Champs Sports Bowl - Florida State v Notre Dame

Notre Dame confirms Orange Bowl discussions with ACC


Last night, reported that representatives from the ACC and Notre Dame met over the weekend. As a result, there was yet another brief stir regarding conference realignment.

Well, exhale once again, y’all. Even if the topic of the Irish joining the ACC in any capacity was brought up, it’s not being divulged. What has been disclosed are discussions between the two sides about a possible match-up in the Orange Bowl, which extended its partnership with the ACC last week by another 12 years.

Notre Dame confirmed the talks in a release today after the Chicago Tribune reached out to the school for comment in a follow-up to the TigerIllustrated report.

“Since the development of the new plan for post-season football, the ACC and Notre Dame have had discussions relating to the Orange Bowl,” spokesman John Heisler said in the statement. “While presidents have been consulted, the discussions have been between ACC conference staff and [athletic director] Jack [Swarbrick].”

Nothing official, but at any rate, the mere fact that Notre Dame is considering a BCS bowl tie-in of sorts is a departure from both the status quo and Swarbrick’s initial vision of the Irish’s place in college football’s new postseason. According to Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s first preference was, as one would expect, to “bowl hop” among available “Big Six” bowls provided it finishes in the top 12 at the end of the regular season.

But now that the ACC has followed the lead of the Big Ten and Pac-12, which have already extended their agreement with the Rose Bowl, at-large spots in the six major bowls that will make up college football’s new postseason are limited since “automatic qualifier” will be replaced with “contractual tie-in.”

Anyone who’s anyone is securing their spot, and you know Notre Dame will not watch its postseason inclusion odds be reduced. Not when it has options. Not when it can afford to strike a deal and, perhaps, maintain some of that flexibility Swarbrick wanted.

Otherwise, the Irish will be forced to join a conference for football. And face it: like it or not, if that was a real possibility, it would have happened by now.

Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil to return for Texas A&M on Oct. 24

Associated Press
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As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.

From the university:

The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits.  During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.  In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles.  He later corrected his account and since apologized. 

As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.

Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”

The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.

Hope he’s been practicing.

Report: Steve Spurrier set to retire

Steve Spurrier

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.

Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.

He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.

But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.

Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:

Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.