NCAA Football News

Paul Perkins Injury: Updates on UCLA RB's Knee and Return

The UCLA Bruins still have Pac-12 title hopes in a daunting South Division, but that will be more difficult if running back Paul Perkins misses extensive time with the knee injury he suffered Thursday.

Continue for updates.

Perkins Ruled Out for Game Thursday, Oct. 22

Perkins was off to an impressive start against the California Golden Bears with 73 rushing yards on his first 11 carries, but Dane Brugler of CBS Sports noted the playmaker went to the ground and clutched his left knee in the first half. While Perkins walked off the field under his own power without help, Daily Cal Sports confirmed he was out for the remainder of the game.

The fact the running back walked off without any help seemed encouraging, but head coach Jim Mora said the injuries UCLA suffered during Thursday's game were "not good," per Dan Wolken of USA Today

A potential long-term injury to Perkins would be the latest blow for a UCLA team that has already lost star linebacker Myles Jack, defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes and cornerback Fabian Moreau for the season, among others.

Perkins has 754 rushing yards, 125 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on the season and turned heads against BYU with 219 rushing yards in a comeback victory.

Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi handled the rushing duties after the starter left the game. Jamabo is a freshman who didn’t have more than nine carries in a single game coming into Thursday’s contest, and Olorunfunmi—who is also a freshman—didn’t have more than eight carries in a game this year before Thursday.

Both are high-upside youngsters who are physical enough to pick up tough yardage (Olorunfunmi is 220 pounds, and Jamabo is 210 pounds), but the Bruins need their rushing leader back if they hope to fulfill their goals for the rest of the season. 

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Massive Brawl Breaks out During Junior College Football Game in Mississippi

Football is a violent, intense sport. It shouldn’t get this violent, though.

During a junior college contest between East Mississippi Community College and Mississippi Delta Community College on Thursday night, a wild brawl broke out and forced referees to end the game.

East Mississippi had a 48-0 lead when the contest was called.

Scott Walters, a writer for the Commercial Dispatch, broke it down:

[h/t SB Nation]

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Shirtless Warrior Drills Field Goal While Performing Backflip at UCLA Game

If you woke up this morning expecting to see this, you’re lying.

During a timeout in the first half of UCLA’s showdown with California on Thursday night at the Rose Bowl, a shirtless warrior with flowing hair booted a ball through the uprights.

This legendary fella, who is actually a Cirque du Soleil performer, threw in some sort of backflip on his follow-through for good measure.

Don’t question it. Just enjoy it.

[Twitter]

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Cal vs. UCLA: Live Score and Highlights

UCLA 17, Cal 3 - Early Second Quarter

Stay tuned for breaking news, commentary and analysis throughout the game, as the No. 22 Golden Bears visit Los Angeles aiming to knock off the Bruins on ESPN. 

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Daily Fantasy College Football Week 8: DraftKings Optimum Lineup, Matchup Guide

As we inexplicably speed past the halfway mark of the 2015 college football regular season, more and more standout players are forging their way into "stud" territory. 

At this point in the year, the expected production level will likely match the result. There isn't a lot of deviation at this point. When selecting a fantasy roster, the player's opponent is arguably the biggest determiner as to whether you should select him. 

As is the case with DraftKings, fantasy players are allowed two quarterbacks, two running backs, three receivers and two flex players. All nine players must equal no more than $50,000. 

 

Optimum Lineup for Week 8

QB: Maxwell Smith (SDSU, $4,900), Brett Rypien (Boise State, $6,500)

RB: Zack Langer (Tulsa, $5,900), Stanley "Boom" Williams (Kentucky, $5,500) 

WR: Jordan Payton (UCLA, $5,800), Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss, $6,100), Demarcus Ayers (Houston, $6,200)

Flex: De'Runnya Wilson (Mississippi State, $5,500), Vic Enwere (Cal, $3,600) 

Budget: $50,000

Used: $50,000

 

QB Analysis

A Kentucky transfer, Smith has been a breath of fresh air for the San Diego State offense. 

The Aztecs are on a three-game winning streak, in large part due to Smith's effectiveness as a passer. He doesn't turn the ball over, as evidenced by throwing only two interceptions thus far.

In the last two weeks, he has completed more than 70 percent of his passes. With Utah State coming to town, one can expect the Aggies to put up plenty of points. As such, this could provide Smith with more opportunities in the passing game. 

Rypien has been effective since taking over the starting job for the Broncos. On the year, he's thrown seven touchdowns to only four interceptions. He's also completing passes at a 63.6 percent clip. 

This weekend, Boise State will host a struggling 1-6 Wyoming team. Rypien has already demonstrated the ability to feast on cupcakes this season (Virginia, Hawaii). There's no reason why he can't do the same to the Cowboys. 

 

RB Analysis

Tulsa running back Zack Langer has rushed for at least one touchdown in every game this year. The bruising tailback has accrued 596 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season. 

He won't necessarily be a home run threat to break a long run, but he appears to be good for at least one score. Langer rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown earlier this year against Oklahoma. 

Kentucky back Stanley "Boom" Williams is running to the tune of a 7.2 yards-per-carry average. In some respects, he's the antithesis of Langer. 

While he's not going to be a grind-it-out type of running back, his slashing style works perfectly with the upstart Wildcats offense. Williams is at his best when he can utilize his speed in space. On the year, he's rushed for 456 yards on only 63 carries.

He's also coming off one of his better games of the season, running for 113 yards and two touchdowns versus Auburn. 

 

WR Analysis

Treadwell's money total is curiously low, considering he leads the SEC in catches (49) and receiving yards (654). He's unquestionably Chad Kelly's favorite target and more often than not impacts the game in a big way. 

Against a sometimes-shaky Texas A&M team this weekend, Treadwell should accumulate big numbers. Don't be surprised if this contest ends up being a shootout down in Oxford, Mississippi. 

Like Treadwell, Payton is UCLA's top receiver in both yards and receptions. Josh Rosen had his second-best game statistically last week versus Stanford and appears to be hitting his stride as a passer. 

With Cal allowing a considerable amount of passing yards per contest, Payton could be in line for a big day. 

Ayers and the explosive Houston offense are salivating at the thought of playing an 0-7 UCF team this weekend. The diminutive receiver (5'10", 178 lbs) out of Texas is lightning-quick, has legitimate deep-threat speed and is without a doubt the most dynamic skill player on Houston's roster.

Ayers has double the amount of catches (46) as the next-best statistical output on the roster. He should be good for at least one touchdown in this expected blowout. 

 

Flex Analysis

Wilson has caught four touchdowns in the past four games, including two last week in the win over Louisiana Tech. 

With his combination of size and speed, he's a terror on any jump-ball scenario down the sidelines. Signal-caller Dak Prescott makes him an obvious focal point of the offense. Wilson leads the team in receiving yards (433) and touchdown catches (five). 

Wilson's smallish money total also makes him an attractive play this week. 

Enwere is a big wild card this week. Cal is playing UCLA, which has been absolutely horrid against the run in 2015. The Bruins gave up 310 yards on the ground last week in the loss to Stanford.

Since the injury to Eddie Vanderdoes, Jim Mora's team hasn't displayed the ability to play even adequately against any sort of effective rushing attack. 

The big back (6'1", 230 lbs) out of Texas has been sharing time with Daniel Lasco. He has been injured for the majority of the year but will try to give it a go against the Bruins. If Lasco gets nicked in the game (which is a distinct possibility), Enwere would assume the role as the lead back. Regardless, he might be the goal-line option as a means to keep Lasco healthy. 

Costing only $3,600, he could be a huge steal in Week 8 play. 

Enter the DraftKings $1.25 M Play-Action contest this weekend. Use promo code BLEACHER REPORT when you sign up. 

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Predicting Where 'College GameDay' Should Go for Rest of 2015 Season

ESPN's College GameDay remains the gold standard of college football pregame shows, and where it goes each week is almost as big a deal as the game it's there to preview.

The decision to send the show to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to highlight the FCS rivalry between the Richmond Spiders and the James Madison Dukes continues the trend the last few years of making an occasional foray away off the beaten path to highlight lesser-known schools. In 2014 the show went to North Dakota State and Harvard, and this season's trips to Salt Lake City and Tucson have added to the normal rotation of ACC and SEC schools.

Where will GameDay end up the rest of this season? Some weeks have several great potential locales, and it's likely going to come down to how the teams are playing right before then to determine where it goes.

We've weighed in with our predictions for the rest of the year, along with a list of the other possible candidates each week.

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After Throwing It All Away, Steve Sarkisian's Redemption Story Has to Start Now

Last week, Steve Sarkisian was fired as USC's head football coach and suffered his deepest embarrassment in public. Now comes the hard part: the part done in private.       

The noise of the scandal at USC may have softened and the spotlight on Sarkisian dimmed, but what about the man now fighting his sickness? How do we gain perspective on what Sarkisian might be going through as he battles a drinking problem and reportedly enters rehab?     

We do just what he's doing: lean on the experience of those who have been through it and those who are experts in treating it.

Kevin Mackey has been through it. Mackey was called the King of Cleveland after his little Cleveland State basketball team beat legendary Bobby Knight and Indiana in the 1986 NCAA tournament. Mackey became a local hero—until his alcohol addiction became public when he was arrested and fired for driving under the influence in 1990.

What was Mackey going through immediately after? What might Sarkisian be feeling today?

"How did I throw it all away?" Mackey said. "That is what I was thinking."

Even now, it's a feeling that haunts him. "Thank God it is 25 years ago in the rearview mirror," Mackey said.

When seeking treatment, that regret comes mixed with the awful physical effects of withdrawal.

Dr. Damon Raskin, doctor at the Cliffside Malibu treatment center specializing in addiction, described that side of it.

"You can be susceptible to seizures, severe tremors, dehydration," Raskin said. "Detox involves medication to help get the alcohol safely out of your body. Especially with alcohol, if you abruptly stop drinking when you're a regular drinker, that can be medically dangerous. He'll be seeing a medical doctor, like myself, and you'll usually be seen by a psychiatrist as well as a therapist. Individual therapy, group therapy to delve not into the drinking but the underlying issue.

"I'm hopeful he's in rehab; I assume he is. He clearly reached a new bottom, and that's what happens especially to well-known people or celebrities: They really have to reach bottom to get the help they should have gotten a long time ago."

Why does it reach this point? Why did those around Sarkisian—or Mackey—ignore clear warning signs along the way to "rock bottom"? We don't know all the specifics there, but we saw the tip of the iceberg. When USC athletic director Pat Haden had to pull Sarkisian away from a microphone at a preseason rally because he was drunkenly using bad language, why did he not see that that was a cry for help?

"I think that's the classic example of not wanting to deal with it, of enabling the person," Raskin said, speaking theoretically and without knowledge of what might have been done behind the scenes at USC. "The bottom line is…the athletic director felt pressure publicly to just excuse the behavior. "

Firing Sarkisian might have been the best thing Haden did for him, but it was too late. Knowing that he needed help, knowing he was going through a messy divorce, Haden left Sarkisian in one of the most pressure-packed jobs in the country and enabled him to continue his descent.

Why didn't Haden take Sarkisian away from the team right then?

Is it because doing so would have risked his football season—and the chance to reach the pot of gold that is the College Football Playoff? Maybe he had to determine if Sarkisian's health was worth risking that.

Mackey comes from a sports background and can somewhat understand the decision Haden was facing. That doesn't mean he thinks Haden shouldn't have sent Sarkisian right to therapy, and away from football, before the season started.

He just understood.

"A number of things enter into it," Mackey said. "It's a big-time program. A lot of people's livelihoods depend on all of that. That's all part of it.

"[And] sometimes when people aren't educated about the disease, when they try to help you, they just enable you."

You wonder if Sarkisian will be saying these same things in 25 years, if Mackey is his voice from the past.

Mackey is now a scout for the Indiana Pacers. After his arrest, he never coached again.

Of course, Mackey remembers the high point of his coaching career. He was a hero in Cleveland after his team beat Bobby Knight's. "Oh yeah," Mackey said. "Now, afterward, believe me, I celebrated pretty good."

The city celebrated with him. What people didn't know at the time was that Mackey's celebration was also a symptom: He was an alcoholic. He hadn't even admitted it to himself yet.

That's why Mackey identifies with Sarkisian, even though he doesn't know him. Mackey has seen it before. He has been it before. He sees so many of the same symptoms from Sarkisian that he experienced nearly 25 years ago.

"A big-time coach has a problem, a big-time player has a problem, and it comes to the forefront of the discussion," Mackey said. "It's a tragic situation, and God forbid anyone have to go through it.

"In 1990 when I was going through everything, I said, 'The disease is alive and well and thriving out there.' Well, it's true today, and it's only getting stronger. What happens—and this is with all addictions, whether alcohol, drugs, whatever—you lose your job, you lose your family, you get arrested. And if you keep going, you lose your life."

You'd think the message is already out there. It's hard to see why anyone let Sarkisian goes as far as he did without help.

Raskin explained that people with substance abuse issues, particularly famous people and athletes, are able to surround themselves with "people who are enablers, people who may lose their job or lose their friendship [if they try to help the addicted person]. They want to hang on to that spotlight.

"A lot of them know, but they aren't willing to help. Alcoholics and drug addicts are very good at hiding it. That's part of the disease."

Mackey said he used to hide it by moving around, never staying at the same bar more than two hours. He also said that he never drank before work or at work. Only after.

"I waited," Mackey said. "I could wait until my workday was done. Now, on Saturdays and Sundays, if I had morning practice, the cocktail hour would begin at 11:30, 12."

Mackey said he has been sober for 25 years. He believes that addiction affects everyone's life either directly or indirectly—whether it be over alcohol, drugs, gambling, even eating—and that kids should be taught about it.

He also says that despite all the enablers, the person who picked up the alcohol or drugs is the person who is responsible.

But that person needs help. No matter how painful it is.

We can only hope that that's what Sarkisian is getting now.

 

Greg Couch covers college football for Bleacher Report.

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Power Ranking the Top 15 Quarterbacks Through 7 Weeks

Quarterback play remains a key factor in evaluating team success in college football. Without a good player at the position, it's often hard to consider a team a legitimate contender for a national title, and in cases like Ohio State not settling on one QB, it can also alter perception.

Earlier this season we power-ranked the country's top 15 quarterbacks, using a formula that takes into account several factors: total offense (and the percent of a team's output they're responsible for), completion percentage, yards per pass attempt, touchdown and interception rate and quarterback rating as well as how well their team is performing in 2015.

The season is halfway over, so it's time for an update to this ranking. Check it out and then give us your thoughts in the comments section.

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Most Important College Football Recruiting Visits of Week 8

Another action-packed weekend of college football is nearly upon us and, as usual, there's plenty to monitor beyond the playing field. Prospects throughout the nation have set travel plans, hoping to push their respective recruitments closer to a conclusion.

Top-ranked tight end Isaac Nauta and dynamic California playmaker Melquise Stovall headline this latest group of athletes on the move. It's imperative for host programs to make a positive impression during a limited time frame.

Here's a closer look at key campus visits to monitor during the days to come.

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