West Virginia v Maryland

Danny O’Brien makes second visit to Penn State


Is the Danny O’Brien 2012 Free Agent QB Tour about to come to an end?  Based on the reports and photos coming out of Happy Valley, it very well could be.

Penn State held its first spring practice session of the Bill O’Brien era Monday, and the former Maryland quarterback was a very high-profile viewer of the proceedings — in PSU gear.  It was O’Brien’s second visit to Penn State in the past couple of weeks.

The head coach, unlike earlier this month, would not address the QB’s presence at the practice, let alone what it meant to the program’s chances of landing the experienced signal caller.

“As far as the other question you asked me,” O’Brien said in quotes distributed by the school, referring to a question about “the kid from Maryland”, “that’s like a prospect question, so I’m not commenting on that right now. It’s NCAA rules.”

The second trip to the school comes on the heels of visits to Wisconsin over the weekend and Ole Miss prior to that.  Vanderbilt, whose head coach is the former Terps offensive coordinator and maintains a close relationship with the player, has long been perceived as the front-runner, although today’s developments have led some to suggest O’Brien, the QB, is O’Brien’s, the HC, to lose.

O’Brien is expected to make a decision on his next collegiate destination by the end of April, with a selection perhaps coming by the middle of next month.

If O’Brien were indeed to sign on with the Nittany Lions, he would join what the head coach described today as a three-way, open competition at the position among Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Paul Jones.  Then again, if O’Brien is tossed into the mix, he would be viewed by most as the instant front-runner based on the past success he had with the Terps.

Because he will be graduating in May from Maryland, O’Brien will be eligible to play immediately and have two years of eligibility beginning this season.

No punishment from SEC for Bielema’s sideline interaction with Alabama player

Bret Bielema

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.

“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”

That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.

Temple announces rare football sellout

Jahad Thomas, Marcus Allen

In the midst of what could be a dream season in South Philadelphia, the Temple Owls announced a rare sellout for a football game this afternoon. The October 31 game at home against Notre Dame has sold out Lincoln Financial Field. This is the first time Temple has sold out two home games in the same season since 1976, when the Owls began playing home games in one of Philadelphia’s pro sports stadiums.

This is the second sellout of the season for Temple, but it is also worth mentioning who the opponents are for those two games; Penn State and Notre Dame. Penn State is always Temple’s biggest draw when they get a chance to host the Nittany Lions and their legions of fans in and around the Delaware Valley. Temple dominated Penn State in the season opener, snapping a long losing streak against the in-state power. Notre Dame is also a big draw everywhere the Irish go, and there is a solid fanbase in the southeastern part of Philadelphia as well.

It is also a rare trip to Philadelphia for Notre Dame. The Irish last played in Philadelphia in 1993 when they faced Navy in Veterans Stadium. Navy also hosted Notre Dame in Philadelphia in 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1974. Notre Dame and Temple have never played in Philadelphia, although they did face each other in the 2013 season opener. This year’s game is the second game of a home-and-home series.

The game could potentially prove to play a key role in the evolving College Football Playoff and Group of Five conversation as well. If Temple avoids slipping up this week against UCF and next week at East Carolina and USC holds off USC, then we could have an undefeated and top 25 Temple program hosting a top 15 or even potential top 10 Notre Dame on Halloween. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here, but that could be a very attractive matchup worth paying attention to at the end of the month for many fanbases.