NCAA Football

Why NCAA Should Not Expand the College Football Playoff

Proponents of an expanded College Football Playoff should have cringed over the UConn-Kentucky men’s basketball NCAA Tournament championship game.

The matchup of two underachieving regular-season teams perfectly illustrates exactly why football needs to keep the invitations to its playoff to a minimum.

UConn and Kentucky—seeded seventh and eighth in the tournament, respectively—ranked Nos. 18 and 22, respectively, in the pre-tournament USA Today Coaches Poll. The two combined for 18 losses and a collective .735 win percentage.

Such a win percentage in a 12-game college football season would approximately equate to a 9-3 regular season.

Yet basketball’s setup enabled the sports world to celebrate UConn as the national champion before the confetti and streamers hit the court inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The very nature of college football wouldn’t allow the same settled feeling for a similarly credentialed winner of a postseason tournament.

Next year, AT&T Stadium will host the first-ever College Football Playoff championship game, but the playoff format will differ greatly from basketball’s. Only four teams will qualify for the initial football playoff—a far cry from the 68 that make the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament.

And that’s a good thing.

College football has long enjoyed a history of having the most important, meaningful regular season in sports.

The same impactful regular season disappears if the sport expands its playoff beyond eight teams.

In nine of the past 10 seasons, expanding the playoff to even 16 teams would have allowed in at least one three-loss team based on BCS standings.

Moving to a 24-team playoff—such as the one utilized in the FCS ranks—would have allowed four-loss national champions, thus crippling the power of the regular season.

All of a sudden, weekly must-see contests would turn to afterthoughts.

Consider how vital some games were at the end of this season.

Three conference championship games would have featured a pair of teams ticketed for a 16-team playoff. Even losses wouldn’t have prevented Auburn or Missouri (SEC), Arizona State or Stanford (Pac-12) and Michigan State or Ohio State (Big Ten) from qualifying.

Ditto late-season contests between Clemson and South Carolina and Alabama and Auburn.

In other words, five must-see games for any die-hard college football fan would have turned into little more than a prelude for the far more critical 16-team playoff.

College basketball has long been a sport more predicated on punching a ticket into the NCAA Tournament and attempting to make a run once there.

It has never been about rewarding teams that start strong and sustain a high level of play throughout the season. Conversely, college basketball centers on crowning teams that gel over the first 30-something games during the regular season and then grow white-hot during the postseason.

Such a blueprint never served as college football’s M.O.

Rather, football rewards teams that escape the gauntlet of a grueling regular season at least relatively unscathed.

It’s why we tune in every Saturday afternoon to watch, listening to the broadcast of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson. It’s why we—until the coming 2014 season—focus our eyes on the Saturday night spotlight game, as called by Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit.

Every night could be an elimination night in college football.

It’s what we love about the sport.

Don’t lose tonight because there might not be another chance tomorrow.

Lose twice and forget about winning it all—the lone exception over the past 50-plus years coming from LSU, which won the BCS national championship as a two-loss team in 2008.

College football isn’t and never has been college basketball.

That’s a very good thing.

For all the shouting back and forth between conferences and fanbases, we don’t want a three-loss team hoisting the championship trophy.

We want those teams playing in the Alamo Dome.

Leave the title-game picture for the regular-season titans, who continue the legacy of making the 12 or 13 games running from late August through early December matter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

8 College Football Players Who Dazzled in Early Spring Game Action

College football spring games are a discovery zone.

The annual end-of-spring-practice competitions have little impact on the reputation and future playing time of known stars and established starters, as the scrimmage is meant more as a final tuneup than anything else.

The same can't be said for the newcomers, backups and other reserves who make up most of a team's roster. For them, this is their time to shine.

While much more stock will be placed on performance and development during preseason training camp, what happens in the spring game can be used as a springboard toward future success. Those who stand out during this competition will be the talk of the spring and summer...though whether that translates into fall success is unknown.

We're about halfway through the spring game schedule for FBS schools, and so far a handful of players have dazzled above and beyond others.

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10 College Football Coaches Who Are the Best at Out-of-State Recruiting

The first objective of recruiting in college football is to lock down your state. However, the best recruiters are skilled enough to excel at out-of-state recruiting.

Some schools have the advantage of having a brand that is recognized all over the country, which helps entice recruits from outside their state to sign with them. Other schools have great recruiters who utilize their relationships on the trail to get in good with prospects who are not from the area where their program resides.

No matter what it is, the game of college football has several coaches who can reach outside their state's borders for a talented player.

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Breaking Down Each 2015 5-Star OL Recruit

The 247Sports composite rankings features several 5-star offensive line prospects. Each blocker has a fantastic set of skills that will help them hold their own in the trenches at the collegiate level.

Strength, size, quickness, intelligence and athleticism are just a few traits these talented offensive line recruits show on tape. However, they're not all similar.

A guard prospect in Oklahoma has excellent strength, while a left tackle in Georgia has fantastic technique. Plus a big blocker in Texas has surprising athleticism.

All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports. Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

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UCLA Football: Jim Mora's 3 Biggest Spring Practice Concerns

Ahead of the UCLA football team's Spring Showcase on April 26 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., Jim Mora's focus should squarely lie upon the lack of depth at key positions—specifically at linebacker and the offensive line. 

Truth be told, there aren't a ton of holes on this team. Mora and his staff have done a tremendous job in replenishing the existing talent on the roster. The roster depth is seemingly as strong as it has been in over a decade. 

However, there are a few areas of some concern. These concerns primarily stem from injury, dismissals and suspensions. 

Here are three areas of concern relating to spring practice for the UCLA Bruins. 

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UCLA Football: Jim Mora's 3 Biggest Spring Practice Concerns

Ahead of the UCLA football team's Spring Showcase on April 26 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., Jim Mora's focus should squarely lie upon the lack of depth at key positions —specifically at linebacker and the offensive line...

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7 Recruits Who Could Join 5-Star ATH Terry Godwin at Georgia

Georgia has a commitment from 5-star athlete Terry Godwin, who pledged to the Bulldogs earlier this year. From Callaway High School in Hogansville, Godwin is a Georgia native who will be a star in the Peach State for years to come.

The 6'0", 168-pounder has fantastic athleticism and smooth movement skills. He can excel as a receiver or cornerback, which is why it wouldn't be shocking to see Godwin play both ways in Athens.

The 5-star prospect is among the nation's best players, and he will certainly help the Bulldogs land more elite talent before the end of this recruiting cycle. 

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Chad Kelly Dismissed from Clemson for Conduct Detrimental to the Team

The battle to replace quarterback Tajh Boyd at Clemson just got a little more clear, as redshirt sophomore Chad Kelly has been dismissed from the team.   

Head coach Dabo Swinney announced the news on Monday, via CBS Sports' Chip Patterson, saying the nephew of NFL legend Jim Kelly "has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program."   

Swinney added, via the school's official statement on Kelly: "I hope he will mature and grow from this and become the man and player I know he can be. I wish him nothing but the best in the future academically and athletically."

Prior to Kelly's dismissal, there were rumors of an incident at a practice field that later turned out to be untrue (via James McCray of WYFF News 4):

Initially, CUtigers.com reported that quarterback Chad Kelly was dismissed from the Clemson football team after being escorted by Clemson University police from the football team’s facility.

But WYFF News 4 has since spoken with Clemson University Police Chief Johnson Link who said university police were not involved in escorting Kelly from the West End Zone.

The young quarterback seemed to deny those claims shortly after the news broke as well: 

Nevertheless, it appears there was enough of an incident for the Tigers coaching staff to cut ties with Kelly, who came to Clemson as a 4-star prospect and fifth-highest-rated dual-threat QB, per 247Sports' composite rankings

Kelly sat out 2012 as a redshirt, and after tearing his ACL in the spring of 2013, he returned to play in five games last season, completing 10-of-17 passes for 58 yards.

As Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel noted, he was in the mix to replace Boyd under center for the Tigers:

Although many believed senior Cole Stoudt was the front-runner, Kelly and freshman Deshaun Watson were still expected to compete for the job through the summer. 

The decision now becomes a little bit easier for Swinney, though it's never ideal to lose depth at the quarterback position. Nevertheless, with Watson recovering from a collarbone injury, the job is undoubtedly Stoudt's to lose. 

As for Kelly, you can only hope the Niagara Falls, N.Y., native lands with a program where he is able to get back on track. It would be a shame to see his kind of talent go to waste, but it's clear he needs to prove he deserves another opportunity elsewhere.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly's 4 Biggest Concerns Post-Spring Practice

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Spring ball is over, all wrapped up following Saturday’s Blue-Gold Game.

We saw plenty of good and also a fair share of bad, a duality to be expected from any team in the spring, but also especially for a squad as young and unproven as Notre Dame's.

At the risk of sounding apocalyptic, let’s zero in on some of Irish head coach Brian Kelly’s concerns after the 15 spring practices. Some of these are robust concerns, while others have become less problematic since the spring season began in March.

Let’s get to them.

 

All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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Penn State Football: Top Performers from the Nittany Lions' Spring Game

Penn State closed out its spring camp on Saturday with the annual Blue-White scrimmage in front of an announced crowd of 72,000 fans—the most in the country for a spring game so far this year, according to Kevin McGuire of NBCSports.com.

While most of the stars saw limited snaps, Saturday provided an opportunity for fans to flock to central Pennsylvania in an effort to show support for new head coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lions.

The "Blue Team," consisting of mostly first and second stringers, beat up on the "White Team" by a score of 37-0, but players on both sides had their moments.

Here are some of the top performers from Blue-White Weekend!

 

All stats courtesy of GoPSUSports.com.

 

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Spring Game Shows Ohio State Clearly Addressed It's Biggest Issue

Following the spring game in Columbus, one thing was quite clear: Ohio State made sure to address its issues with respect to coverage in the back end. The Buckeyes defenders, under co-defensive coordinators Chris Ash and Luke Fickell, have responded to their issues from a season ago and pushed to match patterns, relate to receivers and make plays on the football.

Spring games are often difficult to use to make evaluations for a given team. Formats differ, rules vary tremendously and who is active—and to what extent—is always a crap shoot, something Martin Rickman at Sports Illustrated points out in his Buckeyes spring game recap. However, a true shift in mentality is something that is noticeable, regardless of personnel or watered-down play-calling.

For Ohio State, little was discovered with respect to the quarterback position. Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett failed to show separation as they battle for the backup job. Expected starting running back Ezekiel Elliott was extremely limited. The defensive side of the ball played four-man fronts almost exclusively.

Yet it was clear something was different in the back seven of the Buckeyes' defense.

Prior to the Big Ten championship game, the Buckeyes' issues with route relations was discussed. The same was mentioned before Urban Meyer's team took on the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl. Entering spring, the need to work on pass coverage was again noted here.

And the Buckeyes went out and addressed that very issue.

Here is Ohio State from a season ago.

Notice the air between the defenders and the receiver. This was the Buckeyes' defense on short and intermediate routes for the bulk of 2013. Close to the receiver but with big enough windows for quarterbacks to hit targets and rack up yardage, as you can see in the chart below.

Although Meyer's team was able to get through the first four of those contests with wins—the closest coming against Michigan—come season's end against better teams, coverage failures would cause losses. Michigan State's passing game blossomed against the opportunity presented by the Buckeyes, as did Clemson's spread, quick target attack.

In order to get to where Meyer and his program want to go, fixing the pass coverage was a must for 2014. Part of that came with the change in mentality reported by Ari Wasserman at Cleveland.com. Although the talk centers on the cornerbacks in press, a look at the spring game shows the entire defense has shifted it's mentality from wait-and-see to an attacking-the-football mode.

That is the route combination and alignment for the Buckeyes. The running back goes from a pistol alignment to standing next to the quarterback on his left. Then he works a play-action fake as the receivers get into the designated route combinations.

As the play progresses, the difference for the Buckeyes in 2014 comes into play.

The Buckeyes have taken the air out of the play. No. 5 Raekwon McMillan, a true freshman linebacker, gets a hand on the football as he plays underneath the crosser. The safety is clearly blowing up the play; if the receiver had gotten a hand on the football, the safety was going to separate the man from the ball. The second safety, No. 16 Cam Burrows, is carrying the route over the top, closing to make a play as well.

This is not only a major improvement for the Buckeyes defense, but it was something the different units and personnel showed time and again over the course of the spring game. This was representative not of a group ready to play, but of a defensive squad that has made a full mentality change. 

That is not just McMillan or Burrows or a handful of players. It includes veterans like Curtis Grant, Joshua Perry and the rest of the linebacking corps. It includes safeties and corners that are going to take the field come September against Navy and play throughout the hopeful 2014 College Football Playoff campaign.

Meyer's offense is going to go. Fickell's defense is going to stop the run. The missing link for Ohio State in 2013 came in the form of defending the pass. The addition of Ash and a new mentality as a unit are remedies to the heel-sitting approach from a year ago. 

The Buckeyes recognized a vulnerable area and seized the opportunity to not only fix the problem, but turn a weakness into a strength. If the defense continues to build on the spring's progress, it should find defending the pass to be a treat, not a nightmare, in 2014.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida State Football: Top Performers from the Seminoles' Spring Game

Jameis Winston led the Garnet team to a 31-14 win over the Gold team in Florida State's annual spring game Saturday, throwing the ball 56 times—more attempts than he had in any single game during his Heisman campaign in 2013—for 27 completions, 396 yards and two touchdowns.

The pass-heavy attack can be attributed to multiple factors.

First, the team's presumed top four running backs, Karlos Williams, Ryan Green, Mario Pender and Dalvin Cook, all sat out the game for various reasons. But second, the team is auditioning a new cast of young receivers for important offensive roles, and head coach Jimbo Fisher was curious to see what he had in camp before blue-chip freshmen Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph arrive this summer.

Despite a sluggish start that saw Winston complete just 13 of his first 31 passes, Fisher was not disappointed with his young-but-merging group of receivers, per Kareem Copeland of the Associated Press:

The more they play together ... the more you're going to know each other. Early, they didn't get open as well, but that's kind of expected. But as the game went on they gradually made more plays and did things and we helped them get open with some formations and different things we did. I'm not disappointed in them.

You relax and you realize the sky's not falling, the world's not coming to an end. Relax and play and play up to your capabilities.

That group was one of the biggest stories going into Saturday's spring game, but elsewhere, a few other players made the day their own.

These were the three brightest stars.

 

Third Star: LB Matthew Thomas

According to the 247Sports Composite, Matthew Thomas was the eighth-best player and second-best linebacker in the 2013 recruiting class. After a shoulder injury ended his freshman season in October, though, his opportunity to become a meaningful defensive player was delayed for at least one more season.

If Thomas' play in the spring game was any indication, however, the wait won't be much longer than that. He recovered a Jameis Winston fumble, stuck out to Warchant.com after hunting down Freddie Stevenson and impressed Brandon Mellor of Seminoles.com with his playmaking instincts throughout the game:

This is precisely what FSU fans wanted (needed?) to see from Thomas, from whom much is expected in 2014 and beyond.

The rotations at linebacker are unsettled, with Terrance Smith being the only surefire starter, and Thomas is competing with such players as Ukeme Eligwe, Reggie Northrup and E.J. Levenberry for a chance to start. The whole group played well Saturday, however, so Thomas has not locked up a spot.

One thing that might help him? The addition of even more weight. According to Dustin Tackett of Tomahawk Nation, Thomas said after the game that he is planning on getting to up to 235 pounds next season (after being listed at 224 in 2013):

Already a dangerous combination of height (6'3"), bulk and speed, a good summer of workouts would make Thomas a safe bet at seeing action, a good bet at starting and an intriguing bet at becoming an All-ACC-type player in 2014.

 

Second Star: WR Rashad Greene

There is nothing loud about Rashad Greene's game; Kelvin Benjamin was the sexy receiver last season and is now likely to become a first-round NFL draft pick, while Greene is known better by FSU fans and ACC coaches than casual observers of the sport.

Because of such things, it is easy to forget that Greene has led the Seminoles in catches and yards in each of the past three seasons, and he stands poised to make it a clean sweep by doing so a fourth time in 2014. Now the undisputed No. 1 receiver on the depth chart, he and Winston might both be in store for All-American years.

That became painfully clear Saturday, when Greene was his normal, dominant self, racking up 11 catches (all from Winston) for 127 yards and a touchdown. Yes, he was wearing a green non-contact jersey for precautionary reasons, but that does not provide an excuse to the secondary for how often he got open.

To boot, Greene was also presented the Matt Schmauch Academic Achievement Award during a break in the game:

Greene is the type of player championship teams are made of—both on and off the field. He didn't need to prove that to anyone Saturday, but with certain fans uneasy about the losses of Benjamin and Kenny Shaw, it wasn't a bad idea to remind them.

Consider this reminder received.

 

First Star: DL Ro'Derrick Hoskins

Defensive end might be the keystone position for Florida State in 2014.

Mario Edwards and Eddie Goldman are being counted on to reach their potentials on the outside, which should help compensate for the loss of Timmy Jernigan at tackle. Behind them, though, there are questions about depth in the rotation, especially with Chris Casher playing the hybrid DE/LB role vacated by Christian Jones.

On Saturday, redshirt freshman Ro'Derrick Hoskins—himself a converted linebacker—silenced some of those questions and had the best game of anyone on the roster. He finished with two sacks and took an interception off Sean McGuire back 63 yards for a touchdown, sticking out as a breakout star to both Noles247.com and broadcaster Gene Deckerhoff:

Barring injury, Hoskins will almost definitely not start a game next season. Edwards and Goldman have those jobs locked up.

However, if he continues to come on as he did Saturday, Hoskins can earn a progressively bigger role behind that starting duo. If he does, it would benefit not just himself (by virtue of real-time reps) but the team, which would not, as predicted, be relying too heavily on the contributions of its first-team defensive ends.

This could be a nice development for FSU's defense.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

5-Star DE Jashon Cornell Sets His College Decision Date

Jashon Cornell plans to kick off his senior year with a commitment.

The menacing defensive end from Minnesota will unveil his collegiate intentions Aug. 28, the first day of school at Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, per 247Sports reporter Steve Wiltfong. Cornell is currently considering dozens of scholarship offers from across the country.

He is rated the nation's No. 3 weak-side defensive end in 247Sports' composite rankings. Cornell comes in at No. 30 among all 2015 prospects, earning his status as a 5-star recruit.

The 6'4", 270-pound playmaker punished opponents throughout his junior season. He secured 70 tackles and 15 sacks in 10 contests, commanding double-team blocking assignments throughout the fall.

Cornell collected 20 tackles for loss and also scored on a fumble recovery return during a dominant campaign.

With his announcement date four months away, coaches still have a significant span to promote their respective programs to the pass-rusher. The goal for many teams is to line up a campus visit with him during the summer.

Cornell has been a frequent traveler this year, with trips to Notre Dame, Northwestern, Mississippi State, Minnesota and Iowa. Plenty of squads are attempting to keep him in Big Ten Conference territory. Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State are among those in the mix. Stanford, Texas and USC present options elsewhere if he elects to leave the region.

Wiltfong reports Cornell will spend time visiting schools along the West Coast "soon."

In 247Sports' Crystal Ball projection, 79 percent of experts predict he'll end up at Notre Dame. Michigan follows behind with 14 percent of total prognostications.

The race for Cornell's commitment has been underway for a while. With an ending in sight, expect his recruitment to heat up in a hurry.

 

*Recruit information and statistics courtesy of 247Sports, unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Report States Market Value for College Football Player Is $178,000 Per Year

A March 2014 study conducted by Drexel University and the National College Players Association has found that the annual fair market value of an average college football player between 2011 and 2015 is $178,000, per Mark Coba of NBC News:

The March survey, from the National College Players Association and Drexel University, said that the projected fair market value of the average college football player is $178,000 per year from 2011 to 2015, while the projected market value for the average college basketball player for the same time is $375,000.

The report also said that football players with the top 10 highest estimated fair market values, like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, might be worth as much as $547,000, during the year 2011 to 2012.

The NCPA was founded by Ramogi Huma, who joined forces with Kain Colter to form the College Athletes Players Association earlier this year and recently won a huge victory when the National Labor Relations Board deemed Northwestern football players were employees of—not just students at—the university, according to ESPN.com.

However, it is important to note that pay-for-play is not one of CAPA's primary, explicit goals. The organization argued in January for "cost of attendance" stipends and the right to "be compensated for commercial sponsorships consistent with evolving NCAA regulations," per Teddy Grenstein of the Chicago Tribune.

"A lot of people will think this is all about money; it’s not,” Colter said at the time. "We’re asking for a seat at the table to get our voice heard."

These newly published numbers are staggering, however, and given Huga's connection to both the NCPA and CAPA, it is reasonable to think they might be used in pro-compensation arguments in the near future.

Here are some other important findings from the report, published on the NCPA's official website:

  • The average full athletic scholarship at an FBS school left “full” players with a scholarship shortfall (out-of-pocket expenses) of $3285 during the 2011-12 school year.
  • FBS football and men’s basketball players would receive full athletic scholarships plus an additional $6 billion between 2011-15 if not for the NCAA’s prohibition of a fair market.
  • The lost value over a four-year career for the average FBS football and men’s basketball player is $456,612 and $1,063,307, respectively.
  • The lost value over a four-year career for the average football and men’s basketball player in the six BCS conferences is $715,000 and $1.5 million, respectively.
  • University of Texas football players will be denied approximately $2.2 million, incur scholarship shortfalls of over $14,000, and live below the federal poverty line by $784 per year between 2011-15.

Like so many developments since the formation of CAPA in late-January, it remains to be seen how, exactly, these numbers will be used. The association is still in its early phases, teaching itself how it will operate and whom it will preside over.

Still, it seems like the days of unpaid college athletes are just about numbered. The earning potential is too big to ignore.

"The bidding war for athletes would likely be in the millions," said Ellen Staurowsky, a professor of sports management at Drexel University and co-author of the report, according to Coba's story.

For how long can we not address those numbers?

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

SEC Football: 4 Teams Having the Best Spring Camp

As players jockey for starting positions and coaches experiment with new schemes and formations, teams across the Southeastern Conference are building toward the 2014 football season. The losses on both sides of the football, but particularly on offense, are acute, and the need to rebuild is significant.

Through key injuries or emerging players, new schemes and coordinators, spring camps have a massive impact on the performance of teams during the regular season. This year's sheer amount of questions that teams have to answer makes that even more true in 2014.

Several teams have either answered those questions outstandingly, have had leaders emerge or simply are fulfilling expectations, and those great spring performances follow.

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No News Is Good News for Your College Football Team This Offseason

Boredom is not sexy. It does not sell. It does not entertain the masses. But when it comes to the college football offseason, boredom—or perhaps silence is the more appropriate term—is everything you should hope for.

As soon as the last light goes out on national signing day, and your head coach ties one final bow on his annual WWE-ish “look at how good we are!” speech, you don’t want hear from him until fall.

The occasional spring football headline is unavoidable. Maybe it’s a video game stat sheet from a quarterback in a scrimmage against tackling dummies or a slight hamstring tweak that will have no impact on the actual season.

And then, of course, there’s the annual "Gathering of the Quotes," better known as conference media days. Sometime in summer you will hear how strong the team got (again), how [insert young hopeful quarterback here] got better and how a coach, shockingly, really likes his team.

But that’s it. Anything else on the headline front will likely spell trouble. Outside of a few faint (and mostly unnecessary) news items here and there, you should not crave storylines until September.

If there’s any other noise—outside of the release of a new uniform you will likely despise—it likely won’t be greeted with applause. While that might seem pessimistic, it’s simply stating the obvious: Football is still remarkably dangerous—even in its condensed, slowed, spring form—and young people often make spectacularly dumb mistakes during some of the most volatile years of their lives.

As is the case with most breaks between seasons, we were recently reminded just how valuable a headline-less offseason can be in one week alone.

Arguably the most physically gifted player in all of college football—and some would argue the best returning wide receiver in the country—Dorial Green-Beckham was booted from the Missouri Tigers after his latest legal run-in.

After being suspended indefinitely following an incident at a Columbia apartment—one that came with no official charges but featured some rather terrifying details—Missouri announced it had dismissed him from the program.

Head coach Gary Pinkel addressed the following in a release sent out by the school (h/t ESPN):

"This decision was made with the best interests of all involved in mind," Pinkel said in a statement. "Dorial's priority going forward needs to be focusing on getting the help he needs. As we have all along, we will continue to do everything we can to assist Dorial and his family. We care deeply about Dorial and his well-being, but hopefully he can benefit from a fresh start."

Green-Beckham had been involved in two other offseason issues prior to his latest, both involving marijuana. The latest came in January of this past year, which likely forced the Tigers into making a swift decision.

Unfortunately, such shocking offseason developments really aren’t all that shocking. While the particular details surrounding Green-Beckham’s situation are difficult to read and should by no means serve as a representation of the sport, the terms “suspended” and “dismissed” have become exhausted offseason terms.

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson served as last year’s high-profile departure. Golson was suspended for what he later referred to as “poor judgment on a test.” After missing the 2013 season, Golson is back in South Bend and just threw for 154 yards in Notre Dame’s spring game.

The two situations are obviously vastly different, but they also highlight the wide variety of trouble that young people can find themselves in, especially on a college campus.

You were in college once, and you know the stupidity that can easily (or perhaps did easily) fall into your lap. When 18- to 22-year-olds get free time on a campus that is built around nightlife, things happen. It can be much more than that—as it was with Green-Beckham and has been with so many others—but it’s a starting point.

This, unfortunately, is where most offseason headlines start and end.

If it’s not an arrest, suspension or violation of team rules—which is a really polite way of saying “failed drug test” 99 percent of the time—then it’s likely a serious injury that has your team in the news.

At about the same time it was learned Green-Beckham would not playing for Missouri in 2014, Texas announced that its likely starting quarterback, David Ash, would miss the rest of the spring due to a broken bone in his left foot.

Via the Associated Press:

The school said Friday that the senior fractured a bone in his left foot during spring practice and will undergo surgery next week. Head football trainer Anthony Pass says that will put Ash out of action for the rest of the spring workout season, but he is expected to return to action in time for preseason camp.

Ash, who missed most of last season due to concussion-related symptoms, has been unable to realize his wealth of potential at the position. Although early returns seem promising for his availability for fall camp, this latest news is without question another roadblock in his development.

There’s a clear-cut difference between injury and misbehavior, one that is so blatantly obvious it requires no further disclaimer. In the case of your team, however, this is what the offseason has become: a buffet of mainly negative storylines that can be increasingly difficult to stomach.

The only hope is that you won't have to stomach it.

Now that realignment has been put in the rearview—and thank goodness for that—the spotlight often shifts to the negative in the sport. It’s unavoidable, alarmingly consistent and rarely absent for too long. The news that often comes from this time period can mean nothing but bad things.

There’s no possible way to predict bad decisions or unfortunate noncontact knee injuries. All you can do is hope that your team is content with an offseason slumber.

While quiet won't make the months without football pass any more quickly, the likely alternative won’t be good for business. Silence is golden.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Expect Georgia to Play More Hurry-Up Offense with QB Hutson Mason

Georgia's offense is loaded with weapons in 2014, with running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, and wide receivers Michael Bennett, Chris Conley, Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley all slated to return this fall.

The one new piece of the puzzle, redshirt senior quarterback Hutson Mason, looked like he could be more of a difference-maker than caretaker during Saturday's spring game in Athens.

Mason looked sharp in his first and only spring game as the starting quarterback in Athens, completing 18 of 27 passes for 241 yards and one touchdown.

He was accurate with the deep ball, seemed to have the back-shoulder fade mastered and hit his timing routes on time and on target for the majority of the afternoon, reassuring Georgia's coaches, players and fans that the void left by legendary quarterback Aaron Murray won't be difficult to fill.

But the offense did look a bit different on Saturday, specifically due to the faster pace of play displayed by the first-team offense. Head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo have always had no-huddle elements in their game plans, but the Bulldogs routinely hurried up to the line during the spring game, giving a bit of a glimpse into the future of the offense.

It wasn't an accident.

"The tempo of the offense was outstanding," Richt said. "I think Hutson really enjoys tempo and a faster pace. He handles that very well."

Mason wasn't as committal on his preference as his head coach was, but he is comfortable enough with the increased emphasis on tempo and its benefits.

"I like it, but I think there are some pros and cons to it," he said. "It's hard to realize what the defense is doing when you go fast because you don't really see if they're blitzing because they don't really get lined up. But, over an amount of time, a defense has to cover a lot and run sideline-to-sideline. If we're in good enough shape, it can really wear down a defense."

Mason felt that the tempo wore down some of his teammates on the unusually hot April day.

"It was hotter out than we thought, so running no-huddle with receivers was tough," he said in postgame quotes released by Georgia. "The guys got gassed but it was good to see them push through it. I still feel like we left some deep balls out there."

Through only 15 practices with the first-team offense, consider the tempo aspect of Georgia's offense a work in progress. The receivers first had to get further acclimated to Mason just as the quarterback, after the 6'3", 202-pounder from Marietta, Ga. got two-and-a-half games as the No. 1 quarterback to close out last season after Murray's ACL injury.

The tempo aspect is part of the fine-tuning phase of the installation, which won't come until later this summer—when Mitchell (ACL, leg) and Scott-Wesley (ACL) should come back from their injuries. If spring was any indication, an increased attention to a faster pace will be a big part of Georgia's game plan in 2014.

If Georgia can mix in tempo into a game plan that should feature the punishing running style of Gurley, the versatility of Marshall and the deep and talented receiving corps, it will be tough to stop.

Will the Bulldogs go as fast as other SEC tempo teams like Auburn, Texas A&M and Ole Miss? No. The coaching staff will likely pick and choose its spots, but expect those spots to be more frequent in 2014.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and spring game information were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. 


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Breiden Fehoko Commits to Texas Tech: Red Raiders Land Versatile 4-Star Defender

Texas Tech emerged from a crowded field of contenders to claim a commitment from Breiden Fehoko on Monday. The 4-star defensive tackle from Hawaii announced his decision on Twitter:

Fehoko is the first defensive lineman to join the 2015 Red Raiders recruiting class, which now features six players. His decision follows a Sunday pledge from 3-star Texas linebacker D'Vonta Hinton.

The 6'3", 290-pound prospect hails from Farrington High School in Honolulu. The school has produced several collegiate linemen in the past, including eventual NFL draft picks Vince Manuwai (Jacksonville Jaguars), Mario Fatafehi (Arizona Cardinals) and Jesse Sapolu (San Francisco 49ers).

Fehoko fielded offers from several schools, including many from beyond the West Coast. Alabama, Clemson and Ole Miss extended scholarships, while Pac-12 possibilities include Oregon State, California and Arizona State.

He ultimately settled on Texas Tech, providing a big boost to head coach Kliff Kingsbury's recruiting efforts. The Red Raiders reel in an explosive defender who can line up anywhere along the interior and sustain effectiveness.

Fehoko was an absolute force during his junior season at Farrington. He recorded 103 tackles, including 20 for loss, and 24.5 sacks.

His ability to create turnover opportunities was staggering last fall. Fehoko forced 12 fumbles while obliterating plays in the backfield.

He is the country's No. 9 defensive tackle recruit and No. 61 overall prospect in 247Sports' composite ranking.

Texas Tech now holds commitments from three players who rank among the top 10 at their respective position in the 2015 class. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham is the nation's No. 2 dual-threat passer, while offensive lineman Lio Lafaele is rated eighth nationally among junior college tackles.

The Red Raiders rate 22nd nationally and sixth among Big 12 Conference members in 247Sports' composite team rankings. Fehoko ensures the defensive front will feature a ferocious element for years to come.

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Miami Linebacker Denzel Perryman Lays Huge Hit During Spring Game

Denzel Perryman's hit on running back Gus Edwards fired up his Miami teammates, and it's easy to see why.

The 6'1", 240-pound linebacker smashed Edwards to the ground during the Hurricanes spring game.

Of course, the Miami coaches would probably prefer their players to not lay out their teammates like that during spring ball.

One thing is certain after seeing this hit: Perryman now has bragging rights over Edwards in the locker room.

[ACC Digital Network, h/t Next Impulse Sports]

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Notre Dame Football: Top Performers from the Irish's Spring Game

The dust has settled inside Notre Dame Stadium. Or perhaps that was mostly dirt, with the natural grass surface getting one last run before it's ripped out and replaced by a synthetic surface after graduation in May. 

Either way, with the 85th Blue-Gold game complete and spring practice in the books, there's plenty to take away from the offense's 63-58 victory over the defense. Let's take a look at some of the top performers from Saturday's scrimmage. 

 

Malik Zaire

The story of Saturday's game was definitely the Irish's backup quarterback, Malik Zaire. The rising sophomore started the game at quarterback for the Blue, then marched the offense down the field for an impressive touchdown drive, which included two big chunk pass plays, delivering strikes to C.J. Prosise and Will Fuller before Cam McDaniel punched in the touchdown. 

Zaire hit big passes to Chris Brown and Prosise his next time out, the highlights of his 18-of-27 performance that tallied 292 yards and two touchdowns. While he wasn't perfect—Brian Kelly would've liked Zaire to do a better job running the two-minute drill before half—it was a great sign that the quarterback position is as healthy as it's been under Kelly. 

 

Greg Bryant

Greg Bryant's 51-yard run was the biggest play of the day, and the rising sophomore more than doubled every other back's output on the afternoon. One of the most highly anticipated freshman in 2013, Bryant's spring game performance was a breakout Irish fans have waited for since last August. 

Again, Bryant wasn't perfect. His big run erased some ineffective carries. But after home run threat George Atkinson departed early for the NFL draft, watching Bryant get his afternoon kickstarted by running the delayed counter handoff that Atkinson ran so effectively was fitting. 

 

Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith spent most of the afternoon watching the game from the sideline. But the fact that the Irish's best defensive playmaker still managed to make six tackles gives you an idea that the soon-to-be sophomore is going to make a ridiculous amount of plays in Brian VanGorder's new system. 

Smith's cameo featured him at both his traditional position outside as well as manning the Will linebacker position. Kelly talked after the game about Smith's versatility growing this spring. 

"He has an understanding of how to play this defense both inside‑out and outside‑in and that he had no knowledge of going into the spring," Kelly said. "That's a smart football player, and a guy that now is an asset to our defense in a manner that he never was before."

If he can stay healthy, you might as well chalk Smith up with 110 tackles next season.  

 

Romeo Okwara

Spring game sacks are hardly real sacks. But the fact that Romeo Okwara tallied them has to at least be a relief to the Irish coaching staff. Playing defensive end this spring for the first time, Okwara looked explosive off the edge on Saturday, tallying three sacks and sharing a tackle for loss as well. 

As important as the spring was for Okwara, the next four months are essential. Okwara will need to continue to develop his body and his skill set for the position, which is the type of training that'll let him be an every-down player, if only out of necessity. 

The raw materials are there for Okwara to be a very productive college football player. But he's starting from scratch at defensive end and has a long way to go. 

 

Tarean Folston

If Bryant flashed the most promise, Tarean Folston already looks like a savvy veteran at running back. The sophomore may have only gotten his first touches late last season, but his knowledge of the game and vision on the field is obvious. 

Folston averaged 5.4 yards per carry on his seven totes but was explosive in the passing game where his five first-half catches showcased a running back position that'll play more of a role in the aerial attack. 

For as impressive as Bryant was, Folston is too good of a weapon not to be featured in this offense. How carries will be distributed is one of the offseason's big questions. 

 

Chris Brown

The junior receiver provided a strong finish to spring practice by notching a 100-yard game. With DaVaris Daniels gone for the semester, this was Chris Brown's position group to lead. As the veteran of the group, he did that this spring and was praised by the coaching staff for his work. 

The timing was perfect for Brown, who was in a sink-or-swim predicament. Surrounded by perhaps one of the most talented receiving corps Notre Dame has put together, Brown needed a strong spring or would face getting lapped by young receivers.

The South Carolina native has all the ingredients needed to be a very good player. Saturday's performance showed him getting closer to putting it all together. 

 

Everett Golson

No, his numbers didn't match up with Zaire's. But Everett Golson, playing in his first game-like situation since the BCS title game against Alabama, shook off any signs of rust rather early. Playing against a ramped up defense, Golson got the Irish into the correct looks and made the type of good decisions Notre Dame needs from its quarterback. 

Golson's athleticism was apparent, especially in a few scramble situations. His arm strength was still clearly there, as we saw on a perfect deep ball to Corey Robinson. And while Zaire made his intentions well known, this is still Golson's offense. 

 

*Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.  

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