Notre Dame-UConn at Fenway Park? Possibly

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If modern-day college football’s good enough for Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field, why not the Beantown Bandbox?

According to the Boston Globe, it very well could be as the paper is reporting that discussions have commenced on a proposal could bring a future Notre Dame-UConn game to historic Fenway Park, home of the MLB’s Boston Red Sox.  Before you get too excited, though, the talks are described as being in the very preliminary stages.

Citing sources, the Globe writes that “UConn officials feel the idea has merit and Notre Dame may be willing to shift a home game to Boston.”

The Irish and Huskies currently have no games or series scheduled through the 2021 season and, as SNYU.com notes, UConn’s future schedules are in a state of flux due to Big East expansion.

The last time a football game was held at the venerable ballpark was in 1968, an NFL matchup pitting the Cincinnati Bengals against the then-Boston Patriots.  The paper also notes that, prior to that game, Fenway Park had served as the venue for a host of games at the professional, collegiate and high school level. On the collegiate side, Dartmouth College, Boston College and Boston University have all played games at the park.

Wrigley Field has already played host to the November 2010 game between Illinois and Northwestern that featured just one usable end zone due to the friendly confines of the cozy stadium.  It’s unclear whether such a situation would arise at Fenway.

Kansas State-Syracuse and Syracuse-Army have played games in recent years at Yankee Stadium, which also serves as the home to the Pinstripe Bowl.

There were also talks in 2010 about Missouri playing a game at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals.

UPDATED 2:42 p.m. ET: In the report mentioned above, the talk was that a 2014 Notre Dame-UConn game was under discussion.  The Irish responded to the report, well, this way.

“Media reports today that we will play UConn in Fenway Park in 2014 are inaccurate,” athletic director Jack Swarbrick stated.

Of course, the report didn’t state that the Irish and Huskies will definitely play in Fenway in 2014, or any other year for that matter.  It should also be noted that Swarbrick’s denial made no mention of 2013 or 2015 and beyond.

Third ex-Vandy football player sentenced to 15 years for rape

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A third former Vanderbilt football player will spend a sizable portion of his adult life behind bars.

In June of this year, Brandon Banks was found guilty on one count each of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery related to a 2013 gang rape of an unconscious woman. Friday, Banks was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In July of last year, one of Banks’ former teammates, Cory Batey, was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of aggravated rape. Four months later, another former Vandy football player, Brandon Vandenburg, was sentenced to 17 years after being found guilty of the same charge as Batey. The judge gave Vandenburg a longer sentence than Batey because the former was the leader in the attack and betrayed the woman’s trust.

Banks, Vandenburg, Batey and another ex-Vandy football player, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenziewere initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman.

On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case.  The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four.  That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.

McKenzie has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.  He has agreed to testify against his former teammates in exchange for what he hopes is a lighter sentence.

Georgia Tech dismisses leading rusher Dedrick Mills

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I believe this one would qualify as a significant development.

In a very brief press release, Georgia Tech announced Friday afternoon that Dedrick Mills has been dismissed by Paul Johnson from the football team.  The only reason given was an unspecified violation of Tech athletics department rules.

The head coach is expected to meet with the media following practice later on this afternoon.

Regardless of the specific reason for the dismissal, Mills’ departure serves as yet another blow for the run-heavy Yellow Jackets.

Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers.  169 of those yards came in the bowl win over Kentucky.  Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.

Mills’ dismissal is the second huge blow to their 2017 running game as Marcus Marshall, who was second on the team last season with 624 yards, announced in late November that he would be transferring from Tech.  Less than a month later, he moved on to James Madison.

With those twin departures, Clinton Lynch‘s 415 yards last season makes him the team’s leading returning rusher.

LOOK: Notre Dame unveils alternate uniforms honoring Knute Rockne’s legacy

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As you may know, I’m hardly a fan of the alternate uniform craze.  These, though, I can very easily get behind.

Notre Dame on Friday released images of new uniforms the Fighting Irish will wear for their Nov. 18 game against Navy.  From helmet to shoes, the new duds will serve as a head-to-toe tribute to the legendary Knute Rockne.

The players will all have the name “ROCKNE” emblazoned on the backs of their jerseys, while the helmets replicate the leather ones of Rockne’s era.  The cleats also will pay homage to the era in which Rockne, also a former player at the school, coached the Fighting Irish to five national championships from 1918-1930.  In those 13 seasons, the Irish lost just 12 games under Rockne.

Additionally, the sleeves will be adorned with the words from one of Rockne’s most famous speeches.



Penn State OKs James Franklin’s new deal, reportedly worth nearly $6 million annually

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James Franklin is now in some very heady financial company.

Friday morning, Penn State’s Board of Trustees Committee on Compensation, as expected, unanimously approved an amended contract for their head football coach.  While no details were released — that’s expected to happen later today — it’s believed the amended deal will extend through the 2023 season.  Franklin’s old contract ran through 2019.

Additionally, Bruce Feldman of SI.com is reporting that the new six-year deal will average $5.8 million annually.  What Franklin’s compensation for 2017 and beyond will, again, be divulged later on today.

The average of $5.8 million a year would make him the fourth-highest-paid coach in college football, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban and a pair of fellow Big Ten coaches — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.

Set to enter his fourth season with the Nittany Lions, Franklin has an overall record of 25-15 at the school.  After a pair of 7-6 seasons to begin his tenure, 2016 was a breakout one for the program as they went 11-3 and won the Big Ten championship for the first time since 2008.

Expectations are extremely high coming off that breakout season as the Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll.