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  • By Stephen Schindler, 7 months 3 weeks ago

    As we sit days away from the start of the college football season, several big time programs have yet to make a decision at the most important position in football, Most of these QB competitions that won’t be resolved until noon on Saturday. Let’s take a look at the top 5 quarterback competitions that will affect the 2013 season.

    1. USC
    Max Wittek vs. Cody Kessler

    On the USC depth chart both Wittek and Kessler are listed as co-starters. This choice could be the decision that decides the future of Lane Kiffin’s career at USC. Both players are redshirt sophomores, though Wittek has the pair's only starting experience after taking over for Matt Barkley in the final two games last season. For the year, Wittek finished 36-of-69 with a 3-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Kessler has only two career passing attempts. Kiffin has confirmed that both will play in the Trojans’ season opener against Hawaii. Already firmly on the hot seat, the third year coach can’t get this wrong or he will be gone.

    2. West Virginia
    Clint Trickett vs. Paul Millard

    Dana Holgorsen has the unenviable task of replacing standout quarterback Geno Smith. He will have to choose between the Florida State transfer Trickett and Smith’s former backup Millard. While Millard has experience running Holgorsen’s complex offense, he has only thrown 19 career passes while Clint Trickett has significantly more game experience. Trickett’s best season game in relief of EJ Manuel in 2011, where he started two games and threw for 675 yards and seven touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Ford Childress is third on the depth chart but may play in the season opener.

    3. Penn State
    Tyler Ferguson vs. Christian Hackenburg

    The rebuilding process in Happy Valley continues as Bill O’Brien will be choosing between two quarterbacks who have combined to throw zero passes at the collegiate level. The frontrunner is the highly touted freshman Hackenburg, who was the top ranked quarterback in last year’s recruiting class. While Hackenburg has been impressive since his early summer enrollment, sophomore Tyler Ferguson’s experience in the Penn State offense from enrolling early has kept him in the conversation. The old school O’Brien has said he will pick one quarterback to stick with through the entire 2013 season, but he has said he won’t make his decision public until the offense runs out onto the field for its first series against Syracuse.

    4. Wisconsin
    Joel Stave vs. Curt Phillips

    Head coach Gary Andersen has said his plan is to make his choice for starting quarterback public on the first series of Wisconsin’s season opener Saturday against Massachusetts. Last season, Stave threw for 1,104 yards before being sidelines by a broken clavicle against Michigan State. He was leading the Big Ten in pass efficiency at the time with 149.6 rating. Phillips, a sixth-year senior, started the final five games, but averaged only 77.1 passing yards last season.

    5. Cincinnati
    Munchie Legaux vs. Brendon Kay

    Legaux may have the best name in college football, but his play was so poor midway through last season that Butch Jones handed the starting job to Kay. Kay was impressive as he completed 63 percent of his passes for 1298 yards and a 10-2 touchdown-interception ratio. Despite his 4-1 record as a starter, including a victory over Duke in the Belk Bowl, Kay’s has lost a firm grip on the starting job due to a sore shoulder he has been battling this offseason. Tommy Tuberville says he expects both quarterbacks to see action in the opener against Purdue; however, if healthy, Kay should be the starter.

  • By Steven Lassan, 8 months 3 weeks ago

    West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is known for his passing attacks, but the Mountaineers picked up a key transfer to help the offense on the ground for 2014. Former Pittsburgh running back Rushel Shell has selected West Virginia as his next home. The Pennsylvania native will have to sit out 2013 due to NCAA transfer rules.

    In his only season at Pittsburgh, Shell rushed for 641 yards and four scores, while catching nine passes for 103 yards. He originally selected UCLA as his transfer destination but decided against going to Los Angeles earlier this summer. Shell ranked as the No. 33 recruit in the 2012 Athlon Consensus 100.

    Although West Virginia will lean on its passing attack, Shell should see plenty of carries in 2014. The Pennsylvania native could be one of the top running backs in the Big 12 next season and will add to a backfield that features Dreamius Smith, Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison.

    Shell's addition is especially crucial with West Virginia facing an uncertain future at quarterback. The Mountaineers reeled in Clint Trickett from Florida State this spring, but Ford Childress and Paul Millard are also in the mix to start. If West Virginia struggles to get consistency from its quarterbacks - which would be a major surprise considering Holgorsen's track record - the Mountaineers may have to focus on the ground game more over the next two years. 

    And it's never too early to look ahead, as West Virginia will face Alabama in Atlanta in its season opener in 2014.


  • By Steven Lassan, 9 months 2 days ago

    The Big 12 is one of the toughest conferences to predict this preseason. No Big 12 team managed to crack Athlon's projected final top 15 for 2013, as Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU and Oklahoma all ranked between 16-20.

    It’s not the biggest indicator when predicting success, but returning starters are an interesting trend to look at before the season starts.

    With 17 returning starters, Texas has the most in the Big 12 for 2013. Will that be enough for the Longhorns to get back to a BCS bowl? It's now or never for Mack Brown, especially with the rest of the conference in transition. 


    Iowa State549
    Kansas State8210
    Oklahoma State5712
    Texas Tech4711
    West Virginia4711


  • By Steven Lassan, 9 months 2 weeks ago

    With an emphasis on strength of schedule in college football’s new postseason format, most teams are beginning to add more games against BCS competition for 2014 and beyond.

    West Virginia and Virginia Tech announced on Friday they have scheduled two games to renew their rivalry, with matchups slated for 2021 and 2022.

    Virginia Tech will travel to Morgantown on Sept. 18, 2021, while West Virginia will play in Blacksburg on Sept. 24, 2022.

    West Virginia holds the overall series edge at 28-22-1, but the last matchup occurred in 2005. The series has been on hiatus after Virginia Tech moved to the ACC.  

    Both teams will play for the Black Diamond Trophy, which was created in 1997 due to the region’s history with coal.

    Who knows how good both teams will be by then, but this is a good scheduling move for West Virginia and Virginia Tech. 

    Now that the Mountaineers have a game scheduled against the Hokies, maybe the school can get an agreement with Pittsburgh to renew the Backyard Brawl?