The nine schools that could still win the National Championship

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, more than 100 FBS college teams take the field, but most of them will never sniff the national championship. Eastern Michigan, for example, is just dreaming of a bowl game, not of making the playoffs. Even bigger teams, like, say, USC, aren’t going to truly contend this year. There are only a handful of college teams that could plausibly win the title this year, and here they are. If you think we missed a team, you are going to have to try awfully hard to convince us of their title chances. We’re looking at you, Wolverine fans. This isn’t your year. Additionally, this doesn't seem like the season for a Group of Five team to crack the playoff — not with Houston and Boise State having already lost. Try to prove us wrong, Central Florida.

Alabama Crimson Tide

We have to start with Nick Saban and his Alabama team. The Crimson Tide are the defending champions, and it feels like they are defending every year, even when they aren’t. Tua Tagovailoa has given Alabama a whole new look under center. The Tide have won titles with game managers. Now they have an actual dynamic playmaker who could win a Heisman. It’s going to be immensely difficult for anybody to take down the Tide this year, and even if they lose a game, the benefit of the doubt could easily get them into the playoffs.

Clemson Tigers

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Heisman hopefuls: Week 3

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3 means no more cupcake non-conference matchups. Now we find out who really can stand up to the pressure of high-stakes games where division and conference titles can be won and lost.

The new sheriff of Oklahoma's offense is still thriving, but we have four new players who have made this watch list with performances that lit college football on fire this past weekend. Whether they flame out or continue to burn is left to be seen, but here are five players who improved their Heisman cases the most in Week 3.

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

For the second straight week, Murray showed off his cannon arm and ability to run the ball. Not only did he pass for 348 yards and three touchdowns, but he scampered his way to 77 rushing yards against Iowa State. Murray’s dynamic skill set allowed the Sooners to avenge a heartbreaking loss to the Cyclones last year. The junior quarterback has 10 total touchdowns and looks like he’ll only improve on that Heisman resume as the season continues.

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Watch: Alabama RB Josh Jacobs uses landshark taunt against Ole Miss

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  By Larry Brown  |  Last updated 9/16/18

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss fans won’t soon forget Josh Jacobs’ taunt during Saturday’s game, and neither will Nick Saban.

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Top takeaways from college football Week 3

A loaded slate of games Saturday led to the first big eruption of upsets around the nation, and college football Week 3 provided thrills in bunches.

Nebraska was stunned by Troy, Syracuse blew Florida State out of the water with a blowout win at home, Akron took down Northwestern, and BYU shocked the world beating Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium.

In addition to the big upsets, Week 3 was flush with crazy plays, including the craziest punt return for touchdown I’ve ever witnessed and a comedy of errors that proved to be the difference in the Vanderbilt-Notre Dame game.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look back to see what we learned in college football Week 3.

Darrell Henderson is one of the best running backs in the nation

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Watch: D.K. Metcalf burns Alabama for 75-yard TD on first play of game

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Originally posted on Sportsnaut  |  By Matt Johnson  |  Last updated 9/15/18

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

In order to compete with the Alabama Crimson Tide, you have to strike early with big plays. Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf provided the Rebels with just that on Saturday.

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Women's basketball prospect Malu Tshitenge-Mutombo commits to North Carolina

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Women Basketball Recruiting

Sep 14, 2018espnW.com

Malu Tshitenge-Mutombo, niece of former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo and one of the top women's basketball recruits in the 2019 class, on Friday committed to North Carolina.

The 6-foot-3 senior post player at St. John's College High School (Washington, D.C.) and the No. 56 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 chose the Tar Heels over Notre Dame.

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Playing in Texas gives teams chances to recruit Texas

Sep 14, 2018

When Texas plays host to USC at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, the Longhorns won't just be competing against the Trojans. They'll also be competing with Ohio State, which takes on TCU in Arlington, Texas, at the same time only 200 miles north of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

They'll be competing for the attention of in-state recruits with the Buckeyes and other programs who have seen success recruiting Texas in the 2019 class.

The momentum the Longhorns and coach Tom Herman seemed to be gaining from a top-three 2018 class has dwindled in a short period of time. From the excitement of Jimbo Fisher joining Texas A&M to the lingering questions about the Longhorns, recruiting is seeing another shift within the state.

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Hugh Freeze blames climate in America for him not having head coaching job

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Disgraced former Mississippi head football coach Hugh Freeze is taking to the public as a way to defend himself after a scandal surrounding escorts cost him his job with the Rebels.

In speaking at the Little Rock Touchdown Club recently, Freeze noted that today’s current climate in America has prevented him from getting another gig since Mississippi parted ways with him.

This is not a drill.

“I think the climate in America the last year probably affects a lot of administrator’s decision making,” Freeze said. “If they don’t take the time to really hear what our story is, they probably can come quick to make some type of judgement. Maybe that happened. Maybe it didn’t.”

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Unlike Saban, Swinney not annoyed by QB questions

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Originally posted on Sportsnaut  |  By David Kenyon  |  Last updated 9/12/18

© Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson and Alabama both have high-profile quarterback dilemmas, but Dabo Swinney has taken a different approach to how he handles questions compared to Nick Saban.

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Basketball prospect Mir McLean of Roland Park and Team Takeover soars on court, in classroom

By Walter Villa | Sep 13, 2018Special to espnW

Courtesy Jayla James

Mir McLean averaged 18.6 points and 13.5 rebounds as a sophomore at Baltimore's Roland Park Country Day.

Every time Mir McLean hears a referee's whistle, she thinks of her dad, who officiated and coached basketball games.

Every time she sees someone wearing blue and orange -- her father's colors when he played wide receiver for Morgan State -- she thinks of her dad.

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Alabama Football: Crimson Tide two-game report card

Two games into the Alabama football, 2018 season, let’s review the strengths, the weaknesses and what to expect next for Crimson Tide. Alabama football is assured of going into week three of the 2018 season ranked No. 1 in all the top polls. After two games and two lopsided wins, the most obvious signs point […]Alabama Football: Crimson Tide two-game report card - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Top takeaways from college football Week 2

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) drops back looking for a receiver against the Arkansas State Red Wolves during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Sept. 8, 2018. It was another solid showing for one of the Heisman front-runners.  John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

College football Week 2 was defined by some incredible streaks being broken by teams that have been on the losing side of things for years.

The longest road losing streak in history was snapped, and the nation’s longest losing streak to a single team also is now a thing of the past.

In addition to those incredible achievements, this weekend was a prime opportunity for some of the nation’s top playmakers to put up gaudy stats. And they did just that.

We’re diving into those topics and more as we look at the biggest takeaways from college football Week 2.

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Angry Nick Saban yells at team with 40-point lead

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Originally posted on The Sports Daily  |  By Matt Birch  |  Last updated 9/8/18

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban, like Bill Belichick, always expects the best out of his players — no matter the score.

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Watch: Jalen Hurts absorbs brutal shot to the head diving for TD

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama has the benefit of having two quality quarterbacks at its disposal, which puts pressure on both of them to perform.

That was on display during the second quarter of Saturday’s game against Arkansas State, even with the team up 19-0, when Jalen Hurts laid it all on the line, in hopes of finding the end zone.

Hurts took off running, headed toward the goal line, when he was met by a defender. He went airborne — leaping from roughly four yards out — hoping to find his way into the end zone.

Instead, though, cornerback Darreon Jackson put a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot on Hurts, and he fumbled the football. Red Wolves defensive back Justin Clifton recovered, and that was the end of that drive.

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Jalen Hurts gets into Alabama blowout in first quarter

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  By Larry Brown  |  Last updated 9/8/18

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban is getting both of his quarterbacks plenty of action early in the season, as promised.

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Watch: Arkansas State punter makes up for flub with heroic second effort

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Originally posted on Sportsnaut  |  By Jesse Reed  |  Last updated 9/8/18

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not exactly going well early for Arkansas State against Alabama on Saturday in Tuscaloosa — an unsurprising development, to be sure.

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Alabama to redshirt Jalen Hurts for 2018 season

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Alabama Crimson Tide no longer have too many quarterbacks. According to Pat Smith of “The Paul Finebaum Show” and Aaron Suttles of The Athletic, Jalen Hurts will redshirt for the 2018 season.

“Our own Aaron Suttles tells us expect Jalen Hurts to be redshirted this season unless Tua is injured.”

This might seem harsh on the surface, but this should benefit Hurts in the long run. Because of the new redshirt rule, he can play in up to four games while maintaining his eligibility. He’s due to graduate in December, but now he can transfer after graduation without facing a penalty. Then, he can play for another school immediately in 2019. And after that, he’ll still have two years of eligibility at quarterback.

Not a bad gig, right?

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Nick Saban apologized to ESPN reporter night of game

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban may have a public image for being somewhat of a Darth Vader-type, but he might not be as bad as you think.

Saban came under fire for giving a surly response to a straightforward question from ESPN’s Maria Taylor following Alabama’s win over Louisville last weekend. His behavior in the interview became an immediate talking point after the game.

Though it was reported a day later that Saban had apologized to Taylor, it turns out that the Crimson Tide head coach actually tried to make things right much sooner than that.

Taylor said on “The Paul Finebaum Show” Thursday that Saban called her right after the game.

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Report: Jalen Hurts, Alabama have redshirt agreement for this season

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  By Larry Brown  |  Last updated 9/7/18

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama and Jalen Hurts have an agreement for 2018 that seems to keep all parties’ best interests in mind, according to a report.

Aaron Suttles, who was an Alabama beat reporter for the Tuscaloosa News and now writes for The Athletic, said on his “3 Man Front” radio show on WJOX Friday that Hurts and Bama have an agreement for this season.

According to Suttles, Hurts would be expected to redshirt this season as long as Tua Tagovailoa is not injured.

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Lane Kiffin never wears his Alabama championship rings

Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Lane Kiffin spent three years at Alabama rehabilitating his coaching career, but the two rings from national championships are never on his fingers.

According to Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post, Kiffin has the rings sitting on his desk at Florida Atlantic — and they impress recruits — but he doesn’t like to wear them.

“I find that funny. Coaches wear them all the time and they’re so gaudy and big. People that know me, the last thing I want is attention on me when I’m out of the building anyway.”

Kiffin had an unceremonious exit from Alabama, but the FAU coach said he has “very positive” feeling about Nick Saban.

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