NCAA Football

6 College Football Recruits Who Had an Explosive Week

Another weekend of high school football action provided plenty of highlights across the country. Several collegiate prospects elevated their efforts, compiling impressive statistics along the way.

Each week here at Bleacher Report, we review premier performances by top recruits. Here's the latest look at those who stepped up during the final slate of August matchups.

 

4-star tight end Hale Hentges (Jefferson City, Missouri)

The Alabama commit established a new Helias High School receptions record, catching five passes for 94 yards in a 52-14 win over Hannibal, per Tom Rackers of the News Tribune. Hentges, rated fourth nationally among tight ends in 247Sports' composite rankings, surpassed his uncle's total.

“They all count the same,” he told Rackers. “We know Hannibal is a very good team and we expected a battle from the very beginning. But we just got hot right at the start of the game. We got on a roll and we overwhelmed them.”

Hentges caught 61 passes for 940 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior.

 

4-star quarterback Brady White (Newhall, California)

The 6'2", 190-pound passer posted a memorable performance in a season-opening loss. Though his team fell 63-48 in a shootout, White set a Hart High School record by throwing for 537 yards, per Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times.

He tossed six touchdowns in the process, giving him 71 career scoring strikes. Rated third nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings, White builds off a 4,500-yard, 41-touchown effort in 2013.

The Arizona State commit connected with 4-star receiver Trent Irwin on 10 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. The Sun Devils remain in the mix for his commitment, which would keep their connection in place.

 

3-star defensive end Rick Wade (Rancho Santa Margarita)

Wade, who committed to UCLA in July, dominated the trenches in a 26-21 win over Bishop Amat High School. The 6'6", 225-pound prospect punished opponents while piling up 13 tackles and a sack, per Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times.

Wade, who also holds offers from Wisconsin, USC and Washington, helped Santa Margarita Catholic halt a final drive by Bishop Amat in the red zone to lock down the victory.

 

3-star running back Aca’cedric Ware (Cedar Hill, Texas)

The Cedar Hill High School playmaker came up big in the opening game of his squad's bid for a state championship repeat. Ware carried the ball 23 times for 193 yards and four touchdowns, per Corbett Smith of The Dallas Morning News.

Cedar Hill surged to a 56-34 victory over South Oak Cliff High School. Ware helped the team score on all but two possessions during the contest, gaining nearly nine yards per carry.

He committed to USC in June. His other offers include Iowa, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

 

4-star RB Jordan Scarlett (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

Scarlett, who transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas High School for his senior season, lived up to the hype Friday evening. He rushed for 125 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-7 victory over defending state champion American Heritage High School, per Daniel Flynn of FanSided150.com.

Rated seventh nationally among running backs in 247Sports' composite rankings, his commanding effort included a 63-yard score in the first half. Scarlett committed to Miami in July after backing off a verbal pledge to FAU.

 

5-star quarterback Blake Barnett (Corona, California)

The Alabama commit came out firing in his season opener, completing 18 of 30 pass attempts in a 47-21 victory over Redlands High School, per Drew Champlin of AL.com. Barnett buried the opposing defense with 311 passing yards and a touchdown.

Rated No. 1 nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks in 247Sports' composite rankings, he also flashed rushing skills that set him apart in a talented crop of California quarterbacks. Barnett rushed for 83 yards and another score.

His pledge to the Crimson Tide came just weeks after he decommitted from Notre Dame.

 

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

BYU Football: 4 Lessons Learned from Blowout Win over UConn

BYU left the East Coast last Friday with a huge 35-10 win to kick off the 2014 season. Led by a monster game from quarterback Taysom Hill, the Cougs quickly built a three-possession lead, and UConn never recovered.

Although BYU has a huge game at Texas this weekend, it's never bad to look back at the previous week's game. There are many lessons to be learned from Friday's victory, and here are four of them.

Begin Slideshow

UCLA vs. Memphis Complete Game Preview

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 6, 10 p.m. ET

WHERE: Rose Bowl Stadium; Pasadena, California

TV: Pac-12 Networks

 

No. 7 UCLA seeks to shake off the cobwebs from its lackluster Week 1 performance when it opens its 2014 home slate on Saturday against Memphis.

The Bruins survived a 28-20 scare on the road at Virginia on Saturday, scoring just one offensive touchdown in the win.

UCLA got what it wanted against the Cavaliers, which head coach Jim Mora explained, per Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times (subscription required).  

“The goal in a first game which is the goal of any game, but certainly the first one, is to win," Mora said. "We met that objective."

The Bruins can meet their objective to win once more in Week 2 to head into a highly anticipated Week 3 showdown with Texas. But don’t expect UCLA to overlook visiting Memphis—particularly after the close call to open the season.

Begin Slideshow

UCLA vs. Memphis Complete Game Preview

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 6, 10 p.m. ET WHERE: Rose Bowl Stadium; Pasadena, California TV: Pac -12 Networks No...

Begin Slideshow

Weeks 2 and 3 Will Decide Alabama QB Battle Once and for All

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Despite Blake Sims’ solid showing in his full-time Alabama quarterback debut, the Crimson Tide’s quarterback race is far from over.

Sims played every meaningful snap against West Virginia, throwing for 250 yards and rushing for 42 more in the win while managing Alabama’s efficient, ball-control offense that had possession for nearly 38 minutes and produced 538 total yards.

However, Alabama coach Nick Saban said on Monday that there is still very much a competition under center.

“I still don’t hesitate to say that there’s a quarterback competition,” Saban said. “And in some way, we’ll probably try to play both quarterbacks in this game. I don’t know how. When I figure it out, I’m probably not going to tell you. But I don’t know that it’s that important, to be honest with you.”

That’s a far cry from his strategy against West Virginia, where Sims played all but the final two snaps. Jacob Coker handed to Kenyan Drake twice once the game was out of reach.

Now, it looks like Coker will get his chance to prove what he can do in the offense before a final decision is made on the full-time starter.

So what to make of this new revelation?

For one, Sims playing just about the entire season opener was likely more about the short than the long term.

Saban wanted to go with the guy he knew he could trust at that moment in time. That was Sims, who has been in the system for four years going on five. Sims got to work through spring practice essentially as the starter and knows what’s expected of quarterbacks under Saban.

That, combined with his teammates’ trust and confidence in him, gave him the nod for that game.

“Blake Sims is a very good leader, he’s a very big part of what we have,” guard Arie Kouandjio said on Monday. “We have a lot of older guys on this team, Blake being one of them, and when you’ve been here for a while, sometimes you have to step up. I feel like Blake does his part.”

When it turned out that the game was close for much of the contest—and it wasn’t exactly the offense’s fault—the signal-caller role stayed with Sims. That, as much as anything, showed which guy Saban trusts at this point in time.

To Coker’s credit, fullback Jalston Fowler said he handled watching from the sidelines well.

“He didn't complain,” Fowler said. “Just kept a straight face and kept moving.”

The decision to extend the competition, though, is about the long term.

Alabama’s next two games are at home against Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss. As much as Saban won’t admit it, these are games that give a coach a little more leeway in terms of personnel management and trying new things.

In 2011, when AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims went toe-to-toe for the starting job, Alabama had the luxury of a home opener against Kent State before traveling to Penn State for the first truly competitive game of the year.

In that Kent State game, McCarron and Sims split reps pretty evenly before Saban settled on McCarron in a game where he needed someone he could trust.

It’s almost the opposite of what’s happening now.

The Crimson Tide now have two games where they can sit back and better evaluate Sims and Coker without the added stress of having to worry too much about actually having to win the game. That likely won't come until September 20, when Florida visits Bryant-Denny Stadium.

This benefits Coker, who still hasn’t taken meaningful game snaps since high school. It’s hard to truly analyze Alabama's quarterback competition without having seen him play, and any speculation on how Coker would have performed on Saturday is just that.

He’ll get his chance on Saturday, though. At this time next week, Alabama’s quarterback race could look markedly different.

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats come from CFBStats. All recruiting information comes from 247Sports.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

How Houston Cougars Can Salvage 2014 Season After Abysmal Loss to UTSA

The University of Houston opened its brand-new stadium the worst way possible last Friday night. The Cougars were shellacked by the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners in front of the largest home-campus crowd in UH history.

The Cougars were soundly whipped in all facets of the game. Down 14-0 after the first half, UTSA put Houston away on the opening drive of the second and went on to coast to a 27-7 victory at TDECU Stadium.

Despite the devastating loss, Houston fans remain hopeful head coach Tony Levine and the Coogs can work out the kinks—and they were plentiful—before Houston begins American Athletic Conference play in October against defending champion Central Florida.

Here are three critical elements Levine and company must greatly improve.

Begin Slideshow

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Complete Game Preview

After escaping its season opener in Baltimore with a closer-than-the-final-score-indicated 34-17 win over Navy, the Ohio State football team heads home to Columbus for one of its premiere games of the 2014 season.

Virginia Tech may not be of the Michael Vick/Bryan Randall/Tyrod Taylor variety this season, but as an opponent from the ACC, the Hokies do possess perhaps the most talent the Buckeyes will face until they begin Big Ten play. Add in that Ohio State itself still faces several questions following its meeting with the Midshipmen, and the intrigue of this Saturday's game in Ohio Stadium is obvious.

How will redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett fare in the second start of his college career? What will Virginia Tech look like against a big-time Division I program after beating subdivision opponent William & Mary last weekend? How will Ohio State's revamped pass defense perform against the Hokies' pass-heavy offense?

All of these questions—and more—will be answered on Saturday, when two power conference teams meet in what could be a season-defining game for each. Until then, here's everything you need to know heading into the Buckeyes' prime-time matchup with Virginia Tech. 

 

Date: Saturday, Sept. 6

Time: 8 p.m. ET

Place: Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio

TV: ESPN

Radio: Ohio State Football Radio NetworkVirginia Tech IMG Sports Network

Spread: Ohio State (-11), via Odds Shark

Begin Slideshow

USC vs. Stanford Complete Game Preview

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 6, 3:30 p.m. ET WHERE: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, California TV: ABC The Steve Sarkisian era of USC football began with a bang in a 52-13 rout of Fresno State Saturday...

Begin Slideshow

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan Wolverines Complete Game Preview

Notre Dame welcomes Michigan to South Bend in the last scheduled matchup between college football's two most winningest programs. In a series that's been filled with close games—and mostly heart-breaking losses for the Irish—of late, Notre Dame set a rare primetime kickoff for this "final" battle. (Final, at least, until the two schools kiss and make up.)

With that reconciliation not coming any time soon, this is all we'll be getting in a rivalry that may not fit the definition in terms of familiarity but certainly does in contempt. 

Michigan coach Brady Hoke may have opened 2014 on the hot seat, but he's beaten Brian Kelly in three out of four, including last year's 41-30 win in Ann Arbor in front of a record crowd of 115,109. Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner and receiver Jeremy Gallon carried the day, torching the Irish secondary. 

To add a little salt in the wound, the "Chicken Dance" blared over the stadium sound system, a less-than-subtle jab at Notre Dame, who Hoke accused of "chickening out" of the series during the summer booster club circuit. That hasn't been forgotten in South Bend. 

Let's get you ready for Notre Dame-Michigan.

 

Date: Saturday, Sept. 6

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Place: Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, Indiana 

TV: NBC

Radio: IMG College Sports, SiriusXM Channel 129

Spread: Notre Dame by 4.5, according to Odds Shark.

Begin Slideshow

Melvin Gordon Injury: Updates on Wisconsin Star's Hip and Return

Melvin Gordon was mysteriously absent for most of the second half of Wisconsin's loss to LSU Saturday, and coach Gary Andersen says an injury is to blame.       

A preseason Heisman favorite, Gordon finished the game with 16 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown with a cool 8.8 yards-per-carry average, but Andersen now says he came up limp on a 63-yard scamper, as captured by Jesse Temple of Fox Sports Wisconsin:

Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman points out that Gordon was still in on passing downs at one point:

Andersen went on to speak critically as to the questions surrounding Gordon's usage:

Gordon, who came back to school in order to pursue a Big Ten title and perhaps a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff, is obviously a major loss. Last season when finally given the reins, he rushed 206 times for 1,609 yards and 12 scores.

The good news for Wisconsin to counteract the loss of a player and major game is twofold. For one, the upcoming schedule is rather easy thanks to encounters with Bowling Green and South Florida in the coming weeks.

Secondly, Wisconsin is known for churning out quality pro offensive linemen and posting gaudy rushing totals. There is little doubt that Corey Clement (45 yards and a touchdown Saturday, 547 and seven on an 8.2 average last year) and versatile quarterback Tanner McEvoy (six carries for 40 yards Saturday) can produce on the ground in Gordon's absence.

Speaking of McEvoy, Feldman's earlier point makes sense as Gordon is the team's best pass-blocker, so that is where the staff will miss him most as the team breaks in a new starter under center.

While the severity of the injury is unknown, the program is built to thrive despite injuries at the position. The staff would prefer if Gordon returns before the Big Ten opener against Northwestern in early October, but either way the offense should move right along.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Miami Hurricanes Fan Paints School Logo on His Lawn

Some people show their team allegiance with wedding cakes, others just use their yard.

A Miami Hurricanes fan showed just how much he loved the school by painting a humongous "U" on his lawn.

[Twitter

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

How Week 1 College Football AP Poll Would Look If There Weren't a Preseason Poll

The first regular-season edition of the 2014 Associated Press Top 25 poll is set to be released on Tuesday, encompassing the results of the first week of action in relation to how teams were rated in the preseason poll.

But just like George Bailey wondered how things would be different if he were never born in It's a Wonderful Life, we can't help but speculate how the AP Top 25 would shake out if this first in-season ranking was, indeed, the actual first ranking of the season.

Pretty darn different, for sure.

Without a preseason poll, voters would be forced to base more on the opening week's results and not have the backup of a baseline ranking. There would likely still be a bias toward teams who were good the year before and received lots of offseason hype, but at the same time a perceived power who struggled in its first game wouldn't automatically remain high in the poll just because it won.

It would almost be like a poll put together by a committee of people whose job is to determine which teams are the best in the country, not the most well-regarded. Such a ranking could maybe be used to select, say, a four-team playoff?

With all of that in consideration, here's how we think the Week 1 AP poll would look if it didn't have a preseason version to build from:

Looks quite different, huh?

That's because this first poll would be truly a result of first impressions, how those opening-week results made the teams look. Consideration would be made for the opponent, but with so many high-profile schools opening against cupcakes, a runaway victory wouldn't hold as much weight as a solid win over a quality foe.

Because of that, some teams' spot in the poll would be much different than in the actual poll, the one influenced by a preseason ranking:

 

Georgia

The No. 1 team in the country should be the team that's considered the best in the land. And based on the first week of 2014, it's hard to argue that Georgia wouldn't be deserving of that spot if outside influences weren't involved.

The Bulldogs were masterful on offense and surprisingly dominant on defense in their 45-21 win over Clemson, particularly in the second half when they limited Clemson to just 15 yards and one first down.

But even without that defensive effort it would be hard not to be high on Georgia with the way it ran the ball and with how absolutely electrifying junior running back Todd Gurley (198 rushing yards, 100-yard kickoff return TD, four total touchdowns) looked.

While Georgia coach Mark Richt might not be convinced after one game, telling Marc Weiszer of the Athens Herald-Banner, "I don't know how good we are, quite frankly," the voters would say otherwise. Several national experts have the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff after Week 1, Weiszer noted, and voters would likely follow suit with that nod.

 

Texas A&M

When scanning through resumes, it's often the first and last ones read that make the most lasting impressions. Texas A&M was part of the season's first big game back on Thursday night, but we're still talking about that runaway 52-28 win at South Carolina.

Much like how Florida State had an untested quarterback heading into its season opener the year before—which happened to be the final game of the first week, for the record—A&M came in with a big offensive question mark regarding how sophomore Kenny Hill would fare as the successor to Johnny Manziel.

The answer? Quite well, thank you very much.

Hill threw for a school-record 511 yards and four touchdowns, looking nothing like a guy making his first career start, let alone one doing so on a national stage in a stadium where a visiting team hadn't won in nearly three years. Throw in a seemingly unlimited supply of skill weapons and a defense that at least has a clue how to slow a team down, and after one week the Aggies will have gone from an enigma to a legitimate contender.

 

Florida State

In the real world, the preseason No. 1 tends to stay in that spot until it loses. But in a land without early projections, even the defending champs have to put up a good result in their opener to be worthy of the top spot.

Florida State did not look like the best team in the country in its 37-31 win over Oklahoma State, not with a suspect running game and a quarterback whose late-game exploits were almost overshadowed by his early miscues. And because of that, the Seminoles wouldn't be No. 1 in the first poll.

Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde wrote that "the defending national champions escaped with the desired result but some undesirable play that will keep them grounded going forward," a fancy way of saying that a win is a win. Improvement will be needed, and voters will echo that opinion with their ballots. 

 

Alabama

The Crimson Tide weren't expected to be tested much in their opener game against West Virginia, but instead had themselves a tight game that sparked more questions than it did provide answers. While the closeness of the 33-23 win will no doubt help Alabama in the long run, in the short term it will mean having its lowest ranking in several years.

There were so many standout team performances during Week 1 that voters will be hard-pressed to put the Tide in the Top Five, where they've more or less gone in on a timeshare under Nick Saban. But no team that was abused in the secondary as much as 'Bama, which allowed West Virginia's Clint Trickett to throw for 365 yards, is deserving of a high ranking this early.

 

Texas

After one game, many voters will already be convinced that Charlie Strong's will has been imposed at Texas. Ignoring the fact that it was against North Texas, a box score that shows the opponent had 94 total yards and the Longhorns registered six sacks and four interceptions will hold more weight than whom it was against.

Texas might end up a little lower, though, depending on how voters take Monday's news that quarterback David Ash would once again miss time because of a head injury, according to Jim Vertuno of The Associated Press. Not having Ash available for Saturday's visit from BYU could impact that result, but since this opening poll would reflect how teams have looked to this point rather than how they'll end up, it might not have an effect yet on their ranking.

 

Michigan

The blue bloods of college football tend to get the benefit of the doubt at the start of each season, regardless of how they performed the year before. It's likely why Florida nearly opened 2014 in the preseason rankings, despite a 4-8 record last season, and why Michigan had 19 voters in that initial poll despite looking very bad down the stretch in 2013 en route to a 7-6 record.

 

And with that in mind, a runaway win in Week 1 by a traditional power will tend to be given far more weight than a strong effort by a lower-profile team, no matter whom it was against.

Michigan looked great in crushing Appalachian State, but odds are most teams would have beat the FCS-newcomer Mountaineers as convincingly. Why the Wolverines will get extra credit for the performance, though, is because of how it compared to results in 2013 when their offense sputtered and stalled more often than it excelled.

Temple

It's the power conferences that get most of the attention—and by definition, most of the accolades—but voters who pay attention to all of the results might use those final spots in their ballot to reward teams who surprised with how great they looked in their openers.

Teams like Arizona, Temple and UTSA all had big wins in Week 1, earning them enough nods to crack the first Top 25. Of that trio, though, Temple would draw the most attention because of how superior it looked in its 37-7 win at Vanderbilt and because the Owls were 2-10 a year ago.

That 30-point margin might be more an indication of how bad Vandy is than how improved the Owls are, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be worthy of a token ranking.

 

Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tennessee Football: Justin Worley Proves Butch Jones Made the Right Choice at QB

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones went with the safe pick this summer when he tabbed senior Justin Worley as the starting quarterback for the Vols in 2014.

A funny thing happened on Sunday night in the 38-7 win over Utah State, though. Worley didn't look just like a game manager, he looked like a difference-maker.

Sure, he made the smart throws and checked down when he should, but he also dropped balls in buckets downfield, tossed three touchdowns and at one point completed 13 straight passes—the fourth-best mark in program history, surpassing some guy named "Peyton Manning."

He finished the day 27-of-38 for 273 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, adding 14 yards on the ground.

"Justin was calm and collected and he acted like he had been there before," head coach Butch Jones said in quotes released by Tennessee. "He was kind of a calming presence on the sideline. I thought our receivers, for the most part, did a good job of catching the football. They made some really good catches to extend drives and we haven't had that in the past, so it was great to see as well."

What's more impressive from Worley is that he spread his 28 completions around to 11 different receivers, including three to junior college transfer Von Pearson and two each to freshmen Josh Malone and Jalen Hurd.

"We have some playmakers across the board, from a tight end standpoint to receivers and running back," Worley said in quotes released by Tennessee. "You can't focus on one guy. There are several guys that we can attack you with."

Worley showed poise in the pocket, spreading the ball around to different receivers and consistently making the right decision, not the risky decision.

Those sound like veteran moves, and it proves that Jones made the right decision when he chose Worley over sophomores Joshua Dobbs and Nathan Peterman.

Tennessee is going to have great moments—like Sunday's demolition of the clearly undermanned Aggies. They also played 21 true freshmen in the opener, which suggests that they're going to have some inconsistency—particularly when you have five new starters on the offensive line.

We saw glimpses of that early against Utah State.

Protection breakdowns happen, but he didn't force risky passes, bought time with his legs and ran when appropriate.

"He did have a good feel for the rush," Jones said in the postgame quotes. "We always talk about having a high-vision quarterback when the protection breaks down and I thought he kept some plays alive with his legs, whether it was a scramble on the perimeter or picking up some valuable yardage with his legs."

Does that mean Tennessee is back? 

That remains to be seen. While Utah State has been a solid program recently, they did have just eight total starters returning combined on offense and defense, and quarterback Chuckie Keeton didn't exactly get a lot of help around him.

What it does mean for the Vols, though, is that Worley won't make boneheaded decisions and help dig the offense a hole.

That's a good sign for the future, and it could be enough to get the Vols back to a bowl game.

With a roster littered with youth, getting those extra bowl practices would add a lot of bricks to that foundation Jones has been laying since taking over prior to the 2013 season.

Baby steps.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.  

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Picks: Pittsburgh Panthers at Boston College Eagles Odds

The Pittsburgh Panthers and the Boston College Eagles are both coming off lopsided victories in their season openers, and this Friday night at Alumni Stadium they will clash in this ACC opener for both teams. The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Pitt stumbled down the stretch last season, with just three straight-up wins in its last seven games, but it got this season going in the right direction with a 62-0 rout of Division IAA Delaware as a 24-point home favorite. The total went “over” the 59.5-point line in that game (all lines from previous weeks or years came from Covers.com).

The Eagles faced the Massachusetts Minutemen out of the MAC East in their season opener and blew a tight game open in the second half to come away with a 30-7 victory as 17-point road favorites. The total in that game stayed “under” the 49-point closing betting line.

 

Pittsburgh at Boston College Betting Storylines

Pittsburgh did an excellent job establishing the run in its opener with a total of 409 yards on the ground. James Conner led the way with 153 yards and four rushing touchdowns on just 14 carries. Rachid Ibrahim also did a good job with 91 total yards on 14 runs.

Quarterback Chad Voytik put the ball in the air only 13 times, but he did complete 10 throws for 84 yards and two more scores. You get the feeling that the Panthers are going to have to take to the air a bit more against BC.

The defense pitched a shutout for the first time in nine seasons, and the Panthers out-gained Delaware 501-64 in total yards. Kick returner and wide receiver Tyler Boyd made an immediate impact with a 34-yard punt return and a 12-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, but he did not play the second half after dislocating a finger in his left hand. He is listed as “probable” for Friday night.

The Eagles lost their final two games of the 2013 season, both SU and ATS, but they gained some positive momentum in a big way against UMass. They will return home, where they are 4-1 SU and a perfect 5-0 ATS in their last five home games. BC also relied heavily on its running game in this past Saturday’s win with a total of 338 yards on the ground, but most of that production came from quarterback Tyler Murphy. He completed 17-of-24 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown while adding another 118 yards and a score with his legs.

Give credit to BC’s defense for the win as well by pitching a shutout in three of the four quarters. The game actually remained tight heading into the second half, but the Eagles put things away with a 43-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Josh Bordner and a 21-yard field goal in the final quarter. Bordner ended the day with four receptions for 81 yards, and Dan Crimmins had seven catches for 52 yards.

 

Pittsburgh at Boston College Betting Odds and Trends by Doc’s Sports

Point Spread: Pittsburgh -4.5

Total Line: OFF

The Panthers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games, and they have covered the spread in their last three road games. The total has stayed under in four of their last five games on the road.                                                       

The Eagles have gone 5-2 SU in their last seven games overall, including a 5-1 SU record in their last five games at home. The total has gone “over” in six of their last seven games.

Head-to-head in this ACC matchup, Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in the last five meetings, and the total has stayed under in four of the last six games between these two.

 

College Football Picks: Pittsburgh at Boston College Betting Predictions

Both of these teams came into the new season as long shots to compete for their respective division title in the ACC, so in my opinion the gap in talent is not wide enough to justify the 4.5-point spread favoring the road team. BC may not get the SU win on its home field this Friday night, but I am betting that the Eagles play well enough to cover with the points.

 

Take: # 304 Boston College (+4.5) over Pittsburgh- 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

David Ash Injury: Updates on Texas QB's Concussion and Return

The Charlie Strong era at Texas got off to an excellent start with a 38-7 victory over North Texas on Saturday, but the Longhorns will have to put on an encore with a new quarterback under center.     

According to Strong, junior David Ash, who threw for 190 yards and a touchdown in the opener, will miss next week's game against BYU. OrangeBloods.com's Anwar Richardson and ESPN.com's Max Olson relayed some of the details:

The Austin-American Statesman's Kirk Bohls noted that this particular scenario could open a whole new can of worms:

This is obviously an extremely concerning development for Ash, who missed most of the 2013 season after suffering a concussion. Both Strong and onlookers from the outside, such as NFL.com's Bryan Fischer, expressed worry about the young signal-caller's future:

Safety is priority No. 1, especially with head injuries, and hopefully Ash is able to make a quick and full recovery. 

On the field, Strong is confident in his team's depth, per ESPN.com's Travis Haney:

He will turn to sophomore Tyrone Swoopes as his starting quarterback:

Swoopes attempted just 13 passes last season, tallying 26 yards, and was sacked twice. The dual-threat QB showed glimpses of his potential during the team's spring game while Ash sat out with an ankle injury, but he's still considered fairly raw. 

Fortunately, Texas has a strong run game to fall back on. Johnathan Grey and Malcolm Brown lead a balanced attack that should help the Longhorns tread water while figuring things out at quarterback. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Grading New College Football Starting QBs' Week 1 Performance

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

For a number of FBS quarterbacks, that time was this past weekend.  In the Power 5 conferences, 13 quarterbacks started their first collegiate game, with two more programs (Louisville and Miami) breaking in new quarterbacks Monday night.

Their performances ran the gamut. Some excelled, while one didn’t even make it out of the first half.

Here’s an attempt at grading the new quarterbacks’ first starts. We only looked at the Power 5 conferences and did not include any transfer quarterbacks who had made starts elsewhere (like Wes Lunt at Illinois, Jacoby Brissett at NC State or Tyler Murphy at Boston College).

Quarterbacks were evaluated on the quality of their statistics, with the caliber of opponent also taken into consideration in the final grade. Evaluations for Louisville starter Will Gardner and Miami starter Brad Kaaya will be included following tonight's game.

Begin Slideshow

College Football Rankings 2014: Updated Outlook Before Week 2 Polls

The opening week of the college football proved well worth the wait. With the weekly ritual of football back in our lives, so follows the release of those pesky polls to tell us how the top schools stack up.

Offenses ran wild in an opening week full of shootouts and blowouts. A select few defenses even showed up to play, but every team ranked in the preseason AP poll scored at least 20 points during their first contests of the 2014 NCAA season.

After an eventful Week 1, especially out in the SEC, how will the rankings shake up for Week 2? Let's take a look at how they might unfold.

 

Stock Up/Down:

Up: Texas A&M

With a huge performance in his first start, Kenny Hill has the Aggies primed for a seismic climb up the rankings.

The sophomore quarterback amassed 511 passing yards and three touchdowns during a scintillating debut against South Carolina, which entered the SEC clash with a No. 9 preseason ranking. As shown by ESPN's Numbers Never Lie, he already eclipsed many of predecessor Johnny Manziel's personal bests.

Five different Texas A&M wideouts registered at least 55 receiving yards, with Malcome Kennedy's 137 yards leading the way. The Aggies finished Thursday night's stampede with a 52-28 victory that should spring Kevin Sumlin's squad up a few spots.

Although the secondary showed some holes amid Dylan Thompson's 366 passing yards and four touchdowns, the Aggies' offensive steamrolled an early SEC favorite, which is good enough to place them comfortably in the teens.

 

Down: South Carolina

On the other end of the shocking SEC rout, South Carolina must suffer the consequences for Hill's coming-out party.

The Gamecocks allowed an unconscionable 680 total yards during the loss, a rare humiliation for decorated coach Steve Spurrier. ESPN Stats & Info piled on with some interesting tidbits regarding the coach's rough night.

As expected, he was livid with his team's defensive performance, per NBC 26's Brendan Robertson.

Their schedule doesn't get particularly easier, either. This Saturday they'll play the East Carolina Pirates, who opened the season with a 52-7 victory over North Carolina Central. Then it's on to No. 12 Georgia, which will likely vault into the top 10 after thrashing Clemson last weekend.

Ole Miss is waiting at the end of September, and don't forget about Auburn to close out October. South Carolina has a rough road to redemption after its disappointing start to 2014.

 

Up: Texas

No. 25 Washington didn't quite shine during a 17-16 victory over Hawaii. Afforded no wiggle room perched in the final spot, the Huskies should get expelled from the AP Top 25.

Expect Texas, which looked much better in a 38-7 win over North Texas, to reap the rewards.

In Charlie Strong's coaching debut with the Longhorns, the passing defense declared a full embargo on anything through the air. Texas's secondary caught more passes from North Texas' quarterbacks than its own receivers, collecting four interceptions to just three completed passes.

The Mean Green finished with 94 total yards, which made a humdrum offensive outing from the Longhorns (354 total yards) more than enough. Considering Texas started the season placed No. 24 in both the USA Today poll and ESPN Power Rankings, this victory should provide the nudge needed to gain AP inclusion.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas Football: Report Card Grades for Every New Texas Starter

There was a lot to like in the Texas Longhorns' 38-7 romp over North Texas. The defense was impenetrable, both Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown looked spry and new starter John Harris had a career night at wideout.

In a 31-point win with so many positives, the hope is the rest of the new starters can catch up with Harris before too long.

The Horns entered the night with seven new first-teamers, including three up front on the offensive line. This group struggled as much as anyone, allowing several hits on David Ash and serving up spotty run blocking for most of the night.

Harris gets the highest marks after his dominant night, while the majority of the group must still figure out how to turn their significant talent into on-field success.

Begin Slideshow

Wisconsin vs. Western Illinois Complete Game Preview

After a heartbreaking Week 1 loss to the LSU Tigers in Houston, Texas, the Wisconsin football team looks to rebound against the Western Illinois Leathernecks, who rolled to victory against Valparaiso in their opening contest.

Going into halftime against LSU, everything seemed to be going right for the Badgers after the injury to defensive end/nose guard Konrad Zagzebski.  They were up 17-7 with the ball coming to them first after the break, and their defense held the Tigers to virtually no yards, save one 80-yard pass.

When the second half came, Melvin Gordon opened things up with a 63-yard run, capping off the drive with a touchdown plunge by Corey Clement.  From that point, the Badgers scrounged up nary a positive play, looking out of sorts on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball while sieving away their lead en route to a 28-24 defeat.

Returning to the friendly confines of Camp Randall Stadium, a place that has seen the Badgers dominate nonconference opponents, the Badgers look to get back on track as their schedule becomes considerably more favorable for the coming weeks.

Begin Slideshow

Notre Dame Football: Report Card Grades for Every New Starter

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — A young and inexperienced Notre Dame football team debuted 15 new starters Saturday in its 48-17 trouncing of Rice at Notre Dame Stadium.

The Irish had their share of breakdowns and miscues, but, all things considered, Notre Dame put together a complete performance against the Owls.

Let’s go through each of Notre Dame’s new starters and analyze their performances. We’ll define new starters as those who weren’t at the top of the depth chart last year—even if they may have made a few starts or earned consistent reps.

Begin Slideshow

Pages