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National championship: Projections favor Alabama, Clemson over Georgia, Ohio State and UCF


The College Football Playoff is getting , and it’s the third time in the playoff era that these twh former manager Jose Mourinho.Mata was sold by Mourinho when the pair were at Chelsea, only for them to be reunited at Old Trafford two years later.In the latest extract from his new book, Suddenly a Footballer, Mata recalls his reunion with Mourinho teams will be meeting in the national championship. With No. 1 besting No. 4 and No. 2 handling No. 3  in the semifinals, these two programs are head and shoulders above everyone else right now. 

But what would it look like if this season’s national championship, played on Monday, Jan. 7, was different? What if , or — the three teams that at least had an argument to make the final four — wound up in the title game against either the Crimson Tide or Tigers? 

According to our simulations from SportsLine data analyst Stephen Oh, the upcoming national championship would still go chalk if it involved either Alabama or Clemson. Below is a table for all six possible matchups with accompanying win percentages and average scores. One thing to keep in mind is that you have to suspend a little disbelief here because we’re going straight to the title game; we’re not recreating the entire playoff field. These are numbers in a vacuum and should treated as such. 

MatchupWin percentageAvg. slham have signed Cardiff City striker Bobby Decordova-Reid on a season-long loan.Reid last played in the Championship in 2017/18 when he netted 19 league goals and was named in the PFA Team of the Year.The former Bristol City man last played in the Ccore







MatchupWin percentageAvg. core




Ohio State



MatchupWin percentageAvg. score







MatchupWin percentageAvg.Tottenham star Christian Eriksen is in doubt for Saturday’s clash with Watford.The Dane will be assessed prior to kick-off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.Eriksen picked up a dead leg on international duty.Spurs are looking for just a second victory in seven matches in all competitions. score







MatchupWin percentageAvg. score




Ohio State



MatchupWin percentageAvg. score







As you can see, Alabama would still be sizable favorites against the three different opponents. Then again, Alabama would be a double-digit favorite against most teams in (for the record, Las Vegas books have the Tide as a 6.5-point favorite against the Tigers). Either way, Alabama would be projected to win at least 81 percent of the time in all three matchups with average scores ranging from 13 points against Georgia — the Tide needed a thrilling comeback to beat the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game 35-28 — to 20 points against UCF. 

Conversely, the Clemson projections run a little closer, which is to be expected. A Clemson-Georgia matchup would be the closest of all with an average point differential of only a field goal. However, a matchup with Ohio State or UCF still projects to end in single digits with the Tigers never winning more than 67 percent of the time. 

These are simulations, though, and Clemson just easily covered against Notre Dame, while Oklahoma kicked down the back door in its semifinal against Alabama. It would certainly be fun to get some different matchups in the championship game down the road, and if college football eventually expands to an eight-team playoff, maybe that’ll happen. 

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Georgia vs. Kentucky odds, line: 2018 college football picks, predictions from proven model that called Texas’ upset


An SEC East title is up for grabs Saturday as the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs visit the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats in a marquee showdown on CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs are looking to overcome another challenge in their quest to make a return visit to the SEC title game, and perhaps a second consecutive trip to the four-team playoffs. But standing in their way is a Kentucky club that could play spoiler and build on what has been a breakout season. The Bulldogs are 9.5-point favorites in the latest Georgia vs. Kentucky odds, down from openers as high as -10.5 in some markets. The Over-Under for total points scored is offered at 47.5, up significantly after opening at 44 points. Before you lock in your Georgia vs. Kentucky picks, check out the results from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS game 10,000 times, and those who have followed it have seen massive returns. Over the past three years, this proprietary computer model has generated a jaw-dropping $4,210 profit for $100 bettors on its top-rated point-spread picks. 

The model made some huge calls in Week 9, including nailing outrightid de Gea this summer.Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will also survey homegrown talent Dean Henderson, who is set to rejoin newly-promoted Sheffield United for another year as he gains Premier League experience, says the Daily Mail. French champions PS upset of No. 6 . It also was all over Georgia (-6.5) covering against Florida, and recommended (+12) against , as well as Kentucky (+7) against Missouri. Anyone who has followed it is way up. 

Now the model has crunched the numbers for Georgia vs. Kentucky. We can tell you it’s leaning Under, and it also has a strong pick against the spread, saying one side hits almost 55 percent of the time. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was considered on the hot seat after failing to produce a winning record in each of his first three seasons. The heat cooled down after he led the Wildcats to seven wins and bowl berths in each of the past two seasons. The Wildcats have already matched that win total by notching two SEC victories as a double-digit underdog against Florida and Mississippi State.

The Wildcats have transformed from a passing-based attack to one that features a power run game, and the results have been impressive. Junior Benny Snell leads the SEC with 935 yards and nine touchdowns. But perhaps Kentucky’s biggest strides have been made on the defensiveadrid has cooled.The Brazilian youngster was expected to join Atletico in January, ahead of rival interest from Arsenal and Chelsea.However, Guimaraes’ latest comments will offer encouragement to both London giants.”My representatives have told me th side, as it ranks second in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 13 points per contest. 

Just because Kentucky has made huge strides this season, doesn’t mean it is ready to stay within the spread against Georgia in a matchup with so much on the line. 

The Bulldogs had a letdown against two weeks ago and paid for it with a blowout loss. But last week, they gave perhaps their most impressive performance of the season in taking down the improved Gators. threw for 240 e for the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) presidency.El Larguero says Casillas has already communicated his decision to the National Sports Council.He will be Luis Rubiales’ rival in the next presidential elections.In a poll conducted by MARCA, 94yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in an efficient outing. Georgia managed 189 rushing yards against a stout Florida defense, led by 104 and a touchdown.

The reigning East champions also have far more experience in critical matchups such as these. They’ll look to use that experience to pull off a convincing win that will not only clinch a spot in Atlanta, but also boost their College Football Playoff hopes. 

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College Football Power Rankings: Alabama keeps rolling along as five new teams enter the fray


Suddenly, we’re one-third of the way through the 2018 college football season. What do we know for sure already? Plenty, we think. Let’s take a quick look.

Alabama is so dominant that Nick Saban is pleading with the press not to compliment his team so much: “I would sort of appreciate it if you would … sort of look atRonaldinho and Deco during his time at the club.He played just 36 games during his four-year spell with the club, though was part of Pep Guardiola’s squad during the 2008/09 campaign before going on loan to Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg.Ho some of the things we didn’t do well,” he said after a 22-point win over Texas A&M.

Kentucky is worth watching. The Wildcats make their Power Rankings debut after a 28-7 win over Mississippi State. Give me Benny Snell Jr.’s ability and personality anytime. It is one of five new entries in this week’s top 25 of the Power Rankings.

All is not lost in the Pac-12. Stanford is the conference’s top team, solidly in the top 10 and has a quarterback in K.J. Costello to go along with quick-strike tailback Bryce Love.

Notre Dame has introduced itself as more than a fringe Playoff contender because of a dynamic quarterback named Ian Book. What is it about Brian Kelly not finding the right No. 1 guy at the beginning of the season? ()

The CFP Selection Committee already has something to think about. Let’s say it’s a choice between Oklahoma and … anybody. The Sooners fell into the trap of chasing Army’s option all over the field. It almost cost the Sooners in a 28-21 overtime win that avoided one of college football’s biggest upsets in years.

We are set up for our first Big Ten mega-matchup of the season: Ohio State at Penn State. The winner has the inside track in the Big Ten East … and a playoff berth.

Yup, even one-third of the way into the season.

Let’s take a look at the latest Power Rankings.

  1 For the first time this season, Bama failed to score 50 points. Texas A&M had the audacity to hang around until the second quarter. Anybody out there in Bama Nation panicking? Didn’t think so. You may have missed the fact Alabama will be a double-digit favorite against every remaining opponent. –11-2 2 It never rains in Tiger Stadium, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Louisiana Tech made a surprising run after being down 24-0. LSU committed its first turnover of the season (Joe Burrow interception) and Ed Orgeron grumbled. “Obviously, we’re not happy,” Coach O said of a 17-point win over the Bulldogs. Up next: An interesting SEC West battle with Ole Miss. –15-0 3 The Return of Urban Meyer looked a lot like Ryan Day never left. The Buckeyes slammed Tulane in a tune-up for a season-defining trip to Penn State. Just don’t let me hear anything about “redemption” for the sitting coach. The Athletic reported Saturday a plan is forming to make Day the coach-in-waiting. 113-1 4 Trevor Lawrence seems to have become the starting quarterback without starting. That was the takeaway from a four-touchdown win over Georgia Tech. Lawrence came off the bench to complete 13 of 18 for 173 yards. But you can’t just put Kelly Bryant on the bench … can you? 114-1 5 The Dawgs are vulnerable to the run! That’s one way of looking at it after a two-touchdown win at Missouri. Here’s another: Georgia already has four non-offensive touchdowns this season. –12-2 6 The Tigers don’t play a true road game until Oct. 6 at Mississippi State. They’d better take care of business. An unremarkable win over an unremarkable team (34-3 over Arkansas) keeps the Tigers in the SEC West hunt. 19-4 7 The Cardinal may have just become the Pac-12’s best playoff hope. A stunning comeback at Oregon made it so. After Justin Herbert missed on only two throws in regulation, the Stanford D forced him into five incompletions in overtime. 24-8 8 Looks like Brian Kelly has himself a quarterback. Ian Book threw for 325 yards in a rout of Wake Forest. Irish are suddenly back in the playoff race with Stanford coming up. –11-2 9 Did OU really run only 40 plays? Did Army almost beat its first top five team in 55 years? Yes to both. The Sooners just weren’t ready for the Black Knights’ clock-eating option. That’s why OU gets nicked here moving down three spots. 312-2 10 In a somewhat easy win over Kansas State, Bill Snyder may have provided the quote of the day: “I can’t coach a team that can’t get six inches on a play.” Sure the Wildcats failed in a first-half, fourth-down gamble, but that wasn’t the main reason the Mountaineers dominated 35-6. –5-der Paul Pogba this summer.Tuttosport says Juventus are determined to land a reunion with the player they sold to United for £89milSG star Neymar.Jesus scored a hat trick against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League yesterday.His goals got the Blues all three points in the fixture.And it means he is the fastest Brazilian to reach 10 Champions League goals, surpassing the mark slion back in 2016. Pogba has played a bit-part role at United this season due to troubles with injury but remains one 7 11 Hey, here’s a new one. Jake Browning was steady in a 27-20 win over Arizona State. Browning became the second Huskies quarterback in history to top 10,000 career passing yards in a 27-20 win over Arizona State. Linebacker Ben Burr-Kiven had 20 tackles. –8-5 12 I’ll say it again: The Knights can play with anyone in the country. The offense under McKenzie Milton is explosive. FAU couldn’t keep up in a 56-36 loss. The Knights are one of nine teams to average at least 50 points this season. Power Five chance this week with Pittsburgh coming in. 210-3 13 Goodness, that was a boat race in the second half Friday at Illinois — 32 total plays on six possessions produced 291 yards and six touchdowns. Nice message to send the Buckeyes. 211-2 14 The N’Kosi Perry era may have begun. The celebrated redshirt freshman threw for 224 yards in place of Malik Rosier. Miami beat FIU, and now Mark Richt says he has a decision to make at quarterback before Thursday’s game with North Carolina. 46-7 15 Go ahead and celebrate, Kentucky. The Wildcats are 2-0 in the SEC for the first time since 1977. A shutdown of Mississippi State sends a message for athletic directors everywhere: Patience. Mark Stoops may be turning the corner in Year 6. NR8-5 16 All that nostalgia from 1997? Forget it. Any similarity between Nebraska and its last national championship is an LSD-induced flashback. Michigan sent the Huskers to their first 0-3 start since 1945. 39-4 17 What would you expect of the Badgers after the BYU bummer? A workmanlike 28-17 win at Iowa seemed about right. Alex Hornibrook rebounded nicely completing 17 of 22 for 205 yards and three touchdowns. The Badgers continue to control their destiny in the Big Ten West. 610-4 18 Are the Longhorns back? Yes! Back in the polls, at least. Tom Herman’s biggest win since becoming Texas coach (over TCU) will have reverberations around the Big 12. One of them: The Texas-Oklahoma game on Oct. 6 just became a lot sexier. NR8-5 19 The Ducks may never forget this one. Up 24-7 at home, they watched Stanford methodically claw back to win in overtime 38-31. Bad clock management and questionable play calling allowed Stanford to tie it in regulation. 312-2 20 A tune-up win against McNeese State went about as expected. A visit to Washington is next. Kalani Sitake got an opportunity to empty the bench a bit on Saturday. NR7-6 21 The rain, the Wildcats and Benny Snell. In less-than-ideal conditions the Bulldogs were exposed at Kentucky. Snell, the SEC’s leading rusher, ran for four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, to seal the upset. 46-7 22 Bye. Sorry, you don’t play, you’re at the mercy of being moved around Buffaloes. Down two spots this week. CU hosts UCLA on Friday. 25-7 23 As much as the world likes to unload on Kliff Kingsbury’s defensive sensibilities, the win at Oklahoma State was one of the biggest of his career. The Cowboys were shut out in the second half at home in a 24-point loss. The Red Raiders (3-1) are undefeated under freshman QB Anthony Bowman. Their only loss is to Ole Miss. NR4-8 24 Pick up the pieces and get ready for Kansas. The 24-point loss to Texas Tech was Mike Gundy’s worst (by margin) since the 2016 Sugar Bowl loss to Ole Miss. 118-5 25 The Aztecs have one of the most physical teams in the nation. Without its starting quarterback and after blowing a two-touchdown lead at home, SDSU beat a stubborn Eastern Michigan in overtime. NR10-3

Out: Virginia Tech, TCU, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Boise State    

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USC football Spring Game 2018: date, schedule, players to watch, who replaces Sam Darnold


With the Coliseum renovation project ongoing, USC will not be hosting its traditional spring game this year. Instead, Clay Helton and the Trojans will hold a end of spring practice that is open to the public on Cromwell Field (Loker Track Stadium). The “game” will be Saturday, April 14 starting at noon PT and will be shown live on the Pac-12 Networks. The top storyline from this spring has been the competition to replace Sam Darnold. Redshirt sophomore Matt Fink and redshirt freshman Jack Sears are the only two scholarship quarterbacks on campus right now and both want rto Mancini says Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both reached the pinnacle of the game in different ways.Speaking with Corriere della Sera, Mancini was asked who was the superior player – Barcelona captain Messi or Juventus striker Ronaldo.Howeverto be running the show when the Trojans open against UNLV this fall.Fink is the only quarterback with any game experience, including a 51-yard touchdown run in mop-up duty against Oregon State. He has been the leader in the clubhouse, but has yet to separate himself from Sears or even incoming freshman J.T. Daniels, who won’t arrive until the summer.Sears replaced Darnold at San Clemente High School and e is looking to do the same at USC. It has been an up-and-down spring for Sears, but he bounced back during Saturday’s scrimmage with a couple of long touchdowns, which could propel him to a breakout performance in the spring game.Senior outside linebacker Porter Gustin was a mystery man most of last season following toe surgery and a bicep tear. Now bulked up to 270 pounds, he is fully back and ready to make opposing offenses feel the pain. He has had a hand in the quarterback competition as well, forcing both Fink and Sears to scramble and get rid of the ball early. True senior running back Aca’cedric Ware came into USC with Ronald Jones II as a one-two punch of talented Texas tailbacks. But with Jones earning the starting role and subsequent injuries to Ware, Trojan fato Chelsea under new manager Frank Lampard.Premier League winner Drinkwater was the forgotten man in Maurizio Sarri’s one and only season at Stamford Bridge.The Blues finished in third and won the Europa League, but Drinkwater didn’t make a single apns have yet to see his full potential as a tailback. Former five-star Stephen Carr is out this spring with an injury and Ware has taken advantage and emerged as a force for the USC rushing attack. Redshirt senior cornerback Jonathan Lockett was poised to start at nickel for USC before an injury shelved him for the entire 2017 season. Lockett is now healthy, playing both corner and nickel, and has been making plays all spring long. The former Mater Dei standout is part of a much deeper secondary that shouLeicester City forward Ryan Loft has joined League Two side Carlisle United on a season-long loan deal.The 21-year-old joined Spurs’ academy in 2013 and was loaned to Braintree, Stevenage and Exeter before signing a two-year deal with the Foxes in 2018.”We wanted to have a different type of striker available. It was important we had that variety, and Ryan gives us that,” said boss Steven Pressley.ld show marked improvement this season.

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Despite two transfers in a week, Clemson’s quarterback situation is just fine in 2018


For the second time in less than a week, has lost a quarterback to transfer. Fortunately for the Tigers, their depth chart at that position remains insanely good. 

Clemson announ it has been revealed.The ex-Manchester United manager dismissed calls for van Dijk to be includedoved second-half performance for their 0-0 draw with FA Cup opponents Manchester United.Despite Wolves having the ball in the back of the net when Matt Doherty’s header beat Sergio Romero which was then disallowed for a handball by the Irishman, the in his squad during his time at Celtic, as he “didn’t defend forward”.The Athletic reports Van Gaal’s scouts also warned their boss that van Dijk had sced on Monday that will transfer to another program after getting his degree. Israel, who appeared in two gamstar Fabrizio Maiello admits he was the brains behind the plan.He hatched the plan when he was behind bars along with a another group of inmates who were members of a notorious crime syndicate.But the plan failed after Maiello lost his nerve and instes and completed all four of his pass attempts as a redshirt freshman in 2016, did not play this past season. In high school, he surpassed Tim Tebow’s state record for touchdown passes in a single season. At one point last offseason, Israel was in the competition to be the Tigers’ starting quarterback, but an illness over the summer derailed those hopes. 

Israel is the second quarterback to transfer from Clemson in the past week. Last Friday, also he was transferring out. 

But these aren’t hard times for Clemson’s quarterback room. Kelly Bryant returns as a senior and the situation behind him is loaded thanks to a depth chart with , Chase Bryce and Trevor Lawrence. Johnson and Brice were members of the 2017 class with the former earning a five-star label as one of the top quarterback recruits in the country. Johnson also saw playing time in seven games this past season. Lawrence was the No. 1 overall recruit for the 2018 signing class and enrolled early. 

Barring injury, Bryant’s job is likely safe for next season; the real battle will begin in 2019 with (presumably) two former five-star recruits in the mix. 

Interestingly, Clemson won’t be the only playoff-caliber program with an intriguing quarterback situation. and have incumbent starters in and . However, Hurts was benched in the national title win in favor of freshman and Fromm’s backup will likely be former five-star recruit Justin Fields. 

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SEC fresh faces: One freshman who will breakout from each team in 2017


Get to know these names. They may be new, but they’re important. They’re the fresh, baby-faced guys around college football that are poised to make an immediate impact this fall.

The SEC has more of these guys than most. Whether they’re starters or situational players, expect some fresh meat to impact every SEted defender Rio Ferdinand has hammered Moyes’ time in charge at Old Trafford.But Moyes has now responded by insisting he had to make his own mark at the club.“Well I look at it in many ways, they’re very experienced players,” Moyes told BBC Sport C game this season. Here is the er Brendan Rodgers.Toure says he’s learning plenty from the Ulsterman.He told BBC Sport: “I love the game. I have a passion for the game. I love to be around the players and give advice.”I like to be positive. You will have ups and downs but the mosttop freshman poised for a breakout from every SEC program in order of expected level of impact.

An early enrollee, Smith has been a standout on the Tennessee offensive line since the day he stepped on campus. While the Volunteers have found some stability and experience on the offensive front, Smith has done enough not just to unseat an experienced starter but to make that offensive line better in his first year. Smith was a five-star and the No. 4 offensive tackle in the country per to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he’s already living up to that billing.

 He may not start Week 1, but Turner is generating all kinds of buzz at Missouri as the next elite edge rusher for a program that has produced a lot of them recently. The Louisiana native showed up on campus bench pressing 22 reps of 225 pounds, sniffing 4.6 seconds on the 40-yard dash and measuring in at 6-foot-4, 255 pounds. He’s part of what should be a much-improved defensive unit for Barry Odom in year two.

 As Kirby Smart looks to turn last year’s disastrous offensive line into a strength, he’s looking to Thomas to be a day one starter. There may be some shuffling still among the starters, but Thomas appears locked in as one of the five. The Army All-American is long, athletic and smart, and he’s part of a young infusion of talent that looks ready to make Georgia’s offensive line a strength in the long run, if not this season.

 Particularly on the defensive side of the ball, Ed Orgeron’s first class features a bunch of SEC-ready talent, but Chaisson may be poised for the biggest impact of all. He’s an Arden Key clone in terms of being a quick, speedy edge rusher who will immediately affect the pass game. Expect a similar impact to Key’s freshman season in 2015 (five sacks, 6.5 tackles for losstal Palace skipper Jason Puncheon is continuing his career in Cyprus.The midfielder, who was let go by the Premier League club at the end of last season, is signing for Pafos FC.He has completed the free transfer, with the Greek club proclaiming it s) or the freshman year of Brian Burns from Florida State last season (8.5 sacks).

The Hogs lost their starting running back to injury in Rawleigh Williams III, but with Hayden’s addition to the two starting-caliber backs already on campus, Brett Bielema isn’t lacking for confidence in the run game. Hayden and his versatile all-purpose skill set joins Devwah Whaley and David Williams to form a three-headed monster in the backfield that will give Hayden plenty of opportunity for touches and big plays.

 Had Bowden arrived on campus on time, perhaps I would have put him at the top of this list. NCAA Clearinghouse issues delayed his arrival in Lexington but that hasn’t dimmed the expectations. Kentucky’s highest-ranked commitment is a special talent with the ball in his hands, and now that starter Dorian Baker is out due to injury, the opportunity is there for Bowden to become a primary contributor sooner than later.

 The Aggies return only two receivers on their roster with any career catches in . They need some new faces to step up as primary targets, and Ausbon is one of the most physically prepared freshman receivers in the country. The former top 100 recruit is thick, physical and polished. He’ll be a top three receiver for Kevin Sumlin in year one.

 Between the and an Achilles injury to Marcell Harris, Florida’s defense has to replace every starter from one of the best secondaries in college football last fall. Whether Wilson is one of that first four or not, he looks to be locked in as a nickel defender for the Gators and should pick up right where his brother Quincy Wilson left off.

 The Crimson Tide don’t need freshmen contributors, but this class is so talented that there are numerous playmakers ready to claw their way onto the field. Among them, Willis is emerging as perhaps the most important. He’s battling for the starting right tackle job with veteran Matt Wommack and looks like he may in fact win the gig. If he does, that would give Nick Saban a starting true freshman offensive tackle in three of the past four seasons.

The Tigers will showcase a new passing attack with a new talented quarterback in Jarrett Stidham and a new sharp coordinator in Chip Lindsey. Fortunately, there’s some new athletic receivers to distribute to as well. None have made more noise than Igbonoghene. He’s a track athlete with SEC size who will be a factor as a downfield threat early in his career.

 There are few prospects in the class of 2017 that are more instinctive than Williams and that should serve him well early in his career. He’s undersized but is a great candidate to impact in a nickel or dime role, and he’s got some Tyrann Mathieu traits to his game.

 Though he may not start, Gay is so athletic that you can expect to see him on the field for the Bulldogs. Gay arrives in Starkville as a new age linebacker who is perfect in sub packages to defend pass downs. The guy can run, plays in pursuit really well and will be a special teams force and a regular rotation player at linebacker.

 Though he was recruited primarily as a wide receiver through most of the process, Bowie arrives in Oxford with the opportunity to really be a factor at cornerback. The depth in the secondary is limited at Ole Miss, and Bowie brings unique length, ball skills and athleticism to the position

 Derek Mason has built a foundation that won’t call for a heavy influx of freshman playing time, but Daley is a player that is elbowing his way into the rotation. He’s a south Georgia native that brings some toughness and instincts to the position. After enrolling early, Daley has made a strong impression.

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SEC Power Rankings: Arkansas, Auburn climb as SEC West dominates top of list


For those wondering whether was a legitimate threat to , Saturday’s 49-10 whitewashing in Knoxville gave you an emphatic “no” as the answer to that question.

In Week 9 ittriker Danny Ings.The Telegraph says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made an approach for the 27-year-old after Marcus Rashford was ruled out for six weeks with a back injury.Ings has been in top form for the Saints this season, netting 16 goals in all competit’s going to be Texas A&M’s turn to try and knock off the champs, and the Aggies must do so as 16.5-point underdogs in Tuscaloosa. Alabama appears to be back to juggernaut status in the SEC, which means the intrigue for the top spot in our power rankings remains pretty low.

However, the rest of the rankings got shuffled up thanks to some big wins by teams like and , and more confusion at the bottom of the conference.

Here are the Week 9 SEC Power Rankings:

RankTeamReasonLast Week1Alabama is figuring out how good he is and is building confidence each week. The defense is outscoring some offenses. Lane Kiffin’s tossing his visor to Vols fans. It’s just another season of Alabama football in T-Town. 12Texas A&MThe bye week gave the Aggies extra time to prepare for the Tide. We’ll see if that pays dividends on Saturday. The good news: they have a rare quarterback with great memories of playing Alabama in . 23ArkansasA week after taking a loss at the hands of Alabama — no shame there — the Hogs turned around to beat Ole Miss in thrilling fashion for the second straight year. This is a resilient Arkansas bunch and, while the defense has some holes, the offense is clipping along despite having replaced so much from last year. I’ve been impressed by the Razorbacks so far this season. 54Auburn*whispers* Auburn might be good, y’all. The defense appears to be nasty and the offense is starting to play well. I need to see the offense do it against someone other than and ULM before I’m fully on board, but I have one foot on the Tigers’ bandwagon. First test: Arkansas this week. 65Ole MissI have a feeling Hugh Freeze is about tired of playing Arkansas after the way the last two games have gone. The Rebels fell to 3-3 with the loss Saturday, but they’re probably the nation’s best 3-3 team for whatever that’s worth. Things don’t get easier this week as they must head down to Baton Rouge for a night game with LSU.36Somehow, the Gators are now your SEC East leaders. This appears to be happening again. The defense in Gainesville is filthy. The offense can do things against mediocre-to-bad defenses, and, lucky for them, that’s what the entire SEC East is made up of outside of Knoxville. The makeup game in Baton Rouge looms very large for the SEC East title race. 87LSULike Auburn, LSU has seen a resurgew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.The young pair were outstanding in their Champions League triumph last season.”Both Andy and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] on the other side had incredible seasons,” Warnock told”I think last seasonence since their loss on the Plains. Coach O has the boys in Baton Rouge playing inspired football and a win on Saturday against Ole Miss would have them right back in the conversation for the SEC West race with only one conference loss. 78TennesseeThis might be a harsh drop for the Vols, but that wasn’t just a loss to Alabama — it was a crushing defeat. Tennessee got outplayed in all three phases of the game by the Tide and looked to clearly be the inferior team. That said, the Vols should make a steady climb back up these rankings as they will be heavy favorites in each of their final five games to close the season. 49A bye week after a victory is a good thing for Kentucky. Another winnable game is coming the ‘Cats way this week in the form of Mississippi State. Bowl eligibility is not out of the question for Kentucky, which is an amazing thing to think about after the start to the season. 1010I don’t understand this Vanderbilt team, but I can’t help but love them. is a monster at middle linebacker and when the defense is right they’re nasty. The offense is still miserable to watch, but every once in a while the running game gets rolling. The road win over is a huge moment for Derek Mason’s bunch, so enjoy this one ‘Dores. 1411Mississippi StateTake pride in being one of the ‘s best quarterbacks so far this season, Bulldog fans. That will help take the sting out of this season in Starkville. 1112GeorgiaI was wondering if Georgia could find new lows this season. Losing to Vanderbilt at homr is happy with what he’s seen from Adams and is backing him to come good.He said: “He is a little bit unlucky sometimes with his actions. The pre-season was much easier for him where he scored immediately and this gives you self-confidence.“He ie for the first time since 2006 seems to qualify. 913The Tigers took it on the chin in Gainesville on Saturday. The somewhat promising offense of the early season has turned back into a pumpkin. 1214Alright, Gamecocks. You’re nearly three touchdown favorites this week over UMass. You can do this. Get yourselves a convincing win this week. 13

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Where does your team rank? AP releases top 100 college football teams of all-time


The Associated Press wanted to find a way to rank every college football program against each other. Luckily, it has a long-running metric that can help with those calculations right in its back pocket.

The ranked list of 100 programs, , is the organization’s first list putting schools against each other using all-time success as a measuring stick.

” is rich with history, and the AP poll is a unique measure of how the sport has changed through time,” deputy sports editor Noreen Gillespie said prior to the list’s release. “The all-time list lets fans interact with that histochoice to join Chelsea in 2012.Hazard was wanted by several top clubs in England, but opted for a move to the West London outfit instead.He has won several major trophies with the Blues, vindicating his decision at the time.Speaking about that decisiry, and debate how the nation’s top programs fared over time.”

According to the AP, the rankings were based on total poll appearances, number of times ranked No. 1 and AP national championships. The AP poll started on Oct. 19, 1936, with 20 teams before getting reduced to 10 teams (1961-67) and then expanding back to 20 in 1968. The AP Top 25, as we know it today, started with the 1989 football season.

Check out the 1-100 list below, but and point differentials for the remaining 75.

1.Ohio State: 77.24 percent of all AP polls 2. Oklahoma: 71.08 percent of all AP polls 3. Notre Dame: 69.45 percent of all AP polls 4. Alabama: 67.54 percent of all AP polls 5. Southern California: 67.36 percent of all AP polls 6. Nebraska 7. Michigan 8. Texas 9. Florida State 10. Florida 11. LSU 12. Penn State 13. Miami (FL) 14. Tennessee 15. Georgia 16. Auburn 17. UCLA 18. Texas A&M 19. Michigan State 20. Washington 21. Arkansas 22. Clemson 23. Pittsburgh 24. Wisconsin 25. Iowa 26. Georgia Tech 2e Kean insists he wants to stay with Everton.The striker has been linked with a return to Italy after a tough start to life on Merseyside.But he told Corriere dello Sport: “I’m not thinking about the transfer window now, others are doing that. “I’m l7. Colorado 28. Oregon 29. Ole Miss 30. Arizona State 31. Virginia Tech 32. Stanford 33. West Virginia 34. BYU 35. Missouri 36. Purdue 37. Minnesota 38. North Carolina 39. TCU 40. Maryland 41. Syracuse 42. Army 43. Oklahoma State 44. Kansas State 4Palmeiras, Matheus has been loaned to Valladolid to the end of the season.”Coming to Spain, in this case to Real Valladolid, is the opportunity of my life,” he declared.”I am a player who can help in defence, ahead of them, but I can also manage to r5. Cal 46. Mississippi State 47. Baylor 48. South Carolina 49. Houston 50. Northwestern 51. Illinois 52. Virginia 53. Duke 54. Arizona 55. SMU 56. NC State 57. Boston College 58. Texas Tech 59. Washington State 60. Navy 61. Boise State 62. Louisville 63. Kansas 64. Utah 65. Oregon State 66. Penn 67. Air Force 68. Kentucky 69. Rice 70. Tulane 71. Wyoming T-72. Indiana T-72. Fresno State T-72. Southern Miss T-72. Cornell 76. Toledo T-77. Santa Clara T-77. Tulsa T-77. Colorado State 80. Wake Forest T-81. Cincinnati T-81. Miami (OH) T-83. Fordham T-83. Iowa State 85. Holy Cross 86. Rutgers 87. Dartmouth 88. East Carolina 89. Vanderbilt 90. Yale T-91. Princeton T-91. Marshall 93. Hawaii 94. South Florida 95. Villanova 96. Northern Illinois 97. Duquesne 98. Iowa Pre-Flight T-99. Columbia T-99. William & Mary T-99. Nevada T-99. Bowling Green The 2016 preseason AP Top 25 will be released on Aug. 21.

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LOOK: Vanderbilt’s got the ‘shoe game popping’ with new Dark Knight unis


Vanderbilt’s black and gold color scheme looks great under the lights. Thhted to make his full Roma debut for their 4-3 defeat of Cagliari.Villar arrived in January from Elche.“I’m veryhester United this summer.The Evening Standard says United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s willingness to play young players has given them a good chance of signing Sancho. The Borussia Dortmund star is the Red Devils’ top transfer target for the summ happy that Fonseca has faith in me. I worked hard to earn this opportunity. It was a great result,” he told Roma TV. “We have been woey may be a little bit hotter for early kickoffs during September, but once those lights come on, the Commodores become one of the best-dressed teams in the SEC.

Coach Derek Mason took to Twitter on Monday to show off the latest upgrade to the “Dark Knight” uniforms for 2016: some slor says Chelsea have been offered the chance to sign Isco in a £44 million deal by Real Madrid.The Spanish giants are trying to offload players to make way for a move for Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen next month.Spain midfielder Isco, 27, has struggick new black-and-gold Nike cleats. According to Mason, the shoe game is “popping.”

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Tulsa fires coach Bill Blankenship after 2-10 season


Tulsa made things official ofered a return to football in Italy.Emery was offered the job at Everton before Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment, but felt it came too soon – just days after being axed by the Gunners earlier this season.However, Corriere dello Sport says Emery is undern Monday morning, announcing that coach Bill Blankenship will not be back with the program in 2015.

“We are grateful fortart in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Newcastle United.The inclusions of Nelson and Willock meant it was the first time Arsenal had named two English teenagers in their starting XI for a Premier League game for the first time since February 1998.And Emery sa the service and commitment of coach Blankenship to our university, our student-athletes and our community, but we have decided that the program needs to go in a different d his breakthrough at Chelsea with a new deal.The 19-year-old right-back’s current contract runs until 2022 and he will be given improved terms to bring him closer into line with the club’s first-team stars.James has made 14 appearances for the Blues irection,” said Tulsa athletic director Derrick Gragg.

Gragg also said that a search committee would be formed immediately as the school looks for Blankenship’s replacement.

Blankenship spent four seasons at Tulsa, but the last two failed to live up to the promise of his first two years on campus. Blankenship took over the Tulsa program after Todd Graham left for the Pittsburgh job following the 2010 season, and he went 19-8 in his first two seasons at the school. The success faded quickly, though, as the Golden Hurricane were only 5-19 the last two seasons, including a 2-10 mark in 2014.

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Change isn’t coming easy at Texas, but Strong has the track record to do it


Two games in, Texas coach Charlie Strong has suspended or dismissed 11 players.

You’ve heard the snark: He’s getting down to the 53-man roster limit.

Two games in, Strong has lost his starting quarterback, center and may be missing Saturday against UCLA. He has only eight offensive linemen available — with 10 career starts to their credit. A month ago two of them were playing defense.

Two games in, Texas’ coach remains in the process of shaping the Longhorns in his image. You know, the one that produced 37 victories in four years and a Sugar Bowl win at Louisville.

Two games in, a cynic could call the season a wash. Come back fresh next year. The 41-7 loss to BYU was the worst at home since 1997. There’s a symmetry there. That game 17 years ago was the infamous Rout 66 against UCLA (66-3) that ushered John Mackovic out the door.

Recall, again, who the Horns play this week?

But two games in, Strong also doesn’t need anyone telling him how to do his job. Except that’s part of the job at Texas.

That was a UT truth before Strong arrived, before his first season sputtered to a depressing 1-1 start.

Before Red McCombs returned my call this week.

The 86-year old former owner of the Spurs, Vikings and Nuggets still holds significant power at a place that traffics daily in it. There’s a statue of him inside the stadium. His name is on the business school. McCombs reportedly has donated more than $100 million to the school, has a reported net worth of about $1.5 billion.

Who is going to tell him no regarding … anything Texas? He’s the , then apologized. He’s the guy who was also at the season opener.


“Expectations have been lowered by the results of our first two games,” McCombs said. “I don’t think our expectations are going to get much lower than what they are now. I think our move is going to be up.”

McCombs spoke to a group of boosters Saturday and was asked what impressed him most about the Horns Saturday.

“The fact that three of the guys sweated enough to have to take a shower after the game,” he said. “The players and the coaches wouldn’t want to hear that. They knew that was a joke.”

We’re not saying this follows any logical, linear form. It is merely Week 3 of 2014 in Austin. It must be endured. Mack Brown was everybody’s friend until he didn’t win enough games. In the state, Texas A&M has assimilated nicely into the SEC. Baylor won the Big 12 (beating Texas to do it). Rival Oklahoma is coming off an Alabama win in the Sugar Bowl and is ranked in the top four.

Strong deserves the time and space to reshape the Horns, to toughen them up — to win. From this perspective, he has and he will.

Strong has a track record. Perhaps the biggest criticism of Texas football is its alleged country club atmosphere. Perhaps it is ridiculously early to be talking about any of this.

It’s also fair to the take the temperature of a program that has the largest budget in the country. McCombs is one [rich] man with one [significant] thermometer.

Hey, Strong was the guy who told us the Horns . Honesty has turned into accuracy.

McCombs said he didn’t crieir support of coach Marcelino.Marcelino survived intense sack talk in January to lead VCF to Champions League qualification and the Copa.Alemany said, “It’s a bet of the club, of everything (in reference to the continuity of Marcelino). I am very haticize Strong’s hiring — although he did say at the time Strong would make “.”  Instead it was what McCombs called the school’s “practice and process,” in replacing Brown that bothered him. McCombs says he was told by former Texas president Bill Powers at one point “no big hurry, we’ve got another couple of weeks.”

“[At the time] I was talking to a coach who I think is one of the top five coaches in the nation,” McCombs said. “I think I had him at the five-yard line …”

Whether that was Jon Gruden, a replacement McCer Roman Abramovich.The former Blues manager returns to Stamford Bridge this weekend to face his former club.On Abramovich, Ancelotti said: “I probably spoke three times with Abramovich after leaving Chelsea. “It was always a pleasant conversatioombs reportedly courted, is not known. He did say it was not Nick Saban.

“The next day they announced they’d hired Coach Strong. Obviously, something happened … It fell out like I was disappointed in Coach Strong. I was disappointed in the decision being made.”

McCombs has made peace with Strong, says he is a strong Samatta is pinching himself over his Carabao Cup final appearance against Manchester City.On Sunday he will play for his new club against Manchester City at Wembley. “This is huge,” the Tanzania striker told the Daily Mail. “It’s a final. At Wembl Still, is there that a temptation to write off a season to misfortune and transition?

“You can’t do that,” McCombs said. “You’ve got to improve every day. They’ve got kids to work with. They’ll be getting better. I’m sure that Coach Strong and his staff have been surprised with some of these kids because they thought they’d get more out of them.”

What about optimism?

“It’s always OK — honest to God — to be optimistic in Texas. We have the greatest high school football factory in the world …

“Coach Strong’s stronghold was his relationship with Florida high school coaches. Now he’s going to have to develop that background with Texas high school coaches. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do that …

“Will that take another couple of years? Probably so?”

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Report: Oklahoma planning $350 million stadium expansion


The home of the could be getting a facelift in the near future, or maybe just a touch-up. A very expensive touch-up.

According to , the school is expected to announce a “Master Expansion Plan” for Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The plan has reportedly been approved and will be announced at a future meeting of the school’s board of regents.

The expansiManchester United and Newcastle United have held talks over Sean Longstaff.Sky Sports says no offical bid has been lodged.Toon are not interested in selling Longstaff and see him as a big part of their future plans.United have already signed two young Britrpool fans.City accused the Premier League of threatening the “sporting integrity” of the competition after handing the champions a fixture schedule that could give rivals Liverpool a big advantage in the title race. City’s chief operating officer,ish players in Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.They have also begun negotiations with Southampton over a deal for Mario Lemina.on, which is expected to cost between $350 and $400 million, would begin following the final home game of the 2014 season. The hope is that all renovations would be finished before the start of the 2015 season, but, well, the best laid plans and all that.

As for what the planned renovations include additional seats in the south end zone, which would increase the stadium’s capacity from 82,112 to nearly 88,000. The school also plans to upgrade the current suites and add more suites in the south end zone, as well as put in a new press box (just make sure it includes free food dragged into Manchester City’s appeal to overturn their two season Champions League ban.The Mirror says City will “leave nothing off the table” when they attempt to beat the two-year suspension and £25million fine levied against them by UEFA over or all the sports writers will say mean things about you), as well as facility upgrades for the team and players.

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VIDEO: This might be the longest touchback of all time


If you’re waiting to see the strangest play of this weekend in college football, he Northern Echo says the midfielder is one of a number of players currently in discussions with Newcastle officials over a new deal.While the ongoing talks with Sean and Matty Longstaff have hogged the headlines, the Magpies hierarchy are hoping to I don’t think you’ll have to look much further than here.

In Saturday’s game between and , Cincinnati’s Aaron Brown picked off a pass from and that’s when things got weird. 

Yes, that’s right. Brown returned the ball 87 yards only to fumble it through thghted with his move from Boca Juniors.Maroni, 20, has arrived on loan with an option to buy, reportedly set at €15m.“I’d like to thank the President, Massimo Ferrero,” Maroni told the official Samp website.“I’m thrilled that he brought me here e end zone, resulting in a touchback and Connecticut ball at its own Anil Murthy has hit out at the press after a chaotic start to the season.Before their Champions League win at Chelsea, Murthy was asked directly if he had apologised to the players on behalf of club owner Peter Lim over the sacking of Marcelino.But 25-yard line. While I don’t know if they keep an official record of such things, I’m just going to go ahead and proclaim this the longest touchback in history.

I have that kind of power.

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Royal Purple is new sponsor of Las Vegas Bowl


We have important bowl game sponsorship news! The Las Vegas Bowl has a new sponsor and has been rebranded as the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. New name, same Vegas flavor!

“Today marks a wonderful new alignment between our bowl, our city and Royal Purple,” said the bowl’s executive director, Dan Hanneke, in a release. “Our event will only continue to grow with the addition of a great title sponsor and we can’t wait for the 22nd edition of the game, which is now just three months away.”

I know, I’m pretty excited about it all too.

If you’re wondering what Royal Purple is, well luckily the release was kind enough to include that information. According to the release Royal Purple is a Texas company that “produceurt Zouma.New Chelsea boss Frank Lampard wan ideal choice for manager.Ratcliffe was delighted to see caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson lead the team to victory over Chelsea on Saturday in his first game in charge.He wrote for the Everton-pick-boss-knows-club-attract-Mauricio-Pochettino.html”>Dts to assess his squad before making a decision on the 24-year-old defender, who excelled on loan at Goodison Park last season.Silva says the Toffees will move on to other centre-back targets if a move doess a wide range of high performance lubricants for nearly every consumer and industrial application.”

And let me assure you that there are oh so many jokes I could write about “high performance lubricants” and Las Vegas,an’t escape the daily grind by sipping on posh Lavazza coffee. The Italian brand, which is the clubs’s official supplier, is available throughout the Emirates.However, the club’s hardworking behind the scenes crew are told to sup instant coffee on ma but I’d like to keep my job, so I won’t.

Oh, and also because they’re motor oil products. Get your mind out of the gutter.

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Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly prepared if NFL offers come


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When asked about the NFL for the first time on Saturday, Kelly said NFL teams would have to contact his agent to show interest but that .

I was able to circle back with Kelly about the intrigue of the , which, according to , has Kelly on its radar.

“How can you not be [intrigued]?” Kelly said. “When ys to put their feet up for the looming winter break.The winter break and general player fatigue are subjects addressed this weekend by Lampard, and he starts by detailing plans for the free fortnight if there is no replay against FA Cup opponents Hulou’ve coached football, you look at everything — you look at high school film and you watch coaches there, college, Division III to Division I, it doesn’t matter, college, NFL. All of that stuff intrigues me. I still think it comes down to time and place. What is the right time, and what is the right place? I never take any of that off the board.”

Kelly’s a smart guy. He knows might call after the game, win or lose, right?

“My agent would get a call, he’d run it by me, andn Klopp plans to use some fresh legs in Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Genk.The Reds take on Premier League title rivals Manchester City on Sunday.”We will hopefully have a couple of fresh legs in,” he said at his pre-match press conference.”I we’d go from there,” he said. “But, again, time and place.”

Is the right time and place next week, after the game?

“Time and place,” said a smiling Kelly as he walked off.

Kelly has a sweet job, the Irish have a chance to be really good next season and the coach’s popularity is growing in South Bend after three yeaull off the ultimate comeback against Barcelona on Tuesday night.The Reds are down 3-0 after the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.But Dalglish is backing the Merseyside club to overturn the deficit.He told the Sunday Post: “Of course, irs. But he has nothing to lose by at least having fun with the NFL thing. And it sounds like he’s being honest about the situation, playing the fairway between overstating allegiance to Notre Dame and overselling the NFL.

He has been a college lifer. But his personality would translate well to the NFL, and I think he knows it. Doesn’t mean he acts on it now.

After the season that the Irish had, Kelly will get more money next year regardless. So I’m not sure he needs to angle publicly for something like that. He’s just being honest — the NFL intrigues him.