College Football Insider Blog 

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

Deshaun Watson to make first start for Clemson

  • 9:26 pm Sunday, September 21st, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Dabo Swinney did the right thing by not starting Deshaun Watson in Clemson’s game at Florida State.

He’s doing the right thing by starting him this week.

Swinney said Sunday that the incredibly talented freshman quarterback from Gainesville will be behind center when the Tigers host North Carolina at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“That’s the decision I had to make based on what I saw,” Swinney said on his Sunday conference call, as reported by the Charleston Post and Courier. “Had Cole played, well, like he played the first couple games, or Deshaun didn’t play well when he went in, we’d kind of [More]

College football TV viewing guide: Five games to watch

  • 6:30 am Friday, September 19th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

What’s that strange site? A day of conference games? Finally. Look around and you’ll see plenty of what should be more competitive matchups than we’ve seen so far this season. Here’s the best of the bunch.

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, noon, ESPN

The Hokies were a little pokey at the start of last week’s loss to East Carolina. And it cost them. If Virginia Tech had won, it had a chance at going undefeated this season. That’s evaporated and now the Hokies have to slow Georgia Tech. Even if they don’t, can the Jackets slow them?

Florida at Alabama, 3:30 p.m., CBS

Florida [More]

Jameis Winston suspended for part of Clemson game

  • 11:33 am Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Heisman winner Jameis Winston will miss a half of Florida State’s game against Clemson on Saturday night as punishment for shouting an obscene phrase at FSU’s student union this week.

That’s the decision reached by coach Jimbo Fisher position after the ACC teleconference on Wednesday.

“Everything has been addressed and we’re getting ready for the game,” Fisher said, but then later added, “We’re deciding. We’re talking as things go on right now,” when asked about Winston’s availability against Clemson.

The top-ranked Seminoles host 22nd-ranked Tigers at 8 p.m. Saturday (ABC) in the ACC’s premier game of the year.

It was reported that [More]

College football TV viewing guide: Five games to watch

  • 9:51 am Friday, September 12th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

So much for the likes of Nicholls State, The Citadel, Lamar and Sam Houston State. The level of competition is improved – albeit slightly for some teams — which should lead to some fancy channel flipping at night.

East Carolina at Virginia Tech, noon, ESPN

Virginia Tech appears to be back. OK, it’s only two games, but the Hokies were unfazed by the masses and mystique of Ohio State’s Horseshoe last week. With no teams on their schedule currently ranked, Virginia Tech could be looking at a return to glory, when they averaged 10.5 wins from 2004-11. Let downs against teams like [More]

Todd Gurley is Heisman favorite in latest odds

  • 4:00 pm Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

The money is now on Todd Gurley to win the Heisman Trophy.

Of course, there’s nearly three months of the season to be played and votes aren’t due until December, so take that for what it’s worth.

Still, Georgia’s unstoppable running back rumbled to the top of the pack and is now the favorite — at 5-1 — to win this year’s Heisman Trophy, according to sportsbook Bovada.

There’s been a lot of movement at the top, with Gurley moving past Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, despite not playing last Saturday.

“The updated Heisman odds after Week 2 had Marcus Mariota as the [More]

College football TV viewing guide: Five games to watch

  • 9:37 am Friday, September 5th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Good home cooking is in short supply on Saturday.

Most of the top teams around the Southeast will be stuffing their stats and running up scores against smaller FBS programs and various FCS teams on Fat Check Saturday.

Sam Houston State will receive $500,000 for playing LSU, Texas A&M is paying $325,000 to Lamar and defending national champ Florida State is cutting a check for $425,000 to The Citadel.

So cast your eyes to other areas of the country for today’s most competitive matchups.

No. 14 USC at No. 13 Stanford | 3:30 p.m. | ABC

This has become one of nation’s best rivalries, thanks [More]

Now at Rutgers, Ralph Friedgen earns national honor

  • 3:38 pm Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 by Andy Johnston

Georgia Tech fans might be longing for the days of Ralph Friedgen, but he has a new job.

Friedgen is no longer a head coach, like he was at Maryland. He’s returned to scheming offenses, which is what he did twice at Tech, the first time from 1987-91 and the second from 1997-2000.

He was the Jackets’ offensive coordinator when they won a share of the national title in 1990 and was back there when they went 10-2 in 1998 and averaged more than 225 yards rushing and 283 yards passing  a game in ’99 with Joe Hamilton at QB (It would [More]

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]