NCAA Football News
The Auburn Tigers had a successful spring out on the recruiting trail, picking up several commitments from some of the nation's top high school and junior college athletes. Auburn currently holds the No. 3 spot in 247Sports' Composite Team Rankings, which compiles ratings from the major recruiting services.
Now, summer has arrived on the Plains, with a large part of Auburn's 2014 class arriving on campus this week. The defending SEC champions will wrap up the eventful recruiting week with Big Cat Weekend, an annual invitation-only event for several of Auburn's top targets for the upcoming class.
Big Cat Weekend usually lands Auburn a commitment or two, and the coaching staff hopes a few of its major targets finish this weekend with the Tigers as their new leaders in the recruiting race.
Let's take a look at the top five targets left on Auburn's board, some of whom may be on campus in a few days for Big Cat Weekend.
After a high-scoring, uptempo, passing-fueled season that shattered the mold of SEC football, America's best conference should get back to its roots in 2014.
Perhaps the best class of quarterbacks in league history departed this offseason, and (partially) as a result, many of the projected top teams find their strengths along the offensive and defensive lines and in the offensive backfield.
That is not the case for everyone, however, and there are certain teams that will fly in the face of that style. Based on where their most talented players return, they will cater to their relative strengths.
The criteria for this list was rather simple: The strongest groups are the ones with the most talent, and the weakest are the ones with the least. The metrics used include a combination of how many players are returning, which players are returning, last year's performance and which players have been added during the offseason.
Chime in below to let me know where you disagree.
It's almost summer, which means that the college football season is also not too far away for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
South Carolina is coming off its third straight year of having a top-five ranking at the end of the season. The Gamecocks have quickly become an elite squad in the realm of college football, though this year's team could be more talented than the teams prior.
Offensively, the Gamecocks pack a huge punch with a versatile rushing attack led by Mike Davis who works behind one of the country's best offensive lines. Defensively, South Carolina has some gaps to fill, but the athleticism is there to carry this team a long way.
The Gamecocks still have their eyes set on an SEC title under head coach Steve Spurrier's era. And this could also be the year they make a run at the national championship in the new playoff format.
It's early in the year with regard to college football, but it's time to start making picks.
Here is my early game-by-game prediction for the South Carolina Gamecocks' 2014 college football season.
Like it or not, the College Football Playoff, set to debut this coming season, will be around until at least 2025. It will outlast the next Bush (Jeb) or Clinton (Hillary) administration.
At least that's what Bill Hancock, the CFP executive director, insisted will be the case when he spoke at the AWSM convention in Orlando over the weekend.
There's just one catch: While the CFP has signed over the entire postseason to ESPN in a 12-year, $5.64 billion deal, the contracts with the six bowls that will take turns to host the semifinal games remain unsigned just three months before the season will start.
CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reported Wednesday that the bowls—Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Cotton and Peach—have not yet come to terms with the CFP. The primary hangup appears to be that the bowls, which have long operated independently even during the BCS era, are having some second thoughts about surrendering all of their autonomy so they can be run in a centralized fashion much like the Final Four.
Hancock, however, told Dodd the contract holdup is only a formality and nothing to worry about:
"We're continuing to discuss the contracts," he said. "This is nothing unusual. We're just plugging away and everything will get finished."
That may be so, but the longer this drags on, the more likely the bowls will get cold feet. By submitting themselves to the CFP arrangement, each bowl already will lose its own uniqueness. The Rose Bowl, for example, may never get another matchup between the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions, as it did last season as well as every year after World War II and before the advent of the BCS.
Whereas the BCS mostly preserved the bowl system that has been in place for nearly a century, the CFP more or less will obliterate it. The big bowls used to send their representatives (sporting those tacky blazers) to games all over the country to scout teams that they might want to invite. Now teams will be assigned to them by a selection committee.
Though it's too early to speculate whether the entire CFP apparatus might fall apart before it even gets started, it's safe to say that the CFP is still a work in progress. While there has been much talk about expanding the playoff field to eight teams or even 16 teams, that is very much a non-starter, because we haven't even dotted the I's and crossed the T's for the the four-team CFP.
First things first.
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There were some truly outstanding quarterback-wide receiver tandems on display during the 2013 college football season.
Unfortunately, fans will never again see the powerful passing partnerships of Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans, Fresno State's Derek Carr and Davante Adams, Clemson's Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins and LSU's Zach Mettenberger and Odell Beckham Jr., since all those talented playmakers have moved on to the NFL.
Luckily, though, there are still plenty of intriguing passing combinations to get excited about.
Here's a look at college football's best passing tandems for the 2014 season.