NCAA Football News

Samaje Perine Injury: Updates on Oklahoma RB's Recovery from Ankle Surgery

Oklahoma Sooners running back Samaje Perine will not be on the field until fall practice because of an ankle injury.

Continue for updates.

Perine Underwent Ankle Surgery Monday, Jan. 11

The Sooners' leading rusher in 2015, with 1,349 yards and 16 touchdowns, will miss spring practice after having surgery to repair a ligament in his ankle, which he hurt in the Orange Bowl against the Clemson Tigers, per ESPN's Matt Fortuna.

Clemson held Perine to 58 yards on only 15 carries in Oklahoma's 37-17 loss to the Tigers.

The good news for Perine is that he's handling the situation now and could be ready when the Sooners report to practice again after the summer. Perine was one of the biggest reasons why Oklahoma finished the season strong and earned a spot in the College Football Playoff.

He ran for 166, 188 and 131 yards, respectively, in Oklahoma's last three regular-season games, carrying the Sooners to the Big 12 championship.

Oklahoma tweeted an update on Perine's injury, followed by a short statement from head coach Bob Stoops:

Perine's absence will provide opportunities for others to break out in the backfield. Freshman tailback Joe Mixon ran for 753 yards as Perine's backup, with his best performance coming against Oklahoma State, when he had 14 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

While Mixon showed he's going to be great, having Perine in the backfield alongside quarterback Baker Mayfield is the preferred option for the Sooners.

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6'3", 242-Pound Derrick Henry Makes 5'9", 215-Pound Mark Ingram Look Like a Fan

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (5'9", 215 lbs) would look like a big dude compared to a common fan.

Next to Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry (6'3", 242 lbs), Ingram finds himself looking like just an ordinary fan. That's just what Henry can to do people.

Ingram—the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner—was an honorary captain for Monday night's College Football Playoff Championship Game. When he stood next to this year's Heisman Trophy winner during the coin toss, nobody could have guessed that the Saints running back played in the NFL.

Now, we have the greatest shot since Baylor's Shawn Oakman became an Internet sensation because of his massive frame at the 2015 Cotton Bowl.

[Twitter]

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Ohio State, Texas, Michigan Top Most Valuable College Football Team Rankings

Ohio State may have fallen short of repeating as national champion, but the Buckeyes will retain a claim among college football’s elite as the nation’s most valuable program.  

The Buckeyes are worth close to an astounding $1 billion, according to a study by financial professor Ryan Brewer at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (h/t Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal).

Last year the Buckeyes surpassed Texas, which this year placed a distant second at $855.05 million to Ohio State’s $946.61 million. Michigan ranked third at $811.3 million.    

Here is a look at the 10 most valuable programs:   

The survey was created to gauge what each program would be worth if it could be bought as a professional franchise. Valuations are determined by revenues and expenses, with cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections, per Beaton.

As high a ceiling as these figures may seem, the overall value of the FBS has dropped an average of 1.8 percent, which Beaton elaborated on:

The reasons for the drop were concerns about concussions and football’s safety, declining youth football participation, lack of resolution over pay-for-play concerns, and the scheduling of the College Football Playoff, which saw ratings for the semifinals fall by nearly 40% when played on New Year’s Eve this year, as opposed to New Year’s Day. 

Alabama finished with the second-highest revenue at $120 million with a total value of $694.9 million, the highest in the SEC. That figure is almost three times higher than its national title game counterpart, Clemson, which is worth a reported $237.5 million, 30th in the FBS.

These mind-boggling figures for amateur athletics encompass just how strong the following has become for FBS football. 

To create context, Ohio State is worth more than half of the NBA’s 30 franchises, per Forbes.

This is in an era when most Olympic hopefuls—fellow amateurs—are so strapped for cash that Team USA launched a registry last year to help fundraising efforts to ensure qualified athletes can actually reach the Games in Rio de Janeiro this August.

But the buck clearly doesn’t stop here. Even in a decline, college football is still as prevalent as ever, and these values don’t appear like they'll dwindle any time soon. 

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Alabama vs. Clemson: Live Score, Highlights for CFP National Championship Game

Alabama 7, Clemson 0—Mid 1st Quarter

The No. 1 Clemson Tigers are battling the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide for the national championship.

ESPN is televising the matchup. Bleacher Report is providing scoring updates, highlights, analysis and reaction.

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Kevin Wilson, Indiana Agree on New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The Indiana Hoosiers and head football coach Kevin Wilson agreed to a new six-year contract worth $15.3 million on Monday.

Indiana's official athletics website confirmed the fresh deal through a news release, indicating Wilson would earn $2.55 million in annual salary.   

Wilson has posted a 20-41 record in five seasons but got the Hoosiers to a bowl game this year. He has made the program more competitive since starting 1-11 during his maiden season in 2011.

Director of athletics Fred Glass spoke about the decision to keep Wilson for the long haul, per the news release:

This contract reflects our commitment to Kevin, to continuity, and to Indiana University Football. Kevin has done a great job building our program into one that is competitive with the great teams of the Big Ten and the nation. We are confident that he will continue to lead us to sustained success on the field and in the classroom.

Wilson also commented on the situation and applauded the united administrative front that has allowed him to continue building the program:

Coupled with an already solid foundation, this ensures stability as we continue to build a winning program in the Big Ten East, one of the great divisions in college football. The administration has shown a total commitment to our program development, continuity, staffing, recruiting and facilities, and has invested heavily in the development of and experience for our students. We are excited for the opportunity and embrace the challenge ahead. My family and I love Indiana and we are all proud Hoosiers. Go IU!

Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com alluded to the difficulties Hoosier football has endured of late in Bloomington while assessing Wilson's extension:   

The Big Ten is a difficult conference with established powers such as Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan to contend with in the East Division alone. Thanks to an offense that ranked in the top 25 in scoring this year, though, Indiana put up a fight against some of the Big Ten's best.

Ohio State only managed to defeat the Hoosiers by a score of 34-27, which was Indiana's first loss of the season after a 4-0 start. Wilson's feisty bunch also lost by only eight points to Rose Bowl participant Iowa and by seven to the Wolverines.

Both Jordan Howard and Devine Redding ran for over 1,000 yards in 2015 for Indiana, while quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 3,573 yards and 27 touchdowns. In the Pinstripe Bowl, the Hoosiers scored plenty but couldn't get enough stops in a controversial 44-41 loss to Duke, dropping their record to 6-7.

The spread offense Wilson brought with him from Oklahoma has evidently started paying huge dividends. It proved effective this year even with the loss of star running back Tevin Coleman to the NFL.

If Wilson can recruit a bit more talent on the defensive side of the ball and continue helping the Hoosiers light up the scoreboard, a big step forward may be on the horizon.

So while the decision to extend Wilson's tenure may not seem logical based on his bottom-line results to date, there is considerable merit to keeping him in the fold.

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Clemson Fan Takes Shot at Alabama RB Derrick Henry with Sign Ahead of Title Game

It's the last day of the 2015-16 college football season, and with everything on the line on Monday night, you better believe there were some GameDay signs in Glendale, Arizona.

One Clemson Tigers fan didn't hold back as he took a shot at Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry. Emphasis on running back.

Seeing a golden opportunity, the Clemson fan used the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner's position and hairline as the punchline for a sign.

That Tigers fan was hardly the only one taking shots at the Crimson Tide:

Clemson fans aren't messing around with their signs.

The Tigers and the Crimson Tide will square off for the national title at 8:30 p.m. ET.

[College GameDay]

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Keenan Reynolds to Attend President Obama's State of the Union Address

Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds will cap off his football career by attending President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address on Tuesday, according to Navy Athletics.

The senior signal-caller will be a guest of Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper:

Reynolds led the Midshipmen to a program-best 11 wins last season and set NCAA records for total points scored (530), career rushing touchdowns (88) and career rushing yards by a quarterback (4,559). 

Reynolds, a four-year starter, led the Navy senior class to 36 wins, tying the program record set by the 1909 class but exceeding the incumbents with three bowl wins.

He finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting last season, which was the highest among Service Academy players since Roger Staubach claimed the sport’s most prestigious award at Navy in 1963.

Here is an impressive list of the players Reynolds finished ahead of in the Heisman race:

This won’t be Reynolds’ first encounter with Obama, as he and the Midshipmen have met with the President twice after winning the Commander-in-Chief Trophy.

These prominent meet-and-greets are merely the norm for the star quarterback these days.

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2016 Early-Enrollee Recruits Who Will Make Biggest Impact

College football coaches and fans put plenty of focus on national signing day success. However, concrete evidence of a quality recruiting class isn't truly uncovered until years down the road when young athletes have been allotted time to mature on and off the field.

That's why it's pivotal for every program to land at least a few prospects capable of contributing immediately as true freshmen. This initial climb up the depth chart is aided immensely when high school seniors are able to graduate early and enroll on campus in January.

Players across America are making that leap this week, beginning work in the classroom, living alongside new teammates and preparing for spring practice. It's a significant transition that tests the mental and physical fortitude of talented teens.

We took a look across the national landscape, pinpointing eight early enrollees who will be counted on to contribute. Not every top-rated recruit will encounter opportunities to compete early, so our focus here is on those who appear to have a particularly clear path to instant playing time.   

Begin Slideshow

Clemson vs. Alabama: Latest Predictions Ahead of National Title Game

The undefeated Clemson Tigers are the next team in line to enter the lion's den against the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide on Monday night in the 2016 College Football Playoff title game.

The Tigers—like their head coach, Dabo Swinney—fear nothing.

They've ran the gauntlet all season long in the ACC against teams such as the Florida State Seminoles, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and a North Carolina Tar Heels team that had won 11 straight games prior to its meeting with the Tigers.

They held the hottest team in the country at the time—the Oklahoma Sooners—scoreless in the second half of the Orange Bowl on New Year's Eve without All-American defensive end Shaq Lawson.

Despite the knee sprain in the first quarter of the Orange Bowl, Lawson is expected to play on Monday night, per the Associated Press (via USA Today).

College football's top-ranked team has "brought [its] own guts" all season, and it's ready for the challenge of facing the sport's gold standard and its architect.

“If you guys remembered, on signing day, I said we're going to win a national championship,” Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander said, per Sam Khan Jr. of ESPN.com. “I really believed it. ... I said we would be here and we would win it all. We're here and it's time to win it all.”

Alexander was one of the stern voices during media day in Glendale, Arizona, and he took on Swinney's confident and energetic personality when the media asked about Alabama being the favorite in Monday's game.

“You guys really don't believe that,” Alexander said. “You guys are looking at the brand and the big A and what they've done in the past. It's not about that. It's about right now. You guys are looking at the brand too much. That's all. You guys know we've got a better team.”

To a degree, Alexander has a point and a legitimate one at that.

There's an issue, though.

Alexander could be in a limited role at best on Monday night, per CollegeFootball 24/7.

There's also another issue for the Tigers. 

They're playing college football's version of the Roman Empire.

For the fourth time in the last seven seasons, Alabama is playing for a national championship. The previous three trips to the title game were all convincing victories.

It's the same story in a different year for the Crimson Tide.

The more the contenders change, the more dominant Alabama has become.

Under head coach Nick Saban, Alabama has lost just 18 games since 2007.

In the three previous title games that Alabama has played in under Saban, the Crimson Tide defense has only given up 35 total points, including in a shutout in the 2012 title game against LSU.

Yeah, that's the game in which LSU's offense didn't cross midfield until there were eight minutes left in the contest.

However, to Alexander's credit (and confidence), his point has some validity. Plus, have the Tide played a team as talented as this year's Clemson bunch? Outside of Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl last season, not many (if any) can match Clemson's speed and overall talent.

Of course, we've asked this question many times before, and it usually ends with a Saban defense leaving the opponent's offense looking like the fallen in the movie 300.

Alabama gave up 258 yards per game this season, the second-best average in the country.

Clemson gave up 296 yards this season, the seventh-least amount.

Only 16 teams gave up fewer than Alabama's 184.2 passing yards per game this season.

Just four teams gave up fewer passing yards per contest than Clemson's 166.9 passing yards this season.

In Matt Miller's current Top 300 NFL draft board on Bleacher Report, Alabama has four prospects inside his top 50 players, while Clemson has three.

 

Breakdown

When Clemson has the ball

If Clemson is going to keep the Tide from their fourth title in the last seven years, it has to be able to crack the code of the Alabama run defense.

Alabama gave up 962 total rushing yards this season. That's 74 rushing yards allowed a game.

Also, this is the same defense that held LSU running back Leonard Fournette to 31 yards on 19 carries.

It's quite good.

Here's what LSU didn't have: Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson.

Watson will be the best quarterback the Tide have faced all season long, and with his dual-threat playmaking ability in and out of the pocket, the Tigers can make life much harder for the Tide defense than some teams have.

On top of Watson's dynamic play under center, Wayne Gallman was the most underrated running back in the entire country this season with 1,482 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Throughout the Tigers' undefeated run to Glendale, Watson has been the coolest head in the stadium. For Clemson to have a chance, Watson has to keep that cool demeanor on the biggest stage of the season.

The one thing that's been able to crack Alabama's armor in recent years is a quarterback who can move the sticks and light up the scoreboard with his arm and his legs.

Film study with Saban probably wasn't fun after Alabama's meetings with Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel and Trevor Knight in the last few years.

Watson might be the best of the bunch, and he'll have to be for the Tigers.

 

When Alabama has the ball

Clemson's defense—led by Alexander and Lawson—is one of the best units in the country.

Deshaun Watson was outstanding all season long, but the Tigers wouldn't be in this position without their defense. (Watch the very end of the Notre Dame game once more.)

But, the Clemson defense has yet to face a weapon like Alabama possesses.

Running back Derrick Henry is college football's version of the Blue Marvel.

Henry was this year's Heisman Trophy winner and became the only player in SEC history to rush for 2,000-plus yards in a season.

He's a tank in terms of his workload and his pure power and strength at 6'3" and 242 pounds.

Clemson ranks inside the top 25 teams in terms of rushing defense, but it's yet to face a bruiser and a force like Henry.

If Lawson and the talented front of Clemson can't get off the line of scrimmage on Monday, Henry might cap off the best season in SEC history for a running back with one more dominant performance.

 

Prediction

Clemson is one of the few teams in the country that can keep up with Alabama's talent and overall excellence.

It's an exclusive list, but the Tigers can beat the Tide.

Will they?

According to the 11 college football experts at Sports Illustrated, 10 of them don't think the Tigers can get the job done:

In the quintet of NFL.com experts who picked the outcome of Monday's title game, all five had Alabama coming out on top:

There's a slim chance Clemson can beat Alabama, and most predictions have the Tide rolling through the Tigers.

But embracing the underdog role has been something Clemson has done all season long.

The Tigers will upset the Tide in a thriller, and it will be thanks to the play of Deshaun Watson.

If Watson plays like the 2010 version of Cam Newton, the Tigers won't have a Heisman Trophy, but they'll have a national championship trophy on their flight back home to South Carolina.

Clemson upsets Alabama, 30-27

 

Michael Whitlow is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. You can read the rest of Michael's work here or you can follow him on Twitter: @MAWhitlow.

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Chad Kelly to Return to Ole Miss for Senior Season: Latest Comments, Reaction

The Ole Miss Rebels will have at least one of their star NFL draft-eligible players return, as junior quarterback Chad Kelly announced he'll be back in 2016, according to the Buffalo News

Kelly, the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, returned on the belief the Rebels can contend in the SEC next season:

After serious discussion with my family and Coach [Hugh] Freeze, I wanted my friends and fans to know that I’ll be staying at Ole Miss for my senior year. I look forward to completing my degree and graduating from Ole Miss. We’ve lost a lot of starters, but we’re still deep in talent, and I’m excited to get back to work with Coach Freeze, Coach Werner and the rest of the team.

Kelly led Ole Miss to its first 10-win season since 2003, which included its first Sugar Bowl victory in 46 years and a Week 3 win over No. 2 Alabama.

Kelly led the SEC with 4,042 passing yards and 31 touchdowns in just his first season in the nation’s toughest conference. 

Behind his offensive leadership, the Rebels nearly reached the SEC title game before a miraculous 4th-and-25 conversion cost them in a 53-52 overtime defeat to Arkansas that handed them their second conference loss and conceded the division to Alabama.

The drive to build up his heroics and usurp the conference heavyweights under the guidance of Freeze played a major factor in his return:

As a Kelly, I’ve been fortunate to grow up with a tight knit family. Coach Freeze and everyone here at Ole Miss have become a part of my family. We have the best students, the best staff, and just as importantly, the best fans in the country. Our goal this year is to win the SEC West and to compete for a National Championship.

However, Kelly and Co. must do so without three projected first-round picks, as Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell have all declared.

While those aspirations seem lofty, the Rebels do have the nation’s No. 7 incoming recruiting class, per 247Sports, which should provide immediate depth—albeit depth that's young and inexperienced.

Kelly initially enrolled at Clemson in 2012 and was thought to be the heir to Tajh Boyd. But he was dismissed for "conduct detrimental to the program" after two seasons. He signed with East Mississippi Community College in 2014, then enrolled at Ole Miss last year.

His off-the-field antics didn’t spill over in Oxford, though, and he appears more focused on football. If Kelly can find other reliable weapons on offense, the Rebels could be in store for another great year.

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