College Football

College Football Playoff Semifinals Will Remain On New Year’s Eve For Now

HOOVER, Ala. — No significant changes are on the horizon for the College Football Playoff, the four-team tournament that determines college football’s national champion. “Our model works — 13 high-integrity people, football experts (who are) evaluating, studying, debating, frankly working their tails off during the season and producing a ranking that, while someone will always be… Read More

The Baylor Decision Could Be The Start Of A New Age In College Football

This story was first published by our friends at Dixieland Sports

By Brooks Carter

Hopefully the saga that is currently unfolding in Waco, Texas will help turn over a new leaf, and begin a new era in the college sporting world.

Baylor Bears’ Head Football Coach Art Briles and University President Ken Starr were dismissed yesterday (read the story here) after sexual assault allegations involving current and former Baylor football players that dated back to 2009.

This was a groundbreaking decision on behalf of Baylor University, firing arguably one of the top 10 best coaches in all of college football… But why did it take this long for a major college institution to “do the right thing”?

There have been so many other instances prior to the Baylor one that have occurred at other programs, where nothing more than a “slap on the wrist” has been issued as punishment.

Instances where winning was more important than morals, or maintaining a proper conduct code.

For example, at Louisville; where three former players have confirmed that escort sex services were provided from 2010-14. Head Coach Rick Pitino has still, somehow, retained his job, and the program has had zero formal punishment outside of the University issuing a self-imposed postseason ban.

Or at the University of Missouri, where administrators and coaches were made aware of allegations made by a female student athlete who believed she was raped by one or more players from the Tigers’ football team, but the University never investigated the alleged rape or made the police aware of the allegations. The alleged incident happened in 2010, and the female student athlete committed suicide 16 months later.

Baylor University at night. Photo Credit: Danny Huizinga/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Baylor University at night. Photo Credit: Danny Huizinga/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

In fact, according to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” only 1 more institution in the United States has had more alleged sexual assaults involving student athletes reported than the University of Missouri, many of which included football players. Gary Pinkel remained the head football coach through all of this, until he retired (on his own terms) at the conclusion of this past football season.

Like this story? Then you will probably love Dixieland Sports

This kind of culture has essentially been allowed to happen without any repercussions for the coaches or student athletes, and it’s a result of numerous major institution’s administrators and coaches repeatedly sweeping instances of sexual assault, rape, and other illegal activity under the rug, all in the name of protecting that specific institution’s and coach’s reputation.

Art Briles and Baylor University’s President Ken Starr lost their jobs because they cared more about winning than doing what was right, and that “win at all costs” mentality has resulted in a toxic environment to be teaching and molding young male and female student athletes in. By turning a blind eye to off-the-field behavior, it has endorsed the idea to student athletes that nothing else matters as long as you win.

Baylor University’s decision will hopefully be the start of a new age in college athletics. An age where institution’s actually hold their administrators and coaches accountable for allowing this type of behavior to be present in their programs, and are fired for doing so. An age where it means more to bring in a recruit that’s a quality person over just being a talented player. And an age where morals matter more than winning games.

Read more about sports in the American South at Dixieland Sports

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Victor Araiza/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Auburn Just Sent Out The Best Response To Crazy Fans Who Stalk Recruits On Twitter

For most people, the first Wednesday in February doesn’t really have any major significance – other than being a major let down after their massive Groundhog Day parties the night prior. (Do people do Groundhog Day parties? They should.)

But for College Football fans, the first Wednesday in February takes on a different meaning altogether thanks to National Signing Day.

For the uninitiated, National Signing Day is the first day where a high school senior can sign a “National Letter Of Intent”, which basically locks them into attending a certain college for the next year.

For the crazed, National Signing Day is a legit holiday. Thousands of people on Twitter actually spend large chunks of their lives tweeting at high school students in the hopes that they will attend the team the nut roots for. (Of course, most do not engage in this type of activity.)

It has become a real problem and some schools have tried to rein in their fan-bases as a result.

But Auburn University may have the best response to this social media problem.

Just take a look at this handy flowchart that the folks in the Auburn Compliance Department tweeted out:

Seems pretty straightforward.

When in doubt, don’t tweet at random teenagers! It is creepy and not helpful to your team at all.

Cover Photo Credit: Auburn Alumni Association/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

 

Here’s A Guide To Today’s College Football Bowl Games

By Max Littman

The 2015 College Bowl Season kicks off on Saturday, December 19th.

Here’s a preview of every bowl game today so you know what to watch and what to expect.

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl

Atlanta, Georgia 12:00 EST December 19th, 2015.

Alcorn State (9-3) vs.

North Carolina A&T (9-2)

This year marks the inaugural year of the Celebration Bowl and pits two premier FCS teams against each other. Alcorn State, the Southwestern Athletic Conference Champions, will face off against North Carolina A&T, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champions.

Although both relatively unknown teams, both have performed admirably year and figure to be around the same skill level.

Both lost to ranked FBS teams by large margins at the beginning of the season with North Carolina A&T dropping to then #10 North Carolina 53-14 and Alcorn State dropping to then #16 Georgia Tech 69-6.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Albuquerque, New Mexico 2pm EST December 19th, 2015.

Arizona (6-6) vs.

New Mexico (7-5)

Arizona, coming off a grueling Pac-12 schedule, is favored to take this game against the home-town team, the New Mexico Lobos. Arizona is coming off a season where they lost against 2 top-25 teams, UCLA and Stanford, while also dropping to 4 other Pac-12 teams. The brightest spot for Arizona was their defeat of then #10 Utah at home 37-30.

The Wildcats are led by the return of junior linebacker, and All-American, Scooby Wright III who missed most of this past season with various injuries. He’ll be looking to stop New Mexico’s explosive tandem of running backs Teryion Gipson and Jhurell Pressley and quarterback Lamar Jordan who all very successfully ran New Mexico’s triple option offense.

The trio and the rest of New Mexico’s offense averaged a respectable 29 points a game, albeit against a schedule consisting of only one Power-5 team, Arizona State, which resulted in a 34-10 loss. New Mexico does have home-field advantage, which could help them pull of the upset.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

Las Vegas, Nevada 3:30pm EST December 19th, 2015.

BYU (9-3) vs.

Utah (9-3)

The Utes and the Cougars had very similar 2015 seasons, which each finding success through stretches of the season but struggling at times. After losing to then #10 UCLA and Michigan, BYU won 7 of their last 8 games to finish as the second best independent football team in the FBS.

Utah on the other hand started out hot, beating a very good Michigan team, and went on to win 8 of their 9 first games.

The team though seemed to collapse near the end of the season, losing to UCLA and Arizona, before finally finishing off their season with a win against Colorado. Although on paper it’s a very evenly matched game, BYU may be in disarray during the game because it will be their coach, Bronco Mendenhall’s final game with BYU before he leaves to take the head coaching job at Virginia.

Adding intrigue to this game is the in-state rivalry between the two teams.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Montgomery, Alabama 5:30pm EST December 19th, 2015.

Ohio (8-4) vs.

Appalachian State (10-2)

This year’s Camellia bowl pits two relatively under-the-radar, yet potentially explosive teams against each other. Appalachian State is led by their excellent running game, 6th in the nation with 268 yards per game- and will look to match-up very favorably against a weaker Ohio defense. Appalachian State’s only losses came against Clemson and a disappointing loss to Arkansas St.

Without the loss to Arkansas State this team could have been an outside choice for a New Year’s 6 bowl game. Regardless their excellent run game and defense could be too much to handle for Ohio, who after a rough middle of the season looks to be on their way back.

Ohio finished second in the Eastern Division of the Mid-American Conference after a bumpy middle of the season capitalized by a blowout loss 62-24 to eventual MAC champions, Bowling Green St. Despite being heavy underdogs in this game they will rely on their quarterback Derrius Vick and their excellent wide receiver Sebastian Smith to lead them to an upset victory.

The AutoNation Cure Bowl

Orlando, Florida 7:00pm EST December 19th, 2015.

San Jose State (5-7) vs.

Georgia State (6-6)

The Cure Bowl this year features two lower caliber teams.

San Jose State is even lucky to be even going bowling after they only won 5 games in the 2015 campaign. Due to a massive amount of bowls and too few 6 win bowl-eligible teams this year, San Jose State was awarded a bowl bid due to their academic performance rating.

With their wins coming against New Hampshire, Fresno State, UNLV, New Mexico, and Hawaii they look to be one of the weakest teams in a bowl game this year. One of their few bright spots though is their running back, Tyler Ervin, who has 1,469 yards and and 13 td’s this year in an excellent showing.

San Jose State will be going up against a Georgia State team who became bowl eligible after winning their last four games behind their fantastic passing game. Their quarterback, Nick Arbuckle, is ranked 6th in the country for passing yards, amassing a very formidable 4,160 through the air this season.

Arbuckle’s favorite target is wide receiver Penny Hart. Hart has also excelled this year and is currently 22nd in the country with 1,095 yards on 71 receptions. This high-powered offense will be looking to blow away San Jose State’s defense in what could be a blowout game.

R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

New Orleans, LA 9:00pm EST December 19th, 2015.

Louisiana Tech (8-4) vs.

Arkansas State (9-3)

The home-state favorites Louisiana Tech look to prove themselves in this year’s New Orleans bowl against Sunbelt Conference Champions Arkansas State.

Louisiana Tech is led by former Florida quarterback, senior Jeff Driskel.

Driskel and his best receiver, Trent Taylor, have had a terrific year and lead the 15th best passing game in the nation. The Bulldogs’ defense though will almost assuredly have their hands full with a high powered Arkansas State squad who averages a very high 41 points per game.

Much of Arkansas State’s offensive production comes behind a very formidable rushing attack led by, Michael Gordon.

Arkansas State captured their conference with a big win over Appalachian State, and all three of their losses have come against teams who have been ranked at some point this season in USC, Mizzou, and Toledo. Since their loss to Toledo, they have won 8 games straight and finished undefeated in Sunbelt Conference play.

Louisiana Tech on the other hand has played a much lighter schedule and lost their season finale 58-24 to Southern Mississippi. The home-state team will have a lot to prove in what should be an offensive shootout in the swamp.

Cover Photo Credit: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl/Facebook (CC By 2.0)

Are There Too Many Bowl Games?

Ah, the FBS Bowl games.

A litany of college football action stretching from December 19 through January 11, encompassing 41 games and involving 80 teams. From the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl to the National Championship Game.

But while each of these games bring their own sense of basic enjoyment, even more so for the players and fans of those who are deemed worthy to compete in them, the basic question must be raised: are there too many bowl games?

In short, yes there are.

While it is a treat to have as much college football as humanly possible, and there is no shortage of pride when it comes to these post-season games, there are certainly too many in existence.

To understand why there are too many, one must understand what the bowls are meant to represent.

They are meant to be a reward, a pat on the back for success during the season.

However, in recent years, the meaning of “success” has become stretched.

For example, the Cure Bowl features a 5-7 team (San Jose State) facing a team that needed a win on the final weekend to reach .500 (Georgia State).

Another interesting thing that the bowls bring to the fans is an opportunity to see teams play against opponents that they would never face otherwise. But this novelty is undermined this year by the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, which features two teams from the Mountain West Conference  (Nevada and Colorado State).

How do so many absurd bowl match-ups come about? For starters, take in this statistic. Of the 128 FBS programs in the country, a whopping 62.5% of teams make it to the post-season in some respect.

This makes a mockery of the idea of the post-season, and calls into question their true purpose (which is to make money for the numerous sponsors and TV networks).

The real question is not if there are too many bowl games. The real question is how many bowl games should there be.

The answer to this question: 14.

To put it simply, only the top 26 teams, as ranked in the final College Football Playoff standings, should qualify for the post-season. These are the teams that not only have good, if not excellent, records, but they showcase the best of the conferences (and Independent teams). Why one more than the standard 25-team rank? On the surface, it is because an even number of teams must be chosen. But pragmatically, it is to allow for the inclusion of the best military academy (if not already ranked).

Below is this writers personal list of which bowl games should exist. Some of these may not be the heaviest hitters on the normal schedule (and one doesn’t even really exist), but there are reasons for all of them.

  • Military Appreciation Bowl (Annapolis, MD) – This game already features the top military academy. In the event that one of the academies makes it to the CFP, the naming tag still works.
  • Detroit Bowl (Detroit, MI) – Currently, the bowl game in Detroit is called the Quick Lane Bowl. Give this a new name and continue to play it, because there deserves to be at least one bowl game not in the south or west.
  • Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu, HI) – Just as the NFL Pro Bowl used to be played in Hawai’i as a sort of vacation destination, this will allow college players who normally wouldn’t play in that city/state to enjoy the experience.
  • Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) – Normally a very solid bowl game. Could be used for the SEC, ACC, and/or Big East teams in the 20-26 range in the rankings.
  • Texas Bowl (Houston, TX) – Mainly here because Texas is too big (both in size and football fanaticism) to only hold one bowl game. Good site for Big 12, SEC, AAC, Sun Belt and/or C-USA competition.
  • Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego, CA) – Who wouldn’t want to go to sunny San Diego for a bowl game? Not to mention that the Mountain West teams could use a closer bowl destination.
  • Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA) – A staple of the bowl game schedule. Usually includes an SEC team, but this year is hosting an ACC-AAC match-up.
  • Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL) – Another bowl game with a lot of history which falls just outside the “Big 5”. Would be a nice fit between the New Year bowls and the National Championship.
  • Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA) – The “granddaddy of them all”. Will of course continue the Big 10 vs. Pac-10 history.
  • Fiesta Bowl (Phoenix, AZ) – Not as historic as the other FBS bowls. Good place for the match-up of next two teams behind the playoff contenders.
  • Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX) – A major bowl in the house that Jerry Jones built. Kind of wish they still used the proper Cotton Bowl, but that’s life.
  • Orange Bowl (Miami, FL) – Historically the place for the ACC champions vs. Big East champions match-up. Few places better to hold a football game outside in January.
  • Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) – Normally reserved for the top SEC team. In the age of the CFP, it continues to be held in high regard.
  • National Championship Game (Various) – The one game to decide the champion. Will continue to bounce around the five FBS bowl sites.

Now this plan probably isn’t perfect, and there would be some hiccups in the early years. But eventually, everyone would adjust just as they have adjusted to the new playoff system.

In the end, while not everyone will be happy, enough people will be to keep this bowl game line-up intact and bring the bowl games back into reverence as the games which decide who the best teams really are.

Cover Photo Credit: Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

In Shock Move, South Carolina Picks Will Muschamp As New Football Coach

Will Muschamp’s second chance will come at South Carolina. The Gamecocks have agreed to a deal that will make the 44-year-old Muschamp the 33rd head football coach in South Carolina football history, a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The State on Sunday morning. Like the man he is replacing, Muschamp last was a… Read More

College Football Playoff Set After Uneventful Championship Saturday

The College Football Playoff committee has set up the two games that will decide who plays for the national championship.

Top ranked Clemson will play fourth ranked Oklahoma while second ranked Alabama will take on third ranked Michigan State.

Who Win The National Championship

View Results

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Cover Photo Credit: Matthew Blouir/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Nick Saban Gets Emotional About Kirby Smart Before SEC Championship

It is rare to see Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban get emotional, save for a sideline outburst at a player or assistant from time to time.

But something rare happened Friday. Saban showed a softer side to the general public and the gathered press at an availability before the SEC championship.

Saban was asked by a reporter how Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has changed as a coach over the past eight years.

“We’ve worked together for a long, long time,” Saban said in response to the question. “And he’s as good of an assistant coach and as loyal of an assistant coach as I’ve ever had on a staff.”

Smart is widely expected to be the next head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, meaning that the will leave Saban’s side for the first time in over nine years. Smart was the safety’s coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2006 while Saban was there and then joined Saban when he went to Alabama in 2007.

WATCH: Nick Saban becomes emotional while talking about Kirby Smart. (Video from AL.com)

H/T: Saturday Down South

Cover Photo Credit: AL.com/Youtube (Screengrab)

Ezekiel Elliott Bashes Ohio State Play Calling Again On Twitter

Ezekiel Elliott, the Ohio State Buckeye running back who led his team to a 42-13 victory over the Michigan Wolverines earlier in the day has found himself back in controversy on social media.

Elliott tweeted a comment referencing Alabama running back Derrick Henry’s 46 carries in the Crimson Tide’s victory over Auburn.

After the Tide beat the Tigers, Elliott took to Twitter:

Elliott had previously ripped Ohio State coaches for the lack of touches that he received last week when the Buckeyes lost to Michigan State. 

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer refused to suspend Elliott after last week’s comments. 

Cover Photo Credit: Sam Howzit/Flickr (CC By 2.0) 

Does This Alabama Fan Banner Go Too Far For A College Football Rivalry?

Does this banner that was hung off the balcony of an off campus student residence in Tuscaloosa go too far in hyping something as trivial as a college football game?

Oh yeah. Not cool.

The sign makes light of the death toll and devastation brought to Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, which was one of the most deadly in human history. Nearly 2,000 people died as a result of the storm.

Sean Landry, the editor-in-chief of the Alabama student paper The Crimson White reported on the banner via Twitter.

Alabama plays LSU on Saturday in an important match up for two teams that are currently in the top four in the whole country.

“UA is appalled that anyone would display a banner with such an inappropriate and offensive statement,” A spokesperson for the University of Alabama told the Crimson White. 

Cover Photo Credit: Steve Burns/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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