NCAA Football News

Celebrities Celebrate College Football with Color Day

There is no shortage of celebrity sports fans nowadays, especially at the collegiate level, where alums and superfans regularly show their support for one team or another by donning that school's colors.

This trend reached a fevered pitched on Sept. 4, when "College Colors Day" turned Twitter and other social media platforms into a giant pep rally in anticipation of the start of the 2015 college football season.

Here's a look back at some of the more notable celebrities and star athletes who opted for scholarly apparel over runway couture:


Bear Out of Water

Missy Franklin, an Olympic swimmer who won five medals (including four golds) at the 2012 London Olympic Games, showed off her allegiance to California—where she swam from 2013-15.


Rooting For the Home Team

Actor Joel McHale has starred on Community, a TV show about a community college, for the past six years. The Greendale Human Beings didn't have a football team, though, so Seattle native McHale opted to rep Washington, where he graduated from in 1995 with a history degree.


He Was. Penn State

Former Penn State and NFL defensive tackle Anthony Adams hasn't wavered in his allegiance to the Nittany Lions, where he played from 1999-2002. He then spent four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and another five with the Chicago Bears, retiring after the 2011 season.



A Hokie at Heart

Though he's about to embark on his 23rd year coaching in the NFL and third season in charge of the Arizona Cardinals, Bruce Arians is still a college fan at heart. He's a Virginia Tech graduate, a former quarterback who ran the wishbone offense in Blacksburg before starting his coaching career there as a graduate assistant.


Doubling Up on the Fandom

Before becoming one of the most famous talk show hosts in the world, Jerry Springer was a lawyer and a politician. He got his political science degree from Tulane and a law degree from Northwestern. 


Always a Hog

Country signer Justin Moore grew up in Arkansas and remains a diehard Razorbacks fan. The 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards winner for New Artist of the Year even rocks the school colors at his concerts.


Proud to Be a Nerd

Michelle Wie has been a professional golfer since 2005, when she was 15 years old, and last year won the U.S. Women's Open. Though she wasn't able to play for Stanford's women's golf team while attending the school from 2007-12, she remains an avid Cardinal supporter.


Clean and Green

Steve Garvey had more than 2,500 hits in 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, splitting his time between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. But the man known as "Mr. Clean" was a two-sport star all the way through college, earning a varsity letter for playing defensive back for the Michigan State Spartans in 1967.


Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

Read more College Football news on

Lloyd Terry Arrested: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Rutgers sophomore fullback Lloyd Terry was arrested and faces charges for armed robbery, armed burglary and conspiracy to commit armed robbery after he allegedly participated in a home invasion, per Anthony G. Attrino of NJ Advance Media.

Terry, along with two others, is believed to have stolen marijuana and cash at gunpoint from five fellow students. The incident occurred in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on April 26.

As a result of the arrest, Rutgers has dismissed Terry from the team.'s Jon Solomon alluded to the off-field issues plaguing the Scarlet Knights program at the moment:      

Terry is the sixth player kicked off the football team in less than a week. Last Saturday, Rutgers dismissed Dre Boggs, Razohnn Gross, Delon Stephenson, Nadir Barnwell and Ruhann Peele. Prosecutors charged Boggs for two separate home invasions, while Gross, Stephenson, Barnwell and Peele were all charged after an alleged assault.

Before that, Scarlet Knights head coach Kyle Flood became the key figure in an internal investigation after he was alleged to have used his personal email to contact one of Barnwell's professors, which could constitute impermissible contact, an NCAA infraction.

Terry remains in custody at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick.

Read more College Football news on

Nick Saban Releasing His Own Luxury Line of Mercedes-Benz Vans

Nick Saban is in deep with Mercedes-Benz.

The German auto company is a long-term investment of his, essentially.

He co-owns a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Birmingham, Alabama, and long after he walks away from the game of football, that thing will continue to rake in money from Alabama fans with the means and those who sold their house to buy a car tangentially connected to the coach.

And wouldn't you know it? Just in time for the college football season, Mercedes-Benz is putting out a limited-edition Nick Saban luxury van souped up with tailgate-optimized features.

As's Dawn Kent Azok reports, for the unbeatable price of $200,000, you can be the proud owner of one of the 15 Nick Saban Signature Series Mercedes Sprinters that will be made this year.

The nine-passenger van has everything you do and do not need for tailgating: 

  • Three TVs
  • Leather massage chairs with heat and cooling features
  • Hardwood flooring
  • "High-tech audio"
  • DirecTV satellite system
  • Cooler
  • Phone
  • Custom accents and stitching featuring Nick Saban's signature
  • Cotton candy machine (I wish)

Saban didn't design the van himself, but he reportedly had a hand in design decisions that were made along the way. According to Kent Azok, at an unveiling event at his dealership Wednesday, Saban told guests he thinks it's a really great van:

"There's a standard that we want to do things to," Saban said. "After looking at what they produced, I'm extremely pleased and proud and happy."

That's because designing Nick Saban's van wasn't about breaking records. It was about the process.

Dan is on Twitter. He can't wait for Chrysler to release the Lane Kiffin LeBaron.

Read more College Football news on

It's No Secret, Running Backs Coach Burton Burns a Key to Alabama's Success

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It was a Thanksgiving meal that can’t be beat, but it was also the moment that University of Alabama Crimson Tide running back Kenyan Drake saw his position coach in a new light.

With the Iron Bowl always played two days after the holiday, Alabama’s tradition is make sure that every player has a place to relax and feast. Nick Saban and his wife Terry always host a large group (“catered,” he’s admitted), but Burton Burns and his wife Connie have been known to put on the quite the spread.

“Oh yeah,” Drake said. 

“He’s a rough-and-tough dude on the field, but off the field, I don’t know if he’d want me to say this, he’s a nice guy. He has a soft side.”

Actually, that secret has long been out about Burns, who when away from the Crimson Tide’s football complex has a contagious smile and proudly claims his Bayou heritage. Football may be what he does with his life, but Louisiana, from its outstanding cuisine to its rich flavorful influences, is the essence of it.

Although Alabama’s season-opening 35-17 victory against the No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers last Saturday was impressive on many levels, with the defense yielding just 40 rushing yards and quarterback Jake Coker making a successful first start, what stood out the most was the impressive running game.

Derrick Henry, who now looks like a complete running back, had 147 rushing yards on just 13 carries and three touchdowns to win numerous player of the week awards, including from the Alabama coaches, Southeastern Conference, Football Writers Association of America and Maxwell Award.

Additionally, in his first game back from a broken leg, Drake made a highlight-reel spin move en route to scoring a 43-yard touchdown, and the two running backs combined for 312 all-purpose yards.

While a lot of the postgame praise went to them and their blockers, it obviously reflected well on Burns, whose success stories are now becoming too long to list. They include Jerald Sowell at Tulane and James Davis and C.J. Spiller at Clemson, and even in Burns' first year at Alabama, tailback Terry Grant set school records for rushing yards (891) and touchdowns (8) by a freshman.

Since then the Crimson Tide’s boasted Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, T.J Yeldon and now Henry and Drake, yet Burns hasn’t gotten anywhere near the credit he deserves.

“He’s helped me a lot since my freshman year,” Henry said.

“Coach Burns does a really, really good job with our players,” said Saban, who doesn't let his assistant coaches talk to reporters except at bowl games. “I think they respond well to him, and he’s got a great personality. He’s well-liked on the staff, he’s well-liked in recruiting by a lot of people.”

That’s where the Louisiana part comes in. Hailing from a football family, Burns’ father was a coach at the junior high and high school level in New Orleans, and his brother Ronnie was just the Sugar Bowl’s second black president in the organization’s history, the first being their uncle Leonard (1994).

After his collegiate career as a Nebraska Cornhuskers fullback came to a close, Burns’ coaching career began in 1977 as an assistant coach for his alma mater, St. Augustine High School. He led Booker T. Washington, to which his father’s junior high program used to feed talent, to its 1980 district title and returned to do the same for St. Augustine in 1987, 1992 and 1993. 

Among the future NFL players he coached were Louis Age, Tyrone Hughes, Sean Jackson and David White.

From there worked at Southern (1981-85) and Tulane (1994-99), before following Tommy Bowden to Clemson, which was the farthest away he had worked from his family, which includes a sister and three brothers.

“There’s nothing that we don’t do that we don’t consult each other,” Burns said in 2008 before Alabama played in the 75th Sugar Bowl. “I think that started with my dad and uncle Lenny. That’s the way the family was. If you needed some support, or you had a problem, we had something good happen, the first thought in one of our minds was to talk to one of our family members."

“We kind of grew up together.”

Knowing just how tough it would be to knock down some of the recruiting walls he had helped establish for the LSU Tigers, Saban targeted Burns for his coaching staff when he took over the Crimson Tide in January 2007. He had tried to hire him before, but this time the timing was right.

One of the first calls Burns made was to Ronnie, who echoed his thoughts that it was a good opportunity with the added advantage of being closer to home, his roots and his family. New Orleans was only a four-to-five-hour drive from Tuscaloosa, whereas Clemson, South Carolina, was at least nine hours, even if the traffic around Atlanta cooperated.

It also brought him closer to those who influenced him the most while growing up and people who had known his father.

“Even when he was coaching junior high and high school, he would always bring us out there, we were the water boys and all that kind of stuff,” Burns said. “But what really got my attention when I started getting into coaching was that my dad must have been good with those players because 10 years later, 15 years later, guys were still ringing his doorbell to talk to him and get some advice from him. That made a big impression on me as far as what kind of relationship I wanted to have with my players.”

It took a little while, but Alabama established more than a recruiting foothold in the talent-rich state. Landing players like Lacy and safety Landon Collins didn’t just pay off immediately but had a long-term impact as well.

Alabama’s active roster now includes Louisiana products Daylon Charlot, Raheem Falkins, Denzel Devall, Hootie Jones, Cam Sims, O.J. Smith, Tim Williams, Bradley Sylve and, of course, Cam Robinson—all plucked from LSU’s backyard.

The Crimson Tide might have missed out on running back Leonard Fournette, but when he wanted to “do something different” by staying close to home, it spoke volumes about Alabama’s success there.

Burns has also had a hand in landing Texas prospects like Tony Brown and Deionte Thompson and running backs like Henry, Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris.

“Guys carrying the ball have something to do with it too,” Saban said about Alabama’s success at running back, which can’t be denied.

But Burns is the only running back coach in the nation to have a Heisman Trophy winner during this past decade, he helped Alabama win its first Doak Walker Award for best running back and at least three of his former running backs are expected to start in the NFL this weekend (Ingram, Lacy and Yeldon).

“If you recruit good players, it’s the same effect with coaches,” Burns said before Alabama beat LSU at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to win the 2011 national title. “You have to have the right personalities, you have to have a blend of players, you have to have a blend of personalities with coaches. (Saban) does a great job and has a good sense of what it takes to be successful.”

He’s obviously not the only one.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.




Read more College Football news on

Notre Dame Would Explore New Football Conference If Schools Pay Players

Notre Dame has immense pull and power in the college football world. In the event that the NCAA decides to pay players, the Fighting Irish would disavow the policy and start their own league with other teams who don't want to transform student-athletes into semiprofessionals.

University president Rev. John I. Jenkins spoke at length about the potential drastic shift in the NCAA football landscape and how Notre Dame would react to such a situation, per the New York Times' Dan Barry:

Our relationship to these young people is to educate them, to help them grow. ... Not to be their agent for financial gain. [...] Perhaps institutions will make decisions about where they want to go — a semipro model or a different, more educational model — and I welcome that. ... I wouldn't consider that a bad outcome, and I think there would be schools that would do that.

Father Jenkins advocates for increased scholarship funds and supports the "full cost of attendance" policy being pushed in the Power Five conferences. The current lawsuit against the NCAA, filed by renowned lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, could bring about the pay-for-play paradigm in open-market fashion, at which point Father Jenkins said the Irish would no longer partake in major college football.    

Although he is a football fan, Father Jenkins prioritizes academics above all else in South Bend, Indiana, and doesn't believe the university would flounder without its gridiron presence:

If tomorrow you told me, you just can't do what you want to do in athletics and you're going to have to shut it down, and we would have club sports, something like that — I don't think it would significantly impact the revenue. [...] Would someone who was going to give a gift to Notre Dame for a chair in philosophy or physics not give it if we did without football? ... I don't think so.

Father Jenkins explained how he can envision an athletic association separate from the NCAA and how he feels the Irish wouldn't be in financial trouble as a result. The testimony may be truthful to a degree, but it's not as though the revenue Irish football brings in as part of the NCAA is a small sum.

Forbes' Chris Smith reported that Notre Dame was the second most valuable team in NCAA football last season, raking in a revenue of $122 million—a value only topped by the University of Texas. The Irish crushed the Longhorns 38-3 in the season opener this past Saturday.

Notre Dame boasts a proud football tradition that is already deeply rooted in the past. After all, the school is now addressing stadium renovations that have been in demand for years, so to take on the modern concept of paying players may be against type.

Barry alluded to how the Alabama-Birmingham program shut down, only to be reinstated amid protests. The outcry if the Irish left the NCAA would be far more intense, and it will be worth monitoring how Father Jenkins feels as the potential landmark Kessler lawsuit plays out.

Influential as Notre Dame may be, turning its back on the NCAA in the event of players being paid is a bold tactic that could easily backfire. If other marquee programs don't follow suit, the Irish will likely face watered-down competition and be even more of an independent outlier than they already are.

Read more College Football news on

Will Grier Named Florida's Starting QB over Treon Harris vs. East Carolina

Treon Harris' reign as Florida's starting quarterback is over after one game. The team announced Will Grier will get the nod for Saturday's game against East Carolina on Thursday.  

Grier, a redshirt freshman, will be making his first career start. He completed 15 of 17 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the Gators' season-opening win over New Mexico State. Despite losing the preseason battle to Harris, Grier wound up playing a majority of the second and third quarters in the 61-13 blowout.

Harris wasn't too shabby himself, throwing for 215 yards and two scores on 14-of-19 passing. The dual threat also added 23 yards on the ground. It's expected both quarterbacks will continue to split time Saturday against an East Carolina team that barely got past Towson one week ago. 

"They were OK in the last game," Florida head coach Jim McElwain said of his quarterbacks, per  of the Orlando Sentinel. "They weren't great. It wasn't earth-shattering by any stretch of the imagination. They've got to get a better. I look for them to hopefully take another step this week."

Unless he plans to carry this two-quarterback system into the teeth of the SEC schedule—a risky proposition—McElwain will need to make a more permanent decision fast. The Gators make their intraconference debut Sept. 19 at Kentucky, a winnable game that is nonetheless not the gimme it's been in recent years. With ranked foes following each of the next five games post-Kentucky, flip-flopping between signal-callers is probably an ill-advised move.

After losing out in camp, Grier now has the chance to seize the job. It'll be interesting to see if he can or whether it'll be back to the drawing board for McElwain heading into Lexington.


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on

How Butch Jones Rebuilt the Tennessee Football Program

"We were sick. We were ill."

Butch Jones understands that he took over a beleaguered program when he replaced Derek Dooley prior to the 2013 season.

The Vols—once perennial contenders for the SEC East title—hadn't been to a bowl game since 2010 and hadn't been to the SEC Championship Game since losing to LSU in Atlanta in 2007.

Things have changed a bit.

No. 23 Tennessee will host 19th-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday night in Neyland Stadium in one of the biggest early-season battles of the season. It's also the biggest game of third-year head coach Butch Jones' career on Rocky Top and the biggest game for the Tennessee program since that loss to LSU.

How did Jones build the program back to a point where it's playing meaningful games on the national stage again?


Brick by Brick

You've heard the Tennessee recruiting philosophy of building the program "brick by brick" by now, but what does it mean? Where does it come from?

"I was looking out my window my first year and watched people outside lay the bricks of the walkway," Jones told Bleacher Report. "Every great structure or organization has a foundation, and people are the foundation. I was watching them lay the bricks, and the diligence that it took to lay the bricks and, if one brick was out of place or missing, they weren't going to have a solid foundation and it wouldn't look right."

That foundation has been laid through the efforts of Jones and his staff to not only recruit players who want to be part of that process early on, but by making sure veterans buy into the process and are on board with a slow climb rather than a gigantic leap.

"I'll forever be indebted to 'Team 117' and 'Team 118,'" Jones said of his first two teams on Rocky Top. "I thought they laid that foundation. It's that affinity for what you represent on a daily basis."

It has worked.

Tennessee has reeled in top-10 classes in each of the last two seasons, including the fourth-best class of the most recent cycle that included 16 4-plus-star recruits.

"Construction is never complete," Jones said.

He's right.

The focus on consistently building this program from the ground up is constantly evolving and resonates with players in the upcoming recruiting class as well.

"The brick-by-brick thing, he says that it's hard to break a foundation—especially one that's made out of bricks," said Mecole Hardman, an uncommitted 5-star athlete in the Class of 2016 who's considering Tennessee among other SEC powers. "He's been trying to build Tennessee back to where it was, and recruits have definitely started paying attention to it."


Power of Position

"We talk in our football program about power of position and being nine strong," Jones said. "We want to be nine-position-groups strong. We want to be in a position with our football program where we are 9-for-9 and have the competitive depth across the board."

That's easier said than done.

It's no secret that Jones inherited a mess from Dooley, particularly in the trenches.

Dooley's last class on Rocky Top didn't contain a single offensive lineman, and Jones was only able to sign three in his first recruiting class, which signed on the dotted line just two months after Jones got the job.

Fixing the offensive line and solidifying the defensive line were his priories from the get-go.

"Those are developmental positions," Jones said. "Those are positions that take years to develop, from a mentality and mindset to the strength and conditioning area. When you look at playing in the SEC, it's a line-of-scrimmage league."

It's a developmental position, and now Jones is in the portion of the construction process where his primary focus is reinforcing that foundation with the quality depth he needs to compete in the SEC.

The Vols reeled in 5-star defensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie, 4-star defensive lineman Shy Tuttle as well as 4-star offensive linemen Drew Richmond and Jack Jones in the most recent class.

Tuttle and McKenzie are expected to be big parts of the defensive puzzle this year—especially with tackle Danny O'Brien suspended indefinitely. Jones was pressed into action early due to the injury to guard Marcus Jackson and has impressed his head coach this year.

"I love Jack Jones," Butch Jones said on the SEC coaches teleconference on Wednesday. "He's a great young man with great competitive character, and it's really important to him. He was set back in training camp while challenging for a starting position, and I can see the progress he's made each and every day."

The Vols had to replace their entire offensive and defensive lines prior to the 2014 season, and only now has the line of scrimmage reached a point where the program should be contending for division titles.


Player's Coach

Jones isn't just the coach to his players. He's a friend, mentor and leader.

A recruiting visit with Jones isn't the standard tour and typical sales pitch that prospects find at most schools. Players get to know the staff on a personal level.

"He's a player's coach. There aren't too many player's coaches out there," Hardman said. "He connects to players really well. You can ask him about anything. He's always writing stuff down and interacting with me. He's just real and can relate to us. That's what's different about him."

Specifically, Jones can become one of the boys when he needs to be.

"He's just like one of your boys who you can chill with," Hardman said. "When you go up there—say you want to shoot basketball—he'll go shoot with you. He can be serious and funny all together."

A welcoming atmosphere is a direct 180 from what went on under the old regime, according to former Vol Troy Fleming (via Stephen Hargis of the Chattanooga Times Free Press).

"With Coach Jones, when you walk into the facility now it's like you never left," Fleming said. "The guys who have worked around the program for years are at ease now, which tells you things are good again. The biggest thing about Coach Jones is he actually does his job. Unlike that guy we call 'Derek Doolittle,' who really did very little."


Culture Change

"We have individuals who love the 'power of the T,' not just the 'power T' itself."

Jones inherited a program that was in shambles.

In addition to the personnel issues, reported that Tennessee had a four-year academic progress rate (APR) of 924 in 2012-2013. That's just 24 points above a threshold that would have rendered them ineligible for a bowl game in Jones' first season and six points below where the threshold adjusted to the following season.

Things have changed.

The Vols had a 945 four-year APR in 2013-2014, according to, and the program's overall grade point average (GPA) has improved tremendously.

"When we came here, I believe that we had 12 individuals with a 3.0 GPA or above," Jones said. "Now, this past semester, we had 52. We were at a 2.2 or 2.3 team GPA, now we are at a 2.81. That all comes with time, and anything worthwhile that's going to be on solid ground with the foundation that we want takes time to build."


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Statistics are courtesy of

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on

Michigan State vs. Oregon: The Game Vernon Adams Has Waited for His Whole Life

Seated high above in the Ken Gunn Stadium press box at Walnut High School, the man who helped facilitate the most significant college football acquisition of the winter sat entranced, his eyes riveted to the 9.7-inch screen broadcasting inches from his face.

As Vernon Adams Jr. grabbed the baton from last year’s Heisman winner and seamlessly orchestrated the Oregon Ducks offense to play a familiar refrain—looking more like a man that had been there for three years rather than three weeks—Dean Herrington, his former coach at Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, California, celebrated his many moments through his iPad more than 800 miles away.

Herrington couldn’t help but wear his emotions out in the open as Adams dazzled against the Eastern Washington Eagles, his former team—not after everything the quarterback went through to arrive at this point. Not after the whole thing nearly came undone by one simple math class.

Helping out his former assistant Ted Iacenda, now the head coach of the College of the Canyons Cougars, Herrington streamed Adams’ first Oregon game while attending a community college football game played in a high school stadium.

“It was like he has been there forever,” Herrington said of Adams’ debut. “Making people miss, stepping up in the pocket, taking off and running if nothing is open—it’s just like he’s been doing the last few years.”

It was a fitting next chapter in an unorthodox journey—one that is about to receive the attention it so rightfully deserves. With a light schedule on tap in Week 2, all eager eyes will be on East Lansing, Michigan, as Oregon takes on the Michigan State Spartans—a chaotic marathon that will breed enormous implications for the second consecutive year.

College Football Playoff, reputation, narrative, Heisman—throw it all in a giant blender, mix up the ingredients and let the flavors marinate awhile longer.

In the brightest spotlight conceivable, Adams will play the game of his life against the toughest opponent he has ever lined up against. After accounting for 121 total touchdowns and 10,438 yards at Eastern Washington, the undersized quarterback will be asked to validate a wildly successful and entertaining collegiate career in 60 minutes.

It’s a scenario so heavy that it should not be carried by one man. But in many ways, this is precisely what Adams has craved—the pressure that comes with being the guy at a major program.

“I want to earn the starting spot, earn everyone’s trust, win games, win a Pac-12 Championship, hopefully a Heisman [Trophy] and a national championship,” Adams told me back in February. “My goals are set high.”

At the time we spoke, Adams was working out by himself, knee deep in classes and struggling with the reality of leaving the only collegiate program he has ever known—one of the few schools that actually saw something in him as an undersized high school quarterback—for a neon football factory.

This scenario was all made possible by the graduate transfer rule, something Herrington introduced to Adams shortly after the curtain went down on the first-ever College Football Playoff.

His former coach wasn’t interested in persuading Adams into leaving; Herrington simply wanted to ensure that his quarterback had all the information necessary to make a change if he thought it could help him reach his lofty personal goals.

There was no shortage of programs eager to woo Adams once he announced his “free-agent” status. After garnering interest from Oregon, UCLA, Texas, Boise State and others, the quarterback who held offers from only Eastern Washington and the Portland State Vikings out of high school decided that he was going to graduate and compete for the Ducks’ vacant quarterback opening in the fall.

That was the plan, at least. However, Adams’ arrival was delayed after he failed to complete one class on time. June became July; July became August; fall camp opened without Adams in the fold.

Eastern Washington made it abundantly clear—and understandably so—that the quarterback would not be welcomed back if his transfer fell apart. With one final opportunity to make his move final—a moment that was covered more like a presidential election than a graduation—Adams passed his test. He practiced the very next day.

Within weeks, he won the starting job over Jeff Lockie, fulfilling the first goal. This past Saturday, he debuted against his former team—looking infuriatingly comfortable given the circumstances.  

Adams completed 19 of his 25 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. He was also the team’s second leading rusher, finishing the evening with 94 yards on 14 carries.

“He’s taken really well to the offense,” Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said following his team’s 61-42 victory. “I think the biggest thing for a new player at any position—and in particular quarterback—is just knowing when you’re right and something doesn’t work and when you’re wrong and something does work. He’s had a really good feel for that and immediately wants to fix things that weren’t perfect.”

The debut wasn’t entirely perfect. Beyond a few wayward throws, Adams was also cemented into the turf by his former teammate while sliding to avoid major contact. It was tough to see live. It looked even worse in slow motion.

Adams, however, appeared in the postgame with a smile stretching from Eugene to East Lansing. He texted his former high school coach that he shouldn’t fret any further—that he was absolutely fine. More significantly, he declared himself fit for Michigan State.

“Having that Eastern Washington game done with is going to help him out,” Herrrington said. “He’s got some great friends over there, and I’m sure in the back of his mind he still feels a bit bad that he left even though it was the best thing he could for his family. I think this will actually free his mind up a bit.”

For those about to ride the Vernon Adams Experience for the very first time, don’t expect to see Cardale Jones in bright colors. This is not the NFL prototype. Having played his entire collegiate career at Eastern Washington listed at 6’0”, Adams is now accurately listed at 5’11” on his official Oregon bio.

Despite the lack of size the position typically depends on, Adams’ physical makeup hasn’t hindered his productivity one bit. If anything, it’s allowed him to push defenses in terrifying and unusual ways.

Part of the allure of transferring to Oregon was fitting into an offense that suited his style and body type. Playing with the Ducks also allows him the opportunity to attract an entirely new audience.

“Being a shorter quarterback, I can do what I did here over there,” Adams said. “Winning games and being successful at Oregon can also help me accomplish my dream of either being a college coach or playing in the NFL.”

Those dreams will not be realized or dashed one way or another Saturday. After all, it’s only one game—a small portion of a robust sample size—albeit one that will be seen by new eyeballs catching a glimpse of Oregon’s new pocket-sized Bentley.

It is the opportunity of a lifetime—the one that wasn’t a realistic possibility a year ago. The one that seemed in flux six weeks ago. The stage, the one he has longed for, is his for the taking.

“He’s excited. It’s a national television game against a top opponent on the road,” Herrington said. “They had a good game last year, and I’m sure Michigan State can’t wait to get back at them. At Eastern it seemed like the bigger the game the better he played. So I’m sure he’s going to be excited to get out there.”

College of the Canyons will make its home debut against the Citrus Owls this week. The game will begin shortly after Oregon and Michigan State kick off, and Herrington will be in attendance, watching the action from high above, ready to help his former assistant run his offense.

Just like last Saturday, Adams’ former coach plans to have his iPad handy. It’s not the ideal viewing experience for a game of this magnitude, although perhaps, given everything it’s taken to get there, that’s how it was meant to be.


Unless noted otherwise, all quotes obtained firsthand.

Read more College Football news on

The Olympian: Meet Adoree' Jackson, College Football's Best Athlete

On Adoree’ Jackson’s official university bio, nestled below an introduction that definitively and appropriately anoints him the most exciting player in college football, below the stream of accolades he acquired in one calendar year, headlined by All-American honors in two sports, exists a direct comparison to the man he’s chasing, the most dynamic athlete to ever put on pads.

The title of this section is noteworthy: Adoree’ Jackson vs. Charles Woodson. Below is a round-by-round rundown of statistics, many of which are remarkably similar. It’s as if they’re competing against one another, generations apart.

On this particular offseason day, less than a week before Jackson will undoubtedly leap 25 feet and 11 inches—earning him fifth in the long jump at the NCAA track and field championships—I can’t help but start with that magnificent bio.

We’ll get to track and a possible visit to the Olympics momentarily. But what about Woodson?

Without hesitation, USC’s three-position, two-sport star brightens. He walks me through a career-defining Woodson play and how easy he made it appear. The catch. The instincts. The flash. All of it.

He continues. Instead of detouring the conversation to something more vanilla, the flair bursts through like a five o'clock summer Florida downpour.

“It puts in my mind what greatness was,” Jackson told Bleacher Report. “He showed me what I have to do to win the Heisman, and I want to win the Heisman. I have to see what he did, emulate all of his accolades and make sure I can do the same or even better.”

There’s a weight to this response, a kind of bulk that would leave most normal young men drowning in their own conviction. But he’s in no need of our assistance. He knows precisely what he’s doing in his very different worlds.

There is life as a football star. There is his life as a track star. There are no favorites.

It’s why talk of winning a Heisman and long-jumping at the 2016 Olympics are duo conversations that are as reasonable as they are astonishing.

It is all one elaborate competition. Someone before him showed it could be done, and now he wants to match it or, better yet, do more. He does this not because he appreciates the greatness attached. Jackson does this because deep down he knows he can do one better.

“He is the most humble, flamboyant kid I have ever seen,” Scott Altenberg, Jackson’s high school coach said. “Normally as a coach we’re telling kids not to draw attention on themselves, but he’s not doing that. It’s the weirdest thing. The kid just puts himself into something and goes all-in.”


The Makings of a 5-Star

There he was, two feet tall, taking on a group of athletically engineered cartoon monsters.

Bobbling in front of his family room television at the age of one, Jackson fell in love with the movie Space Jam. He fell in love with Michael Jordan even before he knew why. What Jordan did on the virtual court, Adoree’ did. With Jackson’s family looking on, the two conquered the Monstars weekly.

After he learned to walk, Jackson next fell in love with basketball and soccer. In sixth grade he found his next love. One random day he stumbled upon the now-infamous high school football footage of a young man named Reggie Bush. He was mesmerized.

“He’s my favorite athlete. That’s why I started playing football, when I saw his highlights,” Jackson said. “The first thing I told my dad was can you sign me up for football, because I felt like I could do the same things he did. He signed me up.”

In each knee-terrorizing juke; in each long touchdown run where the defense was running in slow motion; in each glimpse of raw, underappreciated power, Jackson saw himself. Then living in Illinois, his coaches placed him at running back and off he went.

He stayed there until his sophomore year, when Jackson’s family moved to California. Jackson enrolled at Junipero Serra High School in Gardena during the summer, anxious to join a program that has watched current NFL players Marqise Lee, Robert Woods, George Farmer and others cycle through. It has harvested USC talent.

Given Jackson’s reputation as a track star and nothing more, Altenberg was anxious to see how the new kid’s speed would translate.

“It took me about seven minutes to figure out he had talent,” Altenberg said. “And it didn’t take long for him to become a fixture on our team. This guy was a jumper, and he also happened to play football.”

In his second practice, Altenberg had his team participate in a jump ball in the back of the end zone. The head coach of 17 years tossed Jackson into the drill against one of the team’s supreme athletes, not expecting much.

Jackson calmly walked onto the field, completely unfazed by the unfamiliarity. As the ball floated toward the end zone, he launched himself vertically. He came down with the football—carving out a scene fit for a poster.

“I remember it like it was yesterday, because I have never seen a kid get up so fast,” Altenberg said. “He landed like a cat, even though he was completely horizontal in the air. He’s just got some amazing ability.”

Over the next three seasons, Jackson played a variety of positions. As a senior he averaged 9.7 yards per rush and 21.4 yards per catch, according to MaxPreps. He also settled in as one of the nation’s elite corners, picking off 17 passes in three years.

With each electrifying moment, his profile grew larger. After Serra blew out teams with great regularity, members of the opposing team would often stop Jackson to take a photo. He didn’t mind one bit, and neither did his coach. A star was being born.

College coaches flocked to Serra to see the young man in action. In the spring, they would gather around the practice field and watch Altenberg’s team take reps. Instead of focusing on the football, however, the army of golf shirt-wearing, clipboard-holding worker bees would gaze off into the distance at the track situated around the field.

There was Jackson, in a different uniform entirely.

“We had recruiters there to watch our football team and they would just be staring at Adoree’ running in circles,” Altenberg said. “They wouldn’t even be watching us. I’d be like, ‘Hey, guys, we’re over here.’ ”


The Makings of a Track Star

Within seconds of starting our interview, I realize I’ve underestimated the young man and his passions. Finally, after talking about catching footballs and stopping others from catching footballs, we’re talking about jumping great distances without helmets.

The long-jumping portion of the interview has arrived, and Jackson’s energy has not subsided. If anything, he’s even more animated.

“This is something I have been passionate about since eighth grade, and I don’t take this as a joke,” Jackson said. “When people see I’m a two-sport athlete, they think I’m doing it just to do it. Some people think I’m doing it to get better at football, but I’m doing it to be one of the USC greats that are up on the track and field wall.”

Two-sport stars are not unusual. In fact, former Serra and USC great Marqise Lee double-dipped in both sports while playing for the Trojans. Others regularly follow a similar path, using track as an offseason elixir—a way to search for untapped speed. That is not the case here.

Just as his football career was blossoming, Jackson made a definitive statement to his parents. Before he even reached high school, Jackson told them he wanted to compete in the Olympics.

At the time, it didn’t mean much. It is not unusual for children to aim for the stars. I wanted to be an astronaut at one point in my life. It is unusual for such lofty goals to be within reach so quickly.

Less than one year from the Summer Olympics in Rio, the plot has thickened.

“Now that it’s coming up again next year, we’ll see,” Jackson said. “God willing, I will be able to get out there and make the team.”

Jackson sprinted with the Trojans. He ran relays and also showed well in the 100-meter sprint. His true area of expertise, however, is the long jump.

His jump of 25 feet, 11 inches on June 11—a personal best—put him mere inches away from the top-three finish in the nation.

He’s no lock for the Olympics. Making the team will be a tremendous battle if he chooses to pursue it. On the verge of making an outstanding living playing football, however, he’s not simply settling on that path.

“If I’m going to do something, I am going to put 110 percent in it,” he said. “Whatever sport I am in is the sport I am going to be dedicated toward the most.”

Steve Sarkisian, the head football coach at USC, would agree. He’s seen it firsthand. It’s what drew him to Jackson in the first place, back before anyone else knew what he would become.

While he knows the conversations regarding the Olympics will grow louder in the coming months, the two have yet to reach that point.

“We haven’t got there yet,” Sarkisian said. “We plan to address it after the season. I really want him to be focused on September 5. That’s when our season kicks off.”


The Makings of a Superstar

While searching for the appropriate comparisons to his star player, Sarkisian cycles through his magnificent USC Rolodex of All-Pros and future Hall of Famers. There is a brief silence.

“Maybe Troy Polamalu,” Sarkisian says, struggling to find the right name. “He was very gifted this way and probably could have played on offense, returned punts and does all the things Adoree’ does. We just weren’t in that frame of mind at the time as a program.”

Now the head coach at USC, his frame of mind has changed. Sarkisian’s history with USC cycles back to 2001, when he had multiple stops in Los Angeles before finally landing the job as head coach.

Before this job was ever open, Sarkisian was the head coach at Washington. It was at his former school that he offered Jackson a scholarship—the first one he received. He was in ninth grade.

“I’ve always felt he was unique. I’ve always felt he was special,” Sarkisian said. “I’ve always felt there was something about him, and I could never really put my finger on it. I think in the end, that’s why he’s here at USC. I think he felt that same commitment from me.”

On national signing day in 2014, Sarkisian secured the most significant commitment of his coaching career only months into the job. Jackson, the nation’s No. 1 CB and 247Sports’ No. 7 player overall, picked the Trojans over UCLA, Tennessee, Florida, LSU and others. 

Months later, when the season arrived, Sarkisian wasted little time making Jackson a fixture of the program.

“As a true freshman, his football IQ was very high. His energy level was off the charts,” Sarkisian said. “The guy can play forever. Adoree’ has a great work ethic, and you don’t always see that with 5-star guys. He wants to be unique. He wants to be special.”

Playing cornerback, moonlighting as a wide receiver and returning kicks, Jackson finished with 49 tackles and deflected 10 passes. On offense, he caught 10 passes, three of which were touchdowns. On special teams, he averaged nearly 30 yards per kick return and scored two more touchdowns.

It was eye-opening. And yet, staying true to character, Jackson was not satisfied.

“I felt like I didn’t have a very good season on defense,” Jackson said. “I didn’t get any interceptions, but I had a lot of pass breakups. People give me a lot of praise for how good the season was, but I’m a hard grader on myself. I feel like I could do a lot more.”

While his NFL future is likely at cornerback, Jackson will be asked to fill a variety of roles this season once again.

On top of playing defense, Jackson will play wideout, return kickoffs and will likely return punts. During this past spring, he switched off between offense and defense. One day he was catching passes, the next he was defending them.

“I am very comfortable doing it,” he said. “I am just so eager to learn and challenge myself. On the offensive side, I love it because the crowd goes crazy. But on defense, you want to stop those oohs and ahhs. If you do that, then they’ll cheer."

Every rep he takes is closely monitored. Although Jackson wears different hats, the coaching staff is distinctly aware of his workload. Thankfully, he retains information so well that he rarely has to repeat a drill.

How he’s utilized during games will depend less on what Jackson’s doing and more on variables outside of his control.

“A lot of that depends quite honestly on his teammates, and I know that sounds odd,” Sarkisian said. “But it’s more about what they can handle and how much load they can take off of him so he can do things in other areas.”

The open-ended nature of that response leaves a great deal to be determined. Regardless of how his teammates take to their singular positions, Jackson will be given opportunities to deliver a season distinct from anything we've seen in nearly two decades. Maybe ever.

Playing at a storied program hoping to recapture its magic formula, Jackson will be asked to be Charles Woodson. He will be asked to be Reggie Bush, the human highlight who jump-started it all. He will be asked—and perhaps expected is more appropriate—to do one (or two) better than last year, which will be no small feat.

And when that part of his life is over, hopefully in the middle of January with a visit to New York City sandwiched in between, he will shift his focus to jumping as far as he possibly can. Rio, at that point, could become a reality just as his junior season is taking shape.

It is a chaotic and unusual life for a young man always in motion, be it on the ground or through the air, with a helmet or without. This is the athletic life he has chosen to live, although I can't help but ask the question that has been on my mind since he started speaking.

Aren’t you tired?

“I’m just having fun. When you’re not having fun, that’s when it gets tiring,” Jackson said. “But I’m enjoying just being out there. It’s a blessing to do what I’m doing.”

On September 19, USC will play Stanford in its first true test of the season—a game that could help spark a Pac-12 championship, a Heisman campaign or something more.

The day before, the most exciting player in college football will celebrate his birthday in Los Angeles. He will turn 20 years old.


Unless noted otherwise, all quotes obtained firsthand.

Read more College Football news on

The Worst Team Ever? Kansas Is Making Its Case

It takes more than losses, no matter how many, to reach truly historical badness. All time is a long time, and numbers and statistics and record books can't really measure it or put it into context. It takes oral history.

To be the worst of all time takes a little comedy—or tragicomedy.      

Like this: On Saturday, Kansas was losing big in its opener against South Dakota State. But the Jayhawks came back and got in position for a game-tying field goal. Time was almost up, though, so the offense rushed to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock. And then?

The quarterback fumbled the snap and knelt down to pick up the ball and spike it. But with the ball in his hand and his knee on the ground, he was ruled down. The clock ran out. Yes, Kansas lost because it could not snap the ball from the center to the quarterback, whose goal was just to throw the ball on the ground.

"We take snaps under center every day," KU's new coach, David Beaty, said this week on a conference call. "Numerous snaps under center every day in practice."

Are we seeing history? Is Kansas the worst team of all time?

This era of KU football can be defined as including this year's team and the previous five years under Beaty's predecessors, which means, mostly, Turner Gill and Charlie Weis. Their coaching, to put it nicely, turned Kansas football into a mushroom cloud.

I'm going to go with no, Kansas isn't the worst ever. Not yet. It has a lot to prove to be that bad, a lot of comedy. But there's still a lot of time, too.

Consolation prize: The Jayhawks are definitely the worst major college team in the nation this year. They're just 0-1 but are good bets to become the first winless major college team since Washington in 2008.

"Until we earn it, we're going to be underdogs in every game we have," Beaty said. "That's just the way it is."

Over the past five seasons, starting with 2014, Kansas' Big 12 records have been: 1-7, 0-9, 0-9, 1-8, 1-8. That's 3-41 total. The most total games they've won in any of those seasons is three.

It didn't have to be quite this bad this year. I mean, it had to be bad, just not this bad. But the team's best receiver, Nigel King, decided not to come back, instead opting for the NFL draft.

Then, no team drafted him. The Dolphins gave him a shot, then cut him. The 49ers gave him a shot, then cut him. Now, he doesn't have a team. And Kansas doesn't have the guy who should be its best receiver.

It did appear to have a solid quarterback. But in the spring game, a dark cloud floated over KU's stadium and just hung there. That's not a metaphor. It really happened. A black cloud. And quarterback Michael Cummings, wearing the red jersey that tells teammates not to hit him, got hit in the knee by a cornerback who isn't on scholarship. Cummings is out for the year. Montell Cozart, who drove fans crazy last year, is back in.

The Jayhawks are on their fourth head coach in the past six years, counting interim coach Clint Bowen, who took over for most of last season after Weis was fired. They didn't win a road game under any of them.

Look, you want comically bad? In 2012, Forbes magazine tallied up the costs of all major college football teams over a three-year span, then divided the totals by the number of wins. Kansas had spent $8 million per win, and Forbes labeled it "college football's worst team for the money."

The amazing thing is that while the football team can't snap a ball, the basketball program is one of the best in the country. Not only that, but Kansas football was among the best as recently as the 2007 season, when coach Mark Mangino led it to an Orange Bowl win.

Then Mangino was asked to resign over allegations of his harsh treatment of players.

It turns out, you can put a price tag on failure. Mangino negotiated a $3 million buyout. Kansas then hired Turner Gill, who had been the coach at Buffalo. He was immediately in over his head, though, in fairness, Mangino's recruiting had dropped off. Gill was gone after two years, and boosters had to come up with the rest of his five-year, $10 million guarantee.

And then, tragicomedy: Kansas considered hiring Gus Malzahn. Yes, that Gus Malzahn, who is now known as the coaching genius who rebuilt Auburn into a national title threat.

Instead, Kansas decided to hire Charlie Weis. Yes, that Charlie Weis, who had failed colossally at Notre Dame.

Weis walked in at Kansas and dumped 29 players. He cleared them out to make room for his own guys and send a message to everyone else who the new boss was. One of the players he dumped was cornerback Tyler Patmon, who now plays for the Dallas Cowboys.

Weis went for the quick fix. He had decided to go for the quick fix. With his NFL background, he had never understood at Notre Dame that college coaching is almost entirely about player development. He still didn't get it at Kansas and decided not to bring in high school players. According to numbers compiled by's Tom Keegan, Weis' 2012 and 2013 classes included "27 junior college transfers, six transfers from Div. I schools and 18 high school recruits." Just 18 high schoolers.

After his first year there, he described his own team as a "pile of crap."

He used that as a selling point, telling recruits they could play right away. Weis was dumped midseason last year and will be paid through 2016.

To tally: Gill made $10 million for one Big 12 win. Weis made $12.5 million for one more.

So, Weis is gone, his junior college players are gone, and the high school players never came.

Welcome David Beaty, who wasn't a head coach or even a coordinator. He was the receivers coach at Texas A&M and known as a recruiting specialist. KU had enough money to pay him just $800,000 a year—less than Weis will make from KU this year.

Beaty has just 64 scholarship players, according to the Wichita Eagle's Rustin Dodd; the limit big teams are allowed is 85. It will take him a few years to fill a roster.

But worst team of all time? I'm going with KU's neighbor, Kansas State, from the 1980s. Once, K-State scored late for a lead that could have broken the nation's longest losing streak. The assistant coaches wanted to be on the field for the postgame celebration, so they stopped coaching and left the press box. While the coaches were on the elevator to the field, K-State committed three 15-yard penalties and gave up the game-losing touchdown.

When K-State coach Bill Snyder took the job, he was embarrassed by the school's trophy case, which had just one trophy in it, for the Independence Bowl. He once told me he gave it to his secretary, who took it home and put it on her piano.

Beaty is starting to dig out. He put in a modern hurry-up offense, but the players looked confused Saturday.

"We've got to utilize our tempo," he said, "and make sure it doesn't hurt us as much as it hurts the other team."

Eventually, every team gets out of the mess. History says so. Beaty is a fresh face with a lot of optimism.

"We're dealing with reality," he said. "It's a long road ahead."

The first step is teaching the center how to snap the ball to the quarterback.


Greg Couch covers college football for Bleacher Report. 

Read more College Football news on

Best Head-to-Head College Football Battles in Week 2

The second week of the 2015 college football season isn't likely to go down as the best of the year, but it's not without its intriguing matchups. That's the case not just from a team standpoint but also when it comes to individual players who face a tough assignment from the other side of the field.

It's still a team game, where all 11 players must work together to achieve a common goal, though certain players' efforts matter more than those of others.

We've identified several head-to-head matchups from this week's slate of games that should stand out from the crowd. Each pairing should end up having a big impact on how its game unfolds this weekend.

Begin Slideshow

BYU Players Console Taysom Hill After 3rd Season-Ending Injury

The Brigham Young locker room was a somber scene after the Cougars' Week 1 win over Nebraska on Saturday. 

Players were quiet, the 33-28 victory forgotten after it became known that quarterback Taysom Hill would miss the rest of the season after suffering a Lisfranc (foot) sprain.

The injury was the worst-case scenario for Hill, who had fought back from season-ending injuries in 2012 and 2014 and hoped to finish out his senior year on the field for BYU.

KSL Sports producer Dave Noriega tweeted out a video of the play believed to be the one that resulted in the injury:

It's innocuous stuff, as Hill just took off upfield and ran into the end zone. But Lisfranc injuries don't come as the result of big hits and fireworks. They just pop, and then you're, well, screwed.

And as rough as this new setback was on Hill, his teammates and coaches seemed to take it even harder.

The emotional scene in the locker room was aired by BYUtv on Tuesday's episode of Inside BYU Football. Tears were shed as players lined up to hug their quarterback, who had changed back into the street clothes they had grown so tired of seeing him in.

Wide receiver Mitch Mathews may have been the most distraught of Hill's teammates, according to Deseret News' Alex E. Johnson. Mathews had caught the game-winning touchdown for BYU that night, but nothing at that time was more important to him than his friend's well-being.

[Hill is] one of my best friends. You see him with that severe of an injury and come back in and play, you almost want to cry during the game for how tough he is and how great of a leader he is and how we're going to play for him even more. The catch comes secondary to my love for my best friend. He'll be missed.

Freshman Tanner Mangum will now fill in for Hill, who has another battle on his hands, though he unquestionably has the support of a giant family to see him through.

Dan is on Twitter. Ban Lisfrancs.

Read more College Football news on

Watch High School RB Break 5 Tackles on Way to End Zone

Dru Prox battled Texas A&M commit Charles Oliver and Fairfield High School (Texas) last week.

According to the Kaufman Herald (via Aime Hadnot), Oliver rushed for three touchdowns, but Prox came out on top with 199 total yards, four touchdowns and this highlight run to lead the Kaufman Lions to a 49-34 win.

Watch the video and tell us what you think.

Read more College Football news on

#FailForCardale: Is Cardale Jones Destined to Be a Cleveland Brown?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On the first day of August, on one of his final days of freedom before the rigors of fall camp began two hours down Interstate 71 South, Cardale Jones spent an afternoon in Berea, Ohio, watching the Cleveland Browns take part in their training camp.

At the time, Jones' visit to the Browns facility seemed innocuous.

After all, Berea is just down the road from Jones' hometown of Cleveland. More importantly, one of his top targets from his playing days at Glenville High School, Shane Wynn, was in the process of trying to make the Browns as an undrafted free agent.

But following Ohio State's season-opening win over Virginia Tech on Monday, Jones' late-summer visit to Berea could prove to be more prophetic than it was anything else. Because in his re-debut as the Buckeyes starting quarterback, Jones' play elicited audible gasps from more than just the NFL scouts who were in attendance at Lane Stadium.

By the time Ohio State had wrapped up its 42-24 victory over the Hokies, #FailForCardale was not only trending on Twitter but had been specifically linked to Browns fans. The message from the Cleveland fanbase was clear: Lose as many games in the upcoming season as it takes to wind up with a draft pick high enough to select Jones in 2016, where he is already viewed as one of the top quarterback prospects.

Sometimes, the tweets were done in jest, and sometimes, they were serious. But it's already apparent it will be more than just the portion of Browns fans who double as Ohio State loyalists keeping an eye on the Buckeyes this season.

"'Fail For Cardale' is definitely a real thing among Browns fans," said Sean Pullins, a 35-year-old Cleveland fan whose Twitter handle, @TheKardiacKid, pays homage to the glory days of the 1980s Browns and has built a following from like-minded fans. "Most of us think we're a QB and a [general manager] Ray Farmer firing away from being a playoff team.

"And by the way, this 6'5", 250-pound quarterback just happens to play at everybody’s favorite college, is from Cleveland and plays like Big Ben [Roethlisberger]."

The Browns' issues at football's most important position over the past decade and a half have been well-documented. Since returning to the NFL in 1999, Cleveland has been the home of 22 different starting signal-callers, four of which the Browns have selected with a first-round pick.

There's been Tim Couch, Jeff Garcia, Derek Anderson, Jake Delhomme, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden and plenty of other forgettable stopgap passers in between. There's also been Spergon Wynn, Ken Dorsey, Bruce Gradkowski, Thaddeus Lewis, Connor Shaw and no shortage of third-stringers who have found themselves atop Cleveland's depth chart by the end of one merciful season after another.

This year, the Browns enter the season with journeyman Josh McCown being backed up by former first-round pick Johnny Manziel. As Pullins explained, #FailForCardale won't truly hit its stride until each proves he isn't the answer to the question that has plagued the Browns for the past 16 seasons.

But should that be the case—and perhaps it's only inevitable that will be—watch out.

"Right now, it's probably in a holding pattern because we're a proud group and hold out a slight glimmer of hope that this could be the magical year where it all turns around," Pullins said. "The first three games will determine if #FailForCardale thrives. The Browns have three winnable games against the Jets, Titans and Raiders. If they don't win at least two out of those three, the season is essentially over. Then you'll hear the cries to #FailForCardale get louder.

"We're dopes when it comes to hope and loyalty."

Jones offers plenty of both, however, with his rocket-like arm and Cleveland upbringing—he "gets us," as Pullins put it. He wouldn't be the first hometown hero to Browns fans, either, as long after Bernie Kosar quarterbacked the Browns to three AFC title games in four seasons, Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn and Brian Hoyer have each served as Ohio natives taking snaps behind center in Cleveland, each of their turns coming to unceremonious ends.

But none of those players were the pro prospect Jones already is after having started just four games in his college career. There's even a more than decent chance Jones would have already landed with the Browns had he opted to enter the 2015 NFL draft following his remarkable three-game run to the national title last winter.

"He would have easily been the third QB drafted," Bleacher Report NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller said of Jones.

In a draft where Jameis Winston went first, Marcus Mariota went second and no other signal-caller was selected until the third round of the draft, Jones would have made plenty of sense for the quarterback-needy Browns, who owned the Nos. 12 and 19 picks in last spring's draft.

Instead, he opted to return to school for his redshirt junior season with a degree and improved draft stock in mind. And after edging out J.T. Barrett for the Buckeyes starting job in fall camp, he will now have the opportunity to be the first quarterback selected in the 2016 draft.

With one game of his junior campaign in the books, Jones looks like a player capable of becoming just that.

Jones' stat line against Virginia Tech—9-of-18 passing, 186 yards, two touchdowns and one interception—left something to be desired, although he did add 99 rushing yards and an additional score on 13 carries against the Hokies' stout defense. Numbers, however, hardly tell the story of the upside of Jones, who at times appeared impossible to bring down, giving him more time to show off his cannon of an arm, just as he did against an Alabama defense loaded with NFL talent in last January's Sugar Bowl.

And for the statistically inclined, it's worth noting Jones' total QBR ranked seventh in the nation for college football's opening weekend, according to With a schedule that may not see the Buckeyes truly challenged again until a Nov. 21 matchup with Michigan State, that number only figures to climb in the coming weeks.

After all, there's a reason why Miller currently projects Jones to be the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

And to who else, but the Cleveland Browns?

Because just as easy as it is to project Jones' ascent, the Browns being in position to pick him next spring would be anything but a surprise. According to, Cleveland's over-under win total for 2015 sits at 6.5, the third-lowest of any team heading into the season.

Perhaps fortuitously for the Browns, the four teams (Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers) with over-under win totals listed at either 5.5 or 6.0 have each invested recent draft picks in young quarterbacks, making it unlikely they would use another on Jones.

Should Cleveland be in position to take him, Jones would obviously be an appealing fit for the Browns, especially considering the pressure to take him that's already building from the fanbase. Whether that feeling would be mutual remains to be seen.

"I'd like to play in the NFL," Jones told reporters when asked if he'd want to spend his professional career in Cleveland during his trip to training camp last month, via George Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal.

But with what will likely be the final season of his college career having just started, a Jones homecoming in 2016 already seems like a match made in heaven. #FailForCardale may not be in full effect just yet, but with the Browns kicking off Sunday, it may just be a matter of time before it does.

In Cleveland, when it comes to looking for what's next on the football field, it usually is.


Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on

10 Biggest Questions Facing Top 25 Teams Heading into Week 2

Well, that was fun. Let's do it again, shall we?

With Week 2 of the 2015 college football season on the horizon, it's time to look ahead at the biggest questions facing Top 25 teams. The problem, however, is that not many Top 25 teams are playing compelling games in Week 2. 

It happens. And who knows, maybe it inspires a bunch of surprising losses, which in turn would inspire next week's edition of "Biggest Questions" to revolve around "What the heck happened?" 

For the time being, we'll double up on huge games between Associated Press Top 25 teams: Oregon at Michigan State; Oklahoma at Tennessee; and LSU at Mississippi State. We'll sprinkle some other storylines into this week's top 10 as well. 

Let's get to it. What should you be watching for this weekend? We provide the answers based on last week's results, upcoming matchups and more.

Begin Slideshow

College Football Week 2 Betting Picks: Wisconsin, Michigan State, BYU

Week 2 of the college football season should be even more exciting than Week 1 for bettors, as it features a few outstanding matchups with solid value on home teams.

When handicapping the second games for schools, it is important not to overreact to how they looked in their season openers.

A perfect example is Wisconsin. The Badgers were steamrolled by the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide last Saturday on national television in a 35-17 loss.

They were held to their lowest rushing total in almost three years with 40 yards on 21 carries, but on Saturday, they will face a Miami-Ohio RedHawks team that gave up roughly 200 yards per game a year ago.

Even though the point spread is high on Wisconsin at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark, the team has a successful history playing teams from the Mid-American Conference, going 10-0 straight up and 7-3 against the spread in its last 10 games.

The biggest game of Week 2 pits the fifth-ranked Michigan State Spartans against the seventh-ranked Oregon Ducks in a rematch from last season. Both teams are coming off wins last week, and neither team's defense looked particularly good.

The Spartans have the more experienced quarterback of the two schools in Connor Cook, and they will not have to deal with 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota in this one, as he is in the NFL playing for the Tennessee Titans.

Michigan State is a small home favorite and will be seeking revenge from a last year’s 46-27 loss at Autzen Stadium.

Another game in which the polls seem to be impacting the spread will take place in Provo, where the 20th-ranked Boise State Broncos will visit the BYU Cougars.

The Broncos are small road favorites, but they will be taking on a BYU team that should be extra motivated in its home opener after losing starting quarterback Taysom Hill for the season with a foot injury.

The Cougars are coming off an incredible comeback road win against the Nebraska Cornhuskers and have a talented backup replacing Hill in Tanner Mangum, who threw the game-winning touchdown pass on a Hail Mary play as time expired.

Read more College Football news on

Ranking the Best ACC Matchups of Week 2

Week 2 of ACC action is here!

We saw an eventful first week of the season—which included Notre Dame thumping Texas, Louisville taking Auburn down to the wire, Virginia Tech giving Ohio State all it could handle (before VT's signal-caller got injured) and a dominating effort by Miami. 

In this installment, we will yet again rank the matchups involving ACC competition for Week 2 of the regular season. While many of the teams will be playing "cupcakes," there are some intriguing games featuring big-name programs. 

Begin Slideshow

SEC Extra Points with Barrett Sallee: Bret Bielema Calls out Ohio State

We're Talking About Scheduling

Did you notice the schedule graphic that ESPN put up during Monday's Ohio State-Virginia Tech game that details the remaining games on the Buckeyes' schedule?

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema did, and he noticed something much different on their schedule than what's on his.

"I'm sitting there watching the other day—the Monday night game—and I spent a lot of time in that other conference," Bielema said. "Ohio State's ranked No. 1 and they have one game remaining on their schedule against anybody ranked right now—Michigan State. I look at it, and we're going to play eight opponents that are ranked."

Is he right?


But what did we learn about snap judgments in Week 2 a year ago when the Big Ten had its worst week ever and the conference's College Football Playoff hopes were as likely as pigs flying?

That there's plenty of football left to be played. 

The ebbs and flows of the college football season are what makes it the greatest sport in the world, and rankings in Week 2 don't matter.

With that said, though, LSU head coach Les Miles thinks that 10 teams in this week's Associated Press Top 25 isn't good enough.

"I feel like we should have 25 teams ranked in the Top 25, to be honest," he said. "They didn't use the opportunity to rank the second teams."

Never change, Mad Hatter. Never change.


Blame It On The Rain

A lot has been made of LSU's game against McNeese State being rained out last weekend, and what it means to a Tiger team that is loaded with questions and has a tough September schedule. We've wrote about it here on Bleacher Report, it's been discussed all week on radio and will surely be a talking point during Saturday night's game at Mississippi State.

But what about Mississippi State? 

Head coach Dan Mullen is entering this weekend's matchup against the Tigers with very little game tape on new starting quarterback Brandon Harris, whose lone start came last year on the road against Auburn.

"He's going to be a much different quarterback this year than we saw in that game," Mullen said. "He came in the fourth quarter against us, and I know he didn't start, but he was lighting it up and making throws all over the field. We know he's a very talented player. Obviously, a whole year under his belt in development, but I imagine he'll be much improved from where he was last year."

For the Bulldogs, this game is almost like the sequel to the season opener in the sense that there's not much to work off of during game prep.

"They're a new team," Mullen said. "Even though there are some players who are carryovers, every year, each team is unique. So you have to know the personality of this team, not just with Brandon Harris and their offense, but how they're going to utilize him and what changes they'll make. It's not just him, but a whole new defense and defensive staff."

"In some ways, in preparation, you're preparing like it's the opening game of the season where you just have to focus on yourself and execute at a high rate because you don't know what the other team is going to do," Mullen continued.

The rainout has upped the ante for Saturday night's game in Starkville. The element of the unknown, coupled with the importance of getting out to a good start within SEC West play makes it one of the most intriguing matchups of the season.


They're Supposed To Be SEC

It's Week 2 and the SEC talk has already reached a fever pitch with those 10 SEC teams in this week's AP Top 25. 

Oklahoma doesn't care about the SEC.

"I don't know why people blow gas up their [expletive deleted]," linebacker Eric Striker said on Tuesday, according to

This comes on the heels of head coach Bob Stoops taking a little offense to being asked about hostile environments in the SEC, according to Jake Trotter of

Why are Oklahoma players and coaches being asked about this? The Sooners have beaten SEC teams in each of the last two seasons (Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl and Tennessee during the 2014 regular season), have played in many big games on the road and are loaded with experience.

It may come as a shock to those who trumpet the SEC nonstop, but there is good football played elsewhere and there are hostile environments outside of the SEC footprint.

I get it. "Checkering Neyland" is a big deal and it's been a long time since Tennessee has had a game of this magnitude. Oklahoma has them every year, and isn't going to be intimidated by anything it sees on Saturday night on Rocky Top.


Welcome Back

You got a small glimpse of what the new-look Alabama offense is going to look like in their season-opening win over Wisconsin on Saturday, and that offense is going to include a heavy dose of running back Kenyan Drake.

The senior suffered a brutal leg injury against Ole Miss last year that ended his season, but he looked as good as ever against the Badgers with 77 rushing yards and a touchdown—and two catches for 48 yards.

"Kenyan has been a really good player for us, and you hate to see a guy get injured," head coach Nick Saban said. "Sometimes it's part of the game. You always like to see guys have the right attitude about rehabbing and coming back and being positive and confident when they come back. Kenyan is certainly that. It's good for us and good for him, and we're just hopeful that he can have a great year for us."

He's going to be huge piece of the puzzle in 2015.

It wasn't the time or place in AT&T Stadium to let quarterback Jake Coker loose and see if he could stretch the field consistently, and mixing Drake in as the "Reggie Bush" for offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is a great way to provide insurance for Coker in case he can't do that consistently. 

We saw how good fellow running back Derrick Henry is, but Drake will provide the lightning to Henry's thunder and needs to keep it up moving forward for the Crimson Tide.


No News Isn't Good News

Ole Miss star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil was held out of action last week amid an NCAA investigation related to his contact with agents. 

Will he suit up this week for the Rebels when they play host to Fresno State? That's the biggest mystery in Oxford (and perhaps at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis) at the moment.

"There's no update," head coach Hugh Freeze said on Wednesday. "It's just the ongoing process. I'm hopeful that it will wind up soon. I try to condition my mind. I don't even think about the possibility of this week or next week, but just trust the people involved and hope they get it right for the young man and our program."

Has Freeze spoken with the NCAA?

"Not in regards to Laremy, no," he said.

Next week is key. Ole Miss will travel to Alabama in Week 3, and if you watched the Crimson Tide's opener against Wisconsin, you saw one of the most fearsome front sevens in college football.

That's probably a big reason why he's still getting reps.

"He's still practicing," Freeze said. "Sometimes he's in with the twos, sometimes he gets a break."

If it's not resolved by next week, Ole Miss' hopes of a dream season could be dashed in T-Town.


Rotation Domination

For the first time in a long time, Florida's quarterback position looked like a position of strength in the season opener versus New Mexico State. Will Grier threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns, Treon Harris threw for 215 yards and two more and the downfield passing attack looked functional.

"It's something that we expect," head coach Jim McElwain said. "I was very pleased with the way they distributed the ball and how they took what the defense gave them and weren't just looking for one target to bail them out and throw it to. That's what we try to do in coaching that position."

So what happens moving forward?

I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to be more of the same.

The offensive line looked good against the overmatched Aggies, but that might not be the case for a full season against good defenses. McElwain is best served to go with the hot hand—whoever it is—and keep a rotation in the cards based on need, scheme and situation.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially since both seem capable of operating within the whole playbook while excelling in different areas. 

Congratulations, Gators. You finally have a quarterback.

In fact, you have two.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Statistics are courtesy of

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on

College Football Players Ready to Explode in Week 2

Week 2 of the college football season is upon us, and some players have the potential to put up huge games.

Who should you keep an eye on this weekend? Who will dominate the headlines?

Watch as Bleacher Report college football analysts Barrett Sallee, Adam Kramer and Michael Felder break down the must-watch players of Week 2 in the video above.

Read more College Football news on

College Football Rankings 2015: Records for Top 25 Teams and Week 2 Standings

After a Week 1 that mostly served as a setup for what's to come despite some notable upsets along the way, the 2015 college football season kicks into high gear this week, highlighted by the year's first matchup of Top 10 teams.

Oregon vs. Michigan State is the marquee game of the weekend, providing the Spartans with a chance for revenge at home after dropping a 46-27 shootout against the Ducks in Oregon last season.

That game will certainly have the most impact on the top of the rankings, which look like this:


Team With Most to Prove: Oregon (at Michigan State)

Singling out a road team playing in the weekend's biggest game as having the most to prove is almost too easy, but that doesn't make it any less true for this year's Oregon team. 

The Ducks are a different team than the one that has run all over college football for years. Key players like quarterback Marcus Mariota and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu are gone, leaving head coach Mark Helfrich to fly with a new net. 

This 2015 version of Oregon was able to maintain its offensive firepower through one game, putting up 731 yards of offense and 61 points. The defense, however, often looked lost in allowing 549 yards and 41 points.

In last year's matchup with Michigan State, it was the defense that really helped turn the tide in that game, as noted by's Chantel Jennings:

After Oregon gave up 24 points in the second quarter, it held the Spartans to just three points the entire second half. Cook, who completed 68 percent of his passes in the first half and threw for two touchdowns, completed just 55 percent of his passes and threw for zero touchdowns in the second half.

The good news for Helfrich as he game-plans for the Spartans is Michigan State's vaunted defense allowed 365 passing yards to Western Michigan. This game could easily turn into one of the best shootouts in 2015. 

Yet Michigan State returns a lot of key players, like quarterback Connor Cook and defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who provide the kind of stable foundation Oregon lacks because everyone knows what those players are capable of. 

This is the first major test of Vernon Adams Jr.'s career, as he will lead Oregon's offense into hostile territory. If the team is going to be a national title contender again this year, the seeds for that run will be planted in this game. 


Team in Danger: LSU (at Mississippi State)

LSU learned all about the dangers of playing Mississippi State with Dak Prescott at quarterback last September, as the Bulldogs announced their presence as a national power in a 34-29 win at Tiger Stadium. 

However, the biggest reason LSU looks to be in danger of another upset against Mississippi State is due to bad weather. The Tigers' season opener against McNeese State last week was canceled due to lightning in the area. 

That means head coach Les Miles needs to have his team on point without a warm-up act heading into hostile SEC territory.

Miles also showed last week, briefly before the weather caused problems, he's going to utilize a lot of freshmen this season.

"On one offensive play, the Tigers used four true freshmen: running backs Derrius Guice and Nick Brossette lined up on either side of quarterback Brandon Harris in the shotgun, and receivers Tyron Johnson and Jazz Ferguson were on opposite sides of the field," noted's David Ching.

Ching did add that particular played went poorly, with Guice losing four yards on a screen play because Ferguson missed a block. 

Quarterback play always seems to be a question for LSU, and that remains the case this season. Harris showed brief flashes of being a dynamic playmaker in 2014, throwing for 452 yards and six touchdowns in just 45 attempts and running for 159 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. 

However, how much can really be gleaned from 71 plays? That leaves star running back Leonard Fournette to shoulder the load. He seems ready to break out as one of the nation's best players after racking up 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns on 187 carries. 

Mississippi State did have Fournette's number last year, limiting the sophomore sensation to 38 yards on seven carries. 

It's easy to mock some of the early-season opponents for major programs, but LSU desperately needed that matchup against McNeese State to work out some bugs before traveling to Starkville. 


Team Most in Need of a Win: Texas (vs. Rice)

While not a matchup of ranked teams, the storylines for Saturday's Rice vs. Texas matchup are too intriguing to pass up. 

Fans in Texas were already skeptical about head coach Charlie Strong after last season's 6-7 campaign, even though Mack Brown won five games in 2010 and wasn't being thrown to the wolves by everyone. 

Perhaps a better way of talking about this particular battle is to frame it as the coach who is most in need of a win, but there's something to be said for Texas being able to right the ship after Notre Dame cruised to a 38-3 win last week.

While it seems silly to think a coach's status could change dramatically following one bad game, Strong is feeling more heat after the Longhorns were picked apart in every way against Notre Dame. 

CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd has already speculated Strong's lack of on-field success at Texas could make him expendable sooner than later:

It tortures my soul that Charlie Strong's job security is a talking point this week. The man has done everything the right way at Texas ... except win.

No matter what your knee-jerk reaction is, Texas' performance Saturday at Notre Dame cannot be ignored. The Horns were dominated in just about every way possible. They were manhandled up front. Notre Dame's skill athletes were better. The talent gap in quarterbacks was astounding.

This is still a rebuilding program. Strong hasn't had enough time to recruit his players and get them enough experience to at least be competitive in a hostile environment like Notre Dame. 

For example, Strong won seven games in each of his first two seasons at Louisville before an 11-win campaign capped off with a Sugar Bowl win in 2012. He followed that up with a 12-win season. 

Given the proper time, there's no reason Strong can't do the same at Texas. He brought in a top-10 recruiting class this year and already has four 4-star recruits for next season, according to 247Sports' rankings. 

Texas does currently have a 12-game winning streak against Rice, with its last loss coming in 1994. If that run ends Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Strong's hot seat may catch on fire.

Read more College Football news on