NCAA Football

Michigan Fans Leave $3,000 Tip for Waitress After Loss to Utah

Michigan began its season with a clunker against Utah on Thursday, giving coach Jim Harbaugh a less-than-heroic start to his new job.

But a few fans were feeling especially generous after the 24-17 loss. A waitress named Breanne received a tip for $3,000, with the Instagram handle @TipsForJesus and the hashtag “#GoBlue” written on the receipt.

Here's Breanne:

This is a kind gesture, for sure, and the rest of the IG page contains similar instances of generosity.

If fans are planning on shelling out the big bucks after every Michigan loss, though—at least in the first year of the Harbaugh era—they had better have some pretty deep bank accounts.


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Texas A&M QB Will Not Use a Fork Before Playing Arizona State

Texas A&M quarterback Conner McQueen is getting ready for his team's game against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday night by refusing to use a fork.

For those who don’t know, ASU helmets have pitchforks on them.

Eating eggs with a spoon is fathomable, but bacon? C’mon—bare hands only, dude.

Regardless, this is still a pretty funny troll from McQueen.

[Twitter, h/t SB Nation]

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'College GameDay' Signs Are Back and Already in Midseason Form

Nobody watches College GameDay for the analysis, right?

Well, maybe some people do. But the ones who get the most out of the viewing experience have a sharp eye for signs.

The crew kicked off the college season with a Saturday morning episode from Fort Worth, Texas, for a showdown between Wisconsin and Alabama.

The fans did not disappoint:

[Twitter, Instagram]

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Terrel Hunt Injury: Updates on Syracuse QB's Achilles and Recovery

Big things were expected out of Syracuse dual-threat quarterback Terrel Hunt in 2015, but his senior campaign may be over before it ever really got started.

Continue for updates.

Shafer: Hunt Suffered 'Significant' Achilles InjurySaturday, Sept. 5

The Orange cruised to a 47-0 win over Rhode Island in their season opener Friday night, but the celebration was tempered due to Hunt's status.

According to Stephen Bailey of, Orange head coach Scott Shafer revealed after the contest that his star signal-caller suffered an Achilles injury in the first quarter while rolling out of the pocket:

He just cut really hard and that Achilles just popped on him. They said it was an Achilles injury and it's not good. ... Keep your prayers out there for Terrel. Tough deal, tough deal. ... Terrel's deal is not good so please keep your thoughts and prayers out there for his family. He'll be OK. He's got a bunch of brothers who love him and will take good care of him.

Non-contact injuries often make for scary situations, and it appears as though Hunt's case is no different. The injury is especially disconcerting since the Rosedale, New York, native missed seven games last season with a broken leg.

The fact that Hunt got injured so quickly after returning to competitive action doesn't sit well with Bailey in particular:

Syracuse has yet to make an official announcement regarding Hunt's status, but a torn Achilles would almost certainly end his season as well as his collegiate career since he has already redshirted.

Hunt looked like a star in the making in 2013, as he topped 2,000 total yards and scored 17 touchdowns, but he never reached his full potential due almost entirely to injuries.

Freshman Eric Dungey stepped in for Hunt on Friday night and looked excellent, but there may be some growing pains when the level of competition increases, especially in ACC play.

Without Hunt's veteran presence under center, the 2015 season may be a long and difficult one for an Orange team that is looking to make its mark in a power conference.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Daily Fantasy College Football Week 1: DraftKings Last-Minute Picks, Best Values

It's about time to focus in on the DraftKings daily fantasy college football. Week 1 may have kicked off on Thursday, but the first full slate begins on Saturday, with 36 games (*cracks fingers*) to pick apart.

Yeah, owners are preparing to get down to business and need to make last-minute tweaks to lineups before locking them in. Before setting your roster, consider these bargain players to build a winning lineup on the opening Saturday.


Quarterback: Vernon Adams Jr., Oregon ($8,400)

Having a dual-threat quarterback is a prized commodity in fantasy football. Whether it's college or pro, owners seek out the special talents like Joshua Dobbs or Dak Prescott.

What if I told you there is a quarterback out there who can come at thousands less than those two on the price sheet? Well, there is, and his name is Vernon Adams Jr. He also just so happens to be taking over for Marcus Mariota at Oregon in the same offensive scheme.

Still a relative unknown to Power Five football, Adams isn't a surefire 30-plus point lock just yet. But going against Eastern Washington—the school he just graduated from—he knows the defense he's playing pretty well. Looking to make a statement in the opener, Adams will be a great No. 2 for owners.


Running Back: Tarean Folston, Notre Dame ($5,100)

OK, maybe Tarean Folston isn't a massive bargain at $5,100. But when he's nearly half the price of the top option at the position on Saturday, we'll take Folston all day at this price.

Take into consideration that Folston averaged 14 fantasy points per game last year despite being benched at times last season. This year, he comes in with the confidence of head coach Brian Kelly, per J.J. Stankevitz of CSN Chicago:

He's going to be called on this year to carry a larger load for us as a featured back. But what we like about him is we know what we have there, and he is an established, national caliber running back, and that is a strength for any football team going into the season. We know what he can do coming out of the backfield and catch the football. He's excellent now — he struggled at times, but later in the year he showed himself to be very strong in our protection.

Carrying the load against Texas, Folston will be leaned on throughout the game to produce for the offense. Tab Folston as you're RB2 and expect solid results you would normally see from a top-tier back.


Running Back: Brandon Ross, Maryland ($4,200)

Brandon Ross didn't put up gaudy numbers last year, but he shined when he was given the opportunity. Now the lead back for Maryland, Ross is looking to step up in a big way and still comes at a low price for fantasy owners.

In just 86 carries last year, Ross registered 417 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. That averages out to 4.85 yards per carry, which is kinda decent at the college level. Expect great numbers from Ross against Richmond as he looks to solidify his spot at the top of the Terrapins' depth chart.


Wide Receiver: Speedy Noil, Texas A&M ($4,700)

Speedy Noil didn't do anything spectacular toward the end of his freshman campaign to earn a high price to start 2015. So maybe call it a hunch, but the huge prospect coming out of high school seems like a great option at this low price.

Going up against Arizona State, Texas A&M will need all hands on deck to pull out a win. Noil is a player who can break the game wide open with his blazing speed—hence the name—so owners get huge-play potential out of a low-price option. Pair him with other star receivers, and Noil will form a balanced lineup.


Wide Receiver: Marquez North, Tennessee ($4,200)

Earlier this week, we told owners that Marquez North was a great bargain at this price. Still slotted as a No. 1 receiver for the Volunteers, North offers even more value than the aforementioned Noil thanks to the opportunity he'll have against Bowling Green.

Pig Howard is suspended for the opening game, leaving North as the No. 1 option for Joshua Dobbs. On one of the most exciting SEC East teams this season, North should shine in the opener for Tennessee and DraftKings owners alike.


DraftKings owners can win $300k in the "Dive for the Pylon" tournament to start off the college football season!

Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter for more MLB DraftKings advice.

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Louisiana-Monroe vs. Georgia: Live Score and Highlights

The Georgia Bulldogs are getting ready to kick off their 2015 season when they face Louisiana-Monroe at Sanford Stadium. The game will be on the SEC Network and it will start at noon EDT.

The Bulldogs are looking to start their 2015 season on the right foot. Running back Nick Chubb is back and he's looking to have another fruitful season after he rushed for over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns last year.

But the one player to watch is quarterback Greyson Lambert. The Virginia transfer won the job over Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta during fall camp, and he will look to bounce back after a disappointing season with the Cavaliers where he threw 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The Bulldogs' opponent, Louisiana-Monroe, is looking to improve on its 4-8 2014 record. The Warhawks look to do it with a new quarterback in Garrett Smith and an experienced defense led by linebacker Michael Johnson.

Be sure to come back to this live blog as soon as the game kicks off for the latest scoring updates and highlights.

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College Football Rankings 2015: Final NCAA Overview of Week 1 Standings

This is going to be a great year for Ohio State. At least that's what the pollsters are saying.

A year after winning the first College Football Playoff, the Buckeyes start the season as the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation. They received all 61 votes in the first AP poll of the year, and as they begin the year, there doesn't appear to be many pitfalls on their way to repeating.

However, they start their season Monday night with a game at Virginia Tech. Few expect the Hokies to give Ohio State a four-quarter challenge in Blacksburg, Virginia, but the home team has not been consulted. While the oddsmakers have installed the Buckeyes as a 14-point favorite, courtesy of OddsShark, Virginia Tech does not need to be reminded that it went into Columbus and handed Ohio State its only defeat last year.

We all had fun watching Cardale Jones' run to the title, but J.T. Barrett can do so much more.

— Sporting News (@sportingnews) September 4, 2015

Now they see the defending champions coming into their stadium as a double-digit favorite, and it may not be quite so easy. Virginia Tech should be prepared to play an excellent game. Head coach Frank Beamer knows how to get a team ready for its opener, and he can play the disrespect card as well as anyone.

No. 2 TCU got started with a less-than-stellar opener at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers were in the game for 60 minutes, but the Horned Frogs held on for 23-17 victory. Trevone Boykin is one of the Heisman contenders as the season gets underway, and he started off by completing 26-of-42 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 92 yards and a score. The TCU quarterback will almost certainly see a wider gap on the scoreboard in many of the coming weeks.

Despite the narrow victory, @TCUFootball's Trevone Boykin showed some serious promise.

— Campus Insiders (@CampusInsiders) September 4, 2015

Alabama starts the year as the No. 3 team in the nation, and that does not make Nick Saban happy. He is much more used to seeing his Crimson Tide in the No. 1 or No. 2 slots, but it really doesn't matter that much any longer. If the Tide can land one of the top four spots in the nation at season's end, they will be in the College Football Playoff for a second consecutive year.

While Saban lost T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper, Alabama still boasts strength along the front. The team has powerful offensive and defensive lines, and that should allow its skill position players to have plenty of opportunities.

The Crimson Tide open up with a huge national TV game against Wisconsin in Dallas at AT&T Stadium, and Alabama is a 10-point favorite. Alabama often plays power opponents from the top conferences in its openers, so don't expect Alabama to come through with anything but its best game here.

Boarding the plane in Tuscaloosa. Next stop ... Texas!

— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) September 4, 2015

The Baylor Bears have been dominant in earning a share of the Big 12 title the last two years and have a powerful offense that has the ability to strike quickly from all over the field. Look for running back Shock Linwood to make a run at 1,300 yards or more this season.

Michigan State started its season with a win Friday night at Western Michigan, but all eyes will be focused on East Lansing Sept. 12 when the Oregon Ducks, rated seventh in the AP poll, come calling. The Spartans played a credible game for 30 minutes at Eugene last year before falling short, and they would like to return the favor this year.

Oregon has quite a bit of competition this year in the Pac-12 from USC, UCLA, Stanford and Arizona. The Trojans could be the best of the bunch with Cody Kessler at quarterback. He threw for more than 3,800 yards and 39 TDs last year, while completing 69.7 percent of his passes. If he can continue along that path this year, the Trojans could end up at the top of the Pac-12.

USC's Cody Kessler is back one season after rewriting the Trojans' star-studded record book:

— NCAA Football (@NCAAFootball) September 2, 2015

Notre Dame starts the season as the 11th-ranked team in the nation, and Brian Kelly's team could be formidable with Malik Zaire at quarterback. Zaire beat out Everett Golson in the spring, and that's why Golson transferred to Florida State. Zaire will throw to a pair of standout receivers in Corey Robinson and William Fuller.

Louisiana State starts the year as the No. 14 team in the nation, and if the Tigers are going to jump into contention they need to fix an offense that has become one-dimensional in recent years. Leonard Fournette looks like a stud at running back, but Brandon Harris is going to have to pick it up at quarterback if the Tigers are going to be dangerous.

It has been a while since Tennessee was a relevant college football program, but the Vols posted their first winning record last year (7-6) since 2009, and they start the season as the No. 25 team in the nation. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs helped turn the Vols around and head coach Butch Jones is counting on the quarterback to be even better this year. Jones has also brought a solid recruiting class to Knoxville, and the Vols could be very difficult to beat this year.

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Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech: Ticket Info, Date, TV Schedule and Live Stream

Sometimes a rematch is the best way to help kick off a season, a notion the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes will subscribe to Monday at Lane Stadium in a season-opening showdown against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

It doesn't take an excellent memory to recall what happened last year. The Hokies, led by legendary coach Frank Beamer, traveled to Ohio Stadium and escaped with a 35-21 victory.

Of course, Ohio State and coach Urban Meyer rebounded and eventually won the inaugural College Football Playoff, but the sting remains and the shot at revenge in a hostile environment surely drives the Buckeyes.

It's a battle of wills sure to set the tone for each team. Here's a look at the game's most important info.


Overcoming History and Absences 

The taste of a home loss to the Hokies doesn't just go away with the dawn of a new season, CFP triumph to massage the bruise or not. 

In the loss, Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett threw three interceptions and didn't have much in the way of help from his backs, leading the team in rushing with 70 yards and a score while the team averaged 2.7 yards per carry.

Meyer spoke about the lingering effects of the loss, per

"There is a little nudge around here because they beat us, and really the way they beat us. Offensively right now there is a lot of distaste for the way that thing happened, and that's not taking away from their personnel, because I think they have excellent personnel, especially on defense."

The offense has serious question marks heading into Monday's contest, too. As the above link mentions, quarterback Cardale Jones was rushed to the emergency room with a headache this week, which may throw a wrench in plans if Meyer had wanted to use two quarterbacks to fluster the Hokies defense.

Also missing? Suspended wide receivers Corey Smith and Jalin Marshall, as well as versatile weapon Dontre Wilson. Noah Brown broke his leg last week and will miss the season.

In other words, the Buckeyes will be down several key pieces on offense and must lean heavily on Ezekiel Elliott. Granted, he's the miracle man who ran for 1,878 yards and 18 scores last year despite not seeing more than 12 carries in each of his first three games.

Still, if the Buckeyes fall into a somewhat one-dimensional attack due to losses, this one could be closer than Meyer would prefer.


Keeping the Pace 

It's no secret a Beamer-led defense will perform.

Perhaps more interesting is the plight of the offense, which might have to score more points than normal with the Buckeyes in town.

Michael Brewer is back under center after directing the Hokies to a 7-6 campaign last year with 2,692 yards and 18 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. This time, though, he gets more experience around him, led by a deeper offensive line and seasoned weapons.

"I don't worry about Michael. I worry about the people around Michael," Beamer said, per "And if those people uphold their end of the deal, Michael will be just fine. He knows what he's doing."

Isaiah Ford would be the name to watch. As a freshman, Ford didn't get to make much of an impact, but he proved later in the season he's a No. 1 wideout due to his 56 catches for 709 yards and six touchdowns.

Against a Joey Bosa-less defense (yet another notable loss for the Buckeyes), Brewer should have more time than last year to do his damage, as well as more talent to work with.


Viewing Info

When: Monday, September 7, 8 p.m. ET

Where: Lane Stadium/Worsham Field, Blacksburg, Virginia

Television: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN


Betting Lines (via Odds Shark):

  • Over/Under: 52.5
  • Spread: Ohio State (-14)


Team Injury Reports

Injury reports via USA Today.



The wrecking ball or the wall? 

No easy answer, but one has to think Las Vegas has the right idea. An Elliott-led offense can grind out a win in hostile territory Monday.

Revenge is an incredible motivator, but perhaps more important is simple championship experience. Even without Bosa, a deep defense will be able to contain Brewer and a well-known offense.

On offense, Elliott will have a grind-it-out sort of game and the versatility of someone such as Barrett under center will keep the Hokies honest. So long as the Buckeyes can jump out to a lead early, call it the perfect way to start the season for the defending champs.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Virginia Tech 27


Statistics courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise specified.

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SEC Football 2015: Bold Predictions for How the Conference Will Turn Out

The waiting is over. College football and, more specifically, SEC football are back.

As the season gets under way (yes, technically Vanderbilt and South Carolina already played), we’re going to discuss what to expect from a pretty wide-open SEC this season.

It seems like almost anybody can win the SEC West, and as importantly, it seems like nobody can win the East (someone has to, right?). So, let’s spend a brief moment separating pretenders from sleepers from contenders and predict who ends up putting that 2015 SEC Championship trophy in its case at the end of it all.

We’ll break down the conference into four tiers: The “No Chance” tier, the “Be Serious” tier, the “Yeah but No” tier and the “Definitely Have a Shot” tier.

Be sure to post your predictions in the comments section. Happy college football season, SEC fans. 

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Washington vs. Boise State: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Chris Petersen almost got his revenge, but the Washington Huskies couldn't muster enough offense to sneak past the 23rd-ranked Boise State Broncos Friday night in a 16-13 loss at Albertsons Stadium. 

Although some superb special teams play allowed the Huskies to mount a second-half charge, they fell short with several opportunities to put together late game-winning and game-tying drives. 

A last gasp saw Washington work all the way down to the Boise State 19-yard line, but a combination of penalties and sacks forced the Huskies to settle for a 46-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining attempt that faded just wide right off the foot of Cameron Van Winkle. 

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel provided an optimistic outlook for Washington despite the loss: 

The Huskies were outgained, 336-179, but a 76-yard punt return touchdown from Dante Pettis in the third quarter helped cut the deficit to six. A blocked punt by Jaydon Mickens deep in Boise State territory set up a Washington field goal midway through the fourth quarter, but that was as close as Petersen's side would get. 

Pac-12 Networks on Twitter offered a look at the Huskies' lone jaunt into the end zone: 

Quarterback Jake Browning wasn't exactly prolific in his debut under center, but that was to be expected as Washington opted to take a conservative approach with the true freshman orchestrating the offense. 

Browning completed 20 of 34 passes for 150 yards and an interception in the loss, but flashes of commendable composure on the potential game-tying drive was indicative of his own potential moving forward.  

But the signal-caller didn't see things that way, according to the Seattle Times' Adam Jude:

Boise flourished early with 16 first-half points, but its offense floundered despite holding on to capture the win. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Broncos netted just 83 yards after halftime as they failed to register a point over the game's final 30 minutes. 

Running back Jeremy McNichols punctuated a 16-play, 92-yard drive to open the scoring for the Broncos, and he followed that up by diving into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run to cap off a 13-play, 80-yard drive in the second quarter. 

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg praised Washington's effort during the second-half shutout:

Sophomore quarterback Ryan Finley completed 16 of 29 passes for 129 yards and an interception, but it was the running game that paced Boise throughout. 

McNichols led all players with 24 carries for 89 yards and two scores, while complementary back Kelsey Young tacked on 13 carries for 48 yards. It wasn't an efficient effort by any stretch, but Boise State continued to pound the rock between the tackles and rattled off 53 carries for 185 yards. 

However, Boise should be happy it was able to start its season on a positive note despite the sloppy special teams play and offensive breakdowns. 

Next up for the Broncos is a road tilt with a sneaky BYU squad, while Washington will have a golden opportunity to nab its first win of the season against the Big Sky's Sacramento State at Husky Stadium. 

Expect both offenses to come out with more juice after letting some jitters loose Friday in a highly entertaining and unpredictable contest. 

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Photo of Suspended Baylor DE Shawn Oakman Results in More Hilarious Memes

Baylor defensive end and Internet legend Shawn Oakman set the web ablaze once again Friday, and he wasn’t even playing.

Bleacher Report’s Jason King reported Thursday that the senior would miss the Bears’ season opener against SMU for a violation of team rules. So Oakman, without pads, a helmet or uniform on, was seen standing on the sidelines.

And he still managed to look scary enough to inspire meme-makers from all corners of the Internet. Of course, this isn't his first go-around with being a viral sensation.

Here are some good ones:


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Taylor Young Injury: Updates on Baylor LB's Collarbone and Return

Baylor Bears linebacker Taylor Young suffered a collarbone injury during Friday night's game against the SMU Mustangs.

Continue for updates.   

Young Not Believed to Have Broken Collarbone Friday, September 4

After leaving the game Friday night, Young did not emerge from the locker room until the second half. 

Head coach Art Briles said Young is having a second x-ray, since the first wasn't clean, though it's not believed to be broken, via David Ubben of Sports on Earth.

Jessica Morrey of KCEN-TV was able to catch a glimpse of the injured linebacker:

An official injury report or timetable for his return has not been released.

Beginning his sophomore season, Young was set to become a leader of the Baylor defense after a stellar redshirt freshman campaign that saw him win Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP honors. 

While he does not fit the mold of a dominant linebacker, Young utilizes his 5'10", 225-pound frame with great movement along the line of scrimmage. He also shows a knack for predicting where the play will develop.

Junior Aiavion Edwards rotated in for Young when he left the game, and Edwards does bring some starting experience. Last season, he started five games before an ankle injury sidelined him, so Baylor will take some comfort in knowing it has someone who can fill Young's spot in case he misses significant time.


Follow Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) on Twitter.

Stats courtesy of

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Western Michigan Coach Fires Up Team, Compares MSU Game to Going on a Date

Before his team’s home opener against No. 5-ranked Michigan State on Friday night, Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck dug deep in his search for motivation.

“We got a date!” he shouted at his team, which was kneeling before him. “And I promise you, that date is with destiny. Let’s go pick her up!”

And with that, Fleck was out, and his players appeared pumped.

Sophomore kick returner Darius Phillips answered the Spartans' first-quarter score with a 100-yard sprint to the house, so the Broncos were certainly not late for their engagement.


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SMU Fan Can't Believe Team's Clock Management in Game Versus Baylor

C’mon, bro.

During Friday’s SMU-Baylor game, one Mustangs fan was absolutely baffled about how his school managed the clock near the end of the first half.

This dude doesn't just want points; he expects points.

The Vine is gold. Expect it to take over the Internet quicker than his frat parties fill up:


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SMU Player Gets Hurt Celebrating Big Kickoff Return vs. Baylor, Madness Ensues

Friday’s game between Baylor and SMU got real heated, real fast.

Too much so for one Mustang, who over-celebrated when his team answered a quick score by the Bears with a 49-yard kickoff return. 

Hope that's nothing serious.

On that very same play, a different SMU player got flattened while attempting to block:


The underdogs scored in heroic fashion, though. Quarterback Matt Davis chucked a bomb up for wideout Courtland Sutton, and he hauled it in for a touchdown:

In the opening 67 seconds of the contest, both teams had put seven points on the board. The stadium wasn’t even filled up yet:

But it didn’t take long for Baylor to strike again. In fact, it was less than a minute before QB Jake Russell punched it in after a 60-yard completion brought the Bears into enemy territory:

SMU kept on clawing and put another seven points on the board in a hurry, making it 14-14 with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter.

Just when you think the smoke is starting to clear, another explosion goes off.

Unless Baylor thoroughly pulls away, this will be tough to turn off.


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SEC Football: Bold Predictions for First Saturday of 2015 Season

College football season is one day old, and already the SEC has surprised us.

Short favorite South Carolina won a close game over North Carolina, and short underdog Vanderbilt lost a close game to Western Kentucky, but neither took the course we expected. Each game had a betting total of 60 or more points, according to Odds Shark.

They ended up featuring 56 points combined.

Thursday's surprising not-shootouts serve as a fitting introduction to our bold SEC predictions. We tried not to get too crazy, since that tends to make people angry (You idiots really think McNeese State can beat LSU!), but we also tried not to get too conservative, since that tends to make people even angrier (You idiots call these predictions BOLD!)

Basically, we predicted things we really think might happen but that conventional wisdom says will not. The sentiment behind each prediction might be common, but in those cases we made the magnitude extreme.

For example, "Leonard Fournette shreds McNeese State's defense" would not be a bold prediction. But "Leonard Fournette rushes for 300 yards" would be. See the difference? Awesome!

Sound off below with your own bold predictions for Week 1.


Note: All recruiting info refers to the 247Sports composite rankings

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UGA's Case as 'RBU' Heightens with 4-Star Elijah Holyfield's Commitment

Georgia can give a healthy case for why it should be considered "Running Back U."

Exhibit A: Herschel Walker. And then there are guys like Willie McClendon, Robert Edwards, Rodney Hampton, Garrison Hearst, Knowshon Moreno, Todd Gurley and all backs in between past and present.

Elijah Holyfield hopes to be the future for the Bulldogs. The 4-star Atlanta back verbally committed to Georgia Friday afternoon, choosing the Bulldogs over offers from Auburn, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. Holyfield became the 17th pledge in the 2016 class for Georgia coach Mark Richt.

In a video courtesy of WAGA-TV (Fox 5 Atlanta), Holyfield made the announcement using what he called "two of my friends"—two white bulldog puppies on red leashes escorted to the Woodward Academy gym. He then put on a white Georgia baseball cap and announced his commitment.

And while the announcement was creative, expect his play as a college running back to be even better. After all, he's following some of the best the SEC has seen, and he's also following the paths of current studs Nick Chubb, Keith Marshall and Sony Michel.

Georgia's depth at the position makes it one to watch, and adding Holyfield further enhances Georgia's reputation for landing some of the best at the position. The Woodward Academy standout rushed for 1,735 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior, and while he didn't play in Woodward's season opener against Decatur (Georgia) last week, he's expected to be dynamic throughout his senior season.

At 5'10", 205 pounds, Holyfield physically is a specimen without pads and a truck wearing pads. In addition to being a reliable downhill runner, he makes life for defenses even more difficult with his speed, elusiveness and field vision. His play earned him more than 30 offers from FBS schools coast to coast.

Having a love for Georgia as a child aided in his decision. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution when he first received the offer last September that Georgia "has been my favorite team since I was young." It also helped that his parents—including his father, former world heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield—are quite fond of the program.

"I'm a Georgia Bulldogs fan," Evander Holyfield told 247Sports' Keith Niebuhr at The Opening in July in Oregon. "I've always been a Bulldog. I always cheered for the Bulldogs. There was just something about the Bulldogs."

Credit the Georgia coaching staff for a solid job in recruiting the running back. He has built good relationships with Richt, running backs coach Thomas Brown and offensive coach Brian Schottenheimer.

Holyfield was an important get for the Bulldogs, as the team only took one back in the 2015 class in Tae Crowder, a 3-star back out of high school. Holyfield is Georgia's first running back of the 2016 class, and there's still a chance the Bulldogs could add a player like 4-star Devwah Whaley or 3-star JaQua Daniels before signing day.

Auburn was considered a major contender for Holyfield. Elijah's older brother, Evander Holyfield Jr., ran track and was a walk-on football player at Auburn a few years back. Elijah also had good relationships with head coach Gus Malzahn, running backs coach Tim Horton and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.

In the end, Georgia scored a big get in Holyfield, a running back who is expected to continue the tradition of the program having some of the best backs in the country. Look for Holyfield to give Georgia fans reason to believe that "RBU" rests in Athens, Georgia.


Damon Sayles is National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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How Texas A&M's Kyle Allen Stacks Up to Other Kevin Sumlin Quarterbacks

There's a lot about the college career of Texas A&M sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen that remains to be told. But there are a few things we already know. 

The first, if for context only, is that he'll make just his sixth career start Saturday against Arizona State. 

Sixth. Sometimes, it's easy to forget just how young some of these players are—and how high the expectations are for them regardless of the fact. 

"He was a true freshman," said Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News to Bleacher Report. "Expectations had to be tempered." 

But we also know Allen doesn't give up easy. He didn't win the starting job to open the 2014 season—and he took the news extremely hard—but performed well when he received the opportunity to leapfrog Kenny Hill. In the final five games of last year, all starts, Allen threw for 1,058 yards, 13 touchdowns and five picks. During that stretch, the Aggies went 3-2. Hill has since transferred to TCU. 

We know he held off touted true freshman Kyler Murray in this year's quarterback competition. That was no easy task. Murray, in addition to being a 5-star member of the 2015 class according to 247Sports, was a Texas high school legend with a 42-0 career record. As Zwerneman noted, it was a legitimate competition that Murray had every opportunity to win. 

We know experience, something Allen lacked this time last year in his competition with Hill, gave Allen the edge in this year's competition. "[Head coach Kevin] Sumlin made a point about the learning curve [of the offense]," Zwerneman said. "He said Kyle was past the point of learning 'how to' and at the point of learning 'what to do.' And that really separated him from Murray." 

We know, with Sumlin's recent track record of quarterbacks, Allen has a chance to thrive. Johnny Manziel, Case Keenum and even Sam Bradford, if you date back to Sumlin's days as Oklahoma's co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, have all put up big numbers in an offense in which Sumlin at least had a hand. 

That's two Heisman winners and a record-setter. 

Of the three, Zwerneman feels Allen is physically most like Bradford. "He's long, lean, kind of like Sam was," Zwerneman said, noting that Allen, who is now up to 210 pounds per his bio, played at about 190 pounds last year. "Allen might be a little more mobile than Bradford was, though." 

Allen's ability to pick up yards with his feet came as a surprise to many. He entered his freshman year in College Station known as a true dropback passer. However, he showed off some wheels in the Liberty Bowl win against West Virginia, rushing for 33 yards and a touchdown. 

No one is confusing Allen for Manziel, but he does have the ability to make plays with his feet when necessary. Likewise, Bradford could occasionally extend plays with his legs, as he most notably did against Oklahoma State in 2008:

Ultimately, Allen's game is somewhere between Bradford's and Keenum's, whereas Murray has already drawn comparisons to Manziel by Aggies offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. Allen has a huge arm and can sling the ball vertically down the field. With A&M's receiving unit, likely the deepest and most talented in the SEC, there should be no reason why the Aggies can't pick up chunk yards through the air. If nothing else, Allen should be able to improve on his 6.9 yards per attempt from 2014. 

Now the question is: Can Allen's collegiate career arc resemble Bradford's or Keenum's? It comes down to how big of a leap Allen can make from Year 1 to Year 2—again, he's only started a handful of games—and if he can fend off Murray. 

According to Zwerneman, Allen has worked on two components of his game: release time and footwork, and has improved in both areas during the offseason. Being the No. 1 guy throughout the spring, Zwerneman said, helped Allen loosen up and build confidence. 

You see, there's probably no one on A&M's roster who takes football more seriously (in a good way) than Allen. Zwerneman notes a time last year, right around when Allen lost the job to Hill, when backup quarterback Conner McQueen divulged Allen's biggest characteristic. 

"Conner let us know early on," Zwerneman said. "He's never seen anyone prepare as hard, or have the love and passion and knowledge of the history of the game like Kyle Allen." 

Allen has all the physical tools to succeed. Holding off Murray will require incredible drive and hard work. All of this would make him one of the top quarterback prospects in college football. Even B/R draft guru Matt Miller is starting to take notice:

In 2011, Sumlin's fourth year as the head coach of Houston, Keenum passed for 5,631 yards. That was almost 1,000 yards more than the next-leading passer, Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State. As it so happens, Sumlin is entering a fairly critical Year 4 with the Aggies. Can Allen have the type of breakout year Keenum did four years ago?

If he does, A&M, armed with a new-look defense, might just have a shot at the SEC West crown. Maybe more. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. All stats courtesy of

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Elijah Holyfield to Georgia: Bulldogs Land 4-Star RB Prospect

Elijah Holyfield, one of the top running back recruits in the class of 2016, announced Friday he's decided to play college football at Georgia.  

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports confirmed Holyfield, who's the son of former boxer Evander Holyfield, selected the Bulldogs. Woody Wommack of Rivals provided a look at the unique announcement, which included live animals:

Holyfield is a 4-star prospect that ranks inside the top 175 for next year's incoming class and, more importantly, checks in as the No. 5 running back in the group, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. The Atlanta native also rates as the No. 17 prospect in the football-rich state of Georgia.

The recruiting outlet notes he received 32 offers before making his final choice. He follows the lead of numerous top running back recruits heading to Athens in recent years, per ESPN Stats and Info:

It's a key addition for Georgia, which had placed an emphasis on landing Holyfield. He told Chris Kirschner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution both head coach Mark Richt and assistant coach Thomas Brown made it clear they felt he was a top priority: "They have been pretty adamant about it. They have told me that I am No. 1 many times now."

Holyfield is not the most explosive back in the class. Instead, he's displayed an intriguing combination of vision and power that allows him to attack holes at the line of scrimmage with authority. What he lacks in straight-line speed, he makes up for with agility and quick cuts.

He'll face competition for playing time early in his career. The Bulldogs' depth chart is currently topped by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, both sophomores. The focus while he awaits a bigger role will be filling out his frame with more strength so he can handle the workload as he rises up the pecking order.

All told, Holyfield's long-term outlook is extremely promising, which is why Georgia targeted him so heavily leading up to his decision. Now, the Bulldogs can chalk it up as mission accomplished.


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Opening Weekend in NCAA Is About Learning the Questions, Not the Answers

With the excitement and freshness and optimism going into every…single…college football season, the hardest thing to learn about the season opener is this: You didn't learn anything. You have no conclusions.

The first game of the college football season isn't a crowning moment. It isn't even a day about starting to find answers. It's about identifying the questions. That's it.      

The season started Thursday night, and we didn't get the explosion it was set up to be. We got the start of a process. It was Jim Harbaugh's first game as Michigan's savior-coach, and in another game on another channel, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin's first night in his run as the Heisman Trophy favorite. Two of the game's most-hyped superstars on the first night. What a treat!

"Everything that happens from here," Harbaugh told reporters after Michigan lost at Utah 24-17, "is what matters most."

Harbaugh wore his magical khakis, as did so many Michigan fans to channel their hero and forget about the bumblings of Brady Hoke. Instead, there was no magic. Michigan lost in pretty much the same way Hoke's teams lost, with a quarterback throwing interceptions and an offensive line being pushed backward, leaving running backs nowhere to run.

And Boykin? Well, TCU won at Minnesota, barely. Boykin didn't throw for 400 yards or run for 200. He was good at times, and he overthrew open receivers at times. And he didn't lead TCU to 50 or 60 points, but just 23.

"I have to have a short memory," Boykin said in his postgame press conference, making almost exactly the same point Harbaugh did.

By the end of the night, there were more questions than there were at the beginning. There simply isn't anything sexy about a process, but that's what a season is, not a collection of highlight moments.

Teams just aren't sure what they have the first day. All they'd done until now is arm wrestle with themselves, unsure how much of each victory was actually a sign of another weakness.

The questions did become clearer Thursday for Michigan. Do the Wolverines have a quarterback? Harbaugh kept it a mystery all the way until the first snap whether the quarterback would be Jake Rudock, who transferred from Iowa, or Shane Morris. It turns out, maybe Harbaugh didn't wait to produce the element of surprise. Maybe he just couldn't decide. He went with Rudock, who was known for protecting the ball but instead threw three interceptions, including one that was returned 55 yards for, basically, a game-winning touchdown with eight minutes left. Only on the next drive, for a touchdown, did Michigan's offense look like something Harbaugh might have drawn up.

"I thought that was outstanding," Harbaugh said. "Jake shook that play off and came back fighting on the next play."

The other question we learned in seeing Harbaugh: Who is that guy? This was not your San Francisco 49ers Harbaugh, who left last year with the label of a nutcase who mistreated players and broke apart his own team.

In his postgame press conference, he was not only all-positive, all-the-time, but also calm and sort of soothing in a quiet monotone. He was barely louder than a whisper. During the game, he put his arm around Rudock after the killer mistake, slapped players on the backsides, patted them on the head, stepped onto the field and clapped.

"A lot of things to build on, a lot of things to grow from in a lot of areas," he said.

Dare I say it? He was nurturing. And maybe that was different from his days in the NFL, because pros will defy you and college players will listen and absorb everything. At least, they will with Harbaugh.

Maybe he has learned how not to have such a short shelf life. Maybe he just takes the alpha male thing only as far as he needs to. A guy known for nearly starting fights in the postgame handshake, or for saying outlandish and cocky things, was all calm and poise.

Or maybe he realizes what a season opener is all about. Now he knows what he has to answer.

Somehow, he's going to have to figure out how to run the ball. And he will. Harbaugh is known for his power game; the Wolverines averaged 2.6 yards per rush. He said the coaches coached during the game and the team improved.

TCU coach Gary Patterson wasn't quite as sweet after his game. After all, he barely missed the College Football Playoff last year but started this year No. 2 and with probably the top Heisman candidate. TCU is supposed to be a continuation, not a miracle transformation.

"Trevone's got to hit," Patterson said. "We had three open guys for touchdowns, and he overthrew. You can't play like that and win the big ballgames."

The opener isn't a big ballgame? Fans might want ESPN highlights and something to tweet home about. But it's just a starting point.

And that's a good warning for the college football world going into its first big weekend of the season. Everett Golson might not be the next Jameis Winston for Florida State. Wisconsin will try to make a statement for the Big Ten against Alabama, which still hasn't named a quarterback. But it might not stick.

Even defending champ Ohio State might struggle with some new parts and a new attitude as the champ, not the challenger. (Nah, probably not them.)

"Our team was growing in confidence," Harbaugh said.

That's not exactly what the preseason Harbaugh watch was all about. But it's reality.


Greg Couch covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.

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