Mrs. Parker: No, you'll shoot your eye out.
- Ohio State and Clemson aren't just competing for the Discover Orange Bowl win, they're also going head-to-head for recruits.
- Georgia Tech's 2009 recruiting class was "a mixed bag."
- Maryland's Testudo statue caught on fire somehow.
- Duke's defense is going to face its second straight Heisman Trophy winner. Yikes.
- The awards keep pouring in for Pitt DT Aaron Donald.
- Bowling Green's quarterback has something to prove to Pitt.
- Syracuse will likely be without its leading tackler for the Texas Bowl, and defensive end Josh Manley Tweets that he is transferring.
- Duke offensive lineman Lucas Patrick has some big shoes to fill in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
- Virginia Tech running back Joel Caleb has a chance to be a Texas star again.
- The Sun Bowl remains a point of pride for the Virginia Tech program.
- Cam Erving has some mojo now.
- Can Duke be a football AND basketball school?
Out: Lamarcus Joyner, CB
In: Tyler Hunter, DB
Joyner is a huge loss, but Hunter is well prepared to step into the vacancy. His 2013 season was cut short by a neck injury, but he knows the defense well and his combination of size and speed allows him to fit well at safety, corner and nickel. Replacing Joyner is impossible, but Hunter could be in for a huge 2014.
Out: Terrence Brooks, S
He has been an under-the-radar performer since he arrived at FSU as a three-star recruit, but Brooks has been consistently good at safety for two years.
In: Nate Andrews, S
Brooks found a perfect protégé in the similarly underrated Andrews, and the relationship has already paid dividends. Andrews started just one game, but he leads the Seminoles with seven takeaways (four INTs, three forced fumbles) and is second on the team with eight passes defended.
Out: Telvin Smith, LB
For the past two years, there has been no louder voice in the locker room than Smith, and in 2013, he blossomed on the field, too, leading FSU in tackles.
In: Reggie Northrup, LB
Northrup hasn’t started a game in his two seasons at Florida State, but when he’s been on the field, he has proven to be a big-play defender. He has 46 tackles this season, and he has a skill set to both play the run and in coverage. Terrance Smith is FSU’s only returning linebacker with starting experience, but there’s ample depth at the position, led by Northrup.
Out: Christian Jones, OLB
Jones' move from traditional linebacker to edge rusher was a turning point for Florida State’s defense, helping to seal the edge and add another dynamic pass rusher to the D line.
In: Matthew Thomas, OLB
An injury ended Thomas’ season after just five games, but his potential is immense. He had two tackles for loss in his limited playing time, and his athleticism and strength could make for a smooth transition into the role Jones defined so well in 2013.
Out: Kenny Shaw, WR
Always a reliable option in the slot, Shaw blossomed as a senior and is on pace for 1,000-yard season while also handling punt return duties.
In: Levonte Whitfield, WR
Whitfield may lack Shaw’s consistency, but his big-play potential is through the roof. He racked up 646 total yards and three TDs on just 21 touches (an average of 31 yards per touch) as a runner, receiver and kick returner. It was valuable experience as a freshman, and Whitfield should be an excellent fit in the slot in 2014.
Out: Bryan Stork, C
As Florida State’s line developed from disaster in 2011 to dominant in 2013, Stork was the centerpiece. The veteran leader of the group has been the foundation for the unit’s growth.
In: Austin Barron, C
Losing Stork is big, but Barron is no rookie. He has six career starts already under his belt, and he has worked routinely with the first-team line during practices this season while Stork has nursed a foot injury.
Out: The underclassmen
No one has made it official that they’re leaving, and with so much talent on the roster, plenty of Florida State’s draft-eligible underclassmen could decide to come back for what figures to be another big season in 2014. Of the group, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan -- widely considered a first-round selection -- is the most likely to depart. Beyond that, tailbacks Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr., receiver Kelvin Benjamin, tight end Nick O’Leary, and lineman Cameron Erving will all have big decisions to make.
In: The next regime
Replacing Jernigan will be a tough task, but Nile Lawrence-Stample (14 tackles, 2 QB hurries) took some big steps in 2013. Karlos Williams (705 yards, 11 touchdowns) is ready to pick up the slack if either tailback leaves, while Jesus Wilson and Isaiah Jones will see their workload at receiver increase in 2014. Kevin Haplea returns from a knee injury, though he’s unlikely to match O’Leary’s productivity in the passing game. Wilson Bell earned rave reviews before an injury ended his season, but he could step into a vacancy at tackle should one arise in 2014.
The Seminoles picked up their second commitment from a junior college offensive lineman in the last 10 days when guard Kareem Are (Fort Scott, Kan./Fort Scott CC) pledged to FSU. Are is No. 45 in the ESPN Junior College 50, and Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau), No. 8 in the rankings, committed Dec. 9.
Are, 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, plans to enroll in January and signed with Florida State when he committed. Wednesday is the first day midyear juco enrollees can sign with colleges.
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That doesn’t mean, though, that another surprise candidate like Andre Williams won’t emerge.
Until then, here’s an early look at your top three ACC Heisman hopefuls for 2014:
1. FSU QB Jameis Winston: We saw what happened with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel -- the magic of his first season wore off, even if his play remained outstanding. It’s not going to be easy for Winston to repeat, but he has made a habit of exceeding expectations. There’s also the question of who leaves early for the NFL, and how that affects Winston’s supporting cast. With Winston returning, though, Florida State should again be considered a frontrunner for the national title, and Winston remains the candidate to beat for the Heisman Trophy.
2. Miami running back Duke Johnson: He broke his ankle in the loss to Florida State and missed the rest of the season, but when he’s 100 percent healthy, there’s no question Johnson is a game-changer and one of the top running backs and kick returners in the country. Miami was 2-2 without him, losing to Duke and Virginia Tech, and he was the ACC’s No. 2-leading rusher before he was injured. Even with the injury, Johnson still finished the regular season as Miami’s leading rusher with 920 yards and 115 yards per game. He was second on the team in total offense and led the team with 1,393 all-purpose yards.
3. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater (if he returns): Bridgewater has said he is “undecided” about his future, but will make the decision after playing Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Should he return, Bridgewater would instantly be one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC for 2014, and again one of the top in the country. As of right now, though, Bridgewater is is the No. 1-rated quarterback prospect by ESPN's Todd McShay, and the No. 8 player overall.
NEW YORK -- A tackle-machine linebacker, a tackle-busting running back and one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the country made return appearances on The Associated Press All-America team.
The All-America teams were released Tuesday and selected by a panel of AP college football poll voters.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston from Florida State added All-American to his resume after a spectacular redshirt freshman season. Heisman finalists Andre Williams from Boston College and Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch also made the first team. Williams joins Carey in the backfield and Lynch, the dual-threat quarterback, was chosen as an all-purpose player.
Carey, a junior, is second in the nation in rushing after leading last year, but said he thinks he's a better player now.
"I worked hard to improve my speed and strength in the offseason while keeping my speed," Carey said. "I put on 10 pounds of weight and I think that's helped my durability. I also wanted to be a better blocker away from the ball. Blocking for our quarterback and our receivers is key to our system and it's important that I do my part even when I'm not carrying the ball."
- Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris says no schools have reached out to him yet.
- Wake Forest has added a head coach to its offensive staff.
- Dave Clawson and Kevin Higgins have known each other for a while.
- Jameis Winston has earned the Heisman Trophy, but can he continue to live up to it?
- Virginia Tech is trying to bolster its quarterback position for the future.
- Syracuse grad Sean Keeley managed to capture the Christmas spirit and combine it with a bowl game.
- Maryland cornerback Dexter McDougle had an award named in his honor.
- Virginia Tech had an ACC championship defense this season, says coordinator Bud Foster.
- The ACC produced a few memorable moments in 2013.
- The conference also had a few fab freshmen this year.
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The BCS era began with Florida State in a national title game and now ends with Florida State in a national title game, tidy bookends to be sure. But the time in between has not been about the Seminoles’ domination, as the bookends suggest.
It has been about reinvention.
No other program has remade itself in quite the same way over this 15-year period, starting as a champion, then sinking to mediocrity, then rising to play for a championship again. The overriding question up until this season -- up until the start of November, really -- was whether the Seminoles could truly return to their former glory.
Now the overriding question is whether this team could eclipse the best Florida State ever had to offer.
“They’re back,” former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said in a recent phone interview with ESPN.com. “They’re back the way we were in the ‘90s, where we played in five national championship games. If they win their next game, they’ll probably go down as the best team in Florida State history. The way they’ve won their games is unbelievable.”
Yet Florida State lost the first BCS title game to Tennessee in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl, playing without injured quarterback Chris Weinke. The following season, the Seminoles began the year ranked No. 1 and used the national championship game disappointment as motivation.
Players knew they had the talent, but Bowden pushed them further, instituting mat drills on Tuesdays before practice. Come Saturday, Florida State was the best-conditioned team on the field. Players believed they would prevail in the fourth quarter every single time. When they beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, Florida State became the first team to go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the nation.
“It was amazing that we could really put Florida State where they needed to be,” said Ron Dugans, a Florida State receiver from 1995-99 and now an assistant at Louisville. “I feel like it could have been more, but you really appreciate getting a chance to go 12-0. Nowadays, it rarely happens. We take that for granted. Going undefeated doesn’t come easy. You look at how many draft picks, how many All-Americans, how many all-conference guys that have played at Florida State, all the great coaching. We only went undefeated once.”
The following season, the Seminoles lost the national championship game to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. While they made a few more BCS appearances in the ensuing years, they could not quite match the standards their predecessors built. NCAA sanctions also took a toll, forcing Florida State to vacate five wins in 2006 and six wins in 2007. Bowden was eventually forced out in 2009, closing his record-setting career with a 7-6 mark.
Jimbo Fisher has led the way back up to relevance, doing so in a vastly different landscape than the one Florida State navigated the last time it played for a title. The SEC has become the most dominant league in the nation, college coaches have become multimillionaires several times over, television dollars have redefined and reshaped conferences and long-standing rivalries, and the sport is headed for a four-team playoff.
But what has not changed is what got Florida State back on top.
Excel at recruiting and your chances of winning are greatly enhanced. Florida State currently has backups who could start somewhere else, the way it did when the BCS era began.
Excel at recruiting a talented quarterback, and your chances are enhanced further. Florida State has a Heisman Trophy winner in Jameis Winston, the way it had a future Heisman winner in Weinke when the BCS era began.
“My philosophy is if you get the best players you’re going to win,” Bowden said. “The thing Jimbo has done such a great job of is recruiting. How does he go to Alabama and get the best quarterback in the country?”
Winston now has Florida State in position for comparisons. Bowden points to the way the 2013 team has won its games, ranking as the No. 2 scoring offense in the country and No. 1 scoring defense. Average margin of victory: 43 points. No team came within single digits.
“The only thing about our last team in ’99, we were No. 1 at the start of the season and were No. 1 every week and went through undefeated,” Bowden said. “This team beat everybody so bad if they win this next ballgame, they’re going to have a right to say whatever they want to say.”
Bowden is not the only one who believes. Corey Simon, a defensive tackle on the 1998 and 1999 teams, told Dugans the other day, “This team is just as good as the teams we had at Florida State when we were playing.”
“I think it’s slowly become the way it used to be,” Dugans said. “Those guys now, they’ve embraced the tradition at Florida State. They’ve got a chance to become a part of a legacy. They go out and play hard for the school colors, the school tradition, and the guys who helped put the school on the map.”
Now they have a chance to put Florida State back on the map. The national championship map.
So with signing day closer than it appears in college football’s mirrors, here are 10 storylines in the ACC to watch between now and Feb. 5.
1. Who will sign the ACC’s top class?
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Carolinas consistently have proved to be one of the top areas in the nation to find gridiron talent. These two states in recent years have produced players like current Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall player in the 2011 class, and Georgia RB Todd Gurley. For the 2014 class, 22 players from these two states are represented in the ESPN 300, and several of them are taking part in the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas here this week.
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The Class of 2013 is in the stretch run. With just 50 days until national signing day, there are plenty of developments and questions in the lead-up to Feb. 5. From top uncommitted players to class rankings predictions, this is everything you'll need to know.
Questions to ponder
50. Who is next at Texas, and when? The choice as new Longhorns coach will be key for future classes, but the timing of the hire is also important as there are quite a few commitments targeted by other teams that are now hanging by a thread with each passing day -- dead period or not.
49. Will Maryland close with a bang? This one is simple: keep No. 15 Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy) and No. 26 Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) home and it's a big bang.
We've all experienced at least one crazy, tempestuous relationship, right? It was toxic yet also sometimes thrilling beyond measure. The highs were extraordinary, and the lows miserable. There were raving arguments full of frenzied recriminations, but somehow you stayed together for a surprisingly long time. Alas, eventually, sanity prevailed and you went your separate ways.
On Jan. 6 at midnight, college football will break up with the BCS after a tumultuous 16 seasons. The sport will move on to a new relationship in 2014 with the four-team College Football Playoff. This one promises to be more stable and mature.
So as we move toward this inevitable split, how do we feel? We know this is for the best, but certainly there will be some bittersweetness to the parting.
The BCS, after all, stopped us from ending seasons the way we ended 1997, when twin unbeatens Michigan and Nebraska eyeballed each other from across the country because the old bowl system didn't allow them to settle things on the field. Simply, the BCS tried to find the best way to put the Nos. 1 and 2 teams together for a winner-take-all game, which, at the time of its creation, seemed like a great idea. While it was unquestionably an imperfect system, it gave us Texas' 41-38 win over USC in 2006, which might well be the greatest college football game ever played. It also gave us Ohio State's shocking double-overtime win over a seemingly invincible Miami squad in 2003, which has a spot on the same list.
Led by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, the ACC had nine players selected to the team, including Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams of Boston College and Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who won the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Award, Outland Trophy and Lombardi Trophy. Florida State, which will play Auburn in the VIZIO BCS National Championship, led all teams with four All-American selections.
Passing Game Key For Florida State
2:00 PM ET Washington State Colorado State 3:30 PM ET 20 Fresno State 25 USC 5:30 PM ET Buffalo San Diego State 9:00 PM ET Tulane Louisiana-Lafayette
6:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Bowling Green 9:30 PM ET Utah State 23 Northern Illinois
2:30 PM ET Marshall Maryland 6:00 PM ET Syracuse Minnesota 9:30 PM ET Brigham Young Washington
12:00 PM ET Rutgers Notre Dame 3:20 PM ET Cincinnati North Carolina 6:45 PM ET Miami (FL) 18 Louisville 10:15 PM ET Michigan Kansas State
11:45 AM ET Middle Tennessee Navy 3:15 PM ET Ole Miss Georgia Tech 6:45 PM ET 10 Oregon Texas 10:15 PM ET 14 Arizona State Texas Tech
12:30 PM ET Arizona Boston College 2:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 17 UCLA 4:00 PM ET Rice Mississippi State 8:00 PM ET 24 Duke 21 Texas A&M
12:00 PM ET Nebraska 22 Georgia 12:00 PM ET UNLV North Texas 1:00 PM ET Iowa 16 LSU 1:00 PM ET 19 Wisconsin 9 South Carolina 5:00 PM ET 5 Stanford 4 Michigan State 8:30 PM ET 15 UCF 6 Baylor
7:30 PM ET 13 Oklahoma State 8 Missouri 8:30 PM ET 12 Clemson 7 Ohio State