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The Shotgun/Throwdown (8/1/18): West Virginia named a dark horse playoff contender by ESPN

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College football writers Jake Trotter and Adam Rittenberg have pegged the Mountaineers as the most likely team outside the top 15 in ESPN’s power rankings to make the playoff.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor and daily distractions.

Football

Six points of intrigue as WVU set to open camp | Charleston Gazette-Mail
The preseason college football magazines have been sitting on grocery stores shelves for quite a while now. WVU has issued its Will Grier for Heisman videos. Preseason rankings have overpopulated the internet for months. Yet now, finally, preseason football practices are beginning. The Mountaineers will report to camp Thursday and begin “shorts and T-shirts” practices Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, coach Dana Holgorsen will address the media for the first time and WVU’s camp will get underway in earnest next week.

Soundoff: Yodny Cajuste | West Virginia Athletics
Returning Outland Trophy candidate Yodny Cajuste recently discussed his decision to return for his senior season at West Virginia University in 2018, what he needs to do to improve his NFL Draft status as well as the big goals the Mountaineers have this season.

Basketball

Coach on 4-star Oscar Tshiebwe: ‘His motor is unbelievable’ | WV MetroNews
Four-star Rivals big man Oscar Tshiebwe, a 2019 top-50 prospect from Hermitage, Pa., narrowed his recruitment list to eight schools Tuesday, with West Virginia taking an expected spot among the finalists.

West Virginia Athletics

Soundoff: Nikki Izzo-Brown | West Virginia Athletics
West Virginia coach Nikki Izzo-Brown discusses her team on the eve of preseason practice beginning early Wednesday morning. The Mountaineers return six starters and 16 letterwinners from last year's team that won 16 matches, qualified for their 18thconsecutive NCAA Tournament and once again finished the season ranked in the top 10.

Veteran players, young talent arrive for preseason camp | WV Illustrated
Two years ago, WVU women’s soccer advanced to the national championship game for the first time in school history. The following year, the Mountaineers opened the regular as the No. 1 team in the country. The latter is unlikely to be the case this fall, but to head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, expectations remain high.

Pathway to New Experiences | West Virginia Athletics
Though West Virginia University's fall semester does not officially begin until Aug. 15, a few Mountaineers spent the month of July hitting the books, as freshmen student-athletes attended the WVU Athletic Department's Summer Bridge program.

Around the NCAA

College football preseason power rankings | ESPN
Are we headed for another Nick Saban-Dabo Swinney playoff clash? That's certainly what it looks like. Find out where the rest of the CFP contenders fit in.

College football Power Rankings roundtable | ESPN
Coming up with a preseason top 25 is just the start of the fun. Now we can argue about it. Who can make a playoff run from outside the top 10 and which top-10 team will struggle?

JIM HARBAUGH’S MATRIX OF MEATS BY TEMPERAMENT | Every Day Should Be Saturday
ASK A MICHIGAN MAN IF YOUR MEAT IS CHEERFUL OR MELANCHOLIC

The Piesman Trophy presents: A heaping helping of the greatest big-man touchdowns ever | SBNation
Enormous athletes with the football in your hands, we salute you.

I don’t know how else to say this, but: Elk Grove Village, Illinois, is now the sponsor of the Bahamas Bowl | SBNation
The town with the "largest industrial park in the United States," which is located in Illinois, bought the naming rights to the Bahamas Bowl, which will now be called the ‘Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl,’ retiring Popeyes from its perch.

TODAY’S FBS TEAM PREVIEW BY BILL C

As always, SB Nation’s Bill Connelly is working his way through every Division I FBS football team, from Georgia State to Alabama. Check out the teams Bill has already previewed by clicking HERE.

After one of the strangest coaching searches ever, how will Jeremy Pruitt actually do at Tennessee? | SBNation
Pruitt wasn’t UT’s first choice, but if his cranky, Saban-like demeanor produces Saban-like results, no one’s gonna care.

Kentucky is underachieving under Mark Stoops. Also: Kentucky is doing just fine. | SBNation
Success is in the eye of the beholder, and while Stoops should be doing more in Lexington, he’s doing *enough*, at least.

Why NFL players protest and how their message gets lost in politics | SBNation
Colin Kaepernick first started to protest during the national anthem in 2016. A lot has happened since then, but the way we talk about protests remains the same.

Bryce Harper trade rumors are dead; long live Bryce Harper trade rumors | SBNation
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says Harper isn’t going anywhere. We should believe him.

How LeBron James’ new public school really is the first of its kind | SBNation
The I Promise School is unique — but it’s also building from a successful model.

The Fall of the Meth King: An Oral History of the Best ‘Breaking Bad’ Episode Ever | The Ringer
Inside the making of "Ozymandias," the harrowing, violent end to the reign of Walter White

Why Was ‘Jackass’ So Brilliant? | The Ringer
There was something universal and deeply human about Johnny Knoxville’s uproarious stunt show


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