NCAA Football News

Phillies Pitcher Jonathan Papelbon Makes Guest Appearance on 'College GameDay'

When eccentric Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon was announced as the guest picker on ESPN's College GameDay, many baseball fans surely tuned in to see what surprises he had in store.

Expectations were high:

I'm shocked Papelbon actually had pants on

— Mel (@piney61) October 11, 2014

His swagger level was of high proportion:

Peak Papelbon in the all-maroon suit pic.twitter.com/jBoIDTBpZk

— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) October 11, 2014

There may have been some pregame preparations ...

how drunk is he right now RT @bencelestino: @Lana Papelbon pic.twitter.com/2KCbYNF40L

— Lana Berry (@Lana) October 11, 2014

... and he had some fans on the edge of their seats:

Really though, for a minute there, I thought Papelbon was gonna steal Corso's Bully head and beat him to it.

— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) October 11, 2014

Ultimately, though, it was a classy affair for all involved.

Papelbon living it up on stage. pic.twitter.com/w0tPOGsfoh

— Michael Bonner (@MikeBBonner) October 11, 2014

[Twitter]

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Louisville vs. Clemson: Live Score and Highlights

The Clemson Tigers and Louisville Cardinals are set to square off at 3:30 p.m. ET. Both teams are coming off impressive victories, both in conference play.

The Tigers routed North Carolina State a week ago, 41-0, and Louisville was able to take care of Syracuse in a 28-6 win.

Louisville enters this game with the nation's No. 6 defense in terms of points allowed, so the Tigers offense has a big challenge ahead of it. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson has been very impressive through his first two starts, throwing for eight touchdowns in those two games.

The game will be aired on ESPNU, but stay right here with us for live updates and analysis throughout the contest.

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LSU vs. Florida: Live Score and Highlights

The LSU Tigers look to get back on track as they travel to Gainesville, Florida, to take on the Gators. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will air on the SEC Network.

The Tigers have lost their last two SEC games. They lost their home conference opener against Mississippi State and were dominated by Auburn last week.

They will need more consistency out of quarterback Brandon Harris, who only completed three passes against Auburn.

It won’t be easy for Harris to get going because he is going up against a Florida defensive front that tallied six sacks last week against Tennessee.

However, the Gators have their issues at quarterback as well. Jeff Driskel was benched in the second half of the Tennessee game but will be the starter tonight. But he will need to be on his A-game because the LSU defense is ranked fifth in the conference.

Be sure to come back to this blog when the game kicks off for the latest scoring updates and highlights.

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Best Signs from ESPN's 'College GameDay' Week 7

For the first time ever, ESPN's College GameDay is live from Starkville, and Bulldogs fans are all riled up for Mississippi State's game against Auburn.

The crowd brought the noise, and of course, it brought some hilarious signs.

You knew a Todd Gurley sign was inevitable:

Here is the best of the rest:

[Twitter, 30FPSCollege GameDay]

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Florida State vs. Syracuse: Live Score and Highlights

Florida State 7, Syracuse 0 -- Middle 1st

 

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Georgia vs. Missouri: Live Score and Highlights

Early First Quarter

Georgia 3, Missouri 0

 

A strong defensive stand by the Bulldogs was followed by a Georgia field goal.  How will Missouri respond?

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Texas vs. Oklahoma: Live Score and Highlights

Oklahoma 7 Texas 3 - Late 1st Quarter

The Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns battle in the annual Red River Rivalry matchup. It may not be the biggest game on the Big 12 schedule this weekend, but try telling that to the folks in Dallas.

We’ll be following along the action on ABC and be providing in-game analysis and commentary.

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Bowl Predictions 2014: Latest Projections Before Saturday's Week 7 Action

Most college football fans will agree that last week’s action was some of the wildest and most unpredictable in years, but the focus for many has turned to the 2014 bowl predictions heading into Week 7.

With top programs like Oregon, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, UCLA and others losing in Week 6, how each bounces back and how the current projections have the college football postseason shaking out will be the top storyline on Saturday.

Here are the latest bowl predictions as college football fans prepare for Saturday’s action.

 

 

Predicting the Four Teams That’ll Make the Playoff

As seen from the turnover at the top of the polls, predicting the College Football Playoff is a difficult task. One constant this season has been the Florida State Seminoles holding the top spot in the rankings.

Despite a slow start to the year, defending Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is starting to regain his form and the trust of his coaching staff. If the Florida State roster begins to find its rhythm, the rest of the sport should take notice. The defending national champions have depth on both sides of the ball and have showcased the tenacity needed to be victorious again.

The biggest key for the Seminoles is the favorable schedule. If FSU can make it past Notre Dame on Oct. 18, there will be no ranked teams on the schedule for the remainder of the season. Florida State has the ability to run the table and would ensure a spot in the postseason if the team was to go undefeated.

Another team with the chance to make it into the playoff is the Auburn Tigers. The program sits at No. 2 in the AP rankings but has a tough test against Mississippi State on Saturday. If Auburn can manage to beat the Bulldogs on the road, the school will be on the right path toward a championship.

Unfortunately for Tigers fans, the schedule for Auburn is much more difficult than Florida State’s. After playing Mississippi State this week, battles against South Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama could make or break the team’s postseason chances.

For now, though, Auburn is a serious postseason contender. If the program makes it through its brutal schedule, expect the Tigers to be the No. 1 seed heading into the playoff.

One team not getting the respect it deserves nationally is the Baylor Bears. With an offensive unit ranked first in the country, averaging 51 points per game, and a defense that is ranked fifth, allowing just 12.4 points per game, Baylor is on the cusp of entering the national championship conversation.

The Bears take on a tough TCU team this week and have the chance to prove they are legitimate contenders. The schedule gets tougher starting in Week 7, and Baylor will have to make it past Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State on top of TCU to remain perfect and have a shot at making the postseason.

After watching the Big 12 struggle for the most part this season, the Bears have a legitimate chance to run the table and secure a spot in the College Football Playoff.

The fourth team for the postseason is the most difficult to predict, but Mississippi State is playing so well right now that the program could overcome a loss to Auburn in Week 7 and still be considered a challenger for the national championship.

The Bulldogs have a tough schedule playing in the SEC. Even with a potential loss to the Tigers on Saturday, Mississippi State still has marquee games against Alabama and Ole Miss left to bolster its regular-season resume.

With wins over LSU and Texas A&M earlier this year, the team’s track record would be impressive enough to earn the fourth spot in the postseason.

Regardless of how the playoff shakes out, fans of the sport are excited to see a genuine postseason format instead of the archaic BCS system that held college football hostage for too many years.

 

*Stats via ESPN.com.

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College Football Rankings 2014: Final NCAA Overview of Week 7 Standings

After one of the wildest weekends in recent college football history, the schedule for Week 7 has the potential to be just as wild with five games featuring two ranked teams going head-to-head on Saturday.

With Auburn squaring off against Mississippi State, Ole Miss going to battle with Texas A&M, Big 12 rivals TCU and Baylor in a marquee matchup and more, college football fans will be treated to an enthralling slate of action.

Here are the full rankings heading into Week 7 and the matchups college football fans can’t miss.

 

*Full Amway coaches, Associated Press and Bleacher Report Top 25 polls found here.

 

Week 7’s Top Matchups

There are several intriguing college football battles this weekend, but none have the mainstream appeal that the SEC meeting between Auburn and Mississippi State is garnering.

Auburn is one of the top teams in the nation. With a stellar defensive unit only giving up 14.4 points per game and an offense scoring an average of 42 points per game, it will be tough to stop the Tigers. Mississippi State won’t be afraid of Auburn, though.

After beating LSU and Texas A&M in back-to-back weeks, the Bulldogs have confidence and momentum on top of raw talent. While Auburn has the defensive edge (Mississippi State allows 19.4 points per game), the Bulldogs have an offense just as talented compared to the Tigers, averaging 42.6 points per game.

Auburn defensive tackle Gabe Wright told the Associated Press, via the Washington Post, about the problems his team could face against Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott:

He puts a tremendous amount of pressure on you. He is a dual-threat quarterback and just saying that, I think that in itself already speaks volumes. Dual-threat means he can both run and pass. And he’s mentally capable to run their offense now. I think he’s more comfortable now.

The resulting war on Saturday could produce the most interesting game of the week.

Another SEC battle worth watching is the red-hot Ole Miss Rebels taking on the Texas A&M Aggies. After Texas A&M lost to Mississippi State last week, a second loss to a team from Mississippi may be too much for the Aggies to handle. The Rebels are coming off a huge win over Alabama and should be able to put Texas A&M away.

The next intriguing game will be the Big 12 battle between the Baylor Bears and the TCU Horned Frogs. The fast-paced, high-scoring offense of the Bears is the best in college football with an average of 51 points per game, but the defense is vastly underrated, allowing just 12.4 points per game.

Baylor hasn’t played a team as good as TCU this season, though. The Horned Frogs took down the Oklahoma Sooners in Week 6, and their 12th-ranked offense and seventh-ranked defense will give the Bears the toughest test they have faced so far this season. The winner of this matchup will gain instant credibility among College Football Playoff voters.

One matchup not getting the love it deserves is the Oregon Ducks against the UCLA Bruins. The Ducks have been one of the best teams in the nation, but a tough loss to Arizona last week has many fans souring on Oregon’s national championship hopes. UCLA is also coming off a loss to Utah, and the resulting matchup will be two ranked teams looking to rebuild their postseason resumes.

There are also several other marquee matchups fans can enjoy—including Arizona vs. USC, Georgia vs. Missouri and many others—but the aforementioned games will steal the mainstream spotlight this week.

With a serious chance of fireworks in each game, college football fans can’t miss Week 7’s action.

 

*Stats via ESPN.com.

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Washington State vs. Stanford: Score and Twitter Reaction

Much of the talk entering Friday night's Pac-12 showdown between Washington State at Stanford centered around Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday after his record-setting performance the week prior. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan decided to steal the show.

The No. 25 Cardinal outlasted Washington State at home Friday, 34-17 in a game that Stanford controlled from the opening drive. Hogan led the way offensively, going 23-for-35 through the air for 284 yards and three touchdowns to overcome Stanford's early red-zone troubles.

ESPN College Football summed up the result:

Headed by Mike Leach's typical aerial assault, Washington State (2-5, 1-3 Pac-12) refused to go away by trimming the deficit to one possession in both the third and fourth quarters. Halliday went 44-for-71 passing with 303 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while the Cougars ran it just 10 times total.

But when they needed a score to threaten the lead, Stanford's defense simply rose to the task by forcing eight Washington State punts. 

Here's a glance at the final box score:

Stanford (4-2, 2-1) may have been looking forward to coming home after losing at Notre Dame last week, but that feeling changed after seeing Halliday break a NCAA record with 734 passing yards—in a loss—against Cal. After watching film all week, the Cardinal players had a good idea what they were up against.

"It's hard to get reads (on Halliday),"Stanford cornerback Alex Carter told San Francisco Chronicle's Tom FitzGerald. "You just have to focus on your assignment and play your man. Hopefully, he makes a mistake here and there, and we can capitalize on that. I'm going to lock down whoever I’m on."

Stanford's preparation showed off, and one of the nation's traditional defensive powers flexed its muscle early. After its offense drove down the field for an opening field goal, the Cardinal allowed just one Cougar first down before forcing a punt.

Stanford quickly jumped to take advantage. A pair of rushes from Remound Wright and Christian McCaffrey set up Hogan's 39-yard touchdown pass to Eric Cotton.

The game wasn't five minutes old, but Stanford had raced out to a 10-0 advantage.

Halliday quickly mounted an answer, throwing 11 times on an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a nine-yard touchdown to Vince Mayle. But that was all the success Washington State would find early.

The Cougars punted on six of their seven first-half drives, and Stanford's Ty Montgomery had a second-quarter punt return that set up Hogan's second touchdown toss of the game to put the Cardinal up 17-7 at the break.

It wasn't Stanford's lead, but rather its red-zone shortcomings that were the story from the opening half. The Cardinal's last two drives entered the red zone, with only a fumble and a missed field goal to show.

ESPN Stats and Info noted Stanford's horrible red-zone rating:

Jon Solomon of CBS Sports added some context:

Washington State strung together a 14-play drive early in the third quarter, but a brutal intentional grounding penalty on Halliday pushed the Cougars out of the red zone and set up a field goal to make it a 17-10 contest.

Just when Leach and Co. were knocking on the door, Hogan politely shut the door. The Cardinal answered with a nine-play, 56-yard drive. And most importantly, they got it done in the red zone—Hogan threw for his third touchdown on a four-yard toss to Greg Taboada.

David Lombardi of ESPN noticed they let Hogan be Hogan, but most importantly they made it a 24-10 contest:

But as Cal would tell you, Washington State is never out of a game when Halliday is slinging the ball and orchestrating long drives. 

Another lengthy march down the field for the Cougars came, running only twice while throwing 14 times. After a five-minute drive, Halliday escaped the pocket and threw across the field on fourth-and-goal with River Cracraft open for a three-yard touchdown that made it a one-score game yet again.

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com broke down how Halliday looked on the play:

Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports gave a more blunt description:

Washington State didn't have its typical success offensively, something that was expected given the step-up in competition. But that required the defense to step up and force stops in key moments, which it proved unable to do.

Stanford again got the ball back with a one-possession game, and again drove down the field for a 34-yard field goal that made it a double-digit game. Halliday got behind the chains on his next attempt to go down the field, and Stanford took the air out of the ball and pounded the rock late to score a late touchdown that put the game out of reach.

While Washington State's defense couldn't rise to the occasion, Stanford's unit did constantly and was able to thwart the nation's hottest passer. College GameDay noted Stanford's 2014 success:

The defensive success is all well and good, but Stanford still has two early-season defeats to make up for—as told by its plummet to No. 25 in the rankings. With ranked opponents in three of the Cardinal's next four games, however, a 17-point win over a dangerous divisional foe could be just the morale boost they need.

Stanford faces No. 20 Arizona State next weekend in a matchup that will decide which of the two squads has a serious chance at contending in their respective division.

As for Washington State, it has already fallen three times in conference play. After nearly toppling Oregon early in the season, Leach and his coaching staff now look for answers heading into a bye week.

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Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Kansas Jayhawks: Complete Game Preview

The Oklahoma State Cowboys came out of the gate a little sluggish last weekend against the Iowa State Cyclones, but right before halftime the kicking game gave them a much-needed boost to give them a 13-6 lead going into the half.

Ultimately, the Pokes managed to turn on the jets in the second half and ride the momentum generated by the special teams to a 37-20 victory.

Kansas hasn't been as fortunate, as the Jayhawks have lost their two Big 12 games by a combined 42 points so far. That's led to Charlie Weis losing his job and has put this team into a bit of turmoil.

On paper, this looks like an easy win for the Cowboys; however, this has the potential for a classic trap game on the road.

Can Oklahoma State take care of business and improve to 5-1 before it hits the meat of its schedule? Read on to find out.

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College Football: Top 5 Games to Watch in Week 7

It will be another exciting week of college football, especially with both Mississippi schools looking to earn another huge victory for the second week in a row. 

As if there wasn’t enough interest in the SEC West already, No. 2 Auburn travels to Starkville to face No. 3 Mississippi State, while No. 3 Ole Miss heads into hostile Kyle Field in hopes of knocking off a No. 14 Texas A&M team that knows how to score points. 

With much of the focus on games in the SEC West, the SEC East could be decided this week with No. 13 Georgia out to prove it can take down No. 23 Missouri without one of the best players in the country, Todd Gurley

No. 12 Oregon and No. 16 UCLA will surprisingly limp into the Rose Bowl, after both suffered crushing defeats at home last week. The winner in this matchup will stay in the hunt for a national title. 

Speaking off joining the national title hunt, the winner of No. 9 TCU and No. 5 Baylor in Waco, Texas, will be the front-runner to win the Big 12 and join the national title race as well. The Horned Frogs could put themselves in position to win their first conference title since 2011, which was when they were still a member of the Mountain West Conference, with back-to-back wins over Oklahoma and Baylor.

On a Saturday that could feature many high-scoring outcomes, here are the top five games to watch in Week 7.   

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Jameis Winston Faces Disciplinary Hearing over 2012 Sexual Assault Allegations

Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com reported that Florida State notified quarterback Jameis Winston on Friday that he will face a disciplinary hearing regarding sexual assault allegations from 2012.

Florida State’s interim president Garnett Stokes and vice president for student affairs Mary B. Coburn sent a letter to Winston and his attorney stating that the quarterback could be charged with as many as four violations of the school’s student conduct code.

Two of those four potential violations involve sexual conduct.

The next step for Winston is to contact the school's Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and schedule an information hearing. That hearing will address the impending student conduct hearing that could impact Winston's future with the football team and university.

What's more, Florida State is being investigated by the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights about whether the school did enough to protect the Title IX rights of the woman who accused Winston.

The letter sent Friday differs from what Winston’s attorney, David Cornwell, tweeted out earlier:

On the field, Winston was part of the Florida State team that finished the 2013 season undefeated and won the national title. The defending Heisman Trophy winner was also suspended during the Clemson game earlier this season for yelling an obscene phrase on campus. Florida State, absent its star QB, narrowly escaped that game with a victory.

This latest development comes after Kevin Vaughan of Fox Sports reported the following Friday:

“Florida State University officials and Tallahassee police took steps to both hide, and then hinder, the criminal investigation into a rape allegation against the school's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston last fall, a FOX Sports investigation has found.”

The entire Vaughan report can be found here.

It remains to be seen what the immediate and future fallout from these latest developments will be for the school and quarterback.

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College Football Week 7: Live Scores, Highlights and Reaction

Can anything top last week?

We’re certainly hoping Week 7 comes close to the wild chaos that took place last Saturday.

There are a number of games capable of going down to the wire, so get ready for another fun weekend.

It all starts off with No. 23 Missouri hosting No. 13 Georgia on CBS at noon ET. The Bulldogs will be out for revenge after last year's loss, but things could get difficult without Todd Gurley playing. 

Immediately following on the same network at 3:30 p.m. ET is the top game of the weekend, with No. 2 Auburn traveling to No. 3 Mississippi State.

Will Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs continue to climb, or can Nick Marshall prove Auburn is still the team to beat in the SEC? 

Out West, No. 18 UCLA hosts No. 12 Oregon at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox, and No. 10 Arizona hosts the USC Trojans at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Who will reign supreme in the Pac-12 after this weekend? 

The premier night game on Saturday pits No. 3 Ole Miss against No. 14 Texas A&M. The Aggies fell flat a week ago, but look for them to come out strong against the talented Rebels.

Who will be on top in the SEC when Week 7 is all said and done? 

Keep it locked right here with Bleacher Report for the latest scores, updates and highlights from Saturday’s action.

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