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

  • 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]

SEC Power Rankings: Week 2

  • 6:30 am Monday, September 8th, 2014 by Andy Johnston

There’s not much movement in this week’s SEC Power Rankings, since the biggest challenge for just about every team was signing those big payout checks. The carnage was shown in some of the scores:

Florida 65, Eastern Michigan 0
LSU 56, Sam Houston State 0
Texas A&M 73, Lamar 3
Arkansas 73, Nicholls State 7
Ole Miss 41, Vanderbilt 3

Oh wait. That last one was a SEC game.

You get the drift. On with the rankings.

1. Texas A&M (No. 1 last week) – No let down here. Like we expected one. Kenny Hill has seven TD passes and zero picks in his first two starts.

2. Georgia [More]

SEC Power Rankings: Week 1

  • 6:30 am Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 by Andy Johnston

I hope you enjoyed the first weekend of college football.

Here’s how the SEC stacks up after the first week of the season. I will update this on Monday morning every week.

1. Texas A&M — Boom! Where did that come from? Especially since few folks were expecting an offensive explosion in the absence of Johnny Manziel. The Aggies let everybody know they’ll be a force this season.

2. Georgia – If Texas A&M ruled the air, Georgia controlled the ground in its win over Clemson. Did Vince Dooley replace Mark Richt?

3. Auburn — Nick Marshall was voted preseason All-SEC. Just think. He [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]

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]

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]