Chippewas (?) lead collegiate contingent into Super Bowl


In all honesty, I was hoping for a sinkhole to appear at the 50-yard line and swallow both sidelines whole, rendering the results of the New York Jets-Pittsburgh Steelers AFC Championship game moot.

Unfortunately, that did not transpire, and we are left with a Super Bowl featuring the Green Bay Packers — as Marcus Hartman of Buckeye Sports Bulletin tweeted, “Baaaaa-dump-ba-dump-bump-bump GO PACK GO” — and the Heinz Hilljacks.

When it comes to the players that will comprise the rosters of the two Super Bowl participants, though, there is a very big surprise amongst the powerhouse collegiate football programs.  According to a press release fired off within minutes of the end of the AFC title game, there are four Div. 1-A schools that will have four players each on the active rosters of the respective teams that will square off amidst and around the commercials for the right to hoist the Lombardi.

Three of those programs are to be expected — LSU, Ohio State and Tennessee.  The fourth?  The mighty Chippewas of Central Michigan.

Yep, venerable CMU will have four former players on the active rosters representing the Chips when the Packers and Steelers take the field at Jerry’s World — Cullen Jenkins, Frank Zombo and Josh Gordy are with the NFC champions, while Antonio Brown is in his rookie season with the AFC champions.

Of course, this post does not come without a bit of controversy.

Shortly after posting portions of CMU’s release on CFT’s Twitter feed, the whining commenced.  Specifically, the whining about Ryan Mundy‘s rightful collegiate slot commenced in earnest.  The Pittsburgh defensive back graduated from Michigan, but finished his collegiate football career at West Virginia.  Some Twits were arguing for his inclusion as a Wolverine, which would give the Ann Arbor school four former players in the Super Bowl.

And there were also a couple of tweets from Tennessee fans declaring that there were actually five ex-Vols that are members of the two teams participating in the Super Bowl.

Frankly, we don’t care enough about this to cross-check the work of the CMU sports information department.

We find it astonishing enough that CMU is actually in the discussion for “most players from one Div. 1-A football program in the 2011 Super Bowl”.  And that was the whole point of this endeavor.

In addition to Notre Dame series, Alabama reportedly working on home-and-home with Texas too

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Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne seems to have shifted the Crimson Tide’s scheduling philosophy from having big neutral site openers for the football team to instead scheduling opponents the team has recently beat for a national title.

Following up their earlier report that said Alabama is looking to set up a home-and-home with historic power Notre Dame, the Tuscaloosa News says the school is also in discussions with Texas for a similar arrangement.

“I’ll say that we are exploring some home-and-homes,” a very coy Byrne told the paper.

The Irish lost to Nick Saban and the Tide in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game while the Longhorns fell out at the Rose Bowl to Alabama in the 2009 title game. The program is currently set to open with Louisville in Orlando for their 2018 opener while Duke (in 2019) and Miami (in 2021) are scheduled for games against the Tide in Atlanta. Outside of those three games and a handful of others against Group of Five opponents though, the schedule is otherwise wide open.

Texas is a different story on that front though as the Longhorns have games at Maryland and home against USC for the upcoming campaign and future dates with LSU (2019, 2020), Arkansas (2021), Ohio State (2022, 2023) and Michigan (2024, 2027). There is room for a home-and-home in 2025 and 2026 however.

Given this flurry of scheduling news and what looks to be a big change in philosophy, it seems like a home-and-home with Clemson is next up on the docket for Byrne and Saban to get done and really make beat-you-for-the-title-schedule-you-later thing an actual thing.

Syracuse football QB Rex Culpepper posts that he has cancer but is expected to return after treatment

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Tough news out of Western New York and it has nothing to do with basketball.

Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper posted on Instagram Friday that cancer has spread to his abdomen following surgery but it is treatable and he is expected to return to the field after undergoing chemotherapy.

Culpepper did see action last season and completed 45 passes for 518 yards and two touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore is once again expected to back up Eric Dungey once he returns to the team.

It goes without saying that the entire college football community is wishing the Orange signal-caller the best of luck and look forward to seeing him back out at the Carrier Dome next season.

Report: Alabama working on scheduling home-and-home with Notre Dame

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Two of the most successful programs in all of college football may be set to renew their rivalry on the gridiron.

In a tidbit that can make every fan of the sport giddy with excitement, the Tuscaloosa News is reporting that Alabama is negotiating with Notre Dame about a potential home-and-home series in football. Nick Saban‘s program is also apparently pursuing a home-and-home with another big name as well in a somewhat stark scheduling philosophy change from the school after years of big neutral site games at places like AT&T Stadium in Texas and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

“I’ll say that we are exploring some home-and-homes,” Crimson Tide athletic director Greg Byrne told the paper.

That’s not exactly denying the story…

Of course the Tide and Irish have a lengthy history in the sport, famously playing back in the 1970’s during several key bowl games and most recently contesting the 2012 BCS National Championship Game against each other (which both sides probably can’t forget about in two very different ways). Amazingly, Alabama has only played two home-and-home series since Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa and let’s just say that a trip to Duke isn’t exactly the same as going to South Bend.

As for the Irish, they’ve shown an increased appetite toward playing SEC teams in recent years. Notre Dame hosted Georgia last season and has also recently added Arkansas and Texas A&M to the docket in future years. Given how schedules are locked in so far in advance it seems doubtful we’ll be able to stage a rematch between Saban and Brian Kelly but, either way, these two programs getting together is a welcome bit of offseason news.

Georgia fires associate equipment manager after being charged for illegal eavesdropping

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A quiet offseason is a good offseason for college head coaches but that does not appear to be the case at Georgia for Kirby Smart.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s DawgNation site, the school has fired associate equipment manager Kevin Purvis after he was arrested and charged on Friday night for four felonies (three of which were for “illegal eavesdropping or surveillance”) and a misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

“As soon as it learned of the incident, the Athletic Association notified the University of Georgia Police Department, who began their investigation,” a statement from the program to the AJC said. “The University took immediate action, and the employee was terminated early in the investigation. Based on the findings of the police investigation, no student-athletes were victims in this incident.”

Purvis had worked for the program since 2006. The paper later said that he was “accused of using a hidden camera to capture images of at least one individual showering in the Bulldogs locker room” and was being held on a $8,500 bond. The incident that led to an investigation apparently happened in late February, with the arrest being executed by police on Friday night.

Needless to say, this is not the kind of headline that the Bulldogs would like to see just as spring practice gets going.