College Football Storylines

Fun Fact of the Day:  Alabama’s football team has been ranked #1 in the AP preseason poll.  But don’t put all your money on Alabama quite yet. None of their 4 national titles under Coach Nick Saban has come during a year they were ranked #1 in the preseason.


Today's Rundown

NFL 

In the clear.  After reluctantly submitting to NFL interviews, linebackers James Harrison (Pittsburgh Steelers), Clay Matthews (Green Bay Packers) and Julius Peppers (Packers) have been cleared by the NFL of PED use. They were implicated by a sketchy former “health” clinic employee who was aptly named Charlie Sly and later recanted. Retired QB Peyton Manning and MLB players Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman were also implicated by the documentary and cleared several weeks ago.

 

MLB

Baseball Updates.  If you’re jonesing for an update on the MLB season, we’re going to give you the rundown in tomorrow’s newsletter, so try to hold on!  In the meantime, here’s a little news fix to hold you over. 


Spotlight on College Football Storylines

College football gets into full swing this week! Don’t have any idea what’s going on? Don’t worry, we’re spotlighting the top storylines that everyone will be talking about this season:

Roll Tide and keep on rolling.  Alabama won the National Championship last year and everyone thinks they’re a shoe-in to repeat. They picked up this year’s #1-ranked recruiting class (their 6th straight year) and they’ve already locked up the #1 spot in all the preseason rankings. With famed coach Nick Saban at the helm, how can they lose?

Elementary, my dear Watson.  Last year, Clemson’s QB Deshaun Watson came in 3rd in the Heisman voting. But that vote took place a whole month before the end of the season, i.e., before Watson put up a ridiculously good-looking 478-yard performance against the Alabama defense in the National Championship game. If he can put together another big 5,000+ yard performance like last year’s (4,104 passing and 1,105 rushing), the Heisman will be definitely be his.

Newbies with big shoes to fill.  Ohio State has the least experienced team of all 128 teams in Division I football. Only 6 of their starters have returned to the team, because so many of their players graduated or left for the NFL. But don’t throw them a pity party yet. Ohio State is still the favorite to win the Big Ten, thanks to their returning star QB J.T. Barrett and the #4-ranked recruiting class that Coach Urban Meyer pulled together. 

Maize, Blue, and Khaki. Last season, rookie coach Jim Harbaugh led Michigan to an impressive 10-3 season, doubling the wins from the previous year under coach Brady Hoke. Now, they are one of the most hyped teams in the country, because of Harbaugh’s crazy recruiting antics, including climbing trees, sleepovers at recruits’ houses, and starring in a rap music video. So far his super aggressive tactics have worked: Michigan has the nation’s #5 ranked recruiting class, up from #40 last year. Harbaugh is also using his big profile to bring all sorts of star power to visit the Big House this season, including planned visits from Michael Jordan and former Michigan QB Tom Brady. Now, the team has to show they aren’t just a flash in the pan, but can actually win on the field, too.

The Big 12 might actually be 12 again. Despite the deceiving name, the Big 12 conference has been made up of 10 teams since 2011. But all summer long, they have been teasing us with expansion talk. Why?  More ca$h money. Back in 2011, ESPN and FOX agreed to pay a lot of money for the TV rights to the Big 12’s games. They also agreed to pay $25M/year more for any additional school’s games. They are probably deeply regretting that decision, because the additional schools that are being considered aren’t worth the extra cash.


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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

The kick-off!  Your college football withdrawal is finally coming to a close. The season gets started in earnest tonight. None of tonight’s games are that exciting, because the best games are scheduled for this weekend, but you can tune in to see Appalachian State v. Tennessee. 7:30pm ET SEC Network