ACC: Baylor Bears

Best cross-conference recruiting battles 

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
8:25
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Some recruits get attention from all over the country. Whether it’s their prowess or proximity to multiple teams, top prospects will have schools from multiple conferences pursuing them. ESPN.com’s conference recruiting reporters look at five players in the recently updated ESPN 300 who have different conferences after them and have recruiting battles that could carry throughout the fall.

NOTE: For battles with multiple teams, reporters chose reported leaders or best fits.



Last week, Nick Saban called out Alabama students for leaving Crimson Tide games early, saying they needed to stick around for all 60 minutes or give away their tickets.

The students responded on Saturday by keeping their section of Bryant-Denny Stadium full until the end of a 45-10 win over Tennessee -- a game the Tide led 35-0 at halftime.

We don't really know if Alabama students are growing bored of their team's constant domination. But if so, they would merely be joining the rest of America.

Saban's "process" reaps undeniably admirable results, as his program has won three of the past four national titles and is in position to claim a third straight crystal football this January.

Admiration and enjoyment, however, do not always go together. An Alabama fatigue factor exists across the country, both because of the Crimson Tide's sustained success and the clinical, almost bloodless, manner in which they've achieved it.

The biggest suspense in the last two BCS title games -- in which Alabama beat Notre Dame and LSU by a combined score of 63-14 -- was whether Saban would crack half a smirk during the celebration.

We respect Alabama's precision. But we also long for some panache. In an age when everyone has a high-definition television and a smartphone to relay all the scores, we demand entertainment as well as execution from our college football teams.

Luckily, we also have an abundance of alternative, anti-Alabama programming this season. In fact, it seems that we're blessed with an unprecedented amount of spectacles and showmen on display from coast to coast, and that is true at the top of this season's BCS standings.

If you could afford just one ticket -- or if you had a really terrible cable package that gave you access to just one game -- how would you choose between some of these top viewing options?

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3-point stance: Florida State is back

October, 21, 2013
10/21/13
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1. We are fooled easily in the excitement of the moment. Yet Florida State so dominated at Clemson that the 51-14 victory will be one of the seminal moments of the season. It will mark the emergence of redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston in prime time, literally and otherwise. As good as Winston played, the Florida State defense played better. The Seminoles are back, and what better time? The university that dumped Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Bowden four years ago will honor him this Saturday.

2. The one complaint against the makeup of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee that has merit is that West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, at age 53, is the youngest member. It makes sense that the commissioners wanted gravitas on the committee, and with the presence of members such as Tom Osborne, Mike Tranghese and Pat Haden, they have it. But they made room for a woman and a retired sportswriter. However hard they searched for a member under 40, they should have looked again.

3. The old protocols are butting heads with the new spread offenses, and everyone is groping for the right way to act. Should the offense throw when it’s way ahead? Baylor is averaging 64.7 points per game, and judging by the Bears’ No. 8 ranking, no one is holding that against them. Should the offense throw if it’s way behind? Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti ripped Washington State head coach Mike Leach for throwing 89 times, then apologized last night. No one knows what the rules should be any more.
The past few months have been filled with talk of a playoff, or at least something resembling a playoff that the men in charge don't want to call a playoff.

Either way, college football's postseason has never been this close to changing since the birth of the BCS more than a decade ag0.

So, what does the old postseason think?

Colleague Ryan McGee asked around the bowls for their take Insider.
So what are they thinking as they read and hear the playoff comments? Are they confident about the future? Terrified? Indifferent?

"We are absolutely watching what's going on. Always have been," says Rick Catlett, president of the Gator Bowl Association. "But I also think that anyone in this business knows that there's not a whole lot we can do about it. We are in constant contact with the conference commissioners, the people who will ultimately make the decisions about the future of the game. But honestly, we don't have a lot of influence."

The 16-year leader of college football's sixth-oldest bowl game doesn't say this with a tone of fear or foreboding. Neither did the other half-dozen bowl executives I chatted with this week (on and off the record). No one mentioned extinction. Instead, they concede a curiosity as to where and how they will fit in to whatever format is adopted.

Lots of interesting stuff. You'll need Insider to read it all, but it's worth checking out.

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