Feed aggregator

College Football Rankings 2014: Final Overview of Week 2 Standings

Preseason college football rankings are always to be taken with a grain of salt, and that is never more apparent than the moment that Week 2 standings are released.

All it takes is one game for certain top-10 schools to prove that the hype might be unwarranted. Meanwhile, an upset victory for a team near the end of the Top 25 can propel them all the way near the front of the rankings.

I'm looking at you, South Carolina and Texas A&M. 

Although the Top 25 in Week 2 looks significantly different from how things will stand at the end of the season, it's still a much more accurate measuring point after seeing—almost—all of college football's best teams play their opening 60 minutes.

But with top-10 matchups on the slate for the weekend, we're only a few days away from another big shakeup.

Here's a final look at the Top 25 as Week 2 gets ready to unfold.

 

Associated Press poll found at AP.org, USA Today coaches' poll found at USAToday.com.

 

Top 25 Overview

It didn't involve No. 1 falling, but Week 1 showed just how vulnerable the top dogs are in college football entering the season.

Few expected anything other than another Florida State blowout when Jameis Winston's crew took to the AT&T Stadium field to face an unranked Oklahoma State team. Instead, last year's Heisman Trophy winner got all he could handle as he threw more interceptions than touchdowns in a close 37-31 victory.

Not as noticeable as Winston's struggles but even more alarming were the defensive lapses. The Seminoles gave up 364 total yards, and they conceded more points than they did throughout a portion of last season as ESPN Stats and Information noted:

Florida State wasn't the only powerhouse to struggle to an opening win. Alabama faced an early deficit to West Virginia and struggled on defense, before pulling out a 33-23 win that was closer than expected.

Of course, neither of the close wins did anything to deter Florida State and Alabama's status as the top two teams in the rankings. But don't think for a second that the reset of college football didn't notice their vulnerability.

Elsewhere, many less proven teams made huge statements in Week 1. Most notably were two SEC heavyweights—Georgia and Texas A&M.

The Bulldogs started the season off with a marquee matchup against Clemson, and a tight affair at halftime was blown open thanks to Todd Gurley's massive day—15 carries, 198 yards and four total touchdowns, including a kickoff return to the house.

From a team lurking outside of the top 10 entering the season, that performance wasn't too shocking. The Aggies' domination of South Carolina, however, was just that as freshman Kenny Hill dazzled with more than 500 yards of offense. 

Both were rewarded in Week 2 with huge boosts in the rankings, but with Georgia facing South Carolina this upcoming weekend, don't be surprised if things get shaken up again.

The movement was far and wide across the Top 25, including Louisville sneaking in after dominating Miami. CampusInsiders.com's Russ Mitchell added more schools to keep an eye on as potential sleepers:

Week 2 guarantees more movement across the board. ESPN's College GameDay will be at a game with College Football Playoff implications as No. 3 Oregon hosts No. 7 Michigan State, USC battles Stanford and Notre Dame hosts Michigan.

Most of the top schools can ease into the season with easy matchups on Week 1, but Week 2 begins the true season for those who start with a cupcake team.

There will be few strolls in the park for the nation's marquee teams from here on out. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Picks Week 2: Final Predictions on Odds for Top 25 Matchups

After one week of the 2014 college football season, the AP Top 25 Poll was shaken up in a big way thanks to some unexpected performances—both good and bad—from the nation's top squads. With some highly contested matchups in store on Saturday, we're left asking one question: Which teams will survive Week 2?

Vegas oddsmakers have already been hard at work deciphering which teams deserve to be favorites and which should be underdogs in Week 2. Odds have been established, and point spreads have shifted due to early betting—now it's time for some final predictions.

Based on what we saw from the nation's Top 25 teams in Week 1, let's project how they'll fare—both against their opponents and against the spread—on Saturday.

Game odds courtesy of OddsShark.com.

 

Notable Matchups

(3) Oregon vs. (7) Michigan State

We only had to wait until Week 2 to witness a clash of heavyweights. These two teams are built in complete opposite fashions, and that's what makes this contest so compelling.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is absolutely part of the early Heisman Trophy discussion. A dual-threat signal-caller, Mariota has the ability to torch defenses with his arm and his legs. In the team's 62-13 Week 1 victory over South Dakota, Mariota completed 14 of his 20 passing attempts for 267 yards and three touchdowns while rushing six times for 43 yards and another score.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports tweeted exactly how fast and athletic Mariota really is:

What makes Mariota even more dangerous is Oregon's high-octane offense full of speedy playmakers. Byron Marshall is predominantly a running back with good hands; however, the team experimented with him in the slot in Week 1. It was a huge success. Marshall accumulated 228 yards from scrimmage and two scores on a mix of eight carries and eight receptions.

On the flip side, Michigan State owns one of the most feared defenses in the nation. In Week 1, the Spartans held Jacksonville State to just seven points and a total of 244 yards of offense.

The Gamecocks put three different quarterbacks in the game, and only Max Shortell produced any kind of offense, completing 10 of 18 attempts for 117 yards and a score. The other two signal-callers were intercepted a combined three times.

On the ground, Jacksonville State didn't fare any better. The team rushed 25 times for 22 yards—that's an average of 0.9 yards per carry.

Here's a telling stat from ESPN College Football regarding Michigan State's fierce run defense:

A matchup between one of the nation's most prolific offenses and one of the most stout defenses is just around the corner. This leads us to one question: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

 

(13) Stanford vs. (14) USC

Stanford didn't have much of a contest in Week 1 against UC Davis, and while the team won in decisive fashion by a score of 45-0, it didn't go as swimmingly as it probably should have.

Kevin Hogan had his moments under center, but against an average Aggies defense, he had a nice chance to shine. Instead, he completed 12 of his 16 attempts for 204 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Not bad numbers by any stretch, but not great.

While Hogan didn't light up the scoreboard, he's fared nicely against top teams, via ESPN College Football:

As for the Cardinal running game, the loss of Tyler Gaffney was a big one. It appears as though the team is replacing the workhorse with a committee approach featuring Barry Sanders and Kelsey Young. Both backs were solid but couldn't find enough room to break a run longer than 17 yards.

USC had a bit more of a challenge in Week 1 against Fresno State. The offense didn't seem to miss a beat, and quarterback Cody Kessler really looked the part. The junior completed 25 of 37 attempts for 394 yards and four touchdowns without throwing a pick. He also added a one-yard touchdown scamper on the ground.

According to Eye on College Football, Kessler is on track to play again Saturday after an injury scare in Week 1:

The quarterback isn't at a loss for weapons, either. Javorius Allen looked to be every bit the part of a workhorse running back, carrying 22 times for 133 yards and a score. JuJu Smith torched Fresno State's secondary for 123 yards on four receptions. Nelson Agholor proved to be a solid red-zone target, reeling in five receptions for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

Needless to say, the Trojans are boasting a very well-rounded offense.

However, USC did allow 157 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries to Fresno State, which could prove to be the team's Achilles' heel. If Stanford is to earn the win, getting its running game going should be priority No. 1.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Week 2: Previews and Predictions for the Top 5 Games

There was excitement in Week 1 of the 2014 college football season, but Week 2 will be even better. 

The game of the week, as well as the best nonconference game of the 2014 season, will be between Top 10 teams Michigan State and Oregon. Both programs will battle it out in the Pacific Northwest to stay in the running for a spot in the College Football Playoff.  

While much of the focus will be on the Ducks and Sparty, Michigan and Notre Dame will play their final game against each other for the foreseeable future. The Wolverines need a big road win to gain momentum after a rough 2013 campaign. 

The other two games in the national spotlight will be USC at Stanford, as well as Virginia Tech at Ohio State. Steve Sarkisian and his Trojans will try to make it two straight against the Cardinal, while the Hokies look to earn a win over a ranked nonconference opponent for the first time since 2009.

With a lot of anticipation heading into Week 2, here are the top five games to watch Saturday.    

Begin Slideshow

Butch Jones Must Find Senior Leadership on Young Tennessee Volunteers Team

After Tennessee cruised past the Utah State Aggies Sunday evening, fans and media pundits alike raised their expectations for the Volunteers' 2014 season.

And while the team certainly looks improved over last season—particularly on defense—it's up to second-year head coach Butch Jones to find a solid group of veteran leaders who can keep the team focused, particularly once they hit the meat of one of the toughest schedules in college football.

 

Looking Ahead at Tennessee's SEC East Schedule

It's still too early to determine if Tennessee is one of the most improved teams in the SEC or if Utah State simply regressed since posting a 9-5 record in 2013. Regardless, the Vols' blowout win against the Aggies was one of the most impressive Week 1 performances in the SEC East. 

South Carolina and Missouri looked vulnerable in their debuts, while hapless Vanderbilt may be headed back toward the dark ages under first-year head coach Derek Mason. 

Although Florida has yet to play and Georgia may have one of the strongest offenses in the conference, the 2014 season still presents the Vols with their best chance to finish in the top half of the SEC East since 2009. 

Leading the charge for Jones and Tennessee are two key senior players: Justin Worley and A.J. Johnson.

 

Worley's Leadership Under Center

Although he may not have the arm strength and natural talent of Tyler Bray, there's a good chance Justin Worley will leave Tennessee with a greater legacy than his predecessor at quarterback. 

Looking back at the 2013 season, Worley leading the Vols to a last-second win over No. 11 South Carolina may have been the biggest SEC upset of the year. 

Much of that win was due to Worley playing the best football of his career against the Gamecocks. 

However, his excellent performance against Utah State—27-of-38 for 273 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions—shows that he still hasn't peaked as a quarterback. 

One of Worley's biggest assets is his overall command of the offense. ESPN.com's Chris Low reports that Worley's teammates, including senior tailback Marlin Lane, have great confidence in his ability to call the right plays and keep everyone on the same page:

We have a new offensive line, other new players, but he did a great job of communicating and getting everything going. I love Justin.

 

A.J. Johnson: Tennessee's Best Overall Player

With a career stat sheet as loaded as A.J. Johnson's, it's hard to pick any glaring deficiencies in his game—although lack of speed in pursuit is his biggest drawback. Or maybe the right word is "was."

If Sunday night's game is any indication, Johnson shaved a few milliseconds off his 40-yard dash time during the offseason, as he seemed to be everywhere on defense and special teams for the Vols.

Not only did he have nine tackles and an interception on defense, but he also helped strip the ball from Utah State's kickoff return man, setting Tennessee up for a quick touchdown to take a two-score lead.

Placing Johnson on special teams when he's such a valuable player on Tennessee's defense may seem risky, but Jones told Lauren Moore of The Leaf-Chronicle that Johnson was ready for the opportunity: 

We need to improve our kickoff coverage from last year, and Johnson has a great sense of getting to the ball. We thought with the youth and inexperience on this football team that he needed to be on that football team and he wanted to do it.

Johnson's decision to return to Tennessee was pivotal for the team's chances of making the postseason in 2014. With so many young faces on defense, his leadership, aggressive play and knowledge of defensive coordinator John Jancek's playbook will be invaluable for his inexperienced teammates taking the field beside him. 

 

Other Seniors Must Step Up

While Worley and Johnson are certainly the leaders of the Vols' offense and defense, the other seniors on the team, rare as they may be, also must become vocal presences on the field and in the locker room.

Lane struggled running the ball against the Aggies during Week 1, and he needs to quickly find his groove as the season continues to give freshman Jalen Hurd time to adjust to playing in the SEC.

Fellow senior Jordan Williams may be on the verge of a breakout senior season as a defensive lineman, and his 4th-and-1 stop against the Aggies helped establish Tennessee's defensive dominance for four quarters.

The Vols' 2014 class may be the largest stockpile of talent on the roster, but it's up to Jones and a handful of seniors he inherited to push Tennessee toward another big upset win on their way to a bowl berth.

If they can pull it off this season and prove to the nation and potential recruits that the Vols are on the rise, Jones' rebuilding project in Knoxville may finish ahead of schedule. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Nevada Linebacker Brock Hekking Has the Best Mullet in College Football

Nevada defensive end Brock Hekking has the best hair in College Football, and it's not even close. 

He went full '80s with his headband during pregame warmups Friday. It's undeniable, Hekking is business up front and party in the back.  

Even Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton bows down to the mullet: 

Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee put it best: Brock Hekking is a winner at life. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Missouri State Bears: Complete Game Preview

In their game against the Florida State Seminoles, the Oklahoma State Cowboys played better than anyone could've expected them to against the defending national champions. Though the Pokes lost 37-31, they showed the nation that, even in a rebuilding year, this is a program that plans to win a lot of football games.

Now, the Pokes get to go back home to Stillwater and play a Missouri State Bears team that looks very overmatched after what we saw from the Cowboys last weekend.

However, could everyone be overlooking the Bears, just like they did Oklahoma State last week? Does Missouri State have a chance at a shocking upset? Read on to find out.

Begin Slideshow

Matthew Thomas Suspended: Latest Updates on FSU LB's Status and Return

Florida State redshirt freshman linebacker Matthew Thomas has reportedly been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

Warchant.com reported the news:

According to Warchant.com, reasoning for the suspension has not been disclosed but it's only expected to keep him out for about half of the season. The report specifically mentions October 18—the day that the Seminoles host Notre Dame—as the date he could return by.

The rumblings on Thomas have been conflicting. He has missed practice since August 16, with coaches stating an ankle injury to media while others, including WJXL's Rick Ballou, hinted on Twitter about concern of a NCAA investigation as the reason why Thomas was being held out.

As the eighth-ranked player in his national recruiting class and a five-star prospect per 247 Sports composite rankings, Thomas figured to play a big role in the Seminoles' offense in 2013 before only playing just three games with a nagging shoulder injury. He ended up redshirting last season, but was a full go coming into this season.

It's not an ideal time for Jimbo Fisher's crew to go down another linebacker. Delvin Purifoy and Kain Daub are already both out an extended amount of time, and the Seminoles host No. 23 Clemson on Sept. 20. The defensive unit will want to improve as a whole after allowing 31 points and 364 total yards to Oklahoma State in Week 1. 

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

8 Pairs of College Football Recruits Who Could Dominate Together in College

College football brings together elite athletes from across the country, creating lifelong friendships and prolific teammates. The 2015 recruiting class features plenty of potential dynamic duos who could partner up for years to come and alter the fortunes of their team.

Whether it's a quarterback and receiver routinely torching opposing backfields or bookend defensive linemen wreaking havoc, there are several intriguing possible pairings in this cycle. Some of them already appear to be in place with both players committed, while others remain a work in progress and require crucial decisions before national signing day.

We explored possible prospect matchups that could excel at the next level. Program fanbases should be tantalized by the realistic chances of these future tandems coming to fruition.

Begin Slideshow

Maryland Terrapins Transform Mascot into Muscle-Bound Monster in New Team Video

Call NATO, scramble the Blue Angels and get the Justice League on the horn.

Actually, don’t call NATO. It's next to worthless in a rush, and we need decisive, scorched earth action if we’re going to bring down the monster the University of Maryland just unleashed on the world.

The Terrapins posted their new, team intro video to Facebook on Friday, pumping up fans with football highlights, eye-pummeling uniforms and an AC/DC soundtrack.

It’s your run-of-the-mill, college football hype video—except for the overly vascular reptile smashing stones and leering deeply into your soul.

That’s Testudo—the Terrapins’ trusty mascot—who appears to have dedicated himself to a heavy schedule of weightlifting and turtle-enhancing drugs since last fall.


Testudo is no longer messing around. He might not even be a mascot anymore, as he looks primed to climb out of the briny deep and destroy a seaside village.

Just so we're clear, this is what Testudo looked like in 2013:

Now the turtle has teeth. We are all dead.

You can’t protect your house against a bipedal turtle with fangs and moisture-wicking technology. It’s just not possible.

Big Ten beware. The Terrapins are now Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a decidedly malevolent bend.

 

Follow Dan on Twitter for more sports and pop culture news.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Football: Why Tide Don't Need Former Clemson QB Chad Kelly

The Alabama Crimson Tide may have somewhat of a quarterback dilemma.

No, we’re not talking about the up-and-down play of current starter Blake Sims in Week 1. Instead, it’s the prospect of a current JUCO quarterback coming to town, per his Twitter (H/t College Football Talk), which has since been deleted:

If you recall, Chad Kelly was a 4-star recruit out of Buffalo, New York, and was listed as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the nation. After backing up Tajh Boyd at Clemson, the 6'3", 205-pounder is currently putting up video game numbers at top-ranked JUCO school East Mississippi.

Since the Tweet has since been deleted, one has to wonder whether he will still be making the trip. But regardless, no matter how talented Kelly may be, there really is no need for him at Tuscaloosa.

 

Unnecessary Distraction

There was absolutely no reason for Kelly not to be a serious contender to start for Clemson this season.

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go his way during the spring. But instead of working through the issues, Kelly chose to lash out at the coaching staff. That includes an incident where he had to be escorted off the field by Clemson police.

It didn’t take long for head coach Dabo Swinney to declare enough was enough, as he soon after announced Kelly’s dismissal from the team, via a released statement:

I have dismissed Chad Kelly for conduct detrimental to our program. He has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program. I hope he will mature and grow from this and become the man and player I know he can be. I wish him nothing but the best in the future academically and athletically.

Nick Saban runs a pretty tight ship at Alabama. 

Kelly had an issue sitting on the bench during a spring game. Do you think his attitude will be any better when he’s sitting on the sidelines for a year or more?

It’s a distraction the team doesn’t need.

 

Too Crowded at the Top

The Tide could field a baseball team with the quarterbacks on their depth chart.

Well, not really. But saying the team has plenty of options under center is an understatement

While Sims would be gone if Kelly were to arrive in 2015, Jacob Coker looks like a safe bet to be the front-runner for the job next season. A 3-star recruit out of Mobile, Alabama, Coker backed up Jameis Winston at Florida State last season. He has shown potential thus far in spring practices, per NFL.com's Mike Huguenin

Then of course you need to consider Alabama’s crop of young guns at the position.

From the 2013 class, there’s hope that 4-star Cooper Bateman and 3-star Alec Morris can develop into talented quarterbacks. After redshirting in 2013, Bateman will only be a sophomore come next season.

David Cornwell is the only quarterback from the 2014 class. A 4-star prospect out of Norman, Oklahoma, the 6'5", 241-pounder was ranked as the No. 4 quarterback in the country. 

Finally, there’s 5-star commit Blake Barnett from the 2015 class. The No. 1-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country—and No. 17-ranked prospect—Barnett should make a strong push for playing time. He was also named the Elite 11 MBP:

There’s just too much talent already on the Tide to bring on Kelly.

 

All recruiting information and rankings used in this article are courtesy of 247Sports.

For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on Twitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Wisconsin Football: Report Card Grades for Every New Starter

During Week 1, the Wisconsin football team held a 24-7 lead early in the third quarter.  From that point, the Badgers totally fell apart, going on to lose 28-24 after untimely injuries coupled with hyper-conservative turned hyper-aggressive play-calling led to their demise.

With a brand-new quarterback, new receivers on the outside and a pair of new tight ends, the Badgers passing offense sputtered badly.  Technically, Melvin Gordon wasn't a starter last season, but he played as much as anyone and thus wasn't included in this.  Furthermore, both Dan Voltz and Dallas Lewallen started numerous games last season and weren't included in here either.

On defense, the Badgers looked really good for the first 35 or so minutes, save one first-half blown coverage, which led to an 80-yard pass.  The Badgers are breaking in a brand-new front seven to go with a new free safety in true freshman Lubern Figaro.

On special teams, the Badgers trotted out a true freshman kicker, who may have been the most impressive player on the field for either team—or at least his dance moves were.

Let's take a look at all 14 new starters for the Badgers with grades on their performance against LSU and a breakdown of how they've played so far this season.

Begin Slideshow

Michigan vs. Notre Dame: Wolverines Run Game Key to Victory over Fighting Irish

The Michigan Wolverines put on an offensive demo against an Appalachian State Mountaineers team that was woefully outmatched on both sides of the ball.

This week will be different, going up against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. 

Their program is ranked 16th in the nation and put on a similarly impressive showing in Week 2, defeating Rice 48-17. In that game, senior quarterback Everett Golson threw for two touchdowns and ran for three more, showcasing his ability both in the running and passing game.

The rivalry has historically produced a number of close games and dramatic finishes, in which the Wolverines have a 24-16 advantage.

Considering this is the last time the two teams will play each other for the foreseeable future (since Notre Dame has exercised its option to discontinue the rivalry) and that the Fighting Irish left Ann Arbor last year after coming up short 41-30, they're going to be extremely motivated.

The "Chicken Dance" song should still be fresh in their minds.

The Wolverines also come into Notre Dame stadium with an abysmal road record under head coach Brady Hoke, going 6-8 away from Michigan Stadium.

If the Wolverines are going to buck that trend, they'll need to continue doing what they did last week against Appalachian State: Run the football.


Michigan's Rushing Attack

Senior QB Devin Gardner threw only 14 passes, but completed 13 of them for three touchdowns to wide receiver Devin Funchess against Appalachian State. But what made Michigan's offense so strong was the sophomore rushing tandem of Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith.

The two running backs combined for 285 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

In total, the Wolverines put up 350 yards on the ground with 210 passing yards to complement. With such a strong tandem at running back, coach Hoke would do well to build his game plan around those two players and establish the running game as early as possible against Notre Dame.


Freeing Up the Passing Game

Once the running of Smith and Green has impacted head coach Brian Kelly's defensive game plan for the Fighting Irish, the Wolverines will have an opportunity to use play action and get Funchess open down the field.

Despite the fact that Notre Dame is going to be without cornerback KeiVarae Russell, it is still a far more skilled and versatile secondary than what Funchess and Gardner were dealing with when they played Appalachian State.

On the interior, Notre Dame will also be without defensive end Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore, making them more vulnerable to the running game.

The Wolverines will need to exploit that weakness before they let Gardner start chucking the ball down the field.

But if the success of their rushing attack continues, freeing up the passing game will be a quick process.


Sticking with the Rushing Attack

Even though the yards per attempt will be lower, the Wolverines should keep handing the ball off to their playmakers. The same rushing attack that allowed them to dominate an over-matched Appalachian State squad should allow them to keep pace with Notre Dame.

It'll also give them the opportunity to keep an already fractured Fighting Irish defense on the field with a possession-based game plan.

If they can keep the score close, the play of Gardner and Funchess will be enough to outscore a tired Fighting Irish defense in the second half of the game.

Bobby Kittleberger writes about fantasy football for The FF White Papers. You can get in touch with him via Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Miami Football: 5 Key Reserves to Watch Against Florida A&M

When the Miami Hurricanes return to conference play later this month, top reserves will be asked to fill in seamlessly for starters.

Some backups are important than others, and those are key players to watch against Florida A&M on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET.

Despite a mediocre opening to the 2014 campaign, the Canes are clear favorites heading into the meeting. After all, the Rattlers are a subpar FCS team and cannot be expected to hang around for long.

Barring a completely unexpected result, Miami reserves will see significant playing time Saturday night, which is crucial for the Hurricanes moving forward.

Begin Slideshow

Washington State's Infamous 'Popcorn Guy' Gets a '30 for 30' Trailer

Nobody will ever forget about "Popcorn Guy" from last year's Stanford-Washington State game. His story is so invigorating that he now has his own ESPN 30 for 30 trailer.

There have been some interesting 30 for 30 documentaries in the past, but this feature seems like it would be an instant hit. That's why ESPN's Colin Cowherd has taken the first step in making it happen.

It's just a spoof, but we'd all love to hear what was going through Popcorn Guy's mind at the time.

[ESPN, h/t GameDayr]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

George Campbell Commits to FSU: Where LSU, Florida Turn After Missing on 4-Star

LSU and Florida’s pursuit of bringing in elite talent at wide receiver hit a snag on Friday afternoon.

After months of deliberation, 4-star wide receiver George Campbell announced his decision to commit to Florida State, per ESPN.com’s Derek Tyson. That left the Tigers and Gators—two teams strongly considered by the nation’s No. 7-ranked receiver—in a bit of a hole.

But while losing out on Campbell certainly hurts, all hope is not lost for these two SEC squads.

 

Where Does Florida Go Now?

With a class that includes just one receiver—3-star Kalif Jackson—the Gators are in desperate need to zero in on a couple of more targets at the position.

A name that immediately comes to mind is that of Ryan Davis. The 4-star athlete is currently ranked No. 26 at his position and has the chops to make a splash at receiver at the next level.

Already having made three trips to Gainesville since August, Davis is expected to make a fourth visit shortly, per 247Sports’ Luke Stampini. That can only be a good sign for Florida.

Bleacher Report’s Sanjay Kirpalani thinks Antonio Callaway should also be in the discussion:

A 3-star receiver out of Miami’s Booker T. Washington High School, Callaway is quickly gaining steam and would make a great addition for any team. What he may lack in size (5'11", 175 lbs) he more than makes up for with great ball skills and the ability to make plays in the open field.

He’s exactly the kind of receiver Florida needs to add.

 

Where Does LSU Go Now?

For head coach Les Miles and LSU, they now turn their attention toward bigger fish to fry.

Hometown product Tyron Johnson, a 5-star receiver out of New Orleans, should be the team’s top priority right now. The 6'1", 191-pounder is ranked as the No. 24 overall prospect and No. 3 among wide receivers.

An early Tigers lean, Johnson has since named Texas Tech a leader back in June, per 247Sports’ Taylor Hamm (subscription required). Still, LSU found itself included in his official top 10, per Johnson’s Twitter page:

The loss of Campbell only increases the pressure on the Tigers to snag the top receiver in the state. Failing to do so could be a significant blemish on the 2015 recruiting class.

Another name the team should focus in on is 4-star receiver Carlos Strickland.

Hailing from Dallas, the 6'5", 194-pounder has the size and hands that have impressed scouts across the country. He’s currently listed as the No. 15-ranked receiver in the country.

According to 247Sports’ Sonny Shipp, LSU already has its eye on Strickland: 

Strickland would give any quarterback a great target in the passing game and is a threat to take it the house any time he touches the ball.

 

All recruiting information and rankings used in this article are courtesy of 247Sports.

For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on Twitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rivalries We Miss the Most

Forget Yankees-Red Sox, Packers-Bears, Celtics-Lakers. Nothing tops a good ol’ fashioned college football rivalry.

Forget records; the most important thing is bragging rights over a bitter enemy. But conference realignment and budget cuts have kiboshed some of the best matchups. 

Just this weekend we'll see the end of one of the better rivalries in the sport when Michigan and Notre Dame line up opposite one another. Saturday's showdown will mark the end of a rivalry that has spanned 41 contests dating back to 1887. 

That got us thinking, what other college football rivalries would we not mind seeing again?

Here are five rivalries we miss.

Begin Slideshow

Can Notre Dame Stop Michigan's Most Explosive Player?

The Michigan Wolverines are taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this week for a showdown like no other. Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down exactly how Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess fits into the game plan.

Who do you think will win this matchup?

Watch the video and let us know.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Football: What to Watch for from Blake Sims and Jake Coker in Week 2

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — If you’ve been waiting for Jake Coker to play a meaningful snap of football, Saturday is your day.

By all accounts, the Florida State transfer will get to throw his first passes in a Crimson Tide uniform when Alabama faces Florida Atlantic on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. This, after watching much of the West Virginia game from the sidelines and coming in for only two handoffs to run out the clock.

Coker will split reps with Blake Sims, who played much of that West Virginia game and had a solid debut as a starter. It will be just about everyone’s first time to see the two side by side and will add more fuel to the fire that is Alabama’s quarterback competition (and it is still very much a competition).

So what should we be on the lookout for this weekend?

First, how the reps are actually split.

Saban said on Monday that he hadn’t decided how he would do so (and joked that even when he did, he wouldn’t reveal it). On his radio show Thursday night, he still seemed like he hadn’t made a decision on exactly when Coker would enter the game.

"Now I haven't decided when that's going to be in this game but I'd rather decided that this is how we're going to do it before we ever go out there because that's really the only way you give a guy a fair opportunity,” Saban said, according to Michael Casagrande of al.com. “He knows when he's going to go out there and he can be ready to go out there and we can go from there."

When Coker takes his first snap is still a big question.

The last time Alabama had a situation like this, against Kent State in 2011, AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims alternated every three drives. McCarron got the start in that game and ended up actually winning the job.

Coker could come in sooner rather than later. The staff got a whole game’s worth of film out of Sims last week and have yet to see anything from Coker. They also, though, don’t want to shake Sims’ confidence by playing Coker the majority of the time after Sims had a worthy debut.

The other question, obviously, is how Coker will actually look when he plays.

It’s one thing to look good in practice, which Coker has, displaying his vaunted arm strength and zip. But it’s another to combine that with understanding the playbook and being able to lead an offense in a game.

That was the big thing that Sims showed, more or less, in the season opener. He may not necessarily have all of the measurables that Coker has, but he knows the offense and can operate effectively.

Saban saw some of that in 2011, too.

"Really, sometimes in practice, Phillip looked like he would be the best guy," Saban said, per Casagrande. "Then we played them both in the game and AJ played better in the game, so that is what ultimately made our decision to make AJ the starter."

The relative strength, or lack thereof, of the opponent means everything will need to be taken with a grain of salt.

FAU allowed 55 points and 785 yards of offense last week to Nebraska. Alabama should be able to have its way with the Owls (just don’t tell Saban that). It won’t exactly be an accurate barometer for how one or the other would play once SEC competition starts.

But it’s also the reason Alabama has the luxury of being able to play two quarterbacks. Against West Virginia it went with the guy that Saban trusted the most in a power-five game. He got Alabama through and played well in the process.

With a lower-level team up next on the docket, though, the real quarterback competition can begin.

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats come from CFBStats. All recruiting information comes from 247Sports.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

What Alabama Must Fix to Continue Success in the SEC

The Alabama Crimson Tide are looking to prove that they are still a top team in college football. Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder discusses where they need to improve the most. How well do you think they will do this year?

Watch the video and let us know.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida State's Plan to Improve the Offensive Output

Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles are looking to repeat in 2014. After a shaky start against Oklahoma State last week, FSU is looking to prove that it is still the top team in college football. Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson talked to The Associated Press' Kareem Copeland about what is expected from this offense. How well do you think it will do this year?

Check out the video and let us know.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages