In The News

Stay up-to-date with the latest news, press releases, event updates and more.
MEDIA INQUIRIES

CFB Insider

There’s always time for new power rankings.

Big 12 and SEC post-spring football power rankings.

As spring football comes to a close and teams prepare for the final stretch before the season starts let’s take a look at some rankings. With no actual action on the field, all we can do is argue about where all our teams rank. Here are some post-spring football power rankings for both the BIG 12 and SEC.

In the first set of SEC rankings, there’s the usual Crimson Tide in first place followed up by the defending national champions, the Georgia Bulldogs. Bryce Young and Will Anderson leading their respective units have the Tide as the favorites to claim the National Championship after a one-year drought. With Georgia having 15 total players drafted they’ll be looking to reload and at worst be in the mix for a CFB playoff spot again. The Aggies are coming in hot this season after assembling the greatest recruiting class in CFB history. Anything other than a CFB Playoff birth will be seen as a wasted year. All those four and five-star players should be able to get the Aggies into their first-ever CFP.

 

Full rankings:

1.       Alabama – Crimson Tide

2.       Georgia – Bulldogs

3.       Texas A&M – Aggies

4.       Kentucky – Wildcats

5.       Arkansas – Razorbacks

6.       Tennessee – Volunteers

7.       Mississippi State – Bulldogs

8.       LSU – Tigers

9.       Ole Miss – Rebels

10.   South Carolina – Gamecocks

11.   Florida – Gators

12.   Auburn – Tigers

13.   Missouri – Tigers

14.   Vanderbilt – Commodores

 

The Big 12 rankings by USA Today have Oklahoma as the current favorites to claim the conference title. Even after taking some considerable loses at various coaching positions and some players transferring OU has done a lot of work to prove they’re still in contention. With Dillon Gabriel out of UCF stepping in at QB and Brent Venables taking over as HC the Sooners will most likely contend for a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl once again. Behind the Sooners are both Oklahoma State and Baylor who both had very successful seasons last year. After facing off for the conference championship last year both teams will look to contend with OU for the Big 12 title this year.

 

Full rankings:

1.       Oklahoma – Sooners

2.       Oklahoma State – Cowboys

3.       Baylor – Bears

4.       Kansas State – Wildcats

5.       Texas – Longhorns

6.       West Virginia – Mountaineers

7.       Iowa State – Cyclones

8.       TCU – Horned Frogs

9.       Texas Tech – Red Raiders

10.   Kansas – Jayhawks  

CFB Insider

Who's up first?

 

The incoming crop of QBs doesn’t have the usual one or two prospects that blow experts away. This means that we’ll end up seeing the next GOAT taken in the first round when no one was expecting it. Where do the experts think all the top QB prospects are headed?

Read on to see where the experts think these top QBs are headed and give us your opinion on the latest @TexasBowl tweet.

These are the consensus top 5 QBs in the 2022 draft in no particular order.

1.       Kenny Pickett, Pitt

2.       Malik Willis, Liberty

3.       Matt Corral, Mississippi

4.       Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

5.       Sam Howell, North Carolina

There might not be a first overall pick at the QB position but lately there’s been a lot of noise around Malik Willis. As we approach the draft it seems like Willis is the favorite to be the first QB taken off the board or at least that’s what Twitter says.

 

In CBS Sports latest mock Malik is the first QB taken at #6 while the rest of the QBs fall into the second half of the first round. They even left Ridder out of the first round while other’s have Ridder going first. Without a consensus top QB opinions vary widely, so we’ll see the QBs move around quite a bit.

#6 Panthers – Malik Willis

#18 Saints - Kenny Pickett

#26 Titans – Matt Corral

#32 Lions – Sam Howell

 

Up next is the PFF mock which has just two QBs going in the first round. With two of the top four QBs going in the 40s PFF shows that they’re not very confident in the upcoming class. Just one top ten pick and a top 20 means all the others will have to wait until the second night to hear their name called.

#8 Falcons- Desmond Ridder

#20 Pittsburgh – Malik Willis

 

This one really decides to shake things up like no other. The Ringer’s draft has not just one but two QBs going in the top ten and then nothing for the rest of the first. For most of the draft process QBs haven’t been considered top three worthy but with his recent combine and pro day performances The Ringer believes that Willis is worthy. Pickett doubters believe that his hands will be a problem because QBs with smaller hands usually don’t find success in the league. Will hand size really matter to a team enough to stop them from picking Pickett?

#2 Lions – Malik Willis

#6 Pittsburgh – Kenny Pickett

 

Last one up is the Bleacher Report mock featuring a single QB picked in the top ten. This one is like your average mock draft with 3 QBs going in the first spread out around the mid and late round. Once again it features Willis as the top QB off the board showing that he’s probably seen as the top QB by most people. He’s at least a favorite for those who make mock drafts so that must mean something.

#9 Seahawks – Malik Willis

#11 Commanders – Desmond Ridder

#20 Steelers – Kenny Pickett

       With no surefire top overall QB who do you think will be the best pro of the bunch?

 

 

CFB Insider

CFB Insider: How Do the Experts Rank ‘Em?

It seems like for this upcoming draft QBs might have to wait a bit longer than usual to hear their name. There isn’t a consensus top QB among the experts which means that a group of EDGE and OTs have taken over some of the top spots in many prospect rankings. Who do the experts think sits on top?  

Coming into the season Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon was considered the top prospect by most, but as the season went on a serious contender began to emerge in Aidan Hutchinson out of Michigan. It seems that most experts agree that the top five prospects for this draft consist of two EDGE, two OTs and one safety. 

Bleacher Report

1) Kayvon Thibodeaux | EDGE | R-Soph. | Oregon

2) Ikem Ekwonu | OT | R-Soph. | NC State

3) George Karlaftis | EDGE | Jr. | Purdue

4) Evan Neal | OT | Jr. | Alabama

5) Drake London | WR | Jr. | USC

6) Kyle Hamilton | S | Jr. | Notre Dame

7) Jordan Davis | DL | Sr. | Georgia

8) Derek Stingley Jr. | CB | Jr. | LSU

9) Tyler Linderbaum | OC | R-Jr. | Iowa

10) Chris Olave | WR | Sr. | Ohio State

Bleacher Report is an odd ranking because it doesn’t feature Hutchinson in the top ten and it also has Drake London out of USC in the top five while not many others have him that far up. It does feature a Big 10 EDGE in the top three but this one is a boilermaker, George Karlaftis, who not many place as a top five talent in the draft. Not believing Hutch is a top three player is one thing but dropping him to the mid-teens at number 14 is far out there and different from the rest. 

Pro Football Focus

1) Aidan Hutchinson | EDGE | Sr. | Michigan

2) Kayvon Thibodeaux | EDGE | R-Soph. | Oregon

3) Kyle Hamilton | S | Jr. | Notre Dame

4) Derek Stingley Jr. | CB | Jr. | LSU

5) Evan Neal | OT | Jr. | Alabama

6) Charles Cross | OT | Jr. | Mississippi State

7) George Karlaftis | EDGE | Jr. | Purdue

8) Ahmad Gardner | CB | Jr. | Cincinnati

9) Tyler Linderbaum | OC | R-Jr. | Iowa

10) Garrett Wilson | WR | Jr. | Ohio State

 PFF has a similar top 3 to many others with the Hutchinson and Thibodeaux duo sitting in the top two spots. They change it up by moving Stingley into the top five and taking Ekwonu out of the top ten. Another big difference with other rankings is that George Karlaftis, an EDGE out of Purdue is number seven for PFF while many others don’t consider the Junior a top ten prospect.                                            

CBS Sports

1) Kayvon Thibodeaux | EDGE | R-Soph. | Oregon

2) Derek Stingley Jr. | CB | Jr. | LSU

3) Kyle Hamilton | S | Jr. | Notre Dame

4) Aidan Hutchinson | EDGE | Sr. | Michigan

5) Tyler Linderbaum | OC | R-Jr. | Iowa

6) Evan Neal | OT | Jr. | Alabama

7) Garrett Wilson | WR | Jr. | Ohio State

8) Charles Cross | OT | R-Soph. | Mississippi State

9) Ikem Ekwonu | OT | R-Soph. | NC State

10) Jameson Williams | WR | Jr. | Alabama

This CBS Sports ranking it quite different from many of the others. While it does feature some familiar names it also shakes up the order compared to most others. Having Stingley Jr. as the second-best player available with no Gardner in sight shows that they believe one is far superior to the other. Who the top corner and where they rank is a debate all on its own with no one in agreement. Something else that sticks out on this ranking is that it features more offensive players than defensive players which most other rankings do. 

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

1) Aidan Hutchinson | EDGE | Sr. | Michigan

2) Kayvon Thibodeaux | EDGE | R-Soph. | Oregon

3) Evan Neal | OT | Jr. | Alabama

4) Kyle Hamilton | S | Jr. | Notre Dame

5) Ikem Ekwonu | OT | R-Soph. | NC State

6) Derek Stingley Jr. | CB | Jr. | LSU

7) Drake London | WR | Jr. | USC

8) Devin Lloyd | LB | R-Jr. | Utah

9) David Ojabo | EDGE | R-Soph. | Michigan

10) Nakobe Dean | LB | Jr. | Georgia

This is THE draft prospect ranking by Mel Kiper. This ranking is heavy on the defensive side of the ball showing that there’s lots of talent on that side of the ball. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there’ll be a run on defensive players early on but with some elite prospect sitting there some teams might be more inclined to take a chance on the best available instead of need. 

No one really knows who the best will be, but it’s always interesting to look at rankings years down the line. Being a top pick doesn’t guarantee success in the same way that being undrafted doesn’t mean a player will never be an All-Pro. With the combine starting this week there’s still a lot of changes to rankings coming and even more changes after pro days happen. Nothing is certain until the names start being called up on draft day. 

CFB Insider

Big Things Coming in College Football this Offseason?

Is 12 the magic number? Leading minds in the college football space can’t seem to decide. But big things are happening in collegiate sports right now.

Coming off the NCAA Convention in January, the move to decentralize the management of Divisions, schools and athletes might get the wheels turning on an expanded playoff. Keep reading to see a breakdown of where things are headed and how we might just see the future of college football come to fruition this off season.

Don’t forget to give us your opinion on where college football is heading by joining the conversation on our latest TaxAct Texas Bowl Twitter post.

The expanded playoff is a topic that isn’t new in the college football world. And most can agree that an expanded playoff has the potential to positively affect football schools around the country—so why aren’t we there yet?

Power Struggle

When it comes to the extended playoff discussion, there are two major factors: how do we get more teams involved, and how do we make more money. By far the loudest voices are coming from Power Five conferences, who for the most part stand to reap most of the benefits from an expanded format.

The ACC signed their fledgling commissioner in February 2021 and are concerned with the timing of a playoff that extends a full 12 games. Their proposal says let’s expand to eight, it makes things easier. One could also make the argument that they don’t have the consistent talent to extend more than one team to a field of 12 so eight looks like a better fit for Clemson to climb to the top.

Still fresh in the college football landscape, the Big Ten commissioner is hung up on requiring the top teams from all Power Five conferences receiving an automatic bid regardless of ranking. The automatic qualifier precludes a one or two-loss Big Ten Champion being left out  the Big Ten from having a Big Ten champ that isn’t ranked in the top five like the 2017 and 2018 Ohio State and Wisconsin teams. Ope.

The Pac-12 and their shiny new commissioner signed this past July, seems to just be happy with whatever you want, so long as there is expansion. They just don’t want to be left out again. Kind of like going to dinner with someone who is indecisive but really doesn’t feel like a burger, or Chinese food, or tacos, or…

The Big 12 and the SEC are by far the most supportive of the 12-team format and pushing the decision to be made before the current format comes to an end in 2026. A 12-team playoff is most conducive to getting two to three teams in annually coming off the heels of their conference expansions. Both conferences also tout well-tenured commissioners who have both seen and led change. Don’t anticipate either backing down from advocating for what they see as the best path forward.

Fighting the Power

Beyond the disruptions in football the past few years, there is a lot happening in collegiate athletics right now. The NCAA Convention held this past January welcomed in a new, simplified NCAA Constitution. The goal of the new legislation is to decentralize the management of conferences, teams and ultimately players. As proven by NIL legislation and adjustments to Transfer Portal requirements, collegiate athletics is moving to give the power to the student athletes that it looks to serve.

This adjustment in power does a few things for our expanded playoff hopes. 

First, it may slow things down a bit while the world of collegiate athletics attempts to find this new, decentralized identity. Commissioners and Athletic Directors have major hurdles to conquer this offseason including NIL guidelines, transfer portal aftermath and more. 

With this shift in power, we may also see student athlete voices rising with opinions on how the expansion should work—not unlike the nation-wide leadership we saw during the beginning of COVID. Now that students stand to profit from their national exposure in an expanded playoff, we would expect those voices to be pushing for the extension. 

The Power of Football 

Regardless of where the playoff map goes this offseason, the power of college football still stands. Through COVID, transfer portal chaos, a crazy coaching carousel, NIL uncertainties and countless more drama, the magic of college football remains stronger than ever. We will still be on the edge of our seats until the first kickoff this September, we will still be screaming at the top of our lungs when things go right (or wrong) with our favorite team, and we will still keep making epic memories watching our favorite sport unfold each fall.

 

CFB Insider

ROAD TO THE TAXACT TEXAS BOWL

The 2021 TaxAct Texas Bowl matchup is set between the K-State Wildcats and the LSU Tigers. Both teams had a season full of up and downs with thrilling victories and disappointing loses. From the highs and the lows let’s take a look at what led the Wildcats and Tigers to Houston.

LSU’s road to Houston.

Beginning of the season: 
LSU started out 3-1 and looked like they could easily reach bowl eligibility with just a few more wins. A disappointing loss and then three straight wins had the Tigers looking like they would enter the hard part of their schedule in good standing. A string of tough SEC matchups set the course for the rest of LSU’s season and their fight to get to a bowl game. 

Middle of the season:
Six straight ranked opponents is a daunting task for any team specially for one in the SEC. A bad start to their conference schedule with 2 straight losses against Auburn and Kentucky left the Tigers sitting at 3-3 with four more ranked opponents on their schedule. Then an upset win over #20 Florida put the Tigers back over .500 as they got through the middle of their conference schedule showing that they could still put up a fight. After the high of the Florida win came the lows of some crushing defeats. 

End of the season:
To end the season LSU lost three straight, including two one score loses to #2 Alabama and #25 Arkansas, before setting themselves up for a bowl game with two straight wins. Going into the final week 5-6 against #15 Texas A&M with bowl eligibility on the line was not ideal but in a big upset the Tigers managed to take a 27-24 win and reach bowl eligibility. It wasn’t pretty but the Tigers managed to get a big win to end the season against a tough opponent. 

K-State’s road to Houston.

Beginning of the season: 
Three straight wins to start the season had the Wildcats thinking of a bowl game at the end of the season. After cruising to three straight wins K-State struggled against an Oklahoma State team that was surging up the rankings. This loss started a streak that would leave K-State sitting at 3-3 at the midpoint of the season. 

Middle of the season: 
Three straight losses and a 3-3 record later K-State faced a Texas Tech team that was also fighting for their bowl eligibility. At the half the Wildcats trailed 24-10 and their chances of winning weren’t ideal, then the offense put up 15 straight and the ‘Cats came out with the win. 

End of the season: 
The one point win at Texas Tech started a four game winning streak for the Wildcats that locked up their bowl eligibility for the season. Their win streak ended with a 20-10 loss vs #11 Baylor and then they closed out their season with a 22-17 loss at Texas. With a 7-5 record the ‘Cats returned to a bowl game after a year of not being eligible.