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SPORTS
September 2, 2016 | By Mike Kern, STAFF WRITER
MIKE KERN'S TOP 10 1. Alabama: So you were expecting maybe Bowling Green? It's never easy being preseason favorite. And Tide have to go to Mississippi - which has beaten them the last two years - in September, to Tennessee - which they've beaten nine straight times - in October and to LSU - which they've beaten five in a row - in early November. But they are going for fifth ring in nine years. 2. Clemson: Has to go to Florida State, where it hasn't won in a decade, in late October.
SPORTS
September 2, 2016 | By Joe Juliano, STAFF WRITER
Final Four predictions 1. Alabama It's the annual quiz in Tuscaloosa - who's the No. 1 quarterback? The question hasn't hurt the Crimson Tide the last two years when they made the playoffs, and especially last year when they won it all behind one-year starter Jake Coker. This year's final two candidates are junior Cooper Bateman and redshirt freshman Blake Barnett, either of whom will throw to a very talented bunch of receivers. Alabama faces a brutal batch of road games - at Mississippi, at Tennessee, at LSU - but should still have what it takes to reach the playoffs again.
SPORTS
September 2, 2016 | By Ed Barkowitz, STAFF WRITER
THOSE PREFERRING to wait to grab their quarterback have some delightful options. While the usual suspects are still in play (Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning), a couple of kids are starting to become fantasy relevant. Sam Bradford? Maybe as bye-week replacement. Blake Bortles, Jaguars: Love his weapons, and he had a strong preseason. Has played his way into a starter in 10- and 12-team leagues. Tom Brady, Patriots: Suspended the first four games, which has dropped his average draft position in CBS Sports leagues to 57. In ESPN leagues, it's 60. Drew Brees, Saints: Even though his numbers continue to decline from 2011, when he had 5,476 yards and 46 TDs, they have not slid enough to knock him out of the top-seven in fantasy.
SPORTS
September 2, 2016 | By Ed Barkowitz, STAFF WRITER
EVEN THOUGH being ranked No. 1 in the preseason is generally a death sentence, it is kind of interesting that seven teams received first-place votes - the most in 18 years. Alabama may be the consensus, but there are plenty of schools tugging on Big Al's trunk. Clemson has an electrifying quarterback. LSU has a horse for a running back and the bitter taste of revenge. Oklahoma will be a factor, Florida State has an accommodating schedule and Houston - fresh off a monster bowl win - is looking to crash the party.
SPORTS
September 2, 2016 | By Marc Narducci, STAFF WRITER
When Temple kicks off its football season Friday at Lincoln Financial Field against Army, the opponent will provide a nostalgic moment for fourth-year head coach Matt Rhule and fourth-year starting quarterback Phillip Walker. It was Army that provided the first win for both coach and quarterback. The Owls were 0-6 entering a home game on Oct. 19, 2013. Like any first-year coach, Rhule was frustrated by the losing. He made several changes to his lineup. "We started putting in the young players, pulling out their redshirts and said, 'If we are going to lose, let's lose with kids who are going to listen to us,' " Rhule recalled this week.
SPORTS
September 2, 2016 | By Ed Barkowitz, STAFF WRITER
MAN, HOW can we get Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht to get into our fantasy league? We don't have many rules, but we do have a firm policy that we will gladly accept the league fee of anyone willing to draft a kicker in the second round - even if we have to expand. Right after Laremy Tunsil's bong fiasco, the Buccaneers' using the 59th overall pick on Roberto Aguayo was one of the more humorous moments of the 2016 draft weekend. To make the scrutiny even more intense on the rookie is that Licht traded up to get Aguayo, giving away a third-round pick (No. 74)
SPORTS
September 1, 2016 | $util.encode.html($!item.byline), $util.encode.html($!item.bycredit)
ABILENE CHRISTIAN Sep. 3 at Air Force. . . 2 p.m. Sep. 10 N. Colorado. . . 7 p.m. Sep. 17 at Houston Baptist. . . 8 p.m. Sep. 24 at Stephen F. Austin. . . 7 p.m. Oct. 1 Cent. Arkansas. . . 3:30 p.m. Oct. 8 Lamar. . . 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at Sam Houston St.. . . TBA Oct. 22 Incarnate Word. . . 3:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at McNeese St.. . . 7 p.m. Nov. 5 Northwestern St.. . . 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at SE Louisiana. . . 8 p.m. AIR FORCE Sep. 3 Abilene Christian.
SPORTS
September 1, 2016 | By Phil Anastasia, STAFF WRITER
When Jon Vega was in eighth grade, he tried football for the first time. "They made me a running back at first," Vega recalled. "But I didn't know how to hold the football. " Vega moved to Hammonton from Puerto Rico as a seventh-grader. The next year, he decided to try out for the youth football team because it seemed like such a popular sport in the town. He was fast. He was athletic. But he was a little short of know-how. "I had no idea how to play," Vega said. "But I liked it. I liked it right away.
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