College Football Insider Blog 

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

College football TV viewing guide: Five games to watch

  • 10:11 am Friday, August 29th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

For those of you who don’t have tickets or tailgating plans or just want to enjoy the air conditioning and your new 65-inch flat screen, here’s a quick viewing guide.

Five games to watch

No. 7 UCLA at Virginia | Noon | ESPN

This doesn’t sound like much of a game. UCLA is projected by many to win the Pac-12 and be in the running for the national championship. And Virginia, is uhhhh. OK. Even if it’s not a close game, sit back and enjoy the talents of UCLA QB Brett Hundley, who will set school passing records this season. And if that’s [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]

Jimbo Fisher: ACC had better year than SEC in 2013

  • 11:15 am Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

The ACC was SEC-ond to none last season, according to Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.

Fisher, who led the Seminoles to the national championship with a last-second win over Auburn said: “No conference has ever had as dominant a year as the ACC had last year.”

Fisher said that and other comments about his team, Jameis Winston and the two rival conferences during an interview with Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman that aired on FOX Sports 1 on Tuesday night.

Comparing the ACC and SEC, Fisher said the ACC had more award winners, and then added this:

“Eleven (ACC) teams had [More]

FSU No. 1, Alabama is second in AP preseason Top 25

  • 2:30 pm Sunday, August 17th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Florida State is right where it ended the 2014 season.

The Seminoles, who had 57 of the 60 first-place votes, are No. 1 in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, ahead of No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 5 Ohio State. FSU had 1,496 points, followed by Alabama with 1,361.

The Seminoles, featuring Heisman Trophy-winning QB Jameis Winston, open the season versus Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. Aug. 30 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

No. 1 jinx? Last 4 preseason No. 1s: 2013 Bama 11-2 (No. 7), 2012 USC 7-6 (NR), 2011 OU 10-3 (No. [More]

LSU vs. Wisconsin among top non-conference games this fall

  • 10:47 am Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

I love some of the intersectional matchups this year.

These kinds of games — with all the conference pride on the line — tend to rile folks up somewhat.

Here’s a look at what I think are the top non-conference games this season.

Michigan State at Oregon, Sept. 6

Michigan State was one of the best defensive teams in the nation in 2013. Coordinator Pat Narduzzi quickly will know if this year’s group will be able to match the 2013 unit when they face Mariota and Oregon’s speedy offense.

LSU vs. Wisconsin, Aug. 30 (at Houston)

SEC pride will be tested when LSU, which lost 11 [More]

Iron Bowl at top of nation’s conference games this fall

  • 9:53 am Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

The start of the season is about two weeks away, so here’s a look at the nation’s top conference games this season.

Auburn at Alabama, Nov. 29

The Iron Bowl is must-see TV because this is the best rivalry in the country. Four of the past five national champs have come out of this game and Auburn just missed making it 5-for-5 last year. These rivals will have a tough time matching 2013’s game for drama.

Baylor at Oklahoma, Nov. 8

The Sooners were left red-faced after their dismal showing in a 41-12 loss at Baylor last year. Bears QB Bryce Petty threw five [More]

Spurrier vs. Swinney growing into college football’s best reality TV

  • 2:34 pm Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Season 6 of Spurrier vs. Swinney is off to an amazing start.

You have to love Steve Spurrier and Dabo Swinney and the verbal shoving match they have with one another. It’s so good, you wonder if they have an unstated understanding to pick at each other just to draw interest in the rivalry between South Carolina and Clemson.

They’ve gone at each other for five seasons, and even though the Gamecocks have won five straight over Swinney and his Tigers, he keeps coming back for more.

Which is fine with Spurrier.

He’s Yoda of the snide remark, a master at getting under a [More]

Bobby Petrino takes steps toward redemption at Louisville

  • 9:32 am Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Bobby Petrino is hated by many in Atlanta.

He’s hated by many in Arkansas.

He was — and might still be — hated by many in Louisville, a college and fanbase he left jilted when he bolted to coach the Falcons in 2007.

(Here’s a Mark Bradley blog from 2010 comparing Petrino with Lane Kiffin).

As you know, Petrino is back with Louisville, trying to rebuild his name and reputation.

He was all smiles and selflessness at the ACC Media Days this past weekend, relating stories for caddying for his daughter Katie, who plays golf for Louisville in a column by [More]