The 2014 NCAA football season kicks off on Thursday and, as always, there is plenty of intrigue leading into Division 1 in the p


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The 2014 NCAA football season kicks off on Thursday and, as always, there is plenty of intrigue leading into Division 1 in the p

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The 2014 NCAA football season kicks off on Thursday and, as always, there is plenty of intrigue leading into Division 1 in the post-BCS world. Carlos Dunlap Jersey . Here are five storylines to follow as the season gets underway: 1. The BCS is dead: The system still isnt perfect and not exactly what everybody wants to see, but its better than the BCS. No longer will teams vie for only two spots in the BCS Title game, but now four teams will be eligible to compete for the College Football Championship in a semi-final playoff format. Bowl season will still exist, but rather than have the title game conclude the bowl schedule, two bowl games will act as de facto semi-finals. Those bowls will come from the six games that were previously designated as part of the BCS series and will rotate every year among the Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl. This season, the two semi-final bowls will be the Sugar and Rose Bowls. The four participants in these semi-finals will be selected from a committee made up of 13 members, including former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The criteria for selection into the semi-finals will take into account much of what was previously considered for the BCS Title game, but the NCAA notes that the new format would not preclude multiple teams from the same conference to appear in the two semi-finals and that AP Top 25 rankings will not be considered. A week after the semi-final bowls, the National Championship Game will be played on January 12, 2015 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 2. Jameis Winston and a second Heisman: Defending Heisman Trophy winner Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the early betting favourite to claim this years trophy, but he certainly has his work cut out for him and will enter rarefied air if he can do so. Only one man in the trophys 78-year history has claimed two awards, Ohio State running back Archie Griffin (1974 and 1975). Though history might not be on Winstons side and the redshirt sophomore, whose offseason was plagued with a sexual assault complaint and a pair of shoplifting incidents, would much rather help coach Jimbo Fisher and the preseason top-ranked Seminoles retain their national title than claim individual glory, the 20-year-old might have the best chance to do what the likes of Roger Staubach, Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel couldnt. Perhaps not as deep as last years squad, Winston will still have many of the same weapons at his disposal this season, including WR Rashad Greene and RB Karlos Williams, and the Seminoles are expected by many to perform up to last years highs. That said, the field is stacked with potential Heisman candidates this year and, if Winston cant surpass or even equal his impressive numbers from last season, voters will likely look elsewhere. If not Winston, then who? Quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Brett Hundley (UCLA) chose not to enter the 2014 NFL Draft to return to their respective schools and will give Winston the most competition on the pivot front. There are no shortage of running back candidates, including Duke Johnson (Miami), Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska), TJ Yeldon (Alabama), Mike Davis (South Carolina), Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin) and Todd Gurley (Georgia). 3. Academic fraud hits Notre Dame again: The Fighting Irish went on a run unforeseen by most two seasons ago, going 12-0 through the year only to be humbled in the BCS Title game 42-14 by Alabama. Though key players like LB Manti Teo, TE Tyler Eifert and safeties Zeke Motta and Jamoris Slaughter moved on to the NFL, hopes were still high around South Bend that the team could try to replicate the previous years high. That, of course, was before starting quarterback Everett Golson was suspended for the season after being deemed academically ineligible last May. Golson later admitted to cheating on a test as the reason for his suspension, but Brian Kellys Irish struggled with Tommy Rees at quarterback and the team finished a disappointing 8-4, falling well short of expectations. Golson was readmitted to Notre Dame and Kelly once again installed him as his starting QB, but academic infractions have reared their ugly heads again, this time with four players, including three starters. Suspended for Week 1 against Rice are starters CB KeiVarae Russell, OLB Ishaq Williams and WR DaVaris Daniels. Danielss absence will be felt most, as the junior was to be a key weapon for Golson and was last seasons leading receiver. While the probe investigating the quartet has yet to be completed and theres a chance that all four could return at some point this season, a second academic scandal in two years has taken some lustre off of the storied institution and there could be program-wide penalties to follow. It will be interesting to see how Kellys charges can cope with what could be a season-long black cloud hanging over the Irishs heads. 4. Taking the reins: There are a number of new coaches at high-profile institutions this season and, when it comes to a big program, theres never any grace period. After 15 seasons, six Big 12 titles and a national championship, Mack Brown was shown the door at Texas. Taking charge of the Longhorns will be Charlie Strong, who spent the last four seasons at Louisville. Known for his commitment to defence and a no-nonsense approach, Strong will look to reignite a Longhorns program that has been in decline since losing the 2009 BCS Title game to USC. Speaking of the Trojans, Southern California hopes to have found its long-term successor to Pete Carroll. The Lane Kiffin era, which came nowhere close to Carrolls reign, ended with a thud just five games into last season when the former Oakland Raiders coach was dismissed from his post. Assistant Ed Orgeron did an admirable job in guiding the team to a 6-2 finish, but was never really considered for the permanent position. Steve Sarkisian, after five seasons with Washington, returns to the Trojans as the man given the task of restoring USC back to prominence. Sarkisian has eight years of experience coaching at various positions with the school, including acting as offensive coordinator under Carroll. Carroll even saw Sarkisian as his successor with the Trojans. Though, Sarkisian was greatly influenced by the now Seattle Seahawks coach, he brings his own style back to USC with a no-huddle offence and a 3-4 defence. Bill OBrien did an admirable job at Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the dismissal of Joe Paterno, but with OBrien now coaching the Houston Texans, James Franklin assumes control in Happy Valley. Franklin already seems to have good rapport with sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg and, with the end of NCAA sanctions on the horizon, the Nittany Lions are looking at what could be a top-three recruitment class next season. Also of interest is Bobby Petrinos return to Louisville seven years after his very acrimonious exit from the Cardinals. 5. Can SEC domination be stopped?: Florida State claimed a national title last season for the ACC, but in the 16 years of the BCS era, nine national titles were claimed by Southeastern Conference schools, including seven of the last 10. With seven SEC representatives in the preseason AP Top 25 (Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Mizzou) the SEC can once again stake its claim as the best conference in Division 1, but can it produce a champion? Of the title contenders, Nick Sabans Crimson Tide has the most favourable out-of-conference schedule, while Auburn will play a good Kansas State team and South Carolina has a date with Clemson. It will be, of course, the conference schedule that decides who comes out alive from the SEC, but one loss in the conference wont necessarily preclude a trip to the Sugar or Rose Bowl. The same scenario could play out in the Pac-12, who have six teams of their own in the preseason AP Top 25 (Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, USC, Arizona State and Washington), where one of the most competitive seasons in years appears to be on tap out west. Prediction: Alabama, UCLA, Oklahoma and Georgia are the four College Football Playoff teams with the Crimson Tide claiming their fourth national championship in six seasons and 20th overall. TSNs NCAA football coverage kicks off on Thursday with Wake Forest taking on Louisiana-Monroe on TSN2 (7pm et/4pm pt) and #18 Ole Miss hosting Boise State on TSN3 (8pm et/5pm pt) Clayton Fejedelem Jersey . Lineup news, Fantasy and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking. HEROES St. Louis Blues – After rolling the San Jose Sharks for seven goals, for the second time in a week, the Blues have a bunch of players on hot streaks. A.J. Green Jersey . In this weeks Leaf Report podcast, James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel debate whether Toronto can continue their shootout dominance and discuss what Dave Nonis game plan should be heading into the trade deadline. http://www.bengalsauthenticproshop.com/Youth-Aj-Mccarron-Bengals-Jersey/ . The Brazilian-born strikers brace drew him level with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo as the leagues leading scorers with 17 goals apiece through 16 rounds. "The important thing is to help the team win, not the goals," Diego Costa said. After a first half dominated by defence, Atletico pressed Valencia into its area and Diego Costa did the rest.COPENHAGEN - Brent Sutter was speaking to Paul Holmgren over the summer when the topic of Scott Laughton came up and the Philadelphia Flyers general manager noted that the prospect reminded him a bit of Mike Richards. After Thursday, the two players have one more thing in common: both have served as captain of Canadas national junior team. Richards led Canada to gold in the 2005 event when Sutter was also coach. "He wasnt necessarily the best player on the team, but he was the glue of the team," Sutter recalled. Laughton, like Richards a first-round pick of the Flyers, was named captain of this years world junior squad on Friday. Sutter, now back for a third tour of duty behind the bench at the world juniors, informed Laughton of his decision before practice and then announced it to the team at the end of the workout. "Leadership with him comes naturally," said Sutter. "Hes a well-respected player inside our dressing room. He has a lot of charisma to him. He demands respect. He comes to play every night and he plays the right way." Holmgrens Richards comparison stuck with Sutter and has become clearer the more hes been around Laughton. And thats music to the 19-year-olds ears. "Ive looked up to Mike Richards for a while now," said Laughton, who plays for the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League. "Hes with the same agent as me and ever since my junior draft year Ive been looking up to him and watching him and hes my favourite player so its a pretty big honour to be [compared] to him." Often times Canadas captain will be a player with previous world junior experience, but there are just three returnees this time around. Jonathan Drouin, an 18-year-old, is the only forward back and was named an alternate captain along witth Minnesota Wild defenceman Mathew Dumba. Josh Malone Jersey. The other two returning players are defenceman Griffin Reinhart, who will miss the first three games due to a suspension, and goalie Jake Paterson, who is competing with Zach Fucale for the starting job. With that in mind, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Laughton had a pretty good idea of how hed fit in this year. "Im an older guy with pro experience so I knew I was going to be a leader on this team whether I did get a letter or not," he said. "Im a pretty vocal guy so Im going to continue to do that and also keep the room light and joke around a bit and things like that. Whenever a guy needs me to be there Im going to stick up for my teammates. Thats the biggest thing." Its clear why Laughton was an easy choice for Sutter. The Oakville, Ont. native can do it all. He filled a shutdown role while helping Canada win titles at the under-17 and under-18 levels, but is also dangerous in the offensive end. When he left for Canadas camp a week ago, he was seventh in OHL scoring with 24 goals and 50 points in 29 games. And, of course, hes also got some professional experience. Laughton got a taste of the NHL last season playing five games for the Flyers and then six more for the teams American Hockey League affiliate. "That really benefitted me and was huge for me just in terms of my confidence," he said. Laughton stuck with the Flyers out of training camp this fall, but was sent down early in the campaign without playing a game. "Its definitely disappointing and it always weighs in the back of your mind," Laughton admitted. "Coming back to junior, I tried to use it as motivation and tried to play my heart out and be a leader back in Oshawa and I think Ive done that." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '


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