NCAA Football News

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Tennessee Volunteers Complete Game Preview

The Georgia Bulldogs and Tennessee Volunteers are getting ready to do battle Saturday at Neyland Stadium, and both teams are coming off disappointing losses.

The Bulldogs wanted to make a statement against the Alabama Crimson Tide last Saturday, but it was the other way around, as Alabama ran over the Bulldogs 38-10. The Volunteers were leading 14-0 against Arkansas in the first quarter last week, but the Razorbacks were able to rally and come away with a 24-20 win.

It's safe to say both teams are in need of a win. And based on the way the last two games have gone when Georgia and Tennessee have faced each other, it should be a thriller in Knoxville.


Date: Oct. 10, 2015

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

Place: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.


Radio: Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network, Vol Network, Sirius/XM 83/190

Spread: Georgia is a three-point favorite, according to Odds Shark.


When Georgia has the Ball

Despite the struggles against Alabama, where it only scored 10 points, Georgia has one of the better offenses in the country, scoring 38 points per game. And the reason for the high scoring is the run game, as the Bulldogs average 244 rushing yards per game. Nick Chubb is second in the SEC with 745 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, while Sony Michel has rushed for 276 yards and four touchdowns.

Nick Chubb breaks Herschel Walker's record, and has 13 straight games of 100+ rushing yards.

— Athlon Sports (@AthlonSports) October 3, 2015

The one area of concern is the quarterback position. Greyson Lambert struggled in his first real test last week against Alabama, going 10-of-24 for 146 yards and one interception. Brice Ramsey went in for Lambert and did not fare any better, going 1-of-6 for 20 yards and two interceptions.

Whoever the quarterback is will be in a better situation this Saturday because the Vols are ranked 12th in the SEC in scoring defense and last in the conference in total defense. They are not good against the run and struggle against the pass. However, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin has been a standout player for the Vols, recording 52 tackles, which is the third-best total in the SEC.


When Tennessee has the Ball

As much as Tennessee has struggled on defense, it's been a different story on offense. The Vols are ranked fourth in the conference in scoring offense, averaging 37 points per game. Like Georgia, Tennessee likes to run the ball with Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. Hurd has rushed for 492 yards and seven touchdowns, while Kamara has rushed for 247 yards and three touchdowns.

WATCH Big Plays By Tennessee's Jalen Hurd (@MrHurd_1): 35-Yard Run & 31-Yard Reception vs. Arkansas

— Tennessee Fan Base (@VolsFanBASE) October 4, 2015

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs is not the most accurate passer in the conference, but his ability to run and throw has given opposing defenses fits this season. He has tallied 789 passing yards, 250 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns.

The Bulldogs defense got hit in the mouth by Alabama, giving up 379 total yards last week. But it still ranks fifth in the SEC in scoring defense with 18 points per game and fourth in the conference in total defense with 294 yards per game. Linebackers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins have led the way, as they have combined for five sacks this season. Dominick Sanders has been a key member of the secondary with two interceptions.


Player to Watch for Georgia: LB Tim Kimbrough

As it was mentioned earlier,  Jenkins and Floyd have been key pieces to the Bulldogs defense this season. But if there was one player who stood out in the loss to Alabama this past Saturday, it would have to be linebacker Tim Kimbrough.

Video: UGA LB Tim Kimbrough: 'the better the RB, the better I'm going to try to play'

— ABH Sports (@abhsports) October 5, 2015

The Indianapolis native led all defenders with 13 tackles, and he notched half a tackle for a loss. He now leads the Bulldogs with 33 tackles, and he also has 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Because Tennessee is good at running the ball, it will try to wear down the Georgia defense with Hurd and Kamara. If Kimbrough is able to run free and make plays from sideline to sideline, the Bulldogs will be able to limit what the Vols want to do offensively.


Player to Watch for Tennessee: Joshua Dobbs

When the Bulldogs played against the Vols last season, Dobbs did not play because Justin Worley was still the starter. Now Dobbs, who is from Alpharetta, Georgia, will get to play against the Bulldogs for the first time in his career, and he will do everything he can to beat his home-state team.

#Vols different with quarterback Joshua Dobbs in the pocket:

— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) October 6, 2015

Dobbs had a modest game against Arkansas last week, as he threw for 232 yards and ran for a touchdown, but as good as he's been for the Vols, he has yet to earn a signature win.

Dobbs is athletic, fast and has a good arm, so the Bulldogs will have their hands full against Dobbs. If Dobbs stays in the pocket like he did last week against Arkansas, according to Wes Rucker of 247Sports, the Vols may struggle. But if he's able to both run and throw like he did against Florida, the Bulldogs will be in for a long day.


Final Score: Georgia 31, Tennessee 28

This game has the makings of being a back-and-forth affair, just like it has been the last two years. Both teams are coming off tough losses and have something to prove.

Tennessee is an improved squad under head coach Butch Jones, but it has yet to have a signature conference win. Georgia is looking to get back on track and get back in the SEC title race.

Both teams have talent, but Georgia has a better run game and a better defense. And despite the quarterback issues it has, the team is expected to keep Lambert as its starter, according to Seth Emerson of DawgNation. He gives the Bulldogs the best chance to win as long as he can make the right reads like he did the first four games of the year.

The Vols will keep it close like they have been doing all season, but based on what they have done this season, they will likely make one costly mistake that will lead to another tough loss to swallow.

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6 Bold Predictions for 2016 College Football Recruiting Class

The 2016 college football recruiting trail reaches its conclusion Feb. 3, when national signing day developments seal the fate for programs' futures. Now four months shy of the annual event, this cycle is beginning to enter its most crucial stretch.

Official visits throughout the season and into the winter will dramatically alter the recruiting landscape that currently lies before us. Decommitments, last-minute campus trips and signing-day surprises are simply a part of the process, as verbal pledges hang in the balance until letters of intent are delivered.

We've come to expect craziness on and off the field as autumn progresses, forcing coaching staffs to juggle duties as game managers and recruiters. Some squads are set to flourish in early February, while others appear to be trending in the wrong direction.      

Let's take a glimpse ahead, projecting how some of the country's most compelling storylines will develop.

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Leonte Carroo Assault Charge Dropped: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Rutgers University wide receiver Leonte Carroo had previously been charged with simple assault stemming from an incident on Sept. 12, but according to's Brian Amaral, that charge was dismissed Tuesday when the accuser dropped the case. A temporary restraining order against Carroo was also lifted, per the Asbury Park Press'Ryan Dunleavy.

While the charge was dismissed, Amaral reported Carroo is still slated to attend six hours worth of anger-management counseling after allegedly slamming the victim into concrete. Dunleavy added the two parties signed a consent order. According to Amaral, that means the alleged victim and the wide receiver are prohibited from contacting one another.

During Tuesday's appearance in court, a municipal judge asked Carroo if he was going to avoid trouble in the future, per Amaral:

"Everyone in this court room is going to watch you now, to see which way you turn, for the better or the worse," Judge Dennis Fackelman told Carroo, whose promising football career has been on hold for weeks as the charge was pending against him. "Which way are you going to turn?"

"For the better," Carroo said.

"I think you will," Fackelman said.

A determination regarding Carroo's playing status will come at a later date.

"All decisions about a player's eligibility are left up to the coach," Rutgers senior vice president for external affairs Pete McDonough told Dunleavy.

Carroo appeared in the first two games of the Scarlet Knights' season, but he wasn't available for showdowns against Penn State and Kansas. The senior caught three passes for 129 yards and three touchdowns in Rutgers' season-opening win over Norfolk State, and he followed that up with four catches for 52 yards in a loss to Washington State.

The 2014 first-team All-Big Ten honoree is arguably Rutgers' most explosive offensive playmaker, but the team will need to formally reinstate him before he returns to the field. The Scarlet Knights are scheduled to clash with Michigan State in Piscataway, New Jersey, this Saturday.

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Pac-12 Football: Disappointments for Each Squad so Far

The Pac-12 football conference has five ranked teams so far in 2015—enough to make the argument that the conference is returning to its glory days of the early 2000s. 

But even squads like the 4-1 Stanford Cardinal aren't without flaws. For better or worse, there won't be any apologizing as we begin to pick apart each team in the conference to find weaknesses—and provide a respective bright spot for each, as well.

As always, feel free to defend your colors in the comments section below. 

Let's do this. 

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Alontae Taylor to Vanderbilt: Commodores Land 4-Star ATH Prospect

The Vanderbilt Commodores football program added a weapon on the recruiting trail Tuesday. 

Alontae Taylor, a 4-star prospect, became the first piece of Vanderbilt’s 2018 recruiting class. The dual-threat quarterback took to Twitter to make the announcement:

Taylor checks in at 6’1” and 185 pounds and is the No. 94 overall player, the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 5 prospect in Tennessee in the class of 2018, per 247Sports' composite rankings. The Tennessee native drew interest from Troy, Clemson, North Carolina and Tennessee, among others, but chose to stick close to home with the Commodores.

He suggested location was one of multiple factors that played a role in his decision, per Barton Simmons of 247Sports: “I just like their academics, football program and it’s close to home.” 

Head coach Derek Mason seemed pleased with the news:     

Jesse Johnson of 247Sports called Taylor “one of the best players in the class of 2018” even though he may not play quarterback in college like he does in high school.

Even Taylor recognized that, per Simmons: “I think I’ll probably play wide receiver or defensive back in college.”

While Taylor left open the possibility of playing defense at Vanderbilt, Simmons noted the playmaker has already accounted for more than 900 yards of total offense in his high school season. An offensive playmaker like that is an ideal piece to set the foundation for a recruiting class because the coaching staff can pitch the opportunity to play alongside him in a high-scoring group.

Taylor has experience in the backfield as a quarterback but the speed and shiftiness to play on the outside and beat defenders in the open field.

If Vanderbilt ever hopes to compete with the elite programs in the SEC, it needs to stock up on athletes who can account for explosive plays. Taylor is an excellent start for the class of 2018.  


Recruiting info courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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Bleacher Report's Week 6 College Football Playoff Predictions

Will your team make the college football playoff?

Even before the committee releases its first rankings, it's not too early to take a look. We use the Associated Press poll as a substitute for the committee rankings and my algorithm to assign a probability to each team.  

The sortable table gives the results. Let's take a deeper look at five interesting teams.


Baylor has the highest odds currently

After a weak nonconference schedule, Baylor spanked Big 12 foe Texas Tech, 63-35. The convincing margin of victory increased Baylor's playoff odds to 53.8 percent, the highest in the nation and the only chance greater than 50 percent.

Baylor has improved on both sides of the ball this season. At The Power Rank, I rank offense and defenses by taking yards per play and adjusting for strength of schedule.

On defense, Baylor has improved from 37th last season to 27th through four games this year. The Bears returned almost the entire two-deep roster this season on an improving unit.

On offense, Baylor has gone from 13th last season to first this year. Even though the Bears lost two-year starting quarterback Bryce Petty, Art Briles makes finding a new elite QB—in this case, Seth Russell—about as certain as death and taxes.

Baylor is good enough to make the playoff even with its weak out-of-conference schedule.


What's up with Utah's low playoff probability?

Utah's 4-0 start has it ranked fifth in the AP poll. In the Utes' last game two Saturdays ago, they obliterated Oregon on the road, 62-20. So, why do the Utes have such a low probability (7.1 percent) to make the playoff?

The numbers reveal some issues for Utah. The Utes have gained fewer yards per play than their opponent in each game besides Oregon this season. In those three games with worse efficiency, Utah gained more total yards only against lowly Fresno State.

In my rankings that drive these calculations, Utah is ranked 23rd. The Utes have only a 33 percent chance to beat USC on the road in a few weeks.


Alabama surges with big win over Georgia

In last week's playoff projection, Georgia had the highest odds of any SEC team. However, I noted that Alabama would make a big jump with a win over Georgia.

As we know now, that's exactly what happened, as Alabama scored a definitive 38-10 win at Georgia. The Crimson Tide now have a 23.5 percent chance to make the playoff, fifth-best in the nation and better than any other SEC team.

Alabama still has question marks. With only data from this season, the Tide's offense ranks 26th in yards per play adjusted for schedule, far off their typical top-10 ranking. However, the big win has Alabama back in the playoff conversation.


Clemson's easy schedule gives it the ACC edge

Clemson held off a surging Notre Dame for a 24-22 win this weekend. The Tigers have a 38.2 percent chance to make the playoff, fourth-best in the nation.

Clemson gets a huge edge from its weak schedule. Its toughest remaining game is a home game against Florida State. A trip to rival South Carolina the last week of the season no longer seems like a problem.

My numbers rate ACC foes Clemson and Florida State about the same. However, Florida State has to travel to Clemson and also faces a resurgent Florida team to close out the season. Florida State has a 11.9 percent chance to make the playoff, much less than the 38.2 percent of Clemson.


Boise State's lofty probability is faulty

Boise State is 25th in the AP poll but still has a 18.5 percent to make the playoff. Why? The Broncos benefit from a weak schedule in the Mountain West.

An undefeated Boise State would have made life difficult for the playoff committee. However, they lost to BYU in Week 2, and it's hard to imagine Boise State in the final four over the champion of a Power Five conference. My simulations don't account for these subjective considerations, so the results give Boise State too high a chance to make the playoff.


Ed Feng has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford and runs the sports analytics site The Power Rank. You can find him on Twitter @thepowerrank.

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LSU vs. South Carolina Complete Game Preview

LSU and South Carolina are SEC teams heading in opposite directions at the moment, and now they'll square off this Saturday—somewhere.

Like these two programs, the location of this cross-divisional matchup could be on the move due to what has been historic flooding in Columbia, South Carolina. According to Josh Kendall of the State, South Carolina has already canceled classes for the rest of the week, and the team's home game could be played in either neutral-site Charlotte or LSU's home of Baton Rouge.

Through all the weather-related issues affecting their campus and their state, the Gamecocks are looking for a major upset this weekend against the undefeated and No. 7 Tigers. Struggling South Carolina has issues all over the depth chart after falling to 0-3 in the SEC last weekend against Missouri.

LSU, though, is looking for a big statement victory away from home after a couple of closer-than-expected nonconference victories against Syracuse and Eastern Michigan. The Tigers are led by their superstar rushing attack and the nation's No. 16 total defense, but they'll want a complete team win over the Gamecocks.

Before heading into the complete preview of LSU vs. South Carolina, here is all the tentative information for this matchup.

Date: Saturday, October 10

Time: 12 p.m. ET

Location: Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, South Carolina)


Radio: LSU Radio Network, Gamecock IMG Sports Network

Line: LSU -13, according to Odds Shark

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Washington vs. USC Complete Game Preview

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian faces his former team for the first time since taking over in Los Angeles as the Washington Huskies come to town in a prime-time Thursday night matchup. The Trojans, led by Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Cody Kessler, sport the Pac-12’s top offense and are coming off a thrashing of Arizona State less than two weeks ago. They’ll be tested by the Huskies, however, who will take a young squad on the road for conference play for the first time but do have some quality young players, especially on the league’s top-ranked defense.

Thanks in part to UCLA’s loss to Arizona State in Week 5, the Trojans control their own destiny in the Pac-12 at the moment, but they can’t afford any missteps against a Washington team that has proved tricky to beat no matter what its record is. It should all make for a fun and interesting game from the Coliseum on Thursday night.

Date: Saturday, October 8

Time: 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET

Location: Los Angeles Coliseum


Radio: Sirius/XM Ch. 84, ESPN 710 Los Angeles, Washington IMG Sports Network

Line: USC -17, according to

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4-Star DT Chris Daniels Discusses Top 5, Plans to Commit on His Birthday

When Euless, Texas, 4-star defensive tackle Chris Daniels needs to visually focus on improving his game, he goes to the guy considered one of the best—and arguably one of the most controversial—linemen in the game.

"Ndamukong Suh," Daniels said. "Some people say he can't control his temper, but really, he's a beast. He gets the job done. He's not the highest-paid defensive player ever for nothing."

Love him or hate him, Suh is a game-changing specimen on the football field, and his ability to dominate at any given time is at a level Daniels one day hopes to attain. Standing over 6'3" and weighing 299 pounds, Daniels is about the same size as Suh already, but he has a long way to go.

The best thing about Daniels: He knows this, and he's willing to work at a ridiculous pace to get as close to Suh as possible.

Big-time Power Five colleges have taken notice, as Daniels—representing Trinity High School—is just south of 30 offers. He announced a top five of Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M early last month, and he is preparing for upcoming official visits to Ohio State this weekend and Texas A&M the following weekend.

"I've been there before, so I'm trying to see how things are on game day," Daniels said of Ohio State. "I want to see the environment and see how the players interact.

"I've been to Texas A&M three times, but I want to see how the players interact with each other. I know about their 12th man, so I want to see what the campus is all about. Just being there around [College Station] will be cool."

Daniels is a physical lineman who can be a disruptive run-stopper and put a lot of pressure on quarterbacks because of his quickness. His best 40-yard dash is in the 4.8-second range, but he said he hasn't been clocked in the dash since adding 20 pounds to his frame.

Still, Daniels, a top-20 defensive tackle nationally among a loaded group of 2016 athletes at the position, is a dangerous lineman because of his versatility. He can add more weight to his frame and play inside, or he can drop weight and play as a hybrid defensive end because of his quickness off the ball.

"I feel like I can play any position on the line," he said. "I'm trying to get a little more leaned out just so I can get some more of that speed back. If I can go 100 miles an hour, I'm good."

In addition to being a player who thrives to improve each day, Daniels is considered a leader for Trinity's football team. During the game, Daniels is a playmaker who either racks up tackles or creates opportunities for his teammates because opposing teams are running away from him.

Before games, Daniels shows his leadership in other ways. He's one of the lead guys for Trinity's pregame Sipi Tau, a war dance popularized on the high school football stage by Trinity, a school known in Texas for its proud Tongan community.

"It's pretty serious to me. It's done for our ancestors, our families and ourselves," Daniels said of being a Sipi Tau leader. "It's very unique. At first, I thought it was just a little dance that got us hyped. It's really spectacular when you really learn it. We're family, and it's done for family."

Daniels is preparing for his upcoming official visits. He has one scheduled for Oklahoma on the weekend of Nov. 20. Ohio State will play Maryland on Saturday, and Texas A&M will host Alabama on Oct. 17 in a game that Daniels will keep a sharp eye on because of interest in both teams.

Look for a decision to come on Dec. 18, the day Daniels celebrates his 18th birthday. 

Daniels said a decision will be determined by a variety of things with each school, but level of comfort around the campus and player-coach relationships will be two things that play significant roles in his choice.

"Having relationships with coaches, that's important," he said. "I want to feel they can peak my game. I like all the defenses and the defensive line coaches. It's just going to be a matter of where I feel the most comfortable."


Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. Unless otherwise noted, recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Damon on Twitter @DamonSayles.

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Ranking the Top 5 True Freshmen in College Football Through Week 5

Freshmen across the country are making an impact during the 2015 college football season.

Who are the five best freshmen?

Watch as Stephen Nelson and Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder break down who they think the five best freshmen in college football are in the video above.

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C.J. Johnson Injury: Updates on Ole Miss Star's Recovery from Knee Surgery

Ole Miss middle linebacker C.J. Johnson suffered a torn meniscus in the team's 38-10 loss to Florida on Saturday.

Continue for updates.

Johnson Out 4-6 Weeks with Knee Injury Tuesday, Oct. 6

According to Daniel Paulling of the Clarion-Ledger, Johnson underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair his torn meniscus and will be out at least a month because of the injury.

The linebacker posted the following on Twitter:    

Johnson, a senior, has posted 17 tackles and two interceptions this season for Ole Miss. He transitioned from defensive end to middle linebacker this offseason and appeared to be adapting nicely to the position before this setback.

Terry Caldwell is the likely replacement for Johnson. He's already appeared in all five games this season, posting eight tackles and forcing a fumble. He's a solid option to replace Johnson, and the team shouldn't see a major drop-off in production with Caldwell roaming at the middle linebacker position.

Still, Ole Miss is looking to recover from a shocking loss to Florida, so losing Johnson's veteran presence will hurt, especially if he is unavailable for upcoming matchups against Texas A&M and LSU. Those matchups will likely decide whether Ole Miss remains in the playoff hunt this season, assuming it wins the rest of its contests.


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Ohio State Football: 5 Ways the Buckeyes Must Improve in 2015

Ohio State is unbeaten and currently stands atop the national rankings, but its title defense hasn't started as seamlessly as most envisioned before the season kicked off.

After kicking off the 2015 campaign with an impressive 42-24 victory on the road against Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes have looked sluggish and sloppy in four consecutive victories over highly outmatched foes. And because of that, their once-firm grasp on the country's No. 1 ranking is starting to loosen as teams such as Baylor, TCU and Utah surge. 

If Urban Meyer expects his team to win the Big Ten and make another run at the College Football Playoff, he'll need to see marked improvement in these areas. 


Improve the Passing Attack 

The biggest storyline of the offseason surrounded Ohio State's intriguing quarterback quandary between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, the two talented signal-callers who fueled the Buckeyes' run to (and through) the first College Football Playoff. Both bring a championship pedigree to the position and are so talented that it didn't feel it was possible to go wrong either way. 

But through five games, neither Jones nor Barrett looks like the quarterback we saw in 2014. Jones, who's getting the nod to start, is struggling with his accuracy and progressions. Barrett looks like a shell of the player who set the Big Ten record for total touchdowns in a season last year, completing just 55.3 percent of his passes for 193 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The receiving corps, which has lost two players in Noah Brown and Corey Brown to season-ending injuries, is struggling to replace deep threat Devin Smith and perimeter-blocker Evan Spencer.

"Timing and execution of the quarterback, wideouts, that hasn’t been our strength," Meyer said, according to Tim Shoemaker of Eleven Warriors. "Last year one of the top teams in the country with it."

With elite defenses such as Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan looming, the Buckeyes have to find a rhythm in their passing attack.  


Limit the Turnovers

Committing too many careless turnovers is the easiest way to keep an overmatched opponent in the game, and that is something Ohio State has done with regularity this season.

The Buckeyes have only won the turnover battle once this season—when they turned Hawaii over four times in a 38-0 win. In the last three games against Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Indiana, the Buckeyes have turned the ball over 10 times while only generating three takeaways defensively. 

“The turnovers have to change right now,” Meyer said, according to Patrick Murphy of the Ozone. “I mean right now.”

Against better teams, that ratio will put a strike in the loss column for the Buckeyes.

Jones seems to be trending in the right direction, throwing two interceptions in his last 60 pass attempts after throwing three in his first 46 to open the season. But the Ohio State ball-carriers need to tighten things up—namely Jalin Marshall, who fumbled twice last Saturday against Indiana. 


Improve in the Red Zone

The Buckeyes have struggled mightily in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on just six of their 16 trips inside the opponent's 20-yard line, which ranks 121st in the country. That inefficiency has turned an offense that's racking up yards into one that isn't converting that production into points on the scoreboard. 

Ohio State has been so bad that Meyer has considered using Barrett as a situational red-zone quarterback, according to Bill Landis of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

"We've thought about it," Meyer admitted, via Landis. "We've had that conversation. At this time we haven't made any decisions on that right now."

Barrett's mobility and decision-making in the run-option game could lead to a higher conversion rate in the red zone, but it's unclear how that decision would disrupt the flow of the offense and, more importantly, affect Jones' confidence. 

Whether the Buckeyes choose to insert Barrett into the game in scoring situations or alter the play-calling, something needs to change, because the current inefficiency will cost them dearly at some point in the season. 


Improve on 3rd Down

Down the stretch of its championship run in 2014, Ohio State was winning on third down at an incredible rate. 

In the playoff against Alabama and Oregon, the defense was nearly flawless, coming up with stops on 21 of 25 third-down situations. The offense was superb as well, converting on 54.5 of its third downs.

But the Buckeyes haven't been as good on the money down this year. Defensively, they're getting off the field on 33.3 percent of their third downs, which is tied for 46th nationally. But it's the offense that's really bogged down, converting on just 34.8 percent of them, which ranks 103rd. 

The offense was particularly bad against the Hoosiers, who got the Buckeyes off the field on 12 of 14 third downs last Saturday. 

"Not taking anything away from their defense, because they did play really well, but penalties, missed communications, missed blocks, things like that," offensive tackle Taylor Decker said when diagnosing what went wrong against Indiana, according to Ralph Russo of the Associated Press. "It's killing us." 


Feed Zeke 

Ezekiel Elliott is one of the most lethal running backs in college football. That notion was reinforced on his first carry of the season when he took a handoff, broke a tackle and raced 80 yards for a touchdown against Virginia Tech.

After getting just 11 carries against the Hokies, the coaching staff made a concerted effort to feature Elliott, and he averaged 22 carries against Hawaii, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. But the offensive line and second-level blocking were subpar in those games, and although he averaged a hair over five yards per carry, he only had one rush that went for more than 20 yards.

The coaching staff continued to get him the ball, though, and that paid off in a big way against Indiana. After a relatively quiet first half when he rushed for 31 yards on 10 carries, Elliott ran wild against the Hoosiers, ripping off touchdown runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards on his way to a career-high 274 rushing yards. 

Despite the struggles at the quarterback position, the Buckeyes know what they have in Elliott, and they need to consistently get him the ball even when the running game isn't producing. Because as he showed against Indiana, he's only one broken tackle away from breaking a close game wide open. 


David Regimbal is the Ohio State football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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College Football Week 6 Predictions: Picking Top 25 Games Against the Spread

Another tough week has dropped my against-the-spread record below 50 percent, but I return for Week 6 undeterred.

This is only slightly here and there, but with handicapping experts such as Todd Fuhrman sitting at 6-14 in the Las Vegas Hilton NFL SuperContest, I feel much better about my own struggles in the college game.

This happens to the best of us (and also, apparently, to me).

As always, feel free to chime in below with your opinions or questions about the picks. I'll explain my rationale beneath each game, but we can always dive deeper. Just remember to keep it civil and that no one here hates your team.

The line is our only enemy.

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Would Upset Win over Florida State Save Miami's Al Golden from Hot Seat?

Say this for embattled Miami head coach Al Golden: He's fully aware how important the next game is. It's Florida State week, and Golden's never defeated the Seminoles. He'll likely have to break that streak this year to save his job.

"It's a big game, right?" Can't act like it's not," Golden said about playing Florida State, per Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post.

Of course, Golden's to the point where one game can define his future. One month into his fifth season with the Hurricanes, Golden is 31-23. For reference, Golden's predecessor, Randy Shannon, went 28-22 before being let go.

Golden's last two games haven't exactly helped the hot-seat chatter, either. The Hurricanes blew a 23-point lead against Nebraska in Week 3, needing overtime to survive with a 36-33 win. Last Thursday, Miami lost 34-23 on the road to Cincinnati.

And as NBC Cincinnati's Matt Edwards and Fox 19's Jeremy Rauch noted, the "Fire Al Golden" banners were out in full force, too:

Despite Miami being 3-1, Golden's margin for error is undeniably thin. There have been more wins than losses, yes, but few of any real substance, as Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald opined last month:

Golden has yet to illuminate his tenure with a spotlight win. There have been victories over Ohio State, Florida, Georgia Tech and Duke, but all those teams finished with unimpressive records. None of the ranked teams he’s beaten finished ranked. He’s 30-22 overall, 18-20 against FBS Power 5 conference teams and 0-12 against teams that finished ranked in the AP poll. He’s 0-4 against Florida State (but don’t forget that Butch Davis was 1-5 vs. FSU). UM has never won the ACC crown.

The chance for a quality win starts with Florida State. It might not completely save Golden from the hot-seat talk, but it would cool it immensely.

For that matter, it doesn't end there. Miami gets Clemson at home later in the month of October. Going 2-0 against the ACC's top two teams? That'd definitely take Golden's hot-seat chatter from hot to practically nonexistent.

However, a bad loss to the Seminoles this weekend could mean Golden's job next week. Right now, Golden's living week-to-week.

What continues to ail Miami is finishing—or the inability to finish. Among the primary problems is the offense's inability to sustain drives. The Canes rank 127th—out of 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams—in third-down conversion percentage (24.53). That has to improve in what could very well be a defensive struggle against Florida State on Saturday.

Last year against Florida State, Miami jumped out to a 23-7 lead before being outscored 23-3 in the final two-and-a-half quarters, losing 30-26.

That would be the first of four straight losses, including the Independence Bowl to South Carolina, to end the 2014 season. Before playing FSU, Miami was 6-3 and in the running for the Coastal Division title.

Finishing. It's what Golden knows his team has to do in Week 6 and beyond:

What does finishing mean for Golden in 2015? A Coastal Division Championship? At least. An ACC Championship? Perhaps. Otherwise, it might be Golden who's finished, a win over Florida State be damned.


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. All stats courtesy of

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Bowl Projections 2015: Predictions, Updated College Football Playoff Outlook

The second edition of the College Football Playoff is well down the road, as the first such rankings for the postseason picture won't be released until November 3.

It's still, nevertheless, far enough into the season to gauge which programs have a chance to participate in the marquee bowl games. Three such contests comprise the CFP, but numerous other quality teams are going to take the field before then in high-stakes showdowns.

Check out some updated projections and predictions for the best bowl games, including the College Football Playoff. 


CFP Projections and Predictions

TCU 34, Clemson 24

These two teams field the two quarterbacks who have, perhaps, the best chance of capturing the Heisman Trophy at the moment in TCU's Trevone Boykin and Clemson's Deshaun Watson.

Given Boykin's superior experience and the agonizingly close call the Horned Frogs experienced when they were frozen out of the inaugural College Football Playoff, TCU deserves the edge here.

Horned Frogs receiver Josh Doctson is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country. The Tigers had a similar difference-maker in Mike Williams, who unfortunately suffered a neck injury in the season opener and is unlikely to play the rest of the year, per The Post and Courier's Aaron Brenner.

Clemson's defense is no joke—it forced Notre Dame into three second-half turnovers in a 24-22 victory. Sloppy conditions played a part, so did the Tigers players, who've managed to put together a productive unit that lost 2015 NFL first-round draft picks Vic Beasley and Stephone Anthony in the front seven.

But had Notre Dame not given the ball away so often late, perhaps Clemson wouldn't still hold an undefeated record and would be dealing with the aftermath of a defeat in Death Valley. It stands to reason under more suitable conditions, Boykin and Co. could give the Tigers some serious problems.

That's not to disrespect what Watson can do. He'd be able to capitalize on TCU's young defense that has seen 13 players make their first college starts this year.

"Teaching the game plan on Sunday — for SMU and Texas Tech — it was like they were in a cloud," said TCU coach Gary Patterson after a 50-7 win over Texas, per the Star-Telegram's Carlos Mendez. "It's like, 'It's simple, fellas.' But this Sunday it was like, 'Got it.'"

Further reason for hope is on the horizon for the Horned Frogs defense, as they've returned three seniors on the defensive line recently.

Boykin has already thrown 19 touchdowns to only three interceptions. With a capable senior ball-carrier in Aaron Green to complement him, it's difficult to envision TCU being a one-and-done if it does beat Baylor in its regular-season finale and qualify for the College Football Playoff.


Ohio State 23, LSU 17

As cool as the duel between Boykin and Watson would be, this scenario infers that Ohio State will remain atop the rankings, with LSU getting in and having a mortal lock Heisman winner in Leonard Fournette.

The battle for bragging rights between Fournette and Buckeyes star running back Ezekiel Elliott would set one of the most electrifying scenes in recent college football history. With all the emphasis on quarterbacks in the modern game, Fournette and Elliott are two transcendent talents in the backfield.

If not for Fournette's SEC record of three consecutive 200-yard rushing games, perhaps the Tigers would already have a blemish on their record. It's a near certainty OSU would have lost at Indiana last week without Elliott's three touchdown runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards.

ESPN's Mike Greenberg believes that trio of explosive bursts to paydirt contribute to Elliott being better than Fournette and the other top-tier back in the country in Georgia's Nick Chubb:

LSU has managed to remain respectable on defense despite the departure of longtime coordinator John Chavis for Texas A&M. Thanks to numerous returning starters from last year's national championship team, Ohio State is stout on defense as well.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller provides an idea of just how loaded coach Urban Meyer's team is across the board:

What swings this hypothetical game  for the Buckeyes is Cardale Jones. The former third-string QB, who's struggled to get out in front of J.T. Barrett as the team's starter this year, came in for Barrett last year to win the Big Ten title game and two playoff games to lead OSU to college football's pinnacle.

Experience goes a long way here again. To be frank and objective, it'd actually be fun, to a degree, to see Fournette fall short. Imagine how angry he might run in 2016. With his NFL draft eligibility on the horizon and a loss to fuel him to work at his craft, Fournette would figure to be driven as ever to deliver a national title to Baton Rouge.

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Arkansas at Alabama Complete Game Preview

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama coach Nick Saban waited until near the end of his Monday press conference before he let loose, after fielding a question about what he tells his players about the perception of his team.

"Well, I'll say the same thing as when you all buried us last week,” he said. “It really doesn't matter what you think. It really doesn't matter what you say. And I'm hoping that nobody on our team is playing for you. I hope they're playing for each other and their team and what they want to accomplish and not what you think. But that's certainly not what I'm doing.

"I'm coaching and working for our players and our team to be as good as it can be, and if that's not pleasing to someone else it's not pleasing to somebody else. I said before, I believe in our team. I do believe in our team, and we're going to work hard to make our team better and I hope the players respond the right way. And it's not going to be for you. The fans, yes. Because if it was up to you, we were six foot under already. We're dead and buried and gone. Gone.

"So if that was the case, we'd have to get some respirators out or something there to put the life back in people."

Although Saban had a point because a lot of people did write off No. 8 Alabama (4-1 overall, 1-1 SEC) after the narrow 43-37 loss to Ole Miss on Sept. 19, his real message was to his players.

With Arkansas (2-3 overall, 1-1 SEC) getting off to a slow start and a trip to face No. 9 Texas A&M looming, the coach doesn’t want Saturday to turn into a trap game. The Razorbacks began the season ranked and played the Crimson Tide tough at home last year before losing 14-13.

Last week Arkansas snapped two important 10-game losing streaks with a 24-20 victory at Tennessee: games decided by seven points or less and consecutive SEC road games.

However, this will also be the Razorbacks’ third tough Saturday on the road, all against teams ranked in the preseason polls, before they enjoy their bye.

Here’s everything you need to know for Saturday’s game


Date: Saturday, October 10

Time: 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT)

Place: Bryant-Denny Stadium


Radio:Crimson Tide Sports Network, IMG Razorbacks Sports Network, Compass Media Networks, Sirius 83, XM 190

Spread: Alabama -16 according to

Begin Slideshow

Miami vs. Florida State Complete Game Preview

After four lower-profile games each for Miami and Florida State, this weekend is when things really start to heat up in the Sunshine State.

No. 12 Florida State is coming off another underwhelming ACC road win in which the Seminoles remained undefeated by holding off a late charge by Wake Forest. Now Jimbo Fisher's team returns to Doak Campbell Stadium with some positives, some negatives and, most importantly, some injured players who may need to be replaced.

A 3-1 Miami team, on the other hand, has had an extra couple of days to reflect on its Thursday night loss at Cincinnati, where some familiar issues cost the Hurricanes against a Group of Five opponent. The embattled Al Golden must lead his team into its first, biggest and perhaps its toughest ACC matchup of the season.

While Florida State has won five straight in this series, things tend to be close between these two Florida rivals, as 11 of the last 14 meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less. Will Miami be able to hold onto a lead this year against Florida State under the bright lights of prime-time action?

Before heading into the full breakdown of this ACC rivalry clash, take a look at the basic info for the 2015 edition of Miami vs. Florida State:

Date: Saturday, October 10

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Location: Doak Campbell Stadium (Tallahassee, Florida)


Radio: Miami Hurricane Radio NetworkSeminole IMG Sports Network

Line: Florida State -9.5, according to Odds Shark

Begin Slideshow

Charlie Strong and Texas Football's Identity Crisis

Five hundred miles to the northwest of Austin in the great state of Texas lies, not far off the highway, the famous Cadillac Ranch.

Although it is quite a distance from the capital, the art installation could double as a telling metaphor for the state’s flagship football program. There, just outside Amarillo in the middle of a windswept plain, lie several colorful Cadillacs planted face-down in the dirt.

For nearly two decades and even long before that, the Longhorns football team has been driving a fully loaded Cadillac. Twelve straight seasons of at least nine wins, one national title and a trip to play for another, some of the winningest quarterbacks in NCAA history and the general tradition of college football’s biggest moneymaker have all contributed to this.

It is no wonder that former athletic director DeLoss Dodds famously quipped that Texas doesn’t keep up with the Joneses; the Longhorns were the Joneses.

That brash attitude turned off many who resented Texas’ success, but it was very telling as to the state of the program and those who bought into the Burnt Orange and White.

As we approach the halfway point of the 2015 season, however, the Cadillac is planted in a field of dirt, and that attitude of being the Joneses is long gone. The Longhorns are in an identity crisis, and have been for some time. There has been plenty written about the team’s struggles on the field, but that is only part of this winding, twisting journey the team is on now.

Texas knows who it wants to be; it’s just not sure where it is now or how to get where it needs to go.

The roots of this issue can likely be traced back to the fifth play of the 2010 BCS National Championship Game. Even as an injured Colt McCoy slumped to the turf at the Rose Bowl, the future still appeared bright for Texas. But as we all know now, that marked the turning point in the Longhorns' fortunes.

They went 5-7 the following season to miss out on a bowl game for the first time in forever and were beaten by in-state rivals Texas A&M and (gasp) Baylor for the first time in a decade. Then head coach Mack Brown fanned the flames of this identity crisis by letting offensive coordinator Greg Davis go (a few years too late) and bringing in Boise State wonder boy Bryan Harsin to spice up the offense.

The experiment didn’t last too long, and while Brown kept the team afloat the next two years, eventually the school moved on to what it thought was a new era. The brash Steve Patterson replaced Dodds as athletic director and then promptly replaced Brown with Charlie Strong in a move that came a few years too late.

In his introductory press conference, Strong immediately made it a point to say that he was going to correct one of the biggest ills the program had since losing that title game a few years prior.

“You have to build your program on toughness. That's where all the successful programs, that's what they do,” Strong said at the time, just 21 months ago. “It's all about toughness. Players understand that. If you are a disciplined program and you prepare them the right ways and they have the right focus, that won't be an issue.”

In the face of Texas A&M’s successful move to the SEC and the rise of Baylor in the Big 12, Strong set out to instill the one attribute that everybody from fans to NFL scouts thought the program lacked. In the face of spread offenses around the state and around college football, the Longhorns would be more like Alabama and Stanford (with top recruits) than their uptempo in-conference peers.

It worked in turning around Louisville; why wouldn’t it work with the vast resources at Texas? That toughness was going to be the team’s identity… until it wasn’t.

Strong brought in offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and a number of other staff members from his previous stop and set about trying to recreate success. Only this time, the Longhorns would no longer be allowed to drive a Cadillac but would instead be shuttle around in a pickup truck.

It was a sea change for many Longhorns, but in the era of instant gratification, it was not received quite as intended. The dispirited fanbase still has not bought in, and the football team itself is just 7-11 in the past two seasons, with little chance of reaching .500 anytime soon. Including their most recent game, seven of those troubling 11 losses have been by at least three touchdowns.

Perhaps the most disconcerting part of Saturday’s 50-7 loss to TCU wasn’t that the team failed to beat the Horned Frogs, but rather how they went about losing.

It was 30-0 before the first quarter was over, and it marked the second straight season they were handed a humiliating defeat at the hands of a school Texas itself helped bring into the Big 12. Once again, the offense was unable to do much of anything outside of a few broken plays, and the defense hardly slowed down Trevone Boykin and the TCU offense. 

Texas looks lost on the field and shows no signs of finding a map anytime soon.

Strong has exacerbated the identity crisis by not knowing himself what the team wants to do, especially on offense. Texas wasn’t quite built to run the ball in a pro-style offense and play tough defense in his first year. Seeing this error, Strong later chose to move to a spread offense, but without hiring any coordinators who were deeply ingrained in an offense which has become the norm across college football.

The results were predictable.

Watson was fired after just one game this year, and current play-caller Jay Norvell has not been in a similar position since 2007. That's not exactly a recipe for success, no matter how many 4- and 5-star recruits wind up in Austin.

This identity crisis has played out for other coaches before. Will Muschamp hired Charlie Weis to install a more pro-style offense in his first season at Florida. That misstep, which ended in Weis’ departure to Kansas, was never really corrected, what with a revolving door of coordinator hires and the team's inability to figure out what it wanted to be offensively.

Even Red River rival Oklahoma has been through a similar transition. Bob Stoops won a national title early in his tenure after first bringing in the Air Raid offense to Norman and later saw the team add a few Heisman Trophies to the team room. The Sooners experimented with a more pro-style attack, but last season’s 8-5 record (and fears of backsliding even further) prompted Stoops to go back to what worked.

He ended up hiring coordinator Lincoln Riley—somebody who has been ingrained in the Air Raid since he was a player—in a savvy move that has paid off, as the Sooners look like a championship-caliber team.

Can Strong pull the Cadillac out of the ditch and get it back on the road to greatness? Only time will tell, but first things first, Texas needs to figure out who it wants to be in this day and age before it calls for AAA.

With an interim athletic director focused on mending fences and heated calls already coming for Strong’s job, it appears there will be a long and difficult road for Texas to get back to being the Joneses.

Stuck face-down on the side of the road, perhaps the only saving grace for the Longhorns is that rock bottom is already here. For Strong and his team, no matter how long a leash they get, at least there’s only one direction to go from here.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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Why Texas A&M vs. Florida Is Now Most Likely SEC Championship Game

In August, if you would have told somebody that the most likely matchup in the 2015 SEC Championship Game is Texas A&M vs. Florida, people would have told you that you were crazy.

You don't know football.

You're clearly a fan of either the Aggies or the Gators (or both).

You need to do a little more research.

Yet here we are five weeks into the season, with that being the most likely matchup for the annual event held the first week of December at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

For Florida, the reason is simple. It's the most complete team in the SEC East, and there isn't a close second.

The Gators are giving up just 304.2 yards per game, are giving up just 16.6 points per game (third in the conference), have a front seven that can shut down the run and one of the best secondaries in college football.

The surprise for the Gators this year—and what makes them so dangerous—is that all of the offseason questions we had about the offense have been answered. 

Quarterback Will Grier has thrown 10 touchdowns and only three picks, proved that he can come up big in key spots in the dramatic 28-27 fourth-quarter comeback win over Tennessee in Week 4 and tore up Ole Miss' defense—which is loaded with talent—in a 38-10 home win in Week 5.

He's been the beneficiary a lot of help too.

Once a sore spot, the Gator offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage against the Rebels. Think about that for a second. It wasn't a directional Sun Belt school or an FCS foe, this was Ole Miss. Whether you think the Rebels as a team are overrated as a whole, their front seven led by defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche certainly is not.

"Obviously, the influx of the new guys has been fantastic. Let's not downplay the fact [tackle] Mason Halter's been doing a great job at a lot of different spots," head coach Jim McElwain said, according to quotes emailed by Florida. "Getting [guard] Trip [Thurman] back has been great. Obviously, the young guys have been doing a pretty darn good job in there. I would say the biggest thing I see there is they're starting to understand the value of communication."

Plus the wide receiver trio of Demarcus Robinson, Brandon Powell and Antonio Callaway has brought much-needed balance to the Gators.

"I really think it's a credit to that position group that they're actually investing into how you go about your work schedule," said McElwain. "How you are held accountable to be in the right spot. When you're in the right spot something good usually happens. I like that. I think that's good. What I also, I think, shows is that the quarterback's not like, 'hey, I gotta throw it to this guy,' it's 'let me go through my action and reaction and number three.'"

With a win over Tennessee on its resume and a front seven that's capable of at least slowing down Georgia's Nick Chubb and LSU star Leonard Fournette in their cross-division matchup, Florida is going to be tough to beat in the East.

Out West, there are no complete teams.

LSU's passing offense (95.5 yards per game) is ranked 124th out of 128 FBS teams—three spots behind Georgia Tech, a team that runs the triple option. Ole Miss has a loss and hasn't been able to run between the tackles like it needs to. Alabama has a loss, and we don't know if quarterback Jake Coker can match a team score for score if the Crimson Tide get into a shootout.

Plus, the emergence of running back Tra Carson (430 yards and four touchdowns) coupled with new offensive line coach/running game coordinator Dave Christensen's increased focus on the power rushing attack has given the offense much-needed balance.

The Aggies draw LSU at the end of the year in Baton Rouge, which isn't ideal. But the Tigers will be coming off of a big road trip to Ole Miss, while Texas A&M will have Vanderbilt in Nashville on the next-to-last weekend of the season.

The toughest test for Texas A&M might be against Alabama. But that will be the seventh game in as many weeks for the Crimson Tide, while Texas A&M has a bye week this week leading up to the showdown next weekend in College Station.

Plus, we now know that if the Aggies force their style of football on an opponent, defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall can and will tee off on opposing quarterbacks. Simply put, its high-octane offense puts Texas A&M's defense in prime position for success.

Is Texas A&M perfect?

Of course not.

The run defense ranks next-to-last in the SEC (182.60 yards per game), but that puts it at the back end of a group of five teams that are separated by just 12 rushing yards per game. 

But Ole Miss and Alabama have losses, and it's hard to trust LSU at this point due to its woeful passing attack. 

Texas A&M vs. Florida in Atlanta. Write it down (in pencil), because it's the most likely SEC Championship Game matchup through the first five weeks of the season.


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.

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5-Star Mecole Hardman Jr. Details Timeline for College Decision

With national signing day rapidly approaching, 5-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. has mapped out a plan on how he will make his decision.

“I want to know what school I am going to by the end of November, or somewhere around there,” Hardman told Bleacher Report. “That way, I can start focusing on that team. I will still announce it on signing day like I originally planned. I don’t plan on telling anyone before signing day. Hopefully, I’ll know where I’m going by the end of November.” 

In August, Hardman revealed a top 10 that included Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Stanford and Tennessee.

The nation’s top-rated athlete and No. 21 player overall in the 2016 cycle was on hand last week for Georgia’s deflating loss at the hands of Alabama. However, the trip did nothing to hurt the Bulldogs' chances with him.

“Georgia lost, but it doesn’t change anything,” Hardman said. “It just shows how good ‘Bama is and that they came in ready to play. You can make excuses for a lot of things like the rain and weather, but it was still a good game to come to. I enjoyed every part of it.”

Hardman has been a regular on campus, which isn’t surprising considering the Georgia campus is roughly 30 minutes away from his hometown of Elberton, Georgia.

If the Bulldogs hope to keep him close to home for college, they will have to fend off a number of powerhouse programs from around the country.

In fact, Hardman’s schedule may take him to several different campuses in the coming weeks. 

“I may go to FSU vs. Miami this weekend, but I don’t know. I have to see how it works out,” Hardman said. “If not, I could go to Georgia vs. Tennessee this weekend. The Georgia vs. Missouri game the week after that. Then, FSU vs. Syracuse, I think I will go to that one. I will also take official visits to Ole Miss and Michigan in November. I might also go to the LSU vs. Alabama game.”

Of that group, it’s the Rebels that seem to be making the strongest push for the Peach State standout.

“I think Ole Miss is coming at me the hardest right now. Of all the teams, they are just really on it right now,” Hardman said. “Georgia is coming after me pretty hard. Tennessee has always been on me. ‘Bama is starting to step it up too. Michigan is doing a great job of keeping up with me. They are all on me.”

If Hardman has his way, he will still be involved with the game of football long after his playing days are over. 

As smooth as he is on the field playing quarterback, receiver or corner, the 5’10”, 175-pounder hopes to transition from making plays to breaking them down as a broadcaster when his career concludes. 

“Something to do with sports broadcasting,” Hardman told Bleacher Report of his preferred field after he hangs up his cleats. “I’ll probably major in communications or some type of program like that. I’d like to be on TV as a broadcaster. I think I’d like to do that later on in life even if football doesn’t work out. I feel like that’s something I’d like to do as a job.”

In fact, Hardman said he looks up to one former star player-turned ESPN broadcaster in particular. 

“I kind of like David Pollack,” Hardman said. “I watch him because he kind of goes against teams that you would think he wouldn’t go against. He gets a lot of attention for his picks, but he’s not afraid to go against the grain. I like David Pollack a lot.”

While he is fond of the former Georgia All-American defensive lineman, Bulldogs fans are hoping that he follows in his footsteps to Athens.

Still, his visit schedule is proof that there’s a long way to go before he’s ready to make a decision. 

With a number of important visits on tap, Hardman is taking a business-minded approach with each trip. In fact, he’s outlined the criteria that will eventually help him arrive at a decision.

“I’m looking at how each school is playing and how they will look at the end of the season,” Hardman said. “I want to see the schools in my top group, the schools that I’m interested in, I want to see how they play and experience what it’s like on game day and just go from there. Every school, or most top schools, you can get a good education wherever you go. They all have great coaching staffs. It’s just going to come down to where I feel most comfortable at and where I feel like I can come in and make a great impact early in my career.”


Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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