Previewing the Big Games: College Football Week 1

By Aaron Hyden
PSDC College Football Contributor

With the 2015 college football season already underway, and the first Saturday slate of games kicking off, it’s time to preview the big games from Week 1. Teams from all over the country are beginning their journeys towards a possible National Championship, but it all begins with the season’s first game. I’ll be back when the week is over to review the goings-on and see how close my predictions were. Let’s not waste any more time, though.

No. 15 Arizona State vs Texas A&M: Arizona State is quickly becoming a chic selection as a National Championship dark horse contender, and that discussion starts because of their offense. QB Mike Bercovici stepped in for injured starter Taylor Kelly last season, throwing for 1,445 yards and 14 touchdowns in what was essentially three-and-a-half games. Last season’s leading rusher, DJ Foster, has been switched to WR to replace Jaelen Strong, while Demario Richard takes Foster’s place at RB.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A&M needs to improve on a defense that ranked 103rd in the nation, out of 128 teams, last season, including being No. 114 in rushing yards allowed per game. Former LSU Defensive Coordinator John Chavis joins the team in that same role this season, and that gives Aggies fans lots of hope, as Chavis led one of the country’s top defensive units every season in Baton Rouge. [Read more…]

Bust It, Baby: Is Trent Richardson THAT Bad?

By TD Berry
PSDC NFL Contributor

The player who came only third to Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in both first round draft number and in 2012 AND Heisman Trophy voting in 2011, is now without a job. As it would appear, Trent Richardson, is the latest NFL player to officially descent to the label of “bust.” After a pretty exceptional collegiate career, he was heavily invested in by two teams in only his first three pro seasons. Richardson cost those two teams a total of four draft picks, and was predicted by many to become one of the best running backs of this generation.

Trent-Richardson-Bust

That feels like forever ago, as he has now fell into the same realm of other recent collegiate superstars turned NFL benchwarmers (or worse) such as Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel. After averaging an impressive 5.8 YPC during his tenure at Alabama, and scoring (then record) 21 TD’s in his junior year, it’s apparent why he had such high hopes to begin with. Once upon a time, he received comparisons to Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith. Now there’s a wonder could 46 year old Emmitt be of greater asset to a team at this point. [Read more…]

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Defensive Line

By Aaron Hyden
PSDC College Football Contributor

The cornerstone of a great defense (some would say of an entire football team, in general) is a great defensive line. The pass rush that it creates makes life easier for the back end of the unit. Opposing running games would thrive in the open field without a great run defense at the line, clogging up holes. A good defensive lineman is often asked to do so many things these days, and the best ones do it with relative ease. The names on this list make great impacts on the games they play, whether it is being in a quarterback’s face every time they step back to throw the football, being ready to smash a running back before he can even get momentum built up, using his size advantage to affect a kicker’s attempts, or all of the above.

1. Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State – Many are calling Bosa the “next JJ Watt,” and for good reason. Bosa simply lives in opposing backfields, making life hell for anyone with a football in their hands. In his two seasons at OSU, he has a total of 99 tackles, 34.5 of them going for a loss, to go with 21 sacks and four forced fumbles… all while regularly being double-teamed or avoided altogether in the run game. Like Watt, Bosa plays with a great motor, always working hard and playing tough, no matter the score or situation.

Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

At 6’6” and 275 pounds with a 4.7 40, Bosa is in the mold of the prototypical NFL defensive end. He has great strength, elite quickness, long arms, fast hands and he combines them with tremendous instincts to change games. As a pass rusher, he is multi-faceted, able to get to QBs whether he’s lined up on the inside or the outside. He sheds blocks as if they were set up by people half his size, doing so with a variety of different moves, meaning that opposing linemen have to be ready for any move at any time. Those moves also allow him to blow up holes and running room for RBs, closing up gaps as soon as they open. He is as close to unblockable as they come. [Read more…]

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Tight Ends

By Aaron Hyden
PSDC College Football Contributor

When you look at the Class of 2016’s group of tight ends, you aren’t going to see anyone like a Rob Gronkowski or a Jimmy Graham, who can come in and become superstars immediately. What you will see is a group that is deep on those who can, and should, contribute immediately. You don’t need to catch 100 passes a year to be a successful NFL TE, and there could be a handful of players in college right now that will prove that in the future.

1. Hunter Henry, Arkansas – Some have referred to Henry as somewhat of a one-dimensional player, pointing at the fact that he doesn’t have eye-popping stats to back up their claims. What those people fail to realize is that Henry plays in a run-first offense, and has also had some very spotty quarterback play to deal with on top of that. He has caught a total of 65 passes since arriving at Arkansas two years ago, for a total of 922 yards and six touchdowns, so it isn’t like he’s just standing around, growing cobwebs.

Photo Credit: wholehogsports.com

Photo Credit: wholehogsports.com

In that run-first offense, Henry really shines, as he is a tremendous blocker. He’s strong off the snap and isn’t afraid to get in there and make room for his running backs. That’s a trait that NFL teams love to have in their TEs, but far more often than not, they merely have to settle on someone who “only” catches passes. [Read more…]

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Running Backs

By Aaron Hyden
PSDC College Football Contributor

The NFL seems to go back-and-forth between being a run-first league and a pass-first league seemingly every few seasons. For a little while, league offenses were all about the passing game, with record-breaking quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady guiding their teams and taking them all the way. Things are beginning to shift again, as running backs are starting to become more important to a team’s success.

The NFL Draft Class of 2015 saw a loaded group of RBs, from Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon at the top, down to less talked-about gems like Ameer Abdullah, Duke Johnson, David Johnson and Jay Ajayi. As of now, the Class of 2016 isn’t as strong at the top, but one could argue that it provides more depth and more chance to find those hidden diamonds in middle rounds. As I did with the QBs, I’ll be looking at the top RBs in this class, why they’re ranked so high and what they need to do to continue seeing their stock rise throughout the season.

1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State – The man came out of nowhere to become the best RB in the country last season, absolutely decimating defenses, especially at the end of the year, when he ran for a combined 696 yards and eight touchdowns in his final three games. None of those three defenses he shredded would be considered poor against the run. In fact, Alabama, who was the first of those teams, had a top 5 defense against the run all year, and they still saw Elliott run for a whopping 20 percent of the total rush yards (and two of the three rushing touchdowns) they gave up all season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Elliott possesses a rare blend of size (6’0”, 225 pounds) and speed (4.5 40), using both to wear defenses down. He isn’t afraid of contact, showing a penchant for taking defenders on directly and winning far more of those battles than he loses. He is at home between the tackles, but has shown that he can stretch to the outside for home run plays with ease. In the NFL, backs are often called on to catch passes out of the backfield or to block in the passing game, and those are both things Elliott excelled at last season. He is heads and shoulders above anyone else in this class, and is as complete a running back as there is in the country. [Read more…]

College Football Playoff Semifinal Preview

By Andrew Canan
PSDC Contributor

college-football-playoff

Saban vs Meyer. Mariota vs Winston. Storylines that TV executives could have only dreamt of when the College Football Playoff started to become a reality. Now, here we are. The countdown to the first College Football Playoff Semifinal game is now down to mere hours. Will Nick Saban get Alabama and the SEC back to its standard hoisting of the championship trophy in January? Will Jameis Winston and the ‘Noles complete the all-so-difficult feat of repeating as national champions? Can Marcus Mariota lead the Ducks to their first national championship? Can Urban Meyer lead the Buckeyes and the Big Ten to their first championship since 2002? We will have answers to all of those questions and more in a little less than two weeks. Before then, let’s take a quick look at the matchups we have before us.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Ohio State

What else is there to say about Alabama and Nick Saban except that they’ve been the program every other program can only hope to emulate. Winners of three of the last five national championships, they are certainly at the top of the college football mountain. This year has been no exception. [Read more…]

Florida State QB Transfers Will Face Off When Alabama Hosts West Virginia

By Trey Martin
PSDC Writer

On August 30, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the West Virginia Mountaineers will kick off their football season in Tuscaloosa, AL. There is no doubt the Mountaineer players will likely see one of the most hostile crowds of their college careers. We’re talking about the fan base that produced the likes of Brian Downing (LSU teabagger), Michelle Pritchett (mom that leaped on Oklahoma fans during the Sugar Bowl) and the Grand Poohbah of fan insanity Harvey Updyke (tree poisoning, land mark destroying, confessed [bragged] on live radio). So, when you take into context that just in recent years this fan base has given us these examples of fans going too far, well, one can only imagine what this fan base has in store when you consider they will be looking to end a two-game losing streak that began on December 1, 2013.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

Not just any losing streak, a losing streak that started when they were ranked No. 1 and looking to a BCS championship game appearance. A losing streak that was “kick started” against their bitter instate rival, Auburn. A losing streak that began most unexpectedly, leaving Alabama fans looking at their TVs, mouth agape, wondering what they had just witnessed. [Read more…]

Taking the Spin Off the Rashaan Evans Recruiting Battle

By Trey Martin
PSDC Contributor

The commitment of five-star high school recruit Rashaan Evans to Alabama over Auburn has stirred up a lot of people down south.

Rashaan-Evans

On one side you have the jubilant Alabama fans happy to have taken a big time prospect from Auburn High School. Alabama media outlets labeling the commitment a “flip,” which it was not because Evans was never committed to Auburn University provided a transparent view of the goals of some Alabama media. Injecting opinion as fact in some cases by suggesting things such as it would “hurt more” than other recruiting battles Auburn lost to Alabama in recent years, a decision I would leave to Auburn fans to decide. There is also the fact that Alan Evans, Rashaan’s father, played football at Auburn until transferring to evade the shadow of Bo Jackson, which adds the intrigue of Alabama landing a commitment from a former Auburn “player.” [Read more…]

A Knight To Remember: No. 11 Oklahoma Stuns No. 3 Alabama in Sugar Bowl

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Writer

Entering the 2014 Sugar Bowl, almost everybody around the country considered Alabama the heavy favorite, and not just by the 16-point spread that was projected. No, the majority of experts were already predicting something along the lines of 48-10, and 41-14 in the Crimson Tide’s favor. And who could blame them? Alabama has dominated the college football world for the previous five seasons, winning three national championships and damn near earning an opportunity at a three peat this season before the now infamous ‘Kick Six’ allowed Auburn to upend their Iron Bowl rivals and streak into the National Title picture with the Florida State Seminoles.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The one thing no one, not even the most deluded Oklahoma fans could have anticipated was the dominance of redshirt freshmen Trevor Knight. After surprisingly winning the starting job in camp by edging out Blake Bell, the redshirt junior who many expected to be the starting quarterback this season, Knight came out flat in his first two collegiate games (including an 11-28 for 84 yards performance against Louisiana of Monroe), and then was sidelined several weeks with a knee injury. Bell excelled immediately after earning his first start, and it seemed the Sooners would never look back. But after shaky loses against the Texas Longhorns (3-2 at the time) and the Baylor Bears (went on to win the Big 12), Knight was able to sneak back into the starting role, only to go down early in the Bedlam game against Oklahoma State in the final week of the season with a shoulder injury. Bell entered the game and led the Sooners to an improbable win that vaulted them into the BCS picture with an invite to the All State Sugar Bowl against the mighty Crimson Tide. [Read more…]

College Football’s Five-Star Follies

By Johnny Griffith
PSDC Director of Randomness

As the 2013 college football season draws to a close Monday night in Pasadena, die-hard fans across the country with nothing to do will turn their attention to analyzing, debating, bragging and cursing over the college recruiting season that will ramp into full swing from now until National Signing Day. Blue Chip high school football players across the land will get their turn in the spotlight, and get their money’s worth (the pun is there, intended or not), as sports writers, TV personalities and amateur prognosticators sitting on their couches in mustard stained jerseys predict who will have the No. 1 recruiting class.

Photo Credit: NOLA.com

Photo Credit: NOLA.com

After Thursday’s Under Armour All-America Game, the guessing is just about over. Alabama most likely wrapped up yet another No. 1 ranked recruiting class, and if so it will be their third in a row according to ESPN.com’s metrics. In fact you have to go back to 2007 for the last time that an Alabama recruiting class was ranked out of the top three on ESPN’s recruiting class trackers. In a highly visible love affair with Alabama, Rivals.com has ranked the Crimson Tide’s recruiting class No. 1 every year since 2008 with 2010 being the lone anomaly. A repeat this year would give ‘Bama a ridiculous six years in a row with the top spot and they almost certainly solidified their case with the commitment of No. 8 overall recruit, 5-star safety, Tony Brown out of Beaumont, TX. They currently have 25 commitments with four 5-stars, 14 4-stars and 7 3-stars. [Read more…]

Report: Nick Saban Will Be The Next Texas Longhorns Head Coach

By Chris Stuckey
Editor-in-Chief

According to a tweet from Fort Worth Star-Telegram TCU beat reporter Stefan Stevenson, Nick Saban will be the next head football coach at the University of Texas.

 

In his tweet, Stevenson cites a “source close to Texas executive council of regents” who is telling him that Saban to Texas is a done deal. Stevenson points out in a later tweet that his source is very reliable but he does not have sufficient information to even write an article. Stevenson also notes that he is not fishing for page hits, he is simply passing along a bit of information he was given.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

Stevenson is a good dude and a good reporter so no one should for fault him for his tweet. The point is this isn’t new news to anyone. The Saban to Texas rumors have made their way around the internet. Fuel was added to the fire today when a report came out that Mack Brown would be stepping down after the Alamo Bowl. [Read more…]