clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tuesday Morning Brews (8/26/14)

Why does it feel like the week before Christmas?

Streeter Lecka

This week, football will be back in stadiums around the country and there will be an explosion of storylines to discuss as teams find a way to assert themselves in non-conference. As a result, the Morning Brews will be expanding to three times a week - Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. And given the uncertainty surrounding the College Football Playoff's inaugural year, it seemed appropriate that Michigan fans should still get an opportunity to peruse a Top 25 list, something that you'll be able to get very early every Sunday morning.

But first, let's check on how much variability there is from a preseason Top 25 to the season-ending edition, just to know what exactly we're jumping into.

2013 AP Poll
Preseason Week 15
1 Alabama (Would finish: 7) Florida State (Started: 11)
2 Ohio State (12) Auburn (NR)
3 Oregon (9) Michigan State (NR)
4 Stanford (11) South Carolina (6)
5 Georgia (NR) Missouri (NR)
6 South Carolina (4) Oklahoma (16)
7 Texas A&M (18) Alabama (1)
8 Clemson (8) Clemson (8)
9 Louisville (15) Oregon (3)
10 Florida (NR) UCF (NR)
11 Florida State (1) Stanford (4)
12 LSU (14) Ohio State (2)
13 Oklahoma State (17) Baylor (NR)
14 Notre Dame (20) LSU (12)
15 Texas (NR) Louisville (9)
16 Oklahoma (6) UCLA (21)
17 Michigan (NR) Oklahoma State (13)
18 Nebraska (NR) Texas A&M (7)
19 Boise State (NR) USC (24)
20 TCU (NR) Notre Dame (14)
21 UCLA (16) Arizona State (NR)
22 Northwestern (NR) Wisconsin (23)
23 Wisconsin (22) Duke (NR)
24 USC (19) Vanderbilt (NR)
25 Oregon State (NR) Washington (NR)

Hey, at least they nailed Clemson on that one. So, without further ado, here's the Morning Brews Preseason Top 25.

Sunday Morning Brews Poll - Preseason

Eqvk1zm_medium #1. Florida State Seminoles (AP: 1, Coaches: 1)

Reports out of fall camp have been positive regarding the Seminoles' receiver situation. Rashad Greene, Winston's favorite target, returns, as does tight end Nick O'Leary. After that, Jimbo Fisher will turn to a young, unproven group that includes likely starter Christian Green, two five-star true freshmen in Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph, last year's national leader on kickoff return yardage in Kermit Whitfield, and Jesus 'Bobo' Wilson and Jarred 'Scooter' Haggins. As a group, they average 5'11" and 189 pounds, which means that this unit will almost certainly be a downgrade from last year, when Kelvin Benjamin provided Winston a safety blanket with his tight end size and receiver speed.

Another key loss on the offensive side is center Bryan Stork, who was able to dominate on the line so much that guards could get a head start on blocking the linebackers. Most of the offensive line returns, but Auburn proved that getting pressure on Winston is the key to making him uncomfortable. The problem is, the line is still excellent overall, and it's unlikely that any team Florida State faces will be able to exploit any potential weaknesses. If there is, it's Clemson on September 20th. We should know by then if Florida State is going undefeated.

Oz6hshh_medium #2. Alabama Crimson Tide (2, 2)

According to Rivals' points system, the 2014 Alabama class was the best signing class by far in the Rivals era. Almost 40% of their class were either five-stars or high four-stars. Montel McBride, rated the 15th best offensive guard in the country, was just Alabama's sixth-best offensive lineman. Laurence Jones, the fourth-best safety in 2014, was Alabama's third-best DB. There are similar examples at linebacker and athlete.

When asked to describe his team, Nick Saban called them untested. The corners and the offensive line didn't develop last year as they normally have, and despite being one of Saban's better teams, they were reminded of their mortality by losing two, season-ending games to teams that would finish 23-4. Whatever their potential weaknesses, Saban has built up enough talent to ensure that only another great foe can beat them. If they make the CFP, they'll be facing two if they want to win a championship.

Flfm51i_medium #3. UCLA Bruins (7, 7)

This is an underrated Bruins team, especially on defense, where the level of talent is just extraordinary. The defensive line returns four players with experience, three of whom were five-star recruits. The linebackers lose a couple starters, including Anthony Barr, who had 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles. Replacing Barr, and in particular that backfield presence, will be a huge task, but they do return an All-America and an All-Conference as well. The secondary, meanwhile, combined for 9 interceptions and 21 passes broken up; it returns almost completely intact.

This is also a young team that hasn't "burst" onto the national stage yet. Brett Hundley is a star, but last year was actually a down year for him. The cherry on the ice cream, for Bruins fans, is that Oregon, USC, and Stanford all travel to Pasadena.

R0dmwjn_medium #4. Michigan State Spartans (8, 8)

People expect the Spartans' defense to take a step back, but it may be such a small step back as to be negligible. Moreover, this team is deeper now than it was a year ago, with more athletes they can play with on offense - Damion Terry, Montae Nicholson, Aaron Burbridge, Josiah Price.

On the other hand, the Big Ten is improving, and the Spartans face a slate of solid Big Ten teams, travelling to see Indiana, Penn State, and Maryland, and taking on Ohio State, Michigan, and Nebraska at home. Then there's always Oregon, which has reportedly been trying to build some stronger walls for teams just like Michigan State.

In fact, that is probably going to be one of the better battles of that game. Adjusted Line Yards measure how well a line can support or detract from the run game; last year, Michigan State's defensive line ranked 2nd. Oregon's offensive line ranked 4th, led by the All-American center Hroniss Grasu.

Bqlmrac_medium #5. Oklahoma Sooners (4, 3)

One of the more important Sooners this year is also one of its least heralded. Injured after four games, 6'6", 334-pound defensive tackle Jordan Phillips will be back to spearhead Oklahoma's 3-4. "We missed him inside," said Coach Bob Stoops. "The production [without him], it's different."

Phillips will reinforce a defense with playmakers on every level of the defense, and they will support an offense that should be pretty good but is a little young. On top of that, they might have the best offensive line in the conference. The Big 12 looks to be deeper than in previous years, but there's no doubt that it's Oklahoma and Baylor at the top.

Flfm51i_medium #6. Oregon Ducks (3, 4)

People like to predict Oregon will make the title game, but if they do, they'll have to go through Michigan State, UCLA, Stanford, USC, and Washington, who went a combined 53-15 and all seem to be as strong now as they were a year ago. Some are questioning whether the Ducks can sustain their success without Chip Kelly and longtime defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, but there's been continuity: Helfrich served under Kelly and learned from him, and Pellum served under Aliotti. However, the Ducks do have some question marks in who will be catching the ball, after Bralon Addison tore his ACL back in April. No healthy receiver managed 300 yards a year ago.

Bqlmrac_medium #7. Baylor Bears (10, 10)

The Bears were underrated on defense last year, but it's a defense that Art Briles needs to rebuild. Two of the top three linebackers are gone, as are six of the top nine DBs. The Bears have been a little more physical at the line of scrimmage than Oklahoma and Oregon, but that might not be as much of an advantage in 2014.

The offense should, again, be extraordinary. A late-season injury to left tackle Spencer Drango caused the offense to sink into a funk, and though Drango is back, they lose their other elite lineman to the draft and don't have a lot of depth. Baylor was so good in 2013 because it combined the best of Oregon with a better, more physical front; the idea is right, but they might not be able to execute it as well as last year.

Oz6hshh_medium #8. Georgia Bulldogs (12, 12)

The Bulldogs have their share of problems. They aren't as deep as some other elite teams, especially on the line. The cornerbacks need a lot of work, something new defensive coordinator (and DBs coach) Jeremy Pruitt might be able to help with. Special teams was mediocre. But other than the secondary and the offensive line, this team is elite. In fact, they closely mirror Alabama, which has had its own issues on the O-line and in the secondary.

At a number of positions, the Bulldogs look better than the Tide. Todd Gurley might be the best tailback in the country, though the Bulldogs can't match the Tide's depth. The Dawgs' linebacking corps could be the best in the nation, led by Leonard Floyd, Ramik Wilson and Jordan Jenkins. Their receivers are deeper and more explosive than Alabama's. Even fifth-year senior quarterback Hutson Mason stands at least as good a shot of success as Blake Sims or Jacob Coker do at Alabama - in fact, in his final two games after replacing Aaron Murray, he averaged 310 yards. There are reasons for optimism in the secondary. Injuries could decimate this team the way it did a year ago, but as long as they stay healthy, it's not smart to bet against them.

Flfm51i_medium #9. Stanford Cardinal (11, 11)

The questions for the Cardinal going into the off-season revolved around its ability to reload its signature toughness, but Shaw is confident that they can match the level that the program has come to expect. In fact, he said the offensive line "could be as talented as we've ever had," though even if that's true - and it might be, he's got three near-five-stars starting - it might take some time for a revamped line to gel. The secondary is anywhere from solid to great, the receiver group is full of playmakers, and the running backs are probably the best part of the team.

But despite all of Shaw's confidence, it's tough to see where the Cardinal are going to be finding linebackers like the departed Shayne Skov or Trent Murphy. For one, the two combined for 36.5 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks. For another, the two combined for about 500 pounds of athletic run defense. Whoever David Shaw trots out there, this group is going to be younger, less imposing in the run game, and less experienced.

Oz6hshh_medium #10. Auburn Tigers (6, 5)

Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is looking at linebacker Cassanova McKinzy to try and manufacture some pass rush, after Dee Ford got drafted and Carl Lawson tore his ACL in April. And the 6'3", 250-pound linebacker has taken to it well. "There are times where he'll do a spin move that won't be the way Coach is teaching it, but he still finds a way to get up field and get to the quarterback," said lineman Gabe Wright.

If there's a lesson here, it's that this coaching staff will find a way to get things done, regardless of some key losses. Despite losing some important players at almost every position group - whether by departure or by injury - it's hard to expect too much of a fall for Malzahn's squad. Still, it's going to be a handful trying to navigate the SEC West.

Oz6hshh_medium #11. South Carolina Gamecocks (9, 9)

Between Jadeveon Clowney and their starting corners, South Carolina was a nightmare to throw against in 2013. The two starting ends and D-tackle Kelcy Quarles are gone (combined sacks: 15.5; combined TFL: 33.5), and so are the top three corners. Spurrier is underrated at developing talent - he simply doesn't have the blue-chip talent that Auburn, Alabama, and Georgia do - but the pass defense might take a beating compared to last year.

Of course, that isn't to say this team isn't formidable. They're experienced, deep, and big on the line - their two starting D-tackles weigh 634, and their starting line averages 314 pounds. The running game will ensure that the coaches can get the best out of Dylan Thompson, who replaces Connor Shaw under center and has had a problem with consistency. This team should be reliable enough - but it's uncertain where the playmakers are going to come from, on either side.

Flfm51i_medium #12. USC Trojans (15, 15)

The Trojans have recruited defensive backs better than any team in the country, and they will also use MLB Hayes Pullard and All-American defensive end Leonard Williams. This was the 13th-best defense a year ago, and they're older and more experienced this time around.

Paired with that defense will be a Steve Sarkisian-led, up-tempo attack that will woo recruits and give the playmakers some good chances to find daylight. The top two backs put up almost 1,000 yards each between running and catching, and the third averaged 6.8 ypc as a freshman. This isn't Baylor or Auburn on the outside, but they have all the talent they need to move the chains.

Oz6hshh_medium #13. Louisiana State Tigers (13, 13)

The offensive line will be dominant. The running backs are monsters. The defense is talented, but has questions. LSU is still one of the SEC's best, but 10-win seasons are treading water in Baton Rouge, and there may be a lot of that until they solidify the starting quarterback situation. LSU hasn't quite been the same since 2011.

R0dmwjn_medium #14. Ohio State Buckeyes (5, 6)

The Buckeyes are going to have to be a little more blue-collar now, leaning on the run game and their defense and tight ends. But make no mistake that this is still a fancy team that wants to play fast and get on the edges. Buckeye fans were hoping for a 2015 Lamborghini Huracán this year; instead, they'll be stuck in a 1953 Cadillac Eldorado.

Oz6hshh_medium #15. Ole Miss Rebels (18, 19)

This might be a high ranking for the 4th-best team in its own division, considering how hard it might be for them to capture more than a 10-win season. However, if it weren't for the name "Ole Miss," guys like Cody Prewitt, Tony Conner, and Serderius Bryant would be stars. This is a very good defense, and the offense is in good hands with Wallace.

After losing to Texas A&M by 3 last year, to Auburn by 8, and to Missouri by 14, and beating LSU by 3, this team isn't nearly as far away as their 3-5 conference record suggests. "You need a ball to bounce your way, to make a field goal here, to not miss one here," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "You're going to need all of that to go from good to great."

R0dmwjn_medium #16. Michigan Wolverines (NR, NR)

Michigan is one of a number of teams on this list to have question marks at offensive line - though Michigan's issues have been exacerbated by young running backs without great catching abilities and a few other things. The odds are against the issues on the line being fixed, but this looks like an excellent team otherwise. This is the deepest a Michigan squad has been in a decade or more, and some third-stringers on the Wolverines - Maurice Ways, Ondre Pipkins, Jr., Drake Johnson, Patrick Kugler, Dymonte Thomas, Channing Stribling - could be starters on other squads.

Eqvk1zm_medium #17. Clemson Tigers (16, 16)

The Tigers have been a terror along the defensive line, thanks in no small part to a couple of defensive end-sized linebackers who can also drop into coverage if needed. One of those is gone, but Spencer Shuey was part of a system that looks prepared to replace some of his production. The secondary will remain a relative weakness (despite near-five-star freshman Mackensie Alexander), but Clemson has gotten away with applying heavy pressure up front to protect the passing game. To that end, look for five-star senior Will linebacker Tony Steward to step up and wreck havoc.

On offense, the team recently lost starting running back Zac Brooks for the season, and while that's a heavy blow, there is an experienced replacement (senior D.J. Howard, 3.7 ypc) and some young, high-upside blood behind him. The new faces not may be ready to beat Georgia in Week 1, let alone Florida State in Week 3, but this is not the Clemson of old. This team won't sink too far, and the Tigers are firmly in that second level behind FSU in the ACC, with every other team coming up behind.

R0dmwjn_medium #18. Iowa Hawkeyes (NR, NR)

Someone has to win the West. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa (okay, and you too, Northwestern) could withstand the conference fire and come out as a battle-tested, run-stopping machine on the other end. For right now, Iowa looks like the best bet, given Nebraska's losses on defense and Wisconsin's heavy losses all over the place (except for that beautiful running game).

But it's also just due to Iowa's talent. Big Ten programs have been held back over the years by a couple positions that didn't develop as impressively as the others, but Iowa looks solid even past the quarterback, running game, and defensive line. Desmond King and John Lowdermilk are playmakers in the secondary, the linebackers are unproven but look the part (and the coaches like them). The receiver group seems to be deeper and capable. There are wins to be grabbed in the West - and Iowa looks like both the safest and the best bet.

Eqvk1zm_medium #19. Louisville Cardinals (NR, NR)

The Cardinals are under the watchful eye of Bobby Petrino, who led Louisville to a #6 ranking in 2004 and a #5 ranking in 2006, as well as a #5 ranking for an 11-2 Arkansas squad in 2011, in the same division as LSU and Bama. Personal flaws aside, he is a formidable coach. The Cards are also under the watchful eye of Todd Grantham, who led the Georgia Bulldogs defense through a steady improvement from 2010-12 until a derailing '13 season, and also has three years of NFL coordinating experience.

Both men will have some nice pieces to work with. Sophomore Will Gardner, who backed up Teddy Bridgewater a year ago, threw 32-37 for 542 yards and 4 touchdowns in the spring game. DeVante Parker, who leads a deep and talented group of receivers, is one of the best in the country, though he'll be out for 6-8 weeks thanks to a broken bone in his foot. And Dominique Brown, a four-star running back, put up 1,000 combined yards yards and 5.0 ypc.

On defense, it's a bit of a restart after posting the #1 defense in the country in 2013. Six starters are gone, but despite losing some elite talent, there is potentially more elite talent to lean on. This defense doesn't have to be great, but it should be exciting and stout against the pass. That's all they need.

Bqlmrac_medium #20. Texas Longhorns (NR, 24)

The Longhorns are an enigma right now - former blue-chips, who underachieved in college, now under the tutelage of coaches with winning track records, though this has caused some tension between some players and the coaches. Joe Wickline, the team's new OC, is one of the game's most respected offensive line coaches, and he will be an important part of turning Texas into a force in the trenches. Depth will be an issue, though, despite the talent on hand.

Still, Charlie Strong built a better defense at Louisville without the upper-echelon talent that is on Texas' roster, and that alone is cause for optimism. Combine that with the running backs at his disposal and a good coaching staff, and this team could surprise a lot of the Big 12. There's also the fact that a bit of a void exists behind Baylor and Oklahoma; some combination of Kansas State, Texas, Texas Tech, and TCU will be sure to fill it. Early money is on Texas.

Flfm51i_medium #21. Washington Huskies (25, 25)

Chris Petersen will need some new stars to step up if he wants to compete in the Pac-12 North. The question, then, is how quickly the team's young talent can develop. Budda Baker, a near-five-star freshman safety, is challenging for a starting spot; the two likely starters are both sophomores. Star Marcus Peters will start opposite another blue-chip freshman, while four different blue-chips are fighting to be the QB. In fact, other than the line, which has depth and experience on both sides, this is a team of mostly unproven entities. A likely breakout candidate is running back Dwayne Johnson, who managed 7.1 yards a carry as a freshman.

Oz6hshh_medium #22. Missouri Tigers (24, NR)

The Tigers are sitting comfortably behind the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks, and while they lose a lot, the SEC East is a more comfortable haven for a team recovering from key losses on a 12-win team. Vanderbilt is retooling, Kentucky is only just starting to recruit some very nice pieces, and Tennessee will hand the ball to a senior quarterback who got 1,239 yards in 8 games. If Missouri can stay one step ahead of Florida in the East (and slip by Arkansas and A&M in their cross-division games), Missouri will be in good shape. After all, they have a good quarterback in Maty Mauk, plenty of running options and some trustworthy lines on both sides.

Bqlmrac_medium #23. TCU Horned Frogs (NR, NR)

TCU is one of two teams ranked here with a Texas Tech transfer at QB (the other is Virginia Tech). TCU and VT are ranked, but Tech is not, thanks to some very good defenses. TCU's managed a top-25 defense a year ago without much help from the now-departed Devonte Fields, and they will also have plenty of options to replace 1st-round pick Jason Verrett. The offense is undergoing a face lift, and they have the perfect QB to implement an up-tempo, passing-heavy attack. It doesn't hurt that a poor offensive line was better handling the pass.

Oz6hshh_medium #24. Texas A&M Aggies (21, 20)

On offense, the Aggies will be a tough out. But they also have to face four top-12 teams and seven top-26 teams, which makes 9 or 10 wins the likely ceiling. The Aggies are treading water on defense until 2015, when five more blue-chips will have arrived on campus, the seven blue-chip true freshmen they have will have spent a year on campus, and another five second-year blue-chips will have spent a second year on campus. Of those 17 players, 9 are on the line, which means A&M is setting itself up well for future dominance. Until then, SEC offenses are going to pick on them, to the tune of 111th in the country a year ago.

Eqvk1zm_medium #25. Virginia Tech Hokies (NR, NR)

This team is getting overlooked, but they return a lot of pieces from a team that finished in the top 10 in both run and pass defense. The star of the team is cornerback Kendall Fuller, who as a freshman was 2nd Team All-ACC (considering the ACC's talent at corner, this is saying something). The Hokies went 8-5 purely on the strength on that defense, and plenty of pieces return.

That said, they were pretty wretched on offense. The line could not control much of anything, and Logan Thomas took 30 sacks and threw 13 interceptions, against 6.2 yards per attempt. Michael Brewer takes over for him, and there's optimism that he'll be a star. A transfer from Texas Tech, Brewer won the job in 2013 but missed time with a back injury, then saw Davis Webb run away with the starting job. He'll be throwing to three receivers with better catch rates than Logan Thomas's completion percentage, and at least 600 yards each.

Again, there are wins to be had in the ACC. Miami loses Stephen Morris and a good chunk of its linemen, but it's definitely in the mix. Louisville, Duke, and even North Carolina are all possibilities. Virginia Tech misses some of the ACC's best, though - their toughest conference tests are Miami, Duke, North Carolina, and Pitt.

Important Games

Texas A&M vs. South Carolina (Thursday, August 28th), 6:00 pm

Texas A&M will be eager to find out just how much Spurrier's pass defense has regressed in 2014. Spurrier will be eager to meet reporters after a win, and passingly observe that Texas A&M players were hoping to get some signature wins once they entered the SEC.

Penn State vs. UCF (at Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland), 8:30 am

Lee Corso predicted a UCF win here, adding that "their defense is as good as any that Penn State will see all year. And they've got good athletes." The last time UCF played, they were delivering a 10-point loss to Baylor.

Clemson vs. Georgia, 5:30 pm

Yes, Georgia is the favorite. But their weaknesses also match up with Clemson's strengths - Georgia's offensive line and secondary will both be tested heavily by Dabo Swinney.

Florida State vs. Oklahoma State (at Cowboys Stadium, TX), 8:00 pm

The Cowboys Classic has not had a game go down to the wire since the inaugural matchup in 2009 between BYU and Oklahoma. Unfortunately, this one probably won't, either.

Wisconsin vs. LSU (at Reliant Stadium, TX), 9:00 pm

If Wisconsin wins this game, the Badgers will make most of the Midwest very happy. Also, Les Miles is 41-2 at LSU against non-conference foes. No pressure, guys.

Miami vs. Louisville (Monday, September 1st), 8:00 pm

We won't have to wait long to find out who in the ACC is ready to challenge Clemson and FSU. Keep an eye on linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (12.0 TFL, 9.5 sacks) to pressure the freshman Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya.

Hitting the Links Has Lots of Questions

Some Ohio State Starting Roles Undecided

In other Buckeye news, Braxton Miller was named a team captain, which means he will travel with the team and count on the 70-member roster. He will be a good mentor for J.T. Barrett and/or Cardale Jones.

Ifeadi Odenigbo Is Having Fun

One of the other underrated talents in the league, Odenigbo is one of the most important players on Northwestern's defense. Inside NU has been terrific for getting to know Northwestern better, and this is another example.

For Willie Henry, Trust Came Before Success

Having older players and continuity is really valuable for reasons like this - Frank Clark working with Willie Henry.

Terry Richardson Talks Attitude Change

This is very encouraging, obviously.

Fox Sports Previews: ACCBig Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

This was great stuff, very easy to digest, and very interesting. Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman both give their predictions of how the divisions shake out with plenty of other nuggets.

BSD 2014 Predictions

Many of the Penn State writers seem to be looking at themselves as behind Michigan in the East.

CN 2014 Predictions

Nebraska's writers discuss the Streak, and whether that loss column will actually go up, or down.

Daje Johnson Punt Return

Daje started out as a TCU commit at cornerback, until an amazing senior year in which he scored 45 touchdowns drew an offer from Mack Brown. He has had a number of problems with coaches and academics during his time at UT, and when Charlie Strong was asked this week if the junior was figuring things out, he said, "That's his decision." No one knows what's gone on behind closed doors, but this has definitely been a little rocky.

"You never walk into a situation where you're looking for issues and you're trying get rid of guys... It's more about developing players. But when you set rules and say this is the way things are going to be done and then guys continuously challenge you on those policies, then something has to be done. If you talk enough and you do nothing about it, then other players are going to eventually say, 'Hey, why is he even standing there saying it? He's not going to do anything about it.'"

Bringing Efficiency to UT

I know I've inundated you with a lot of Texas links over the off-season, but this was another interesting one that ties into the increasing theme of efficiency and business practices being used in college athletics.

AtQ Talks Winning The Line of Scrimmage

Now, if they start recruiting some more stars on defense, then you have a championship team.

SI's Ten Freshmen to Watch

Jabrill Peppers, of course, is mentioned, as are two Virginia freshmen and Clemson's backup QB.

Pruitt & Swann

Sal Sunseri, who is now the Florida State defensive ends coach but worked at Alabama from 2009-11 and on the Carolina Panthers from 2002-08, said this about Georgia's DC Jeremy Pruitt: "as good as anybody I've been with [coaching from] the press box in the National Football League and in college ball." This details the strengths and weakness of Damian Swann's game, and how Pruitt might be able to turn him into a top corner for the Bulldogs.

LSU Offensive Line Shows NFL Versatility

Les Miles came up as an offensive line coach, and he's showing it at LSU.

Washington QB Battle Still a Guessing Game

In some other QB battle news, Blake Sims and Jacob Coker are still fighting for Alabama's starting job - both were named "co-starters" yesterday but it's hard to believe that lasts. Sims has impressed the staff with his knowledge and comfort in the system, but Coker is said to have a pro-ready arm. Elsewhere, reports came out last week that Tanner McEvoy has won the starting job in Wisconsin, which might imply that they are more confident in the option than what Stave can do deep. Miami settled on an untested freshman, while Vanderbilt will lean on last year's backup, Patton Robinette.

SI's Heisman Questions

There are some good questions in here, like whether tendency of quarterbacks winning is becoming permanent or whether Winston stands a realistic chance to repeat.

Assume the Position: Cornerback

Desmond King has been a star for them, but Iowa fans are still confused about the recent development of Greg Mabin being named co-starter.

ESPN Looks at Michigan, I

A fun fact I haven't been able to fit in anywhere - Michigan's 42 league titles are tied for third most all-time by any college team. It's behind only Nebraska and Oklahoma of the Big Eight and then the Big 12.

ESPN Looks at Michigan, II

Message loud and clear. We're working on it.

QBs Could Be The Big Ten's Missing Piece

To tweak this point slightly, the Big Ten needs to see some better passing games. That goes from quarterbacks to speedy and tough receivers, which filters down into having good corners to be able to win games.

Javorius 'Buck' Allen TD

Allen goes into the middle of the defense, and is not touched. This is almost more of a lowlight than a highlight.

Aaron Murray Runs For 57 Yards

Just amazing. He's even making defenders miss.

Zac Brooks Touchdown

Considering this is a running back catching that pass, this is another amazing highlight.