season was cut short by a shoulder injury suffered against Iowa. Prior to his injury, Sudfeld was still trying to adapt to a new group of receivers and threw for 1,151 yards and six scores through six appearances. But rewind back to 2013 and it’s easy to see Sudfeld’s potential in Kevin Wilson’s offense. In 12 appearances (with eight starts), Sudfeld threw for 2,523 yards, 21 scores and completed 60.2 percent of his throws. Assuming he’s healthy, Sudfeld will have Indiana in contention for a bowl this season.

 

7. Jake Rudock, Michigan

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

After a two-year stint as Iowa’s starting quarterback, Rudock transferred to Michigan for his final year of eligibility. C.J. Beathard was expected to replace Rudock as the starter with Iowa this season, so getting a chance to learn under Jim Harbaugh and remain in the Big Ten is a good move for the senior quarterback. Rudock was productive from 2013-14 with the Hawkeyes, throwing for 4,819 yards and 34 touchdowns to interceptions. How quickly will he mesh with the supporting cast at Michigan? Harbaugh is one of the Big Ten’s top offensive coaches, and Rudock should have a solid year in 2015.

 

8. Mitch Leidner, Minnesota

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

In his first full season as Minnesota’s starter, Leidner led the Golden Gophers to an 8-5 record and a 5-3 mark in Big Ten play. The Minnesota native passed for 1,798 yards and 11 scores and rushed for 452 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. While Leidner’s debut was solid, there are plenty of areas for him to work on in 2015. Leidner has to become a better passer after completing just 51.5 percent of his throws last year. The struggles in the passing game aren’t solely on Leidner’s right arm, as Minnesota has to develop more playmakers at receiver. That task is even more critical with the departure of tight end Maxx Williams to the NFL.

 

9. Joel Stave, Wisconsin

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Stave has been a steady presence for Wisconsin over the last three seasons. The Wisconsin native has passed for 4,948 yards and 37 scores since 2012. New coach Paul Chryst is tasked with improving the Badgers’ passing attack after averaging only 148.7 yards in 14 games last season. Considering the punishing rushing attacks Wisconsin has generated recently, a prolific passing game isn’t needed. However, Stave has to elevate his performance if the Badgers want to challenge Ohio State and Michigan State for a spot at the top of the Big Ten in 2015.

 

10. C.J. Beathard, Iowa

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Jake Rudock was a solid starter for Iowa, but Kirk Ferentz and coordinator Greg Davis hope Beathard brings more big-play ability to the offense. In nine appearances last year, Beathard passed for 645 yards and five scores and completed 52 of 92 throws. It’s a small sample size to draw conclusions from, but it’s interesting to note Beathard completed three passes of 40 yards or more last year. Rudock had just eight with more playing time. With a strong arm and good mobility, Beathard could provide a spark for an Iowa offense that produced only 12 plays of 40 yards or more last season and ranked seventh in the Big Ten in scoring.

 

11. Caleb Rowe, Maryland

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

An offensive makeover is underway at Maryland this offseason. Quarterback C.J. Brown expired his eligibility, the receiving corps lost key targets Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, and the offensive line could have two promising freshmen start at the tackle positions. Rowe did not participate in spring practice while recovering from a torn ACL, but he is the favorite to replace Brown under center in 2015. The South Carolina native is a better pocket passer than Brown and is 123 of 229 for 1,768 yards and 12 scores over the last three years.

 

12. Zack Oliver/Matt Alviti/Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

 

It’s a wide-open battle to replace Trevor Siemian at Northwestern. Oliver, Alviti and Thorson finished spring with little separation, meaning the quarterback competition will extend into the fall. Thorson has the most upside, but Oliver and Alviti have the edge in experience. Oliver started the finale against Illinois last year and threw for 221 yards on 23 completions.

 

13. Chris Laviano, Rutgers

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Laviano edged slightly ahead of LSU transfer Hayden Rettig for the starting quarterback job at the conclusion of spring practice. In Rutgers’ spring game, Laviano completed 8 of 10 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns, while Rettig went 4 of 7 for 37 yards. Laviano also played in five games as Gary Nova’s backup last season, completing 11 of 28 passes for 107 yards. There’s some upside with Laviano, especially with top receiver Leonte Carroo returning for his senior year and an underrated stable of running backs. But will there be a transition period with Ben McDaniels taking over for Ralph Friedgen as the team’s play-caller?

 

14. Austin Appleby, Purdue

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Appleby and Chris Laviano easily could be flipped on this list. However, for now, the edge goes to Appleby at No. 13. The Ohio native started the final six games of 2014 and passed for 1,449 yards and 10 scores, while adding 198 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Appleby isn’t secure in the starting job, as Danny Etling and David Blough will push for time once again in the fall.

Teaser:
Ranking the Big Ten's Quarterbacks for 2015
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/uconn-revamps-uniforms-and-helmets-2015
Body:

UConn is making a few alterations to its uniform and helmet after just two years of a new design.

 

On Wednesday night, the Huskies unveiled their new look for coach Bob Diaco’s second year.

 

Overall, this is a good design for UConn. And the helmet with the updated logo is a solid look.

 

Check out the full gallery of images here.

 

 

 

 

 

Teaser:
UConn Revamps Uniforms and Helmets for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 20:57
Path: /college-football/unlv-unveils-new-uniforms-and-las-vegas-themed-helmets-2015
Body:

It’s a new era of UNLV football with first-year coach Tony Sanchez making the jump from Bishop Gorman High School to the head coach position with the Rebels.

 

And Sanchez is hoping to revamp the program with a fresh start, including new uniforms and helmets for 2015.

 

On Wednesday night, UNLV unveiled its new uniforms and helmets for 2015, including a “Welcome to Las Vegas” sticker on the back of the helmets.

 

 

Teaser:
UNLV Unveils New Uniforms and Las Vegas-Themed Helmets for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 20:24
All taxonomy terms: Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/what-if-nba-teams-had-helmets
Body:

What if NBA teams had helmets? It’s an interesting question posed by James Politi and Luke Daly.

 

The NBA has a good collection of logos – new and old-school designs – so what better way to answer that question than to actually design helmets with NBA logos?

 

To help pass the long offseason until the start of the NFL, Politi and Daly created helmets for all NBA teams. Check out this link to view all of the images:

 

Here are some of our favorites:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaser:
What if NBA Teams had Helmets?
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 12:17
Path: /college-football/ranking-pac-12s-quarterbacks-2015
Body:

Quarterback play is usually a strength in the Pac-12, and all signs point to 2015 as another deep year for signal-callers on the West Coast. USC’s Cody Kessler leads the way in our quarterback rankings, but California’s Jared Goff is a rising star and should have a huge season in Sonny Dykes’ offense.

 

After Kessler and Goff is a duo of intriguing quarterbacks in Arizona’s Anu Solomon at No. 3 and Oregon’s Vernon Adams at No. 4. As a graduate transfer, Adams has only one season of eligibility remaining. However, he is a huge addition to the Ducks as they look to replace Marcus Mariota.

 

To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2015. This was not a ranking of quarterbacks 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 quarterbacks in the Pac-12 for 2015.

 

Ranking the Pac-12 Quarterbacks for 2015

 

1. Cody Kessler, USC

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

The Trojans have playoff aspirations in 2015, and coach Steve Sarkisian’s team might have to lean on its offense early in the season with the departure of Leonard Williams at defensive end. Scoring points shouldn’t be a problem for USC next season, as Kessler is poised to challenge for All-American honors, and the receiving corps is stocked with talent. In 13 games last year, Kessler threw for 3,826 yards and 39 scores. He also tossed just five interceptions. One area for Kessler to improve in 2015: Performances against top 25 teams. In games against ranked teams in 2014, Kessler threw only four touchdowns to three interceptions.

 

2. Jared Goff, California

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

California’s offense thrived in coach Sonny Dykes’ second year, increasing its scoring average from 23 points a game in 2013 to 38.3 in 2014. A big reason for the offensive explosion was the development of Goff. In his second year as the starter, Goff threw for 3,973 yards and 35 scores to only seven interceptions. The junior is poised for an even better 2015 season, as California returns one of the nation’s best receiving corps and an underrated running back Daniel Lasco.

 

3. Anu Solomon, Arizona

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Solomon was solid in his first year as the starter, completing 313 of 540 passes for 3,793 yards and 28 scores. He also rushed for 291 yards and two touchdowns. But Solomon suffered an ankle injury late in the year and struggled in his final two outings, tossing two picks against Boise State and throwing for only 34 yards against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship. While Solomon’s finish left something to be desired, he should rebound with a full offseason to heal. Coach Rich Rodriguez is among the nation’s top offensive minds, and with a loaded receiving corps in place, Solomon is poised to improve off a promising freshman campaign.

 

4. Vernon Adams, Oregon

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Adams is easily one of the nation’s most intriguing quarterbacks for 2015. In three years at Eastern Washington, Adams threw for 10,438 yards and 110 scores and added 1,282 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. With one year of eligibility left as a graduate student, Adams transferred to Oregon for his final season. The senior inherits big shoes to fill with Marcus Mariota off to the NFL, but Adams is a dynamic replacement. It may take a game or two for Adams to adjust to the FBS level. However, the California native should keep Oregon’s offense performing at a high level and will be among the Pac-12’s top quarterbacks in 2015.

 

5. Mike Bercovici, Arizona State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

This will be Bercovici’s first opportunity to be Arizona State’s No. 1 quarterback for a full season, but he’s already a known commodity in Tempe. The California native started three games in 2014 and finished last season with 1,445 yards and 12 passing scores to just four interceptions. Bercovici torched UCLA’s secondary for 488 yards and threw for 510 yards (and the game-winning Hail Mary as time expired) versus USC. If the senior picks up where he left off as a fill-in for Taylor Kelly, Arizona State’s offense will be among the best in the Pac-12 once again. And he has a little extra help on the way with the addition of UCLA graduate transfer Devin Lucien at receiver.

 

6. Kevin Hogan, Stanford

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Stanford’s defense is expected to take a step back with the departure of a handful of key players. But even if the Cardinal isn’t as dominant on defense in 2015, coach David Shaw’s team could match last year’s win total with improvement on offense. Hogan is a three-year starter under center and is coming off back-to-back solid outings to end Stanford 2014 season. Against UCLA and Maryland, Hogan completed 30 of 39 passes for 423 yards and four scores. If Hogan picks up where he left off in 2014, the senior should have his best season in a Stanford uniform.

 

7. Sefo Liufau, Colorado

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Liufau threw for 3,200 yards and 28 scores in his first full year as Colorado’s starting quarterback. The Washington native also completed 66.1 percent of his passes in Pac-12 games and finished 2014 by throwing for 317 yards against Utah. Liufau’s development is a big reason why the Buffaloes are poised to take a step forward in coach Mike MacIntyre’s third season after winning just one conference game over the last two years. Top receiver Nelson Spruce also returns, giving Colorado one of the Pac-12’s top quarterback-receiver connections in the conference.  

 

8. Travis Wilson, Utah

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Wilson returned from an injury-shortened 2013 season to throw for 2,170 yards and 18 touchdowns. The California native lost the starting job to Kendal Thompson for two games but still guided Utah to its best record in Pac-12 play since joining the conference in 2011. In addition to his passing numbers, Wilson added 309 yards and five scores on the ground. The Utes need to find playmakers at receiver, but the offensive line is solid, and running back Devontae Booker is one of the best in the Pac-12. With a good supporting cast, the Utah coaching staff hopes Wilson puts everything together for a solid senior season.

 

9. Josh Rosen, UCLA

2015 Year of Eligibility: True Freshman

 

Talent certainly isn’t an issue for Rosen. The California native ranked as the No. 12 recruit in the 2015 247Sports Composite and enrolled in time to compete in spring practice. It’s never easy starting as a true freshman for a Power 5 team, but Rosen is UCLA’s best option at quarterback. Is he ready to take the reins of the Bruins’ offense in 2015? While he will need time to learn, UCLA should have a solid defense and returns standout running back Paul Perkins.

 

10. Luke Falk, Washington State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Falk isn’t guaranteed to start, as redshirt freshman Peyton Bender is still in the mix. However, Falk finished the spring on a high note, throwing for 323 yards and two scores in Washington State’s final scrimmage. Falk started the last three games of 2014 after Connor Halliday suffered a season-ending leg injury against USC. In five games last year, Falk completed 156 of 243 passes for 1,859 yards and 13 scores. If he holds off Bender, Falk is going to post huge numbers in Mike Leach’s high-powered offense.

 

11. K.J. Carta-Samuels, Washington

2015 Year of Eligibility: Redshirt Freshman

 

The Huskies have a three-way competition for the starting job with Cyler Miles not expected to return to the team in 2015. Carta-Samuels, Jeff Lindquist and true freshman Jake Browning will continue their battle into the fall after a close competition in the spring. Carta-Samuels is penciled in as the favorite here, but Lindquist or Browning could take the top spot in the fall. Carta-Samuels ranked as a four-star recruit in the 2014 247Sports Composite.

 

12. Seth Collins, Oregon State

2015 Year of Eligibility: True Freshman

 

All signs point to a rebuilding year in Gary Andersen’s debut at Oregon State. The Beavers return just nine overall starters and have significant question marks on both sides of the ball. Collins – a true freshman from California – finished spring ball with a slight edge over redshirt freshman Nick Mitchell for the starting job. Collins was regarded as a three-star recruit in the 247Sports Composite and completed 12 of 22 passes for 208 yards and two scores in Oregon State’s spring game. 

Teaser:
Ranking the Pac-12's Quarterbacks for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Arkansas Razorbacks, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/bret-bielema-receives-championship-belt-celebrate-arkansas-bowl-win-over-texas
Body:

Arkansas made quite the statement when it pounded Texas 31-7 in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 29. The Razorbacks thoroughly dominated their old Southwest Conference rivals, and while bowl games aren’t necessarily the best indicator of teams, it was a huge victory for coach Bret Bielema.

 

Fast forward to April and Bielema and Arkansas is still celebrating the victory over Texas.

 

On Monday, Bielema tweeted out this photo from a championship belt he received from the Texas Bowl victory. According to Bielema, the belt was produced by JT Custom Leather from Granbury, Texas.

 

Teaser:
Bret Bielema Receives Championship Belt to Celebrate Arkansas' Bowl Win Over Texas
Post date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 12:44

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