NCAA Football News

Big 12 Wins NCAA Vote for Right to Hold Championship Game: Details, Reaction

After playing the last five years without a conference championship game, the Big 12 will bring it back after winning an NCAA vote.    

Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that the NCAA vote granted the Big 12 its right to stage a title game featuring the top two teams in the conference during the regular season. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Power Ranking Top 25 College Football Coaches

Alabama coach Nick Saban claimed his fifth national championship on Monday night, the fourth with the Crimson Tide in just the last seven seasons. That puts him in elite company, as only legendary 'Bama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant has claimed more national titles.

With this latest championship in hand, Saban is sure to rank among the greatest coaches in college football history when his career is done. But what about among current FBS head coaches?

We've listed the 25 best coaches who will be on the sidelines for the 2016 season, their ranking determined by a combination of overall success, what they've done recently and how well-regarded they are in the industry. Only coaches who were in their current job in 2015 were considered, since the likes of Justin Fuente (Memphis), Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia) and Mark Richt (Miami, Florida) have yet to show what they can do in their new gig.

Check out how everyone stacked up, then give us your thoughts in the comments section.

Begin Slideshow

TE over DE: 4-Star ATH Devin Asiasi Looking to Play Offense in College

With a little more than nine minutes remaining in last Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl, 4-star athlete Devin Asiasi caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Stanford Cardinals quarterback commit K.J. Costello to extend the West's lead over the East. The touchdown capped a 37-9 West win.

The touchdown helped support the "pro" argument of Asiasi playing tight end at the next level. The "con" argument involves putting the 6'3", 270-pound athlete on the defensive line as a defensive end.

For Asiasi, convincing everyone that he can play tight end has been a little tougher than originally expected. Asiasi wants to play tight end in college, even though many are still saying that he'd make more of an impact on the other side of the ball.

"In general, people think I'm going to be a D-end. I want to play tight end. That's where my heart's at," said Asiasi, who played both positions for De La Salle High School in Concord, California. "I'm going to come out every day and prove myself that I can be a tight end at the next level. That's where my mentality is every day."

Asiasi said he's considering schools that will allow him to live out his college dreams of becoming a reliable offensive option. On the weekend of Jan. 15, he will make the first of three official visits this month, as he takes in Washington. Asiasi, who has 22 reported offers, will visit the Michigan Wolverines the weekend of Jan. 22, and he'll visit the USC Trojans the weekend of Jan. 29.

A fourth school to keep an eye on is UCLA. Asiasi took an official visit to UCLA last month, and with Asiasi's recruiting contact from USC, Marques Tuiasosopo, leaving the Trojans to become the quarterbacks coach at UCLA, the Bruins are a team to watch for national signing day. Prior to Tuisasosopo's departure, USC was considered a favorite to land Asiasi.

The new national champion Alabama Crimson Tide round out Asiasi's top five. All five schools are solid options. And, perhaps more importantly, all of the schools are allowing Asiasi to play on the offensive side of the ball.

"I come out every day working hard to get blocking techniques down and schemes down," he said. "I'm going to prove I can do it every day."

De La Salle won the CIF Open Division state championship last month, and Asiasi, used more as a blocking tight end, caught 17 passes for 311 yards and five touchdowns this season, per MaxPreps.com. Defensively, Asiasi finished with 49 tackles, five pass deflections and four sacks as a defensive end.

Because of his versatility, Asiasi is listed as a jumbo athlete and is ranked No. 4 in the 2016 class among all athletes. He is ranked No. 51 overall in the class.

Statistically, it's easy to see why many feel his ticket to early playing time in college would come as a defender. To Asiasi, however, playing tight end fulfills a dream he said he's had since he was a young boy.

For now, it's all about finding the right place to fulfill that dream.

"I'm just looking for a good position coach, someone who can get me ready for the next level," Asiasi said. "I want to be around good people and be at a place where I can graduate in three-and-a-half years. Life after football is important to me."

"The winning school will get everything I can provide. Whatever the coaches want me to do, that's what I'll be there for. Hopefully, I can elevate my game to the next level."

 

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports.com's composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Super Early Top 25 Preseason Poll for 2016 College Football Season

The 2015-16 college football season is officially in the rearview mirror. So, what do you do now? Stare longingly out a window for eight months? Pick up a couple of new avocations? Re-watch highlights on YouTube all day?

There's no wrong answer, but you can also take a blindfold and start throwing darts at a board to project next year's Top 25. That's what we're doing.

(Kidding. This is a touch more scientific than that.)  

After all, it's never too early to look ahead. Otherwise, what else would we talk about in the offseason?

As with every way-too-early Top 25, this is not a projection of how teams will finish the season or their path to the College Football Playoff/national championship in 2016. On the contrary, it's a ranking of the teams right now heading into the offseason based on who's coming back from a coaching and personnel standpoint. 

With that said, take a gander at B/R's official way-too-early poll and sound off in the comment section below. Then, you can go back to looking out your window. 

Begin Slideshow

What's Left for Alabama's Nick Saban to Do in College Football?

It took until his third head coaching job, but in 2004, at the ripe old age of 51, Nick Saban had finally arrived atop the mountain. Holding up the crystal ball after beating Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game at the Sugar Bowl, few could have predicted the wild ride the then-LSU coach was about to embark on over the next decade-plus.

But here we stand. That one title led to an NFL gig, which later begat an escape from the league to the comforts of Tuscaloosa. The rest, as they say, is history, and things continued to roll right along for Saban as he put the finishing touches on his fifth title Monday night in dramatic fashion against Clemson.

The resume is now an all-timer for the son of a West Virginia gas station owner, putting Saban one ring behind fellow Alabama titan Bear Bryant for most in history by a college head coach. Considering Saban’s five came in the modern era of 85-man scholarship limits, 24/7 coverage and national recruiting competitiveness, one realizes that all that "greatest of all time" talk is both real and warranted.

That’s why, after he stood on the stage at University of Phoenix Stadium to collect that shiny new national championship trophy once again, one cannot help but wonder: Is there anything left for Saban to accomplish in college football?

When asked about his legacy at his press conference following the title game, Saban said:

I really haven't thought about it. After somebody asked me that question the other day, the first thing that came to my mind was my first game at Michigan State when we played Nebraska, when Tom Osborne was the coach, and we got beat like, 56-7, and I had been in the NFL for four years, and I'm saying, 'We may never win a game as a college coach.'

I learned a lesson that day, and you know, as long as you do this, it's always about your next play. It's always about the next game. So I've never really ever thought too much about all that. I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for all the players who have played for us, came to our school, bought into our program, did the things that they needed to do to have a chance to experience a championship, whether it was at LSU or the four at Alabama.

That's where most of my appreciation lies, with the players.

Let’s start with those players, and the fact that Saban is pretty good at identifying great ones and making them better. The seeds of this year’s title came from the quick development of his 2015 recruiting class, ranked No. 1 in the country in the 247Sports composite team rankings. That's an impressive accomplishment, but it's overshadowed by the fact it was the fifth straight year Alabama finished No. 1 overall.

Nothing encapsulated Saban’s dominance in recruiting more than during a key stretch in the fourth quarter of this year’s title game. After storming back to take a 31-24 lead, the Tide were in danger of letting Clemson retake momentum as they marched down into the red zone following O.J. Howard’s second score of the night.

With most of the defensive line huffing and puffing from the Tigers’ uptempo attack, Alabama rotated in defensive end Da’Shawn Hand. A former 5-star recruit who was ranked by some recruiting services as the No. 1 player in the country, Hand tracked down heroic quarterback Deshaun Watson to drop him for a loss that effectively killed any momentum Clemson had.

The defensive stand eventually led to a field goal, which Alabama responded to with a 95-yard touchdown return by Kenyan Drake, a 4-star tailback back in high school who had to find carries behind a few first-round picks and a Heisman Trophy winner in his college career. That stretch all but put the game away halfway through the fourth quarter.

There’s depth, and there’s Alabama depth. Nobody in college football comes close to the latter.

Then there’s the hardware to go with that. And no, we’re not just talking about the championship rings.

Running back Derrick Henry won the Heisman Trophy this season, the second such player to win that prestigious award under Saban during his time in Tuscaloosa (the school had zero before his arrival). Additionally, Crimson Tide players have taken home the Maxwell (twice), Walter Camp, Doak Walker (twice), Biletnikoff, Butkus (twice), Outland (twice), Rimington (twice) and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards. Saban himself has won every major coaching award.

The only hole, if you want to call it that, is the fact that no defensive back (Saban’s coaching specialty) has won the Thorpe Award.

Accepting the Grantland Rice Trophy at another press conference, the coach added:

You remember all the lessons that you learned in terms of developing a process that works for young people to have a chance to be successful, a team dynamic that gives you a chance to be successful, and right now as long as I'm going to continue to do this, I'm going to keep things in perspective and look forward and not backward.

I think it's a tremendous accomplishment by a lot of great people, a lot of great coaches and a lot of great players, a lot of whom were at the game last night. That really makes us proud that they're great ambassadors for the university and always happy to come home.

But I can't really talk to you much more about the perspective and the significance of this, because moving forward, it doesn't really mean a lot.

That’s the Saban we are all used to, the one who watched film of the national title game on the plane ride home and who was no doubt fired up for Wednesday morning’s staff meeting. He is relentless and shows no sign of slowing down to keep the Alabama dynasty on top.

This is not a column arguing for the greatest college football coach in history to give it another go in the NFL. The open New York Giants job would be interesting, no doubt, but the college game is better with Saban in it.

Many within the industry believe the next stop for Saban is College GameDay or a similar broadcasting gig, not a different sideline.

The fact is Saban belongs in college football's Mount Rushmore of coaches. The problem with standing on the mountaintop for so long, however, is that there is nothing left to climb. When one is a perfectionist whose whole process is dedicated to taking the next step, that might be an issue.

Yet it isn’t for the uniquely wired Saban.

He’ll still be recruiting a top class for February and will still field a top-five team in September with designs on another title. There may be nothing left to add to that illustrious resume beyond a sixth ring to tie Bryant and leave no doubt as to who is the GOAT. Even then, it wouldn’t add much validation to the already impressive job the head coach has done in his stops across the college football landscape.

There’s simply nothing left for Nick Saban to do in college football, and yet we shouldn’t be surprised at all if he winds up back on that big stage once again in the near future, accepting another trophy. That’s what he does, as the chase for another begins again in 2016.

 

Bryan Fischer is a national college football columnist at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 Best Teams That Lost College Football National Championship Games

History is indeed written by the victors, and in college football, history can often forget those who came the closest to putting their own names into the books.

Since the arrival of the BCS in the 1998 season, there have been 18 national championship games in college football. Many of the 18 winners are well-known for their excellence, but what about those who fell short of winning it all?

Where does this season's Clemson team rank compared to other runners-up?

Here are the top 10 teams that lost either a BCS or a College Football Playoff National Championship. These rankings were determined by three factors—average point differential (the difference between scoring offense and scoring defense), strength of schedule (a given number rating from Sports-Reference.com) and the quality of the teams' losses.

It's difficult to try to objectively compare teams from different seasons, but this list is based on which title-losing teams were the most dominant with respect to the quality of opponents they faced that year. 

Tell us how you would rank the teams that lost title games in the BCS/CFP era in the comments below.

Begin Slideshow

Breaking Down Florida's Wild Offseason QB Battle

During a typical offseason, if a team returns a quarterback who finished each of the last two seasons as a starter, it would qualify as a pretty strong foundation no matter what other pieces are around him.

Florida's offense this offseason, though, is anything but stable.

Junior Treon Harris will return after ascending to the top spot on the depth chart in the middle of each of the last two seasons, but he completed just 47.8 percent of his passes once the calendar changed to November and seemed like a square peg in a round hole in head coach Jim McElwain's system from the jump.

Will Harris win the job out of fall camp, or will another contender out of a group step up? 

Let's break down the contenders:

 

Junior Treon Harris

Harris obviously has the most experience, which will be beneficial for McElwain's crew considering the woes of the offensive line and the absence of last year's starting running back, Kelvin Taylor. Having somebody back there who has been through the rigors of the season, knows the speed of the game and is comfortable with the simple things like getting plays in and players lined up is important.

But Harris' upside simply isn't there.

He is erratic with the football, struggles to go through reads and doesn't have the touch that McElwain-coached quarterbacks need to be successful.

As former Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe pointed out on Twitter, Harris has the kind of reputation no player wants.

Experience matters, as does his elusiveness and ability to create behind the line of scrimmage when the protection breaks down. 

Will that be enough to earn him the starting job? Probably not. He is going to have to improve his decision-making and his accuracy if he wants to win the job coming out of fall camp.

Outlook: Not likely the starter

 

Junior Luke Del Rio

The long and winding patch to Gainesville for junior Luke Del Rio has taken the California native to Alabama and Oregon State, but after sitting out his transfer year in 2015, the former Elite 11 quarterback is ready to contend for the starting quarterback job at Florida.

Does he have what it takes?

The 6'1", 216-pounder has a big arm, experience in a variety of systems, knows what to expect out of McElwain after spending time on the Gator scout team a year ago and will likely enter spring practice as the top contender to earn the job.

As GatorCountry.com's Nick de la Torre pointed out during Florida's Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl loss to Michigan, Del Rio has fans in the Gators coaching staff.

The journeyman has seen a lot but doesn't have a ton of experience. He completed just eight of his 18 passes for 141 yards as Sean Mannion's backup in 2014. That's not a lot to work off of.

He's much more of a natural fit for McElwain's offense than Harris, and the experience he gained last year while sitting out should allow him to hit the ground running and become one of the favorites exiting spring practice provided he stays healthy.

Outlook: Probable starter

 

Senior Austin Appleby

If McElwain wants a quarterback who has the arm and stature to stand tall in the pocket, Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby might be his guy.

The 6'5", 239-pound former starter for the Boilermakers made 11 starts, threw for 2,777 yards and tossed 19 touchdowns over the last three seasons, but he lost his job to hotshot freshman David Blough in 2015.

A former Elite 11 finalist, Appleby isn't as familiar with the system as Harris or Del Rio, but he has had more success at the college level than Del Rio and is a much better fit for the ideal Gators offense.

With Blough out with a concussion, Appleby got the start in Purdue's final game of the regular season against Indiana. He went out with a bang, as Brady Ackerman of Florida Sports Talk and the Gator Radio Network noted on Twitter:

He'll have to learn the system on the fly in a crowded race, which is never an easy thing to do. If he picks it up, though, he could turn out to be one of the most important graduate transfers of the offseason.

Outlook: Possible starter

 

Freshman Feleipe Franks

True freshman early enrollee Feleipe Franks is the future of the quarterback position, and one of the biggest questions facing McElwain this spring is deciding whether the future is now.

The U.S. Army All-American from Crawfordville, Florida, flipped from LSU to the Gators last fall and has everything the staff wants from a quarterback. At 6'5", 210 pounds with a big arm and solid accuracy, he is a perfect fit for the Florida program.

It's not a matter of "if," but a matter of "when" for Franks. 

The beauty of Florida's current quarterback battle is, while the position has been a sore spot since Tim Tebow moved on after the 2009 season, Del Rio's eligibility and the decision to transfer to the program by Appleby actually gives McElwain some flexibility on how he fits his future quarterback into the mix.

"When" might not be the first series against UMass on September 3, but he will likely be part of the game plan in some capacity as the season goes on. He has all of the talent to be a superstar, and the staff will find out just how ready he is during the season and usher him along as needed.

Outlook: Won't start but could end the season as starter

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com, and recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Jayron Kearse Declares for 2016 NFL Draft: Latest Comments and Reaction

Clemson Tigers safety Jayron Kearse won't return for his senior year, opting instead to enter the 2016 NFL draft.

Kearse took to Instagram to announce his decision Wednesday. He wound up with 62 total tackles (6.5 for loss), six passes defensed and one interception in his final college season, per CFBStats.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages