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  1. #16
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    College Playoff to push halftime show
    May 15, 2017


    The College Football Playoff is bringing a Super Bowl-style halftime show to the national championship game without bumping the marching bands.

    ESPN and the College Football Playoff say that a musical guest will perform at halftime of this season's title game in Atlanta on Jan. 8, 2018, and the performance will be aired on ESPN. The halftime concert will be held in Centennial Olympic Park, near the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. An artist has not yet been booked, but ESPN is taking the lead on securing what it hopes will be an A-list performer with broad appeal.

    For years the Super Bowl has featured marquee artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce', U2 and Prince performing at halftime.

    The marching bands for each participating school will still perform in the stadium at halftime of the national title game and that performance will be aired on an ESPN channel to be determined as part of the network's megacast.

    ''Traditions are an important part of college football,'' College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock said in a statement to the AP on Monday ''This rich culture includes marching bands performing at halftime.''

    Hancock said ESPN approached CFP officials with the idea of a concert in Centennial Olympic Park at halftime as part of the national championship game broadcast and live watch party. Fans without tickets to the game will be able to watch the game and attend the concert in Centennial Park for free.

    ''This will be a win-win, enhancing the viewing experience for a broad section of fans at home and in the park, while maintaining the culture of the game inside the stadium,'' Hancock said.

    *****************************

    SEC coaches eager to see impact
    May 15, 2017


    Southeastern Conference coaches are eager to see the impact an early signing period will have on recruiting, even though a number of them were against the change.

    An early signing period received formal approval last week from the Collegiate Commissioners Association. The new plan will allow high school seniors in the 2017-18 school year to sign with colleges on Dec. 20-22 as well as during the traditional signing period on the first Wednesday of February.

    ''I'm very interested to see how this plays out because I think we're dealing in a world we haven't dealt in,'' Georgia's Kirby Smart said Monday at an SEC coaches teleconference. ''When you have that, there are usually things you haven't thought of, repercussions we haven't thought of. I'm interested to see who handles it best.''

    Smart didn't say whether he favored or opposed the early signing period, but other coaches have let their positions be known.

    ''It's something that obviously if I could have voted on it, I would have not voted for that,'' LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. ''I think that it just puts a lot of different strain on your staff and what you're doing, but it may work out to our advantage. ... We have several commitments. If we stick with those commitments and they all sign in December, it could be an advantage.''

    Alabama's Nick Saban had expressed his opposition to an early signing period in the past, and he noted Monday that it could limit opportunities for prospects who take big steps forward in their development as seniors.

    Florida's Jim McElwain believes the early signing period will ''call some people's bluff both from the players' side and the school's side.''

    McElwain said some prospects might verbally commit to a school simply to try reserving a spot in a class while continuing to look around. McElwain also noted that many schools make flurries of offers early in the recruiting calendar.

    With the earlier signing period, coaches now will know how seriously to take a prospect's commitment and recruits will know when an offer is legitimate.

    ''You'll find out in December if the guy's committed to you,'' South Carolina's Will Muschamp said. ''If he's not signing in December, you'd better rethink your numbers at the position or continue to recruit because you're not really sure if he's going to sign with you in February.''

    Mississippi's Hugh Freeze said he didn't mind the early signing period but he did oppose another policy change that allows high school juniors to take official visits from April through June. Freeze didn't like the way the latter change accelerates the recruiting calendar and says recruits now will be making visits before the school knows them particularly well.

    Arkansas' Bret Bielema and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin were among the other coaches to express their concerns about allowing earlier visits.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Ohio Valley Conference
    May 15, 2017


    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.

    Ohio Valley Conference teams are involved in 11 of the nearly 100 matchups. The conference didn't beat an FBS opponent from 2004-10, but has at least one win in five of the last seven seasons, including Eastern Illinois over Miami of Ohio last September.

    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving OVC teams:

    The matchups (11)
    - Austin Peay vs. Cincinnati (Aug. 31) and Miami of Ohio (Sept. 9); Eastern Illinois vs. Northern Illinois (Sept. 9); Eastern Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky (Sept. 2) and Kentucky (Sept. 9); Jacksonville State vs. Georgia Tech (Sept. 9); Murray State vs. Louisville (Sept. 30); Southeast Missouri State vs. Kansas (Sept. 2); Tennessee State vs. Georgia State (Aug. 31); Tennessee Tech vs. Ball State (Sept. 16); UT Martin vs. Ole Miss (Sept. 9)

    Glamour game - Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech: Fourth-year Gamecocks coach John Grass' only regular-season losses are against FBS opponents (a who's who list of Michigan State, Auburn in overtime and LSU). While Georgia Tech won two prior meetings with Jacksonville State in 2008 and '09, the Gamecocks have beaten two FBS opponents since then (Ole Miss in two overtimes in 2010 and Georgia State in overtime in 2013). That makes three OT games versus the FBS in the last seven seasons.

    Upset alert - Tennessee State at Georgia State. The season-opening buildup at Georgia State will be about the Panthers moving into the former Turner Field for home games. The focus at Tennessee State will be on pulling an upset. New TSU quarterback Treon Harris faced better competition as a Florida Gator than Georgia State, a Sun Belt program coming off a 3-9 season.

    Notable - In its second FBS game of the season, Austin Peay will face Miami of Ohio for the first time. The Tennessee Tech-Ball State and UT Martin-Ole Miss matchups also are first-time meetings. ... The most recent Eastern Illinois-Northern Illinois matchup in 2013 - a 43-39 NIU win - showcased EIU quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (the Walter Payton Award winner) against NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch (third in the Heisman Trophy voting). ... Southeast Missouri was competitive in its only other game against Kansas, 34-28 in 2014. ... Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky will meet for the 85th time, but it's the first meeting since 2008. Kentucky has won all four games against Eastern, but two years ago the visiting Colonels held a 14-point lead with five minutes remaining before the Wildcats escaped 34-27 in overtime. ... Murray State has 19 returning starters to take on its trip to Louisville. The Racers trail 6-13 in the intrastate series and have another game scheduled at Louisville in 2020.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Conference Championship Odds
    May 14, 2017


    Sportsbook.ag released its odds for the Power 5 conference champions with spring football wrapped up. Out of the five champions from last season, only two are favored to repeat this season with Oklahoma and Alabama leading the way.

    In spite of capturing the Big Ten title, Penn State is listed at 17/4 odds (Bet $100 to win $425) to win it again with Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin ahead of the Nittany Lions.

    Last season's national champion, Clemson, isn't favored to win its league. The Tigers are behind Florida State after losing quarterback Deshaun Watson to the NFL, but Clemson seeks it third consecutive ACC championship.

    Odds to win 2016 ACC Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    Florida State 5/4
    Clemson 7/2
    Louisville 9/2
    Miami, Fl. 15/2
    Virginia Tech 15/2
    North Carolina State 20/1
    Georgia Tech 25/1
    North Carolina 25/1
    Pittsburgh 30/1
    Duke 50/1
    Boston College 100/1
    Syracuse 100/1
    Virginia 100/1
    Wake Forest 150/1

    Odds to win 2016 Big Ten Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    Ohio State 8/5
    Michigan 11/5
    Penn State 4/1
    Wisconsin 5/1
    Michigan State 18/1
    Nebraska 18/1
    Northwestern 22/1
    Iowa 30/1
    Minnesota 35/1
    Indiana 60/1
    Illinois 150/1
    Maryland 150/1
    Purdue 150/1
    Rutgers 250/1

    Odds to win 2016 Big 12 Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    Oklahoma 11/10
    Oklahoma State 4/1
    Texas 17/4
    Kansas State 11/2
    West Virginia 15/2
    TCU 10/1
    Baylor 25/1
    Iowa State 100/1
    Texas Tech 100/1
    Kansas 200/1

    Odds to win 2016 Pac-12 Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    USC 11/10
    Washington 11/4
    UCLA 15/2
    Stanford 10/1
    Oregon 12/1
    Washington State 12/1
    Utah 14/1
    Colorado 20/1
    Arizona State 25/1
    Arizona 60/1
    California 80/1
    Oregon St 80/1

    Odds to win 2016 SEC Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    Alabama 5/9
    LSU 11/2
    Auburn 7/1
    Georgia 15/2
    Florida 10/1
    Tennessee 15/1
    Texas A&M 40/1
    Arkansas 50/1
    Mississippi State 60/1
    Kentucky 80/1
    Ole Miss 80/1
    South Carolina 80/1
    Missouri 150/1
    Vanderbilt 150/1


    Last year's conference champion listed in BOLD.

    Odds provided by Sportsbook.ag


    Odds Subject to Change - Updated 5.13.17
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #19
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    Former University of Minnesota football star graduates at 57
    May 12, 2017


    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Star University of Minnesota running back Marion Barber Jr. left the university in 1981 for the NFL, but never earned his degree.

    At age 57, Barber, who played with the New York Jets, has finished his course work and has graduated with a degree in youth services, KARE-TV (http://kare11.tv/2qanwyQ ) reported. Barber said his wife, Karen, encouraged him to finish the schooling he began three decades ago.

    ''The two things I'm most proud of: I have perfect attendance and I'm graduating with honors,'' he said. ''I tell the students I've been on a 36-year spring break, however, I wouldn't recommend they take that long of a break to come back and get it done.''

    He said graduating fulfills a promise he made before hitting any football records.

    ''I made a promise to my mother,'' he said. ''I've been crying. A lot happy tears of course. Excited to make that walk.''

    Barber's mother wasn't able to attend the ceremony but sent him a text Thursday morning to congratulate him on a job well done.

    His youngest son, Thomas Barber, said education has always come first in their household. He and his brothers wouldn't be allowed to play sports if they earned anything below a B.

    Marion Barber now works with students in the special education department at Armstrong High School, where he is also on the coaching staff for the football team. He said an internship last fall helped him land the full-time job.

    ''I've always felt I would be a better coach and a teacher than I was a player,'' Marion Barber said.

    ************************

    North Carolina officially adds former LSU QB Harris
    May 12, 2017


    North Carolina officially added former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris on Friday when the graduate transfer signed a scholarship agreement with the school.

    Harris recently completed his graduation requirements at LSU and is eligible for the 2017 season.

    Harris originally announced he was transferring to North Carolina on March 28.

    "Obviously, it has been an important time for me, looking for a great situation and another opportunity to grow as a young man and as a student as well as a football player," Harris wrote on Facebook at the time. "The opportunity to accomplish that is very important to me. After my official visit this weekend to the University of North Carolina, I'm going to get that opportunity."

    Harris lost his starting job at LSU after two games of last season to Danny Etling. Harris started 12 games in 2015 as a sophomore and passed for 2,165 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.

    In 25 games over three seasons with the Tigers, Harris passed for 2,756 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for seven touchdowns.

    North Carolina doesn't have a current starting quarterback as Mitch Trubisky departed school to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Trubisky was the second overall selection by the Chicago Bears.

    ***************************

    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Northeast Conference
    May 12, 2017


    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.

    Northeast Conference teams are involved in two of the nearly 100 matchups. However, there's been a push among its members this decade to seek more of the financially beneficial games.

    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving NEC teams:

    The Matchups (2) - Central Connecticut State: Syracuse (Sept. 2); Wagner: Western Michigan (Sept. 23)

    Glamour Game - Wagner at Western Michigan (Sept. 23). The Seahawks drop from two FBS opponents in each of the past two seasons, but their trip to Kalamazoo is a big one as the Mid-American Conference champion Broncos went 13-1 last year, losing only to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl. Coach Jason Houghtaling's Seahawks finished 6-5 overall and 4-2 in the NEC a year ago.

    Upset Alert - None (yeah, sorry).

    Notable - Some NEC programs have been adding FBS matchups, but Bryant, Duquesne, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Saint Francis don't have any this season. ‚?¶ Central Connecticut State's game versus Syracuse inside the Carrier Dome is the Blue Devils' second against the FBS (lost 51-14 to Western Michigan in 2007). A matchup at Ball State is scheduled for 2018. ‚?¶ Duquesne hopes to make waves with a 2018 game at Hawaii - just the Dukes' second against the FBS following a competitive loss to Buffalo in 2014. The Dukes also will face UMass in 2018. ‚?¶ Other future matchups: Wagner at Syracuse in 2018 and Robert Morris at Buffalo in 2019.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #20
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    Tar Heels add LSU grad transfer Harris
    May 12, 2017


    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina says it has added quarterback Brandon Harris as a graduate transfer from LSU.

    UNC officials announced Friday that Harris signed his scholarship paperwork and is expected to join the Tar Heels this summer after he graduates from LSU.

    Harris said in March that he would transfer to North Carolina for his final season.

    Harris started 12 games as a sophomore in 2015, but was pulled after a struggling in a season-opening loss to Wisconsin followed by a bad start against Jacksonville State in Week 2.

    The Tar Heels wrapped up spring practice last month without settling on a successor to Mitch Trubisky, who turned pro after one season as the starter and was drafted by Chicago with the No. 2 overall pick.

    ****************************

    Notre Dame, ACC announce games
    May 11, 2017

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame will continue to play five football games each season against members of the Atlantic Coast Conference through 2037.

    The schedule from 2026 to 2037 was announced Thursday and continues a partnership that started in 2014. The games from this fall until 2025 have already been announced.

    The Fighting Irish play Labor Day night games at Clemson in 2031 and at Virginia Tech in 2036. Notre Dame will host 30 of the games from 2026 through 2037, while 30 are on the road.

    The ACC had a 6-9 record against Notre Dame over the past three seasons. The Fighting Irish's five games against ACC foes in 2017 include road games at Boston College, North Carolina and Miami and home games vs. NC State and Wake Forest.

    ***********************

    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Missouri Valley
    May 11, 2017


    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.

    Missouri Valley Football Conference teams played the largest part of the success with four wins.

    This season, the MVFC is involved in seven of the nearly 100 matchups. Unfortunately for the FCS power conference, three of its four 2016 playoff teams are not playing FBS teams.

    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving MVFC teams:

    The Matchups (7) - Indiana State vs. Tennessee (Sept. 9); Missouri State vs. Missouri (Sept. 2); Northern Iowa vs. Iowa State (Sept. 2); South Dakota vs. Bowling Green (Sept. 9); Southern Illinois vs. Memphis (Sept. 23); Western Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina (Sept. 23); Youngstown State vs. Pittsburgh (Sept. 2)

    Glamour Game
    - Youngstown State at Pittsburgh: The Penguins make the short 65-mile trip into, well, ACC country. Coming off an FCS national runner-up finish, they hope to jump-start the season against a Pittsburgh team they beat in 2012 for one of their 20 all-time FBS wins. Third-year coach Bo Pelini made his debut with the Penguins in 2015 with a 45-37 loss against the Panthers.

    Upset Alert - Western Illinois at Coastal Carolina. The teams have split two all-time meetings. Western Illinois was supposed to host this year's game as the second half of a home-and-home series that began on Coastal's teal turf in 2015. However, with the Chanticleers having risen to full-time FBS membership, the Leathernecks were bought out with an agreement to play the game on the road. Last season, the Leathernecks posted an FBS win over Northern Illinois. Notable - North Dakota State, which defeated Iowa last season, and Illinois State, which beat Northwestern, are not playing FBS opponents this season. In addition, South Dakota State is playing an FCS-only schedule. ... The Missouri Valley went 4-6 against the FBS last season and has at least one FBS win in every season since 2010. ... Three of the Missouri Valley's FBS games are first-time meetings: Indiana State at Tennessee, South Dakota at Bowling Green and Southern Illinois at Memphis. ... Northern Iowa is opening at Iowa State for the third consecutive season, including a 25-20 win last year. The Panthers also won 28-20 in Ames to open the 2013 season. ... North Dakota State, which has won six straight games against FBS opponents, is next scheduled to face Oregon in 2020. However, the Bison have two openings on their 2018 schedule and one in 2019.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2017 FCS vs. FBS: MEAC
    May 10, 2017


    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.

    Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference teams are involved in 12 of the nearly 100 matchups. Half are against Power-5 conference programs, including Delaware State with a pair.

    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving MEAC teams:

    The Matchups (12)
    - Bethune-Cookman: Miami (Sept. 2) and Florida Atlantic (Sept. 16); Delaware State: West Virginia (Sept. 16) and Florida State (Nov. 18); Florida A&M: Arkansas (Aug. 31); Hampton: Ohio (Sept. 2); Howard: UNLV (Sept. 2) and Kent State (Sept. 9); Morgan State: Rutgers (Sept. 16); North Carolina A&T: Charlotte (Sept. 16); North Carolina Central: Duke (Sept. 2); Savannah State: Appalachian State (Sept. 9).

    Glamour Game - Bethune-Cookman at Miami (Sept. 2). The Wildcats know what to expect against the U, which beat them by a combined 128-24 in games in 2011, '12 and '15. With an experienced quarterback, Larry Brihm Jr., among their 15 returning starters, a strong effort could serve as a potential springboard for a bounce-back season.

    Upset Alert
    - North Carolina A&T at Charlotte (Sept. 16). The Aggies have a big hole to fill without all-time MEAC rushing leader Tarik Cohen, but they learned last year how to beat an FBS opponent, working four overtimes at Kent State. Charlotte has played only two seasons on the FBS level and is 2-10 at home during that time.

    Notable -
    Norfolk State and South Carolina State are not playing FBS programs this season. It's quite the change for SCSU, which opened last season by facing UCF, Louisiana Tech and Clemson. ‚?¶ Defending MEAC champ North Carolina Central will head across Durham to face Duke for the fourth time in five seasons. Duke won the other three games by a combined 149-6. ‚?¶ New Howard coach Mike London will open his tenure with back-to-back FBS opponents in UNLV and Kent State. ‚?¶ Coming off a winless season, Delaware State's visits to West Virginia and Florida State could resemble last year's 79-0 drubbing at Missouri. ‚?¶ Florida A&M's matchup with Arkansas is its first game against an SEC opponent since losing 63-3 to Florida on Sept. 13, 2003. ‚?¶ Savannah State is coming off just its second FCS season with more than two wins, but since 2012, it's lost to 11 FBS opponents by an incredible 717-48. This year, second-year coach Erik Raeburn's team will play a later season opener on Sept. 9 against Appalachian State. ‚?¶ Rutgers has come to face MEAC teams annually, but that's ending with Morgan State on Sept. 16 because Big Ten schools are ceasing matchups versus the FCS. ‚?¶ Hampton's first-ever game against Ohio U. kicks off a season in which the Pirates are celebrating the school's 150th anniversary.

    *************************

    2017 FCS vs. FBS: CAA Football
    May 9, 2017


    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a campaign, FCS teams hope to make a mark again in 2017.

    CAA Football teams are involved in 12 of the nearly 100 matchups, including Maine playing in two of them. Since 1998, CAA teams have beaten at least one FBS opponent in all but four seasons.

    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving CAA teams:

    The Matchups (12)
    - Albany: Old Dominion (Sept. 2); Delaware: Virginia Tech (Sept. 9); Elon: Toledo (Sept. 2); James Madison: East Carolina (Sept. 2); Maine: UCF (Sept. 30) and Massachusetts (Nov. 11); New Hampshire: Georgia Southern (Sept. 9); Rhode Island: Central Michigan (Aug. 31); Stony Brook: South Florida (Sept. 2); Towson: Maryland (Sept. 2); Villanova: Temple (Sept. 9); William & Mary: Virginia (Sept. 2)

    Glamour Game - Maine vs. Massachusetts at Fenway Park (Nov. 11). The historic venue makes Maine's second FBS matchup of the season stand out, but second-year coach Joe Harasymiak and his veteran team (17 starters) must be eyeing an upset against old rival UMass. Their last meeting in 2013 netted the Black Bears' second-ever win over an FBS opponent, 24-14.

    Upset Alert
    - James Madison at East Carolina (Sept. 2). Upset? OK, the reigning FCS national champion Dukes might be the favorite when they begin their title defense. Coach Mike Houston returns 12 starters, including quarterback and 2016 CAA offensive player of the year Bryan Schor. East Carolina finished a mere 2-9 last season.

    Notable - Four CAA programs have new coaches, but only Elon's Curt Cignetti is making his debut against an FBS opponent (Toledo). ‚?¶ Richmond, which knocked off Virginia to open last season, is not playing an FBS opponent for the first time since 2003. ‚?¶ New Hampshire's run of 13 straight FCS playoff appearances began in 2004 with a 27-23 win at Georgia Southern. It's their only previous meeting. ‚?¶ Delaware's high-profile game at Virginia Tech, which went 10-4 last season, is a first-ever meeting, as is Rhode Island's trip to Central Michigan. ‚?¶ The Mayor's Cup in Philadelphia will be on the line when Villanova and Temple meet at Lincoln Financial Field. Their series is tied 15-15-2, although Temple has won the last three matchups. ‚?¶ Albany is playing an FBS opponent for just a third time, having split two games with Buffalo over the last two seasons. Albany's only game against Old Dominion - a 66-10 loss in 2013 - occurred when the Monarchs were transitioning out of the FCS. ‚?¶ Stony Brook kicks off its season at South Florida in new coach Charlie Strong's first home game with the Bulls. The Seawolves' 59-14 loss to USF at Raymond James Stadium in 2010 came before an announced attendance of 40,210 which is the largest to witness a Stony Brook game. ‚?¶ William & Mary's trip to Virginia will mark the start of coach Jimmye Laycock's 38th season with the Tribe. No FCS coach has been with his program longer. ‚?¶ Towson running back Terrance West was early in his freshman season in 2011 when the Tigers lost at Maryland 28-3 in their only previous meeting. He went on to win the Jerry Rice Award as the FCS freshman of the year and led Towson to the national championship game as a junior in 2013.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Auburn QB Woody Barrett to transfer
    May 8, 2017


    AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn quarterback Woody Barrett says he's transferring.

    The third-year sophomore announced his decision on Twitter Monday, but didn't say what school he planned to attend.

    Barrett, who is from Winter Garden, Florida, didn't play last season. He was the nation's No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in 2016 according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

    The battle for the starting job appears down to returnee Sean White and transfer Jarrett Stidham. Freshman mid-year enrollee Malik Willis also saw significant action in the Tigers' spring game.

    Barrett saw limited playing time in the spring game, completing both of his pass attempts for 14 yards. Reserve quarterback Tyler Queen has also left the program.

    He topped 2,000 passing yards and 1,400 rushing yards as a high school senior.

    ***********************

    Arkansas RB Williams to quit football
    May 8, 2017


    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Rawleigh Williams returned to the football field last season following a broken neck only after assurances from doctors.

    A second scare that left him sprawled out on the Razorbacks' indoor practice field last week has ended his career.

    Williams announced his decision to walk away from football in an article on the school's website on Monday, prematurely ending the career for one of the most promising young running backs in college football.

    ''It still doesn't seem real yet, but I really don't have a choice,'' Williams wrote. ''I've dodged the bullet twice. I realize that at the end of the day I want to live a normal life and be around my family.''

    Williams, who was third in the Southeastern Conference with 1,360 yards rushing last season, suffered what coach Bret Bielema called a ''stinger'' during the team's final spring practice a week ago. He fell to the ground after a light hit during a partial-contact portion of practice, remaining there while trainers rushed to his side before loading him onto a stretcher and then taking him to the hospital in an ambulance.

    That came a year and a half after the 5-foot-10, 226-pound running back was originally injured as a freshman against Auburn in 2015 .

    While he was able to move his fingers, Williams' family was on hand for last week's practice and was clearly shaken by the sight. Williams and his family met doctors and later with Bielema before arriving at the decision to not risk a permanently disabling injury.

    ''This next chapter in Rawleigh's life will be filled with unlimited success in any career path or anyway of life he chooses,'' Bielema said. ''As a head coach I couldn't be more excited to begin the next chapter with him and be there for him.''

    Williams said he was barely able to feel his hand and that it was really weak immediately following his latest injury. He said feeling in his body began to return quickly, but also that he knew the injury ''was similar enough'' to his previous neck injury.

    ''The first thing I thought when it all happened was the reaction of my mom, dad, sister and brother,'' Williams said. ''I didn't want them to go through this all over again. I just wanted to stand up to calm them down and show them that I was OK.''

    Williams said he has watched a replay of the latest hit, and that because it was a normal hit he now understands that ''any little thing can trigger it.''

    ''I also saw the reaction of my mom and my sister,'' Williams said. ''That broke my heart. I can't do this anymore. I want to be able to walk.''

    Williams said he plans to continue his education so that he can follow his father's childhood advice: ''Don't work to just be the guy in the jersey on Sundays. Work to be the guy in the nice suit that's in the suite of the stadium making all the decisions.''

    ''I am very grateful,'' Williams said. ''It is sad but I truly believe God has a plan for my life. I believe I'm going to be blessed more than I could ever imagine. Even though my plan isn't going to happen, I know that his plan is better than my plan.''

    ****************************

    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Big South
    May 8, 2017


    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.

    Big South teams are involved in four of the nearly 100 matchups. The conference hasn't had great success against FBS opponents, but long-time power Liberty, whose program will rise to the FBS level next year, posted wins in 2014 (Appalachian State) and '15 (Georgia State).

    Here's a look at this year's games involving Big South teams:

    The matchups (4)
    - Charleston Southern vs. Mississippi State (Sept. 2); Gardner-Webb vs. Wyoming (Sept. 9); Liberty vs. Baylor (Sept. 2); Presbyterian vs. Wake Forest (Aug. 31)

    Glamour Game - Liberty at Baylor. The Flames, under coach Turner Gill, begin their final season in the FCS with their only FBS matchup - a first meeting with Baylor. Their 2018 schedule will be FBS-centric, with the Flames required to play at least three home games against FBS opponents.

    Upset Alert - Gardner-Webb at Wyoming. Quarterback Tyrell Maxwell and running back Khalil Lewis provide a dangerous 1-2 duo for a Gardner-Webb program which has only played as far west as Laramie once before (Montana State in 2003). The Runnin' Bulldogs won at Akron in 2010.

    Notable
    - Kennesaw State's third-year program has yet to play an FBS program, but the Owls have future dates scheduled with Georgia State (2018), Kent State (2019 and 2020) and Georgia Tech (2021). ... Monmouth also won't play an FBS game this season after playing the first two in program history the last two years, losing 31-10 to Central Michigan in 2015 and 27-7 to Kent State last season. ... Tommy Spangler begins his second stint as Presbyterian's coach when the Blue Hose face Wake Forest, while Mark Tucker will debut as Charleston Southern's coach in the Buccaneers' first meeting with Mississippi State. Presbyterian is 0-11 all-time against FBS competition and Charleston Southern, the Big South's two-time defending champ, is 0-19. ... The Big South will add new members in Campbell next year and North Alabama in 2019.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Big Sky
    May 5, 2017

    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.

    Big Sky teams are involved in 16 of the nearly 100 matchups. The FCS' largest conference often plays a role in the success, such as Eastern Washington's 45-42 win at Washington State last September.

    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving Big Sky teams:

    The Matchups (16
    ) - Cal Poly: San Jose State (Sept. 2); Eastern Washington: Texas Tech (Sept. 2); Idaho State: Utah State (Sept. 7) and Nevada (Sept. 16); Montana: Washington (Sept. 9); Montana State: Washington State (Sept. 2); North Dakota: Utah (Aug. 31); Northern Arizona: Arizona (Sept. 2); Northern Colorado: Florida (Sept. 9) and Colorado (Sept. 16); Portland State: BYU (Aug. 26) and Oregon State (Sept. 2); Sacramento State: Idaho (Aug. 31); Southern Utah: Oregon (Sept. 2); UC Davis: San Diego State (Sept. 2); Weber State: California (Sept. 9)

    Glamour Game - Montana at Washington (Sept. 9). Washington made the College Football Playoff last season, losing to Alabama in the semifinals (Peach Bowl). The Grizzlies, facing an FBS opponent for just the third time since 2006, believe their trip to Seattle will benefit recruiting. The two programs were both members in the Pacific Coast Conference from 1924 to 1950, and last faced each other in 1951.

    Upset Alert
    - Cal Poly at San Jose State (Sept. 2). All-America fullback Joe Protheroe and the Mustangs' triple-option offense will have played a game already (Colgate on Aug. 27) when they face a Mountain West squad that had a 4-8 record and ranked 122nd out of 128 FBS teams in rushing defense last season.

    Notable - All 13 Big Sky programs are playing an FBS opponent. ‚?¶ Two new Big Sky coaches, Eastern Washington's Aaron Best (Texas Tech) and UC Davis' Dan Hawkins (San Diego State), will make their debuts against FBS programs. Interestingly, Best's predecessor, Beau Baldwin, also made his EWU debut against Texas Tech, falling 49-24 in 2008. UC Davis will play San Diego State for the first time. ‚?¶ Idaho State will face its two FBS opponents after new coach Rob Phenicie debuts against Division II Western Oregon. ‚?¶ Second-year Montana State coach Jeff Choate served as an assistant under Washington State coach Mike Leach in 2012. ‚?¶ Portland State will have an early start to its season (Aug. 26) because BYU plays at Hawaii this year and the NCAA allows the visiting team to have 13 regular-season games. ‚?¶ Not only is Northern Colorado facing an SEC opponent (Florida) for the first time, its follow-up game (Colorado) gives the Bears two FBS games in the same season for the first time since joining the Big Sky in 2006. ‚?¶ Weber State's first-ever game against Cal is its fourth against a Pac-12 team in five years. ‚?¶ In Utah, North Dakota is playing a Pac-12 opponent for the first time since a 0-0 tie against Oregon in 1931. ‚?¶ Northern Arizona has lost 12 straight meetings with Arizona, including 77-13 in 2015 in quarterback Case Cookus' third career start. He went on to win STATS national freshman of the year honors. ‚?¶ Idaho, Sacramento State's FBS opponent, will rejoin the Big Sky as a member in 2018. ‚?¶ New Oregon coach Willie Taggart will make his debut when the Ducks host Southern Utah.

    ******************************

    Judge rips USF coach Charlie Strong
    May 3, 2017


    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) A judge presiding over the first appearance of a South Florida football player charged with sexual battery not only had harsh words for the athlete in court, but questioned whether new coach Charlie Strong is a good fit for the program.

    Circuit Judge Margaret Taylor of Hillsborough County told defensive end LaDarrius Jackson during a hearing Wednesday that she is a USF graduate who is ''embarrassed and ashamed'' in the wake of two separate arrests involving members of the team since March.

    Jackson, 22, was arrested late Monday after a female acquaintance said earlier in the day that he assaulted her in student housing. Jackson was removed from team activity after being charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment.

    Another USF football player arrested in March, Hassan Childs, was dismissed from the squad after being charged with aggravated assault and possession of marijuana in March.

    Taylor had harsh words Jackson and Strong, the former Louisville and Texas coach who has been at USF since December. Strong replaced Willie Taggart, who left the Bulls for Oregon.

    ''Coach Strong, if you are listening, in the last couple of months there have been two arrests of your players for very violent felonies. This court, and I'm sure I'm not alone, questions whether you have control over your players,'' the judge said in a courtroom video obtained by the Tampa Bay Times from television station WTSP.

    ''It's fairly clear you do not have control of them off the field, and I guess only time will tell whether you have control over them on the field,'' she added. ''I would implore you to think long and hard about whether being head coach at USF is a good fit for you before any other members of this community have to suffer at the hands of one of your players.''

    Strong released a statement later Wednesday defending his program following the judge's unusual courtroom comments.

    ''In the short time I have been here our program has been built on character, discipline and family. We have wonderful young men in the USF football program who choose to do the right thing every day,'' the coach said.

    ''While I am shocked and saddened at the recent arrest of a member of our team, I am disappointed that the actions of two players over the last two months have harmed the reputation of our program, of our wonderful university and of my character,'' Strong added. ''We have high expectations of our coaches, staff and student-athletes and we hold accountable those who act contrary to our values.''

    Before Taylor's admonishment of Strong, the judge had some candid comments for Jackson, saying ''assuming the facts surrounding your charges are true, your behavior is reprehensible.''

    ''I'm an alumni, graduated from USF in 1989, long before there was a football team,'' Taylor said ''And while USF may not be the top-ranked school in the nation, I was never ashamed of being an alum until now,'' the judge added. ''Embarrassed and ashamed, Mr. Jackson. Let's just say that my USF diploma is not proudly hanging in my office right now.''

    ***************************

    Utah, Wyoming to play home-and-home
    May 3, 2017


    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The Utah and Wyoming football programs have agreed to a home-and-home series to be played in 2020 and 2025.

    The Cowboys are scheduled to host the first game in Laramie, Wyoming, on Sept. 19, 2020. The Utes will welcome Wyoming to Salt Lake City on Sept. 6, 2025.

    The two teams have met 83 times with Utah leading 51-31-1. The programs were fellow conference members in the Rocky Mountain, Big Seven, Skyline, Western Athletic and Mountain West before Utah moved to the Pac-12 in 2011.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Wake Forest dismisses QB Kearns
    May 3, 2017


    WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Wake Forest has dismissed backup quarterback Kyle Kearns from the team for a violation of team rules.

    Coach Dave Clawson announced the dismissal Wednesday. The school's news release didn't specify the nature of the violation.

    Kearns played in five games as a redshirt freshman in 2016 but would have entered preseason practice behind three-year starter John Wolford and Kendall Hinton on the depth chart.

    He made his only start against Clemson and played much of the second half of the Military Bowl victory against Temple. Both appearances came when both Wolford and Hinton were out with injuries.

    Kearns completed 13 of 25 passes for 206 yards last season.

    ******************

    Jenkins directing Cal Poly's triple option
    May 3, 2017


    (STATS) - Cal Poly quarterback Khaleel Jenkins wore uniform No. 14 as a true freshman in 2015 and No. 2 last year. This year, he's sporting No. 10 - his high school number.

    It seems to fit just right as the junior settles into the starting job of leading the Mustangs' triple option offense. The Big Sky program is set to conclude spring practice on Saturday with its annual intrasquad game at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo.

    "Khaleel made extraordinary growth in practice last fall," Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh said, "and at 6-2 and 205 pounds, he's big for a quarterback and one of our best athletes. He needs game experience, no question about that, but our expectations are that he can run our offense. He is a good runner and an efficient thrower."

    Quarterback is always pivotal for one of the leading rushing attacks in the FCS. Jenkins started one game in 2015 and appeared in four more last season as the backup to Dano Graves, who is now Cal Poly's quarterbacks coach.

    While Jenkins will call his number often on keepers, he will have plenty of options in the backfield. Senior fullback Joe Protheroe, who rushed for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, is a returning All-American, while slot back Kyle Lewis and fullback Jared Mohamed combined for another 934 yards on the ground. They'll work behind experienced offensive linemen.

    The Mustangs hope to build on last year's 7-5 season which ended in the FCS playoffs. They posted signature wins over South Dakota State and Montana, with their losses against an FBS team (Nevada) and four other FCS playoff qualifiers.

    ****************************

    QB Sheriron Jones leaving Tennessee
    May 2, 2017


    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Quarterback Sheriron Jones is leaving Tennessee's program again.

    Tennessee athletic department spokesman Stephen Lee confirmed Tuesday that Jones has been granted his release to transfer. 247Sports first reported Jones was transferring.

    Jones had left Tennessee's team in January 2016 to transfer to Colorado, but he returned to the Volunteers later that month.

    He played in one game and threw one pass last season. In Tennessee's April 22 spring game, Jones went 1 of 4 for 2 yards and had a 7-yard run.

    Jones had been competing for the right to replace Pittsburgh Steelers fourth-round draft pick Joshua Dobbs as Tennessee's starting quarterback. Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano are thought to be the leaders in that race, though Tennessee coach Butch Jones said after the spring game nobody has an edge.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Big 12 players poised to break out
    May 2, 2017


    A look at football players in the Big 12 Conference this spring who are poised to have standout seasons beginning this fall:

    BAYLOR

    WR Blake Lynch, sophomore. The speedy Lynch will get a chance to be a top receiving target sooner rather than later after KD Cannon and Ishmael Zamora both left school early, signing NFL free agent rookie deals after going undrafted last week. Lynch had 34 catches for 404 yards and three touchdowns last season behind his teammates who were 1-2 in the Big 12 for receptions per game.

    IOWA STATE


    RB David Montgomery, sophomore. Montgomery was so good as a freshman that he supplanted Mike Warren - who led all freshman nationally in rushing yards in 2015 - toward the end of last season. Montgomery averaged 5.2 yards per carry and closed the season with 141 yards against West Virginia.

    KANSAS

    DE Josh Ehambe, junior. Ehambe dazzled in the spring game after moving back to his natural position from linebacker, where he played for the Jayhawks last season. He had three sacks while showing he could provide a dynamic bookend to last year's breakout star, Dorance Armstrong.

    KANSAS STATE

    RB Alex Barnes, sophomore. After beginning last season buried on the depth chart, Barnes wound up rushing for 442 yards and six touchdowns on just 56 carries. That was good enough for second in school history in both categories by a freshman running back.

    OKLAHOMA

    RBs Abdul Adams and/or Rodney Anderson, sophomores. With 1,000-yard rushers Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine both picked in the NFL draft after leaving Oklahoma early, there is a clear opening for the young, talented running backs. Adams had 283 yards rushing on 53 carries (5.3 yards per carry) in limited chances last season. Anderson is healthy again, though intentionally limited in spring practice after sustaining a broken neck in preseason camp last fall. He also broke his leg on special teams in his second game as a true freshman in 2015.

    OKLAHOMA STATE

    WR Tyron Johnson, sophomore. The transfer from LSU already has established himself as a favorite target for Heisman contender quarterback Mason Rudolph. The speedy Johnson was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. With so many talented players around him, including Biletnikoff Award contender James Washington, Johnson likely will have some favorable matchups.

    TCU

    WR KaVontae Turpin, junior. Poised for a breakout last season, Turpin suffered a knee injury early and still averaged 123 all-purpose yards in his eight games. He missed much of this spring practice for academic reasons, but coach Gary Patterson said he earned his way back. In two seasons, Turpin has averaged 27.5 yards on kickoff returns and 11.3 yards on punt returns, with two TDs. He also had eight receiving TDs as a freshman in 2015.

    TEXAS

    WR Collin Johnson, sophomore. The 6-foot-6 Californian should be the new weapon in the Texas offense. He caught two touchdowns in the spring game and has the size, speed and soft hands to be a matchup nightmare for defensive backs and a favorite target for quarterback Shane Buechele.

    TEXAS TECH


    CB Octavious Morgan. The junior college transfer has already been called ''a real Big 12 cornerback'' by Texas Tech coaches. He had 42 tackles and three interceptions last season at Butler Community College. Morgan was a physical presence throughout his first spring practice with the Red Raiders, who in the past have given up as many points and yards as they have put up with their big-play offense.

    WEST VIRGINIA

    WR David Sills, junior. After trying to prove himself as a quarterback at California's El Camino College last season, Sills transferred back to West Virginia and had six catches for 96 yards in the spring game. Coach Dana Holgorsen calls Sills ''extremely, extremely football smart.'' Sills, who received a scholarship offer from Lane Kiffin at Southern California while still in middle school, had seven catches for 131 yards and two TDs while a receiver for the Mountaineers two seasons ago.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2017 FCS draft class review
    April 29, 2017


    (STATS) - For the FCS, Friday night lights basically shined brighter than the sunlight did Saturday afternoon during the 2017 NFL Draft.

    While this year's outdoor draft was held on the same Philadelphia Art Museum steps that Rocky made famous for underdogs, the FCS produced only 15 selections. That was down from an annual average of about 18 picks and from the 20 last year, led by the Philadelphia Eagles' selection of former North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz at No. 2 overall.

    The last year with only 15 FCS picks was 2012.

    The final total was a bit surprising because there were five FCS selections made Friday night - a strong number for the subdivision on the middle day of the draft. Still, the majority of FCS draft selections occur on the third and final day, and there were just 10 added to the second- and third-rounders.

    But there were terrific finds as NFL teams continue to look to the FCS for impact players. This year's haul came on the heels of recent drafts producing the likes of Wentz, Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (2015, third round), New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (2014, second round), New Orleans Saints left tackle Terron Armstead (2013, third round) and Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (2012, fifth round).

    The FCS can be a haven for players who fell through the cracks in FBS-level recruiting or were late-bloomers. Second-round pick Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova (Kansas City Chiefs) and third-rounders Cooper Kupp of Eastern Washington (Los Angeles Rams) and Derek Rivers of Youngstown State (New England Patriots) helped bring the FCS star power to this year's draft.

    ---=

    FCS SELECTIONS IN THE 2017 NFL DRAFT=

    Day 2 - Friday, April 28 (Rounds 2 and 3)


    Kansas City Chiefs (2nd round, 59th overall selection) - Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova: Five-technique D-end has freakish athleticism for his size (6-foot-7, 289 pounds). The last defensive player drafted from Villanova was Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long (1981). CBSSports.com Pick Grade: B

    Los Angeles Rams (3rd, 69) - Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington: Four-time FCS first-team All-American holds Division I records for receptions (428), receiving yards (6,464) and touchdown catches (73) in a career. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: B+

    New England Patriots (3rd, 83) - Derek Rivers, DE/OLB, Youngstown State: Super Bowl champs' first pick of the draft was a pass rusher (41 career sacks) with the versatility favored by coach Bill Belichick. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: B+

    Arizona Cardinals (3rd, 98) - Chad Williams, WR, Grambling State: A 13-catch, 152-yard performance against Arizona as a senior stood out for Grambling's first draft selection since 2006. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: B

    Denver Broncos (3rd, 101) - Brendan Langley, CB, Lamar: At the NFL Combine, press corner flashed speed with a 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash and showed off power with 22 reps on the 225-pound bench press (most among cornerbacks). CBSSports.com Pick Grade: C

    Day 3 - Saturday, April 28 (Rounds 4 through 7)

    Chicago Bears (4th, 119) - Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina A&T: The MEAC's all-time rushing leader (5,619 yards) figures to make the most of touches with the Bears as a runner, receiver and returner. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: D+

    Los Angeles Rams (4th, 125) - Samson Ebukam, OLB, Eastern Washington: Terrific athleticism allows Nigerian-born Ebukam to make an impact in different ways. College teammate Kupp was a Rams' pick just 16 hours earlier. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: D

    Houston Texans (4th, 130) - Julie'n Davenport, OT, Bucknell: Four-year starting left tackle - Bucknell's first draft pick since 1969 - hopes to fill a role on a Texans team in need of help up front. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: B+

    Detroit Lions (5th, 165) - Jamal Agnew, CB, San Diego: Despite lack of height (5-9, 180), Agnew plays with confidence and sizes up with quickness and a fluid style. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: C

    New York Giants (5th, 167) - Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown State: Former Nebraska Cornhusker didn't take a secondary role to Rivers at Youngstown State, totaling 17¬Ĺ tackles for loss and 10¬Ĺ sacks with four forced fumbles as a senior. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: B

    Atlanta Falcons (5th, 174) - Eric Saubert, TE, Drake: Developed into an excellent red-zone threat at Drake, catching 21 touchdowns, including 10 as a senior. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: B-

    Denver Broncos (6th, 203) - De'Angelo Henderson, RB, Coastal Carolina: The teal turf at Coastal was great, but "Hop" was found in the end zone - he scored a touchdown in a Division I-record 35 straight games. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: C-

    Tennessee Titans (6th, 217) - Corey Levin, OG, Chattanooga: Titans stayed in-state for a four-year starter who is excellent on the move. Versatile enough to gain a potential role at center. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: B

    Oakland Raiders (7th, 231) - Jylan Ware, OT, Alabama State: Displays good movement for his 6-7¬Ĺ, 317-pound size and is considered to have quick-advancing skills for a developmental prospect. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: B

    Tennessee Titans (7th, 236) - Brad Seaton, OT, Villanova. His run-blocking movement must encourage the Titans, but he needs to get stronger for pass sets. Good length at 6-7, 310. CBSSports.com Pick Grade: C+

    ---=

    PICKS BY CONFERENCE=

    It was particularly odd that the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, which had two all-time draft picks prior to this year, had more selections than some of the larger conferences of the FCS.

    Five conferences tied for the FCS high with two selections each.

    The breakdown by conference: CAA, Big Sky, Missouri Valley, Pioneer League and SWAC - 2 selections each; MEAC, Patriot League, Southern, Southland and FCS Independent - 1 selection each; and Big South, Ivy League, Northeast and Ohio Valley - no selections.

    ---=

    NOTABLE=

    Talk about a stacked playing field: When Youngstown State and Eastern Washington met in a memorable national semifinal last December, there were four 2017 draft picks on the field: Rivers and Moss for Youngstown State, which won 40-38 on a last-second touchdown, and Kupp and Ebukam for Eastern Washington. ‚?¶ The most-drafted FCS position was defensive end. Kpassagnon, the first FCS selection, Rivers, Ebukam and Moss were dominant pass rushers in college. Ebukam is moving to outside linebacker in the NFL and Rivers might do the same. ‚?¶ No position has been drafted more often from the FCS this decade than cornerback. Lamar's Langley and San Diego's Agnew increased the total to 28. ‚?¶ With the CAA getting one more selection than the SoCon, those two conferences share the FCS lead with 22 selections each in the 2010s. The Big Sky is third with 20 and the Missouri Valley fourth with 18. ‚?¶ Incredibly, the seven active FCS programs that had the most draft selections from 2010-16 - Montana (seven), South Carolina State (five), William & Mary (five), Central Arkansas (four), North Dakota State (four), Samford (four) and Tennessee State (four) - were shut out this year.

    ---=

    UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS=


    Going undrafted can allow a player with multiple free agent offers the chance to pick a favorable situation. A number of coveted free agents would have potential offers late in the draft and then come to terms in the hours following it.

    Josh Buchanan, an NFLPA Collegiate Bowl scout and perhaps the nation's leading evaluator of small school draft talent, had the following 10 undrafted FCS players as his highest-rated:

    Tennessee State offensive guard Jessamen Dunker (fourth-round projection); Chattanooga defensive end Keionta Davis; Missouri State linebacker Dylan Cole; Tennessee State cornerback Ezra Robinson; Saint Francis safety Lorenzo Jerome; South Carolina State offensive tackle Javarius Leamon; Illinois State offensive guard Cam Lee; Richmond free safety David Jones; William & Mary offensive tackle Jerry Ugokwe; and Maine defensive tackle Patrick Ricard.

    ---=

    SNEAK PEEK TO NEXT YEAR=

    The 2018 draft class coming from the FCS appears particularly deep.

    Included are Sam Houston quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe, the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award winner, and defensive end P.J. Hall, the runner-up for last year's STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award. As a pro, Hall projects to move inside to defensive tackle.

    Speaking of teammates, there's the dynamite receiving duo from South Dakota State, tight end Dallas Goedert and wide receiver Jake Wieneke, who as juniors combined for 170 receptions, 2,609 receiving yards and 27 touchdown catches.

    Other draft prospects include North Dakota State inside linebacker Nick DeLuca, Fordham running back Chase Edmonds (who's on pace to become the all-time rushing leader in the FCS), North Dakota cornerback Deion Harris and strong safety Cole Reyes, Illinois State cornerback Davontae Harris, Tennessee State defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko and North Carolina A&T offensive tackle Brandon Parker.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Headgear rules: Lee Corso, 81, signs extension with ESPN
    May 31, 2017


    ESPN has agreed to a multiyear contract extension with Lee Corso, the 81-year-old star of ''College GameDay.''

    Corso joined ESPN in 1987 and has been part of the popular college football Saturday pregame show ever since. His head-gear game predictions, off-the-cuff analysis and signature line - ''Not so fast, my friend'' - have endeared him to generations of college football fans.

    The head-gear picks started in 1996 when Corso donned the head of Ohio State's Brutus Buckeye before a game in Columbus with Penn State. He is on target to make his 300th head-gear pick during week six of the upcoming season.

    In the spring of 2009, Corso suffered a stroke at his home in Florida, but returned to be part of the first ''College GameDay'' that season.
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    Wednesday’s six-pack

    Pac-12 basketball records, over the last four seasons:

    Arizona: 59-13 Pac-12, 8-4 NCAA

    Oregon: 53-19, 9-4

    Utah: 46-26: 3-2

    UCLA: 44-28, 6-3

    California: 39-33, 0-1

    Colorado: 35-37, 0-2

    Stanford: 33-39, 2-1

    Arizona State: 31-41, 0-1

    Oregon State: 26-46, 0-1

    Washington: 25-47, 0-0

    USC: 24-48, 2-2

    Washington State: 17-55, 0-0

    *****************************

    Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

    13) Best part of the Strickland/Harper shenanigans Monday night was Buster Posey totally declining to get involved. Usually, the catcher tries to keep the angry batter away from the pitcher, but Posey made no such attempt.

    Harper hit two very long home runs off Strickland in the ’14 playoffs (thats 2.5 years ago!!!) in their only two previous meetings. Guess something Harper did/said ticked Strickland off.

    12) I like watching baseball when they have the strike zone on the right side of the screen, so we can see if the umps miss any pitches. To me, it makes the broadcast a little better.

    11) Is Nick Markakis the best active player who has never been an All-Star? He has 1,945 hits, is a solid defender, has a .358 career OB%. You’d think he would’ve made one All-Star team.

    10) Jeb Bush is out as part of the group trying to buy the Miami Marlins; apparently he had “only $20M” of his own money involved in the project, not enough to make him a controlling partner, which is what he wanted.

    9) 10 of the 64 teams in the NCAA college baseball tournament are located in Texas.

    8) Nike stock fell 19% last year, is up only 4% this year; with the NBA Finals starting this week, Nike didn’t need Cavs-Warriors being overshadowed by Eldrick Woods’ DUI arrest. Nike does not sell golf equipment anymore, but they still sell golf clothes, which Woods endorses.

    7) Houston Astros are almost definitely going to be in the playoffs; I’m curious how they’ll deal with Josh Reddick playing against lefties (Price? Sale? Lester?) in playoffs/World Series.

    Reddick is a career .270 hitter vs righties, .220 vs lefties (.282 OB%). A’s once pinch-hit for him in the 4th inning of a big game because the opponent put a lefty in. So far this year he is 7-25 (.280) vs lefties; maybe the change of scenery has helped him. We’ll see.

    6) Kansas Jayhawks will have six transfers amongst their 13 scholarship players next winter; only three of them will be eligible next season. Makes team chemistry a little dicey.

    5) David Blatt went 83-40 as coach of the Cavaliers in the regular season, went 14-6 in playoff games and got fired. Now he coaches overseas; I think he had just enough ego to have been a really good college coach, but we’ll probably never know.

    Fact of the matter is, if Lebron James wakes up one day in August and wants Tyronn Lue fired, the man is as good as gone. Probably won’t happen, but it could.

    4) Not a big fan of playing the infield in; just doesn’t seem necessary, unless the runner on third is really fast. Playing fielders in opens up too many cheap hits that wouldn’t happen with a more traditional defense.

    3) Joe Niekro pitched in the major leagues for 22 seasons, had 973 career at-bats with a .156 BA and hit one home run— off his brother, Hall of Fame Phil Niekro.

    2) A Saudi prince lost $359M in six hours playing poker at a casino in Egypt; he also sold off five of his nine wives as a way to reduce his debt.

    I knew cats had nine lives; had no idea Saudi princes had nine wives.

    1) I don’t care what anyone says, Bob Uecker should’ve won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role as Indians’ announcer Harry Doyle in Major League.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    ESPN re-signs Howard for "GameDay"
    May 30, 2017


    ESPN has re-signed Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard to continue his role on ''College GameDay.''

    The network announced Tuesday a multiyear agreement with Howard.

    The former Michigan receiver has been part of ''College GameDay'' since joining ESPN in 2005. He will also continue to be a regular on ''College Football Live'' and call some mid-week games during the season. Howard is usually assigned to Mid-American Conference games in November.

    Howard won the Heisman in 1991 and went to become a first-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins. He won MVP of Super Bowl 31 while playing with the Green Bay Packers. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
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    SEC considers easing grad transfer rules
    May 30, 2017


    DESTIN, Fla. (AP) Former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire could have another potential landing spot by the end of the week.

    The Southeastern Conference is expected to ease graduate transfer rules during its annual spring meetings, clearing the way for Zaire to potentially end up at Florida.

    Several coaches and Commissioner Greg Sankey said Tuesday they expect the SEC will tweak its policy, which penalizes teams if graduate transfers fail to meet academic standards during their time on campus. No other Power Five conference has a similarly restrictive clause.

    ''I don't think we should penalize ourselves as a league and allow people to transfer other places, but they can't transfer to our league,'' Alabama coach Nick Saban said. ''So if there's some balance we can come up with on that, that's what I would be for.''

    Added South Carolina coach Will Muschamp: ''I think we need to have the same rule as everybody else in college football. ... It is a little bit unfair for us as a league to have a different set of rules than the competition at other places.''

    The Gators are currently unable to add Zaire because two previous graduate transfers - linebacker Anthony Harrell and offensive lineman Mason Halter - failed to meet academic requirements after transferring to Florida in 2016. That put coach Jim McElwain's program on probation, unable to add another graduate transfer for a three-year period.

    The SEC is proposing to change the rule to a one-year ban, which still would be more than other Power Five conferences.

    ''If we have rules in the Southeastern Conference that are different than the other conferences that we're playing against and competing against ... I don't know what we're trying to prove there,'' McElwain said.

    Zaire has reportedly chosen Florida over Texas and Harvard. He delayed an announcement earlier this month, assumedly to see if the Gators would become an option. For that to happen, the SEC would have to relax its policy.

    Coaches discussed the issue Tuesday, and school presidents and chancellors are expected to vote on proposed rules changes Friday.

    If Zaire lands in Gainesville, he would compete for the starting job with redshirt freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask as well as Luke Del Rio, who started six games last season. Zaire had 816 passing yards and six touchdowns in limited action in three seasons in South Bend, Indiana.

    ''Competition is what breeds quality,'' McElwain said. ''So whether it's that one or whatever one, I'm kind of all for it. I was the guy they always tried to replace every year at Eastern Washington, so I get it.''

    Saban would like to see another change to the league's graduate transfer rules.

    The SEC allows players to transfer from one conference team to another and be eligible immediately but only with a waiver, like Alabama defensive back Maurice Smith did last year. Smith wanted to transfer to Georgia, but Saban initially blocked the move. The SEC ultimately ruled Smith should be allowed to transfer and Saban reluctantly released him.

    ''I've never been in favor of free agency in our league,'' Saban said. ''I don't think that's a good thing. I wasn't for it last year. I don't think I'll ever be for it. I mean, why should guys leave your team and go play for somebody else and you have to play against them? I don't think that's fair.''

    The league also will consider a third piece of legislation regarding graduate transfers. It is considering eliminating APR requirements for student-athletes considering a transfer, so anyone who graduates would be eligible to move to the league and play right away.

    Arkansas coach Brett Bielema, who previously coached at Wisconsin, saw firsthand what a graduate transfer can do for a program and thinks the SEC should be on a level playing field with other leagues.

    ''A guy named Russell Wilson changed our season and was a very, very special player in a very special situation,'' Bielema said. ''I needed immediate help just for depth. I didn't know he was going to walk through the door and do what he did.''

    There's no guarantee Zaire would do anything at Florida. But McElwain would like the help.

    ''What's good for our conference and what's good for college football is what I'm all about,'' he said. ''They may say, `Look, I don't want them to go there so I'm going to vote against it.' Then we've got issues, if that's it. You know what? Those people better check their hole card on that because that isn't what it's about. It's what's good for these kids.''
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