NCAA Football News
College football is about so much more than just the game.
While football is the main reason why upwards of 100,000 people (sometimes more) congregate on Saturdays between late August and early December each year, the game serves as only one piece of the puzzle.
If college football games were part of a meal, it would be the main course. But it's the courses that lead up to the entree—and the accompanying beverage pairings—that often separate one dining/game-day experience from another.
Yes, we're talking about tailgating—the age-old practice of setting up temporary camp near a football stadium and usually spending more hours in that festive party atmosphere than at the game that drew us there.
Every school has its tailgating traditions, practices and approaches, but some stand out from the pack. Here's our completely unscientific ranking of the top 25 college football tailgating schools for the 2014 season.
The Miami Hurricanes received unfortunate news this week when it was made known senior quarterback Ryan Williams suffered a major injury.
During the second scrimmage of the spring session, Williams tore his ACL while rolling out, quite possibly leaving in the past his dream of starting for the team he loved growing up.
The devastating setback, however, means the Hurricanes will not just start a new quarterback, it will likely be a redshirt freshman.
Plus, Miami will need a few returning starters to improve their respective performances to aid their young gunslinger's progression.
Kevin Olsen Must Step Up
Per Susan Miller Degnan of The Miami Herald, Williams was the clear-cut starter prior to his injury.
But now, Bleacher Report's Ben Kercheval says the senior's injury opens the door for Olsen to take his job, and he's certainly correct. According to the depth chart for the spring game, Olsen is officially the first-stringer.
For now, Gray Crow will serve as his backup, and the sophomore may even hold off Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier during the fall because of his familiarity with the playbook.
While speaking on 560 WQAM's Hurricane Hotline, via Christy Cabrera Chirinos of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Golden said, "[Olsen's] got a good cast around him. He's got to trust the cast and not try to do too much and he needs to prepare, as does Gray."
Fortunately for Olsen, he isn't surrounded by second-tier offensive players.
Paging Duke Johnson, Joseph Yearby and Stacy Coley
Still working through his recovery period, junior running back Duke Johnson will be carrying an even heavier load next season. However, he's ready for it.
According to Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post, "Golden said those who haven’t seen Johnson lately 'are going to be blown away by him—205, 206 pounds. He has really turned a negative into a positive, changed his body. He has an edge about him, can't wait to come back.'"
Porter also notes Duke and Joseph Yearby will "take snaps in controlled settings and could be running full speed by next month."
Though Yearby is an unproven commodity, his highlight film from his time at Miami Central High School is rather impressive.
The Hurricanes are expecting the one-cut back's best skill to translate at the collegiate level, giving "The U" a pair of outstanding finesse backs alongside the powerful Gus Edwards. But as the matchup with Virginia Tech in 2013 showed—28 yards on 24 carries—Miami needs its best running back to carry the team.
Sophomore Stacy Coley is the most explosive wide receiver, evidenced by his 10 total touchdowns scored in four different ways. Flanked by Rashawn Scott, Phillip Dorsett and Malcolm Lewis, Coley will have plenty of opportunities to show off his elite skill as a playmaker.
Olsen simply needs to distribute the ball to his best weapons and ignore any desires to take over a game because a handful of players are better suited to do just that.
Temper Your Expectations, Be Patient
Miami was in no danger of surprising the nation and embarking on a 12- or 13-win campaign with Williams at the helm, but the 'Canes are still expected to have a decent season.
Key word there, my friends: decent.
Olsen is mere months removed from being suspended for the Russell Athletic Bowl and Golden questioning his focus. Per Chirinos, Olsen has turned the corner during the offseason and become "process-oriented" on the practice field.
But the Wayne Hills, N.J., product has not taken a single in-game snap at the collegiate level. Olsen has plenty of potential, but he must be given time to develop, too. The maturation of a college quarterback is not an overnight operation.
Looking at the 2014 schedule, Miami travels to Louisville, Nebraska and Virginia Tech and hosts Florida State and North Carolina. Frankly, two wins would be sufficient while three or four would be an outstanding accomplishment.
As much as every fan of the Hurricanes wants the upcoming campaign to mark the first 10-win season in 11 years, demanding it from a redshirt freshman will result in avoidable disappointment.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
Dorial Green-Beckham's career at Mizzou is in jeopardy as reports are coming out that implicate him at the center of a criminal assault investigation.
Columbia Police Sergeant Joe Bernhard confirmed that Green-Beckham the subject of an investigation, but has not been arrested.
In new details coming from The Maneater, Green-Beckham was witnessed by five to 10 people outside of his apartment building assaulting "a girl." Green-Beckham's sophomore roommates Mike Henke and Chris Connor were in their Brookside Apartments townhouse when at about 2 a.m. they heard yelling coming from outside.
After making their way down to the street, they encountered a neighbor who was frantic for them to call 911.
"He said some guy was hitting a girl," Connor recalled of the neighbor. That neighbor was then heard telling others that Green-Beckham was the assailant.
Talking of the suspension, head coach Gary Pinkel said in a press release, per the Columbia Missourian, "It's unfortunate, but it's the right thing to do for our football program, for the athletic department, and also for Dorial."
As Green-Beckham was leaving the incident in a white Dodge Charger, a woman beat on the side of the vehicle he was riding in. Other unidentified Mizzou teammates told the crowd of witnesses not to call police, according to Connor.
The crowd disobeyed and Columbia police arrived 15 minutes later.
Green-Beckham is a former No. 1 overall recruit out of high school and would be the top wide receiver in the emerging SEC offense at Mizzou. Regardless of whether or not he is found guilty in a criminal proceeding, Green-Beckham's days at Mizzou may be numbered as Pinkel's language may already be an indication that the University is ready to cut ties with the troubled star.
Per Tod Palmer of The Kansas City Star, Sgt. Bernhard said that the results of the criminal investigation would be made available later this week, but made no specifications beyond that.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
Talent can only take you so far in a power conference like the Pac-12; the rest, ultimately, falls on the leadership of veterans like Oregon's Marcus Mariota or UCLA's Brett Hundley, both of whom will need to be vocal both on and off the field in order to take their respective teams to the top.
But the aforementioned players are obvious candidates to be leaders of their squads. They're talented, experienced and looked up to by younger players, especially during the tough times.
What we're looking at here are players who you might not necessarily identify as leaders, but who must nonetheless step their game up in that department in 2014. To be clear, this isn't a knock on the following five guys, but rather a call to action due to a key offseason graduation or presumed expanded role on the field.
All five players have proven skills and played integral parts in their team's successes in 2013. Now, they must learn to become leaders as well.