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]

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]

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]

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.

Alabama, Oklahoma and Oregon each had one first-place vote.

As expected, the SEC leads the way with eight teams in the preseason [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]

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]

Need a college football fix? ESPNU to replay 2013’s top games

  • 11:36 am Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

If you’re tired of watching soccer or tennis or just need a warmup for the upcoming football season, you can watch what ESPN is calling the best 25 games of 2013 later this month.

ESPNU will air many of the Top 25 College Football Games of 2013, beginning with two on July 21. The top five will be decided upon by the fans from a list that includes these games (You can vote here; it ends July 28):

Auburn vs. Alabama
Florida State vs. Auburn
Ohio State vs. Michigan
Texas A&M vs. Duke
Auburn vs. Georgia

I don’t know about you, but it’s [More]