With the help of players, coaches, TV analysts, school administrators and NCAA officials, AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo tackles on-and off-field issues affecting the sport throughout the year. The show gives everyone from the casual fan to the obsessed alum, an insider look into the AP Poll and all that is trending on campuses around the country. Be ready for the big game, signing day or spring practice with this weekly chat about college football.
Bowl Games or Home Games?
49:49Rece Davis, the host of ESPN’s “College GameDay,” joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss the proposed plan to expand the college football playoff from four to 12 teams. If the plan was on Rece’s desk, what revisions would he consider? First off, bowls games or home games? As of now the plan is for the quarterfinals to be held at marquee bowl sites while first-round games are on campus. Davis suggests a plan to have more games played on campus while still protecting a few bowls. The Rose Bowl is one the postseason game with a tradition worth preserving and Rece has an idea on how do that. Plus, what will an expanded playoff do to scheduling? And Rece and Ralph react to the NCAA’s Supreme Court loss. Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com.
How college football got to a 12-team playoff
1:01:42There is a plan in place to expand the College Football Playoff from four teams to 12. It’s a remarkable change for a sport that for decades seemed committed to using any other way possible to determine a national champion than the one used by just about every other sport. How did college football get here? Ivan Maisel, formerly of ESPN and now about be the lead writer of a new college football website called on3.com, joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to look back at the events that led to college football embracing a playoff structure and how it has gone so quickly from two to four to 12. Plus, what questions remain to be answered about this new plan, including how soon can it be implemented. Ivan’s new venture: https://www.on3.com/Ivan’s new book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57007655-i-keep-trying-to-catch-his-eye
Georgia’s quest; Northwestern’s mess
1:15:54The most talented roster in college football this season might very well belong to Georgia. But can the Bulldogs breakthrough and win the program’s first national championship since 1980? Marc Weiszer from the Athens Banner-Herald joins AP’s Ralph Russo to assess Kirby Smart’s program, including the recent additions of two high-profile transfers. Also, national college football writer Matt Fortuna of The Athletic joins the show to talk about Northwestern’s messy athletic director search, Wisconsin’s more seamless transition from Barry Alvarez, the state of Notre Dame heading into year 12 for Brian Kelly and Nick Saban’s new contract extension. Q&A with outgoing Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott: https://apnews.com/article/football-only-on-ap-college-football-business-sports-904a3dc5b5a794573b95fa4b43a86046 Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com.
Win total over/unders with the Bear from ESPN
1:13:44Beware teams coming off a magical season. Often, it’s hard to repeat.Oddsmakers have set win totals for this upcoming season for every FBS team and ESPN’s Chris Fallica has been scanning the board, looking for value. The Bear joins AP’s Ralph Russo to talk overs and unders.Chris goes into the Big Ten, where last season’s big surprise seems primed for regression and two of the most disappointing teams appear set up for a bounce back. Bear also goes into the SEC for one over and one under and deep into the Group of Five for a couple of interesting leans. Plus, what was it like doing “College GameDay” last season with no fans and where might the show be going in 2021. Win totals: https://twitter.com/Covers/status/1397276380279214086 Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com.
An opening weekend road trip
1:07:58The opening weekend of the college football season is starting to take shape. Game times have been set for some marquee matchups, including Alabama-Miami in Atlanta and Clemson-Georgia in Charlotte. USA Today national college football writer Paul Myerberg joins AP’s Ralph Russo to take a hopefully and eager look at the first week of the 2021 regular season and plot out a five-games-in-five-days dream road trip. They also take a first glance a few of the potentially interesting matchups outside those neutral-site kickoff classics. Plus, Paul and Ralph answer a couple of listener email about what impact having such a small pool of elite teams has on the overall health of college football.Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com.
David Shaw on the Pac-12, the playoff and practice
48:52Few college football coaches are more involved in the shaping the state and future of the game than Stanford coach David Shaw. He joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss changes made to preseason practice aimed at reducing the number of full contact practices. Shaw explains the thinking behind the modifications. What advice would give to the new Pac-12 Commissioner about how best to support football? Plus, what would be his ideal College Football Playoff format? Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com. Russo’s article from 1997 on K.C. Keeler and Division III Rowan University.https://apnews.com/article/ce652f808952829efddd55aeee7e54c7
Future of the Power 5
1:03:10They are called the Power Five conferences but really there is a big two among the group. The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten have pulled away from their peers when it comes to generating revenue. How can the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Pac-12 keep up? Does Notre Dame hold the keys to unlock another level of wealth for the ACC? Should the Big 12 expand? How about a merger of sorts between the Big 12 and Pac-12? Maybe Larry Scott was right after all. What would a Power Six look like?Gazing into the future of conferences of course means pondering what’s next for the College Football Playoff. Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com
Does major college football need the NCAA?
56:06Will the Power Five conferences ever break away from the NCAA? Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports says they kind of already have. Inspired by a email from a listener, the AP Top 25 College Football Podcast begins a series of shows on the future of the sport. This week Dodd joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss a pivotal next couple of months for the NCAA, and what could lie ahead. Has the association outlasted its usefulness or is it just convenient for college sports leaders to place blame in Indianapolis and in Mark Emmert’s lap. Plus, more playoff expansion talk and Kansas has a new coach! Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com
The 2022 NFL Draft and CFP Expansion
1:08:50We have finally reached NFL Draft week. But instead of again chewing over the 2021 class, which we have been doing for four months, Matt Miller of The NFL Draft Scout and ESPN jumps ahead to 2022.Who are the players you can already pencil in at the top of next year’s draft boards? There is a pass rusher out west holding down the top spot. What does the quarterback class of 2022 look like heading into the college football season? Which passers will be in the running to be top-10 picks? And why do the top QBs always end up being top-10 picks these days?Plus, Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to talk about the College Football Playoff’s Friday news dump in which it publicly acknowledged looking into ways to expand the format from four teams. How seriously should we take expansion talk and what models might be fun to consider? Follow Matt Miller on Twitter @nfldraftscoutFollow Nicole Auerbach on Twitter @NicoleAuerbachFollow Ralph Russo on Twitter @ralphDrussoAP Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com
NFL Draft Preview
1:16:21The upcoming NFL Draft could be a historic one, with as many as five quarterbacks going in the top-10 picks. Eric Edholm, draft analysis for Yahoo! Sports, joins AP’s Ralph Russo to take a deep dive into the quarterbacks from Trevor Lawrence to Mac Jones and the entire pool of players that NFL teams will be picking through. What positions are the deepest in the draft? Where will the pickings be a little thin? How did opting out impact prospects such as Penei Sewell of Oregon, Ja’Marr Chase of LSU, Micah Parsons of Penn State and Gregor Rousseau of Miami? Who are some of Eric’s favorite players likely to be picked on Day 3?Plus, UNLV Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois joins the show to talk about her role with the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches. The coalition started an academy last week that matches up-and-coming coaches with veteran administrators in the hopes of better preparing them to take the next steps in their careers.Email the show at APTop25mailbag@gmail.com Yahoo’s All-Juice team for this year’s draft: https://sports.yahoo.com/2021-all-juice-team-terez-paylors-legacy-continues-with-7th-edition-of-squad-that-includes-justin-fields-130031523.html?ncid=twitter_yahoosport_dw14wrbb51g Russo’s article on a College Football Super League: https://apnews.com/article/college-football-pittsburgh-football-notre-dame-fighting-irish-football-college-sports-085b362c6f58d2bd50b886c07413b0d