• You Got Three, You Got None: Updates abound this morning on quarterback races:
N.C. State: Returning starter Daniel Evans and Nebraska transfer Harrison Beck are frontrunners, but will continue to rotate with redshirt freshman Justin Burke at the Pack's next scrimmage Friday. Given Evans' titanic struggles last year - nine interceptions to one touchdown in a six-game, month-and-a-half losing streak to close the season - it's bad news that ex-blue chip Beck isn't running away with the job.
In the same article, North Carolina could draw the same conclusion about the inability of any challenger to unseat Cam Sexton, who was so bad as a redshirt freshman he was eventually shelved in favor of Joe Dailey. But UNC has no acclaimed transfer or emerging recruit in the wings, so Butch Davis is running redshirt freshman T.J. Yates along with Sexton on the first team and paying lip service to three others "vying for playing time," coachspeak for "I can't bring myself to settle for Cam Sexton."
Oh my god: What if he really was the best we could do?
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Baylor: You would think somebody would "take it and run by now," if you were Baylor offensive coordinator Lee Hays and seeking to cut a four-man competition to two, but you would also be forgetting that, well, you're assessing a group of quarterbacks who wound up at Baylor. Transfer Michael Machen came out of the spring in the top spot and would seem to be prefered because he's old (26), has the best size (6-6, 230) and brings the most starting experience, besides having actually chosen to come to Baylor with other options at his disposal, namely forging through a minor league baseball career or a less-muddled competition at Kent State.
But no, "dark horse" Blake Szymanski, punching bag of the Bears' November collapse, has apparently moved past Machen since the start of practice last week, until suffering a high ankle sprain that keeps the door open for token "athlete" and student body/cult favorite John David Weed and redshirt freshman Tyler Beatty, described by Guy Morriss as "just a puppy." A potentially first-string puppy.
UConn: At last, a decision: six-foot-five junior college transfer Tyler Lorenzen, as expected, was named the starter over Dennis Brown, about three days after Randy Edsall said "there's no hurry" in the process. Lorenzen is "a football junkie," according to his coach, which sounds destructive in the long term but is exactly the kind of undeterrable, addictive personality the Huskies need after two years of rotating lackluster Matt Bonislawski and D.J. Hernandez. The latter was so obviously out of the running with Lorenzen coming aboard in the spring, he pulled a Dailey by hightailing it to receiver.
• Bear Bryant did it at Texas A&M. Only with starting spots on the line. And with real rifles: Capitalizing on some of his colleagues' recent fun time happy hour excursions with their teams - and completely ignoring the lingering urgency of his own team's 2-10 disaster - Dan Hawkins put Colorado's issues at quarterback and just about every other position on hold and went unorthodox with Tuesday's drills:
Replacing the practice was a trip to a paintball center.
"They've worked really hard, they really have," Hawkins said. "That doesn't mean you back off of them. (But) you've got to be smart and temper it a little bit.
"It's a long season. We want to make sure they're fresh when the first game starts (Sept. 1 against Colorado State at Invesco Field at Mile High)."
This is simultaneously shocking (coaches are notorious workaholics and have consistently fretted for decades about restrictions on practice time and the increased limits on two-a-days) and not really all that strange (it's Dan Hawkins). In the long run, maybe Allen Iverson's attitude toward practice is going to take hold, after all, and that's a kind of social progress, I think. It's a disaster for winning games, but look at the big picture, man.
Wait: I thought we were talking about DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL, BROTHER! Whatever happened to that?
That's how EA Sports' NCAA Football 2008 projected the Oklahoma State football season in a simulation by The Oklahoman.
I'll be revising my picks in light of such insightful reportage.
Andre Callender and L.V. Whitworth have 4,000 career yards, and B.C. practices are like freshman year all over again ... A torn PCL could force a redshirt on
Clemson South Carolina freshman Joesph Hills (thanks to Brook for the correction) ... Thaddeus Lewis is more confident as a sophomore. You know, for Duke ... Rick Trickett: Vietnam vet, unorthodox taskmaster ... Quiet Greg Smith is Georgia Tech's number one receiver right now, and a ringer for the very un-quiet Stephen A. ... And Kylan Robinson's mom wants you to know he doesn't live in an igloo. Well, not in Miami.
Wait, who are you, and what have you done with our real coach?
Louisville has the luxury of Hunter Cantwell, America's best backup ... A whopping - whopping, I say ! - nine offensive linemen are banged up at South Florida ... And what's up with a calm Greg Robinson? Who is that guy?
• Big 12
Joseph Duarte mentions Texas has the best jerseys in the country, according to an online poll, and the chants begin: "12-7! ... 12-7!" When is it time to let go of a single win? (Let go? Does...not...com-pute..) ... Biggest win for Colorado: Nebraska, or, uh, Colorado State? ... Kansas freshman Chris Harris has gone from receiver to starting cornerback in a hurry ... For the first time in his life, there will be fewer than 15,000 Nebraska fans at Faurot Field, if message board warrior Joe DeSimone has anything to say about it (shockingly, he does) ... Lendy Holmes just goes where they need him ... Jeremy Nethon, one of a littany of instant Mike Gundy castoffs, is back at Oklahoma State ... And the Big Ten wants to grow to, er, twelve, but Texas? Don't be ridiculous.
A map? What are you, Bohls, some kinda intellectual?
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Martez Wilson looks like he could outrun a Corvette. Wow ... Gridlock over the Big Ten Network could cost Indiana and Purdue fans 18 games over the season ... Michigan's Carlos Brown goes down with a broken hand ... Michigan State's Eric Gordon hits like a grandfather. That's not all bad ... Minnesota is impressed with freshman running back Duane Bennett ... Towering Indiana receiver James Hardy will miss a couple weeks with a broken finger ... And Jim Tressel is just hilarious with reporters. He should do improv!
• Pac Ten
Kris Havner solidifies the backup quarterback position at Arizona ... Fifth-year Stanford senior Emeka Nnoli's career is ended by the same hip disease that sidelined Bo Jackson ... Joe McKnight is who USC though he was ... And what is the deal with turnovers? I mean, really. No, really, Kent Baer would like to know, cuz Washington's defense could use a lot more of them.
Greg McElroy idolized Major Applewhite. Now he gets to toil in obscurity under his hero's tutelage ... Injuries are slowing everything at Arkansas ... Last year the ankle, now an achilles. Is Percy Harvin becoming an injury risk? ... And Andre Woodson is an all-American, but, you know, it's ESPN
• Mid-majors, etc.
New Mexico State is making a rather, uh, interesting fashion statement in its home opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff ... Massive Houston lineman Jerrell Butler remains in the ICU after collapsing Monday, but "his heart looks okay" ... Four-star JUCO cornerback Ryan Mouton has been cleared by the NCAA to begin practice with Hawaii ... With the top of the depth chart in flux, it's Plan C at center for Nevada in its opener with Nebraska ... And Pat Hill relishes global warming at Fresno State practices. Players do not exactly agree.