Pac-12: SEC

College wide receivers who gain 1,000 yards in a season are rarer than you’d expect.

Only 37 players in the the Power 5 conferences reached that milestone in 2014, compared to 57 who reached 1,000 yards rushing. Some schools have surprisingly long droughts without such a receiver and low numbers of players who have reached that season milestone.

Nebraska and Virginia Tech -- which have a combined 248 years of football between them -- were the most surprising. They’re the only Power 5 teams to never officially have a player reach 1,000 yards receiving, although they can thank the old rule that didn’t count bowl stats as official until 2002. (The Hokies’ Andre Davis finished with 1,070 yards after the bowl in the 1999 season, but he’s credited with 962. Nebraska’s leading single-season receiver, Johnny Rodgers, had 1,013 yards in 1972 -- but 71 yards came in the bowl game.)

The third-longest drought came from the SEC, where Mississippi State last produced a 1,000-yard receiver in 1978, when current head coach Dan Mullen was 6 years old. No Power 5 team reached the milestone in each of the last five years.

Conference-wide, the Pac-12 fared the best by producing such a receiver at a 38.3 percent clip over the last five seasons. Both the Pac-12 and the Big 12 also led the way by having half their teams reach the mark in 2014.

At the bottom? Once again, when it came to the attack through the air, the Big Ten languished behind the other conferences. It produced a Power 5-low 20 percent rate over the last five seasons. Both the Big Ten and SEC also had only three teams finish with 1,000-yard receivers last season.

Last week, we discovered the Pac-12 is tied for tops when it comes to producing 1,000-yard rushers.

Well, turns out it's more of the same with passing.

Sixty-five passers reached the 2,500-yard mark last season, and more came from the Pac-12 than anywhere else in the Power 5. It wasn't even close. Seventy-five percent of Pac-12 teams boasted a passer who reached that milestone. Compare that to the next-best conference, the Big 12, which saw six out of 10 teams meet the criteria.

The Pac-12's dominance wasn't a one-year anomaly, either. Over the past five seasons, the conference has produced 41 such passers in 60 attempts. Compare that to the ACC, which was second by producing those QBs at a 55.7 percent clip, or the Big 12, which was right behind at 54 percent.

The worst conference? Maybe it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's the one with a reputation for its ground-and-pound style, the Big Ten. No conference had fewer passers reach 2,500 yards last season -- the Big Ten had only five -- and no conference had fewer passers reach that plateau over the past five seasons.

Among individual teams, triple-option Georgia Tech has gone the longest without a 2,500-yard passer at 14 years. Eight teams -- including three in the Pac-12 -- boasted a 2,500-yard quarterback in each of the past five seasons.

Here's an overall look, by Power 5 conference, of each team and its most recent 2,500-yard passer:

It’s always fun to look into the history books to see how certain players lived up to their rankings. With signing day fewer than 24 hours away, here’s a look at the last five No. 1 and where I think they would rank stacked up against each other.

After winning several high profile recruiting battles under Gary Pinkel, Missouri fans have learned some of the tricks to help an elite prospect like Terry Beckner Jr. feel at home on an official visit.


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Despite making a commitment to Alabama last week, ESPN 300 offensive tackle Isaiah Prince said Wednesday he's visiting Maryland and will give the Terps a solid look.


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The shockwaves from Texas A&M quarterback commitment Kyler Murray’s unofficial visit to Texas on Wednesday were still being felt Thursday because he's such an important target for both schools.


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ESPN 300 receiver Van Jefferson is no longer committed to Georgia and the news was definitely disappointing for the Dawgs. So who’s in the driver’s seat now for the one of the best receivers in the country?


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One of the biggest success stories in the 2015 recruiting class has been Arkansas with its in-state recruits. The Razorbacks were 10-for-10 on players they had offered in Arkansas, but that changed Sunday when ESPN 300 receiver K.J. Hill backed off his pledge.


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Few recruiting battles are more intriguing than the ones going on in Texas for high-profile players such as Daylon Mack, Soso Jamabo and Chris Warren III. What schools they pick could tilt recruiting supremacy in the Lone Star State moving forward


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UA practice notebook: Day 2 

December, 30, 2014
12/30/14
4:47
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Day 2 of the Under Armour All-America game practices was overcast and rainy, but the dreary weather didn't stop Team Armour and Team Highlight from having an exciting practice.

The two teams had a spirited first day of practice, however, two offensive linemen, Keenan Walker and Lester Cotton, suffered injuries and won't be able to play in the game on Friday. With the shortage of bodies along the offensive line, ESPN 300 offensive tackle Tyree St. Louis was asked to drive up from IMG Academy in Bradenton to fill in.


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UA Day 1: Best sights and sounds

December, 29, 2014
12/29/14
5:10
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Several players made incredible plays on Day 1 of the Under Armour All-America game practices. Byron Cowart had several sacks, quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Deondre Francois and Brandon Wimbush all made impressive throws, and Notre Dame commit Shaun Crawford had a big pass breakup. Here’s a closer look at some of the top plays caught on camera.

Notre Dame pledge Shaun Crawford with nearly perfect technique on a pass breakup of a pass intended for George Campbell.

Quarterback Kyler Murray with a beautiful touchdown pass.

George Campbell coming down with the catch.

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins against Alabama recruit Richie Petitbon.

Georgia recruit Terry Godwin makes a catch against Iman Marshall.

Quarterback Deondre Francois with a nice touchdown pass over the middle.

UNC OL pledge Tommy Hatton winning a battle against the No. 1-ranked player in the country, Terry Beckner Jr.

Oregon recruit Canton Kaumatule with a great spin move to win his one-on-one battle.

Byron Cowart with a nice move on Drew Richmond for the sack of Blake Barnett.

South Carolina commit Arden Key with the tackle.

Brandon Wimbush with a nice touch pass.

National links: Calm before the storm 

November, 25, 2014
11/25/14
8:30
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Let’s just get this out of the way: Last week in college football was kind of dull.

Unless, that is, you’re into watching the single-game FBS rushing record fall for the second straight Saturday. (So who breaks it this week?) Yes, last week was dull, unless, of course, you’re into Florida State’s weekly high-wire act, re-awakenings at Arkansas and Minnesota or UCLA’s continued stranglehold on Los Angeles.

My point is, the latest set of games didn’t significantly impact the College Football Playoff picture -- at least in comparison to the past few weeks. Barring some craziness at the selection-committee table, the top four on Tuesday night is going to look no different than last week’s edition.

But Week 13 was simply the calm before the storm. Not so sure? Check out first nine paragraphs Gene Wojciechowski’s BMOC column. The rocky road to Dec. 9 is enough to make a fan of any playoff contender choke on his or her turkey dinner.

And it starts in two days.


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College football’s inaugural four-team playoff is still weeks away, but the FBS head coaches already want an eight-team playoff, according to ESPN’s weekly poll, #1QFor128.

Of the coaches that voted in ESPN’s poll, 44 percent want an eight-team playoff compared to 29 percent for the current four-team model, and 17 percent want a 16-team playoff.

Of the 128 FBS coaches, 102 participated in this week’s poll, conducted by ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.

Most of the coaches who want an eight-team playoff believe it should consist of the conference champions from the Power 5 leagues plus the next three highest-ranked at-large teams or the top-ranked Group of 5 champion and the two highest-ranked at-large teams.

This week, ACC commissioner John Swofford said that in terms of the number of teams, an eight-team playoff “would probably be ideal.”

This is the first year of a 12-year contract with ESPN to have the four-team College Football Playoff. CFB Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said they are committed to only four teams for the next 12 years and “there has been no discussion of expanding.”

Still, the coaches’ voting shows they already want an eight-team playoff – six weeks before the inaugural four-team playoff begins on Jan. 1.

Nearly 20 percent of the coaches favored a 16-team playoff. One Group of 5 conference coach suggested taking the eight highest-ranked conference champions (from the 10 FBS leagues) and the next eight highest-ranked at-large teams.

This coach even went as far to suggest the first-round and second-round games could be played at neutral sites, including cold-weather sites, with cities bidding to host the games like the NCAA basketball tournament regional model.

Four percent of the coaches are not in favor of a playoff, while two percent voted for a six-team and a 12-team playoff. One coach wants a 32-team playoff, another coach a 64-team playoff.

More than half of the coaches (53 percent) from the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12) that voted chose an eight-team playoff, compared to 33 percent for the four-team model.

The coaches from the Group of 5 conferences (American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt) that voted also preferred an eight-team playoff (39 percent). However, 25 percent of the Group of 5 coaches want a 16-team playoff, slightly below the 26 percent that voted for a four-team playoff.

One Power 5 conference coach said: “four is good” but “eight would be perfect.”

Swofford said he doesn’t think “all the controversy [of the four-team field] is going to go away.”

“You have four teams that get a chance to play for the national championship, which is twice as many as before,” Swofford said. “But whoever's fifth or sixth is not going to be happy. There will be some [Power 5] conferences that won't have a team in the playoff.”

Swofford is a member of the College Football Playoff management committee.

American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said an eight-team playoff “increasingly will be a topic of conversation. But each FBS conference would want to take the temperature of its membership on something as significant as this.”

Chat: CFB Saturday Live

November, 21, 2014
11/21/14
7:00
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Chat live with our writers from 9 a.m. to noon ET and then again starting at 8 p.m. ET for the prime-time games. In between, keep this page open as we bring you the latest real-time reaction, analysis, pics and video from our ESPN crew scattered throughout the nation.

Kickoff Show: Week 13 (1 p.m. ET)

November, 20, 2014
11/20/14
10:04
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Join ESPN.com reporters Heather Dinich, Ted Miller, Adam Rittenberg and host Chantel Jennings as they discuss the current race for the four College Football Playoff spots, the Heisman race and the biggest games of the weekend.

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