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 loses RB James Butler ‘at least through the bye’

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Iowa sat Akrum Wadley for much of Saturday’s 31-14 win over North Texas after he was flagged for a (frankly ridiculous) excessive celebration penalty for high-stepping his way to the Kinnick Stadium end zone. (The score was wiped off the board, but Iowa completed the drive with a touchdown anyway.) The Hawkeyes will have no choice but to give him carries now.

Running back James Butler (20) has injured an elbow that will keep him out for the next few weeks.

“I think James will be out through the bye week,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said, via Hawkeye Report. “It will be a couple of weeks before we get him back.”

A Nevada transfer with two 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, Butler was a graduate transfer addition to the Hawkeyes, announcing his transfer on July 4. He ranks second on the club with 36 carries for 158 yards thus far in 2017, carrying a season-high 16 times for 74 yards before the injury.

Butler’s carries figure to go to fellow senior Wadley and freshmen Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin. Wadley leads the club with 60 carries for 258 yards and a touchdown, and Young and Kelly-Martin have combined to rush 30 times for 152 yards and two scores. Young made his debut in Wadley’s absence in the second half Saturday, rushing 19 times for 78 yards.

The 3-0 Hawkeyes host No. 4 Penn State on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ABC), then visit undefeated Michigan State the week after (4 p.m. ET, FOX). Iowa will host Illinois before its Oct. 14 bye week.

Lincoln Riley to earn $3.1 million a year as OU head coach

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Lincoln Riley won’t be paid nearly as much as Bob Stoops was as Oklahoma’s head coach, but he’ll earn significantly more than he did as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator.

Oklahoma approved and released Riley’s new deal on Tuesday, a 5-year contract that pays him $3.1 million annually and rises $200,000 a year. Stoops made $5.5 million in his last season, according to USA Today, while Riley earned $900,000 as offensive coordinator.

Perks include 25 hours of private airplane use, not one but two private golf club membership, and bonuses ranging from $25,000 for winning Big 12 coach of the year honors to $250,000 for a national championship.

Riley is 3-0 in his young tenure, already proving himself to be a tremendous bargain for the Sooners.

SEC releases 2018 schedule

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The SEC released its 2018 slate on Tuesday, beginning the weekend of Sept. 1 and running through the SEC Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1. It would be entirely pointless to break down winners and losers of the ’18 slate considering we don’t really even know who’s good yet in 2017 — other than Alabama — and we especially don’t know who will be good in ’18 — other than ‘Bama, of course.

But we can point out some dates that look interesting as we sit here on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the year of our Lord 2017. And, no, intra-divisional games don’t count, since they are played every year.

  • Auburn vs. Washington — Sept. 1 (at Atlanta)
  • Alabama vs. Louisville — Sept. 1 (at Orlando)
  • LSU vs. Miami — Sept. 1 (at Dallas)
  • Tennessee vs. West Virginia (at Charlotte)
  • Clemson at Texas A&M — Sept. 8
  • Vanderbilt at Notre Dame — Sept. 15
  • Florida at Mississippi State — Sept. 29
  • Tennessee at Auburn — Oct. 13

Consult the full schedule here. 

Louisville-Ole Miss 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff opener made official

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After reports had signaled it, it’s a done deal.

The “it” in this case is Louisville opening the 2021 season against Ole Miss, with the two programs confirming Tuesday that they will square off in one of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games that year.  The game will be played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, although a date and kickoff time are still to be determined.

The 2021 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the football teams.  Each has made one previous appearance in the Kickoff Game, Louisville in 2015 (31-24 loss to Auburn) and Ole Miss in 2014 (35-13 win over Boise State).

“To have the opportunity to play in this game again for the second time is a huge win for our program,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “We are honored to be welcomed back by the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which is a tremendous testament to our loyal fan base, who helped pack the stadium in 2015. Our fans have a great history of traveling, and to have the opportunity to play a great program like Ole Miss in this brand-new facility will certainly be a hot ticket for the fans. Gary Stokan and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl group do a tremendous job with this game and we appreciate them selecting Louisville for what has become the premier game to kick off the season.”

“We are thrilled to once again be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. We always set the goal to end the regular season in Atlanta, so it’s only fitting that’s where we begin it,” Jurich’s Ole Miss counterpart, Ross Bjork, said in his. “With our strong alumni base in Georgia, Rebel Nation will arrive in full force to experience this premier matchup in the nation’s finest new stadium. In addition, the Atlanta market is a key recruiting area for our staff, and this trip offers a tremendous opportunity to compete in front of those prospects.”

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Alabama and Miami would square off in the other Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game the opening weekend of the 2021 season.