Exactly three weeks and three days from today, No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama will face off in the first-ever BcS title game featuring two teams from the same conference.
While guaranteeing the SEC its sixth straight crystal football, it also means that the conference will suffer its first-ever loss in the championship game.
The question is, which team will become the sixth SEC team instead of the first? Personally, and maintaining the right to change my mind at any point between now and Jan. 9 in New Orleans, I’m calling for a 24-20 Tide win, if for nothing more than to validate my preseason selection of Nick Saban‘s bunch as the top team in the country. The fact that the 2011 “series” between the two teams would be tied at one apiece and create such angst, anguish and consternation among the general college football population would merely serve as a glorious bonus.
The question, though, is not who I have in the game; rather, the pertinent query is, who do y’all have? Will it be Saban nabbing his second title at Alabama in three years, and third overall — the first coming while at LSU — or will it be Les Miles grabbing his second title in the last five years for LSU?
Vote early and often below.
ESPN apologized to Washington over cupcake stunt during broadcast
It seems that budding feud between ESPN, Washington and Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is starting to die down just a bit.
ESPN has apologized to the school for a stunt on a broadcast two weeks ago during the Washington-Cal game, in which commentators took the team’s weak non-conference schedule to task and used literal cupcakes to represent the Huskies’ opponents during the first few weeks of the season.
“I felt more like that was such a disrespectful move for the people we play,” athletic director Jen Cohen told the Seattle Times. “For those that do this, we do this because we love the kids. These are somebody’s sons, somebody’s brothers. They’re 18- to 22-year-old kids, and so I was more offended, not for us, as I was for our opponents.
“It was a class act (to apologize), and he made the right call.”
According to the Times, Cohen received a call from Peter Derzis, ESPN’s senior vice president of college sports programming and events, offering the apology.
As nice as the mea culpa was from ESPN, Cohen and Petersen were probably even more elated to hear the news that their October 28 game against UCLA was slated to be televised at 12:30 p.m. PT after an oft-criticized string of night games that made the head coach quite ornery last week. It might not make up for the fact that the team lost to Arizona State on Saturday but there are definitely a few baby steps being taken to repair the relationship between the school and one of the Pac-12’s primary broadcast partners.
Athletic director Tom Jurich officially fired by Louisville board
The Cardinals board of directors voted 10-3 to oust the embattled AD on Wednesday afternoon, completing a pair of sweeping changes in the department following the growing college basketball scandal that has enveloped the school. Once one of the most powerful people in college athletics, Jurich was fighting to remain in his job ever since he was placed on administrative leave after the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York announced details of a wide-ranging investigation.
Perhaps the biggest effect on the football program following Jurich’s ouster is on the contract of Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino. Notably, his buyout is set to be halved if Jurich was ever fired… which means it could be more likely he leaves the school this offseason for another job. Given potential openings such as Tennessee, it’s not out of the question that the halving of the buyout will come into play for some schools if the dominoes fall in the right way to allow somebody to hire Petrino away.
Oh, and for those wondering, yes that is indeed the Papa John of the pizza chain fame who voted to fire Jurich on Wednesday.
Earlier this year, Tony Adams became the first true freshman to start at cornerback for Illinois since Vontae Davis in 2006. A few weeks later, his season has ended on a much lower note.
Lovie Smith has confirmed that Adams will miss the remainder of 2017 after undergoing surgery on his shoulder. The defensive back originally suffered the injury in an Oct. 7 loss to Iowa and didn’t play in last weekend’s loss to Rutgers because of it.
This marks the second straight year Adams’ season has ended prematurely as he suffered a torn ACL as a senior in high school.
“Unfortunately, you know he was doing some good things for us,” Smith said according to the Associated Press. “But, you know Tony had a serious knee injury in high school and came back from it so he’ll come back from this.”
Adams was a three-star 2017 signee who was rated as the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Illinois. In the Sept. 15 loss to South Florida, he recorded his first career interception.
Judge denies Jerry Sandusky’s request for new trial
Not surprisingly, a sexual predator who preyed on young boys is staying where he belongs.
Wednesday morning, a judge in Pennsylvania denied Jerry Sandusky’s request for a new trial. As part of his request, the convicted felon and former Penn State assistant coach had argued that grand jury leaks negatively affected his defense as well as claiming he had incompetent counsel in his first trial.
Sandusky’s new attorneys now have 30 days to file an appeal of Jefferson County President Judge John Foradora’s decision.
Some of the crimes for which Sandusky was convicted occurred in a Penn State football building and led to what most considered a cover-up of the predator’s actions by myriad university officials. Sandusky’s arrest resulted in the dismissals of legendary head coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and president Graham Spanier. Both Curley and Spanier served jail time in connection to the scandal, the former for child endangerment and the latter endangering the welfare of children.
The scandal also led to historic sanctions levied on the Nittany Lions football program by the NCAA, the bulk of which were ultimately rolled back.
In June of 2015, it was reported that Penn State had paid a total of $93.3 million to 32 victims of the Paterno right-hand man. Additionally, financial statements from the university showed an additional $33.2 million in payments related to claims connected to Sandusky’s crimes.