With the help of players, coaches, TV analysts, school administrators and NCAA officials, AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo tackles on-and off-field issues affecting the sport throughout the year. The show gives everyone from the casual fan to the obsessed alum, an insider look into the AP Poll…
Rece Davis, the host of ESPN's “College GameDay,” joins AP's Ralph Russo to discuss the proposed plan to expand the college football playoff from four to 12 teams. If the plan was on Rece's desk, what revisions would he consider? First off, bowls games or home games? As of now the plan is for the quarterfinals to be held at marquee bowl sites while first-round games are on campus. Davis suggests a plan to have more games played on campus while still protecting a few bowls. The Rose Bowl is one the postseason game with a tradition worth preserving and Rece has an idea on how do that. Plus, what will an expanded playoff do to scheduling? And Rece and Ralph react to the NCAA's Supreme Court loss. Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com.
There is a plan in place to expand the College Football Playoff from four teams to 12. It's a remarkable change for a sport that for decades seemed committed to using any other way possible to determine a national champion than the one used by just about every other sport. How did college football get here? Ivan Maisel, formerly of ESPN and now about be the lead writer of a new college football website called on3.com, joins AP's Ralph D. Russo to look back at the events that led to college football embracing a playoff structure and how it has gone so quickly from two to four to 12. Plus, what questions remain to be answered about this new plan, including how soon can it be implemented. Ivan's new venture: https://www.on3.com/Ivan's new book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57007655-i-keep-trying-to-catch-his-eye
The most talented roster in college football this season might very well belong to Georgia. But can the Bulldogs breakthrough and win the program's first national championship since 1980? Marc Weiszer from the Athens Banner-Herald joins AP's Ralph Russo to assess Kirby Smart's program, including the recent additions of two high-profile transfers. Also, national college football writer Matt Fortuna of The Athletic joins the show to talk about Northwestern's messy athletic director search, Wisconsin's more seamless transition from Barry Alvarez, the state of Notre Dame heading into year 12 for Brian Kelly and Nick Saban's new contract extension. Q&A with outgoing Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott: https://apnews.com/article/football-only-on-ap-college-football-business-sports-904a3dc5b5a794573b95fa4b43a86046 Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com.
Beware teams coming off a magical season. Often, it’s hard to repeat.Oddsmakers have set win totals for this upcoming season for every FBS team and ESPN’s Chris Fallica has been scanning the board, looking for value. The Bear joins AP’s Ralph Russo to talk overs and unders.Chris goes into the Big Ten, where last season’s big surprise seems primed for regression and two of the most disappointing teams appear set up for a bounce back. Bear also goes into the SEC for one over and one under and deep into the Group of Five for a couple of interesting leans. Plus, what was it like doing “College GameDay” last season with no fans and where might the show be going in 2021. Win totals: https://twitter.com/Covers/status/1397276380279214086 Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com.
The opening weekend of the college football season is starting to take shape. Game times have been set for some marquee matchups, including Alabama-Miami in Atlanta and Clemson-Georgia in Charlotte. USA Today national college football writer Paul Myerberg joins AP’s Ralph Russo to take a hopefully and eager look at the first week of the 2021 regular season and plot out a five-games-in-five-days dream road trip. They also take a first glance a few of the potentially interesting matchups outside those neutral-site kickoff classics. Plus, Paul and Ralph answer a couple of listener email about what impact having such a small pool of elite teams has on the overall health of college football.Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com.
Few college football coaches are more involved in the shaping the state and future of the game than Stanford coach David Shaw. He joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss changes made to preseason practice aimed at reducing the number of full contact practices. Shaw explains the thinking behind the modifications. What advice would give to the new Pac-12 Commissioner about how best to support football? Plus, what would be his ideal College Football Playoff format? Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com. Russo’s article from 1997 on K.C. Keeler and Division III Rowan University.https://apnews.com/article/ce652f808952829efddd55aeee7e54c7
They are called the Power Five conferences but really there is a big two among the group. The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten have pulled away from their peers when it comes to generating revenue. How can the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Pac-12 keep up? Does Notre Dame hold the keys to unlock another level of wealth for the ACC? Should the Big 12 expand? How about a merger of sorts between the Big 12 and Pac-12? Maybe Larry Scott was right after all. What would a Power Six look like?Gazing into the future of conferences of course means pondering what’s next for the College Football Playoff. Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com
Will the Power Five conferences ever break away from the NCAA? Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports says they kind of already have. Inspired by a email from a listener, the AP Top 25 College Football Podcast begins a series of shows on the future of the sport. This week Dodd joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss a pivotal next couple of months for the NCAA, and what could lie ahead. Has the association outlasted its usefulness or is it just convenient for college sports leaders to place blame in Indianapolis and in Mark Emmert’s lap. Plus, more playoff expansion talk and Kansas has a new coach! Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com
We have finally reached NFL Draft week. But instead of again chewing over the 2021 class, which we have been doing for four months, Matt Miller of The NFL Draft Scout and ESPN jumps ahead to 2022.Who are the players you can already pencil in at the top of next year’s draft boards? There is a pass rusher out west holding down the top spot. What does the quarterback class of 2022 look like heading into the college football season? Which passers will be in the running to be top-10 picks? And why do the top QBs always end up being top-10 picks these days?Plus, Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to talk about the College Football Playoff’s Friday news dump in which it publicly acknowledged looking into ways to expand the format from four teams. How seriously should we take expansion talk and what models might be fun to consider? Follow Matt Miller on Twitter @nfldraftscoutFollow Nicole Auerbach on Twitter @NicoleAuerbachFollow Ralph Russo on Twitter @ralphDrussoAP Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com
The upcoming NFL Draft could be a historic one, with as many as five quarterbacks going in the top-10 picks. Eric Edholm, draft analysis for Yahoo! Sports, joins AP’s Ralph Russo to take a deep dive into the quarterbacks from Trevor Lawrence to Mac Jones and the entire pool of players that NFL teams will be picking through. What positions are the deepest in the draft? Where will the pickings be a little thin? How did opting out impact prospects such as Penei Sewell of Oregon, Ja’Marr Chase of LSU, Micah Parsons of Penn State and Gregor Rousseau of Miami? Who are some of Eric’s favorite players likely to be picked on Day 3?Plus, UNLV Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois joins the show to talk about her role with the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches. The coalition started an academy last week that matches up-and-coming coaches with veteran administrators in the hopes of better preparing them to take the next steps in their careers.Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com Yahoo’s All-Juice team for this year’s draft: https://sports.yahoo.com/2021-all-juice-team-terez-paylors-legacy-continues-with-7th-edition-of-squad-that-includes-justin-fields-130031523.html?ncid=twitter_yahoosport_dw14wrbb51g Russo’s article on a College Football Super League: https://apnews.com/article/college-football-pittsburgh-football-notre-dame-fighting-irish-football-college-sports-085b362c6f58d2bd50b886c07413b0d
At Florida, Dan Mullen is breaking in a new quarterback and trying to stay ahead of Georgia. At Florida State, Mike Norvell is just looking for some normalcy in year two of his tenure as the Seminoles coach. Matt Baker from the Tampa Bay Times joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss about the state of college football in the state of Florida, from Tallahassee to Miami. Also, Sports Law Professor Gabe Feldman joins the show to review the NCAA’s day in front of the Supreme Court and how the association can escape an NIL quagmire. If you have questions or comments, email them to APTop25mailbag@gmail.com.
There was a point where Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was the most polarizing figure in college football. While he’s still maybe the most talked about college football coach outside of Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney, it’s getting harder to find supporters. This week on the AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, AP sports writer Josh Dubow, who covered Harbaugh with Stanford and the 49ers and is a Michigan alum, joins Ralph Russo to do a deep dive on where things stand with the Wolverines and their coach. What is a fair assessment of Harbaugh’s tenure and is there realistic hope that he can deliver on the promise and hope that followed him when he arrived at his alma mater in 2015. Plus, what’s the status of Stanford football under David Shaw and why Josh spends hours a day battling Raiders’ fans on Twitter about David Carr. If you’d like to send questions or comments to be used on the show, email APTop25mailbag@gmail.com. Ralph’s Top 25 college football coaches: https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP/status/1376553969879818240
Ranking college football coaches is even tougher than ranking college football teams. But we tend to do it anyway, especially in the offseason. Stewart Mandel from The Athletic and Bruce Feldman from Fox join AP’s Ralph Russo to talk about their current Top 25 college coaches. Bruce and Stew are finally buying in on Brian Kelly as a top-three coach. Stewart gave James Franklin a big demotion after a tough year, but not so much with PJ Fleck. Bruce is still defending Jim Harbaugh and higher on veterans with a long track record like Gary Patterson, Kirk Ferentz and Mike Leach. And they both snubbed Mack Brown. Plus, the NCAA’s latest misstep and should it cost Mark Emmert his job?
The NCAA Tournament is back after a one-year pandemic-forced hiatus. That means the football show turns to basketball for a week. AP college basketball writer Aaron Beard joins Ralph Russo to break down the bracket, search for upsets and pick a Final Four. Plus, what went wrong this season for blue bloods Duke and Kentucky? And why can’t Indiana seem to recapture past glory. And we’ll sprinkle in a some football, too.
The worst Power Five program in college football is once again in the news for all the wrong reasons. Kansas parted ways with coach Les Miles after revelations about inappropriate behavior toward women while he was at LSU. It is another setback for a program that has become synonymous with them. Max Olson from The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss how Kansas football got so bad, why Miles was never the solution and where it goes from here. Plus, new Marshall coach Charles Huff joins the show to talk about his time working for James Franklin at Penn State and Nick Saban at Alabama, and how it prepared him for his first head coaching job.
New Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea played for the Commodores and grew up in Nashville. If there is a man who understands the challenges and potential for the football program of the Southeastern Conference’s lone private school, it’s Lea, the former Notre Dame defensive coordinator. Then Steven Godfrey of Banner Society joins AP’s Ralph Russo for an in-depth discussion on a topic suggested by a listener: Which programs have recently been the biggest underachievers in each of the 10 FBS conference? To email questions or comments to the show use APTop25mailbag@gmail.com
The 2021 season is about seven months away, but it’s never to early to start projecting how teams will do. ESPN’s Bill Connelly, the mastermind behind SP+ power rankings, joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss the first 2021 projections. They’ll compare SP+ to the composite of way-too-early rankings done by four notable news organizations that cover college football. SP+ is more optimistic about Miami, Michigan and the Pac-12 in general than the humans. On the flip side, SP+ is more skeptical about Notre Dame, Indiana, Coastal Carolina and LSU for the 2021 season.
Five and half year ago, Steve Sarkisian was fired by Southern California, a promising career derailed by alcoholism. The road back for Sark went thrown Alabama and the NFL and now he is a head coach again, taking at Texas. Sarkisian joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to talk about his comeback and how recovery has made him a different, and he hopes better, coach. Then Richard Johnson of the Split Zone Duo podcast joins the show to breakdown what made Sark’s offense so good at Alabama and how the top college teams are trying to mimic the way NFL teams play offense.
The 2020 coaching carousel in college football was more active than expected. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg joins AP Ralph Russo to talk takeaways on changes made from Texas to Marshall. For some schools it’s never a and time to fire a coach, even though the chances of landing an established and proven replacement have never been less likely. Meanwhile, opportunities for Black coaches are still lagging as the leadership in major college football fails to match the makeup of the rosters. Plus, the transfer market is booming and schools are building depth charts around super seniors who are taking advantage of an extra year of NCAA eligibility.
The early signing period in college football has become the main signing period for the sport. So the traditional signing period in February is mostly about tying up loose ends. Most teams have already moved on to 2022, and we will, too. Bud Elliott, recruiting director for 247 Sports joins AP’s Ralph Russo to take a look at the class of 2022 and how limitations caused by the pandemic, plus the hopeful return to normal late this year, impacts the next 10 months before the next December signing period. Also, Tennessee has a new coach and a lot of problems. UCF is looking for a coach and has a lot to offer. So why did Josh Heupel leave the Knights for the Volunteers?
College football’s offseason has already included a coaching change at Tennessee and a Power Five commissioner announcing he will step down. The news never really stops. To kickoff the offseason mode at the AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, Andy Staples from The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph Russo. The Volunteers might have a replacement for Jeremy Pruitt by the time you hear this, but what kind of a hole will the next regime need to climb out of? Why did Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott go from being perceived as a visionary to then being thought of as a failure during 11 years in the conference? And, Andy discussed on his podcast a radical rule change that would persuade teams to punt less. Ralph wants to take the radical change one step farther as a way to put more value on defense in this age of offense.
College football’s season in a pandemic has ended with a most familiar champion. Nick Saban’s Alabama dynasty won its sixth title by beating Ohio State in the College Football Playoff national championship game. To put a wrap on the season and the championship game, Paul Myerberg and Dan Wolken from USA Today join AP’s Ralph Russo. They discuss if there is anyway to tap the brakes on college football’s offensive revolution. Is it even necessary? There appears to be no end in sight for Saban and the Tide’s dominance. What other programs can at least make a run at Alabama next year? Can the changing landscape of college football help provide a little more parity at the top?
Alabama against Ohio State for the national championship. After a long, strange season there is one game left to be played. The College Football Playoff title game will feature the two most talented rosters in the country and put to bed a season that has been a grind for everyone involved. To preview Crimson Tide-Buckeyes and review what it took to get here, ESPN’s Chris Fowler joins AP’s Ralph Russo. Chris discusses why this season lacked the usual joy, and why he was still thankful to be part of it. And he gives his thoughts on Alabama’s steady dominance and Ohio State’s winding path to the title game. Plus, how to do a virtual Heisman Trophy presentation.
The College Football Playoff features four of the bluest of blue bloods. No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 2 Clemson faces No. 3 Ohio State. Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network and ESPN joins AP’s Ralph Russo to breakdown each matchup. For Notre Dame to stay within striking distance of the might Crimson Tide, the Irish need to play perfectly complementary football. Meanwhile, the other semifinal could come down to which is more efficient: Trevor Lawrence and Clemson’s passing game or Ohio State’s powerful running game. Also, what to make of Auburn’s hiring of Boise State’s Bryan Harsin as head coach?
Bowl season is here in college football. It is not as long as usual, which is sad. But there are plenty of games to enjoy. To preview them all _ even the ones that might have already been played by the time you listen _ Matt Brown, college football editor at The Athletic and an AP poll voter, joins Ralph Russo, AP college football writer. Matt and Ralph provide a tidbit or two on every game, make a few picks, and tell you what to watch for. The bowl are more unpredictable than ever, which is why you should watch every one from the Potato Bowl to the Orange Bowl.
The latest conference championship weekend in the history of college football has arrived and the question is: Will the results create any drama for Sunday’s College Football Playoff selections. National college football writer Paul Myerberg joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to go through the scenarios and try to find what could cause some mayhem. Also, Auburn finally fired Gus Malzahn after years of the coach going on and off the hot seat. Who is next? Did the Tigers just spent more than $21 million to promote their defensive coordinator? And is Illinois really a sleeping giant? Or maybe a sleeping contender in the Big Ten West?
The never-ending college football season will now combine the early signing period with championship weekend. Starting Dec. 16, schools can begin signing high school prospects, but because the season started late and was extended because of the pandemic, the College Football Playoff won’t be set until the weekend of Dec. 19. There is a lot going on. To discuss recruiting, the coaching carousel and the playoff race, Barton Simmons and Bud Elliot of 247 Sports join AP’s Ralph Russo. In-person recruiting has been shutdown since the spring. What kind of impact will that have on the class of 2021, and beyond?
About 13 months ago LSU-Alabama was a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. Biggest game of the season. Game of the Century. And LSU broke through for a landmark victory on the way to a national championship. Now the Tide and Tigers play again and LSU is slogging through a season of attrition and regression while Alabama is better than ever. Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss the Tigers’ slide and the Tide’s unrelenting excellence. Plus, the Big Ten can’t catch a break: Can Ohio State make the playoff playing only six games? Who is the real Heisman favorite and will Texas make a coaching change?
Because everything is a little weird this season, we have the convergence of two events in college football that would normally be weeks apart. The first College Football Playoff selection committee rankings of season make their debut. And Thanksgiving week comes with some _ though not as many us usual _ rivalry games. Plus, there is a big batch of Black Friday games for a college football feast. Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to talk about what to expect from the playoff rankings: Why where BYU and Cincinnati start is important? Is Ohio State allowed a regular-season mulligan? What happens if Clemson blows out Notre Dame in an ACC rematch? Pac-12, anyone? Plus, the Clemson-Florida State postponement controversy.
From Monday to Friday the college football season has been a grind of uncertainty and instability. But the Saturdays are still delivering intrigue and excitement. Dennis Dodd of CBS joins AP’s Ralph Russo to talk about the odd dynamic of the season in the pandemic. Plus, will the first head coach firing in the Power Five break the seal for other schools? And what to expect from two crucial Big Ten games; Bedlam between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma; and Cincinnati’s big test at UCF?
In a normal college football season we would be waist deep in coaching change rumors and speculation right about now. But this year’s carousel figures to be relatively quiet. Conventional wisdom has been that schools struggling financially because of the pandemic will be less willing to pay big buyouts. Plus, how can you judge performance is this weird season? But fans at some schools are reverting back to the default mode and looking to fire everyone involved with their struggling teams. To take a look at which coaches are on the hottest seats, Dan Wolken from USA Today joins AP’s Ralph Russo to assess the situations in places like South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Iowa and Michigan.
The first week of November in college football feels like opening weekend of the season all over again. All the major conferences will be playing games for the first time, including the MAC on Wednesday night and the Pac-12 starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Saturday. There are huge games involving BYU and Boise State, Florida and Georgia, and Clemson and Notre Dame. Stewart Mandel of The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to dive into it all and try to figure out how the results will impact the College Football Playoff race.
Penn State suffered an epic and thrilling upset the hands of Indiana last week, taking some of the shine off this week’s game against No. 3 Ohio State. But if we look deeper than the final score, the Nittany Lions might not be so bad off. ESPN’s Bill Connelly, the mastermind behind the advance metric SP+ rankings, joins AP’s Ralph Russo to do an autopsy on Penn State’s loss and preview the showdown with the Buckeyes. Plus, why does math hate Kansas State? Is it better to have a good offense or a good defense? Why a boring playoff doesn’t have to mean a boring college football season.
Just in time for Big Ten weather, the Big Ten is kicking off its football season. Dave Revsine from the Big Ten Network joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to preview the conference that at first punted on fall football only to reverse course and give it go. Ohio State still seems to be the class of the conference and maybe the country. Can Wisconsin defend it’s West Division title with a new quarterback and new running back? Is Minnesota ready to take another step forward? What to make of Michigan this year? Where do things stand in Nebraska as Scott Frost enters year three?
College football’s game of the year is this weekend as No. 3 Georgia goes to No. 2 Alabama. It is a matchup of the best defense in the country against the best offense. Richard Johnson from the SEC Network joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to breakdown the clash of the titans. How can Georgia’s D slow the Tide? Or, maybe the better question, can Georgia’s offense keep up with Alabama? Also, can anybody challenge Clemson in the ACC and a look at an interesting weekend for the American Athletic Conference and BYU.
This coming weekend in college football will have a lot of Tennessee and Texas in it. Because he is an expert on both, David Ubben from The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo for a both an examination and a preview. We have already reached the point in the season where we ask what’s wrong with the Longhorns. Adding to this week’s Red River Shootout drama is we’re asking the same questions of Oklahoma, too, as the Sooners limp in with a two-game losing streak. Texas A&M also has a measuring stick game this week in the SEC against Florida. David covered college football in Texas and the Big 12 for years before moving to Knoxville to cover Tennessee football. The Vols have a huge opportunity this weekend too as they go to Georgia to face the mighty Bulldogs. For the first time in a while, Tennessee might appears to be on the right track to SEC East contention.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron went from failed SEC head coach to jilted USC interim coach to national champion, leading his home state Tigers. Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports and The Athletic chronicles coach O’s rise in a new book called Flip the Script. Feldman joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss the contentious end to Orgeron’s time as USC’s interim coach. And they talk about another coach Bruce wrote a book with: Mississippi State’s Mike Leach. Before Bruce, Ralph interviews another successful coach from Louisiana. Billy Napier of the undefeated Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns talks about his time working for both Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban how he learned to build a program.
There have been plenty of bumps along the way, but this weekend has a chance to feel the closest thing we have had to a normal college football Saturday. The Southeastern Conference kicks off, plus there is a full slate of Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 games on the schedule. Hopefully, it stays that way. Andy Staples from The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph Russo on the podcast to dive into the most intriguing storylines of the weekend, including: Rhett Lashlee’s winding to path to becoming the man who saved Miami’s offense. Also, UCF might not be the best team in Florida, but it very well might have the best quarterback in the state. What will Auburn’s offense look like now that Chad Morris is calling plays for Gus Malzahn? And how will Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach do in their SEC debuts.
A college football season appeared five months ago to be crumbling is now resurgent. The Big Ten announced it is going t play in late October. The Pac-12 is trying for a fall re-start. So is the Mountain West. Meanwhile, games are still be postponed because of virus outbreaks. Paul Myerberg of USA Today joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to talk about the Big Ten’s reversal and how the conference can recover from a month-long PR disaster. Will any of this college football season feel legitimate? Does it matter? Is piecing it together good enough considering the circumstances.
The college football season has started. Group of Five games kicked off Labor Day weekend. The Big 12 and ACC get rolling this weekend. So I guess we better get done previewing this very odd season that followed a most-bizarre and chaotic offseason. We have already done preview of the ACC and Big 12. Heck we even did one of the Pac-12, before the conference postponed fall football. We never got to the Big Ten, before it punted on the fall. What’s left to do is preview the Southeastern Conference and the Group of Five leagues that are giving it a go this September. To take a deep dive into the SEC, Cole Cubelic of ESPN and the SEC Network joins AP’s Ralph Russo. Then Chris Vannini of The Athletic joins the show to talk about the American Athletic Conference, Sun Belt and Conference USA.
Since postponing its football season on Aug. 11, the Big Ten has been in the news constantly _ for all the wrong reasons. The conference and its new commissioner, Kevin Warren, have been criticized from all angles and now they have been thrust into the presidential campaign, with both sides blaming the other for taking out the season in the Midwest. A true political football. Teddy Greenstein with the Chicago Tribune joins Ralph D. Russo to talk about how the Big Ten got into this mess and how it is trying to dig itself out.
The AP Preseason Top 25 has been released and it’s weird. The AP instructed voters to consider all teams for the preseason poll. Even the ones in the Big Ten, Pac-12 and other conferences that have postponed their football seasons because of the pandemic. Those teams will go away when games start, but for now the poll gives a glimpse at what could have been and what still remains. Matt Brown of The Athletic, an AP poll voter, joins Ralph Russo to talk about how he went about voting and how he intends to handle voting the rest of what figures to be a strange and unpredictable season. Or seasons.
Is the gap closing between Oklahoma and the rest of the Big 12? Which teams could be the wild cards in a league that typically produces at least one surprising contender? How good can Oklahoma State be after a rocky offseason? And where is Texas after an offseason overhaul? Max Olson of The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph Russo to preview one of the three Power Five conferences still planning to play football in the fall.
On a grim day for college football, the Big Ten and Pac-12 decided to cancel their fall football seasons and attempt to play in the spring. Neither conference felt it was best to move forward with the pandemic still running hot around the country, especially in Pac-12 territory. ESPN’s Rece Davis joins AP’s Ralph Russo to talk about the depressing news, and how the pandemic has exposed the fractures and weaknesses of college football. The Big Ten has seemed unsteady in the crisis while the Pac-12, often ridiculed, has appeared more unified with a cohesive message. Why are the SEC, ACC and Big 12 still marching forward and is playing two football seasons in a calendar year, one spring and one fall, doable?
We have schedules. That’s a big step toward having a season. Whether college football gets there is still up in the air, but we have schedules and games set to be played so it’s time to start to preview the season _ and hoping for the best. The Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12 are up first. Jon Wilner from the San Jose Mercury News joins AP’s Ralph Russo to take a look at the Pac-12. There is uncertainty just about everywhere, from Oregon to Utah. David Hale from ESPN takes on the ACC, where Notre Dame is now a member and the race is really for No. 2 behind Clemson.
Conferences are working to revise their college football schedules to accommodate potential disruptions from COVID-19. But there has been more planning than actual decisions being made as college sports leaders play a waiting game. Brett McMurphy of Stadium joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss where each conference stands, whether Notre Dame will play in the ACC and who will finally make the call on whether college football is played. Plus: if there is a season, will there be a postseason with dozens of bowl games?
Colleges are spending millions of dollars and countless hours to try to protect their athletes from being infected by COVID-19. And still there might not be a fall football season because the pandemic is raging on across the country. Lucia Mullen, a epidemiologist and analyst with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, joins AP’s Ralph Russo to explain why _ without a bubble _ the athletic departments can only do so much to determine whether they will be able to play this season. Mullen explains why everything is connected, what is a good way to determine when the virus is “under control,” and when time is ally _ but only if it is well spent. Plus, for the first time on the podcast, Russo answers questions from the Twitter mailbag.
As the pandemic worsens, so do the prospects of a college football season being played in the fall. Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic joins Ralph Russo of AP to discuss an avalanche of bad news throughout college football, numerous warning signs that the season is in peril and how everything is connected. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already said they will play just conference games _ if they can play at all. We’ll discuss the trickle-down effects of that from the other Power Five leagues to the Group of Five to FCS. The pandemic is winning right now and college sports leaders are sounding the alarms.
Even the successful athletes who compete at the highest levels of their sports have moments when the game seems a little big for them. Those welcome-to-the-big-time moments can either break a player or make that player even better in the long run. Former college football offensive linemen Aaron Taylor of Notre Dame, Cole Cubelic of Auburn and Geoff Schwartz of Oregon join Ralph Russo to talk about the humbling moments that made them better by teaching them that they had to step up their games _ somehow _ to make it in college football.
College football is plowing toward a season in a pandemic. It begs the question: Is this essential and why? Dan Wetzel from Yahoo Sports joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss a bizarre offseason that is setting the stage for a college football season like we have never season before. The pandemic and social unrest is changing the power structure in all aspects of life, including sports. Plus, Mike Gundy, the Confederate flag and how journalism suffers from a lack of diversity. And how those in it can work to recognize the blind spots.
So many good choices but you can only pick 13. AP college football poll voter Matt Brown from The Athletic and AP’s Ralph Russo pour through the dozens of former college football greats on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. The goal: select a class of 13 players and two coaches to be inducted into the Hall next year. Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer seems like an obvious choice, but what about former Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch? Or Indiana’s sensational dual threat Antwan Randle El? Brown and Russo do their best at an impossible task.