Texas A&M Aggies: ACC

Texas and Texas A&M might not be playing one another anytime soon.

But other schools around the league are interested in the prospects of rekindling rivalries that were destroyed by two rounds of conference realignment.

While the Longhorns and Aggies remain at odds, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt told ESPN.com this week he’s optimistic that he’ll be able to get Texas A&M on the Red Raiders’ schedule down the line again. Hocutt said there has been interest from Texas A&M’s side, as well.

“Hopefully that’s a series that at some point in time that could start again,” Hocutt said. “Is that a game that won’t happen again? No. We’ve had discussions about it. Hopefully we can reengage that in the coming years.”

Oklahoma and Nebraska already have an agreement in place to play a home-and-home in 2021-22. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has reportedly said he thinks his school will play Kansas again someday.

And West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, who has already added Penn State and Virginia Tech to future schedules, told ESPN.com he's hopeful he'll be able to revive the “Backyard Brawl” with Pitt at some point, as well.

“At some point we’ll get Pitt back on the schedule,” Luck said. “What I’m trying to do with our nonconference games is stay as regional as possible and rekindle some of our historical rivalries. Penn State is back on the schedule. Virginia Tech is back on the schedule. That game meant a lot to southern West Virginians. The Pitt game meant a lot to northern West Virginians. We’ve continued to play Pitt in many of the sports.

“We’ve both gone through transitions, so it’s tough schedule-wise for both of us. But I think at some point we’ll get Pitt back on the schedule. I see [Pitt athletic director] Steve Pederson every now and then at various conventions. And we’ve had some discussions about that. We just haven’t been able to really eyeball the proper time to get it going again.”

Early Offer: 2015 begins now 

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
5:30
AM ET
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: The ink was barely dry on the letters of intent for 2014 class when one of the best for the 2015 class came off the board; and what schools and recruiters have jumped out of the gate with success with players that won’t sign for another 360-plus days.

 

After Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman a year ago, it appears another freshman, Florida State’s Jameis Winston, is poised to take the trophy. But which quarterback had the better freshman campaign?

David Hale and Sam Khan Jr. take the debate to the Interwebs for your reading pleasure:

Take 1: Hale: Winston was consistent, even in biggest games
No matter what Winston accomplishes this season, there’s one thing Manziel will always have over him. Only one player can be the first freshman to win a Heisman, and that was Manziel. He was, to be sure, a worthy winner.

But beyond the history, the debate on which quarterback had the better freshman campaign is easy. It’s Winston.

[+] EnlargeFSU
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesIf winning matters, Jameis Winston has won a conference title and has his team in the national championship game: two things Manziel has not done.
Compare passing numbers through 13 games and Winston comes out well ahead. He threw for a freshman-record 38 touchdowns, compared with 26 for Manziel. Winston threw for more yards, averaged significantly more yards per attempt (10.9 to 8.5 for Manziel) and had a quarterback rating (190.1) that dwarfs Manziel’s (155.3). Winston had seven 300-yard games; Manziel four. Winston accounted for four or more touchdowns six times.

And before anyone makes the strength-of-schedule argument, remember that Winston had a slightly higher adjusted QBR -- which takes into account myriad factors, including competition.

Sure, Manziel came out of nowhere to become a Heisman winner. But wasn’t there a lot more pressure on the much-hyped Winston to live up to those immense expectations?

Then let’s look at how each player fared in his biggest games.

Manziel played six games against ranked teams, and he won four. He completed 67 percent of his throws -- same as Winston -- but the rest of his stats were utterly pedestrian. He averaged just 7.5 yards per attempt, threw for seven TDs and had five interceptions.

Winston, on the other hand, won all four of his games against ranked teams handily. He averaged 11.8 yards per attempt and threw for 12 touchdowns with five INTs.

Winston wasn’t only at his best in big games, he simply never had a bad game. Manziel struggled mightily against Florida and LSU.

And Winston has the edge in the most important statistic: wins. The Seminoles are 13-0 and playing in the BCS National Championship next month. Manziel's season was great and the Aggies were a surprising 11-2 last year, but they didn't even get to a BCS bowl. Their season ended in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

OK, so now we get to the obvious check mark in Manziel’s corner: his legs.

Admittedly, there’s no comparison here, and Manziel’s ability to run is the great equalizer in this debate. But it’s hardly fair to penalize Winston for looking to throw before he looks to run.

Winston put together a highlight reel of big throws that followed miraculous escape acts. His numbers when under pressure were by far the best in the nation. He managed to extend plays, completing an absurd 16 of 21 passes with four touchdowns and 15 first downs on third-and-10 or longer.

Does that make up for Manziel’s 21 rushing TDs and 1,400 rushing yards? Probably not, but a quarterback's primary jobs are to make throws and win games. Winston was head and shoulders ahead of Manziel in both areas.

Take 2: Khan: Manziel did it all, against tougher teams
Winston has lived up to the hype and that's hard to do. In my opinion, he has been college football's most outstanding player in 2013. In every big game, he delivered and he led his team to the BCS title game.

But there's no debate here. As terrific as Winston has been this season, Johnny Manziel's freshman campaign was better.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
Thomas Campbell/USA TODAY SportsJohnny Manziel is clearly the superior runner.
Manziel was statistically better, had to carry his team more and did it against a tougher schedule. Oh, and as David mentioned, Manziel was the first freshman to do it. Can't beat that.

Yes, Winston's passing numbers are better. However, what Johnny Football did with his legs in 2012 is what set him apart, and it's what made him the toughest player to defend in college football. Winston hasn't run nearly as much because the Seminoles don't need him to (77 carries for 193 yards and four touchdowns), but that was a signature part of Manziel's game. He was a true dual threat. Manziel exploded for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns and led the SEC in rushing a year ago.

Not the leading rusher among quarterbacks. The leading rusher, period.

A&M needed that. Without that element of Manziel's game, the Aggies might not have beaten Louisiana Tech. They might not have beaten Alabama. The season would have been different.

Manziel broke Cam Newton's SEC single-season record for total offensive yards in a season, finishing with a whopping 5,116. And while Winston had more touchdown passes, Manziel had more total touchdowns with 47. Winston still has a chance to catch that total if he accounts for five touchdowns against Auburn in January.

And let's not forget A&M's schedule last year. A&M finished third in the country in the NCAA's "toughest schedule" rankings. The Sagarin ratings had the Aggies with the sixth-toughest schedule last year. The NCAA's schedule rankings are unavailable for this season, but for comparison's sake, Florida State's schedule is currently ranked 63rd in the Sagarin ratings. That's a huge difference.

Winston didn't have to face an LSU team that put five players from its front seven alone in the NFL draft. And even with that, Manziel and the Aggies still could have won that game (they lost 24-19). The best defenses Winston has faced were Florida (10th) and Clemson (23rd). Manziel faced three that finished in last year's top eight (Alabama, Florida, LSU).

And the best win -- at least to this point in time -- belongs to Manziel. Texas A&M's upset over then-No. 1 and eventual champ Alabama in Tuscaloosa was the epitome of Manziel's freshman campaign. He was virtually unstoppable. He threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 92. Gaining 345 yards individually against a Nick Saban-coached defense? Simply amazing.

Winston has a chance at the crystal football. Manziel can't top that and there's no denying it. But that's more of a team accomplishment and there's not a ton Manziel can do about it.

If you were picking a team to go win a football game and both supporting casts were the same, which QB would you pick: 2012 Johnny Manziel or 2013 Jameis Winston? My guess is you're taking Johnny Football. He's done things on a football field that seemingly nobody else can.
Many have questioned the Chick-fil-A Bowl's selection of Duke ahead of more established programs such as Miami and Virginia Tech, but bowl president Gary Stokan told the Associated Press that "there was no doubt in our minds" about Duke.

"We in our bowl game take great pride in letting teams play themselves into our game or play themselves out of our game," Stokan told the AP. "It's not some cigar smoke-filled room where we're sitting up making these decisions. It's the players that are making the decisions. ... Duke played [its] way into our game and [is] very deserving of being in our game."

The Blue Devils (10-3) will play No. 20 Texas A&M (8-4) on Dec. 31 in the Atlanta-based bowl.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

December, 8, 2013
12/08/13
10:25
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Duke Blue Devils (10-3) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (8-4)

Dec. 31, 8 p.m. ET, Atlanta (ESPN)


DUKE BLUE DEVILS BREAKDOWN
As expected, Duke was overmatched in the ACC championship game and lost convincingly to Florida State, but the loss didn’t define the season, which includes a school-record 10 wins.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Connette
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesThe versatile Brandon Connette accounted for 26 total scores for Duke this season.
The Blue Devils still earned the title of Coastal Division champs and now have a chance to end the season on a winning note. Duke had won eight straight games heading into the ACC title game -- the program’s longest winning streak since 1941. The program was ranked in the BCS standings for the first time, and it defeated two ranked teams in then-No. 16 Virginia Tech and then-No. 24 Miami.

Although Duke lost to Florida State for the 19th time and remains winless against the Noles, what happened in that game wasn’t reminiscent of the “old Duke.” Instead, Duke just got a taste of what FSU had been doing to its opponents all season. Duke still has a much-improved defense, which was evident in the first quarter, when it held the Noles scoreless for the first time since they played Florida in 2012. Duke also forced Florida State into three turnovers, including one fumble in the red zone and two interceptions. Duke has now had four takeaways in the red zone this season. Duke’s biggest problem was that it couldn’t capitalize on Florida State’s mistakes or sustain a drive.

That wasn’t the case for most of the season, as Duke was able to score more than 20 touchdowns on the ground and in the passing game for the first time in school history. Despite the loss to FSU, it was an unprecedented season for Duke and coach David Cutcliffe, who was named the ACC’s Coach of the Year. -- Heather Dinich

vs.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES BREAKDOWN
This is not quite where Aggies fans thought their team might end up when they were previewing the season.

[+] Enlarge Mike Evans
Thomas Campbell/USA TODAY SportsMike Evans and the Aggies hope to finish their season on a high note with a bowl victory.
With 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, receiver Mike Evans and offensive tackle Jake Matthews all returning, many in College Station thought the Aggies could achieve a BCS bowl and perhaps even flirt with an SEC title and a BCS title game berth.

But an extremely young defense that was hit hard by graduation (at least in terms of key players) struggled throughout the season, and a beaten-up Manziel lost steam in the final two regular-season games, which led the offense to do the same.

All that being said, 8-4 isn't bad, and the fact that it's a "disappointment" in Aggieland speaks to how much progress the program has made in a short time. This team still has a high-powered offense, ranking sixth in the nation in points per game (43.6) and fourth in yards per game (538.2).

The defense has had its ups and downs but ended the regular season on a solid note on the road against a talented Missouri team, keeping the game within reach for its offense.

And this could be the last hurrah for Manziel, who seems destined to declare for early entry into the 2014 NFL draft. It could also be the final salvo for Evans, a Biletnikoff Award finalist, who is also draft-eligible. -- Sam Khan Jr.

#CampusConnection: Primetime Live

September, 21, 2013
9/21/13
7:00
PM ET
Can Texas right the ship against K-State? Will Michigan avoid another upset scare? Can Auburn-LSU produce another close one? And what about that Arizona State-Stanford showdown in the Pac-12?

We’ll be watching these games and many more on Saturday night and we’d like you to join in on the conversation. Head on over to Campus Connection at 8 ET and follow the action along with our eight reporters. Post your comments and questions and we’ll include as many of them as possible.

ESPN.com's Preseason All-America team

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
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The All-American wealth has spread across the land. The Pac-12 leads the conferences with seven, one more than the SEC. Dual-threat QB Marcus Mariota and RB Lache Seastrunk both originally signed with Oregon. Now that Seastrunk plays for Baylor, he and Mariota no longer have to share a backfield. Seastrunk and G Cyril Richardson make the Bears the only team with two on offense. Richardson is surely the first All-American named Cyril, but Lache is not the first body of water to make it. He joins 1939 Heisman winner Nile Kinnick.

Alabama has won three of the past four BCS titles with defense and placed LB C.J. Mosley and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on this team. Alabama and Oregon lead with three players apiece on the list. That's one more than the Big Ten and two more than the ACC and Conference USA. -- Ivan Maisel

View ESPN.com's 2013 Preseason All-America team here.

Brock Huard's top 10 QBs in college football

August, 15, 2013
8/15/13
10:30
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Tajh Boyd, AJ McCarron and Marcus MariotaGetty ImagesTajh Boyd, AJ McCarron and Marcus Mariota all rank near the top of Brock Huard's top 10.

The 2013 NFL draft featured a weaker-than-usual class of quarterbacks, to be sure, but there was another reason why EJ Manuel was the only QB taken in the first round: NFL teams knew that the 2014 class of passers is loaded with intriguing talent that comes in a variety of sizes, skill sets and experience levels.

Which brings us to the preseason edition of ESPN Insider Brock Huard's QB rankings. Unlike his Insider colleagues Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, who will be projecting these signal-callers (and all the 2014 draft-eligible prospects) all season long based on their NFL potential, and unlike analysts who are ranking them based on their collegiate performance, Huard is setting out to do a little of both.

View Huard's complete rankings here. Insider

Links: Farewell to the BCS

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
2:00
PM ET


This is the last year of the BCS, and our writers look at its impact on college football:

From Ivan Maisel: The BCS has moved NCAA football forward in a way no system before it could and given it a national stage, but along with exposure comes greater pressure and expectations, which in the end the series couldn't overcome.

From Mark Schlabach: As we prepare for the final season of the BCS, let's take a look back at its highs and lows.

From Brian Bennett: Five of the last seven national champions have had at least one loss, and with a playoff looming, going undefeated will be harder than ever.
Tags:

SEC, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12, NCF


One of the most popular proposals for paying college athletes involves giving players a share of the revenue from jersey sales. After all, the athletic department must be making millions off all those jerseys you see people wearing on game day, right? And the only explanation for a fan wearing a No. 2 Texas A&M jersey is because they want to wear Johnny Manziel's number, right?

What if I told you Texas A&M made just $59,690 on jersey sales for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013?

That's correct. The Texas A&M athletic department received just $59,690 for jersey sales last year, Heisman Trophy winner and all. That number isn't just football, either. It includes basketball, baseball, cycling and all other jersey sales. Collegiate Licensing Company handles the licensing for Texas A&M and does not break jersey revenue down by sport or by number in its schools reports. That means we don't know how much revenue was generated from football jerseys or the No. 2 worn by Heisman Trophy winner Manziel.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
AP Photo/Aaron M. SprecherDespite having a the Heisman Trophy award winner, Texas A&M saw only $59,690 in revenue from jersey sales last fiscal year.
The bottom line is that athletic departments aren't getting rich off jersey sales. Texas A&M receives just 10 percent of the wholesale price for jerseys under its contract with adidas. If the jersey is sold through the campus bookstore, they make about 15 percent, but 92 percent of all merchandise is sold somewhere other than the campus bookstore.

Jersey sales accounted for just 1.53 percent of Texas A&M's licensing revenue last fiscal year. Out of the total of $3.9 million, the largest source of revenue was $750,000 in men's T-shirt sales. SEC co-branded product was also popular, eclipsing jersey sales at $102,000.

The situation isn't unique to Texas A&M. Wisconsin, whose licensing revenues also totaled $3.9 million, says just 1.23 percent, or $47,437, of its licensing revenue last year was derived from jersey sales. Similarly, West Virginia says $56,728 of its licensing revenue last year came from jersey sales, 1.62 percent of its $3.3 million total licensing revenue.

In the ACC, Clemson saw less than one percent of its $1.75 million licensing revenue come in from jersey sales, a grand total of $12,375. Cal estimates its jersey sales account for 1.5 percent of total licensing revenue, but it's tough to give an exact figure because the report it receives from Nike includes jerseys in a category with helmets, swim caps and other team gear.

"Jerseys are not insignificant in years where a current player has Heisman potential or when an alumnus goes to the Super Bowl or NBA Finals. But in general, it's not a big item," Cal licensing director Dan Perkins said.

Collegiate Licensing Company, which handles licensing for 157 universities, says jersey sales account for an average of 1.1 percent of all licensing revenue for the schools it represents. The largest sources of licensing revenue for these schools are from T-shirts, women's apparel and fleece apparel.

Even if the NCAA allowed schools to share jersey revenue with student-athletes, we're not talking life-changing money. First, at many schools, licensing revenue is split between the athletic department and the university. For example, all of North Carolina's licensing money is collected by the university, not the athletic department. At Virginia Tech, 25 percent net of expenses is transferred to the athletic department from the university, which amounted to approximately $300,000 last year.

Since the university's brand is part of the jersey (and jerseys are often sold with inactive numbers, like Texas A&M's No. 12), student-athletes would surely have to split the money with some combination of the university and athletic department. Then there's the issue of whether jersey sales money would go directly to the student-athletes whose numbers are used on jerseys sold at retail or if those funds would be divided between all student-athletes.

For the ease of the math, let's say the split between the university and student-athletes was 50/50. Texas A&M's count of student-athletes last year was 674, according to data filed with the Department of Education.

Each student-athlete at Texas A&M last year would have received $44.28 if jersey sales were shared with all student-athletes. Wisconsin's 878 student-athletes would have each received $27.01. West Virginia's 533 student-athletes would have each received $53.22. Clemson's 472 would have come in at just $13.11 each.

Of course, revenue from jersey sales could go directly to the student-athlete whose number was associated. Universities only choose to produce jerseys with a few selected numbers each year, however. What if a student-athlete didn’t think he or she was getting the same opportunities as others? Would the potential for an issue be enough to keep universities from producing jerseys with the numbers of current players, effectively reducing their risk of a lawsuit? Perhaps.

Following revelations by ESPN's Jay Bilas earlier this week in which current student-athletes' names -- such as Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney -- were available in search results on the NCAA's online store, Mark Emmert announced Thursday the NCAA will no longer be in the business of selling jerseys. This doesn't impact the ability of schools to continue to sell jerseys, but it's foreseeable they might get out of the business of selling jerseys with numbers corresponding to current student-athletes if push came to shove.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar, the senior director of advocacy for the Women's Sports Foundation, says she thinks there's an issue bigger than simply how to divide the money.

"If the school says they want to give athletes extra money on top of any educational model -- on top of tuition, room and board and cost of attendance -- then they're employees. That's your biggest problem, not Title IX."

In addition to added costs, including payroll taxes, 401(k) plans and insurance, student-athletes becoming employees could put the athletic department's, and potentially even the university's, tax-exempt status at risk.

With a number of unresolved issues, and the relatively small amount of money at stake, it's tough to imagine student-athletes will be pocketing money from jersey sales anytime soon.
ESPN Watch List offensive tackle Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central) is up to eight offers – four from the Big Ten, three from the SEC and one from the ACC. The spring could be the perfect time for Johnson’s recruiting to see a major spike.


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Live chat: GameDay Friday

September, 7, 2012
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Join our ESPN.com college football experts as they give their predictions for this weekend, review the top-25 and pontificate on the Heisman contenders.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at noon ET. See you there.

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