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Penn State vs. Army Live Blog: Instant Reactions and Analysis

It seems Penn State (3-1) will have one less head in the Army West Point's (1-3) three-option offensive monster to worry about when the two kickoff at 12:00 pm ET. The Black Knights' quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw is questionable for this contest, according to ESPN.com

This means that the Nittany Lions, entering with a three-game winning streak, may give fans at sold-out Beaver Stadium a lot to cheer about.

Army by contrast, crawling in off the back of three consecutive losses, should see a significant number of challenges, beginning most notably with Penn State's aggressive defensive front, currently leading the nation with 18 sacks, per PennLive.com's John Tuscano

So, is this one a waste of your time? Absolutely not.

NFL fans in particular should keep a curious eye on Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the touted (and albeit falling) young prospect. His recent struggles have nullified early speculation that he should be considered for No. 1 pick candidacy, but at home against the wounded Black Knights, Hackenberg may finally regain some of his previous form.

What say you? Knights or Lions? 

Check back in at noon ET to track, analyze and discuss!

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Shirtless Student Belly-Flops into Mud at ESPN's 'College GameDay' in Clemson

When ESPN's College GameDay visits your school, there are no rules. From the signs to the tailgating, the atmosphere is so live that anything goes. 

One student wanted to make his few seconds of fame count, and he succeeded. With Hurricane Joaquin storming through South Carolina, the conditions were a little muddy. This shirtless legend seized his opportunity by belly-flopping into a pool of mud on live TV. The crowd loved it as they all had their phones out, probably Snapchatting the whole thing.

That's how you make it, bro. Now go hit the gym. 


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South Carolina vs. Missouri: Live Score and Highlights

Missouri and South Carolina will battle for each team’s first SEC victory of 2015 when the Gamecocks enter Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri, Saturday at noon on the SEC Network. 

The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season after falling 21-13 at Kentucky in the conference opener. Even with its 3-1 record, Missouri’s play has underwhelmed with a 9-6 win over UConn and 27-20 win at Arkansas State. 

Missouri could be in line for more trouble Saturday. Star quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended this week for at least one game, and true freshman Drew Lock is expected to start, per the Columbia Tribune

South Carolina put a halt to its struggles last week with a 31-14 triumph over Central Florida. Freshman quarterback Lorenzo Nunez showed some promising dual-threat ability in his first career start, throwing for two scores and rushing for 123 yards. 

With the home crowd behind him, Lock could be in for a big day, as South Carolina enters the game ranked 90th nationally in total defense. However, Nunez gives head coach Steve Spurrier an additional weapon to complement elite playmaker Pharoh Cooper. 

Both teams need a win to help turn around disappointing seasons. Check back here before kickoff for live reactions and feel free to join the discussion in the comments section.

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Ohio State Buckeyes Unveil First-Ever Black Uniforms

When the Ohio State Buckeyes take on Penn State on Oct. 17, they will be making history...with their uniforms. 

The Buckeyes will don their first-ever black attire. The new digs still feature scarlet, but the rest is mainly black, including sweet black matte helmets.

Nike also unveiled the Ohio State Black Pack, which features gear available for fans. 

The No. 1 team in the country takes on Indiana on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. 

[Twitter, Nike]

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Alabama vs. Georgia: Live Score and Highlights

The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs are getting ready to do battle at Sanford Stadium Saturday afternoon. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET, and it will air on CBS.

Alabama comes into the game with the No. 4 rushing defense in the country. The Crimson Tide are led by linebacker Reggie Ragland, who has 34 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. But the running game for the Crimson Tide has been good as well, as Derrick Henry has rushed for 422 yards and eight touchdowns.

Alabama is facing a Georgia team that is one of the 20 best teams in the country when it comes to running the ball. The Bulldogs average 259 rushing yards per game, and Nick Chubb has led the way with 599 yards and six touchdowns. However, the defense has also played a role in the Bulldogs' success this season. They are third in the conference in total defense (273 yards allowed per game) and second in the conference in scoring defense (13.5 points per game).

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

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Daily Fantasy College Football Week 5: DraftKings Last-Minute Picks and Advice

Daily fantasy football owners might be going into the main course ahead of Week 5, but the college season itself got the cupcakes out of the way early.

Many owners might wish for the friendly confines of easy-to-predict cupcakes, but look at the bright side: tougher games mean tougher play for all owners and more opportunities to crack into major coin if one can sift through the sand and find great value plays. 

Below, let's do just that by analyzing recent performances, matchups, how Las Vegas feels and more to unearth some of the best last-minute value plays for an owner's lineup.


Quarterback: Brenden Motley, Virginia Tech ($5,700)

Ride the Brenden Motley wave, owners.

The junior has been nothing short of impressive in his three games as a starter, as the numbers show:

Motley has quickly emerged as one of the better dual-threat starters owners can buy low on each week, and it's a bit of a surprise his price hasn't gone higher than the $6,000 from Week 4.

Regardless, Motley next gets a struggling Pittsburgh defense, which just allowed 258 passing yards and three touchdowns on the ground to Iowa in the team's first real test of the season.

Look for Motley to post huge numbers as the Panthers struggle to contain the dual-threat quarterback.


Running back: Wendell Smallwood, West Virgina ($4,900)

It's also a bit of a surprise Wendell Smallwood won't cost owners more.

The junior touts an affordable price and strong production over the course of three games this season. He's scored 21.9, 21.2 and 28.0 points this year with three rushing touchdowns and plenty of yardage both on the ground and through the air.

While it might seem obvious to avoid Smallwood considering his West Virginia Mountaineers take on the Oklahoma Sooners, the matchup just isn't what it seems. The Mountaineers are underdogs by a touchdown, yes, but the game has an over-under of 59.5 and the Sooners just let Tulsa's Zack Langer amass 29.1 points.

In fact, two of the three starting backs who have encountered Oklahoma's defense have found strong success so far. Smallwood will merely be the latest thanks to his versatile, every-down ability.


Running back: Zack Langer, Tulsa ($6,100)

Speaking of Langer, he's a great value to consider, too. 

Langer ran 31 times for 161 yards and a score against the Sooners. In the games before that, he posted 22.9 and 31.3 points.

Now Langer finds himself in an amazing position: Tulsa is an underdog by more than a touchdown against Houston this weekend, but the over-under sits at 81.5 and even Texas State just managed two rushing scores against Houston.

Normally, the knee-jerk reaction would be to ignore Langer since his team isn't favored. But this is too good to pass up as Langer figures to see plenty of opportunities in a game with plenty of offensive snaps for everyone.


Wide Receiver: Demarcus Ayers, Houston ($6,200)

Just stick with Houston-Tulsa because it's a hotbed for fantasy activity. 

One of the chief value names to know would be Houston's Demarcus Ayers. In three games, Ayers leads the Cougars with 26 catches for 300 yards and three scores, which translated to outings of 28.5, 19.2 and 40.9 points.

Based on the over-under, it's quite clear the Tulsa defense hasn't been able to stop wideouts. Florida Atlantic wideout Jenson Stoshak caught seven passes for 114 yards and a score against the unit. New Mexico's Dameon Gamblin went eight for 131 and one. Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard, eight for 144.

The point isn't hard to figure out. Ayers sees the bulk of the targets in a pass-happy offense and he even has a rushing attempt in every game thus far. He's going to post a major line at a great price.


Wide Receiver: River Cracraft, Washington State ($6,500)

After a slow 4.6-point start to the season, Washington State wideout River Cracraft has emerged as a serious threat in the Cougars' offense, posting outings of 29.1 and 15.3 points.

In a pass-first attack, Cracraft looks like an incredible value this weekend given the fact his team's the underdog by a whopping 17 points against California in a game with an over-under of 72.

Translation: Cracraft is going to see a huge amount of targets over the course of four frames as Washington State tries to keep things close and pull off the upset.

California hasn't really been tested by a top-tier passing attack yet, so Luke Falk's 73 percent completion rate and eight touchdowns to one interception bodes well for Cracraft given the information surrounding the contest. Look for him to have a major day as a comeback-time producer.


Pricing information and scoring data obtained from DraftKings.com. Odds via Odds Shark.

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College Football Rankings 2015: Final NCAA Overview of Week 5 Standings

The margin between Ohio State and Michigan State for the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press poll is only 85 points. In the Amway poll, it's exactly 100. If the Buckeyes don't start winning in more convincing fashion, the reigning national champions may not be on top for long, even if their undefeated record remains intact.

Of course, part of OSU's problem is a cupcake schedule. Eventually coach Urban Meyer's powerhouse will square off with the Spartans in late November. The key is to avoid the pitfalls and trap games before then.

Now that the Michigan Wolverines are in the Top 25 too, the regular-season finale road trip to Ann Arbor doesn't look like too much fun, either. For all the attention the SEC deservedly gets as the most reputable conference in the nation, be sure to keep an eye on what happens in Big Ten country.

Below is a final NCAA overview of the Week 5 standings. The subsequent analysis outlines more of what's going on in the other power conferences.



Week 5 Rankings Analysis and Outlook

Let's just start off by mentioning how much of a beast Leonard Fournette has been for LSU.

Fournette's brilliance has offset the fact that longtime defensive coordinator John Chavis fled Baton Rouge for SEC rival Texas A&M prior to the 2015 campaign. Tigers quarterback Brandon Harris is quite limited as a passer for now—let's cut him some slack, though, as he's 19 years old—yet it doesn't matter. ESPN Stats & Info best illustrates why:

It can't be overstated how valuable Fournette is to the LSU program at present. Fans can rejoice too, because as the current rules stand, he has to return to the team for at least another year before jumping to the NFL.

The pro game may be a considerable distance down the road, but Fournette is ready to play on Sundays today. It's showing as he steamrolls the competition, which will continue when he slices through Eastern Michigan's defense this Saturday.

If he keeps running like he is, don't be surprised to see Fournette will LSU into the College Football Playoff when the dust settles.

But for now, the best team in the SEC is Ole Miss, according to the rankings. On the strength of a prior victory over Alabama, the Rebels continue to roll thanks to a defense led by freakish lineman Robert Nkemdiche and a steady signal-caller in Chad Kelly.

ESPN's Todd McShay applauded Nkemdiche's role in the triumph over the Crimson Tide that's boosted Ole Miss to No. 3 in the AP poll ahead of Saturday's showdown with Florida:

Speaking of Alabama, coach Nick Saban has a tough test on his hands in Athens against the Georgia Bulldogs, who filed their own sensational ball-carrier in Nick Chubb.

"Chubb is very strong, physical, fast, explosive. He's got power. He is a complete back in every sense of the word. ... This guy is by far the best back we've played against all year long," Saban said, per ESPN.com's Alex Scarborough.

Following the likes of top-10 NFL draft pick Todd Gurley in the Bulldogs backfield is no easy task. That's why Chubb has been so impressive to date, racking up a ridiculous 599 yards on only 74 carries and six touchdowns to put Georgia firmly in the CFP picture for the time being.

Alabama's reputable offensive line blocks for a strapping back in Derrick Henry, who's also among the best in the land at what he does. Henry and Co. have their work cut out against a solid Georgia defense, though the Crimson Tide present a great impediment to Chubb, having conceded only 1.97 yards per carry, per NCAA.com.

Another ranked battle in the SEC takes place Saturday when Mississippi State travels to College Station to take on Texas A&M. Chavis shut down many a dual-threat QB in his LSU heyday and will have the task of neutralizing Mississippi State star Dak Prescott—enough to make that a contest worth watching.

To peel off the SEC for a moment, the other highly ranked matchup pits Notre Dame on the road against Clemson. Resilient as the Fighting Irish have been in persevering and winning in spite of numerous injuries, this is their toughest challenge yet as they enter Death Valley.

ESPN CollegeFootball highlighted how something has to give in one key area:

Frankly, it would be a surprise to see Notre Dame emerge victorious against one of the ACC's two main contenders. Yours truly believes the Clemson defense will deny Irish deep threat Will Fuller and force DeShone Kizer into a critical error in a hostile environment.

The other marquee ACC team is Florida State, led by Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson at quarterback. Golson has yet to throw an interception this season and has explosive running back Dalvin Cook to lean on for supple balance on offense. The Seminoles secondary features top NFL prospect Jalen Ramsey as well to stymie the opposition's passing attack.

Running backs have been dismissed by the NFL in recent years, but this could well be a golden age at the position. Cook, Fournette, Chubb, Henry and Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott are the driving forces behind many of college football's best teams.

It will be interesting to see how that crop of elite talent impacts the future of the position in the next few years—and how it will ultimately shape the College Football Playoff in its second iteration. 

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Bowl Predictions 2015: Early Postseason Projections for Top Playoff Contenders

Ohio State and Michigan State, currently the top two teams in the country, are seemingly on a Nov. 21 collision course in the Big Ten. Beyond that, there's plenty of room for movement among College Football Playoff hopefuls as conference play begins to heat up.

After a hectic start to the season, things have calmed down a bit over the last two weeks to solidify the rankings. Expect that to change in the near future because chaos is always right around the corner when one big upset can change the entire outlook.

With that in mind, let's check out some early-season predictions for where the top teams in the nation right now will end up for bowl season. That's followed by a closer look at some squads outside the Top 10 that are worth keeping an eye on in the weeks ahead.


Bowl Predictions for AP Top 10


Other Contenders to Watch

No. 11 Florida State

The Seminoles haven't played like championship contenders yet, but they haven't had to. Their schedule is highly favorable until a three-week stretch starting in late October when they will face Georgia Tech and Clemson on the road. They have until then to round into form.

Florida State had a week off following a mundane 14-0 win over Boston College. While head coach Jimbo Fisher stated he's pleased with the overall direction of the team, he also explained there's still need for more polish on offense, per Safid Deen of the Tallahassee Democrat:

I'm very happy with where we are at. We're taking care of the football. The decisions we have been made have been good decisions.

We've got to make a few more throws. But also got to run a route better, got to catch better. There's a block or two we've missed when he's had an opportunity to make a big play or two. It wasn't all just effort. It was an accumulation.

Between Everett Golson, Dalvin Cook, Travis Rudolph and Jesus Wilson, the pieces are in place for a dynamic offensive attack to emerge. The question is whether the coaching staff can get everything to come together in time for the difficult part of the schedule.

The good news for Florida State is it sits just outside the Top 10 despite no marquee wins. So if the Seminoles do get a couple of statement wins, including one against Clemson in early November, they should move toward the playoff picture pretty rapidly.


No. 13 Alabama

The Crimson Tide are already facing danger this week. By losing to Ole Miss in Week 3, their margin for error is razor thin. It's too early to say getting beat by Georgia on Saturday would completely eliminate them from the playoff picture, but it would certainly put them on the extreme brink.

For Alabama to succeed, the defense needs to perform better in big games. Looking back to its 2011 and 2012 title-winning seasons, only twice did the Tide give up more than 20 points to a ranked opponent. It's happened four times just since the start of last season.

The defensive unit will again be in the spotlight against the Bulldogs. The only silver lining is the fact Georgia's strength—running the football—does play into an area Alabama has consistently performed well, as Joe Schad of ESPN highlighted:

As always, playing in the SEC is both a blessing and a curse. The schedule ensures Alabama has a chance to push back into the playoff picture despite losing a game. But the high number of matchups against ranked foes makes it a tricky tightrope to navigate. Beating Georgia would be a big first step.


No. 17 USC

USC's outlook is quite similar to Alabama's—a team that came into the season with high expectations suffering an early setback, in the Trojans' case a loss to Stanford. Also like the Tide, they have several marquee games to help them regain the lost ground if they round into form.

The most promising sign for the Trojans is the presence of Cody Kessler. He's tossed 15 touchdowns with just one interception through four games. That success in the passing game is a key reason analyst Phil Steele is still picking USC to reach the final four:

I have heard many analysts breaking down the best team in the Pac-12 and because USC has one loss they are discounting them. I still feel USC is the number one team in the Pac-12. They have to play both Oregon and Notre Dame on the road but this team is capable of handling those obstacles. They have a veteran quarterback in Cody Kessler and some of the most dynamic playmakers available at running back and wide receiver, plus a solid offensive line. They face Notre Dame in October which means the weather should be nice. Despite their loss to Stanford I still think USC makes the playoffs this year.

Assuming the Trojans take care of Washington next week, they have a crucial three-game stretch coming up that sees them face Notre Dame, Utah and Cal. The defense must step up in a major way to survive that gauntlet after giving up 41 points to Stanford.

The bottom line is there's still reason for optimism when it comes to the Trojans. They have the offensive firepower to make a serious charge if the defense shows even moderate improvement. A month from now, the outlook will be a lot different—for better or worse.


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Connecticut Huskies Take on BYU Cougars in Week 5

Both the UConn Huskies and BYU Cougars are hungry to get back on track after losing each of their last two games. 

The Cougars made a case for being one of the nation's top underdogs at the beginning of the season with wins against Nebraska and Boise State. But BYU lost by one point to No. 10 UCLA in Week 3 and was then clobbered by Michigan 31-0 last week.

The Huskies, meanwhile, won their two first games as well. But, like BYU, they fell narrowly to a ranked Missouri team 9-6 in Week 3 and dropped a game to Navy last weekend.

The two teams' journeys have been similar up to this point in the season, which should make for a tight contest on Friday.

The Cougars' passing attack has enjoyed success this season thanks to quarterback Tanner Mangum's 719 yards and four touchdowns. He will look to improve on last week's uninspiring 55-yard performance against Michigan.

The Huskies defense, ranked 24th in the nation in terms of points allowed, may find it difficult to shut down Mangum—the BYU quarterback has a 162.7 passer rating at home and has been sacked three fewer times at home than on the road. 

Huskies quarterback Bryant Shirreffs will look to attack a Cougars defense that has allowed nearly 27 points per game in 2015. Shirreffs has 847 passing yards and four touchdowns on the season.

The game kicks off at 10:15 p.m. ET. 

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Oregon & Oregon State Add Helmet Decals to Honor UCC Shooting Victims

The Oregon and Oregon State football programs have banded together to honor the victims of Thursday's mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

The teams added helmet decals that read "UCC" over ribbons, previewing them via Twitter on Friday.

[Oregon State, h/t Yahoo Sports]

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Oregon & Oregon State Add Helmet Decals to Honor UCC Shooting Victims

The Oregon and Oregon State football programs have banded together to honor the victims of Thursday's mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

ACC's Playoff Hopes Ride on Clemson Knocking off Notre Dame

The term "elimination game" has become more liberalized in the College Football Playoff era. As 2014 Ohio State will attest, one game does not a season make. 

However, the ACC's playoff hopes in many ways could be riding on Clemson's Week 5 home game against Notre Dame. 

The importance of this game has been building for weeks—and the intrigue for months. Notre Dame's partial ACC membership, in which the Irish agreed to schedule five ACC opponents a year (six this year), was made for games like this. 

However, it counts as a critical moment not just for Clemson, but for the ACC as well. Ralph Russo of the Associated Press put it bluntly: "[The] Irish cannot win the ACC, but they could do some serious damage to its playoff hopes." 

Why? Let's look at the big picture first before working inward. Put simply, the ACC hasn't shown up in nonconference play, which didn't feature many marquee games anyway. Miami's 34-23 loss to Cincinnati on Thursday night was just the latest in a series of setbacks.

Ironically, the Hurricanes also had the ACC's best nonconference win vs. Nebraska, but the question posed by Dan Wolken of USA Today still generally holds true. The ACC hasn't shown playoff-caliber depth at the top of the conference. 

So what's going on? As usual, the Coastal Division is anyone's to win. That has been aided by the fact that Georgia Tech, the preseason Coastal favorite as selected by the media, has lost in each of the past two weeks to Notre Dame and Duke. The Blue Devils, at 3-1, are now Coastal team of the month. 

The strength of the ACC is clearly in the Atlantic division, where Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina State remain undefeated. However, the Wolfpack haven't been tested yet, and the Seminoles have looked shaky against South Florida and Boston College. Specifically, FSU's passing attack has been worrisome at best and nonexistent at worst.

Solid defense and a strong running game are Florida State's keys to a successful season. However, preseason predictions of a transition year for the Seminoles appear to be coming to fruition. 

That brings us back to Clemson as the ACC's best playoff hope, and the Tigers have already struggled once this year (vs. Louisville). The 20-17 win over the Cardinals in Week 3 was a culmination of myriad forces coming together at once: It was a road game on a short week against a desperate opponent with an excellent defense. Meanwhile, the Tigers were without star receiver Mike Williams and shorthanded along the offensive line. 

The result was a 20-17 escape. Clemson has had more time to prepare for the Irish, but many of the challenges remain. How will the Tigers stack up to the Irish in the trenches? The advantage would seemingly go to Notre Dame's defensive line, which played lights-out against Georgia Tech.

Can Clemson rediscover its vertical passing game even without Williams? That part of the offense was non-existent against Louisville, and quarterback Deshaun Watson looked rattled. As good as receiver Artavis Scott is, he's 5'11" and 190 pounds and has been more effective in the short-to-intermediate passing game. 

How will the Tigers' rebuilt defense handle its toughest task of the year: Irish wide receiver William Fuller? The junior is one of college football's best deep threats, averaging 20.64 yards per reception and more than 100 yards per game to go along with six touchdowns.

Despite their injury problem, the Irish pose a lot of problems for any opponent. If Clemson isn't able to pull off the win this week, its opportunities to get another statement victory on the schedule are few and far between. The only ranked team on the Tigers' schedule as of Week 5 is Florida State. That's subject to change, of course, but it's a bleak outlook right now. 

That doesn't bode well for the Tigers' playoff hopes, as ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit told Chance Linton of 247Sports

Clemson, on the other hand, they've gotta go out there and take advantage of this big stage. It's a big opportunity and they know it. They've taken advantage of these in the last three or four years. Dabo Swinney has taken this program consistently to a Top 10 program. And this is still Notre Dame. Even though they've beaten Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, Auburn and Georgia in the last three years, this is still a great opportunity that they need to take advantage of, especially since it's being played in Death Valley. If they lose this game, I think it'd be tough for them to climb back into the Top 4.

It's not impossible, but it's difficult. Context is also important. Should Clemson lose, will it be by three points or 30? That could go a long way toward determining whether head coach Dabo Swinney's team remains in the playoff conversation next week and in December. 

Win, though, and Clemson could not only shoot to the top of the playoff discussion but stay there, despite a potential loss later in the year. 

But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. However it plays out—whether the ACC's playoff hopes are lifted or deflated—this is the type of game for which college football fans have asked.

With any luck, we'll get what we want from it. 


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

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Wisconsin Lands Commitments from 4-Star Linemen Garrett Rand and Kayden Lyles

Wisconsin carries the reputation of a program that prides itself on bullying opponents inside. The Badgers took a step toward maintaining this success on Thursday by securing verbal pledges from a pair of standout Arizona prospects.

Defensive tackle Garrett Rand and offensive lineman Kayden Lyles—both considered 4-star talents—committed to Wisconsin within hours of each other.

The two dramatically boost Badgers recruiting efforts in the 2016 and 2017 cycles. 

Rand, a 6'3", 275-pound playmaker at Hamilton High School (Chandler, Arizona), is considered the third-best overall 2016 prospect in the state. He chose Wisconsin over fellow favorites Stanford, Washington, Arizona State and UCLA.

Rated 15th nationally among defensive tackles in composite rankings, Rand brings a well-balanced skill set to the Badgers' 2016 class. He derails offensive game plans from inside, moving extremely well at his current size and carrying a frame that could comfortably expand to 300 pounds in college.

Rand secured 60 tackles—10.5 for loss—and 10 sacks last season, according to MaxPreps

Lyles, a 6'3", 290-pound junior at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, is one of the 2017 recruiting class' top-tier interior offensive linemen. He displays tremendous power and a rather polished approach while spearheading the rushing attack for an explosive Arizona powerhouse. 

His efforts as an underclassman placed him on the national radar, warranting a spot at fourth overall among 2017 offensive guards in composite rankings. Lyles currently spends games protecting older brother and 2016 Wisconsin quarterback commit Kare' Lyles.

Kare', who tossed 40 touchdown passes last season, pledged to the Badgers in March. At the time, he expressed a strong desire to play alongside his "little" brother in Madison.

"I'd love to have him come up to join me, and we'll definitely have those talks," Kare' told Bleacher Report. "I feel like it would be a perfect opportunity for him, but he has a lot of options some guys don't have. He's a big-time recruit, and I know he'll make the right decision for him."

The brothers follow their father's footsteps to Wisconsin. 

Kevin Lyles suited up for Wisconsin from 1993-1996, competing with current Badgers offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph. Now Rudolph is set to add another generation of Lyles to his depth chart on each of the next two national signing days.

Kayden Lyles is the first member of Wisconsin's 2017 class, while Rand becomes the top-rated commit in a 2016 recruiting haul listed 24th overall in national composite class rankings.

Both players will come to campus with immense expectations in place. They each possess the physical tools and pedigrees to immediately compete for collegiate reps.


Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue. Recruit ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake. 

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Cole Kmet to Notre Dame: Fighting Irish Land 4-Star TE Prospect

Notre Dame added another highly touted tight end prospect to its 2017 class Friday with a commitment from Cole Kmet.

The Arlington Heights, Ill., native and St. Viator High School star confirmed his school choice with a message on social media:

Tom Loy of 247Sports reports Kmet joins fellow coveted tight end Brock Wright among the Fighting Irish's early commitments for 2017. He notes program sealed the deal with its latest addition after a visit during the season opener against Texas.

"It was an awesome experience," Kmet said. "One I will never forget. I just got the feel for the game atmosphere and how coaches go about things on game day."

Kmet is a 4-star prospect who ranks as the No. 6 tight end and just inside the top 250 nationally for the class of 2017, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. He's also rated as the No. 3 prospect coming out of Illinois.

The Irish will welcome the infusion of talent at tight end when it arrives in a couple years.

They haven't received much production from the position this season with Durham Smythe out for the year after undergoing knee and shoulder surgeries. Alize Jones leads the remaining tight end group with six catches for 75 yards through four weeks.

Bill Reagan of Irish Sports Daily highlighted Kmet as a player on the rise back in July. His above average athletic ability combined with a growing frame led Reagan to the conclusion that "this year's highlight film stands to be much more exciting than that of a year ago."

If Kmet does continue to make that type of steady progress, there's a good chance he'll be able to make a quick impact for the Irish in 2017. 


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Tennessee Football: Resurrecting Passing Game Holds Key to Vols Turnaround

Tennessee's wide receiving corps of scholarship players is comprised of 11 pass-catchers who account for 40 total recruiting stars.

That's a talented stable of targets by anybody's standards.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs is a former 4-star prospect himself, one who burst onto the scene as a full-time starter a season ago and was anointed the leader to take the Volunteers offense back to a quality level.

So why can't all that promise breed production?

It's a question UT fans have to be asking themselves even more frequently this week following a 28-27 loss to Florida that saw the Vols attempt just 19 passes, with only 17 of those coming via the right arm of Dobbs.

Just like they have for much of the season, the receivers struggled mightily, which belies what coach Butch Jones says he wants to do offensively.

Entering Saturday night's must-win tilt against Arkansas at Neyland Stadium, UT's receivers appear (yet again) to match up extremely well with the Razorbacks' struggling defensive backs. But if you're not in show-me mode with the Vols at this point, you've got more faith than most.

They haven't produced for so long that it's difficult to depend on them.

Even so, the Hogs appear to come at just the right time for Tennessee. They're 100th nationally in pass defense and have allowed nine passing plays of more than 30 yards. In losses to Texas Tech and Texas A&M, the Razorbacks allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete an astounding 81 percent of their passes.

For the season, Arkansas sits 123rd nationally in completion percentage allowed (71.6 percent), 119th in yards allowed per attempt (9.1) and 118th in sacks. They aren't getting to quarterbacks, and quarterbacks are making them pay.

In other words, UT must take advantage to turn around its passing-game misfortunes and get back on the winning track.

Starting with this game against the Hogs, Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike DeBord must make it a priority to stretch the field to loosen up opposing defenses. If he doesn't, Tennessee is staring straight at a 2-5 start to the season with Georgia and Alabama on the horizon.

As the Vols try to find their identity under a new offensive coordinator, they've strayed too close to being one-dimensional. It's something UT's coaches understand.

DeBord even told GoVols247's Ryan Callahan that he's sure Tennessee's receivers are "frustrated" with the way the Gators game wound up:

I mean, if I was a receiver, I would be, too, because they’re competitors. They want the ball. Everybody wants the ball. And that day's coming, so we're going to get the ball to them. I told them that today. Again, it's what happens in a game. They want the ball. I mean, the receivers want to catch the ball and all that, and I told them today that’s going to happen. … Every game has a story to it. The story was we were running the football very effectively, and we were wearing their defense down. That’s what was going at the time, and we stayed with it.

In fairness to DeBord, Tennessee did run the ball 51 times for 254 yards against the Gators, which was good enough to win.

But decisions at key moments in that game underline a fact that has been obvious all season: Tennessee is reluctant to throw the football down the field.

Whether that's because the coaching staff is concerned that Dobbs can't do it following his 13-for-31 performance against Oklahoma, whether the receiving corps can't get consistent separation or because DeBord is an old-school, run-first coordinator is debatable.

What isn't debatable is that the Vols have to get the passing game going in a positive direction. Now.

"We've got to get our passing game involved," DeBord told Callahan. "We will do that. We're going to do that, and that’s part of it, so we'll see that happen."

Wide receiver worries are nothing new for the Vols. Last year, an injury-riddled group struggled all season. They disappointed again this spring, regularly drawing the ire of Jones.

Now, here it is, a season when the Vols are expected to break out, and they haven't been able to get going.

Marquez North, Pig Howard and Jason Croom have all missed games with injury. Von Pearson and Preston Williams didn't get a bunch of preseason reps because of different issues. Josh Smith is just now getting healthy.

For whatever reason, UT can't get its pass-catchers at full strength. But that shouldn't matter. There is enough talent there that it should be able to put elite targets on the field in every game. Everybody just needs to get on the same passing page.

If anything, maybe passing game coordinator Zach Azzanni is rotating too many players into the game to the point where none of the receivers can get into the flow.

It's a puzzling situation. While Dobbs won't ever be mistaken for Peyton Manning, he is extremely talented and possesses good enough arm strength to provide an offensive balance. 

Nobody expects him to throw BBs down the field, but Tennessee can't expect to just throw horizontal passes all season and keep defenses honest. If they can get things going in the 15-to-20-yard range, it would open things up exponentially. 

DeBord knows what he's talking about when he refers to the running success Tennessee has enjoyed all season. The Vols and Hurd have proved they can generate yards on the ground. But with games on the line and in tight situations, both Florida and Oklahoma loaded the box and dared the Vols to pass.

They didn't, and the Vols went from controlling games to losing them.

With all that talent in the passing game, it's baffling that the Vols can't get more going downfield, and it's up to DeBord and Azzanni to find ways to do it. If they don't start throwing, they're going to wind up throwing away a season full of promise.


All stats gathered from UTSports.com unless otherwise noted. All recruiting information gathered from 247Sports unless otherwise noted. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Brad Shepard covers SEC football and is the Tennessee lead writer for Bleacher Report. Follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.

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Meet 4-Star 2017 WR Osiris St. Brown: Eclectic off the Field, Electric on It

Not every athlete has the refined resume 2017 California wide receiver Osiris St. Brown has. This includes athletes from high school all the way to the pros.

For starters, St. Brown speaks three languages—English, German and French— fluently. He and his family have lived in France and visit Germany annually. His mother, Miriam Brown, is German and has her children read and converse in German at home.

He doesn't mind doing math or science. When it comes to discussing automobiles, he can tell you all about Aston Martins and Lamborghinis. And when he has free time, St. Brown likes making different kinds of art using Adobe Illustrator.

St. Brown is something of a Renaissance man. That's fitting for a guy with one of the best names in college football recruiting.

"Osiris Adrian Amon-Ra J. St. Brown," he said, proudly announcing his full name. "Osiris is the [Egyptian] god of the underworld, and my dad believes in power in names and numbers. He named all of us with a meaning."

St. Brown is the middle child of three. The oldest is Equanimeous St. Brown, a freshman receiver at Notre Dame. The youngest is 2018 receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who already has four college offers.

Big brother's full name is Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J. St. Brown. The first name stems from "equanimity," which can be defined as being level-headed and calm in pressure situations. Little brother's full name is Amon-Ra Julian Heru J. St. Brown. Amon-Ra is the king of all gods in Egyptian mythology.

Osiris St. Brown and his brothers have names and backgrounds that make them candidates for "Most Interesting Man in the World" tryouts. And then there's Osiris St. Brown the football player. As a 4-star wide receiver, the Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana) junior has established himself as a reliable go-to option.

He's a name to watch on the recruiting trail. St. Brown has 13 reported offers from schools such as Michigan, Michigan State, UCLA, Miami, Texas Tech and Utah.

St. Brown also has an offer from Notre Dame, where his brother is a true freshman for Brian Kelly's undefeated squad entering this weekend's tough road matchup against Clemson.

"It's been going pretty well," St. Brown said of his early recruiting process. "I've been talking to a couple schools recently like Boston College and Colorado. It hasn't been too crazy."

St. Brown is a 6'2", 178-pound receiver who is ranked as a top-100 player in the 2017 class. As the nation's No. 13 receiver, he brings speed, good hands and body control to the field.

He's also been groomed for success. St. Brown's father, John Brown, is a world-class bodybuilder who is a two-time Mr. Universe and three-time Mr. World champion. In fact, it was the father's idea to add "St." to his children's last names as an additional way to make their full names stand out.

For St. Brown, playing to where his name holds equal weight to his game is a goal. The bar was set with his older brother, and he said he thinks about the lofty goal of trying to duplicate his brother's accomplishments, which led him to Notre Dame.

"At the same time," St. Brown said, "I'm already pretty satisfied with how I'm doing. I think there will always be a sense of pressure to do what he did in high school."

St. Brown has made a few visits to schools so far, including Notre Dame, Stanford, Cal, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Illinois, as well as in-state schools USC and UCLA. He doesn't have a favorite yet and is taking the process slowly.

However, he knows what he wants in a winning program. He said academics will play a key role in his decision, as well as the opportunity for early game time as a freshman.

As for teaming up with his older brother, St. Brown said it's something the two have discussed. However, nothing is set in stone.

"It's just as likely as me going to another school; I want to go where I get treated the best," he said. "We've talked about playing college ball together, and it would be awesome, but if I feel another school fits me better, that's where I'll go."

It helps, St. Brown said, to have a big brother who's already been through the recruiting process. He said he relies on Equanimeous for advice.

"He just told me to get a good feel for the schools I'm serious about and to not go to a school just because I liked it as a kid or because the location is good," Osiris said. "I should go where I feel I can do best academically and as an athlete."

It's good advice for an athlete expected to be one of the nation's most sought-after players next season—and someone who plans on adding college-level football success to an already spectacular resume.


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

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How Top College Football Teams Have Dealt with Major Injuries in 2015

It's too early in the college football season to call 2015 the "year of the injury," not to mention that's an unfortunate part of the game that happens every year. But it certainly feels like this season has been especially bad on the injury front—and for high-profile, playoff-caliber teams, too. 

Consider the following short list: Michigan State linebacker Ed Davis—done for the year with a knee injury in August. Offensive lineman Jack Conklin is also out for an unspecified period with a knee injury.

Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire: out for the rest of the season with a fractured ankle. He joins defensive tackle Jarron Jones, running back Tarean Folston, tight end Durham Smythe, defensive backs Shaun Crawford and Drue Tranquill on the Irish's injury list. 

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes and cornerback Fabian Moreau: done, done and done. 

Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams: out indefinitely with a neck fracture. 

TCU: The laundry list includes safety Kenny Iloka, defensive tackle James McFarland and receiver Ty Slanina. 

Even non-playoff teams have been hit hard by crucial injuries. Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller is done for the year with a knee injury. Similarly, Oregon wide receiver Byron Marshall is likely out for the same period with a leg injury. 


This is when depth charts are truly tested. Depth isn't simply defined by the sheer number of available players, either. Depth is also a matter of skill. Are your No. 2s and No. 3s capable of playing at a high level for an extended period of time? That's what some of these teams are going to find out in earnest. 


The Hardest Hit

For some teams, we've already seen the effects injuries have had, for better and worse. The two most snakebitten teams without a doubt have been Notre Dame and TCU.

Perhaps no team has shown more resiliency early on than the Irish. DeShone Kizer has filled in admirably at quarterback for Zaire, though his toughest test yet comes in Week 5 at Clemson. As Keith Arnold of InsidetheIrish.com writes, the trip to Death Valley is the biggest moment is Kizer's young career: 

For some, the moment could become too large. But Notre Dame’s head coach believes his second-year quarterback will be ready.

“He has a presence about him, a commanding presence that, when he goes out there with the other ten players, you don’t feel like you’re putting a freshman quarterback out there,” [Brian] Kelly said.

“I see that every day he goes out there, he takes control of that offensive unit. It’s not meek. It’s not weak. It’s a presence that he brings when he goes out there, and I think that that’s what he’s brought.”

Kizer isn't the only Notre Dame backup who's played well in relief of others. Running back C.J. Prosise has become one of the pleasant surprises of the season, averaging 150 yards per game. Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery has performed above and beyond expectations for a freshman working in rotation as a replacement for Jones. 

TCU is another team that's been dealing with numerous injuries and general attrition since the early stages in the season. However, it's already clear the impact on the depth chart has translated to the field. In the past two weeks, the Frogs have given up an average of 44.5 points to SMU and Texas Tech. Granted, the Mustangs and Red Raiders can score in bunches, but having to win games in the 40s and 50s might not be a sustainable model for eight more regular-season games. 

It nearly backfired against Tech. The fortuitous Frogs needed a tipped-ball touchdown and the most amazing end-of-game finish that never happened to come out of Lubbock with a win. 

Head coach Gary Patterson can only do so much with the players available. Per Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News

"Some years, you kind of shake your head," Patterson said. "We have to keep plugging them in, and they have to keep getting better."

Case in point: linebackers Montrel Wilson and Travin Howard, each thrust into starting roles that neither expected. Wilson is a freshman; Howard is a sophomore and a converted safety. Each had their moments in a 55-52 win over Texas Tech and each struggled at times, Patterson said.

Can Notre Dame and TCU sustain their success throughout the season with several backups thrust into starting roles? The Irish have a number of key games remaining on the schedule, and the Frogs are already in Big 12 conference play. 


The Fewer, But Major Injuries

For teams like Clemson, Michigan State and UCLA, the pure number of major season-ending injuries has been smaller than the likes of Notre Dame and TCU. But that doesn't mean they haven't had to work around them. 

Davis' injury was the biggest in college football at the time. The Spartans were replacing their longtime defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi along with key members of the secondary. Losing Davis was just another blow to a defense that suddenly looked more and more like a question mark. 

However, the combination of Jon Reschke and Chris Frey has proved to work better than perhaps many expected. No one can replace what Davis brings to the defense—experience and smarts, to start—but Reschke has upped his production and is a versatile option at a couple of spots along the linebacker corp. The sophomore is third on the team in tackles, 11 of which came against Oregon. He's shown flashes of being a capable full-time starter down the road: 

Michigan State may need to win a few games with offense this year, but the defensive replacements have been good enough to make plays when needed. 

The same thing can be said for UCLA, though for how long remains to be seen. Linebacker Jayon Brown has been productive in Jack's absence, but he left the Arizona game with a back injury. His status for Arizona State is questionable, per Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times

How many more injuries on defense can the Bruins take? The early theme for UCLA as been that the team goes as freshman quarterback Josh Rosen goes. Moving forward, however, Rosen and his learning curve might not be UCLA's biggest issue. 

There is no doubt, however, that Williams' injury has been Clemson's biggest problem through three games. Against Louisville, there was little to no deep threat in the passing game. The Cardinals have an excellent defense and were able to get pressure on Deshaun Watson, which made matters worse, but it's clear the Tigers miss the big-bodied Williams down the field. This is a pass-catcher, after all, ranked as the top wide receiver heading into the 2016 NFL draft, per B/R's Matt Miller:

Receiver Artavis Scott is an outstanding weapon in the short-to-intermediate passing game, but he's not going to win many jump balls down the field. The lack of a vertical passing game hurt Clemson's offense against Louisville. Will it be a problem versus Notre Dame as well? There's simply no replicating what Williams brings to the Tigers offense unless someone emerges out of nowhere to become the new downfield threat. 


Who Can Recover?

If Notre Dame and/or TCU goes undefeated this year, you might as well make Kelly and Patterson the 1A and 1B choices for every coach of the year award out there. On that note, give them extensions and raises, stat. Otherwise, there's a good chance the number of injuries each team has already experienced will catch up to them at some point. 

However, just because a team has fewer injuries doesn't mean it's immune to deficiencies. Williams' absence could completely change the look of Clemson's offense. It already has in one game. Long-term, Conklin's injury could disrupt the chemistry of Michigan State's offense, even though the Davis injury has received more attention.

Ultimately, the question is how will these injury-riddled teams do in big games? Can UCLA's shorthanded defense stop, say, USC or Utah? Will TCU be able to win another four to six shootouts? 

Making a playoff and/or national championship run requires many things, one of which is a little bit of luck. Staying healthy, at least relatively speaking, falls under that category. Every single one of the aforementioned playoff contenders can still achieve their goals despite being down key players. But some—like TCU—have already shown what struggles lie ahead. 


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

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Bold College Football Predictions for Month of October

With the heart of conference play approaching, the only thing we know about the 2015 college football season is that we still don't know anything.

If we did, we wouldn't have dropped our jaws last week at Utah beating Oregon 62-20. We would have expected Toledo and Texas Tech to upset Arkansas. We would have known to not tout Auburn as the rightful SEC favorite (sigh).

With that in mind, let's ingest what we saw in September, look ahead to October and offer some bold predictions. The seven statements that follow aren't things I assure will happen; they're things that sound far-fetched at first, even though they're not.

It wouldn't be insane if they come true.

Begin Slideshow

Michigan Football Must Continue Recent Dominance in Road Test vs. Maryland

The ascent of the Michigan football program seemed inevitable, but heading into a road test versus Maryland this weekend, head coach Jim Harbaugh has the Wolverines playing at a level of dominance recently unseen in Ann Arbor.

Following what can be classified as a "good" loss to Utah during the season opener, Michigan has logged three consecutive victories. But most importantly—and this isn't merely coachspeak—the team has improved each week.

"We've got a battle rhythm right now," Harbaugh said, per MLive's Brendan F. Quinn. "If our team will just keep doing what we're doing—it's great preparation during the week and competition—it's coming. It's coming together."

And for the Wolverines to avoid setting back what's "coming together," a convincing win on the road over Maryland is yet another imperative step toward resurgence.

Under former coach Brady Hoke, Michigan trudged to a putrid 6-12 record on the road, never posting a single-season winning percentage better than .500. Notable—read: bad—losses included Iowa twice, Penn State and Rutgers.

The Wolverines consistently dropped games to programs—whether right or wrong—that were classically deemed inferior.

It's Harbaugh's job to eliminate that trend. He'll have his first chance on Saturday at noon ET.

Last season, Randy Edsall's team used a 14-point fourth quarter to manage a 23-16 triumph, stunning the Big House crowd of 101,717 and sealing Hoke's fate in the process.

But this Maryland squad isn't a good team. Last week, West Virginia obliterated the Terrapins 45-6. This is the type of team a Michigan-that's-back should destroy.

The Terrapins offense checks in nationally at No. 84, while the Wolverines boast the second-best defense of the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Maryland's top offensive player is running back Brandon Ross, but Michigan has successfully limited every runner they've faced this year. If the Wolverines can stop him—and recent history suggests they will—Edsall must rely on quarterback Caleb Rowe, who has thrown nine interceptions in 64 attempts.

In the accompanying table, the "2015 average" column represents a respective running back's performance not including the outing against Michigan. Spoiler alert: Ross might not like what happens on Saturday.

Additionally, Maryland enters the Big Ten matchup as the 101st-ranked run defense in the country and fresh off surrendering 304 yards to West Virginia. Michigan, on the other hand, has tallied 254 yards on the ground in each of the last two outings.

Leading rusher De'Veon Smith exited the BYU matchup early due to an ankle injury, but Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News notes offensive coordinator Tim Drevno said he's "feeling really good about" Smith playing against Maryland.

That, of course, is great news because Smith has amassed a pair of 125-plus-yard days this year.

Most importantly for the Wolverines, though, quarterback Jake Rudock assembled the best performance of his brief Michigan tenure against BYU. He completed 14 passes—11 of which resulted in first downs—for 194 yards and one touchdown, adding 33 yards and two scores on the ground.

The offense will continue to thrive while Rudock plays efficient football. That's the ideal quarterback for this squad because of the dominant defense.

Yes, the 14-point underdog Terrapins will be motivated and will test Michigan's ability to win on the road. But the Wolverines should be the only team that can stop the Wolverines on Saturday. Maryland doesn't have enough playmakers on either side to overpower Michigan.

But that's been the case before. The vocal majority of those who bleed maize and blue know how similar stories have ended.

In recent seasons, the Wolverines have consistently dropped a game to a program—whether right or wrong—classically deemed inferior.

It's Harbaugh's job to eliminate that trend. He'll have his first chance on Saturday at noon ET.


Stats from cfbstats.com. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.

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Ole Miss vs. Florida Hype: Who Will Rise to the Top?

It's finally coming. The match that everyone has been waiting for. It's the Ole Miss Rebels versus the Florida Gators. The excitement levels are through the roof for this interconference clash. 

Who will rise to the top? Who will take home the victory? Who will go home defeated?

Find out tomorrow night as the Rebels take on the Gators in one of the most anticipated matches of the college football season. 

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