Georgia DB Malaki Starks named Jim Thorpe Award finalist

Georgia football DB Malaki Starks named Jim Thorpe Award finalist

Georgia Bulldogs safety Malaki Starks is one of three finalists for the 2023 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back.

Other finalists include Iowa’s Cooper DeJean and Air Force’s Trey Taylor.

Starks has totaled 43 tackles, six pass breakups and two interceptions this year as one of the leaders of a stout Georgia secondary. Georgia’s defense is preparing to face Jalen Milroe and Alabama in the SEC championship game.

Starks earned Freshman All-American honors last season after racking up 68 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and two interceptions.

The former five-star prospect and Jefferson, Georgia, native has yet to miss a single game in a Bulldogs uniform. He would become UGA’s second Jim Thorpe Award winner after Deandre Baker in 2018.

The winner will be announced on Dec. 8 during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.

Georgia TE Brock Bowers named Mackey Award finalist

Georgia football TE Brock Bowers named a Mackey Award finalist

Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers is one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end.

Bowers took home the award last year over Sam LaPorta of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Michael Mayer of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Other finalists this year include Ohio State’s Cade Stover and Colorado State’s Dallin Holker.

The Napa, California, native has been the most dominant tight end in college football over the last three seasons. Bowers, a junior, has caught 170 passes for 2,485 yards (14.6 avg.) and 26 touchdowns in his career. He has also rushed 19 times for 193 yards and five touchdowns.

Even though Bowers missed two games this season due to a surgically repaired ankle, he still leads Georgia in receiving yards (661) and touchdown receptions (6). Bowers missed the Georgia Tech game, but will look to play against Alabama in the SEC title game on Dec. 2.

The winner of the John Mackey Award will be announced on Dec. 8 during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.

Georgia WR Ladd McConkey named Wuerffel Trophy finalist

Georgia WR Ladd McConkey named Wuerffel Trophy finalist

Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Ladd McConkey is one of three finalists for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is considered college football’s premier award for community service.

Other finalists include Notre Dame linebacker J.D. Bertrand and Michigan running back Blake Corum.

The junior is also a member of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, recognizing outstanding achievements in athletics, academics, and community service.

McConkey made headlines last December when he surprised a 10-year-old resident of his hometown, signing his Christmas gift of a new No. 84 McConkey jersey. He also spent time this offseason reading to kids at local schools and volunteering.

McConkey leads all Bulldogs wideouts in receiving over the last three seasons and will be remembered as one of the most important pieces of Georgia’s dominant run. McConkey is hoping to suit up against Alabama in the SEC championship game.

The winner of the Wuerffel Trophy will be announced on Dec. 8 during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.

USA TODAY Bowl Projections heading into Championship weekend

USA TODAY Sports releases final bowl predictions before conference championship weekend

With the regular season officially complete and only Championship weekend left, it is time to begin looking ahead to bowl season and potential match ups. This is the final season of the four team playoff before it expands to 12, so this will be the last bowl season the way we’ve always known it.

As for the Crimson Tide, their bowl future is still very much up in the air as they take on the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game this weekend. A win over the Bulldogs will put Alabama in the midst of the Playoff conversation, but even with a win there is no guarantee a top four spot will belong to the Tide. The Crimson Tide could still find themselves stuck behind Michigan, Florida State, Washington and Texas in the final rankings even with a win in the SECCG. If the Tide were to miss out on the Playoffs they will still absolutely get a New Year’s Six bowl, it’s the potential match ups that could be less intriguing.

USA TODAY Sports released their final bowl projections ahead of Championship weekend and they don’t expect Alabama to be competing for a national title in 2023. They predict that the Crimson Tide will square off against Tulane in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30. USA TODAY expects Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and Oregon to be the four Playoff teams this year.

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Georgia remains No. 1 in latest CFP rankings, Ohio State drops

Georgia remains No. 1 in latest CFP rankings, Ohio State drops

The undefeated Georgia Bulldogs remain at No. 1 in the latest College Football Playoff Rankings as released on Tuesday night.

This is Georgia’s third-straight week in the top spot.


  1. Georgia
  2. Michigan
  3. Washington
  4. Florida State

There was a question whether the Wolverines would jump the Bulldogs after a 30-24 win over then No. 2 Ohio State, but the selection committee seemingly has no issue with Georgia’s eight-point win over Georgia Tech.

The Buckeyes come in at No. 6, while the undefeated Oregon Ducks jump a spot to No. 5.

Georgia maintains three Top-25 wins on the year against No. 9 Missouri, No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 21 Tennessee.

As far as the SEC Championship, Alabama maintains its ranking at No. 8 following a last minute win at Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

Kickoff between the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide is slated for Saturday at 4 p.m. ET in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The game will air on CBS.

Auburn basketball receives votes in USA TODAY Coaches Poll ahead of Virginia Tech showdown

A successful week for Auburn could mean a top-25 ranking in next week’s poll.

The Auburn Tigers played just one game last week, dismantling Alabama A&M 84-54 two days prior to Thanksgiving.

This week, the Tigers will face two challenging opponents — the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Ahead of this week’s action, Auburn remains in the receiving votes category of the latest USA TODAY Coaches Poll by earning 26 votes.

There was plenty of movement in this week’s poll, as four teams dropped out and five teams moved at least five spots. The biggest mover this week is BYU, who jumped 16 places to No. 19 after earning convincing wins over Arizona State and NC State during the Vegas Showdown. Villanova also climbed 14 places to No. 15 after earning three wins in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

Five SEC teams make up this week’s poll: No. 11 Tennessee, No. 12 Kentucky, No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 20 Alabama, and No. 22 Mississippi State.

Texas A&M will be the next ranked team that Auburn will face. The Aggies and Tigers will square off at Neville Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

Contact/Follow us @TheAuburnWire on  X (Twitter), and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Auburn news, notes, and opinions. You can also follow Taylor on Twitter @TaylorJones__

Florida drops 9 spots in final regular season USA TODAY Sports re-rank

The Florida Gators finished ahead of just two other SEC teams in the final regular season update to the USA TODAY Sports college football re-rank.

The college football regular season is finished, which means the adjustments made to the USA TODAY Sports college football re-rank from here on out will be minor at best, especially for teams such as Florida that won’t play a bowl game.

The top 30 or so is still in flux with championship week and the postseason still to come, but the Gators are done for the year and have little hope to move up from No. 71 overall. The loss to Florida State on Saturday moved Florida down nine places — one ahead of the South Florida Bulls.

Florida finished the regular season 12th out of the 14 SEC teams, placing ahead of No. 96 Arkansas and No. 121 Vanderbilt.

There’s no doubt that 2023 was a rough year for the Gators, especially during the back half of the season. Losing to the Razorbacks proved to be the most costly defeat of the year, but the close loss to Missouri hurts almost as bad.

Year 3 will be a crucial one for head coach Billy Napier. Gators fans won’t accept a third losing season in a row.

Take a look at the full rankings below.

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Georgia’s Kirby Smart talks challenge of containing Alabama QB Jalen Milroe

Georgia’s Kirby Smart talks challenge of containing Alabama QB Jalen Milroe

The matchup is set between No. 1 Georgia (12-0, 8-0 SEC) and No. 8 Alabama (11-1, 8-0 SEC) for the SEC title in Atlanta, Georgia. This is the second time ever and first time since 2009 that both participants in the SEC championship game are undefeated in conference play.

The Bulldogs know that they face a tough test in defending Alabama star quarterback Jalen Milroe, who’s speed and athleticism has proven to be a defense killer in the latter half of the season.

The redshirt sophomore leads the Crimson Tide in rushing touchdowns with 12 and is third on the team in rushing yards (439). Milroe does an excellent job of extending plays.

Milroe is also one of the best deep-ball passers in the country. His 92.9 passing grade on throws of 20 yards or more ranks second in the country, per Pro Football Focus.

Auburn witnessed Milroe’s vertical threat last week when he threw a 31-yard touchdown pass on 4th and goal to secure a 27-24 win in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart spoke highly of Milroe when speaking with the media on Monday, comparing what Milroe does to former UGA quarterback Stetson Bennett.

“He’s a tremendous, tremendous football player…,” Smart said. “I think anytime you can scramble and extend plays a la Stetson, it makes it harder to defend”

Smart doesn’t think designating a defender to “spy” Milroe is as easy as it may seem.

“People do try to spy him, and the spy can’t get him on the ground,” Smart said. “Everybody’s had a different plan of action. Everybody’s done it different ways”

Smart was asked to compare Milroe to former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who is one of the most productive rushing quarterbacks in college football history.

“No offense to Tim Tebow, but this guy is different,” Smart said.

Kickoff against the Crimson Tide is slated for 4 p.m. on Saturday in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The game will air on CBS.

Georgia OC Mike Bobo named finalist for national award

First-year UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is one of five finalists for the Broyles Award

Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Bobo is grouped with Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker, LSU offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, Michigan offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore and Oregon offensive coordinator Will Stein.

Bobo is in his first year in charge of the Dawgs’ offense after being promoted from offensive analyst following the departure of Todd Monken to the Baltimore Ravens.

The former UGA quarterback spent eight seasons (2007-2014) in the same role under former Georgia head coach Mark Richt. Bobo was named a finalist for the same award in 2012.

Bobo and the Bulldogs will take on No. 8 Alabama next in the SEC Championship. Kickoff is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. ET in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, televised on CBS.

Clemson remains outside the top 30 in USA TODAY Sports College Football Re-Rank 1-133 after win over South Carolina

Clemson football is not being given the credit it deserves in the USA TODAY Sports 1-133 college football re-rank.

Clemson took down South Carolina 16-7 Saturday, and even after their undefeated run in November, many outlets are not giving the Tigers the respect they deserve.

While it wasn’t the best performance from the Tigers, they earned a strong win on the road in a hostile environment against their biggest rivals. It was a revenge win for Clemson and a win that kept the team trending in the right direction. 

Even with the win and the run Clemson has been on, the Tigers remain outside of the top 30 in the USA TODAY Sports College Football 1-133 re-rank, where Clemson moved up two spots to No.31. I mean no disrespect to the writer Paul Myerberg, but this is a bit ridiculous. 

Are you telling me that the No.24 team in the CFP rankings, a top 27 team in the US LBM Coaches Poll, and the AP Poll based on voting isn’t deserving of at least a top 30 spot in this re-rank? With one of the best defenses in all of college football? 

I get it; Clemson’s offense did not look good against South Carolina, and the Gamecocks aren’t the best team around, but it’s rivalry week; anything can happen. They stood strong in a hostile environment and walked away with a win, which many other teams in the country, including some teams ranked higher than them, couldn’t say. 

The most ridiculous part for me is where Notre Dame ranked compared to Clemson. No.17??? After Clemson beat them, and ultimately, could have beaten them far worse than they did? 

From 25-29, sure, I get it. I wouldn’t complain… but outside of the top 30? Even if it’s just one spot removed, Clemson needs more respect than this.