College Football Minute

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
8:01
PM ET


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USC has injury concerns, Bryce Petty plans to play, and Kenny Hill doesn't pose for pictures. It's all ahead on the College Football Minute.
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Georgia and Texas A&M were the biggest winners in the latest ESPN.com Power Rankings.
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Florida State's close win over Oklahoma State cost the Seminoles some first-place votes, but not enough to knock them from the No. 1 spot in the AP poll.

SEC bowl projections: Week 1

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
5:00
PM ET
It didn't take long for the bowl projections to see a major shake-up with South Carolina's loss to Texas A&M on opening night. There's also a new SEC team headed to the College Football Playoff in the latest forecast after Georgia had what many are calling the most impressive win from Week 1. We still believe it's unlikely the league gets two teams in the playoff, though.

At this point, we have 11 SEC teams in all making the postseason, but there is still plenty of football left to be played. The projections will fluctuate throughout the season, but here's our best guess after Week 1.

College Football Playoff semifinal (Rose Bowl): Georgia
Orange Bowl: Alabama
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Auburn
Capital One Bowl: Texas A&M
TaxSlayer Bowl: LSU
Outback Bowl: South Carolina
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Mississippi State
Belk Bowl: Florida
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Missouri
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Ole Miss
Birmingham Bowl: Tennessee

Heisman Watch: Gurley tops list

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
3:40
PM ET
With the first week of games in the books, ESPN's Heisman Watch has been unveiled and Georgia RB Todd Gurley finds himself in the top spot. That's what happens when you run for 198 yards and two scores and also return a kickoff 100 yards for a third touchdown.

Also representing the SEC is Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill off his record-setting debut and one half of Alabama's dynamic running back duo T.J. Yeldon.

Click here for the full list.

Texas A&M jumps 12 spots

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
2:30
PM ET
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The Texas A&M Aggies, buoyed by their victory over South Carolina, moved up 12 spots to No. 9 in the AP Top 25 after the opening weekend of college football.

The top four in the rankings -- Florida State, Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma -- are unchanged, but the No. 1 Seminoles and No. 2 Crimson Tide lost some support in the first poll of the regular season after close victories against heavy underdogs.

Texas A&M began the post-Johnny Manziel era with a 52-28 victory at South Carolina. The loss dropped the Gamecocks from No. 9 to No. 21.

Georgia, led by running back Todd Gurley, rose six spots to No. 6 -- even earning two first-place votes -- after a 45-21 victory over then-No. 16 Clemson, which tumbled seven spots to No. 23.

Florida State dropped from 57 first-place votes to 46 after pulling out a 37-31 victory against Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, Alabama dropped 44 points in the media-panel voting, getting just one first-place vote, after beating West Virginia.


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Trill QB: Kenny Hill has own nickname

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
2:25
PM ET
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Just call him Kenny Trill.

Many, including Johnny Manziel himself, started calling new Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill by the nickname Kenny Football after his record-setting 511-yard passing game in an upset of South Carolina last week.

But the sophomore quarterback says that's Manziel's thing -- and he prefers Kenny Trill.

Though trill is a word to describe a vibratory sound, that's not what it means in rap culture. It's a hybrid of true and real and has long been used by Texas rapper Bun B, who calls himself Bun B Trill OG.

Hill says scores of people have approached him for pictures. They won't get them: Hill says coach Kevin Sumlin told him not to take them because "Johnny got in so much trouble over pictures."


Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press

SEC power rankings: Week 1

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
2:00
PM ET
The first week of games brought about a big shake-up in the SEC power rankings. From the dominance of Texas A&M and Georgia to the struggles of Alabama, it was a wild week that should set the stage for a wide-open season. But remember, it's only the first week.

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Edward Aschoff, Jeff Barlis, David Ching, Sam Khan Jr., Chris Low, Greg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough contributed to these rankings.

Trill QB: Kenny Hill has own moniker

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
1:28
PM ET
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Just call him Kenny Trill.

Many, including Johnny Manziel himself, started calling new Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill by the nickname Kenny Football after his record-setting, 511-yard passing game in an upset of South Carolina last week.

But the sophomore quarterback says that's Manziel's thing -- and he prefers Kenny Trill.

"I like that one," he said. "That one's cool."

Before settling on Kenny Trill, Hill went through a laundry list of nicknames people have suggested since Thursday's game.

"I heard there's Kenny Trill, Kenny Thrill, King of the Hill, Kenny Football, Kenny Chill, Kenny Touchdown," he said. "I mean there's too many of them."

Though trill is a word to describe a vibratory sound, that's not what it means in rap culture. It's a hybrid of true and real and has long been used by Texas rapper Bun B, who calls himself Bun B Trill OG.

"I know about Bun B and I know coach Sumlin has got a little relationship with Bun B," Hill said. "So hopefully he'll let me be Kenny Trill."

Maybe that will happen one day, but for now Bun B isn't quite ready to sign off on the moniker. He tweeted: "Like the idea of "Kenny Trill" but I think (at)coachsumlin would agree one good game alone doesn't make you trill. He's on his way though!"

Hill said scores of people have approached him for pictures. They won't get them: Hill said coach Kevin Sumlin told him not to take them because "Johnny got in so much trouble over pictures."


(Read full post)


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After week 1 of the season, Cary Chow and Adam Rittenberg look back on which conferences surprised and which left us with more questions than answers.
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Week one of the college football season is in the books. Time to talk playoffs, right? Adam Rittenberg and Heather Dinich take an early look at what the playoff field looks like.

Campaign trail: Texas A&M Aggies

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
10:45
AM ET
Which teams will make the College Football Playoff? Ultimately, the selection committee will decide. Until then, there will be a lot of campaigning. Each week we'll unveil what we think one team's campaign message should be.

Texas A&M wasn't top of mind for many entering the season, but the Aggies made a statement Thursday night. A road game at South Carolina and a new quarterback could have been disastrous. Instead, Texas A&M's 52-28 drubbing of the Gamecocks launched the Aggies into the national title discussion -- and gave coach Kevin Sumlin something to cheer about.

Kevin SumlinIllustration by Sam Ho

Planning for success: Texas A&M

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
9:00
AM ET
Kevin Sumlin heard the offseason chatter. He read the headlines and saw the point spreads. He was well aware what everyone thought the Aggies were supposed to do.

So on July 31, the day the Aggies reported for training camp and a day before the first practice, the Texas A&M coach set the tone for his players by using one of those headlines.

"Our first meeting we had as a team, ironically, was [July] 31st," Sumlin told reporters after Thursday's game. "The [coaches poll] came out at 11 or 12 or something like that. By 1 o'clock, USA Today had an article with a big headline that said '[Texas A&M is] the most overrated team in the country.' I just put that up there Day 1. That's how we started practice."

[+] EnlargeTexas A&M's Kevin Sumlin
Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports"Quite frankly, there's a little chip on their shoulder," Kevin Sumlin said of his Aggies.
Sumlin, his coaching staff and players took some offense to the fact that there was a segment of the college football world that believed that the Aggies rode Johnny Manziel to a 20-6 record in their first two SEC seasons and would regress without him. Texas A&M served notice that the opposite might be true in their 52-28 drubbing of South Carolina on Thursday.

"There's probably some coaches, including myself, that took some comments personal in the offseason about how we prepare our team, what our program's all about and I think our team took that personal and they played that way [Thursday night]," Sumlin said.

Suddenly, outsider expectations of the Aggies have been recalibrated. Instead of wondering whether they'd be able to match last year's eight regular season wins, the Aggies look good enough to go toe-to-toe with any team on their schedule and exceed that number. They went on the road and convincingly defeated a ranked team that was carrying and 18-game home-winning streak into the contest.

"Our coaches had great plans and the execution level was good," Sumlin said of his team's opening-day performance. "It's hard to ever say that you think it's going to go like that but I think there was a confidence about this team coming into this year. Quite frankly, there's a little chip on their shoulder.

"Basically, nobody gave us a chance to even be close in this game. All I heard all last week was 'Two touchdowns.' If we could keep it close that'd be great. I think what we did tonight kind of showed that we're not a one-trick pony."

No, there are numerous tricks in the Aggies' bag, especially offensively. Quarterback Kenny Hill connected with a dozen different players via pass and broke Manziel's single-game school records for passing yards (511) and completions (44). Their up-tempo offense ran at near peak efficiency and South Carolina seemingly had few answers.

Moving forward, the Aggies' schedule sets up favorably. They host FCS foe Lamar on Saturday, followed by nonconference clashes against Rice and SMU before re-entering SEC play vs. Arkansas in Arlington's AT&T Stadium. The chance for a 4-0 or 5-0 start is real, which would set up a compelling road clash with Mississippi State on Oct. 4.

More importantly than the near future, Thursday's win indicates the Aggies' long-term future in the SEC is bright. The SEC West is difficult, but between their favorable recruiting (Sumlin signed consecutive top-10 classes and is on track for a third in a row this February), improving football facilities (the school is pouring nearly $500 million into them dating back to summer 2012) and rising profile nationally, the foundation for long-term success appears to be growing stronger, something Sumlin has been planning for since taking this job in December 2011.

"We've got a great university, a great location, we've got great support," Sumlin said. "Because of that, we've got a great chance to be successful. Now, the downside is we're in the SEC West. So there's a bunch of there teams there with great support and great location. We get that. But I also think that we have the ability to achieve success at a high level and sustain it and there's not a lot of places that can do that."
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The most eye-popping performance in week 1 went to Texas A&M's dominating win over South Carolina leaving the Aggies' stock up.
Texas A&M's biggest question mark coming into this season -- even more so than its quarterback -- revolved around its defense and whether it could show significant improvement after a brutal 2013 campaign.

One game into the 2014 season, there is sufficient reason for optimism in several areas the Aggies struggled a year ago.

[+] EnlargeMyles Garrett and Dylan Thompson
Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY SportsTexas A&M's defense, including true freshman Myles Garrett, showed significant improvement from 2013 in its season-opening win, harassing South Carolina QB Dylan Thompson all night.
Overshadowed by the record-breaking starting debut of sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill was the fact that the Aggies showed signs of progress on defense in their 52-28 dismantling of South Carolina on Thursday.

The most noticeable difference was the Aggies’ ability to rush the passer. A sore spot last season (the Aggies had only seven sacks in their first seven games in 2013), Texas A&M showcased its increased depth and athleticism on the edge and harassed South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson to the tune of six quarterback hurries and three sacks.

One of those sacks and two of those hurries came courtesy of the Aggies’ prized 2014 recruit, true freshman Myles Garrett.

“Myles can run with the best of them,” junior defensive end Julien Obioha said.

At 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, Garrett showed why he was pursued by most major programs in the country. He displayed strength, athleticism and determination that made him a factor in his collegiate debut.

He wasn’t alone. Defensive ends Daeshon Hall and Jay Arnold and defensive tackle Hardreck Walker also recorded hurries, while linebackers Donnie Baggs and A.J. Hilliard got sacks of their own.

Texas A&M’s much-maligned run defense held up well, too, though it got some assistance. Standout running back Mike Davis played sparingly because of a rib injury, and the Aggies’ put up points at a pace that forced South Carolina to abandon the running game to some extent.

Still, when the Gamecocks did run the ball, they were largely ineffective, averaging only three yards per carry and finishing with 67 yards on 22 attempts.

“I think we just came out and showed that we can stop the run against an experienced offensive line, one of the best offensive lines in the country,” Obioha said. “They have a great group of backs. Mike Davis couldn't play that much [Thursday], but we came out and stopped the run against a very good offense."

The night wasn’t without its flaws. Thompson beat the Aggies’ secondary deep for two long first-half touchdown passes of 69 and 46 yards, and in both cases there were errors in Texas A&M's young secondary that contributed to the big plays.

“We had a safety jump a route and get the first touchdown open and didn't get any help for [cornerback] Deshazor [Everett] and then [we had] a bust [in coverage],” Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Those two big plays really kind of changed the complexion of the first half and it was a different ballgame because of two plays.”

But one encouraging sign for the secondary was the play of true freshman safety Armani Watts, who recorded an interception and two pass breakups. Sumlin and defensive coordinator Mark Snyder stressed multiple times this offseason that the Aggies needed upgraded safety play, and Watts showed signs Thursday that he might be the one to help provide it.

It wasn’t a perfect night, but given the lack of outsider expectations and last season’s forgettable performances, 2014 has already given the Aggies reason to believe this year will be better.

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