NCAA Football

Don't Expect the Rest of the SEC to Follow LSU's Lead in Scheduling Pac-12 Teams

You have to hand it to LSU. With the University of the Incarnate Word apparently booked for all future dates, the Tigers have done the next best thing scheduling-wise.  

Monday afternoon, the university announced on its website that it has added a pair of home-and-home series with Pac-12 members Arizona State and UCLA. The Tigers are scheduled to travel to Tempe in 2022 before hosting the Sun Devils the following year. Likewise, LSU is scheduled to travel to Los Angeles in 2021 and host the Bruins in 2024.

Of course, both of these series are a long way off. For all anyone knows, Tiger coach Les Miles may have finally kicked his grass-eating habit by then. 

Still, these are the kind of matchups fans enjoy, and theoretically, the College Football Playoff selection committee will take into account when drafting the four-team postseason field. 

It would be all kinds of fun if more SEC teams scheduled either home-and-home or neutral site series with Pac-12 opponents. College football doesn't see it nearly enough in either the regular season or the postseason, as B/R's Barrett Sallee tweets. 

In 2013, it was clear the Pac-12 was the second-best conference in college football behind the SEC, if it hadn't closed the gap entirely. 

But what are the odds of the rest of the SEC following LSU's lead by scheduling Pac-12 teams? Not great, in all likelihood. 

Like LSU, there are other future series that are a long way off. Texas A&M has a home-and-home against Oregon scheduled in 2018 and '19; Tennessee is scheduled to play USC in 2021 and '22 at sites to be determined. Furthermore, there have been isolated series with Pac-12 teams in the past. 

Beyond that, though, there are a few obstacles for a "Pac-12-SEC challenge" of sorts to exist. 

The first is the upcoming SEC Network. As Sallee pointed out earlier this month, that likely spells the start of a nine-game conference schedule in the not-too-distant future. With the ever-growing demand for quality inventory, money is going to take precedence over the traditional line of thinking, which is set on having eight conference games. 

Along those lines, ESPN.com's Heather Dinich reported in February that the ACC was looking into an "8+1" scheduling partnership with the SEC. However, the legs for that concept have yet to fully grow. 

SEC commissioner Mike Slive told ESPN.com through a spokesman that his conference wants to create a scheduling format to take effect in 2016, but no details have been finalized.

"Achieving that objective involves exploring as many options as possible, which we are currently doing," Slive said. "Anything more is pure speculation."

Scheduling games with the ACC makes sense as four SEC teams—Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina—have long-standing rivals there. Additionally, one can only hold out hope Texas A&M will eventually have Texas back on its schedule. 

All of this makes it more difficult for the Pac-12 to find its way onto more SEC schedules, whether through a conference-to-conference agreement or on a per-school basis.

Even though the ACC-SEC concept is far from finalized, there are at least discussions. The same thing can't be said about the SEC and Pac-12. 

And no one wants to over-schedule. Finding balance in scheduling is difficult. While it's important to have at least one quality non-conference opponent per year, no one wants to schedule their way out of a playoff spot, for example. 

There may be some interesting Pac-12-SEC games in future playoffs, but for the time being, that's about it. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All scheduling information courtesy of fbschedules.com

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Alabama's Derrick Henry Will Be No. 1 RB Next Season

Alabama has had exceptional talent at the running back position in recent years, and this year will be no different.

Junior RB T.J. Yeldon received the majority of the carries last season, but don't expect the same going forward.

Sophomore RB Derrick Henry showed signs of brilliance last year, especially in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma. Henry is a man-beast and reminds many of a young Eddie Lacy.

Bleacher Report's Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee weigh in on what to expect from the Crimson Tide backfield next season.

Watch the video to learn why Sallee predicts Henry will be the No. 1 RB to start next season and what kind of stats Henry and Yeldon will put up for Alabama next fall.

Highlights courtesy of xosdigital.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas A&M Football: Why Kyle Allen Will Win Aggies' Starting QB Job

The race to replace Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel took a detour over the weekend when Sam Kahn Jr. of ESPN.com reported that rising sophomore Kenny Hill was arrested for public intoxication and suspended indefinitely.

Hill passed for 183 yards, rushed for 37 yards and tossed one touchdown pass in mop-up duty behind Manziel last season. He is competing with senior Matt Joeckel and true freshman early enrollee Kyle Allen for the starting quarterback job in College Station this spring.

According to Gabe Bock of TexAgs.com, head coach Kevin Sumlin commented on what Hill's absence does to the quarterback race Monday afternoon:

Sumlin said that Kenny Hill being suspended and not practicing (obviously) has an affect on his ability to compete for the starting QB job.

— Gabe Bock (@GabeBock) April 1, 2014

In Bleacher Report's updated position battle tracker, Michael Taglienti noted that it was essentially a two-man race between Hill and Allen. Hill's absence now means his reps will be divvied up between Joeckel and Allen, which is huge news if your money is on Allen winning the job.

All three contenders have desirable attributes for Sumlin.

Joeckel is the veteran with the most experience, Allen is the hot-shot gunslinger who can throw the ball around the field and Hill is the dual threat who could keep the scheme as similar as possible to the one Sumlin was successful with while Manziel was taking the snaps.

Now, for the last week of spring practice, that spread element is gone. That means the offense is going to veer a little bit more towards the strengths of both Allen and Joeckel as spring practice winds down, which means more opportunity for the offense to come to Allen as he adjusts to the offense.

Ultimately, it's what could win him the job.

Not only are those reps valuable to his acclimation to college life, the weapons in that offense—including running backs Trey Williams, Tra Carson and Brandon Williams as well as wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones—will be forced to make a transition of their own.

With spring practice coming to a close this weekend, an offense that's suited for the strengths of Joeckel and Allen will be fresh in the minds of the entire offense as the Aggies hit the summer conditioning session.

There's a lot to like about what Allen—who was the top-ranked pocket passer in the 2014 recruiting class—brings to the table.

The 6'3", 205-pounder from Scottsdale, Ariz., has a big arm, is accurate on both short and deep routes, and has tremendous pocket presence.

Does he have the legs of Manziel? No, but he's mobile enough to extend plays behind the line of scrimmage and doesn't lose accuracy when he makes throws on the run.

Hill's arrest and suspension open the door for Allen to make a big-time statement in the race to replace Manziel during the final week of spring practice. Expect Allen to waltz on through that door and win the job early in fall camp.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.com and all college statistics are courtesy of CFBStats.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida State Football: RB Ryan Green to Miss Rest of Spring with Injury

Florida State has lost another former blue-chip recruit and projected contributor at running back for the rest of spring practice, as Jimbo Fisher announced Monday that Ryan Green will miss the rest of camp with a shoulder injury.

Per Jared Shanker of ESPN.com:

Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher announced Monday sophomore running back Ryan Green will miss the remainder of the spring with a shoulder injury. Green, seen with his right arm in a sling at Monday's scrimmage, had surgery the shoulder within the last week. Fisher did not disclose what specifically Green injured, electing to just call it a shoulder injury.

Green joins 5-star early enrollee Dalvin Cook Jr. on the injury report for the rest of spring practice. Cook, who was competing with Green and Mario Pender for snaps behind presumed starter Karlos Williams, also hurt his shoulder in camp in a freak accident on the stairs in the team's workout facility.

With Green and Cook now gone, the rest of spring practice becomes imperative for Pender, who has a chance to stake his claim for the No. 2 running back role. He, Green and Cook were all top-50 recruits on the 247Sports composite coming out of high school, and each is capable of developing into a quality backup at the very least.

Green, though, is the most experienced option of the trio, having rushed for 163 yards on 33 carries as a true freshman in 2013. Playing behind Devonta Freeman, Williams and James Wilder Jr., he found his way onto the field in mostly a garbage-time capacity but made his presence known with agility and quick feet.

"Ryan Green has tremendous upside and has really developed," head coach Jimbo Fisher said recently, according to Shanker. "He may be the fastest, quickest guy on our football team...he was off the charts."

According to David Hale of ESPN.com, Fisher's offenses since arriving at Florida State have given just 27.5 percent of their carries to the lead tailback. As good as Williams was last season—730 yards and 11 touchdowns on 71 carries—the one or two primary backs behind him will be just as vital to the Seminoles' continued success in 2014.

Losing Green is another step in the wrong direction, but with three sound options that should all be healthy come the fall, it may still be too early for coaches and fans to fret.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Power Ranking the 10 Most Underrated Offensive Weapons in the Big 12

Lately, the Big 12 has been known for having some of the most potent offensive weapons in all of college football. 

In 2013, it was Baylor's prolific offense that rewrote the record books. 2012 saw Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein finish third in the Heisman Trophy voting. Before that, you have guys like Sam Bradford, Vince Young, Ricky Williams and Adrian Peterson leave their marks on the conference. 

Going into 2014, there are certainly the big names to watch out for. Bryce Petty and Co., should be back at it in Waco, Texas, while everybody knows about Trevor Knight after his deconstruction of Alabama's storied defense. 

But what about the guys you haven't necessarily heard about? Guys like Baylor wide receiver Robbie Rhodes or Iowa State running back Aaron Wimberly, who are set to make huge impacts for their squads in 2014? 

It's these guys that are often the X-factors in a team's success, which will prove vital in what is sure to be a wild Big 12 season. 

With that, check out the top 10 underrated offensive weapons in the Big 12. 

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UCLA Football: Spring Practice Position Battle Tracker

The UCLA Bruins return the majority of their team from a season ago. With the high number of underclassmen performing at a high clip, there's no question competition will remain heated throughout spring practice. 

Anthony Barr's departure to the NFL leaves a gaping hole at one of the outside linebacker spots. Additionally, the spots of both Xavier Su'a-Filo and Jordan Zumwalt will need to be filled. 

This piece will detail the most interesting position battles heading into the spring. Only current members of the squad and early enrollees will be accounted for. 

Here's a look at the most intriguing position battles for the Bruins. 

*A full schedule of UCLA's spring practice can be found here

Begin Slideshow

UCLA Football: Spring Practice Position Battle Tracker

The UCLA Bruins return the majority of their team from a season ago. With the high number of underclassmen performing at a high clip, there's no question competition will remain heated throughout spring practice...

Begin Slideshow

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