Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Colleges

College football game day preview

Second coming?

They've never met, never even talked, but they'd probably be best of friends if they did.

Both of them were homeschooled, both are rooted deeply in their Christian faith. Both were standout high school players who overcame funky throwing motions to develop into bruising, run-first quarterbacks for two of college football's most accomplished coaches.

All that Collin Klein, left, needs to do now is lead No. 3 Kansas State to a national championship, stop in New York to accept the Heisman Trophy along the way and the comparisons to former Florida star and current Jets backup Tim Tebow may never end.

"I've never met him, and I've barely ever heard him speak, but watching him, you can see his team believes in him," Tebow said in an interview with the Associated Press. "He has great leadership, great poise, awesome competitive excellence and he's a winner. At the end of games and in big situations in games, he always comes through. That's an awesome trait."

As a sophomore, Tebow threw for 3,286 yards, completed 66.9 percent of his passes and had 32 touchdown passes with only six interceptions. But it was on the ground where he truly set himself apart, running for 895 yards and 23 touchdowns with the kind of power usually found in a fullback.

He wound up taking home the Heisman Trophy over Arkansas running back Darren McFadden.

Klein is on pace to throw for 2,649 yards with 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions this season, and he would finish with 1,030 yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground. Numbers quite similar to Tebow's Heisman season.

Tebow is so enamored with Klein that he has made it a point to watch the Wildcats (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) whenever he can, dissecting the performance by what could be his doppelganger.

Klein brushes off the similarities to Tebow, though he has acknowledged many times that he's appreciative of the comparisons; more so for the values that Tebow represents off the field than his jaw-dropping performances on it.

"I think I'm very blessed that God has provided my upbringing in a way that I had parents and coaches that invested in me, and provided a foundation to understand what's really important, and success is fleeting in this world," Klein said. "There's bigger things at stake."

Information from the Associated Press and the Philadelphia Daily News was used in this report.

In some eyes, the Longhorn Network comes up short

Remember that exposure monstrosity that was going to separate Texas from those other top feeders on the food chain? Well, upon further review, maybe not so much. Or at least not the way some envisioned when the Longhorns entered into a 20-year, $300 million partnership with — who else — ESPN. Coach Mack Brown, left, spends six hours a week taping six television shows. And the first 30 minutes of practice also makes it on the air. Recruits see it. So do other teams. "I'm a soldier," Brown said recently, when asked about the partnership. "It's on (everywhere). It's a true advantage (for opponents). They can watch (us). There has to be some give-and-take. It is what it is. It's my job, because (my bosses) have told me it is. We were given a deal we had no input in." Interesting. It's often about the details. And injury updates. This groundbreaking endeavor threatened to blow up the Big 12 because of the financial and high-profile boost it created/provided in Austin, which some other schools deemed unfair. Texas A&M, the Longhorns' biggest rival, eventually left for the SEC (along with Missouri) largely for that reason. Athletic director DeLoss Dodds said Brown's concerns will be addressed. But don't expect the school to relinquish its pioneer status any time soon. In a statement, ESPN said the concept will continue to evolve to best serve the Longhorns' fan base. How do you think ESPN got to be the Worldwide Leader? Never underestimate the power of editorial control.

Dress for success?

The last time Notre Dame was 8-0, in 2002, it was ranked fourth coming off a 10-point win at No. 11 Florida State. It then lost at home to 4-3 and unranked Boston College 14-7 as a 9½-point favorite.

The Irish wore green jerseys.

Now Notre Dame is giving 17 today to visiting Pitt (4-4), which is one of four Big East teams that have won in South Bend, Ind., since 2008 (Syracuse, USF and UConn).

We're guessing Notre Dame won't be in green.

Today's game between No. 8 Florida and Missouri is only the second between the schools. In 1966, the Tigers and Gators, led by junior QB Steve Spurrier, now the coach at South Carolina, met in the Sugar Bowl. • In that game, Missouri went ahead 17-0 by halftime and 20-0 after three quarters before Spurrier led UF to three fourth-quarter TDs in a frenetic comeback. Oddly, coach Ray Graves went for two-point conversions after each score, all of which failed, including the final touchdown with 2:08 left. • Not surprisingly, Spurrier remembers it like it was yesterday. • "I remember we got beat," Spurrier, named the game's MVP, said this week. "We got beat 20-18, and it was a game that they dominated until about, oh, the end of the third, fourth quarter. Then we started throwing every down, and our defense stopped them about every time. We went down and scored three times. And for some reason, one of the coaches persuaded our head coach Ray Graves to go for two. So we kept going for two, and we haven't made one yet. So we got beat 20-18." • Asked if he considered it unusual that UF kept attempting the two-point play, Spurrier said, "I think our extra-point kicker could have made them, but you never know. But yeah, that was a little unusual." • Spurrier, who went on to win the Heisman the next season, had 352 passing yards in the game, including 16-of-23 for 198 yards in the fourth. • Florida QB Jeff Driskel is hoping for a different outcome, but likes the fact he's participating in a game that has been rare up to now. • "I saw a stat where this is only the second time Florida has played Missouri, so that's pretty cool," Driskel said.

 
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