Urban: ‘Braxton has more talent’ than Tebow

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Yes, the Old Gator went there.

We’ve chronicled on numerous occasions since the day of Urban Meyer‘s hiring at Ohio State the downright, well, giddiness the head coach has displayed over having a talent like Braxton Miller at his disposal.  And, to be frank, the true sophomore has done nothing to disappoint on the talent front.

Through three games, Miller is No. 3 among Big Ten quarterbacks — and 35th nationally — in passing efficiency, and has accounted for 12 of the Buckeyes’ 16 offensive touchdowns on the season.  He’s also 10th nationally averaging nearly 126 yards per game rushing.

Miller’s performance three games into his second season as a starter has already garnered the attention of online degenerates.  It’s also gotten the attention of his head coach, who for whatever reason decided to very publicly crank the expectation level up a notch or 30 for the unassuming QB by having an “oh no he di’int” radio moment.

“Very similar guys,” Meyer said on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus Thursday, when asked to compare Miller with (gasp!) Tim Tebow. “They’re both competitive human beings. They’re both very talented people. Braxton has more talent. Tim is probably more of a grinder.”

Meyer, of course, coached the lightning rod known as Tebow during a sizable chunk of the former’s tenure with the Florida Gators.  Meyer’s hyperbole aside, there are two significant differences accomplishment-wise between Tebow and Miller.  One, Tebow won two BcS titles as a Gator, the first at the expense of the Buckeyes; Miller won’t have the opportunity to even compete for his first until his junior season as the Buckeyes are ineligible for the postseason thanks to NCAA sanctions.  And, two, Tebow has a stiff-armed trophy in his collection, while Miller’s merely moving up the oddsmaker’s chart.

There are myriad other differences between the two players, obviously, chief among them personality.  Tebow was a fiery leader on and off the field during his time at UF, while Miller is more the quiet, lead-by-example type, at least at this point in his career.

Statistically speaking, though?  Meyer is certainly on to something.

Through three games as a sophomore in 2007 — his second season under Meyer — Tebow had thrown for 835 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception, and rushed for an additional 193 yards and five touchdowns.  In his first season under Meyer’s tutelage, Miller has thrown for 611 yards, seven touchdowns and two picks, with 377 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns.

Add it up, and Tebow had accounted for 1,028 yards of total offense and 13 touchdowns, Miller 988 and 12.  And, both teams under Tebow and Miller started their sophomore seasons 3-0.  And Tebow took home the Heisman following the 2007 regular season.

Regardless of why, Meyer has decided to publicly place the “Tebow onus” on Miller.  Here’s guessing that said onus will have zero impact on how Miller goes about his on- or off-field business.

Iowa linebacker announces transfer

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Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz has been known to have a program that could play some solid defense more often than not, but the depth at linebacker just got a bit more shallow this Memorial Day weekend. Redshirt sophomore Anthony Garbutt has announced he is leaving the program.

“After prayer, consulting with my family and Coach Ferentz, I have made the decision to leave the University of Iowa,” Garbutt announced in a statement on Twitter. “I am thankful for my years as a Hawkeye and will continue to support the franchise.”

Garbutt went on to announce he will make a decision after going through a recruiting process. No timeline for his decision was announced.

Garbutt still has three more years of eligibility remaining, although he has already burned one redshirt year after joining the Class of 2015 at Iowa. If he transfers to another FBS program, he will have to sit out the upcoming 2017 season and lose a year of eligibility in the process. He would be available to play immediately this fall if he transfers to a lower division football program.

Report: Navy’s football stadium will host NHL outdoor game between Caps and Leafs

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The NHL has enjoyed the success of their growing number of outdoor games. What started out as an attempt to steal the New Years Day spotlight from the college football bowl season has grown to include additional outdoor games around the country in February and March as part of the league’s Stadium Series. With an abundance of outdoor games, finding new venues to host the outdoor games offers new opportunities to showcase a wide range of stadiums. Navy is now set to get in on the NHL outdoor fun.

The Associated Press reports Navy’s Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium will be used for one game in the NHL’s Stadium Series on March 3, 2018. The Washington Capitals will “host” the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 34,000-seat venue in Annapolis, Maryland. A formal announcement is expected to be made on Monday, Memorial Day. It’s also the same day the NHL kicks off the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators and commissioner Gary Bettman gives his annual state of the league address.

The New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres were previously slated to play in the NHL Winter Classic in Citi Field, home of baseball’s New York Mets.

Heinz Field, the home of the Pitt Panthers, was used to host the 2011 Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, becoming the first college football stadium to host an outdoor NHL game. Of course, Heinz Field is also home to the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, so this college stadium host came with an asterisk. Heinz Field hosted a Stadium Series game this past February between the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.

Michigan’s Michigan Stadium hosted the Winter Classic in 2014 between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. TCF Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, hosted a game in the NHL’s Stadium Series in 2016 between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks.

There are still a good handful of stadiums worth considering for future NHL outdoor games, especially in the Big Ten. Penn State’s Beaver Stadium has long been suspected of being a potential target for an outdoor game, but any plans involving Beaver Stadium may have to wait until after the stadium’s facilities are upgraded as part of the school’s upcoming athletics department renovation. Ohio State’s Ohio Stadium could also be an attractive candidate for an outdoor game in the future as well.

A couple other venues for possible Stadium Series game sin the future should include the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Rose Bowl. The NHL has already played an outdoor game in Dodger Stadium, back in 2014, so the league is not afraid to play outside in LA (and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara hosted a game in 2015). If they return, playing in either historic stadium would seem to make sense, although it is possible the NHL would prefer to wait until the new home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers is completed before making a trip to LA again.

Alabama DB Tony Brown has chance to prove he’s fastest NCAA athlete in nation

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Forget the 40-yard dash. Alabama defensive back Tony Brown is setting his focus on the 100-meter dash.

Brown, a track star in addition to being a fixture on the Alabama defense, qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 100-meter dash after finishing in the top 10 at the NCAA East Regional at Kentucky. Brown is a two-time All-American on the track.

Let this serve as another example of the caliber of athletes Nick Saban is bringing in to his program. Recruiting analysts have been noting for years the importance of recruiting athletes with skills in more than one sport, and Alabama has that with Brown. Brown was one of the nation’s top hurdlers in high school, and that success on the track has continued in Tuscaloosa.

Brown brings the pain on the football field too, of course. Just ask former Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams what kind of damage Brown can bring.

Helmet sticker to Gridiron Now.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey still not a fan of early signing period

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The SEC will gather in Destin, Florida this week for the annual spring meetings. This will be the first time the conference has come together since the adoption of an early signing period in college football, which is something that has not been well-received by some in the SEC. Among the dissenters in the early signing period conversation has been SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who says he is still no fan of the new recruiting calendar.

I still don’t think that’s best,” Sankey said in an interview with the Associated Press last week.

“I think the early signing date has an impact on high school football,” Sankey said. “I think moving the recruiting calendar has an impact on high school football. I think we all have to be concerned about football and its strength and health at every level. Whether it’s a minority voice or a singular voice, I think those are important issues to consider.”

The stance by some around the SEC against the idea of the early signing period is notably different compared to just a few years ago. At the spring meetings in 2014, the SEC football coaches voted unanimously in favor of an early signing period starting on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Former SEC commissioner Mike Slive, however, expressed his preference to keep the only signing day in February.

As far as the voice coming from the commissioner’s office in the SEC is concerned, the narrative has not changed following the changing of the guard.