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College Football Teams Set for Huge Turnarounds in 2016

The great thing about college football is that we don’t know what we don’t know. Want an example? Print out a preseason Top 25 poll and place it right next to the postseason Top 25 released following the national title game. The differences are often stark.

Look at 2015’s Associated Press preseason Top 25: Auburn at No. 6. Georgia at No. 9. Meanwhile, Clemson lingered at No. 12 and Oklahoma stood at No. 19. We know how those rankings looked by season's end.

Chances are, the polls released in August will look similarly shortsighted by January 2017. Highly touted teams will falter, and lightly regarded squads will rise. Which teams are in position to make the biggest turnarounds in 2016? We took a look. These squads were determined by factors like the number of starters and key starters returning, favorable schedules and overall opportunity within their respective leagues. Disagree? Let us know.

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Best Fits for the Top 10 Uncommitted 2017 QB Recruits

Quarterbacks are a hot commodity at every level of football, and the position's paramount importance is annually illustrated on the college recruiting trail. Most premier passers pick up scholarship offers as underclassmen and routinely announce collegiate intentions well in advance of their senior season. 

Among the nation's top 25 quarterback prospects in 247Sports' 2017 composite rankings, 15 are already committed to a university. That collection includes 5-star talents Tate Martell (Texas A&M), Dylan McCaffrey (Michigan) and Hunter Johnson (Clemson).

Here's a glimpse at the top 10 passers who remain uncommitted as their junior year approaches its conclusion, with a focus on where each may find an ideal fit for the future.

 

Players appear in order based on composite rankings.

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Ohio State Pro Day 2016: Live Results for Braxton Miller, Ezekiel Elliott, More

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With a nation-high 14 players invited to last month's NFL Scouting Combine, Ohio State knew it was in for a special day in what Urban Meyer called an "unprecedented" pro day.

And what a spectacle it was.

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams—including multiple head coaches and general managers—flocked to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Friday to watch a total of 22 prospects attempt to better their NFL hopes. Of the crop of talented ex-Buckeyes, seven currently project as first-round picks, according to Bleacher Report NFL draft lead writer Matt Miller, with two others slotted to land in the second round.

"This is as big of a pro day probably in the history of the NFL and Ohio State," Meyer said midway through the exhibition.

With a handful of players having already excelled at the combine in Indianapolis, not every prospect participated in all of Friday's workouts. And while Ohio State doesn't release official results, below is the best collection of unofficial information that could be gathered on Friday.

 

Jones-ing for a Shot 

After being unable to participate in extensive workouts at the combine because of a hamstring injury, Friday's pro day was especially important for quarterback Cardale Jones. After an up-and-down 2015 that saw him saw him move in and out of the Buckeyes' starting lineup, the national championship-winning quarterback had plenty to prove in his last significant action before individual team workouts begin.

"The stakes are already high," Jones said after his workout.

Attempting 82 passes in 31 minutes, according to ESPN's Austin Ward, Jones put on quite the show in what felt like the main event of Friday's festivities. Throwing to his former teammates and fellow NFL hopefuls, the 6'5", 250-pound Jones wasn't shy to put the deep ball that helped him carry the Buckeyes to the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship on display.

In addition to his cannon-like arm, Jones also hoped to show that he was more than just a one-trick pony during his workout.

"That was one of my main focus points of today, showing touch and accuracy," Jones said. "I don’t think anyone in their right mind would question my arm strength."

Grading his efforts as a B-plus on the day, it remains to be seen just how much Jones helped or hurt his draft stock with his pro-day performance. Of all the Ohio State prospects, Jones might be the toughest player to pin a projection to, as he could land anywhere from the second day of the draft to potentially going undrafted.

"I don't feed into all that," the Cleveland native insisted. "I just want to get my foot in the door."

 

Braxton Back in Action

After running a relatively disappointing 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, quarterback-turned-wideout Braxton Miller set out to prove that he is indeed one of the draft's fastest players.

Based on the 40 time he ran on Friday, it'd be tough to argue otherwise, as the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year clocked in with an unofficial—and, if accurate, blazing—4.35.

"Just show that I wasn’t a 4.5 at the combine," Miller said of his pro-day goal. "My speed, I cherish that, I take pride in that, so I had to come out here and showcase what I did today."

With his speed no longer in question—as if it ever was—Miller remains a work in progress as a wideout as evidenced by his workout with Jones. On some routes, the 6'2", 210-pounder looked like the natural that he is, gliding down the field both before and after snagging impressive catches. On others, he looked like a player less than a year into playing the position on a full-time basis.

Voted the Senior Bowl's most impressive player in practice by NFL executives, Miller has seemingly done nothing but boost his draft stock throughout the past few months. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller currently projects the Cincinnati Bengals to take him in the first round with the draft's No. 24 pick.

Still with plenty to polish as a route-runner, Miller will ultimately be drafted more on his potential than anything else. But after Friday, this much is certain: The ability is there—and so is the speed.

"I've never ran a 4.5. I've never ran that. That’s why I was so upset," Miller said of his combine time. "Something isn’t right with that laser timer."

 

Bosa's Big Day

Of all of the sights in Columbus on Friday, perhaps the most interesting didn't come from a former Buckeye but a future one.

In town to support his brother, Ohio State signee and 2016 5-star prospect Nick Bosa watched from the sideline as Joey Bosa ran through drills. Breaking Meyer's cardinal rule of wearing blue in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the younger Bosa donned both a shirt and hat representing the Tennessee Titans, who just so happen to hold the NFL draft's No. 1 pick.

"That was his idea," Nick and Joey's father, John Bosa, a first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1987, said of his younger son's wardrobe choice.

Having seen his draft stock seemingly slip in the past few weeks after a ho-hum combine performance, Bosa looked good on Friday, improving both his bench press (28 reps) and 40-yard dash (4.78, per the NFL Network). In his latest mock, Matt Miller had the All-American defensive end sliding to the Baltimore Ravens at the No. 6 pick after he entered the draft process in contention for its No. 1 overall slot.

With more than a month left until the draft's first round on April 28, Bosa has plenty of time to further better his draft stock as he appeared to do on Friday.

And while the younger Bosa may ultimately have to invest in a new selection of NFL team gear come the draft, it will only be a few more years until he's the one garnering all of the attention at the Ohio State pro day.

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ranking Every SEC Team's 2016 Schedule from Easiest to Hardest

Life in the SEC is tough. No other conference had a better record against Power Five competition in 2015, and no other conference won more postseason games last year.

And considering all SEC teams have to play eight games against the members of their powerful conference each season, everyone has a hard schedule of some kind. That strength of schedule will only increase moving forward, as 2016 will mark the first year that every member has to play at least one other Power Five team in nonconference play.

But not all schedules are created equal, especially in a conference that isn't exactly balanced between its two divisions. Some SEC teams are bolder than others when it comes to scheduling nonconference games, too.

With that in mind, let's rank every SEC team's 2016 schedule from the easiest to the hardest. These rankings are based on the combined 2015 records of a team's 2016 FBS opponents, number of 2015 bowl and 2016 composite preseason Top 25 teams, location of games and spacing of the toughest opponents.

Which SEC team do you think has the toughest schedule in 2016? Which one do you think has a slate that deserves more preseason respect? Sound off in the comments below.

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Jahair Jones Charges Dropped from Arrest: Latest Details, Reaction

University of Miami offensive tackle Jahair Jones was cleared of the charge against him Thursday following a Wednesday night arrest.

Continue for updates.

Police Spokesman Explains Dismissal of Jones' Charge Friday, March 11

According to Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald, he will not be prosecuted on a charge of resisting an officer without violence during a traffic stop, and it is expected that his teammate—Trevor Darling—will receive the same result after getting arrested along with Jones.

Per Miller Degnan, the arrest affidavit said that both men were in the middle of the roadway and impeding traffic. They were then arrested after ignoring multiple orders from police to remove themselves from the area.

Following the dismissal of Jones' charges, Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office spokesman Ed Griffith explained the reasoning: "They determined the arrest form was legally insufficient to substantiate the criminal charge."

According to Miller Degnan, University of Miami athletic director Blake James acknowledged the arrests of Jones and Darling on Thursday in a written statement: "I am aware of the reported incident involving two student-athletes last night and we are still gathering information. I have very high expectations for all of our student-athletes, as I know Coach [Mark] Richt does for his team, and any misconduct will be addressed."

The 19-year-old Jones is a redshirt sophomore who transferred to Miami from ASA College in New York.

Jones has yet to appear in a game for the Hurricanes, but the Brooklyn, New York, native figures to have an opportunity to earn some playing time in 2016.

While his legal issues are no longer a factor following Thursday's dismissal, it isn't yet clear if Jones will face any repercussions from the university.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Watch 4-Star ATH Bruce Judson Make Sick Catches off Diving Board

Making awesome catches off diving boards is one of our nation's most cherished pastimes. And as cool as you thought you looked making that one-handed grab off your grandma's diving board that one time, chances are 4-star athlete Bruce Judson did it better.

Watch the coveted prospect out of Cocoa, Florida, make sick catches off the diving board in the video above.


Special thanks to the Cocoa YMCA.

Recruit info and rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tennessee Football: Ranking the Vols' Top 5 Recruiting Targets for 2017

While Tennessee's resurgent success on the field and all the hype leading into the 2016 season haven't resonated yet on the recruiting trail, the Volunteers already have lured a slew of top talent onto campus for junior days.

Before long, you have to think coach Butch Jones will add to the two 3-star prospects (Georgia linebacker Mo Burnham and Mississippi tight end Chase Rogers) who've already pulled the trigger with commitments in the '17 class.

UT is on the list of many of the nation's top prospects, and while national runner-up Clemson has proved to be a nemesis on the recruiting trail so far, the Vols have to win some battles with top talent within state boundaries in a banner year for talent close to home.

The Vols are already behind on several top targets, including Knoxville receiver Amari Rodgers and Memphis running back Cordarrian Richardson, who've both committed to Dabo Swinney's Tigers. Also, California offensive lineman and UT legacy Kanan Ray pledged to UCLA.

If Ray and Rodgers follow through with these commitments, it'll mark the first time in Jones' tenure he's lost a legacy commitment the Vols have really coveted. 

Despite the struggling start, the recruiting board for every team right now is massive. While it's difficult to sort through and assign rankings to the top players, it's becoming obvious who some of the Vols' top targets will be.

But narrowing it to a top five is a tough exercise. Without talking directly to Jones (who can't commit on unsigned prospects) this list is going to be subjective. For instance, this one doesn't even include Maleik Gray or JaCoby Stevens, who are without question important to UT's '17 class.

In his first two full classes, Jones proved he could start strong and space out commits. Just last month, he showed with the '16 haul that he can close strong.

What will Tennessee's 2017 class look like when all is said and done? That's anybody's guess. But let's take a look at the Vols' top five early targets based on need, geography and sheer playmaking ability of the prospects.

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Every Top 25 Team's Main College Football Recruiting Pipeline

College football coaching staffs constantly search the country for high school prospects who could eventually make an impact on their respective rosters. This quest for talent requires programs to place emphasis on scouting several regions, but every team must be able to identify an area it can return to for key pickups on a perennial basis.

Whether it's a specific school district, overall region or an entire state, these established "pipelines" can consistently provide pieces that upgrade a game plan. We shined a spotlight on pipelines that have been particularly kind to the 25 programs featured in the final 2015 coaches poll.

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Ohio State Football: Ranking Buckeyes' Top 5 Recruiting Targets for 2017

When national signing day is in the books for the 2017 recruiting cycle, the Ohio State Buckeyes could have as many as six 5-star recruits in the fold.

The Buckeyes currently have a stranglehold on the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, leading the country with two 5-star and nine 4-star prospects for their '17 class. But with the high-level targets still left on the board, Ohio State's grasp on the top spot could be unbreakable when it's all said and done.

With the class filling up quickly, Urban Meyer and Co. will need to be selective with their remaining scholarships. These five players are pivotal not only because of their high ranking and ratings, but because they'll fill positions of need, keep chief rivals from getting stronger and open up huge pipelines to talent-rich high schools across the country.

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Anthony Jennings to Transfer from LSU: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The LSU Tigers announced Thursday that backup quarterback Anthony Jennings will transfer from the program.

Jennings was the team's 2014 starter but was supplanted last year by Brandon Harris. He will remain with the school until he graduates this summer, though will transfer to another football program to finish his college career, per LSU's release.

Graduating from LSU would make him eligible to be a graduate transfer, and he could play immediately this fall with whatever new school he signs with.

“This is an opportunity for Anthony to put himself in a position to help another team have success,” LSU head coach Les Miles said in a statement. "We wish him nothing but good fortune in the future and we appreciate all that he did while he was part of our program.”

LSU is now down to three scholarship quarterbacks—Harris, Danny Etling and Justin McMillan. Lindsey Scott, a 3-star dual threat-quarterback, will arrive this June. 

If he's granted a graduate-transfer waiver, Jennings will become the latest to use the NCAA exception—one largely utilized by other upperclassmen quarterbacks who have lost their starting jobs and are seeking new opportunities. 

Russell Wilson is the most prominent example, having left NC State for Wisconsin in 2011 after Sean Glennon was promoted to starting quarterback. 

Georgia’s Greyson Lambert (transferred from Virginia) and Florida State’s Everett Golson (transferred from Notre Dame) are other examples of quarterbacks who have found new starting gigs after leaving Division I schools. Both were No. 1 on the depth chart by the start of last season.

Jennings’ next stop isn’t clear, but he should draw interest from, at the very least, some of the lower-tier Power Five schools. 

He went 9-4 with 1,792 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions over two years as a starter, adding another 310 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Those numbers are respectable, but what might be concerning is LSU didn’t have faith in Jennings to keep him the starter in 2015. 

They instead turned to Harris, who anchored the SEC’s third-worst passing offense in what was the Tigers’ Achilles' heel late in the season. 

Jennings would fit nicely in another system that affords him a strong run game to complement his dual-threat ability. He’s not the strongest passer, but he could thrive with other talented pieces around him.

 

Recruiting rankings provided by 247Sports' composite rankings

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Football: Ranking the Hardest Games of the 2016 Schedule

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — If there’s one thing that was indisputable about the University of Alabama’s most recent national championship season, it’s the Crimson Tide played a worthy schedule.

Alabama faced nine opponents that were ranked at the time they played, which was a record for the most ever by a national champion.

It had an impressive neutral-site win in the season opener against Wisconsin. With Florida reaching the SEC Championship Game, Alabama had to play the top three teams in the East Division, and it knocked off the teams ranked No. 1 and 3 in the College Football Playoff.

Alabama also played in the sport’s toughest division, with every team ranked in the Associated Press poll at some point during the 2015 season and all seven finishing above .500 for the second straight year. Both of those things had never occurred before in college football.

This fall, it will have another challenging schedule, featuring many of the usual suspects and some new ones.

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10 College Football Teams That Are Locks to Win 10 Games in 2016

Success in college football means different things to different teams. Some won't be satisfied unless they take home a championship, while others just want to see improvement of some kind.

But a good baseline for success across all conferences year in and year out is the vaunted 10-win mark. By reaching double-digit wins in a season, a program has secured its spot as one of the best in the country—no matter what bowl it reaches or what its strength of schedule is.

Last year, 29 teams won 10 games, ranging from the College Football Playoff and "New Year's Six" qualifiers to the best of the best in the "Group of Five" conferences. How many will get there in the 2016 season?

College football is wildly unpredictable by nature. Massive upsets and major injuries happen. Teams fall well below expectations. There are only a few "sure things" out there.

But here are 10 college football teams that should be considered locks to win 10 games in 2016, provided they stay healthy and play up to their potential. These selections were based on recent performance, number of returning starters (according to Phil Steele) and the teams they must face in my composite preseason Top 25.

Of course, more than just these 10 teams will win at least 10 games this fall. But these are the 10 safest bets on the board heading into the 2016 season. Give us your own in the comments below.

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College Football Coaches Who Could Easily Recruit for School's Basketball Team

Recruiting is all about presentation. You're selling impressionable, young athletes on an experience, convincing them the one you offer is better than what they can find anywhere else. The sport in question is only a small piece of the package and might as well not even be included in the pitch.

In that respect, great recruiters could probably convince prospects to come to their schools no matter what sport they played (or what sport the coach was from), right? That got us wondering which coaches from the college football ranks would be savvy enough to haul in top-tier talent for their men's basketball programs.

There are quite a few that could pull this off, but we've put together a list of football coaches who could be a level above the rest when it comes to selling their schools to basketball players just as well. Check out our picks, and give us your thoughts in the comments section.

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Big Ten Football Q&A: Who's the Best New Quarterback in the B1G?

Spring football is in full gear, an unprecedented pro day is getting set to begin, Jim Harbaugh is gaining allies in Florida and Illinois has a new head coach.

In other words, it's just another typical week in the Big Ten.

It also happens to be time for my weekly Big Ten Q&A, where you ask the questions, and I provide the answers. As always, you can send your Big Ten-related questions to me on Twitter @BenAxelrod each week for your chance to appear in the mailbag.

This week, we'll tackle the conference's new starting signal-callers, the Fighting Illini's new head coach, the Big Ten's most important position change and the wonderful world of professional wrestling.

Let's get started.

Quarterbacks in the Big Ten have always fascinated me, particularly as the league's offenses have evolved into more modern styles. Some programs have managed to keep up with the times, others have even taken it a step further and then there are still some head coaches who prefer to play it safe with a game manager.

This season, the makeup of the league's signal-callers will be even more interesting, as there won't be many new ones, but four of the five the QBs who will be starting for the first time will do so at prominent programs.

Presumed conference title contenders Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin will each be breaking in new starters this season, which will throw a twist into divisional races that will see Ohio State and Iowa each return their starting quarterbacks.

In terms of new starters, the player I find most intriguing is Wisconsin's Bart Houston, who completed 22 of his 33 pass attempts for 232 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while subbing in for an injured Joel Stave during the Badgers' 24-13 win over Illinois last season. Houston was so impressive that calls came for him to be named Wisconsin's new starter midseason, but Stave ultimately resumed his role in the Badgers lineup.

After Houston, I'm intrigued by Michigan's John O'Korn, presuming he takes the spot in the Wolverines lineup that Jake Rudock vacated. Of the quarterback competitions in the Big Ten this offseason, Michigan State's is perhaps the most intriguing, with Tyler O'Connor, Damion Terry and Messiah deWeaver battling it out to replace Connor Cook.

And then there's Penn State, which finds itself without a blue-chip prospect ready to step in for Christian Hackenberg. It could, however, be argued that either Trace McSorley or Tommy Stevens may ultimately be a better fit in head coach James Franklin's system than Hackenberg was in the past two years.

So to answer your question, my ranking of new Big Ten starting quarterbacks looks like this:

  1. Bart Houston, Wisconsin
  2. John O'Korn, Michigan
  3. Michigan State's new starter
  4. Penn State's new starter
  5. Indiana's Zander Diamont

But it's the Nittany Lions I have the most concern about—for reasons that extend beyond the actual quarterbacks themselves.

When I first wrote about Illinois' stunning hiring of Lovie Smith earlier this week, I was convinced the former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach would make the Fighting Illini instant contenders in the Big Ten West based on a surprising amount of talent—including star wideout Mike Dudek—returning in Champaign and Smith's pedigree.

But the more I think about Smith's hiring at Illinois, the more I view this as a move that could revolutionize Fighting Illini football for years to come.

I mean, think about it: This is an NFL-caliber head coach already putting together an NFL-caliber staff in what is inarguably the weaker of the Big Ten's two divisions. Who knows what will become of Iowa after quarterback C.J. Beathard and cornerback Desmond King graduate, and even at 10-3, Wisconsin was steady but unspectacular in its first year under head coach Paul Chryst.

I actually like what head coach Mike Riley's doing in Lincoln—at least from a recruiting standpoint—more than most, but even then, I have a hard time seeing Nebraska building a division dynasty. The reality is the Big Ten West is there for the taking, and all of sudden Illinois has arguably the coach with both the biggest name and the most credibility.

In more than a year of covering the Big Ten, I wrote about Illinois twice—both times relating to former Illini head coach Tim Beckman's unspectacular downfall in Champaign. In the past four days, I've now written about the Fighting Illini three times, which is indicative of the buzz Smith is already building at his new job.

I don't expect Illinois to win the division this year, but I wouldn't be shocked if it's in contention until the very end. Come 2017, however, I expect Lovie's presence to be in full effect with both his recruiting and his player development potentially paving the way to a new powerhouse in the Big Ten West.

Of all the things that have been said and written about Michigan's spring practice this year, Jabrill Peppers' move to linebacker has somehow flown under the radar.

When it comes to position switches in the Big Ten this season, you won't find a more important one than Peppers' move to the front seven—and not just because he's now played close to 10 positions in his college career. In new Wolverines defensive coordinator Don Brown's defense, there isn't a more important position than outside linebacker, as evidenced by the numbers his past outside linebackers have posted in stops at UConn and Boston College.

Don't believe me? Here are the numbers accumulated by the lead outside linebacker in Brown's defense in each of the past five seasons:

Like Peppers, Keyes and Milano were both converted safeties, but neither possessed the type of ability Michigan's 5-star jack-of-all-trades does. Primarily playing safety, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year managed to post 45 tackles—5.5 of which came for a loss—in his debut campaign.

Under Brown and now at linebacker, those numbers will only amplify if the new Wolverines defensive coordinator's history with the position is any indication. Peppers has always had the talent, and now he might just be in the proper scheme to harness it and turn into one of the most dynamic defenders the Big Ten—and college football—has ever seen.

All right, Chris (who does great work at CoachingSearch.com and can be followed on Twitter @ChrisVannini), I'm going to give this a shot with a brief explanation of each.

 

Ohio State: Brock Lesnar

The Beast Incarnate. The Buckeyes have been on a roll under head coach Urban Meyer, just like Brock Lesnar's been since ending The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania two years ago. Neither seems to be slowing down anytime soon.

 

Michigan: Roman Reigns

Love Jim Harbaugh or hate Jim Harbaugh, Michigan's new head coach draws a reaction, much like WWE's new force-fed golden child. But after spending the better part of the past year in the spotlight, it will be crucial for each to deliver in 2016.

 

Michigan State: Dean Ambrose

I love you #SpartyNation, but you guys can truly be The Lunatic Fringe sometimes. Still, neither Michigan State nor Dean Ambrose always receives the respect it deserves, as each has arguably been its respective league's top performer for the past three years.

 

Penn State: Randy Orton

Like Penn State, Randy Orton was a big deal five years ago and an even bigger deal a decade ago. But lately, each of their acts have gotten stale, as both are in need of some sort of reboot to maintain relevance.

 

Wisconsin: Bray Wyatt

A steady contender you can always add to the mix for a much-needed quality win. Do either Wisconsin or Bray Wyatt have what it takes to be the top dog? That's to be determined.

 

Iowa: The New Day

The success of both the Hawkeyes and New Day in 2015 left us wondering the same thing: Where did that come from, and can it be sustained? Bonus points on this one, because New Day member Big E (Ettore Ewen) was a defensive lineman at Iowa in the mid-2000s.

 

Nebraska: Big Show

Need to look strong? Defeating Nebraska or Big Show can still accomplish just that. But the unfortunate reality for both is that the win against either would have looked a lot stronger had it come in 1996.

 

Illinois: Ryback

When in need of freshening things up, a new head coach or a much-needed heel turn can do wonders. But despite both seeming to possess plenty of upside, it remains to be seen what Lovie will accomplish in Champaign and what The Big Guy will get done with his latest turn to the dark side.

 

Minnesota: Cesaro

We saw a spark from each back in 2014, signaling that both the Golden Gophers and The Swiss Superman had potential as consistent contenders. Coming off a coaching change in Minneapolis and an unfortunately timed shoulder injury for Cesaro, both, however, still have plenty to prove.

 

Northwestern: Kalisto

While Northwestern made an unexpected push for the Big Ten West title in 2015, Kalisto became the unlikely United States champion with his upset victory over Alberto Del Rio this past winter. And while both will always be fan favorites, neither has the upside of one day becoming a world champion.

 

Indiana: Tyler Breeze

Tyler Breeze's move set is fun, much like the Hoosiers offense under head coach Kevin Wilson. Neither, however, has led to many wins for either to this point.

 

Purdue: Zack Ryder

When Zack Ryder's in the ring on Monday Night Raw, it's a safe bet he's about to get beat. And when Purdue takes the field each Saturday—well, you get the picture.

 

Rutgers and Maryland: The Social Outcasts

Both the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins seem to be having fun with their new head coaches, much like Bo Dallas, Adam Rose, Heath Slater and Curtis Axel have been with their new gimmick. All, however, have limited upside—and I'm not sure they truly make sense in their respective leagues.

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Trevor Darling, Jahair Jones Arrested: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

University of Miami offensive linemen Trevor Darling and Jahair Jones were arrested Wednesday night after allegedly impeding traffic and "resisting officer without violence."

Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald reported an arrest affidavit shows the men were arrested after ignoring multiple requests by two officers to leave a roadway in Miami Beach.  

The affidavit for Jones states the Hurricanes player acknowledged the police request but did not follow their orders: "The defendants were arrested and removed from the roadway. Once in custody, the defendant [Jones] acknowledged he was being asked to move, yet he refused to move after being asked several times."

The Miami Herald also noted a separate affidavit filed for Darling provided further information about the incident:

Darling's arrest affidavit said the sergeant give him "five lawful orders to remove himself from the middle of the roadway. The defendant was impeding traffic and was a safety hazard to himself and others…The defendant also refused to obey two lawful orders… The defendant was arrested without incident. Once in custody the defendant stated that he was in fact ordered by a law enforcement officer to remove himself from the roadway but continued not to follow orders."

Miami athletic director Blake James later issued a statement on the arrests, via Degnan:

"I am aware of the reported incident involving two student-athletes last night and we are still gathering information. I have very high expectations for all of our student-athletes, as I know Coach [Mark] Richt does for his team, and any misconduct will be addressed."

No other information about why Darling and Jones were in the roadway was included in the report.

Darling emerged as a key cog in the Canes offensive line over the past two years. He started all 13 games at the crucial left tackle spot last season for the nation's 29th-ranked passing offense. He could establish himself as a high-upside NFL prospect with a strong 2016 campaign.

Jones didn't play last season. The 6'4", 320-pound lineman opted to redshirt in order to retain an extra season of eligibility. He'll look to earn a spot along the line as a sophomore next fall. He was a 3-star JUCO transfer from ASA College early last year, per 247Sports.

It's unclear what type of punishment the Miami players could receive as a result of the incident.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Predicting the Achilles' Heel of Every Projected Top 25 Team for 2016

Heading into the 2016 offseason, each Top 25 college football team has a shortcoming on the roster that can be considered the program's Achilles' heel.

Losses are hard enough to bear. However, dropping games because of a known weakness or particular individual struggle that wasn't addressed or overcome is even more painful.

Perhaps the necessary adjustments are made or breakout players emerge to fill the gaps during spring practice or fall camp, but these problems are expected to linger into the regular season.

Bleacher Report's Ben Kercheval's "Super Early Top 25" was the ranking used to create the list.

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Why Jalen Ramsey Is Rare Defensive Back Worthy of Top-5 Pick in NFL Draft

Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey is one of the elite prospects in this year's draft class, appearing as high as No. 2 on some media draft boards. 

ESPN's Kevin Weildl, for example, recently stated that he views Ramsey and Ole Miss lineman Laremy Tunsil as the two premier prospects in the draft:

As the draft class is starting to take shape it's Ramsey and Tunsil, then everybody else. Good bit of a drop after those two IMO.

— Kevin Weidl (@KevinW_ESPN) March 2, 2016

The fact that Ramsey is so highly regarded isn't a shock. He had a stellar career at Florida State, and we've seen similar prospects, such as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, earn elite grades and land in the top 10 in recent years.

But Ramsey has a realistic chance to accomplish something that hasn't been done in nearly two decades. 

No defensive back has been selected higher than fifth overall since future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson in 1998. 

In fact, dating back to 1970, only six defensive backs have had that honor—five of which went on to be selected to at least one Pro Bowl. 

So what makes Ramsey worthy of such a high pick while playing a position that is typically passed over early in the draft? Let's take a look at a few factors that make this possible.

 

Money

Unfortunately, the first piece of this scenario isn't all that interesting, and it has nothing to do with Ramsey. 

Since the latest collective bargaining agreement set a rookie wage scale, the odds of a defensive back being selected inside the top five have skyrocketed. 

When Sam Bradford signed his rookie deal as the No. 1 pick in 2010, he was guaranteed $50 million and was set to earn over $10 million per year in the final years of the deal, according to Spotrac

That would be an absurd contract for even the best defensive backs in the league, let alone a rookie. As a result, cornerbacks and safeties simply weren't in consideration for these high picks. 

The rookie wage scale, however, puts all rookie contracts at a reasonable level, regardless of their position. 

For example, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Dante Fowler third overall in 2015 and signed him to a four-year deal worth just $23 million. Even in the final year of his contract, Fowler's cap hit will only reach $7.4 million—compare that to a peak of $17.6 million for Bradford. 

With this wage scale, NFL teams can now safely select prospects at any position and be guaranteed to pay them a reasonable salary for up to five years (all first-round contracts come with a fifth-year team option). 

 

Versatility 

Ramsey enters the NFL with a rare level of proven versatility, having played at an elite level in college at both safety and cornerback. 

On a basic level, this increases his odds of being a top pick because it opens up more opportunities. Any team with a hole at safety or cornerback can consider him an option. 

However, it also makes him a safer selection. 

Draft picks who flame out completely often do so because they have no fall-back option once they begin to struggle in their initial role. But players who can shift positions can often extend their careers. 

Take former Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Robert Gallery as an example. 

Gallery was a first-class bust as a left tackle and appeared to be on his way out of the league before even wrapping up his rookie deal in Oakland. 

However, the Raiders shifted Gallery inside to guard, where he established himself as a quality starter. 

Despite falling well short of expectations as the No. 2 overall selection in 2004, Gallery ended up starting over 100 games in his eight-year career. 

Obviously no one hopes or expects Ramsey's career follows the Gallery path, but the fact that he can play multiple positions dramatically increases the odds of him being a productive player in the league. 

 

Elite Athleticism

The money and versatility are two major factors in making Ramsey a potential top-five selection, but obviously his raw talent is what really sets him apart. 

Ramsey went to the NFL Scouting Combine needing to prove he had the athleticism to play cornerback, and he came away proving he was in an elite class as an athlete, more than capable of playing any position in the secondary. 

Among all cornerbacks who performed the 40-yard dash and the vertical leap at the combine since 2004, Ramsey is the only prospect in this year's class who ranks in the 80th percentile in both categories. 

It's a remarkable feat, most recently accomplished by Buffalo Bills cornerback Ronald Darby in 2015 and San Diego Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett in 2014—two cornerbacks who each ranked among Pro Football Focus' top-10 corners in 2015.  

Two traits stand out when watching Ramsey, specifically during his time as a cornerback. 

The most noticeable of these traits is his ability to get physical with receivers in press coverage. This is a skill that typically sets the elite cornerbacks apart from the rest of the pack in the NFL, and Ramsey has shown flashes of ability to dominate in this area. 

The other favorable trait Ramsey possesses is his start-and-stop ability. 

This skill often goes overlooked when evaluating a cornerback, but it directly correlates to their ability to stay with a receiver in coverage. Inevitably the cornerback will take false steps in coverage from time to time—it's a receiver's job to make sure that happens—but the corners with elite start-and-stop quickness are the ones who can overcome these minor missteps. 

When looking at Ramsey the athlete and factoring in his versatility and the low-risk contract given to high draft picks, it's hard to make an argument that he isn't worthy of a top five, or even a top-three selection. 

Each of the five teams sitting at the top of the draft has room for Ramsey in its secondary, so it's likely a question of where in the top five he lands, not if he'll land there. 

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Jim Harbaugh Proposes Judge Judy's Supreme Court Nomination to President Obama

Jim Harbaugh is an outspoken, no-nonsense man who values outspoken, no-nonsense people.

One of those people happens to be daytime television's Judge Judy. 

In fact, the Michigan Wolverines football head coach has such a great appreciation for the well-known magistrate, he's taken to Twitter to campaign for her Supreme Court candidacy.

But make no mistake: His support isn't a recent development. 

Not only has Harbaugh, along with his father, Jack, been a guest on her show, he expressed a similar sentiment about Judge Judy having a seat on the country's highest court to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman almost a year go:

I love Judge Judy. We have some great Supreme Court members, tremendous Supreme Court currently that we have, but I’d love to see Judge Judy on the Supreme Court. I just love everything about her.

To be certain, Judge Judy has years of courtroom experience.

Whether President Barack Obama agrees that the kind of experience she has merits a nomination is an entirely different matter.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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