College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Big Ten Media Days: No more cupcakes on schedule
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- The Big Ten mandates a beefed up nonconference schedule in 2016 that won't include Football Championship Series programs who could once count on a big payday and often a loss.

    • So long Illinois State, Richmond and Appalachian State.

      Nice knowing you Florida International, Indiana State and Western Illinois.

      The second-tier football programs on current or recent Big Ten schedules will vanish after this season.

      Big Ten commissioner James Delany, who outlined changes as well as a nine-game Big Ten regular-season schedule during this week's conference football media days, said the College Football Playoff Committee wants teams from top-tier conferences to schedule only FBS programs.

      "We'll have one major intersectional game each year against an autonomy conference," Delany said. "We'll have nine conference games, which allows us to play each other on a more regular basis, which I think is important as conferences expand. We'll have a championship game. And then we'll have all of our games against FBS competition."

      Some Big Ten schools have already adapted and others are in final years of contracts with FCS schools.

      "It took a little while to get here because of schedules and expansion," Delany said. "But all of our coaches and players and athletic directors are committed to this platform. We think it's what our fans want. We think it's what our players want. And we think it's what the College Football Playoff committee wants."

      FOOT IN THE DOOR

      Coming off an 8-5 season and a bowl appearance, Rutgers coach Kyle Flood carries both a winning reputation and a top-notch brand as he persuades recruits to join his program.

      "You attach yourself to a brand like the Big Ten and you play in what we believe is the premiere athletic, academic conference in the country and in the most competitive division in all of college football," Flood said.

      "If you're recruiting the right kind of players, they want to play that kind of football. And I really believe there's no doubt it's elevated our recruiting over the last two years.”

      Rutgers posted wins over Michigan, Indiana and Maryland in its inaugural Big Ten season and beat North Carolina 40-21 in the Quick Lane Bowl.

      The Scarlett Knights return 14 starters from that team (five on offense, five on defense and four specialists). Perhaps the leading returnee is wide receiver Leonte Carroo, who opted out of 2015 NFL Draft contention for another college season.

      "He's one of the premier playmakers in the country," Flood said. "When he made a decision to come back to Rutgers for his senior year, our program got better. And it gave him an opportunity to do some things in his career that he had not accomplished yet."

      Carroo said he had no regrets.

      "You have to know that the NFL isn't going anywhere and you can play that game the following year," he said. "I knew my degree was important to me. That was a big factor."

      RETURN TO NORMALCY

      With scandals and sanctions the norm during the past few years, Penn State still isn't sure what a regular football season feels like.

      The Nittany Lions are about to find out.

      Scholarships were restored and a bowl game ban was lifted last year while a lawsuit growing out of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal at the school was settled in January.

      The late Joe Paterno also had all his wins restored, making him once again the winningest coach in college football history.

      "So many positive things falling into place for us right now," second-year Penn State coach James Franklin said. "Penn State being able to get the scholarships back, having an opportunity to go to bowl games, the way recruiting is going, the way we played in the bowl, and the way the season ended."

      The Nittany Lions beat Boston College 31-30 to complete a 7-6 season.

      "I'm really happy for our kids and our program," Franklin said. "We're coming into this season with nothing floating over our head. They have the ability to be able to chase their dreams at the very, very highest level. So really, really excited."

      Penn State returns 40 letter-winners, including 15 starters -- eight on offense and seven on defense. Among the returnees is senior tackle Anthony Zettel, a preseason All-American candidate and one of 13 Big Ten players to watch, as selected by the league.

      Zettel, redshirt sophomore wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton and senior safety Jordan Lucas all received All-Big Ten preseason citation by national preview publications.

      HEALTHY ALL AROUND

      Jerry Kill's health is fine and Minnesota football is feeling pretty upbeat. too.

      The Golden Gophers went 8-5 for the second straight season last year and had Kill's first winning Big Ten record, finishing 5-3 in the Big Ten West. They also qualified for a Jan. 1 bowl game, falling to Missouri 33-17 in the Citrus Bowl.

      The Minnesota coach suffered epileptic seizures during his first three seasons at Minnesota -- including a 10-day hospitalization in 2013 -- but reports he's now in good health.

      "I'm doing great," he said. "I've been seizure free now for over a year and a half. I feel great. What else can I say but I'm doing good."

      Kill received two Big Ten coach of the year awards last year and welcomes back 15 starters from that group, including five on offense and seven on defense.

      The Gophers, however, face a challenging schedule with consensus No. 2 TCU at home on Sept. 3 and a November clash at reigning national champion Ohio State.

      "We'll be good up front and that's where it all starts," he said. "(Quarterback) Mitch (Leidner) has had an outstanding offseason. He's a year older. He went to Peyton Manning's camp, which he was invited to, which I think was good for him."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Pac-12 Media Days: USC in the midst of resurgence
    By The Sports Xchange

    The biggest theme of Pac-12 Media Days was that USC, presumably, is back.

    • "You voted us to be the conference champions," Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian said Friday on the second and final day of the event, held at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. "We're appreciative of that, but the reality is we need to put our best foot forward every time we take the field."

      USC hasn't been conference champ since coach Pete Carroll's final season in 2008, and it hasn't won the Pac-12 South division since the league expanded in 2011. The program's last national championship -- later vacated by the BCS because of NCAA sanctions -- came in 2004.

      But the Trojans' talent flashes back to the good ol' days following its re-emergence from NCAA sanctions and scholarship limitations: A Heisman candidate quarterback (Cody Kessler), some of the most elite athletes in the country (linebacker/safety Su'a Cravens, cornerback/receiver/returner Adoree' Jackson, receiver JuJu Smith) and an offensive line that has once again turned into a strength.

      All of this five-star talent apparently has a chip on its shoulder, too.

      "Me, personally, I haven't done anything," Kessler said. "Neither have any of these guys. All this stuff that is out there is cool and all, but I'm a 10-4 and 9-4 quarterback."

      The message is that those USC records from the past two seasons haven't been -- and won't be -- good enough.

      "Nobody is going to look back go, 'Oh, they went 9-4; that's awesome,'" Kessler said. "The most important thing to me is winning every game."

      USC, which added arguably the nation's top recruiting class, lost three games last season by less than a touchdown and also fell to crosstown rival UCLA for the third consecutive season. Kessler was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country as a junior, completing 69.7 percent of his passes, with 39 touchdowns and five interceptions.

      The offense often played it safe last season but has the horses to attempt more downfield throws, which is one of the teaching points to Kessler.

      "I coach quarterbacks harder than any player on the team," Sarkisian said, relating a story about Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.

      "Duncan gets ripped by Gregg Popovich after one game, and he goes, 'If Pop can't coach me that hard, how is he going to expect to coach everybody else that hard?' So, I coach Cody harder than anybody else. I expect Cody to be better at the most critical moments in the biggest games than he was a year ago. That is what is going to define him."

      While USC has a Heisman candidate at quarterback, Oregon has to replace one.

      Jeff Lockie was the backup to Marcus Mariota last season, but much of the offseason hype has been about Eastern Washington graduate transfer Vernon Adams, who isn't expected to arrive until a few days into fall camp, needing to complete one more summer class. Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said Friday he was only going to talk about quarterbacks currently in the program, an effective "no comment" about Adams.

      Lockie, a junior who attempted 28 passes last season, doesn't have the same athletic profile as Mariota.

      "From an analogy standpoint, he's a point guard," Helfrich said. "He knows everything about our system. He executed it almost flawlessly in the spring. He had a great spring. ... I have total confidence in Jeff. Our players do, too."

      The Ducks, who lost to Ohio State in last season's national championship game, were picked to win the Pac-12 North in a vote of league media. Oregon received 37 first-place votes; the eight others went to Stanford.

      NOTES: Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez rambled when asked if it was "refreshing" to have a returning starting quarterback (sophomore Anu Solomon) for the first time in his four years with the Wildcats. "Refreshing? I think a nice, cold beer or a Bacardi and Coke or maybe even a nice ice tea, sweetened, is more refreshing. What was the question again?" ... USC coach Steve Sarkisian presumably took a little shot at the sartorial splendor of Oregon when asked about his recruiting approach. "We fall back on our rich tradition," he said. "We're not going to take the field in 13 different uniforms." Ducks fans quickly noted on Twitter that Sarkisian is 0-6 against Oregon as a head coach, losing by an average of 25.8 points. USC plays at Oregon on Nov. 21. ... Cal junior QB Jared Goff was listed as a top-10 pick in an early NFL mock draft by ESPN's Todd McShay. "It hasn't changed him a bit," Cal coach Sonny Dykes said of the expectations. "If anything, it's made him more focused on improving our team and our program. He's very unselfish. He gets it."

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Big Ten Media Days: Chryst feels at home in Madison
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- The position may be new, but Paul Chryst is hardly a stranger to Wisconsin football.

    • The Badgers' new head coach -- a former offensive coordinator as well as player at the school -- is back after a three-year stint as Pittsburgh's head coach.

      Chryst returns to a program accustomed to success. Wisconsin is tabbed as favorite to earn another Big Ten West title and is a consensus Top 25 team in the national rankings.

      "We've got players that have won a lot of games," Chryst said Thursday at the Big Ten's football Media Days event. "You know, Wisconsin has played in three of the last four Big Ten championship games, and you can't take that away from the guys that have done that."

      As Badgers' offensive coordinator, Chryst guided his teams to the Big Ten lead in scoring from 2009-11 before he moved to Pittsburgh.

      Chryst will have Joe Rudolph, who followed him from Pitt, as his offensive coordinator. On the field, tailback Corey Clement will be the successor to the now-departed Melvin Gordon, who rushed for 2,587 yards.

      Clement ran for 949 yards and averaged 6.5 yards per carry in 2014.

      "He knows he doesn't have to be Melvin," Chryst said. "I like the way that I think Corey's got a clear expectation of what it is to be the running back at Wisconsin. The offense has been a part of offenses that had a lot of success, (but) none of that equals success in the future. You've got to work at it. You've got to make sure players understand."

      ILLINI FOCUS ON FOOTBALL

      Illinois coach Tim Beckman is concentrating on football, not a probe into how he treated players in the past.

      The fourth-year Illini coach dodged questions Thursday about reported mistreatment of players.

      "We're focused right now on the 2015 football team," Beckman said. "We've been focused since January on becoming a better football program."

      A Chicago-based law firm is looking into charges made by some former players that they were mistreated. Others say they were forced to play while injured, and some maintain they were threatened with loss of scholarships.

      Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune talked to more than four dozen current and former Illinois players in a report published Wednesday. Many former players -- recruited under former coach Ron Zook -- were critical of Beckman, while most current players told the Tribune they were supportive.

      "The people that have reached out to me though this situation, I can't be more thankful," he said. "We know what we're doing in this program. We understand how this program can get better and better every year because it has. That's reality."

      NEW GUYS

      Wisconsin's Chryst was the first of three new Big Ten coaches to address the media Thursday. Michigan's Jim Harbaugh and Nebraska's Mike Riley get their chances Friday.

      Harbaugh was a four-year Wolverines letter winner from 1983-86, and he returns to Michigan after four years as the coach of the San Francisco 49ers, a stint that included 49 victories and an appearance in the Super Bowl after the 2012 season. He previously coached at the University of San Diego and Stanford.

      Riley spent the previous 12 seasons coaching at Oregon State, winning a school record 93 games. He was also head coach of the San Diego Chargers from 1999-2001.

      BUCKEYES' SUSPENSIONS

      Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, tabbed as one of 11 Big Ten players to watch, was suspended for the Buckeyes' season opener at Virginia Tech along with three teammates, sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, senior receiver Corey Smith and junior H-back Dontre Wilson.

      "All we can do is watch the indicators, watch it closely, and then dive into it with a sledgehammer if we start to see something that's disrupting the team," Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said. "And we've dealt with one. And I knew this was coming for a while, and at some point, we're going to have to address it and we did."

      TERRAPINS QB BATTLE

      Maryland will have a serious battle between three quarterbacks with experience at the highest levels of college football.

      Terrapins coach Randy Edsall said that Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman was officially cleared this week. He started eight games last year and threw for 2,041 yards and 12 touchdowns.

      Returnees include Caleb Rowe, a senior, and junior Perry Hills. In 2014, Rowe appeared in four games and threw for 489 yards and five touchdowns. Hills, seen as a backup, played in three games, including a 38-31 home win over Iowa.

      "You basically have three guys who have won games in Power Five conferences," Edsall said. "At least we have experience, and it's going to be neat to see the completion unfold here in the preseason."

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Bosa, three others suspended for Ohio State's opener
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ohio State All-American defensive end Joey Bosa and three other players were suspended for the 2015 opener for a violation of athletic department policy.

    • Sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, senior receiver Corey Smith and junior H-back Dontre Wilson also were suspended.

      Bosa was a first-team All-American and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2014. He is projected to be a top-10 draft pick in 2016 if he declared for the NFL.

      Smith is the second-leading returning receiver for Ohio State; he caught 20 passes for 255 yards last season.

      Converted quarterback Braxton Miller could factor in at H-back to fill the void left by Marshall and Wilson.

      The Buckeyes begin the season Sept. 7 against Virginia Tech, which upset Ohio State in Columbus last season.

      The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 in the preseason coaches poll released Thursday.

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
    College football notebook: Ohio State suspends Bosa, three others
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ohio State All-American defensive end Joey Bosa and three other players were suspended for the 2015 opener for a violation of athletic department policy.

    • Sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, senior receiver Corey Smith and junior H-back Dontre Wilson also were suspended.

      Bosa was a first-team All-American and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2014. He is projected to be a top-10 draft pick in 2016 if he declared for the NFL.

      The Buckeyes begin the season Sept. 7 against Virginia Tech, which upset Ohio State in Columbus last season.

      ---Notre Dame and other independent teams won't be forced to join a conference in the future to remain eligible for the College Football Playoff.

      The subject has come up at several conference media days this month, but CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN.com on Thursday that there is no movement to head in that direction.

      The three Football Bowl Subdivision independents are the Fighting Irish, BYU and Army.

      "The three independents are perfectly happy being independent," Hancock said. "They have the ability to craft their schedules to fit their needs. If their need and goal is to be in the playoff, then they're in the same boat as everybody else. You better play a good schedule if you want to be in the playoff."

      ---Running back Jordan Stevenson, a four-star recruit who signed with Wisconsin in February but was denied admission last week, has decided to play for Nebraska.

      Stevenson tweeted on Thursday (edited): "I'm officially a Nebraska Cornhusker. Go #GBR! I will touch down tomorrow. #HuskerNation. Stay tuned. Let's ride BIG RED. Truly blessed!"

      Stevenson joins a Nebraska program that is in its first year under coach Mike Riley, and the running back should have a chance to start as a freshman after the Cornhuskers lost 1,600-yard rusher Ameer Abdullah to the NFL.

      ---Ohio State will open the season with the No. 1 ranking in the Coaches Poll, receiving 62 of 64 first-place votes in the preseason picks released Thursday.

      Second-ranked TCU and No. 3 Alabama each claimed one first-place vote.

      Oregon, national runner-up to Ohio State in January, is ranked fifth and one of six Pac-12 teams in the Top 25.

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
    CFP's Hancock: No pressure on Irish to enter conference
    By The Sports Xchange

    Notre Dame and other independent teams won't be forced to join a conference in the future to remain eligible for the College Football Playoff.

    • The subject has come up at several conference media days this month, but CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN.com on Thursday that there is no movement to head in that direction.

      The three Football Bowl Subdivision independents are the Fighting Irish, BYU and Army.

      "The three independents are perfectly happy being independent," Hancock said. "They have the ability to craft their schedules to fit their needs. If their need and goal is to be in the playoff, then they're in the same boat as everybody else. You better play a good schedule if you want to be in the playoff."

      Some coaches think all teams vying to reach the CFP playoff should play 12 regular-season games and a conference championship to be in the running for one of the four postseason spots. They believe it would help standardize the schedules for all teams and aid the decision-making process for the CFP playoff committee.

      "The fact is it's not going to change," Hancock said. "The conferences all have reasons for scheduling and deciding their champions the way they do. It's important to each one of them.

      "Frankly, in the committee room, it wasn't a factor. The committee has the luxury of looking at the full body of work from an entire season -- 12 or 13 games -- for each team, irrespective of what conference they're in. Having been in the committee room, I can tell you, it's just not a factor."

      The Big 12 has 10 members and consequently doesn't stage a conference championship game at the end of the regular season. Its teams, like Notre Dame, don't have the opportunity for a 13th game.

      "The risks and rewards of conference championship games will always come into play," Hancock said. "I feel the same way about Notre Dame that I feel about the Big 12. It's impossible to quantify the effect of a championship game because you don't know who's going to win the game."

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Pac-12 Media Days: UCLA faces questions about QB
    By The Sports Xchange

    Fourth-year UCLA coach Jim Mora might have his best roster, top to bottom, but one nagging question followed him to Pac-12 Media Day.

    • "The obvious question for us this year that I've already been asked a hundred times in the last two days is, who is our quarterback going to be?" Mora said at the start of his Q&A session Thursday from Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif.

      "So I can just tell you right now before anyone asks me again, I don't know. When I know, I'll let you know."

      The UCLA quarterback position is one of the biggest X-factors in the conference. The Bruins, who won 29 games the past three seasons with Brett Hundley at quarterback, will start camp with a three-way race, Mora said, but the highest hopes are pinned on true freshman Josh Rosen.

      The other competitors are junior Jerry Neuheisel, the hero of the win over Texas last season when Hundley was hurt during the game, and junior Mike Fafaul, a former walk-on.

      "Whoever wins it will have earned the trust and respect of their teammates," Mora said.

      Rosen, the consensus No. 1 quarterback recruit in the country, enrolled early and participated in spring ball. His chances improved when former four-star recruit Asiantii Woulard transferred in June to USF. The 6-foot-4 Rosen has added about 10 pounds to weigh 215 and has a high football IQ, Mora said. "He looks solid."

      UCLA returns 18 starters, including 2014 Pac-12 rushing leader Paul Perkins, potential All-American linebacker Myles Jack, a stout interior defensive line duo (Kenny Clark, Eddie Vanderdoes), standout defensive backs Ishmael Adams and Fabian Moreau, and a grown-up offensive line.

      But the Bruins, with unavoidable inexperience at quarterback, were picked to finish third in the competitive Pac-12 South in a media vote. USC received 32 of 45 first-place votes and was predicted as the winner of the conference title game over Oregon.

      UCLA had six first-place votes in the South. Arizona State, picked second overall in the division, was No. 1 on seven ballots.

      "This is the best football team I've ever coached," fourth-year ASU coach Todd Graham said.

      The Sun Devils' 28 victories under Graham mark the best three-year span in school history. Arizona State returns 17 starters, which does not include senior quarterback Mike Bercovici, who filled in nicely for three games last season when Taylor Kelly was injured.

      "We've got seven to nine guys on the draft board for next year," Graham said. "That's one of the best in the country. Our talent, our speed, our physicality is all at a different level, but so is everybody else. This is one of the most competitive places to be in the country."

      Media tabbed defending South champion Arizona to finish fourth, followed by Utah and Colorado. UCLA, which opened as No. 14 nationally in the Amway Coaches Poll released Thursday, is the only team in the division with a large amount of uncertainty at quarterback.

      "The thing that gives me some measure of comfort," Mora said, "is knowing that we've got a pretty veteran group around that player, whomever it may be."

      The media's predicted finish for the North Division: Oregon, Stanford, Cal, Washington, Washington State and Oregon State. Half of the league's teams appeared Thursday at Pac-12 Media Days. Representatives from the other teams, including USC and Oregon, will take center stage Friday.

      NOTES: Commissioner Larry Scott announced that for the first time replays will be shown on Pac-12 stadium video boards at the same time as they are being reviewed by officials in the booth. ... Scott said he does not see Pac-12 expansion "for the foreseeable future." He added: "When you go beyond 12, you're going to dilute somewhat." ... Arizona State sophomore RB Kalen Ballage could be the league's next two-way standout. Coach Todd Graham said Ballage will evenly split early practice time on defense at the Devilbacker position, a hybrid linebacker/defensive end spot where he is listed as a second-teamer. Ballage, also slated to help return kicks, and running back-turned-receiver D.J. Foster are expected to still get some carries, but sophomore Demario Richard should be the lead back. ... Oregon State OL Isaac Seumalo, who missed last season because of a foot injury, will be ready to go at the start of camp, new Beavers coach Gary Andersen said. Seumalo, who mostly has been used at center but can play other positions, has all-conference potential. ... UCLA returning starting RG Scott Quessenberry is slated to redshirt because of shoulder surgeries, coach Jim Mora said. The Bruins still have a veteran line, led by senior C Jake Brendel. ... Washington QB Cyler Miles retired from football this summer because of a hip injury, leaving the Huskies with a wide-open camp competition among junior Jeff Lindquist, redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels and true freshman Jake Browning.

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Spurned by Wisconsin, RB Stevenson picks Nebraska
    By The Sports Xchange

    Running back Jordan Stevenson, a four-star recruit who signed with Wisconsin in February but was denied admission last week, has decided to play for Nebraska.

    • Stevenson tweeted on Thursday (edited): "I'm officially a Nebraska Cornhusker. Go #GBR! I will touch down tomorrow. #HuskerNation. Stay tuned. Let's ride BIG RED. Truly blessed!"

      Stevenson joins a Nebraska program that is in its first year under coach Mike Riley, and the running back should have a chance to start as a freshman after the Cornhuskers lost 1,600-yard rusher Ameer Abdullah to the NFL.

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Defending champ Ohio State No. 1 in Coaches Poll
    By The Sports Xchange

    Defending champion Ohio State will open the season with the No. 1 ranking in the Amway Coaches Poll, receiving 62 of 64 first-place votes in the preseason picks released Thursday.

    • Second-ranked TCU and No .3 Alabama each claimed one first-place vote apiece.

      TCU has its highest preseason ranking in program history and with quarterback Travone Boykin returning, the Horned Frogs are the favorites in what is expected to be a competitive Big 12. Baylor, which won the conference title in 2014, is ranked fourth. Oklahoma was the third team in the preseason poll at No. 19.

      Competition is always fierce in the Southeastern Conference, which has eight ranked teams in the preseason poll, including five of seven teams in the SEC West Division.

      Oregon, national runner-up to Ohio State in January, is ranked fifth and one of six Pac-12 teams in the top 25.

      The last team to go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country was Southern California in 2004.

      1. Ohio State (62) 2

      2. TCU (1) 18

      3. Alabama (1) 1

      4. Baylor 14

      5. Oregon 4

      6. Michigan State 9

      7. Auburn 5

      8. Florida State 17

      9. Georgia 3

      10. USC 13

      11. Notre Dame 16

      12. Clemson 15

      13. LSU 8

      14. UCLA 7

      15. Ole Miss 6

      16. Arizona State 24

      17. Georgia Tech 19

      18. Wisconsin 25

      19. Oklahoma 10

      20. Arkansas 12

      21. Stanford 11

      22. Arizona 34

      23. Missouri 23

      24. Boise State 27

      25. Tennessee 20

  • Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    FSU: RB Cook won't practice
    By The Sports Xchange

    Florida State running back Dalvin Cook will not practice until his pending legal matter is resolved.

    • Coach Jimbo Fisher told ESPN Radio on Tuesday that Cook's misdemeanor battery charges -- for allegedly punching a woman in the face several times --- must be settled before he's welcome at practice.

      Fisher previously said he has a zero tolerance policy for players who hit women. Florida State president John Thrasher also issued a statement July 10 following Cook's arrest and a tumultuous stretch off the field for the football program.

      "Florida State is a great university. Our fans and supporters deserve better than to hear of actions that are not consistent with the school's proud history and national stature," Thrasher said. "We will do better. I will not tolerate anything less."

      The Seminoles open the season Sept. 5 against Texas State, three days after Cook is scheduled to be arraigned.

  • Friday, July 24, 2015
    Pitt WR Boyd sentenced to probation in DUI case
    By The Sports Xchange

    Pittsburgh star wide receiver Tyler Boyd was sentenced to 12 months of probation on Friday as punishment for driving under the influence.

    • Boyd also had his driver's license revoked for 90 days, and Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Robert Gallo ordered the 20-year-old to complete a safe-driving program.

      Boyd was pulled over June 12 in a Pittsburgh suburb and told police he had two shots of alcohol. He was arrested after taking a Breathalyzer test and later released into the custody of a family member. In addition to the DUI charge, Boyd was accused of underage drinking, careless driving and driving on the wrong side of the road.

      New Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi had suspended Boyd from team activities for a month, and the receiver rejoined the Panthers last week.

      Boyd was a first-team All-ACC pick as a sophomore last season after catching 78 passes for 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns.

      Boyd, considered a possible first-round NFL draft pick in 2016, has 163 receptions for 2,435 yards and 15 scores in two years at Pitt.

  • Friday, July 24, 2015
    Braxton Miller's move to WR enhances NFL outlook
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller confirmed to Sports Illustrated that he will change positions for the 2015 season, a preemptive move that is receiving the approval of NFL scouts.

    • Listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Miller will line up as a versatile H-back and wide receiver, also returning punts on special teams. He almost certainly will be the focus of several gadget plays in Ohio State's playbook, further showcasing his versatility on offense.

      Although Miller is a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year as a quarterback, most NFL evaluators view his pro football future at another position, especially considering the injuries to his throwing shoulder. And with Miller making the move prior to his final season in Columbus, scouts can base their evaluations on functional play, not simply projection.

      "We currently have two grades on him, one as an 'athlete' and one as a quarterback," a NFC scout said. "The grade of him as an athlete is much ... better. Because that's when he's at his best -- with the ball in his hands."

      Can he catch? Can he run routes? Time will tell. But instead of a few days of Senior Bowl practice or an afternoon at Ohio State's pro day to see Miller as a receiver, NFL scouts now will have a full season to evaluate him at the new position.

      "It's a smart, unselfish move that I bet will pay off for him. Also makes my job easier," the scout added.

      Miller called himself the "best athlete in college football" earlier this summer, and he might be right. He is extremely gifted in space with explosive speed and natural feel in the open field to make defenders miss and create yardage.

      Opponents have to be prepared for trick pass plays whenever Miller is on the field, which stresses the defense and gives the offense another threat to work into the game plan. And as a former quarterback, Miller has at least a basic understanding of the route tree with the capability of serving as an emergency quarterback at the next level, saving a roster spot due to his versatility.

      Miller has yet to catch a pass in his college career, but the position move creates more optimism regarding his potential at the NFL level.

      Dane Brugler is a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, owned and distributed by The Sports Xchange in cooperation with CBSSports.com.

  • Thursday, July 23, 2015
    Ohio State's Miller changing positions
    By The Sports Xchange

    The much-talked-about Ohio State quarterback competition was reduced to a two-man race after Braxton Miller said Thursday that he is changing positions this year.

    • Miller told SI.com that concerns about his throwing shoulder prompted his decision to switch to H-back/wide receiver.

      The two-time Big Ten player of the year missed last season after he reinjured the shoulder during fall camp and underwent a second surgery.

      "For the most part, it's going to be H-back and punt return," Miller told SI. "It's a long process to get back totally to throwing and throwing every day. This is the smarter thing for right now.

      "God blessed me with a lot of talent and different opportunities. I'm going to have fun with that and still score a lot of touchdowns and help the team out and be dominant at that."

      The Buckeyes were prepared to enter fall camp with Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones battling for the starting job in one of the most compelling storylines in college football this year.

      Miller, a redshirt senior, said several times in the past few months that he would not leave Ohio State for another school despite being eligible as a graduate transfer and the Buckeyes' abundance of talent at quarterback.

      In April, Miller discussed the move to receiver/H-back with strength coach Mickey Marotti and then with coach Urban Meyer. He said since then he has been working out at night as a receiver with Barrett.

      Miller plans to spend 80 percent of preseason practices working with receivers and the other 20 percent with the quarterbacks, saying he's not abandoning his former position completely. And he also is going to work on returning punts.

      "It's going to be electric," Miller said. "We had a great season last year, but we didn't see anyone do off-the-wall type stuff. I'm sure guys miss seeing an explosive, 60-yard shake-and-bake run every once in a while."

      That leaves Barrett and Jones to battle for the starting spot.

      Barrett took over as the starter last season and led the Buckeyes to an 11-1 regular-season record before suffering a broken ankle against Michigan in late November.

      Jones replaced Barrett in the postseason and quarterbacked Ohio State to a win in the Big Ten championship game and during its run to the first College Football Playoff championship.

  • Thursday, July 23, 2015
    Arizona dismisses top 2014 recruit
    By The Sports Xchange

    Arizona offensive lineman Jordan Poland was dismissed from the team after being arrested for suspicion of trafficking stolen property.

    • Poland, 20, allegedly was taken into custoday while pawning a microphone that had been stolen in a burglary last month. Investigators have not charged Poland in the burglary.

      Poland redshirted last season but was expected to be in the rotation in 2015. He was Arizona's highest-rated signee in the Class of 2014.

  • Thursday, July 23, 2015
    Former assistant coach sues Pitt
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ex-University of Pittsburgh secondary coach Troy Douglas filed a federal lawsuit against the school on Monday, alleging that he was fired illegally.

    • According to the Tribune-Review, Douglas, 49, maintains that the school unfairly fired him one year into a two-year contract.

      Douglas joined the Panthers ahead of the 2014 season, becoming part of head coach Paul Chryst's staff.

      Chryst re-signed from Pittsburgh in December to become the head coach at the University of Wisconsin, but he did not invite Douglas to be part of his staff in Madison. Douglas was then fired by Pitt.

      Douglas' suit alleges that he lost out on the $240,000 he was due to make this year. Instead, he took a $40,000 job at Florida State. He is attempting to recoup the difference in salary plus other losses sustained by his family, the Tribune-Review reported.

      Douglas has experience as an assistant coach at West Chester, East Tennessee State, UTEP, SMU, Michigan State, South Carolina State, Indiana, South Florida and North Carolina. He was a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Appalachian State.

  • Wednesday, July 22, 2015
    Spurrier lashes out at his critics
    By The Sports Xchange

    South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier took aim at his critics who say the game has passed him by and he should retire at age 70.

    • Spurrier called them his "enemies" and said a news conference on Wednesday that he still has plenty of passion to coach the Gamecocks.

      South Carolina struggled to a 7-6 finish last year as the SEC East preseason favorite after winning 11 games and finishing in the top 10 in the national polls for three straight seasons.

      "I got some enemies out there, I got some guys talking and writing and it's all part of the game," Spurrier said. "Some of our enemies out there want to make you think, 'Spurrier's getting old, he can't do it anymore.'"

      In a separate interview with ESPN.com, Spurrier said, "We were 11-2 and ranked fourth in the country this time a year ago, and nobody said a damn word about my age. Now, a year later, I'm suddenly too old, and we're on our way down.

      "I just want our fans to know that we're going to have a good team and recognize that it's our enemies saying these things about Spurrier being washed up and we're not going to be heard from again. Gamecocks out there need to know that I'm going to be here five or six more years, and away we go."

      Spurrier told ESPN that he was depressed after last season and contemplated hanging it up.

      "When you coach as long as I have, you're always going to have those kind of thoughts when things don't go the way you want them to, but I never said I was leaving," Spurrier said. "It was just something to write about.

      "I'm smart enough to know when it's time to let somebody else come in and do this, but I'm also smart enough to know that we've beaten Georgia four of the last five years, beaten Florida four of the last five years and beaten Clemson five of the last six years. We're only 3-2 against Tennessee the last five years, and they won a couple of close ones against us, but they've lost 10 in a row to Florida. So I'd say we've done OK and have a lot more we're going to do."

      In 10 years as South Carolina coach, Spurrier has a 84-45 record.

      "Nobody's happy about what happened last year, but we did win a bowl game for the fourth straight year," he said to ESPN. "You know, Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) lost to Mercer two years ago in the NCAA Tournament and came back and won a national championship last year."

      Spurrier offered a quote from Attila the Hun as advice for the Gamecocks and their fans.

      "It's a simple truth that the greater your accomplishments -- your victories -- the greater opposition, torment and discouragement your enemies will throw in your path," Spurrier said. "Expect it and don't become a victim of it.

      "So I'm telling our fans expect those people that are our enemies to talk bad about us. We finally won enough games."

  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015
    College football notebook: UAB program to return in 2017
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Alabama-Birmingham football program will return to competition for the 2017 season, the school announced Tuesday.

    • UAB athletic director Mark Ingram was notified by the NCAA that the Blazers would compete at the Football Bowl Subdivision level upon its return and be eligible for postseason play and the Conference USA championship.

      The school disbanded the program on Dec. 2 over financial concerns, but a public backlash after the decision prompted the university to reconsider and eventually restore football and two other athletic programs scheduled to be cut.

      Boosters have pledged to cover the projected $17 million to run the football program for the next five years.

      --Player conduct issues are reaching crisis levels in Tallahassee, Fla., to the extent that the school president met with the football team to directly address the troubling trend of domestic violence.

      Head coach Jimbo Fisher said the blame stops with him as the primary beacon of the program.

      "You want to change perception," he said Tuesday at ACC Media Day in North Carolina. "(Then) you have to have continual performance in the right way for long periods of time. I don't think what's happened at Florida State is relative to just Florida State. It happens all over the country."

      Fisher said his program gets more attention because of its success. Fisher led the Seminoles to the national championship in January 2014 and a national semifinal loss to Oregon in January 2015.

      --Baylor's Art Briles is as mild mannered as any coach in the Big 12, but he's still a little snappy about last year and any questions about the Bears still needing to prove themselves.

      Before Briles arrived at Baylor eight years ago, the Bears were among the worst FBS programs.

      This season, they enter the season a consensus top-10 pick and still a little bitter about being snubbed by the College Football Playoff a season ago.

      Even with all that growth, they still have something to prove, especially after being picked second to TCU in the Big 12 preseason predictions.

      --Texas senior Johnathan Gray is not saying so, but he might well be the most motivated player in the Big 12 this season.

      After Gray entered his freshman year as one of the most sought-after recruits ever landed by the Longhorns, his first three years have been marked mostly by injury and disappointment.

      This year, Gray is finally getting his chance to be The Man at running back.

      "You have to stay hungry, stay happy and stay humble," Gray said. "Keep your nose down and never give up on you goals."

      --The first task of new Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is to find a quarterback to run the offense.

      Coach Bob Stoops seemed to indicate that the race is between Trevor Knight and Baker Mayfield, a transfer from Texas Tech.

  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015
    Baylor still seeking respect after 2014 success
    By The Sports Xchange

    DALLAS -- Baylor's Art Briles is as mild mannered as any coach in the Big 12, but he's still a little snappy about last year and any questions about the Bears still needing to prove themselves.

    • Before Briles arrived at Baylor eight years ago, the Bears were among the worst FBS programs.

      This season, they enter the season a consensus top-10 pick and still a little bitter about being snubbed by the College Football Playoff a season ago.

      Even with all that growth, they still have something to prove, especially after being picked second to TCU in the Big 12 preseason predictions.

      The Bears, who return 19 starters from an 11-2 team, have won two consecutive conference titles, including a title share in 2014 with the Horned Frogs.

      "I guess you have to win it three times in a row to get picked first," Briles said Tuesday during the last day of Big 12 media days. "We're never going to lose that (chip on the shoulder). Getting chosen second, I mean, that's OK. Like I said, it's better than getting third."

      Baylor's season ended in January with a frustrating loss to Michigan State in the final minute of the Cotton Bowl. The Bears, ranked fifth in the final CFP poll, surrendered three Michigan State touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a 42-41 loss.

      Earning a return trip to the Cotton Bowl -- this year as a CFP semifinalist -- would be tantamount to "burying a ghost," said Briles, who was frank about the level of his disappointment in how the season ended a year ago.

      "We understand how we've been able to get to this point. Even if you do achieve what you'd like to achieve, there’s always going to be doubters, and doubters are motivators."

      Gray's area at Texas

      Texas senior Johnathan Gray is not saying so, but he might well be the most motivated player in the Big 12 this season.

      After Gray entered his freshman year as one of the most sought-after recruits ever landed by the Longhorns, his first three years have been marked mostly by injury and disappointment.

      This year, Gray is finally getting his chance to be The Man at running back.

      "You have to stay hungry, stay happy and stay humble," Gray said. "Keep your nose down and never give up on you goals.

      "Life happens, injuries will happen. You have to stay focused. Everything is still in reach. Every year is a new year. You have to keep pushing. It's not over."

      Gray has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in three seasons, including a career-high 780 yards in 2013 in only nine games. Gray missed the final three games because of an Achilles tendon injury.

      In each of his first three seasons, Gray has shared carries. Last year, he shared time with Malcolm Brown.

      "You expect big things from him," Texas coach Charlie Strong said. "I told him that. We have backups, but we'd like to see J. Gray go out and just have a big year."

      Oklahoma’s new offense

      The first task of new Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is to find a quarterback to run the offense.

      Coach Bob Stoops seemed to indicate that the race is between Trevor Knight and Baker Mayfield, a transfer from Texas Tech.

      "Baker may not be straight out as fast as Trevor, but he's elusive," Stoops said. "Both have to improve continue to improve and be sharp at goig through their read progresions and where they want to go with the football."

      Having played at Texas Tech, Mayfield has a little more experience in the offense. Riley, 31, is a disciple of former Tech coach Mike Leach and was an assistant at Texas Tech before being hired as offensive coordinator at East Carolina State in 2010.

      Knight has been a quick study, however, as has third quarterback Cody Thomas, Stoops said.

      "I'm really excited at their progress in the spring," Stoops said.

      Baylor's new gunslinger

      Baylor debuts a new quarterback, Seth Russell, who is next in line to direct one of the top offenses in the country.

      Russell, a junior, replaces record-setter Bryce Petty in the spread offense that relies on an accurate passer who is rewarded with big numbers. In Petty's final two seasons, he passed for more than 8,000 yards and 61 touchdowns.

      "He's got a tremendous amount of talent ... a tremendous amount of drive," coach Art Briles said. "The thing we've got to do is make sure that he doesn't feel like he's got too much pressure on himself.”

  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015
    UAB back on field in 2017
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Alabama-Birmingham football program will return to competition for the 2017 season, the school announced Tuesday.

    • UAB athletic director Mark Ingram was notified by the NCAA that the Blazers would compete at the Football Bowl Subdivision level upon its return and be eligible for postseason play and the Conference USA championship.

      The school disbanded the program on Dec. 2 over financial concerns, but a public backlash after the decision prompted the university to reconsider and eventually restore football and two other athletic programs scheduled to be cut.

      Boosters have pledged to cover the projected $17 million to run the football program for the next five years.

      "I am so excited that UAB football will return to FBS competition in 2017," UAB coach Bill Clark said. "Like our fans, I wanted to light the scoreboard much sooner, but doing it right is more important than doing it fast, and this was our best option.

      "We want a program that is here to stay. We have to start by building a new, stronger foundation. We need to take our time to do it right, then we can compete for conference and bowl championships.

      "I want to thank our conference, the UAB administration and the NCAA for working with us to make this possible. Most importantly, I want to thank the Blazer Nation. The love and support from UAB fans has been incredible. Please don't stop. We still have a lot to do and we need all of you. Go Blazers!"

  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015
    FSU's Fisher takes blame for conduct issues
    By The Sports Xchange

    Player conduct issues are reaching crisis levels in Tallahassee, to the extent that the school president met with the football team to directly address the troubling trend of domestic violence.

    • Head coach Jimbo Fisher said the blame stops with him as the primary beacon of the program.

      "You want to change perception," he said Tuesday at ACC Media Day in North Carolina. "(Then) you have to have continual performance in the right way for long periods of time. I don't think what's happened at Florida State is relative to just Florida State. It happens all over the country."

      Fisher said his program gets more attention because of its success. Fisher led the Seminoles to the national championship in January 2014 and a national semifinal loss to Oregon in January 2015.

      During that span, Jameis Winston lost only one game for the Seminoles but also was flagged several times for off-field issues, including investigation for alleged sexual assault, theft of crab legs and a childish incident at the student union.

      Greg Dent (2013) and De'Andre Johnson (last month) were dismissed from the program for incidents in which they were cited for violence against women, and Fisher said he has "a zero tolerance policy" for such crimes. Star running back Dalvin Cook was charged with domestic batter a few days after Johnson was kicked off the team.

      "We've always taken a strong stance against it," Fisher said.

      Fisher said players agreed in a meeting recently to avoid bars and other situations where trouble might be found, such as campus parties with alcohol.

      "You as the head coach take responsibility, and you continue to educate," Fisher said. "You hope they don't make mistakes. And when they do, you punish and adjust and continue to educate so they don't do it again."

  • Monday, July 20, 2015
    Big 12 limits contact practices
    By The Sports Xchange

    DALLAS -- Big 12 athletic directors have adopted a new conference rule limiting the number of days of contact to two, including game day, commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced Monday.

    • Teams will be permitted only one day of contact drills during the week of practice, Bowlsby said on the first day of Big 12 Media Days at the Omni Hotel.

      "We believe it's the right step, and we hope it will become the national rule," Bowlsby said. "Even if it doesn't, we think that that's the right way to conduct our practices.

      "It's another way in which we're a little different, but our (athletic directors) have felt strongly about it and our coaches have supported it."

      The new conference guidelines are tighter than NCAA rules, which limit the number of hitting days to two practices a week plus game day.

      In the preseason, the NCAA mandates that there be no more than four live contact practices per week and a maximum of 12. In just three practices may contact exceed half of practice.

      Bowlsby said Big 12 officials found that teams weren't using the permitted time anyway.

      "It's easy for us," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "Just on Tuesday. That's the only day we're in full pads besides the game. We've been that way, really, since we've been at TCU.

      "I've just felt like the body types are getting so big, so strong, so fast, I think it's just important that you make sure that you get all guys to game day and keep them healthy. That's been our mind-set for a long time. The best teams play at the end of the year."

      Kansas State's Bill Snyder and West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen echoed those sentiments.

      TCU THE PRESEASON PICK

      Defending co-champion TCU was picked as the favorite to win the Big 12, according to a media poll.

      Baylor, last season's other co-champion, was picked second, followed by Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas.

      The Horned Frogs, 12-1 a year ago but left out of the College Football Playoff, return 18 starters, including preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Trevone Boykin at quarterback. Boykin is one of 10 returning starters on offense.

      The Frogs finished sixth in the final CFP rankings and hammered No. 9 Mississippi 42-3 in the Peach Bowl. In light of that victory, TCU finished No. 3 in the final AP and Coaches' poll.

      TCU, which likely will begin the season a consensus Top-5 team in the preseason polls, will be entering its fourth season in the Big 12. In 2013, TCU was 4-8.

      "For me, it's about standing in between the lines, not getting too high or too low, either way," Patterson said. "So a year ago, you had to prove people wrong. This year, you have to prove people right."

      Baylor coach Art Briles and his players will be featured on Day 2 of media days on Tuesday.

      BOYKIN MAKES GIANT LEAP

      Last year at this time, Trevone Boykin didn't know whether he would be TCU's starting quarterback. This year, he's a front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy and the star of the first day of Big 12 Media Days.

      "It's humbling to be in this situation," Boykin said. "My expectations for myself have not changed. I'm just going to try to prepare like the best quarterback in the nation."

      Boykin emerged as a Heisman candidate a year ago in TCU's new spread offense, passing for 3,901 yards and 33 touchdowns, tops in the Big 12. He led the league in total offense at 355 yards a game.

      "I'm just trying to be me," Boykin said. "I'm not bigger than the team -- just a small piece of the puzzle."

      STANDING PAT AT 10

      Count Kansas State coach Bill Snyder among those who want the Big 12 to expand to 12 teams, and it has nothing to do with bettering the league's CFP chances.

      Snyder said he wants expansion because it would be good for Kansas State.

      "We've been fortunate to win two conference championships; but, aside from that, we have four divisional championship trophies. That meant a lot to the growth of our program," Snyder said. "That impacts young guys. Sometimes it can impact attendance. There are other schools in our conference who can attest to the same benefit. That was important to those programs."

      Bowlsby, the conference commissioner, said he sensed there was no appetite for expansion. Pundits last season suggested a lack of a conference title game hurt the Big 12's chances of landing a team in the CFP.

      The conference will again play a round-robin season schedule with its 10 participants.

      Last month, Oklahoma president David Boren said the league should aspire to include 12 schools. Adding schools is the prerogative of the league's university presidents and chancellors.

      "It is my understanding at the present time that the majority of our presidents and chancellors believe 10 is the right number for us," Bowlsby said. "It will continue to be a topic about which we spend at least a little time at every meeting talking about. But, until that majority shifts, it's a purely academic conversation."

      TEXAS TECH QB COMPETITION

      Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said his choice of starter at quarterback between junior Davis Webb and sophomore Patrick Mahomes will come down to who he believes best protects the football.

      The Red Raiders ranked near the bottom of the league in turnover margin in 2014, throwing a league-high 18 interceptions.

      BIG 12 MEDIA PRESEASON POLL

      (First-place votes in parentheses)

      1. TCU (32)

      2. Baylor (10)

      3. Oklahoma

      4. Oklahoma State

      5. Texas

      6. West Virginia

      7. Kansas State

      8. Texas Tech

      9. Iowa State

      10. Kansas

  • Thursday, July 16, 2015
    College football notebook: Eight wins not enough for LSU
    By The Sports Xchange

    Eight victories for 15 straight years marks an impressive run of consistent winning at LSU.

    • But, after going 8-5 in 2014 (including a 4-4 SEC record, the Tigers are not pleased with just reaching a bowl game.

      "Eight wins -- certainly not enough," coach Les Miles said. "Our goal is the playoffs. Our goal is the SEC championship."

      Miles said the Tigers are "nothing but improved at the quarterback spot" but competition will determine in August who lines up as the starter Sept. 5 against McNeese State.

      ---Auburn is the media pick to win the SEC championship.

      The Tigers were not selected to win the SEC West -- Alabama got the nod in the points-based balloting. Georgia was named the favorite in the SEC East.

      The media poll has predicted the champion just five times in 23 years.

      Alabama was picked to win the conference in four of the past five years. The Crimson Tide won the SEC title in 2014 and advanced to the first College Football Playoff.

      ---Penn State has shifted into full-time throwback mode with a 2015 team motto of "Black Shoes. Basic Blues. No Names. All Game."

      The football team will wear black shoes and blue jerseys, and last names are being taken off the Nittany Lions' uniforms.

      Penn State did not allow player names on jerseys until 2012, when coach Bill O'Brien made the decision to have last names stitched on uniforms to show appreciation for all players who decided to stay as punishment was handed down for the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

  • Thursday, July 16, 2015
    Media picks Auburn to win SEC
    By The Sports Xchange

    Auburn is the media pick to win the SEC Championship.

    • The Tigers were not selected to win the SEC West – Alabama got the nod in the points-based balloting. Georgia was named the favorite in the SEC East.

      The media poll has picked the accurate champion five times in 23 years.

      Alabama was picked to win the conference four of the past five years. The Crimson Tide won the SEC title in 2014 and advanced to the first ever College Football Playoff.

      WESTERN DIVISION (1st Place votes in parenthesis)

      School Points

      Alabama (92) 1405

      Auburn (108) 1362

      LSU (10) 870

      Arkansas (6) 821

      Ole Miss (3) 732

      Texas A&M (4) 628

      Mississippi State (2) 482

      EASTERN DIVISION (1st Place votes in parenthesis)

      School Points

      Georgia (166) 1498

      Tennessee (36) 1231

      Missouri (20) 1196

      South Carolina (1) 830

      Florida (1) 768

      Kentucky (1) 534

      Vanderbilt 243

      SEC CHAMPION

      School Points

      Auburn 96

      Alabama 80

      Georgia 28

      LSU 9

      Ole Miss 3

      Arkansas 3

      Texas A&M 2

      Tennessee 2

      Mississippi State 1

      Florida 1

  • Thursday, July 16, 2015
    Penn State reverts to classic look
    By The Sports Xchange

    Penn State has shifted into fulltime throwback mode with a 2015 team motto of "Black Shoes. Basic Blues. No Names. All Game."

    • The football team will wear black shoes, blue jerseys and last names are being taken off the Nittany Lions' uniforms.

      Penn State did not allow player names on jerseys until 2012, when coach Bill O'Brien made the decision to have last names stitched on uniforms to show appreciation for all players who decided to stay as punishment was handed down for the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

      "The 2012 team, permanently recognized in Beaver Stadium, will hold an enduring place in our program's history," coach James Franklin said in a statement. "Their commitment will never be forgotten. However, it's time we bring back the tradition that represented Penn State for 125 years."

  • Thursday, July 16, 2015
    SEC Media Day: Eight wins not enough for LSU's Miles
    By The Sports Xchange

    Eight victories for 15 straight years marks an impressive run of consistent winning at LSU.

    • But, after going 8-5 in 2014 (including a 4-4 SEC record, the Tigers are not pleased with just reaching a bowl game.

      "Eight wins -- certainly not enough," coach Les Miles said. "Our goal is the playoffs. Our goal is the SEC championship."

      Miles said the Tigers are "nothing but improved at the quarterback spot" but competition will determine in August who lines up as the starter Sept. 5 against McNeese State.

      "If we can improve the throwing game -- we feel like we are stronger and faster -- this offense, we expect, will be more productive," Miles said.

      Miles said the challenge for LSU at the position is "you cannot will experience." More scripts were used in the offseason, as much for the coaches as for the players, to identify weaknesses.

      The schedule grows challenging almost immediately, with LSU going to Mississippi State on Sept. 12 before hosting SEC West favorite Auburn. The Tigers also travel to Alabama and South Carolina.

      The hot topic around LSU remains departed defensive coordinator John Chavis, who left for Texas A&M in the offseason, prompting a lawsuit filed by LSU.

      "John has been a great guy for us; I have tremendous respect for him," Miles said. "I suspect he will coach great defense at Texas A&M."