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The Fifth Quarter: Week 7 Rewind

LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles celebrates with his team after winning their NCAA football game against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Baton Rouge, Louisiana AP

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

WINNERS

Not geauxing away quite yet
Left for dead by some following a 14-6 loss to then-No. 8 Florida last weekend, LSU faced an equally stiff test in unbeaten and third-ranked South Carolina… and passed with the gritty flair only a Les Miles-coached team can muster.  Down 14-10 in the fourth quarter and struggling again points-wise on offense, the Tigers “exploded” for 13 unanswered points to get themselves right back in the SEC West picture with a 23-21 win.  The math for LSU is simple: win out, and the Tigers will, for the second straight year, represent the West in the SEC championship game.  While the math is simple, the actual execution is a tad more difficult as, in the next three weeks, the Tigers will face No. 22 Texas A&M in College Station, and No. 1 Alabama and No. 19 Mississippi State at home.  Given where the Tigers were just a week ago this morning, however, I think Miles feels good about his team having the ability successfully navigate that daunting scheduling gauntlet.

Tide rolls… again
And the beat goes on for the 2012 edition of the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide.  With their 42-10 woodshedding of Missouri, the Tide has now outscored its opponents this season 243-45 in their six wins.  In the win over Mizzou, the Tide’s defense gave up 152 yards of total offense — the Tigers had been averaging 356 per game — and allowed a miserly .9 yards per carry (26 yards on 28 attempts).  Alabama has conference games the next two weeks against Tennessee (away) and No. 19 Mississippi State (away) — WARNING TIDE: DANGER AHEAD — before heading to Death Valley for its highly-anticipated re-rematch with No. 9 LSU. Based on how the first half of the regular season has gone, and especially based on Gary Pinkel‘s postgame comments (see below), those may be little more than bumps in the road on the Tide’s way to, first, Atlanta and then south to Miami.

Niiice Beaaavers
Coming off a win over Washington State that propelled them into the Top 10 for the first time in several seasons, No. 10 Oregon State was brought back to earth with news that star quarterback Sean Mannion would miss several weeks due to injury.  While some thought this weekend’s game against a BYU team that had given up just 10 points the last three games made the Beavers ripe for an upset, Cody Vaz would have none of that.  All the junior did in place of Mannion was throw for 332 yards and three touchdowns — and no interceptions — in a 42-24 win over the Cougars that marked Vaz’s first career start at the collegiate level and assured yet another stop at In-N-Out.  Vaz proved the top-10 stage was not too big for him, which is a good thing for the Beavers as he’s expected to be under center for an extended period of time.

Pluck of the Irish
Yes, it was ugly, old school (old man?) football played in the rain.  Yes, it wasn’t without a controversial ending (writer’s note: it should’ve been touchdown, Stanford).  Yes, in non-italics, it was a bad call on the part of the Pac-12 officials working the game.  Despite all of that, No. 7 Notre Dame’s 20-13 overtime win over Stanford was yet another data point heavily intimating that, by gosh, the Irish may indeed be back.  Three of Notre Dame’s six wins have come against teams that were, at game time, ranked inside the Top 20, including the No. 17 Cardinal.  Certainly to some degree the luster is off wins over Michigan and Michigan State given their recent performances, particularly the latter, but it doesn’t change the fact that all the Irish continue to do is find a way to grind out a win week after week after week.  Are they BcS-worthy?  That’s for coaches, Harris voters and computers to decide.  What’s not up for debate is the fact that Brian Kelly has the Irish, at minimum, ready to turn a corner that will lead them back toward the national discussion.

Badger Up!
Thanks to NCAA sanctions levied on Ohio State and Penn State — the only unbeatens amongst the Leaders in Big Ten play — the Wisconsin-Purdue game set up as a battle for first place in the division.  Thanks to Montee Ball, it was a Grenada-style battle for the Badgers.  The senior rushed for a season- and career-high 249 yards — the Badgers as a team rushed for a season-high 467 yards — and three touchdowns, setting a Big Ten career mark in the process.  Even as Wisconsin is just 2-1 in conference play with five games left, they are firmly in control of their own Indianapolis destiny as the other three post-season-eligible teams in the division — Purdue (0-2), Illinois (0-3) and Indiana (0-3) — are winless and, most importantly, largely hapless.  The season began with UW widely expected to easily punch its ticket to the Big Ten championship game in early December; while it’s been rougher than expected, that’s exactly the tack on which the Badgers currently find themselves.

One if by air… x3
Navy came into Friday night’s game with Central Michigan tied for dead last among the 124 FBS teams — Army and New Mexico being the others — with just one touchdown pass through five games.  So, of course, Midshipmen quarterback Keenan Reynolds went out and tossed three touchdowns in the 31-13 win over the Chips.  Reynolds, making his first collegiate start no less, became the the first Navy signal caller to accomplish that feat since Chris McCoy against Colgate in 1997, and was just one of the school record set by Tom Forrestal way back in 1957.

LOSERS

The defense rests, as does WVU’s title hopes
You just knew that, at some point this season, No. 5 West Virginia’s “defense” would cost the Mountaineers at least one game.  That point came Saturday in Lubbock, although the much-maligned defense had some help from an unexpected source.  Yes, the Mountaineers gave up 676 yards to Texas Tech in the humiliating 49-14 loss, but it was the play of Geno Smith that was the most surprising aspect of the upset that effectively ends WVU’s BcS title hopes.  Coming into the game as far and away the Heisman favorite, Smith, simply put, imploded in the Lubbock winds.  Smith was held to just 275 yards passing, his second-lowest total of the season (268 against Texas last week), and he misfired on 26 of his 55 attempts; coming into the game, he had just 38 incompletions combined the first five games of the season.  Yes, he went without interception yet again, but, whatever part of the blame for the loss that isn’t put on the defense needs to be placed squarely on Smith’s right arm.  And that object sitting atop his neck.

Red River Blowout
For all the talk through the first few weeks of the season that Texas is “back” after a couple of non-UT-like years, the Longhorns have answered in resounding fashion the past two weeks that “hell no we ain’t,” at least against top-flight competition.  In back-to-back games against West Virginia and Oklahoma, a defense that was expected to be the linchpin of UT’s return has instead been eviscerated to the tune of 111 points and 1,137 yards of total offense.  The Sooners’ offense accounted for 63 of those points and 677 of the yards in the iconic rivalry game that wasn’t even as close as the 63-21 final score would indicate.  After starting the 2012 season 4-0 and reaching as high as No. 9 in the coaches’ poll, the Longhorns have all but officially been eliminated from any shot at its first Big 12 championship since 2009.

Reversal of misfortunes
Needing just one win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1994, Duke jumped out to a 20-0 lead on Virginia Tech with 3:12 left in the first quarter.  In the final 48:12, however, the Blue Devils were outscored 41-0 as the Hokies came roaring back to slightly spoil one of the cooler stories of the 2012 season.  While the Blue Devils could still very well become bowl eligible at some point prior to the end of the season, their remaining schedule — home games with North Carolina, Clemson and Miami, road trips to Florida State and Georgia Tech — says that could be easier said than done; in the past eight years, Duke is 1-31 against those five schools, with the lone win coming against Clemson in 2004.

LaTech bandwagon
Numerous, numerous media types, and also people such as myself, had been pushing for what we saw as an underappreciated Louisiana Tech squad to be included in the Top 25 rankings.  When the Lil’ School That Could actually landed in the latest set of rankings, we all did a little nerdy happy dance.  A week later?  Yeah, not so much, although it wasn’t for a lack of effort on the scrappy Bulldogs part.  After digging themselves a 27-0 hole late in the second quarter, Tech came back to within a two-point conversion of tying the game at 59-all with :38 seconds left in the game.  A failed conversion and unsuccessful onside kick, though, ended any hope of a miraculous comeback and an upset win over the No. 22 team in the country.  Even in the loss, though, Tech head coach Sonny Dykes likely made himself a hell of a lot of future money, whether it be at his current school or when the next spinning of the coaching carousel comes to an end.

TOP 25 TOO-CLOSE-FOR-COMFORT
How ranked teams endured close shaves vs. unranked opponents

— No. 4 Florida 31, Vanderbilt 17: With 2:35 left in the fourth quarter, the Gators led the Commodores 24-17.  A 70-yard Jeff Driskel touchdown run 15 seconds later, however, iced the game for UF.

— No. 6 Kansas State 27, Iowa State 21: Taking down the giant-slaying Cyclones, in Ames no less, was no small feat for Bill Snyder‘s Wildcats.  If anything, this game should show voters that K-State is indeed the real deal and in this title chase — Big 12 and otherwise — for the long haul.

— No. 8 Ohio State 52, Indiana 49: The Buckeyes twice held 18-point fourth-quarter leads, but two touchdowns by the Hoosiers in a span of 35 seconds with under two minutes remaining closed the gap to three.  An IU attempt at a second straight onside kick recovery was unsuccessful and OSU held on for a very strange, odd win.

— No. 10 Oregon State 42, BYU 28: The Beavers were actually down by four with just under nine minutes left in the game before a pair of touchdowns effectively put the game out of reach.

— No. 11 USC 24, Washington 14: Twice in the past three seasons, the Huskies have handed the Trojans losses.  A 24-point first half ensured it wouldn’t happen three times in four years.

— No. 18 Louisville 45, Pittsburgh 35: While the final tally indicates a somewhat comfortable double-digit win, the Cardinals actually trailed at halftime before pulling away with four unanswered touchdowns in the second half.

— No. 19 Mississippi State 41, Tennessee 31: After the Vols had gotten back to within three with under six minutes left, the Bulldogs threw the final knockout punch with :09 seconds left to maintain its unblemished record.

— No. 20 Rutgers 23, Syracuse 15: It was far from pretty, but the Scarlet Knights were able to remain unbeaten with a gritty Big East win over the Orange.

— No. 24 Boise State 20, Fresno State 10: The Broncos are this week’s winner of our “win is a win is a win” award.

CFT TOP FIVE
A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Monday if I, ya know, had a real vote instead of a measly and meaningless preseason poll.

1. Alabama — The Tide’s 42-10 throttling of hapless, in-over-their-heads-in-the-SEC Mizzou in the Columbia rain will do nothing to curb the sense that UA’s on an inexorable march toward back-to-back BcS titles and three in four years. (Last 5Q: No. 1)
Up next: at Tennessee

2. Oregon: The Ducks’ bye weekend did nothing to sour just about anyone on their standing in the polls. (Last 5Q: No. 2)
Up next: at Arizona State

3. Florida: The win over LSU last weekend looks even more impressive after viewing it through the prism of the Tigers’ win over South Carolina this weekend. (Last 5Q: unranked)
Up next: vs. No. 3 South Carolina

4. Kansas State: Any team that can go into Ames as a highly-ranked team and beats a Paul Rhoads-coached squad deserves high praise, regardless of the margin of victory. (Last 5Q: No. 4)
Up next: at No. 5 West Virginia

5. Oregon State: Surprised?  Just watch where the BcS computers place the Beavers Sunday night.  (Last 5Q: unranked)
Up next: vs. Utah

COACHING HOT SEAT
A weekly look at some of the current head coaches who could most likely be an ex-head coaches by season’s end — if not sooner.

— Auburn’s Gene Chizik: 14-0 with Cam Newton, 22-34 without the Heisman winner in his collegiate coaching career.  A 1-5 start to this season has included back-to-back laughably embarrassing losses to moribund SEC West teams Arkansas and Ole Miss.  Chizik was also infamously 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State; his replacement, Paul Rhoads, has gone 22-22 in three-plus seasons.  Buyout or not, and barring an abrupt turnaround that’s seemingly not in the cards, it would defy logic for Chizik to make it to 2013.

— Kentucky’s Joker Phillips: 1-5 on the season, 12-19 in his two-plus seasons in Lexington.  And the loss to Arkansas may have been the low point; not only did the Wildcats surrender 533 yards of offense in the 49-7 loss, they did so in less than three full quarters of play as the game was called with 5:03 left in the third quarter due to weather.  Out of all the ones who may be on the proverbial hot seat, there appears to be a very significant chance that Phillips, as nice a guy as he is, will be among the first — if not the first — FBS head coach to get the ax in 2012.

HE SAID IT
“That is maybe the best football team I’ve ever seen. We will see, but I watched the film and couldn’t find a weakness.” — Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, talking after Alabama’s 42-10 dismantling of his Tigers.

HE SAID IT, THE SEQUEL
“This is truly a place where opponents’ dreams go to die.” — LSU head coach Les Miles, following the Tigers win over South Carolina in Death Valley.

YOU DON’T SAY?
With 72 career touchdowns, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball now trails just Ricky Williams of Texas (75) and Travis Prentice of Miami of Ohio (78) for the most in FBS history.

FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSES ONLY

— After Week 7 of the 2012 season, there are 16 teams that are bowl eligible — 10 from BcS conferences, five from non-BcS conferences.  The 16th?  Football-independent Notre Dame.

— The Texas A&M-Louisiana Tech game featured several spectacular individual performances as one could expect from a 59-57 shootout.  Aggies’ freshman quarterback Johnny “Johnny Football” Manziel accounted for 577 yards of total offense and six touchdowns (three passing, three rushing), the former breaking his own school and SEC marks set earlier this year.  In a losing effort, Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton caught 21 passes — yes, 21 — for 233 yards and four touchdowns.

— In that game, A&M and Tech combined for 1,306 yards of total offense — 690 for the former, 616 for the latter.  The Aggies were also penalized a whopping 19 times for 175 yards.

— With Texas Tech’s upset win over No. 5 West Virginia, Tommy Tuberville is now 6-2 in his career in games vs. teams ranked in the Top 5.

— In that win, Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege threw for 499 yards and six touchdowns.  Doege now has 21 touchdowns on the season, 49 in his last 18 games.

Eddie Lacy ran for a career-high 177 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns in Alabama’s win over Missouri.

Jeremy Hill‘s seven-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of the game against South Carolina was LSU’s first against an SEC foe since the fourth quarter of last year’s SEC championship game.  That’s a span of 14 quarters and 315 days, incidentally.

— In the first two games of the season, Mark Weisman rushed for eight yards on two carries.  In the four games since, the Iowa running back has rushed for 507 yards and seven touchdowns.  His 116 yards — his fourth straight 100-yard game — helped the Hawkeyes to an double-overtime win over Michigan State.

— Oklahoma running back Damien Williams‘ 95-yard touchdown run vs. Texas was the longest in the storied history of the Red River Shootout.

— In their game against Kentucky, Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns in the first half.  For the weather-shortened game, Wilson finished with 372 yards and five touchdowns in the 49-7 win.

— In a literal homecoming game against Miami, Giovani Bernard rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns in North Carolina’s 18-14 win over the Hurricanes.

EJ Manuel threw for a career-high 439 yards and four touchdowns in No. 12 Florida State’s 51-7 waxing of Boston College.

Silas Redd, a transfer from Penn State, rushed for a season-high 155 yards in USC’s win over Washington.

— With 149 yards in the close win over Indiana, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has now rushed for 100-plus yards in all three Big Ten games and in five of the Buckeyes’ seven wins this season.  He’s also just 88 yards away from eclipsing the 1,000-yard plateau for the season.

— Arizona State sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly (no relation) tossed five touchdown passes in the Sun Devils’ 51-17 thumping of woeful Colorado Thursday night.  Kelly now has 11 touchdown passes the last three games after starting the season with just three in his first three games.

— The 402 points career points for Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins are the most in ACC and fifth in NCAA history.

— Utah State’s defense was credited with a school-record 13 sacks in the Aggies’ dominating 49-21 win over San Jose State.  USU had just 14 sacks entering the game.

— The attendance for the Kansas State-Iowa State game officially announced at 56,800, making it the largest crowd to ever watch a college football game in Ames.

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Through seven weeks of the season, Maryland (2-0) is the only ACC team without a loss in conference play.  Yep, the Mayans were right…

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After sitting out 2014, Temple WR Anderson ruled eligible for 2015

Robby Anderson

Temple’s offense should be getting back a key contributor this fall, and he should be well rested. Robby Anderson, who was not with the Owls in 2014, has been ruled eligible to play again this fall.

Temple head coach Matt Rhule learned of the eligibility update from the NCAA Monday evening as he and other Temple representatives were gathering in Rhode Island for the start of American Athletic Conference media day festivities.

“I am elated,” Rhule said (per Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com). “I love the kid and just on a personal level, even when it looked like he wasn’t coming back, I maintained a relationship.”

Anderson was not enrolled at Temple last season, so he worked on improving his academic standing with junior college classes. After completing junior college requirements, Anderson enrolled back at Temple for summer classes. The NCAA approved of his academic improvement and ruled him eligible as a result.

Anderson led the Owls in receiving in 2013 with 791 yards and nine touchdowns. If he can mimic that level of success, he should once again be the top target for Temple quarterback P.J. Walker this season. Temple has a chance to have a successful season this year with a respected defense and growing and maturing Walker under center leading the offense. If Anderson steps right in to be the go-to receiver after sitting out the 2014 season, Temple’s potential could be worth monitoring in the American Athletic Conference.

Temple will open the season at home on September 5 against Penn State.

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SMU adds former Gamecock to defensive line

Pharoh Cooper, Cody Gibson, Deon Green, Rory Anderson

SMU enters the 2015 season with a new head coach in Chad Morris and plenty of room for improvement across the roster. The defensive line may have just gotten a little better on Monday, thanks to the summer arrival of a former South Carolina Gamecock.

Deon Green has formally been added to the roster at SMU, as evidenced by his inclusion on the team’s official roster Monday. Green missed out on playing in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons due to a knee injury that required surgery and a good amount of rehab work. He appeared in just two games in 2013 and recorded just four tackles for the Gamecocks last fall. He made the decision to transfer in January and was one of many South Carolina players to do so.

Green was a three-star recruit out of high school. The Orlando native will finally have a chance to compete and play a key role on his new team. SMU’s defense was 113th in the nation in total sacks, 117th against the run and 124th in tackles for loss last season. For reference, there were 128 FBS programs last season.

Helmet sticker to The Dallas Morning News.

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Assault charges filed against Ex-Utah CB Dominique Hatfield

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl - Utah v Colorado State

The latest development in the off-field saga surrounding former Utah Ute defensive back Dominique Hatfield comes in the form of formal police charges. Hatfield has been charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from his involvement in a fight during a party in July. A police investigation is still ongoing.

A probable cause statement accuses Hatfield of refusing to stop rolling marijuana after being asked to stop. As the exchange escalated, Hatfield and others allegedly grabbed the victim and striking him in the face and other parts of the body, per a report from KSL.com. The victim had cuts on his face and nose as well as some bruising around the eyes, shoulder and back.

Utah recently dismissed Hatfield from the program amid the initial allegations and connection to the fight. The dismissal followed an initial suspension from the team, and was based on information gathered related to the incident. Despite being dismissed, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham seemingly left the door open for a possible return to the program for Hatfield. How this latest information changes that outlook is probably not very promising.

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Pitt suspends WR Tyler Boyd for season opener

Tyler Boyd

One of the top offensive players in the ACC will have to sit out the season opener. On Monday, Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi announced the suspension of wide receiver Tyler Boyd from the September 5 home game against Youngstown State. Sophomore defensive lineman Rori Blair will also sit out the game due to disciplinary action.

“In addition to their game suspensions, Tyler and Rori have been, and will continue to be, subject to internal discipline and accountability,” Narduzzi said in a released statement. “The situations were very disappointing and both young men have expressed their regret. Our expectation is that each of them, as well as our entire team, will learn from their mistakes and be better for it moving forward.”

Boyd was given 12 months probation following a driving under the influence charge back in June. He was suspended by the program and has since been allowed to return to the team. Boyd led the ACC in receiving with 1,261 receiving yards last fall and was named to the All-ACC preseason First Team at the recent ACC media day event in North Carolina.

The absence of Boyd will likely have a minimal impact on Pitt’s chances to win the season opener, which will also be the debut of former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini with his new program. Having Boyd out of action is a blow to Pitt’s offense, but hardly enough of one that should put the Panthers at risk of losing to the Penguins in the first game of the season. Youngstown State did topple the Panthers in 2012 though, so who knows!

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Braxton Miller shows off his ridiculous new ability to catch footballs

Braxton Miller

One of the big storylines we have been following this offseason is the status of Braxton Miller. Deciding to stick at Ohio State rather than pursue a transfer to play quarterback somewhere else, Miller has been working hard at preparing himself for a new position in the Buckeye offense this season. Miller showed off some of his new skills in the latest viral video that is sure to make the rounds on the college football Internet, as all Instagram highlights seem to do.

In this latest short video clip, we see Miller on the practice field in Columbus holding onto five footballs. While holding onto the multiple pigskins, Miller extends his right arm in the air to snag one more. Miller has yet to catch a pass in his time at Ohio State, but that will change this season as he moves around the offense, and he may even play some punt return. One Instagram video cannot offer any true scouting report, but it certainly should help generate some buzz about Ohio State’s newest receiver and/or punt returner.

Unfortunately, the embed code seems to have a problem with this site, but you can check out the catch on Miller’s Instagram profile.

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Helfrich claims Oregon was only playoff team with random drug test, but report says otherwise

Mark Helfrich

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich suggested his Ducks were the only one of the four College Football Playoff teams to be tested for drugs by the NCAA leading up to the postseason mini-tournament. That seemed odd, and perhaps it is now being proven otherwise.

Wide receiver Darren Carrington was suspended last postseason for failing an NCAA drug test before the College Football Playoff. An appeal by Oregon before the championship game was denied by the NCAA, and now it remains to be seen how much playing time Carrington might miss this fall. During the Pac-12 media days last week, Helfrich used the Carrington suspension as the crux of his argument for each power conference to be playing by the same set of rules, in which he stated Oregon was the only one of the four playoff teams to be randomly drug tested.

“If one team is tested in the College Football Playoff, everybody should be tested in the College Football Playoff,” Helfrich said, as quoted by The Oregonian. It turns out all four teams — Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Oregon — were administered random drug tests by the NCAA. That is what Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports is reporting Monday, citing an anonymous source. If Feldman’s report carries any weight — and given the reputation of Feldman, it should — then whoever fed Helfrich that information should have some explaining to do to the head coach of the Ducks.

What players were and were not tested is not known, other than Carrington of course.

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LSU loses No. 1 recruit in Class of 2017 (for now), but track record suggests Tigers win it back

Les Miles

When a recruit from a recruiting class two classes away commits from a school it is rarely much of a shock. This one is a little bit different. Dylan Moses, the nation’s top-rated recruit in the Class of 2017 and a Baton Rouge native, has decommitted from LSU. The top-ranked recruit from Baton Rouge backing away from LSU? That seems odd.

Moses took to Twitter to explain the decision he and his family came to recently, in which he stressed this being a once in a lifetime opportunity that he wants to live out to the fullest. And who can blame him? As talented as he is, Moses will be given star treatment wherever he goes while on the recruiting trail, and we should all be so lucky to receive such treatment from any college football program you wish. He did say, at one point, LSU remains his No. 1 school on the list (and having his cousin, Corey Raymond, on the coaching staff certainly helps).

LSU has been in on the recruiting of Moses for a while now. Moses was extended a scholarship offer from Les Miles in 2012 just after starting high school. LSU extending (and accepting) offers from the youngest talent on the recruiting boards is nothing new, and episodes like this should not be unexpected. Recruiting is a tense process for any player to go through.

Moses is ranked by Rivals as the number one athlete in the nation, and the number two overall player in the Class of 2017. He is also the top-rated recruit in the state of Louisiana, just for good measure. As you might suspect, Moses holds offers from a ton of programs from coast to coast, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee, USC and so many more.

LSU may still land the commitment of Moses. The last time the top recruit in the state of Louisiana did not go to LSU was in the Class of 2012, with Alabama swaying Landon Collins away out of Geismar (much to the dismay of his mother). Since 2002, LSU has not landed the top recruit from within the state just three times. Quarterback Robert Lane committed to Ole Miss in 2003 and running back Joe McKnight ended up at USC in the Class of 2007. So the track record is good for LSU, as the Tigers have been dominant with in-state talent over the last decade.

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Notre Dame’s (and Cincinnati’s and Maryland’s) new uniforms from Under Armour revealed

Arizona State v Notre Dame football

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish joined the handful of programs ditching Adidas in search of a new uniform and apparel partner, leading the Irish to Under Armour. On Monday, we finally got a glimpse at the new look for the Irish as designed by Under Armour. Fortunately for the purists out there, not much has changed for Notre Dame’s signature look.

As you can see, the basic look is unchanged. Gold helmets, blue uniforms with white number sin gold trim and gold pants. The pants have the “ND” logo on the left hip and the Under Armour logo on the right. One noticeable addition is the block lettering of “IRISH” on the sleeve, but this comes on the shirt underneath the jersey and not the actual jersey (thankfully). All that remains to be seen now is how Under Armour handles Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series uniform this fall. The Irish have made a habit of wearing a specially designed uniform for the Shamrock Series game, and this season is expected to be no different. This year’s Shamrock Series game will be played in Fenway Park, home of baseball’s Boston Red Sox, against Boston College. 

Notre Dame was not the only Under Armour partner to show off the new look for 2015. Cincinnati introduced its new look for the fall…

And of course, Maryland shared a look at its home all-red uniform, complete with state pride flag helmet…

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LSU has revolving door of defensive linemen, Maquedius Bain on way out

Les Miles

LSU’s defensive line took a bit of a hit just days before getting set to open fall camp. LSU defensive end Maquedius Bain took to Twitter Monday afternoon to announce he is leaving the Tigers, thanking LSU for a wonderful experience.

While not a starter on the LSU defensive line, Bain was expected to provide some solid depth in the trenches, as noted by The Advocate. Bain recently switched positions for the Tigers, moving from defensive tackle to defensive end this spring. He was one of the players recently reinstated by LSU head coach Les Miles on Friday, along with quarterback Anthony Jennings and defensive back Dwayne Thomas. Despite being reinstated, Miles suggested in a statement there would be a review for possible in-house punishment. Bain, Jennings and Thomas were all connected to an unauthorized entry incident, but the alleged victim requested for any charges to be dropped.

But there is some good news for LSU’s defensive line concerns. Defensive tackle Mickey Johnson has decided to stay put at LSU after missing the spring practice season. Johnson had been reported to consider a transfer out of the program.

LSU is scheduled to open fall camp later this week.

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ESPN’s GameDay pulling double duty in Week 1 and returning to Army-Navy Game

College GameDay

College football is getting so close we are starting to smell it. Today’s sweet and savory reminder of just how close we are to the start of a new year comes from ESPN with the announcement of the first College GameDay traveling road show of the season. No surprise here, but it will be setting up shop in Fort Worth, Texas leading up to the season opener between Alabama and Wisconsin.

But ESPN will not stop with just the season-opening clash between the Crimson Tide and Badgers. The show will also broadcast from Blacksburg, Virginia on Monday leading up to the Labor Day primetime affair between Virginia Tech and the defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes. Virginia Tech, in case you needed to be reminded, handed Ohio State its only loss last season. Both games, naturally, will air on ESPN networks (Alabama-Wisconsin on ABC, Ohio State-Virginia Tech on ESPN).

But wait, there’s one more GameDay surprise. For the second straight season, GameDay will wrap up its season-long pregame coverage from the Army-Navy Game. This year’s game will be back in Philadelphia after being played in Baltimore last season. The last time GameDay broadcast from Philadelphia was in 2002 prior to an Ivy League contest between the Penn Quakers and Harvard Crimson.

The last time GameDay broadcast from Philadelphia was in 2002 prior to an Ivy League contest between the Penn Quakers and Harvard Crimson.

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UNC reinstates DB Malik Simmons, who failed to show up in court

Jamison Crowder, Malik Simmons

North Carolina defensive back Malik Simmons did not appear in court Monday morning when his name was called for a misdemeanor citation for resisting a public officer and possession of marijuana. Where was he? Football practice, as he has now been reinstated by the program to resume football activities.

Simmons was indefinitely suspended by head coach Larry Fedora on July 24 following his second arrest of the summer. Simmons reportedly resisted arrest and later paid a $1,000 bond to be released from holding. Simmons had previously been charged for a misdemeanor marijuana possession offense, which was why he was due in court Monday morning. Fedora confirmed Monday Simmons has been reinstated by the program.

Fedora said UNC is now “waiting to see the thing play out,” before making any other decisions regarding the future of Simmons in Chapel Hill. However, lifting the suspension would seem to indicate there is a good feeling not much else will come of this legal infraction.

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Rutgers wide receiver Leonte Carroo says he’s the best in the Big Ten

Leonte Carroo

This season the Big Ten will have some pretty talented wide receivers, but none will be better than Leonte Carroo of Rutgers. At least, that’s what he says.

“I’m the best receiver in the Big Ten,” Carroo said at Big Ten media day, per Asbury Park Press. “I say that confidently. I say that proudly.”

Carroo has every reason to talk a big game. Last season Carroo was named to the Big Ten’s First Team offense by the voting media. Carroo finished second in the Big Ten with 1,086 receiving yards and third in the conference with 10 touchdown receptions. One of the two players with more touchdown catches in the Big Ten was Ohio State’s Devin Smith, who had the benefit of playing in 15 games during Ohio State’s postseason run to record his 12 touchdowns. Michigan State’s Tony Lippett had 11 touchdown catches last season. Both Smith and Lippett were seniors, making Carroo the Big Ten’s leading receiver back in 2015 in the touchdown department. Carroo was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list this preseason.

Carroo contemplated leaving Rutgers after last season to enter the NFL Draft, but he returns to the Scarlet Knights with no regret on his decision.

“I was sitting there and I was stuck on the TV knowing I could’ve been in the draft,” Carroo said. “Receiver after receiver after receiver was getting drafted and I was just like, ‘I wonder where I would’ve fell in this draft.’ It didn’t make me think I should’ve went. It just motivated me to be hungry to get there next year.”

Opposing Big Ten defenses will have their hands full trying to contain the 6′-1″ wide receiver from Rutgers, but he is just one of three starters returning to the Rutgers offense this season. There should be times when he Carroo will have to carry the offense early on as everything settles into place for the program.

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In defense of the FCS

Andrew Bonnet, Blake Slaughter AP

The FCS doesn’t exactly have a good reputation when its three letters are brought up by Power Five conferences and teams.

The Big Ten last week forbade its members from scheduling future games against FCS opponents. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly likes to call games against FCS teams — the Irish have never played against an FCS opponent — “glorified byes.” Fans of teams vying for a playoff spot roll their eyes when Alabama plays Western Carolina in the penultimate week of the regular season.

But not all FCS games are created equal. And it’s not always a bad thing to play a team from college football’s third tier (since there’s a clear difference between the Power Five and rest of FBS at this point).

Consider this: Of the top 100 teams in Jeff Sagarin’s 2014 ratings, 14 played at the FCS level. Twenty-four FCS teams ranked higher than the worst Power Five team (Wake Forest, No. 125). Powerhouse program and four-time reigning champion North Dakota State (32) finished higher than the two teams that played in the Fiesta Bowl (Boise State, 36; Arizona, 37). The team that narrowly lost to NDSU in the FCS Championship, Illinois State (41), ranked better than nine ACC programs.

It’s hardly uncommon for an FCS team to jump up and beat a Power Five team on a given week. NDSU beat an FBS team every year from 2010-2014, including a 20-point thrashing of Iowa State in Ames last year. Oregon transfer Vernon Adams made a name for himself in 2013 when, with Eastern Washington, he engineered a shootout win over Oregon State.

All FCS games are not created equal, obviously. There are plenty of bad FCS teams that find their way on to Power Five schedules. Ole Miss didn’t deserve any credit for blowing out Presbyterian (No. 166 in Sagarin), 48-0, last November.

But there’s a difference between playing an FCS team in September and one in November. Because FCS teams are only allowed 63 scholarships — 22 fewer than FBS teams — a lot of these teams have awfully thin depth in November. Nobody’s suggesting one of these FBS teams could, in its current state, move up a level and compete in the Big Ten or ACC.

“We like the stage, we like the challenge of playing that big FBS game,” NDSU coach Chris Klieman said earlier this year, “but to do it nine or ten weeks in a row like a Big 12 or a Big Ten level, I think we’d get beat up too badly.”

In a one-off game in September, when their best 22 players are probably healthy, FCS teams provide just as tough a challenge as some group of five doormats. The upper-echelon FCS programs are often tougher wins than low-to-mid level Power Five teams, too.

Should a Power Five team, one holding loads of cash and more scholarships, ever lose to an FCS team? No. But it happens, and it’s not always an embarrassment.

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Arrest to cost Purdue’s Gelen Robinson at least two games

Gelen Robinson, C.J. Beathard

As it turns out, Gelen Robinson‘s off-field issue will cost him on the field as well.

Head coach Darrell Hazell has confirmed that the defensive end will miss at least the first two games of Purdue’s 2015 season because of his June arrest for drunk driving.  Based on what happens during summer camp, Hazell said, the suspension could extend to up to four games.

Purdue begins the 2015 season with a road trip to defending Conference USA champion Marshall, then follows that up with home games against Indiana State, Virginia Tech and Bowling Green.

In late June, Robinson was arrested on charges of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or more and illegal possession of an alcoholic beverage.  The charges triggered a violation of a prior diversion agreement with the courts.

As a true freshman last season, Robinson played in 10 games. His four tackles for loss were sixth on the team, while his two sacks were good for fourth.

Entering camp, Robinson is viewed as a likely line starter, once his suspension has been served of course.

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Deferred prosecution for one Gator dine & dasher

Eastern Michigan v Florida Getty Images

While his $40 worth of “free” food and beverages could end up costing him nearly $300, Caleb Brantley, provided he can be an upstanding citizen for the foreseeable future, will see his legal slate erased cleaned in short order.

The Gainesville Sun has reported that Brantley “has signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the State Attorney’s Office.” The agreement stems from an incident the Fourth of July in which he and teammate Adam Lane were cited for defrauding an innkeeper of less than $300. Specifically, the two players were part of a group that ran up a $90 tab at a Gainesville bowling alley and left the establishment without settling up.

Per the terms of his deferred prosecution, Brantley (pictured, No. 57) will be required to pay $100 for the cost of prosecution, donate $100 to a charity or perform 10 hours of community service and pay $50 for the cost of investigation to the Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, the defensive tackle will be required to repay his portion of the tab, which came to $42.34.

Lane has been offered deferred prosecution as well, although that deal has yet to be finalized. The running back is responsible for $16.93 of the tab.

Brantley was a four-star member of the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class who took a redshirt as a true freshman. In 2014, he played in 12 games with one start. That one start came in the Birmingham Bowl win over East Carolina.

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