College Football Insider Blog 

An inside look at the teams, players, coaches and trends that shape college football Saturdays

Kenny Hill shows South Carolina is missing more than Jadeveon Clowney

  • 11:50 pm Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

So maybe Johnny Manziel was a product of the system.

Don’t believe that.

But Kevin Sumlin has something special going on at Texas A&M.

And some Aggies fans will be getting free furniture.

Kenny Hill picked and plucked South Carolina from his first pass to his last. He threw for 511 yards — breaking Manziel’s team record — to lead the Aggies to a shocking 52-28 victory over the Gamecocks.

We were once used to seeing Steve Spurrier’s QBs putting up obscene numbers, but Hill — making his first career start in a stadium that’s given plenty of visiting QBs the 1,000-yard stare [More]

Five best SEC players in 2014

  • 2:00 pm Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Cooper should be the No. 1 option on the Tide’s list of weapons, but sometimes receivers are behind RBs in that system. If Alabama’s QBs ever tire of handing the ball off, they have one of the country’s most athletic receivers to find downfield.

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

No running back was taken in the first round of this spring’s NFL Draft, something that will have to change if Gurley turns pro after this season. He’s the most polished back in college football, and that doesn’t include the fact that he’s 226 pounds and runs angry.

Reese Dismukes, C, Auburn

Gus [More]

Five best ACC players in 2014

  • 10:00 am Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson

Beasley lets his stats do his talking. The disruptor from Adairsville led the ACC with 13 sacks, was fourth in the nation in tackles for loss (23) and helped transform the Clemson defense. He turned down NFL dollars for one more go around with the Tigers.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh

A hometown hero from nearby Clairton, Pa., Boyd broke Larry Fitzgerald’s freshman receiving records with 85 catches and 1,174 yards in 2013. And then he returned a punt for a TD to help the Panthers win their bowl game. What’s his encore?

Rashad Greene, WR, FSU

Speedy and able to leap [More]

New rules include more protection for QBs

  • 6:30 am Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

A new season means new rules.

There are several rules changes or additions that you want to know before the season gets under way in earnest tonight.

Here’s a rundown.

1. Instant replay can overturn targeting penalty

This was a huge problem last year. Instant replay sometimes negated a targeting penalty and ejection, but the 15-yard penalty would still be enforced. No longer. If targeting is reversed by instant replay, the 15-yard mark off also goes away. One caveat: If the penalty is roughing the passer or kick/catch interference, then a 15-yard penalty will still be assessed — even if an ejection [More]

Five ACC games you can’t miss this season

  • 6:30 am Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Let’s take a look at the top five ACC games this season.

Miami at Louisville, Sept. 1 (Monday)

Hey, Louisville. Welcome to the ACC. The Cardinals and coach Bobby Petrino will make their conference debut in prime time. Controversy has followed Petrino to Louisville, which will have a new QB after Teddy Bridgewater went to the NFL.

Clemson at Florida State, Sept. 20

What a debacle for Clemson last season. ABC’s cameras made sure the nation saw FSU’s 51-14 dismantling of the Tigers. Jameis Winston’s quick strikes were too much for Clemson. Guess what? Winston is back and this year’s game is in Tallahassee.

North [More]

Bo vs. Herschel: Who was the best?

  • 10:55 am Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Each side has plenty of evidence and is vehement in its beliefs.

There are folks who swear Herschel Walker is the best running back to ever plow under and step on college defenders.

And then there are those who uphold Bo Jackson as the radiant and supreme example of a running back.

No matter who you think was the best, they were both so marvelous in the 1980s we know them by one name: Herschel and Bo.

The topic has been debated for nearly 30 years, since Herschel left Georgia for the USFL and Bo was steamrolling tacklers while playing for Auburn.

Herschel led the [More]

Five SEC games you can’t miss this season

  • 6:30 am Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Let’s take a look at the top five SEC games this season. In case you’ve forgotten, the season gets under way on Thursday.

Georgia at South Carolina, Sept. 13

The Gamecocks enter this season with 18 consecutive home wins, a streak that could be at 20 when Georgia visits for the 3:30 p.m. CBS game. The Bulldogs have an extra week to prepare for longtime nemesis Steve Spurrier and all those crazy Gamecocks fans.

South Carolina at Auburn, Oct. 25

A SEC title continues to elude South Carolina. The Gamecocks, depending on what happens against Georgia, likely will need to defeat Auburn to continue [More]

Tide’s new starting QB? Either Jacob Coker or Blake Sims

  • 3:56 pm Monday, August 25th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Jacob Coker or Blake Sims.

Sims or Coker.

There has been much debate over who will replace AJ McCarron as Alabama’s starting quarterback, and it appears the mystery might continue until Saturday, when the Tide opens against West Virginia.

Coker and Sims were listed as starters on Alabama’s depth chart that was released Monday.

“We’re going to continue to rep both guys,” Alabama coach Nick Saban told AL.com earlier today. “We feel like both guys have been doing a very, very good job. Obviously somebody has to start the game. We’ll make that decision probably at some point in time [More]

Death threats force carnival organizers to cancel Harvey Updyke appearance

  • 1:50 pm Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Harvey Updyke is off the hook.

At least for any pies to the face or dunk tank splashes.

The organizers of a charity event scheduled for Sept. 29 in Mobile, Ala., canceled Updyke’s appearance after former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron’s mother, Dee Dee Bonner, and wife Katherine received death threats on social media, ESPN.com reported.

Auburn University police spokesman confirms student was questioned about making threat against organizer involved in Updyke appearance— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) August 22, 2014

An Auburn student was questioned by Auburn city police about a threat against one of the organizers, ESPN.com reported.

Updyke originally was scheduled to [More]

Auburn fans have opportunity to dunk, throw pie at Harvey Updyke

  • 7:45 am Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by Andy Johnston

If you’re still upset about the oaks in Toomer’s Corner, here’s your chance.

Harvey Updyke has said he will be either in a dunk tank or at a pie throwing booth at a charity event in Mobile, Alabama, on Sept. 27, ESPN.com reported.

You surely remember Updyke.

He’s the zealous Alabama fan — is there another kind? — who poisoned the beloved 130-year-old oaks after Auburn’s win over Alabama in the 2010 Iron Bowl, leading to their death and removal.

“He thought about it and thought about it,” Updyke’s wife, Elva, told ESPN.com. “His daughter said he needed to do it because [More]