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Video: The Ball State staff steps on the scale for a chance at "the belt"

Like most staffs around the country, Ball State's staff is getting ready to get camp started, which means hunkering down in the cafeteria for a few weeks and ordering late night takeout / delivery during late night film sessions. Except things are probably going to go down a little differently this year in Muncie, IN.

Cardinal's strength coach David Feeley and the rest of the football staff decided to have an "anti-weight gain" competition to see who could be the most disciplined during the grind of preseason camp. The initial weigh in took place today, and an official weigh out will take place at the conclusion of camp on the 17th of August. The winner gets bragging rights and the right to wear the illustrious WWE (lookalike) belt.

Offensive line coach John Strollo stole the show by stripping all the way down to his birthday suit for the weigh in (thank goodness for that "Cops" inspired blur spot and crafty editing). Strollo is taking no prisoners.

Just for fun, if I had to put my money on one guy, it would be the coach with coaching roots at my alma mater (Defiance College); tight ends coach Pat Dougherty. Don't let me down Pat!

Florida State tops preseason Coaches' Poll

In the least surprising news of the day, reigning national champion Florida State topped the 2014 preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released on Thursday. 

Florida State is just the second non-SEC team to earn the coaches' top spot since 2008, joining Oklahoma in 2011. Unfortunately for the 'Noles, the coaches' recent history of prognostication proves the No. 1 spot is something to be feared, not cherished.

Here is a listing of the last 10 preseason No. 1's in the Coaches' Poll (bold denotes a defending national champion).

Year   Team   Finish
2013 Alabama   11-2 (8th) 
2012 LSU  10-3 (12th) 
2011 Oklahoma  10-3 (15th)
2010 Alabama 10-3 (11th)
2009 Florida

13-1 (3rd)

2008 Georgia

10-3 (10th)

2007 USC

11-2 (2nd)

2006 Ohio State

12-1 (2nd)

2005 USC

12-1 (2nd)

2004 USC

13-0 (1st)

Note that only once has a team gone wire-to-wire at No. 1, and that was 10 years ago. (That title, of course, was later taken away.) The last four preseason No. 1's have all finished eighth, 12th, 15th, and 11th, and all have suffered multiple losses. 

The full Top 25:

1. Florida State - 1,543 points (56 first-place votes)
2. Alabama - 1,455
3. Oklahoma - 1,382 (3)
4. Oregon - 1,314 (1)
5. Auburn - 1,271
6. Ohio State - 1,267 (1)
7. UCLA - 1,085
8. Michigan State - 1,050
9. South Carolina - 1,009 (1)
10. Baylor - 965
11. Stanford - 955
12. Georgia - 905
13. LSU - 833
14. Wisconsin - 654
15. USC - 627
16. Clemson - 535
17. Notre Dame - 509
18. Arizona State - 358
19. Ole Miss - 346
20. Texas A&M - 266
21. Kansas State - 257
22. Nebraska - 228 
23. North Carolina - 175
24. Texas - 143
25. Washington - 142 

Others receiving votes: Missouri (126), Florida (122), Central Florida (102), Mississippi State (74), Oklahoma State (56), TCU (54), Michigan (53), Miami (45), Duke (41), Louisville (32), Marshall (27), BYU (18), Boise State (13), Louisiana-Lafayette (12), Virginia Tech (12), Texas Tech (8), Cincinnati (6), Minnesota (6), Northwestern (5), Fresno State (4), Oregon State (4), Georgia Tech (2), Houston (2), Arizona (1), Arkansas (1), Northern Illinois (1).

A few takeaways:

- The SEC leads the way with seven teams, followed by the Pac-12 (six), Big Ten and Big 12 (four each), the ACC (three), and then independent Notre Dame.

- The team with the biggest gripe? How about Gary Pinkel's bunch.

- Not a single non-power team in this year's Top 25. The highest are Central Florida at 28th (this after the Knights finished 12th last season) and Marshall at No. 37. Predictably, UCF isn't happy about it.

- How about Arkansas! The Hogs received one 25th-place vote coming off a 3-9 season and facing one of the most difficult schedules in the country.

- Alabama's preseason Coaches' Poll rankings since 2010: first, second, second, first, second. It's been half a decade since the Tide wasn't penciled into the national title game in August (or very late July, in this case), and that was in 2009 when Alabama started all the way back in fifth.

- For that matter, here is where Oregon started its last four seasons: third, fifth, third, third.

- Baylor checks in at No. 10, its first preseason ranking since 1991.

- I think the top 10 played out just about as everyone expected. To me, the biggest surprise is USC at No. 15. 

- The most refreshing thing about the poll? None of this stuff matters, especially this year. Coaches no longer have a say in voting their own national champion, so unfair and misguided preseason expectations (thankfully) will not carry over into the season.

- If you'd like to know where to send your complaints, here are this year's voters: The Amway Board of Coaches is made up of 62 head coaches at Bowl Subdivision schools. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The board for the 2014 season: Blake Anderson, Arkansas State; Dino Babers, Bowling Green; David Bailiff, Rice; Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech; Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe; Bret Bielema, Arkansas; Larry Blakeney, Troy; Bill Blankenship, Tulsa; Craig Bohl, Wyoming; Terry Bowden, Akron; Art Briles, Baylor; Troy Calhoun, Air Force; Matt Campbell, Toledo; Rod Carey, Northern Illinois; Norm Chow, Hawaii; Larry Coker, Texas-San Antonio; David Cutcliffe, Duke; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State; Bob Diaco, Connecticut; Larry Fedora, North Carolina; Jimbo Fisher, Florida State; Dennis Franchione, Texas State; Justin Fuente, Memphis; Al Golden, Miami (Fla.); Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Bobby Hauck, UNLV; Brady Hoke, Michigan; Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech; Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; Jerry Kill, Minnesota; Mike Leach, Washington State; Rocky Long, San Diego State; Mike MacIntyre, Colorado; Dan McCarney, North Texas; Bronco Mendenhall, Brigham Young; Urban Meyer, Ohio State; Les Miles, LSU; Todd Monken, Southern Mississippi; Ken Niumatalolo, Navy; George O'Leary, Central Florida; Gary Patterson, TCU; Bo Pelini, Nebraska; Chris Petersen, Washington; Gary Pinkel, Missouri; Jeff Quinn, Buffalo; Matt Rhule, Temple; Mark Richt, Georgia; Mike Riley, Oregon State; Rich Rodriguez, Arizona; Nick Saban, Alabama; Steve Sarkisian, USC; Frank Solich, Ohio; Steve Spurrier, South Carolina; Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee; Bob Stoops, Oklahoma; Charlie Strong, Texas; Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati; Ron Turner, Florida International; Kevin Wilson, Indiana. AFCA policy bars schools under major NCAA or conference sanctions from receiving votes.

Photo: Oregon is smelling scratch-and-sniff season tickets

Seemingly as long as sports have existed, the ticket has been an essential part of the game day experience. You purchase a seat inside the arena, and the arena in turn gives you a ticket as proof of that purchase. 

The ticket is a keepsake, and tangible aspect of sport's aura. If something memorable happens, you can take your ticket home and frame it. If your favorite team's season goes belly up, you can burn your season tickets. But the actual ticket is going extinct in favor of print-at-home tickets or virtual tickets, all in the name of saving costs.

Good luck trying to frame your iPhone when Justin Verlander throws a perfect game.

In a continuation of their policy of doing everything differently, Oregon not only still provides actual tickets to its season ticket holders, it throws in something to make its tickets special. Forget saving costs, Oregon spends money on its tickets.

In the past, Oregon added pigskin texture or hologram elements to its tickets. This year? Scratch-and-sniff.

Oregon tickets

Watch the Ducks, and then sniff your way to the nearest Carl's Jr.

(HT CBS Sports)

Video: Pete Lembo awards a walk on offensive lineman with a scholarship

 

Awarding walk-ons with scholarships is one of those situations where the delivery method is not nearly as important as the end result. The bottom line at the end of the day is you're forever changing the life of one of your players.

That's what makes this video from Ball State so powerful. Before wrapping up a meeting, head coach Pete Lembo hands walk-on junior offensive lineman Nick Plavchak an envelope with his name on it. As he rips it open, someone hilariously asks "Is it a parking ticket?", but instead, in that envelope sits a hand written letter informing Plavchak that he's now a full scholarship member of the team.

As an emotional Plavchak stands up to read the letter to his teammates (who are all happily celebrating the news) and give coach Lembo a heartfelt "thank you", take a mental picture of coach Lembo's face and expression. That's a great representation of a coach that cares deeply about every man on his roster.

This kind of stuff never gets old.

Bob Stoops' kicker tweeted a picture of the special teams playbook last night

With the beginning of fall camp right around the corner, the Oklahoma coaching staff pushed out their playbooks to players yesterday via iPads.

Sooner kicker Michael Hunnicutt shared a peek at his playbook via his Twitter account yesterday, and it's a doozy.

Here's what the coaching staff loaded up for him to study:

No word yet on if Stoops is considering disciplinary action for the leaking of a playbook via social media.

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