ESPN selects preseason All-Americans; Jeff Driskel impressing at Florida
Texas looks ready to run with Gray and Brown in the backfield
1. Now that Johnathan Gray is healthy and ready to team with Malcolm Brown, the Texas backfield has two backs capable of becoming the first Longhorn to rush for 1,000 yards in -- get this -- seven years. New coach Charlie Strong hasn't had a 1,000-yard guy since Bilal Powell rushed for 1,405 yards at Louisville in 2010. In fact, in Strong's last two seasons at Louisville, the Cardinals passed for nearly 70 percent of their offensive yards. Did Strong throw so much because he had Teddy Bridgewater, or because he didn't have a Gray or Brown?
2. So we named Oregon's Marcus Mariota as our ESPN.com preseason All-America quarterback over Florida State's Jameis Winston, and yes, maybe we are succumbing to the trend of holding the defending Heisman winner to a higher standard. But with Mariota there's also a sense of learning how good and how valuable he is to the Ducks once he played on one healthy knee last season. Mariota is everything Winston is -- healthy, a year stronger, a leader. And he is hungry to get where Winston already has been.
3. How should schools combat the comfort of watching games on the big screen at home? If fans stop buying tickets, intercollegiate athletics is in big trouble. The SEC said this week that its schools have improved concessions, cell service (AT&T spent $12 million at Georgia's Sanford Stadium alone), and video capabilities at their stadiums. Oklahoma wants to increase its video board to 8,750 square feet, which would be as wide as the field and five stories high. (Memo to Bob Stoops: shave closely.) None of that solves traffic issues or $250 hotel rooms, but it's a start.
Texas #Hashtag Power Rankings
Those Texas schools all seem to have hand signals. But their coaches also love them some hashtags. We rank the best of every Division I school in the state:
1. #HootNHoller David Bailiff, Rice So Texas, so quaint.
2. #YESSIR! Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M Sumlin was a trailblazer in hashtag commit alerts. It's the Bat-Signal for Aggies.
4. #LetsRide Charlie Strong, Texas A little offbeat, but distinctive -- even though Twitter historians say Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital used it first. (Scandalous!) Strong also sometimes uses the old standby, #HookEm.
5. #WreckEm Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech Kingsbury is blessed with a catchy slogan that has long been used by the Techsters. As an alum, he has embraced it.
6. (tie) #GoFrogs Gary Patterson, TCU Blah.
6. (tie) #GoCoogs Tony Levine, Houston Blech.
8. #GMG Dan McCarney, North Texas Go Mean Green? At least there's some mystery.
9. #UTSA #WinTheDay Larry Coker, UTSA Labels and platitudes. Uninspired.
Can't be bothered Dennis Franchione, Texas State June Jones, SMU
Not on Twitter Sean Kugler, UTEP Although it'd be cool if this was his account.
Our Preseason All-American Team
There's a bit of familiarity with the ESPN.com preseason All-American team. Four players are repeat selections from a year ago, including three on offense.
Oregon's Marcus Mariota received the nod over 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston at quarterback, while Georgia running back Todd Gurley, Alabama receiver Amari Cooper and Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu are also back for more.
Let the debate between the Pac-12 and SEC rage onward. Each conference placed eight players on the team.
And check out the young talent on defense. Four of the 11 are true sophomores -- Mississippi State tackle Chris Jones, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd and Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.
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What's The Word?
Brett McMurphy asked 65 college football coaches to describe their teams in just one word.
What word was the most used, and which coaches needed more than one word?
The answers can be found here.