The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

August 27, 2013

The top 5s of college football: Teams, players, games

There’s little sign of fall in the air, but it's Kickoff Week and that's enough to get one ready for tailgate parties and college football.  The long Labor Day weekend has most teams trotting onto the field for the first time. For starters, fans can pick from about 20 games that will be televised on Thursday night , including North Carolina at South Carolina and Ole Miss at Vanderbilt.

Before we get to the coin toss, let’s look ahead at what the 2013 season – the last year for the Bowl Championship Series -- has to offer.

The Fabulous Five

1. Alabama. Picking Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide is too easy. Nobody beats him at recruiting or preparation. Quarterback play with A.J. McCarron and a bevy of backs and receivers makes the offense look unstoppable. One question is the offensive line, where graduation left some spots to fill. A fourth national championship in five years looks possible.

2. Oregon. Great athletes and a great offense make the Ducks the team to beat in the Pac-12. The quick striking offense features two Heisman Trophy candidates -- Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas. With Chip Kelly gone to the NFL, Mark Helfrich steps up from offensive coordinator to run the team. A favorable schedule should help.

3. Ohio State. The Buckeyes breezed through last season’s relatively weak schedule unbeaten, but remained in Columbus during the bowl season on probation. Coach Urban Meyer should have Ohio State competing for championships thanks to the magic of quarterback Braxton Miller and linebacker Ryan Shazier.

4. Georgia. The Bulldogs won 12 games last year and were a play or two away from beating Alabama, thanks to a high-powered offense. Coach Mark Richt counts 10 returning starters on offense led by QB Aaron Murray. If Georgia can survive early-season matchups with Clemson and South Carolina, the Bulldogs could join the championship hunt.

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  • Interest in Ernst rises as his game does, too

    Brady Ernst is having a summer to remember.
    The rising River King senior is spending the summer playing for the Iowa Barnstormers traveling basketball team. This weekend they're playing in the Fab48 tournament in Las Vegas.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jones leaves UNO program

    Jalen Jones is done with basketball — for now, anyway.
    The 6-foot-5 Clinton High grad who had committed to play for Nebraska-Omaha, has left the program, and according to his Facebook page, has enrolled at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.
    The enrollment office at the community college confirmed that Jones was registered for classes this fall at Kirkwood. Kirkwood coach Bryan Petersen, a Clinton High graduate, declined to comment and gave no indication that Jones would play basketball for the Eagles this winter.
    "College basketball isn't for everybody," Clinton coach Nick Lawrence said. "A little time away might do him some good."
    Jones came home to Clinton after spending just a few days with the Mavericks, and enrolled to Kirkwood shortly thereafter.
    Jones, the Herald's Player of the Year, averaged 19 points a game for the River Kings in his senior season and finished with the second-most rebounds with 160.
    He shot 41 percent on the floor and 28 percent from 3-point territory. He committed to Omaha before last season started in October.

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