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Tweet of the Day
Clemson Wins the National Championship
What a game! When was the last time an Alabama team was manhandled like this? Or a Nick Saban coached team? For the second time, in three years, Clemson Tigers are college football’s National Champions.
Here are 8 key things to know about the outcome of this game:
- Last time Nick Saban lost by more than 14 points was Dec 17, 2006 when his Dolphins lost to the Bills 21-0. Bills QB JP Losman threw 3 TD passes.
- In the 5 year history of the College Football Playoff, NO #1 seed has won the Championship. #2 has 3 titles and #4 has 2.
- Trevor Lawrence is the 4th true freshman to ever beat a Nick Saban-coached team (Herb Tyler, Chris Leak, Wesley Carroll)
- This was the final game for Alabama Offensive Coordinator, Mike Locksley, who now moves on to assume his role as Maryland head coach. Locksley went 3-31 previously at New Mexico.
- First time in Nick Saban’s Alabama career, that the defense has allowed more than 300 yards passing in 3 consecutive games
- Dabo Swinney is now the 15th coach with multiple victories over Nick Saban
- Clemson is 2-0 vs Alabama in Championship games, wearing their white jerseys
- Drake remains win-less in championship games
Through 12 regular season games, Tua Tagovailoa threw 2 interceptions. He threw 2 vs Georgia in the SEC Championship and another 2 vs Clemson on Monday; Biletnikoff award winner (best WR) Jerry Jeudy caught 5 passes for 139 yards and a TD.
Clemson RB Travis Etienne totaled 3 touchdowns (2 rush, 1 pass) and 19 year old freshman QB Trevor Lawrence was phenomenal, with over 350 yards passing 3 touchdowns and no turnovers. Freshman WR Justyn Ross had 6 catches for 153 yards and Tee Higgins had 81 yards on 3 catches and both had a TD catch.
2020 National Championship Game Preview
I cannot wait to see Alabama face Clemson again on January 13, 2020 in the National Championship. The Superdome in New Orleans is going to rocking. No, seriously. Alabama returns QB Tua Tagovailoa, RBs Josh Jacobs and Najee Harris, and WRs Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, while Clemson returns QB Trevor Lawrence, RB Travis Etienne, WRs Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross and Amari Rodgers (and probably WE Hunter Renfrow). That doesn’t include the impactfuld defensive pieces or that the coaching staffs remain mostly intact (at least where it matters on top). Get ready for Part 5 next year.
College Football 2019 Preview: Way-too-early Top 25
- Clemson– Duh.
- Alabama– Obviously.
- Georgia – Lots of losses, but QB Jake Fromm, RB D’Andre Swift and plenty of key defensive players return.
- Oklahoma – Will Austin Kendall or Spencer Rattler become the Sooners third straight Heisman Trophy winner? New DC Alex Grinch should make a big difference.
- Ohio State – Would move up list if Justin Fields is declared eligible for 2019.
- LSU – Joe Burrow was impressive in bowl game as were young defenders, who will play much bigger role.
- Texas – As QB Sam Ehlinger stated after the Sugar Bowl – Texas is BACK!
- Oregon – Pac-12 is weak and QB Justin Herbert surprisingly returns as do many players on both sides of the ball. Incoming, is a top 5 recruiting class that includes Kayvon Thibodeaux, who should have an immediate impact.
- Florida – Feleipe Franks returns as do many of his key offensive weapons and defensive guys, like LB David Reese. Also, Dan Mullen can coach.
- Washington – Despite three straight NY6 losses, Georgia transfer QB Jacob Eason will be an upgrade over Jake Browning and keep them near the top of the conference.
- Texas A&M – Kellen Mond looked more comfortable as the year went on with A&M has a lot of young talent.
- Notre Dame – Cotton Bowl was tough on the perception of the Irish, but QB Ian Book’s return will keep ND competitive and in the mix for 10-11 wins again.
- Michigan – It’s hard to have confidence in Michigan, despite the return of QB Shea Patterson. Lots of new (less impactful?) faces on defense.
- UCF – Knights returns many key starters but the biggest question will be the health of QB McKenzie Milton. If he recovers from a bad leg injury quickly, move them up. If not, Darriel Mack proved to be viable in two starts in 2018.
- Utah – Utes should be favorites to repeat in the Pac-12 South, especially with the huge news that RB Zack Moss will return in 2019, to go with QB Tyler Huntley.
- Penn State – Need to replace starting QB and RB, but returns many key pieces on defense and should remain competitive in the Big Ten East.
- Missouri – Kelly Bryant may not have been good enough to start at Clemson, but he will elevate Missouri offense.
- Iowa – A.J. Epenesa will have a chance to be one of the top defensive players in the Big Ten. QB Nate Stanley returns for his third year as a starter.
- Army – Coming off an 11-2 season in 2018, they return their QB and key offensive pieces to their option offense. The defense allowed just 18 ppg.
- Washington State – So what if they need to replace QB Gardner Minshew? Mike Leach proved in 2018 he can coach and he can coach QBs.
- Mississippi State – Bulldogs #1 ranked defense allowed the fewest points in the country – 144 points total, 12 ppg.
- Syracuse – Orange won 10 games and coach Dino Babers has finally established the offense and culture he wants. New QB Tommy DeVito may even be an upgrade over Eric Dungey.
- Cincinnati – Won 11 games with third youngest roster in FBS; key returning players in many positions including QB Desmond Ridder and RB Michael Warren.
- Northwestern – Former 5 star QB and Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson takes over at QB, a big upgrade over Clayton Thorson.
- Virginia – Coming off back-to-back bowl seasons, young Cavaliers roster won 8 games last year and could be a trendy pick to win the ACC Coastal.
Just missed the cut:
- Kentucky – Wildcats may play their way into the top 25 at some point, but the losses of RB Benny Snell and LB Josh Allen are too significant to consider this team as one of the 25 best at this early stage
- Auburn – If Guz Malzahn couldn’t succeed with QB Jarrett Stidham, how are the Tigers going to succeed in 2019?
- Iowa State – QB Brock Purdy is very good the losses of RB David Montgomer and WR Hakeem Butler will hurt the offense
- Wisconsin – Doak Walker winning RB Jonathan Taylor returns, but I have no confidence in whoever plays QB between Alex Hornibrook and Jack Coan)
- USC – I like QB JT Daniels and originally had them in this list, but the likelihood that new Offensive Coordinator Kliff Kingsbury resigns, is why they are excluded. His presence was the major factor for me.
- Nebraska – They went 4-8 in 2018. I know they ended last season strong, but it’s impossible to include a 4 win team among the top 25 teams until they prove they can win games consistently
Packers Make the First Move
There were 8 head coaching vacancies this NFL off-season and we are now down to 7, as the Packers make the first move. Reports circulated Monday that Green Bay would hire Titans Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur. LaFleur spent one year in Tennessee, coordinating the Titans 25th ranked offense, after spending one year as the OC/QB coach with the Rams under Sean McVay. No doubt his association with McVay in 2017 helped him land this job.
LaFleur is just 39 years old, only 4 years older than his QB Aaron Rodgers. The mix between them will be an interesting one. Rodgers grew tired of Mike McCarthy’s stale offense and reportedly ignored play calls and constantly audibled out. What happens the first time Rodgers disobeys a LaFleur play call? Will the young coach immediately gain the respect of his old QB? We’ll see if this works out but I’m oddly pessimistic that this is the right move.
Interesting note on LaFleur – he was Mike Vrabel’s second choice as Titans OC. Vrabel pursued Ryan Day from Ohio State, who of course, is now the Buckeyes head coach. And now LaFleur is Aaron Rodgers’ head coach.
How the rest of the coaching carousel might spin
Here’s my best guess at the other 7 opening at this point
- Jets – Matt Rhule or Kliff Kingsbury – hard to see Jets going coordinator and Mike McCarthy doesn’t seem overly enthusiastic about the job
- Cardinals – Kliff Kingsbury or Dan Campbell – Saints TE coach deserves a HC Job and Arizona is one of the two teams (for now) Kingsbury is talking to
- Browns – Adam Gase – Could be option in Arizona too, thought Green Bay might be his spot, but I can’t stop thinking about his connecting to Peyton Manning, who is connected to owner John Dorsey.
- Dolphins – Brian Flores – There doesn’t seem to be a ton of interest in this job, especially from bigger named candidates. Flores allows Dolphins to raid Patriots at least
- Broncos – Mike Munchak – He would not be my first choice. He wouldn’t be on of my top 10 choices actually. He was 22-26 in his previous opportunity with Titans and would be extremely uninspiring
- Bengals – Eric Bieniemy – Home run hire, simply because his first name isn’t Hue. Bieniemy is the Chiefs OC, the same job Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy previously held
- Bucs – Bruce Arians – There seems to be momentum out there for the former Cardinals coach to land this job, if he wants it.
NFL #1 Draft Picks in Playoffs
Active NFL QBs that were drafted #1 overall are 17-20 in the playoffs, with Eli Manning providing almost half of those wins on his own (8) and the only two Super Bowl victories. Cam Newton is the only other player to appear in a Super Bowl (lost). Jared Goff (0-1) and Matthew Stafford (0-3) are the only QBs who are winless. Outside of Eli, only Andrew Luck (4-3) has a winning record (which could change this weekend).
Stat of the Day
Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins officially declared for the NFL draft. Haskins is most likely going to be the first QB off the board, which would make him the first Big Ten QB to be drafted in the first round since 1995 (Kerry Collins).
Highlight of the Day
And the Worst Play of the Day
If you are going to run a fake kick on 4th down, and you especially are going to put the minimal amount of effort into executing it, why not just keep your best 11 players on the field and keep the ball in the hands of your star QB, as opposed to using the kicker as a lead blocker.
The Bachelor Who Played Football
ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer was the most well-known athlete to ever appear on ABC’s famous dating show, The Bachelor. This season’s contestant isn’t nearly as famous, but did have a successful Division 1 college career.
The Bachelor premiered last night, with former Illinois State football player Colton Underwood as the star. From 2010-2013, Colton played 45 games and had 215 tackles, 21.5 sacks and 44 tackles for a loss. He was a two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the most outstanding defensive player in D1 FCS. The 2012 Illinois State made the FCS Playoffs Quarterfinals, losing to Eastern Washington. After graduating in 2013, Colton went undrafted and never played a game in the NFL. Between 2014-2016 he spent time in training camp and on the practice squads of Chargers, Eagles, and Raiders.
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