Winners & Losers: A 'No. 1' Hindenburg'd again

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WINNERS

Auburn football: it’s Cam-tastic!We pretty much summed up our feelings on Auburn’s win over LSU right Eric LeGrand.jpg Pitt & their fansThe fact that Pittsburgh nearly doubled-up on Rutgers 41-21 is of no import whatsoever.  How the Panthers went above and beyond the call of
duty in the class department in a show of solidarity for paralyzed Scarlet Knight player Eric LeGrand is something that should be acknowledged and roundly applauded.  It was the first game Rutgers has played since an injury left LeGrand with no movement from the neck down, and the show of support via buttons and banners and all other manner of empathy was certainly appreciated by all those involved in the football program.  And something that was very, very good to see from the outside looking in.

Doug MarroneWhile we take a shot at his conference a little further down, there’s no denying that the Syracuse coach deserves plaudits for what he’s doing with the Orange.  With five games left in 2010, the ‘Cuse sits at 5-2; just once in the last six years has the football program hit the mark for an entire season.  Yes, it’s just the Big East, but for all the suffering Syracuse fans have gone through of late, they deserve to feel good about their football program.

LOSERS

Iowa guilty of clock-icide; charges pendingApparently, Kirk Ferentz graduated summa cum laude from the Les Miles School of Clock Management at some point this past offseason.  How else do you explain his heinous butchering of a poor, defenseless game clock at the end of the Wisconsin-Iowa game?  Down by what would be the final of 31-30 and sitting at the Badgers’ 39-yard line with a fresh set of downs, the Hawkeyes could’ve stopped the clock at around :12 by spiking the ball.  Instead, Ferentz inexplicably blew Iowa’s final timeout.  The next play after the timeout was a completed pass, but the receiver failed to get out of bounds and the final seconds ticked off the clock as the Hawkeyes were helpless to stop it.  Iowa may or may not have made what would have been a lengthy field goal, but it was ridiculous that the kicker was never given the opportunity.  And, no offense, but it was just as ridiculous that Ferentz downplayed the final sequence in the postgame.

Losing to UCLA and Iowa State in the same season?

clapclapclapclap…deep in the heart of Texas…

The Big EastAfter knocking off West Virginia — the conference’s only ranked team coming into this weekend — Syracuse is now a half-game behind league-leader Pittsburgh, which has lost to Miami by four touchdowns and Notre Dame for the love of God.  Ladies and gentlemen, your 2010 Big East football leaders!

(Writer’s note: the above was not meant to disparage Marrone and the turnaround he’s in the midst of at Syracuse.  Rather, it was meant to disparage the conference as a whole and further cement the fact that it’s an embarrassment the Big East gets an automatic bid and the Mountain West does not.)

The Blighting IrishI was debating amongst myself whether to put the Navy win in the winners or the Notre Dame loss in the losers.  With all due respect for what the Midshipmen do for our country, it feels so much better to go with the latter.  After dominating the series for 43 consecutive games, the Irish have now been pwned by the Middies three of the last four years, with this year’s being the worst of the trio.  The previous two losses came by a total of four points; today’s loss was an embarrassing 18-point beatdown that was actually worse than the final score indicated.  Navy absolutely pounded the Irish defense into submission, not only rushing for 367 yards but averaging 6.1 yards every time they ran it.  Certainly Brian Kelly has a lot residual ineptness left over from the Charlie Weis era to slog through and will enjoy a significant honeymoon, but losing by nearly three touchdowns to a military academy will significantly cut into the goodwill he’s garnered despite what’s now a 4-4 start.

Yeah, good luck filling that vacancyIf Minnesota is going to find an experienced, quality replacement for Tim Brewster, it’s patently obvious that they’re going to have to open the checkbook and pay above whatever number it is they have in their minds right now.  Not only did the Gophers hand a rebuilding and struggling Penn State team their first Big Ten win of the season, they allowed the Nittany Lions to do it with a former walk-on replacing their injured starting quarterback.  Cha-ching, Gophers.  Cha-ching.

Jane, stop this crazy thing!In addition to today’s 50-17 win over Arizona State, Cal has won games by scores of 52-3, 52-7 and 35-7.  Their two losses have come by the score of 52-31 and 48-14.  The Bears’ only sane game was a 10-9 loss to Arizona.  What do all of these numbers mean?  I have no freaking clue.  And, I’m betting, neither does Jeff Tedford.

Mississippi State Bull…What, you thought we were going to let this slide even though they won?  You trail UA-freaking-B in the fourth quarter, and you’re a ranked team this late in the season, you deserve a spot down here amongst the dregs.  29-23 at home against an under-.500 Conference USA school?  That’s not gonna cut it in the big boy leagues, Dan Mullen.

Bowling Green might wanna try a new sportLike, well, kegling.  The Falcons of the MAC were held to -10 yards rushing in their 30-6 loss to this past week’s Lotto winners, Kent State.  BGSU is now 1-7 on the season, with their lone win coming against Marshall by 18 points.  Shame on you, Herd.  Shame on you.

Gary DanielsonI understand you were just mentioning something that you have heard people discuss, but Cam Newton, as brilliant as he’s been in eight games, has a long, long, long way to go before he should even be mentioned in the same book, let alone the same sentence, as Bo Jackson.  Please don’t contribute to the dumbing down of this country, Mr. Danielson.  Thanks in advance.  (Man, I hate it when people go overboard in praising these players…)

GUESS WHAT?  IT’S BONUS TIME!!!While we won’t even hazard a guess as to how the BcS will shake out, we will take a stab at how we think the coaches’ Top Ten will look when USA Today releases their poll Sunday afternoon.  And, after you read our piece, go state yours by voting on who you think should be the No. 1 team in the country by clicking HERE.

(Again, this is how we think the coaches’ poll will look, and is not a reflection on our own personal opinion as to how it should look.)

1.) Oregon2.) Boise State3.) Auburn4.) TCU5.) Michigan State6.) Alabama7.) Missouri8.) Oklahoma9.) Utah10.) Wisconsin

Nebraska clinches spring game attendance crown, Georgia pushes past Alabama

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Georgia got its revenge on Alabama on Saturday, I guess. Months after letting a lead slip away in the national championship game, Georgia wiggled past Alabama in the spring game attendance standings on Saturday but the Dawgs still had to settle for second place overall. A record crowd at Nebraska led to the Cornhusker faithful having the highest attendance for a spring game this season.

Nebraska set a school record on Saturday with 86,818 fans attending the spring game in Lincoln, the first under new head coach Scott Frost. It was the first time Nebraska recorded a crowd over 80,000 during the past five years. Nebraska surged to the top of the Big Ten spring attendance standings as well, and stayed comfortably ahead after Penn State recorded an estimated 71,000 fans at its spring game on Saturday. Ohio State had led the Big Ten the previous three years but stadium renovations limited Ohio State to 79,000 available seats this year at Ohio Stadium, and weather and schedule adjustments to the spring game resulted in a crowd of 47,803 for Ohio State’s spring game.

The SEC once again dominated spring game attendance numbers this year. With LSU and Mississippi State numbers still pending, the SEC has five schools in the top 10 in spring game attendance as of today; Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas A&M. As a conference, the SEC eclipsed the 400,000-fan mark for the fourth time in the last five years. Although the Big Ten is typically the second best conference in cumulative spring game attendance, the conference’s number took a big dip this season thanks to weather issues across the conference. Still, the number pulled in by Nebraska, Penn State, and Ohio State helped keep the Big Ten in second place ahead of the ACC.

Keep in mind spring game attendance is treated differently by every school, and the numbers often include estimates so the accuracy can be questioned. Even though there are still a handful of spring games left, none will rival the numbers put up today.

The updated top 10 is listed below, and a full database of spring game attendance can be found here (complete with conference breakdowns and a five-year record of spring game attendance figures by school).

2018 Spring Game Attendance Top 10

  1. Nebraska – 86,818
  2. Georgia – 82,184
  3. Alabama – 74,732
  4. Penn State – 71,000
  5. Tennessee – 65,098
  6. Florida State – 60,934
  7. Clemson – 55,000
  8. Florida – 53,015
  9. Oklahoma – 52,102
  10. Texas A&M – 48,129

Jeremy Pruitt felt some Tennessee players “flat out quit” in spring game

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New Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruit has a message to his players and Tennessee fans. If you are going to enter Neyland Stadium, you better be prepared to work.

Following Tennessee’s spring game in Knoxville, Pruitt reflected on his first spring game as head coach with the media and he was not about to let anyone off the hook for a mediocre performance in the spring game. One thing you never want to hear from a head coach is that some of his players seemingly quit. That was the case for Pruitt today, without naming any specific players.

Even fans received some gripes from the new head coach.

Tennessee estimated a total of 65,098 fans came out to watch the Tennessee spring game, which is an impressive total and right around the average Tennessee typically draws for the spring game. But the crowd buzz must not have impressed Pruitt, who could be setting the tone for the fans in the fall in hopes they turn things up a bit once the games actually matter.

The same message is now being sent to the entire team. Pruitt has a high standard in mind, which is to be expected after being an assistant at Alabama. Was Pruitt truly this displeased with his team’s effort in the spring game? Or was he simply trying to play things down in order to let his players know there will be no room for poor efforts?

Jalen Hurts speculation about to run wild after shaky spring game at Alabama

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If Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts was looking to build a case for taking the starting job for the Crimson Tide in 2018, he may have to rely on more than his performance in the spring game. Hurts turned in a sub-par performance in Alabama’s spring game on Saturday afternoon, leaving the door wide open for some speculation about his future as Alabama’s spring comes to a close.

Hurts completed 19 of his 37 pass attempts for 195 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He also was sacked seven times. With Tua Tagovailoa out of action due to injury, Hurts was outperformed by redshirt freshman Mac Jones, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 289 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jones was also intercepted once and was sacked six times. Of the two quarterbacks, Jones had the more inspiring performance.

Rumors speculating Hurts may end up looking to transfer will only continue to ignore following this spring, especially with Tagovailoa going into the offseason as the new hero in town after guiding Alabama back in the national championship game. It should be worth noting, however, a transfer for Hurts is not guaranteed to happen. That won’t stop fans and media from figuring out what will be next for Hurts.

Hurts’ dad recently suggested his son would be college football’s biggest free agent on the transfer market if he ended up losing the quarterback battle in Tuscaloosa. That may be a slight exaggeration, but there is no question Hurts would have plenty of potential and skill to offer any program he would potentially move to if he decides to leave Alabama. Alabama head coach Nick Saban tried to cool the tension by suggesting there is no reason to be concerned about the whole situation.

But this is Alabama we’re talking about. The Hurts watch is now in full force in Tuscaloosa, whether Saban likes it or not.

WATCH: Penn State fan with down syndrome runs for TD in spring game

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Early in Penn State’s spring game on Saturday afternoon, the Nittany Lions sent Brooke Fisher out to the field for the chance to score a touchdown. Fisher, a young girl with down syndrome, took the handoff from quarterback Trace McSorley and ran right up the middle 22 yards for a touchdown.

We’ll excuse the fact Fisher spiked the football prior to crossing the goal line. It doesn’t matter here.

McSorley ended up playing more in the first half than many likely expected, with three series on the field. He helped open the spring game with a touchdown drive capped with a pass to Mac Hippenhammer. McSorley passed for 107 yards and rushed for 41 yards in the first half.

No word on whether or not Fisher has any eligibility.