Suspended LSU trio might be back for ‘Bama


One of the biggest unknowns when it comes the suspensions of three LSU players — aside from whether there are actually suspensions as the school refuses to acknowledge their existence — is just how long the suspensions will last.

The Daily Reveille broke the news that starting cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and leading rusher Spencer Ware would be suspended for the upcoming Auburn game for failing a drug test, while the Associated Press later reported that top nickel corner Tharold Simon would be suspended as well.  The school’s student paper added that the suspensions could be for multiple games, putting in doubt the availability of two starters and a top reserve for the Alabama game in two weeks.

Or, based on at least one report, the players could be available for the Nov. 5 showdown between the top two teams in the latest Associated Press poll and BcS rankings.

ESPN.com‘s Mark Schlabach is reporting that while the players have been suspended indefinitely by head coach Les Miles, there is a chance they could return for the game in Tuscaloosa.  That return would be based on the players meeting several requirements, although we’d assume “importance in keeping the Tigers on track for an SEC title and a shot at the national championship” would be high, so to speak, on the list of said requirements.

“There are some requirements in place which the players have to complete before they’ll be allowed back on the team,” a source familiar with the situation told Schlabach.  What those specific requirements would consist of is unclear.

It’s also unclear if these reports of failed drug tests constitute a first or second offense.  Per LSU’s drug policy for student-athletes, a second failed drug test would prompt a suspension for 15 percent of that sport’s games or a suspension of up to 30 days.  That 15 percent for football would represent a rounded-up number of two games, which would preclude any of the trio of players from playing in the Alabama game if this was their second case of dirty urine.

As has been reported by other media outlets, Schlabach writes that the players are facing sanctions for having tested positive for synthetic marijuana, which is one of multiple recreational and prescription drugs for which the university tests.

That weed substitute, more commonly referred to as K2 and which was developed at Clemson University, is described by one “pharmacologist” as “an herbal substance sold as an incense or smoking material that remains legal in the United States. The products contain one or more synthetic compounds that behave similarly to the primary psychoactive constituent of marijuana… THC.”

High Times describes it as “some really good s—.”

SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 all have 5 teams in coaches top 25 poll

Johnny Jefferson, Micah Awe
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With multiple teams in the coach spill top 10 losing this week, there was bound to be some shaking up the rankings this week. The coaches poll still has Ohio State on top, followed by TCU, Michigan State and Baylor. Florida had the biggest jump in the rankings while Georgia had the biggest drop The coaches poll also welcomes some new additions this week.

The Florida Gators, fresh off a stomping of previous No. 3 Ole Miss (down to No. 13) moved up 11 spots in this week’s coaches poll. Florida is one of five SEC teams in this week’s coaches poll. The Big Ten has five as well. So does the Pac-12.

No. 23 Iowa, No. 24 Boise State and No. 25 Memphis make their debuts in the coaches poll this week, giving us our first glimpse on the national perception in the Group of Five race. I may have Boise State down a few pegs, but the coaches, or those who actually submit the votes, have the Broncos on top of the Group of Five pack. Memphis is right there as well, but not Toledo.

Here is this week’s coaches poll:

  1. Ohio State ( first place votes)
  2. TCU
  3. Michigan State
  4. Baylor
  5. LSU
  6. Clemson
  7. Utah
  8. Florida State
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Alabama
  11. Texas A&M
  12. Florida
  13. Ole Miss
  14. Northwestern
  15. Notre Dame
  16. Georgia
  17. USC
  18. Stanford
  19. Oklahoma State
  20. UCLA
  21. Michigan
  22. California
  23. Iowa
  24. Boise State
  25. Memphis

Brian Kelly defends decisions on two-point conversion attempts

Brian Kelly

Notre Dame fell two points shy of tying a road game at Clemson Saturday night, partly because the decision to go for two-point conversion on one early fourth-quarter touchdown backfired on the Irish. Down 12 points early in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly chose to go for two-points to cut the Clemson lead to 10 points, meaning Notre Dame would need a touchdown, extra point and a field goal to tie. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Irish trailed by 12, 21-9.

Had the Irish gone for the easier and more likely extra point, Notre Dame would have been down 11 points. That is still a bit of an uphill battle that would require a two-point conversion later on anyway, but it also meant Notre Dame had to score two touchdowns instead of a touchdown and a field goal for a shot at tying the game. Making things worse, Notre Dame burned a timeout after the touchdown before deciding which two-point conversion play to run.

Notre Dame’s execution of a late two-point conversion with the game on the line with under 10 seconds to play also came into question as the Irish looked to give freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer the call on a run-pass option. This was stuffed by Clemson as Kizer held on to the football. Kelly, after the game, defended his quarterback’s decision to try and run for the two points.

“We had fair numbers,” Kelly said. “He’s reading it at the line of scrimmage, if the numbers were fair, they were in zone coverage. It was the right call. He made the right call.”

Sometimes a player can make the right decision and still come up short. Perhaps that is exactly what happened in the rain at Clemson Saturday night. Kizer made the best possible decision in the heat of the moment, but Clemson came out on top with solid work up front on the line of scrimmage. Of course, as it turned out late in the game, Notre Dame would have only needed an extra point to tie Clemson in the final seconds after the Tigers tacked on a field goal to set up a seven-point deficit with an Irish extra point earlier. The Irish were forced to go for two because they chased the points earlier in the quarter. Hindsight might be 20/20, but Kelly is not looking back on that decision.

Kelly is hardly the only coach to make some questionable decisions under pressure this season, or this weekend. He is, however, another example of a coach being paid millions to put his program in the best position making some questionable calls that have come back to bite him. Maybe Notre Dame would have won in overtime. The Irish certainly had the momentum in their hands. Or maybe Clemson wins anyway. Who knows?