Lions lose again; keep top week for another week … Detroit remains the lone winless team in the NFL after the Lions were trampled by Arizona at home on Sunday. As a result, the Lions would have the #1 pick were the draft held this week. On the other hand, the rest of the top 10 early picks are about as clear as mud. In fact, if the draft were held this week, Jacksonville would pick second, followed by Baltimore at #3, and Houston at #4, with New Orleans and Kansas City tied at #s 5-6. However, there really is very little statistical difference currently between the strength of schedule figures for these 1-4 teams. As well, Tennessee, which has the weakest SOS figure for any one-win team and would actually have the second pick if the 1-3 Titans were to lose their game in hand. For the record, the initial updated draft selection order will be posted after next week’s Monday night game.
Ole Miss OT to return in two weeks … The NCAA has suspended Mississippi junior OT Laremy Tunsil for 7 games for a variety of improper benefits. Because Tunsil has already sat out 6 games, he will be able to return next week when Ole Miss hosts Texas A&M in what is shaping up as a huge SEC West showdown. Its also an intriguing way for Tunsil to get back into action as he’ll be going up against A&M sophomore DE Myles Garrett, arguably the best edge rusher in college football these days. Tunsil is considered to be a top 5-10 prospect for the 2016 draft, but ran afoul of the NCAA after a family dispute in which he reportedly clocked his stepfather who was in an argument with his mother. The stepfather subsequently accused Tunsil of ‘riding around with agents’ which got the NCAA interested. It does not appear that much came of the agent accusation, but the NCAA came across other evidence that Tunsil had had access to an inordinate number of car loaners and the like.
Crazy day to be a USC head coach … Amazingly, on the same day that Southern California fired head coach Steve Sarkasian for personal reasons, legendary South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier announced that he is retiring effective immediately; an interim replacement will be named in the next couple of days.
GBN Heisman watch … Hard to believe that for all intents and purposes the college football season is nigh onto the halfway. And with that in mind, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette weighs in with his list of the top half dozen Heisman Trophy hopefuls for this year.
Top C out for the year … Southern California C Max Tuerk, a potential late first-round prospect for the 2016 draft who figured to be the first center off the board this spring, will be sidelined the rest of the season because of a knee injury, the school announced Sunday. Tuerk was injured Thursday during the Trojans’ 17-12 defeat by Washington. The injury was initially announced as a sprain, but USC said Sunday that Tuerk suffered a torn knee ligament.
Update to latest on UGA RB Chubb … Georgia has confirmed that star sophomore RB Nick Chubb will in fact miss the rest of the year, although it does not appear that his ACL was damaged in that gruesome injury in Saturday’s loss at Tennessee. Chubb, though, did tear the PCL and will require surgery once the swelling subsides. Chubb, who many consider to be the second best back in the country other than fellow soph Len Fournette of LSU, was injured on his first carry of the game after he landed awkwardly when initially tackled and his leg was bent the way legs are not supposed to be bent when he was hit again while going to the ground. Chubb subsequently reportedly passed out while being placed on a cart to be taken to the locker room. As true sophs, neither Chubb nor Fournette are eligible for the 2016 draft, however, if Chubb’s injury indeed turns out to serious, it may lead to more speculation that Fournette might choose to sit out next year rather than risk injury. There were some whispers along those lines a few weeks back which were denied emphatically by the player, but this may give some pause. Stay tuned.
Worst unis ever!! … We don’t usually comment on much outside the purview of the draft, but this on has kind of been rattling around our craw the past day or so since we checked in on the Georgia-Tennessee game for awhile yesterday afternoon. Great win for the Vols who finally had things go right for them at the end. At the same time, though, it harkened back to another life in an earlier time for us when we worked for years with the national statistical agency up here in Canada. Those of us in the front lines wold swear – too often with plenty of justification – that back at Bureau HQ they had a VP Responsible for Bad Ideas. Whatever, that guy appears to have moved on and gotten a job at the University of Tennessee. And yeah we get the point about ‘Smokey’ being the Vols mascot, and yeah we suppose the original Tennessee Volunteers were part of the ‘Grey’ in the Blue and the Grey, but man Tennessee’s alternate grey uniform are just plain ugly. In fact, they may not only be the ugliest unis in college football, but the ugliest in all sports period.
Some sorting out to be done … The logjam at the top of the NFL draft board will get a little sorting out later today as six of the 12 teams tied with one win apiece will be playing each other later this afternoon. In 1 PM ET games today, Jacksonville will be at Tampa Bay in a mtach-up of teams that had the 1st and 3rd picks overall at the 2015 draft, while Philadelphia will be hosting New Orleans and Cleveland will be at Baltimore in a divisional clash. Meanwhile, Detroit, the NFL’s only remaining winless team – and by default the current holders of the #1 pick were the 2016 draft o b held this week – will be home to Arizona in a late afternoon contest. Enjoy the day!
ACL ends Iowa DE season … The school has yet to confirm, but there are local media reports that Iowa DE Drew Ott tore an ACL in the Hawkeyes’ win over Illinois earlier today. The 6-3, 275-pound Ott, who had 5 sacks in the Hawkeyes’ 6 games to date this fall, had been considered to be solid second-tier prospect at the position for the 2016 draft.
College weekend previewed … Its one of those strange weeks in the college football season where there is no true’ must-see’ game, while the key games on the schedule don’t involve traditional match-ups. Indeed, hands-up all those that circled the Pac-12 game between California and Utah as the likely contender to be the ‘game of the week’ at the start of the season. But that may be the case when the 5th ranked Utes, arguably college football’s biggest surprise team to date so far this fall, take on the 23th rated Cal Bears who are led by junior QB Jared Goff a potential top 5 pick this coming April. Hands up, too that figured Northwestern at Michigan would be anything more than college football TV filler. However, both the Wildcats and Wolverines are unbeaten and looking for a chance to dethrone Ohio State as BIG TEN conference champs. With all that in mind, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette weighs in on who to watch with an eye toward the 2016 draft in these and other big games on this weekend’s college docket.
One WR back in; another out … Rutgers has announced that WR Leonte Carro has been re-instated to the team and is expected to play Saturfay when the struggling Scarlett Knights host 4th ranked Michigan State. The move comes a day after a charge of simple assault charge stemming from that parking lot scuffle involving an ex-girlfriend several weeks back. The victim, who reportedly into it with Carroo’s current flame and her mother before the player intercede, has reportedly opted not to proceed with the case. Carroo still faces some minor conditions including attending an anger management class, although he still claims he was innocent. On the other hand, Tennessee WR Pig Howard, one of the better kick returners in college football, has been dismissed from the program for an unspecified violation of team rules. Meanwhile, new details have emerged on the incident that got Auburn WR Duke Williams kicked off the team a couple of weeks back. Williams reportedly punched two security guards, a bartender and another person at a local bar following the team’s win over San Jose State – imagine what he would have done had the Tigers lost – after one of his friends was denied entrance. Williams had been considered to be a possible late first round pick this coming April, but the latest indiscretion likely may have been the last straw for more than one NFL team which have reportedly been taking him off their boards entirely.
‘Who caught Pigskins eye’ in college football this week … Every week, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette reviews the college prospects that caught his eye this past weekend; here’s the link to his report from the latest week on the college football schedule.
Top safety done for year … West Virginia has announced that senior All-American FS Karl Joseph, a second-day prospect for the 2016 draft who currently leads the nation with 5 interceptions, will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a knee injury in a non-contact drill on Tuesday during practice. Prior to the injury Joseph had started all 42 games in his career in which he has 284 tackles, 9 interceptions, and 8 forced fumbles.
GBN projection updated … With the NFL at the quarter pole of the 2015 regular season, it seemed like an appropriate time to update the GBN’s projection for the opening round of the 2016 draft, now just over 200 days away. And as we usually note at this time of year, while we always enjoy hearing people’s comments on the various picks, it is still a little early to be getting the ‘what are you guys smoking up there? … the Buckaroos will never EVER take a …. ‘ type comments. What in fact what one is trying to do at this time of year is make an educated guess based on the latest intel as to what kind of players are going to be available at different stages of this year’s opening round.
LBs feeling the pain … Oklahoma State senior LB Ryan Simmons is tweeting that he requires season-ending surgery after tearing both an ACL and PCL in the Cowboys’ game with Kansas State. Because Simmons is a senior, and this is his final season of eligibility, the end of his 2015 season would also mean the end of his collegiate career. It will also be touch-and-go whether Simmons, a mid-to-late round prospect for the upcoming draft, will be healthy enough to work out for pro scouts prior to the draft. Meanwhile, Mississippi MLB C.J. Johnson, another second-tier prospect for 2016, will miss the next 4-6 weeks after tearing an MCL in the Rebels’ loss at Florida; Johnson will also require surgery. Earlier in the week, it was announced that Michigan OLB/rush end Mario Ojemudia would miss the rest of the season with an Achilles injury; Ojemudia, who did have a couple of sacks to date this season, though, was more of a free-agent type.
Pigskin ranks the pros … With the NFL at the quarter pole, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has run the tapes, scanned the schedules and deconstructed the stats in the process of power ranking the 32 teams in the league. and just to make it more fun, we’ll be using the inverse of the rankings as the basis for an updated version of the GBN first-round projection to be posted a little later this week. Stay tuned!
Vikes get late rounder as part of vet trade … Minnesota has acquired a 6th round pick from San Francisco as part of a deal in which the Vikings sent starting MLB Gerald Hodges to the 49ers with Minnesota getting rookie C Nick Easton in return.
Injured LB Jack to enter draft … UCLA junior LB Myles Jack didn’t waste anytime deciding on whether he would be turning pro this winter after tearing an MCL earlier this season. Jack has reportedly already withdrawn from school and is preparing for the 2016. Jack had been considered to be a potential top 10 prospect prior to the injury. While nominally a LB jack is a special athlete who has been used by the Bruins’ as a RB, nickle back and kick returner. His rehabilitation from the surgery is projected to take 4-6 months. That could have Jack ready to workout for pro teams as early as January, but it could also be as late mid-March which means he’d miss the combine, but should be ready for UCLA’s pro day and private workouts.
Big Board tweaked … With the college season now settling nicely into the various conference races around the country, the GBN Big Board ranking the top 100 prospects for the 2016 draft has been updated. In particular, it appears that there is a growing consensus that there is an emerging top 5 for the upcoming draft including Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche, Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley, Florida State corner Jalen Ramsay and Cal QB Jared Goff. For the record, all are juniors. Then there is a solid emerging second-tier group including Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil, Florida CB Vern Hargreaves, Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith, Oregon 5-tech DE DeForest Buckner and Michigan State QB Connor Cook. The fastest rising prospect in college football though may be Baylor junior WR Corey Coleman, who appears to have moved into the top 2-3 WRs on most teams board around the league. Meanwhile, WRs Josh Doctson of TCU and Notre Dame junior Will Fuller are also making moves in the second-day area. There is also some notable movement among the CBs with both LSU junior Tre’Davious White and Clemson redshirt sophomore Mackensie Alexander startting to show up in a lot of top 20s. What makes the ranking complicated at this time is the number of juniors with injury concerns that surely will impact their decision whether to turn pro this winter including LBs Myles Jack of UCLA and Arizona’s Scooby Wright, RBs James Conner of Pitt and Wisconsin’s Corey Clement, and Virginia Tech corner Kendall Fuller. Stay tuned
Still winless Lions’ #1 … With the NFL regular season pretty much at the quarter pole – already! – Detroit is the only remaining winless team after that shocking, unbelievable loss at Seattle this evening. As a result, the Lions are currently sitting on the #1 pick at the 2016 draft. However, its likely that it is going to take a while for the top 10 to take shape as there are 12 teams with one loss. Of those, Jacksonville would have the second pick were the draft held this week, followed by Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Kansas City. However, Tennessee actually has the weakest strength of schedule of all the one-loss teams and would normally be sitting on the second pick, but the Titans had their bye this past weekend and have played one game less than the rest of the field. For the record, we’ll start posting the full, updated selection order for the upcoming draft as it stands every week, starting in a couple of weeks.