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Predictions 101 — Week 12

Phil Knight AP

Last week, we went 5-2 straight (you can probably guess what one of the losses was) and 3-2-1 versus “the number.”

This week’s slate is probably the worst we’ve ever examined this close to the end of a season. But what are you going to do? The SEC’s scheduling practices and the Big Ten’s irrelevance are what they are.

Here we go.

TOP 5 GAMES OF THE WEEK (Thurs., Nov. 15, thru Sat., Nov. 17)

1) No. 14 Stanford at No. 1 Oregon
Sat., Nov. 17 — 8 p.m. ET, ABC

We’ve got total respect for what the Cardinal have done, proving that their relevancy wasn’t tied to Andrew Luck. In fact, it wasn’t even tied to Josh Nunes. With redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan looking like he’s the real deal, Stanford will easily continue to be a primetime player in the Pac-12 North.

The only problem with that is the presence of Oregon in the division. The Cardinal are just not geared to deal with the Ducks … as if any team really is.

Since Luck led a 51-42 victory over Oregon in 2009, the Cardinal have lost their last two games to the Ducks by a total of 44 points.

Taking into account the known factors, there isn’t any indication that the results will be different this time. Chip Kelly’s bunch will pull away in the second half to win this showdown for the North title.

Despite holding an advantage over Oregon in several departments, Stanford doesn’t have the ability to adjust on the fly to accentuate its strengths and minimize those of its opponents. That, of course, is the domain of the Ducks and the secret to their success, particularly on offense.

If limited to playing the game within the box and at a normal pace, the Cardinal, who lead the nation in run defense (58.6 yards per game), sacks (4.2) and tackles for loss (9.1), would win. Oregon, however, doesn’t let you breathe and expertly gets the ball out into space where it’s hard to tackle lightning bolts.

Stanford has the ability to control the pace and shorten the game when it has the ball, utilizing sledgehammer running back Stepfan Taylor and the athleticism of Hogan, but getting something out of every drive is a requirement if you’re going to upset the Ducks. We don’t see them putting together a perfect performance at the fortress that is Auzten Stadium.

Opening point spread: Oregon by 24

The pick: Oregon 45-27

2) No. 2 Kansas State at Baylor
Sat., Nov. 17 — 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

No team in the country allows more yards per game than the Bears … 519.8 to be exact. Of course, yards don’t determine who wins. Points do.

Baylor is really generous with those, as well, allowing 39.4 per game. Only five of the 120 FBS teams are worse in that department. Unfortunately for the Bears, they aren’t playing any of those schools.

They’re hosting Kansas State, which leads the Big 12 in scoring defense (17.7) and is in position to play for the BCS title if it can avoid banana peels and/or magazine cover jinxes.

The difference defensively is the key as both teams average more than 42 points per game.

The Bears hung tough on the road last week, dropping a 42-34 decision at Oklahoma. Some of that had to do with winning the takeaway battle, 2-0.

That won’t happen versus the Wildcats, who lead the nation in turnover margin with a sparkling +20.

Opening point spread: Kansas State by 10

The pick: Kansas State 49-31

3) Wake Forest at No. 3 Notre Dame
Sat., Nov. 17 — 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC

The Demon Deacons have the Fighting Irish right where they want them.

Slow down … we aren’t saying Wake Forest is gonna pull the massive upset. But if you are hoping for such a thing, South Bend would be the location for it.

Notre Dame hasn’t been particularly impressive in defending its home field this season. The Irish needed three overtimes to beat Pittsburgh, edged BYU by three points, got the calls to squeak past Stanford in OT, held off Michigan 13-6 and defeated Purdue by three.

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise though. Notre Dame is attempting to go undefeated at home for the first time in 14 years. Until now, playing in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus wasn’t what it used to be.

But Deacon fans can’t like their chances against an Irish defense that hasn’t allowed an offensive touchdown in five games this season.

In last week’s 37-6 loss at North Carolina State, Wake Forest needed standout wideout Michael Campanaro to THROW a touchdown pass to avoid a shutout.

Brian Kelly will turn up the heat and do his best to build a case for the BCS title game, but there are the usual limitations.

Opening point spread: Notre Dame by 22

The pick: Notre Dame 29-10

4) No. 22 Rutgers at Cincinnati
Sat., Nov. 17 — Noon ET, Big East Network

For whatever it’s worth, this game will go a long way toward determining who wins the Big East and gets to spend New Year’s Day losing to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Last year, the Scarlet Knights broke a five-game losing streak to the Bearcats. Running back Jawan Jamison rushed for 200 yards and a pair of scores in that 20-3 victory in Piscataway.

Jamison is a bit of a question mark in this one as he was knocked out of last week’s 28-7 win over Army, but did return to the game and finished with 90 rushing yards and threw a halfback pass for a touchdown.

In any case, Rutgers’ advantage in this game is on the defensive side. The Knights are allowing only 13.4 points and 309.4 yards per game.

Bearcat quarterback Brendon Kay, who made his first career start last week at Temple, will have trouble. We smell turnovers.

Opening point spread: Cincinnati by 6 1/2

The pick: Rutgers 24-23

5) Mississippi at No. 8 LSU
Sat., Nov. 17 — 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Could we possibly get out of here without an SEC game? Nope. And in terms of which one, we didn’t have much choice.

Even more incredible than seeing Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina all listed in a row from Nos. 4 through 9 in the BCS Standings was the fact that five of their opponents this week are Western Carolina, Georgia Southern, Jacksonville State, Sam Houston State and Wofford. And then you have Mississippi’s trip to LSU, of course.

The Tigers did allow Mississippi State to pass for 304 yards in last Saturday’s 37-17 victory in Baton Rouge. But when the Bulldogs were forced to become one dimensional late in the game, the LSU pass rush was devastating.

Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace can sling the ball around the yard, but we wonder how the Rebels will keep ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo from crashing down on him if they fall behind early.

In a way, Ole Miss is OK with being on the road. In contrast to last year’s 52-3 loss to LSU at home, the Rebels hung tough in Death Valley in 2010 (coming from ahead to lose, 43-36) and won there in 2008 (31-13).

Opening point spread: LSU by 20

The pick: LSU 35-19

UPSET SPECIAL OF THE WEEK

Ohio State at Wisconsin
Sat., Nov. 17 — 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2

Once again, the USOTW prediction comes courtesy of Marc Doche (@MDoche) from the P101 satellite office in Burbank, Calif.

We can add Michigan’s miraculous “Hail Mary” pass, which led to an overtime defeat for last week’s underdog, to the pair of one-point losses suffered earlier in the season thanks to placekicking miscues. That being said, we’ve nabbed some outright victories in between and have been within the “number” in most instances.

There’s not much margin for that to happen this week, as we get a field goal while backing the undefeated Buckeyes in their Big Ten Leaders Division match-up with the Badgers.

This setup is reminiscent of last year’s edition of P101’s current “Rivalry Game of the Week” (see below), when UCLA limped into the Pac-12 title game after getting embarrassed by on-probation USC, 50-0. For Wisconsin, it’s the beneficiary of having already clinched a spot in the Big Ten title game despite two losses, thanks to a pair of teams in the NCAA’s naughty corner.

Urban Meyer deserves loads of praise for what he’s accomplished in Columbus with The Vest’s players and the mess he left behind. The potent backfield combo of quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde have accounted for 41 touchdowns and their playmaking will prove to be the difference against a stout Wisconsin stop unit.

The four Badger wins that have them in line for a Big Ten title three-peat have come against squads that are a combined 5-19 in conference play. With starting quarterback Joel Stave out for the season, Curt Phillips filled in last week going 4-for-7 for 41 yards against Indiana.

Wisconsin was able to light up the Hoosiers for 62 points by rushing 64 times for 564 yards with senior running back Montee Ball finding the end zone three times.

That kind of one-dimensional attack won’t work against a Buckeye defense ranked 16th in the nation, allowing 107.9 yards per game on the ground.

Opening point spread: Wisconsin by 1

The pick: Ohio State 23-13

RIVALRY GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 21 USC at No. 17 UCLA
Sat., Nov. 17 — 3:05 p.m. ET, FOX

The winner of this matchup gets the Victory Bell. Not the bootleg ones that go to the North Carolina-Duke or Miami (Ohio)-Cincinnati winners, we’re talking THE Victory Bell, a 295-pound bell from a Southern Pacific freight locomotive.

A couple years after the bell was given to UCLA by its alumni association in 1939, USC students stole it … and even used the Bruins’ own truck to do it!

The bell was then hidden in various parts of the Southland, spurring a rash of pranks on both sides of town, which caused USC president Dr. Rufus B. von KleinSmid to threaten to cancel the football game between the archrivals.

Following that warning, the student body presidents of both schools met at the “Tommy Trojan” statue and signed an agreement that made the bell a rivalry trophy.

For the first time in a while, more than just the Victory Bell is on the line for both teams. Each has the opportunity to lock up the Pac-12 South with a win. It could be said that each squad is trying to repeat. USC “won” the division on the field last season, but UCLA took the probation-saddled Trojans’ place and embarrassed itself in Eugene at the inaugural Pac-12 title game.

UCLA has enjoyed possession of the Victory Bell for only a single year since 1999. In the last five meetings, all Trojan victories, the Bruins have been eviscerated by an aggregate score of 158-35, including last year’s 50-0 waste of time.

Despite all this, UCLA and its supporters are feeling frisky. But, really, how much has changed?

Ask yourself this question: “Would you be looking at this game differently if UCLA had played Stanford yet or had Oregon on its schedule?”

That’s what we thought.

Opening point spread: USC by 3

The pick: USC 34-27

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Ex-OSU Cowboy, UA Wildcat QB Daxx Garman to give Terps a try

West Virginia v Oklahoma State Getty Images

Daxx Garman has already been a quarterback in the Pac-12 and Big 12, so now he figures he’ll hit up one more Power Five conference for his final collegiate act.

Thursday afternoon, Maryland announced that the well-traveled quarterback will join the Terrapins football team for his last season of football.  As the strong-armed Garman will be a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2015 and, right away, be thrust knee-deep in his new team’s quarterback competition.

“We are excited that Daxx will be joining our program,” head coach Randy Edsall said in a statement. “He is an experienced quarterback who has proven himself as an accomplished starter in the Big 12, helping to lead his team to a postseason bowl game. Daxx is an outstanding student who has displayed tremendous poise and maturity during his college career. He comes in knowing he is competing for the starting quarterback position and is looking forward to the competition and being part of our football family”

After weeks worth of speculation, Mike Gundy confirmed in early March that Garman would be transferring… again.  He came to OSU after transferring in from Arizona; in high school, he transferred on two separate occasions as well.

Garman will enter the signal-calling mix in College Park this summer, with his main competition likely being Caleb Rowe.  Coming off a torn ACL, Rowe exited spring practice as the favorite to win the starting job even as he didn’t participate in any of the 15 sessions.  The new contender, though, has plenty of experience to be a significant threat to Rowe’s standing.

Garman replaced J.W. Walsh, who sustained a season-ending leg injury in Week 2, and started the next eight games at quarterback last season before going down with a concussion in a Nov. 15 loss to Texas. Freshman Mason Rudolph replaced Walsh against Baylor and, in three starts, led the Cowboys to at least 28 points in going 2-1, including a 30-21 win over Washington in the Cactus Bowl that saw him pass for 299 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Because of that three-game stretch — and because a Garman-led offense failed to score more than 27 points in five of eight starts — Rudolph was widely viewed as the overwhelming favorite to win the starting job heading into spring practice.  In fact, Gundy stated around the time of Garman’s transfer that Rudolph would enter the spring as the unquestioned starter, with Walsh as his backup, meaning it’s essentially the 6-4, 217-pound true sophomore’s job to lose.

Coming out of high school in Southlake, Tex., as a three-star prospect, Garman originally signed with Arizona in 2011.  He announced in December of that year that he would be transferring from the Wildcats to the Cowboys.

“Coach Edsall has done a great job with the football program and he truly cares about his players,” Garman said. “I’m very excited to compete in the Big Ten Conference. Maryland is an outstanding university and I’m excited to further my education and continue playing football. I enjoyed my visit in College Park and I’m excited to have this opportunity.”

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Arkansas-Mizzou lands on Black Friday this year

Arkansas v Missouri Getty Images

With Texas A&M-LSU not a possibility in 2015, the SEC and one of its television partners has (once again) turned to an intradivisional matchup for your Black Friday viewing pleasure.

Amongst the dates and times for its 2015 television schedule announced Thursday, the SEC confirmed that this year’s Arkansas-Missouri game will be played Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving.  The game will be played in Fayetteville at 2:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by CBS.

And, for those who have forgotten, this game has an official moniker: the Battle Line Rivalry presented by Shelter Insurance. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

The 2015 edition of this “rivalry” will be the second one played since Mizzou joined the SEC in 2012, and the first-ever meeting between the two football programs in Fayetteville. The first conference game between the two also took place on Black Friday, a 21-14 Mizzou win in Columbia last season that officially sent the Tigers to their second consecutive SEC championship game appearance.

All-time, the Tigers lead the series 4-2.

And, for those of you curious as to the current SEC on CBS television slate, click HERE for our buddies over at FBSchedules.com.

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Bowling Green adds Notre Dame transfer Eilar Hardy

Eilar Hardy, Shawn Lynch

After four years in Indiana, Eilar Hardy has decided to move one state over for his final season.

In a press release Thursday, Bowling Green announced that Hardy has decided to transfer into Dino Babers‘ football program and play his final season of college ball with the Falcons.  Hardy comes in as a graduate transfer, having received his degree from Notre Dame earlier this month, and will be eligible immediately.

Hardy announced his transfer intentions back in January.

“We are excited to welcome Eilar Hardy to Bowling Green and our football program,” Babers started. “Having lost so much to graduation last year from our secondary, he will provide experience and leadership for that group. He has played at a high level his whole career and we are excited that he has chosen to become a Falcon.”

The defensive back played in 13 games the past two seasons. The only two starts of his Irish career came in 2013.

Hardy’s most notable claim to fame during his time in South Bend was being one of the five players caught up in an academic fraud investigation.

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Harbaugh acknowledges Sparty as ‘biggest guy’ on state’s block

ANN ARBOR, MI - APRIL 04: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on during the Michigan Football Spring Game on April 4, 2015 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

Sometimes something is so obvious that, regardless of how much it may pain you to let the words roll off your lips, you just have to acknowledge it and move on. Such is the case for Jim Harbaugh when it comes to the current pecking order of Power Five football in the state of Michigan.

From the first time the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry was played in 1898 until 2007, the Wolverines absolutely owned the Spartans, leading the series 67-28-5. That century-long dominance led to the infamous “Little Brother” moniker being slapped on Sparty and hanging around its neck like an 800-pound albatross.

In 2008, Rich Rodriguez‘s first season in Ann Arbor coincidentally enough, the tide quickly began turning in favor of the Spartans. Since a loss in 2007, MSU has ripped off wins in six of the last seven games, with five of those coming by double figures.

MSU is now a Big Ten power, while UM is looking up at not only its in-state rival but its hated rival — and 2014 College Football Playoff champion — Ohio State as well. Speaking to area high school coaches in Detroit Wednesday, Harbaugh took a detour from his usual SOP, tipping his cap in the general direction of East Lansing and the current balance of football power in the state.

“We know we’re not the biggest guy on the block (right now),” Harbaugh said by way of mlive.com. “Michigan State’s the biggest guy on the block.”

“Rightfully so, rightfully so,” the coach added before going into full-blown recruiting mode. “They’ve done a tremendous job and we respect the job that they’ve done. But we want that. We want it. And we ask for your help in doing that. We want Detroit players at the University of Michigan. We’ve got a great history of Detroit players (at Michigan), and not just for football, we want them to get an education. We want to educate your players and we want them to succeed.

“Not just with football, but as great people.”

When it comes to the lifeblood of a football program, the recruiting trail, Harbaugh & Company are gaining momentum. Working on a tight time frame after his January hiring, Harbaugh pulled in the No. 50 recruiting class in the country this past February after that class was ranked 75th exactly a week before National Signing Day. For the 2016 cycle, the Wolverines are somewhere in the neighborhood of 35th(ish) nationally, depending on the recruiting service — the Spartans are Top 10, incidentally, after a Top 25 class in 2015.

That said, it may take a bit of time for the in-season results to catch up with the wildly optimistic — some would say way too wildly optimistic — offseason expectations.

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SEC to join satellite camp craze if no national rule is enacted

Mike Slive

The dreaded “satellite camp” imbroglio percolated again yesterday, with the SEC essentially threatening to join in the recruiting fun if nothing is done on a national basis about the practice.

Earlier this week, incoming SEC commissioner Greg Sankey intimated that, if a national rule banning coaches from working as “guest” coaches at high school football camps outside of a 50-mile radius from their respective campuses wasn’t enacted, his conference could very well join the fray.  Wednesday, outgoing commissioner Mike Slive confirmed that the conference will indeed let their coaches loose if nothing’s done nationally with a rule proposed by his league.

“We are going to make every effort to have our rule adopted nationally,” Slive said Wednesday night at the SEC’s spring meetings. “If the rule isn’t adopted nationally, come next summer, our folks will be free to fan out all over the country and have at it.”

Sankey added that the league’s coaches are prepared to “canvas the nation if we’re in the same circumstance next year.”

Most view that as a threat from the conference as, the line of thinking of some nationally goes, a good many people in Big Ten or Pac-12 or Big 12 country would probably prefer not to see the likes of Nick Saban and Les Miles setting up camp in their own backyard. That, though, is something the SEC wants to avoid with its proposal.

In order for the SEC’s rule, which is also favored by the ACC, to pass, the majority of the 10 FBS conferences will need to vote in favor of it. The votes of the Power Five conferences — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC — are weighted to count double of those cast by the Group of Five leagues — AAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt.

It seems highly likely that the Big Ten and Pac-12, and probably the Big 12, will vote against the SEC’s proposal as those three P5 leagues make use of the satellite camps to one degree or another. On the G5 front, they would seemingly want to keep the SEC out of its recruiting footprint — the SBC is already screwed either way as the SEC is already firmly embedded in it — as much as possible, a goal that this rule would certainly accomplish.

Thus, it would stand to reason that the SEC’s proposal would stand a fairly decent chance of passing national muster: SEC (2 votes in favor) + ACC (2) + G5 (5) = 9 > B1G (2 votes against) + B12 (2) + P12 (2) = 6. Even if Notre Dame, a satellite camp proponent that’s a part of the P5 autonomy group, is added to the mix, that wouldn’t be enough to squelch the proposed rule.  Could those who don’t want to the proposal enacted see a couple of the G5s voting against the proposal and tipping the scales in their favor? It’s possible, I guess, but doesn’t seem too likely.

If it’s not passed?

“We’ll do it, I promise you, all summer next year,” Miles said. “Next year, we’ll be in all different locations.”

“Our ADs have heard us try to push this issue nationally, and they’ve tried to push it nationally,” said Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops. “If it doesn’t happen, then we’re all in. Then we’ll be all over the place next year.”

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Former NCAA executive director Walter Byers dies at 93

Walt Byers

Walter Byers, the man who, for better or worse, created the modern NCAA passed away on Wednesday at his home in Emmett, Kan. He was 93. Byers’ son Fritz said the cause was a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream.

Byers famously left his post as an assistant sports information director for the Big Ten to become the NCAA’s first executive director at age 29 in 1951. The next quarter century saw Byers rapidly expand the NCAA – in terms of its membership, the revenue it took in, and its dominion over its athletes. He took what former NCAA employee and eventual Big 8 and Big Ten commissioner Wayne Duke called a “part-time” organization and nearly tripled its membership, from 381 universities upon his hiring to 1,003 upon his exit in 1987. The NCAA’s own rank and file grew as well, as the organization grew from a handful of employees at its Kansas City offices to 150  by the time of his retirement.

“He had to come up with structure for all kinds of athletics, team and individual, at the national level. Before him there was nothing,” Duke told the Associated Press.

Byers saw the value in televising college sports early on, selling a restricted slate of games to NBC for $1.14 million a year in 1952 according to the New York Times. Byers strategy of grouping NCAA football games together got the sport on television, but membership eventually fought to overrule the model he created. In 1984, Oklahoma and Georgia successfully sued the NCAA for control over their television contracts, creating the marketplace that eventually brought Notre Dame its standalone contract with NBC and created individual networks for the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12 and Texas.

“It is virtually impossible to overstate the degree of our resentment,” Oklahoma president William Banowsky said at the time.

Byers made up that revenue by ramping up the NCAA Tournament, helping turn it into the billion-dollar enterprise it is today. “In my opinion he never received credit for his leadership in building that event,” said former NCAA Tournament administrator Tom Jernstedt. “In my mind he is the father of the NCAA basketball tournament and he doesn’t get the recognition for that.”

Byers was also credited with coining the term “student-athlete,” though he later rejected the amateurism model that to this day serves as the NCAA’s bedrock, admitting in his memoir Unsportsmanlike Conduct that the term was a defense mechanism allowing schools to avoid long-term liability for athletes’ disability benefits. “Whereas the NCAA defends its policies in the name of amateurism and level playing fields, they actually are a device to divert the money elsewhere,” he wrote.

By the end of his tenure, Byers considered the idea of creating an “open” division, similar to the Power Five autonomy legislation the powers that be are working through today. “I’m gradually coming to the conclusion that there has to be a major rearrangement on the part of the institutions of higher learning as to what they want to do with their athletic programs. I think there’s an inherent conflict that has to be resolved,” he said. “I’m not prepared to go into how an open division would work. But we’re in a situation where we, the colleges, say it’s improper for athletes to get, for example, a new car. Well, is that morally wrong? Or is it wrong because we say it’s wrong?”

Forever reluctant of the spotlight, Byers made few public appearances following his 1987 retirement, and even no-showed his National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction in 2009.

Byers leaves behind two sons, one daughter, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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After year-long study, Auburn won’t claim any more national championships

Jay Jacobs

For years – heck, eons – Alabama’s practice of claiming some, uh, dubious national championships has driven Auburn fans crazy. So much so, in fact, that last year the school launched a study into whether or not it should start claiming some bygone national championships of its own.

The results are in, and Auburn will keep its national championship total at two.

“We’ve earned what we’ve earned and people can count it different ways, but we’ve earned what we’ve earned,” Jacobs told Brandon Marcello of AL.com. “Those players on those teams, like me in 1983, it doesn’t matter if you hang a banner or not. I know what we did.”

The Tigers claim titles in 1957 and 2010, but the NCAA record books credits Auburn with championships in 1910, 1913, 1914, 1983, 1993 and 2004 as well.

This is the path the school should take. For one thing, Auburn was on probation during its undefeated 1993 regular season. For another, the school and its fans would instantaneously lose any moral high ground it claims over Alabama – whatever that’s worth – by following the Tide into handing itself retroactive titles. And even at that the Tigers would still be only halfway way to Alabama’s total.

No, better stick to the commonly recognized total and leave your rivals to wander in the realms of fantasy.

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American sets kick times for a number of ESPN-broadcasted games

Maryland v Connecticut

The season is getting ever closer. We crossed the double-digit barrier until FBS opening day this week, and on Wednesday the American announced a number of finalized kick times for games that will be shown on the ESPN family of networks.

The bulk of the games are opening weekend tilts, allowing the season to feel just that much closer, while the others are weeknight games.

Without further ado, here’s the full set of announced kick times (all times Eastern):

Thurs., Sept. 3: Villanova at Connecticut – 7:30 p.m., ESPN3/SNY
Fri., Sept. 4: Baylor at SMU – 7 p.m., ESPN
Sat., Sept. 5: Florida A&M at South Florida – 7 p.m., ESPN3
Alabama A&M at Cincinnati – 7 p.m., ESPN3
Towson at East Carolina – 6 p.m., ESPN3
Tennessee Tech at Houston – 8 p.m., ESPN3
Missouri State at Memphis – 7 p.m., ESPN3
Sat., Sept. 19: Furman at Central Florida – 6 p.m., ESPN3
Maine at Tulane – 8 p.m., ESPN3
Sat., Sept. 26: James Madison at SMU – 7 p.m., ESPN3
Fri., Oct. 2: Memphis at South Florida – 7 p.m., ESPN2
Thurs., Oct. 8: SMU at Houston – 8 p.m., ESPN2
Fri., Oct. 16: Houston at Tulane – 9 p.m, ESPNU
Thurs., Oct. 22: Temple at East Carolina – 7 p.m., ESPN2
Fri., Oct. 23: Memphis at Tulsa – 8 p.m., ESPN
Fri., Oct. 30: East Carolina at Connecticut – 7 p.m., ESPNU
Fri., Nov. 6: Temple at SMU – 8 p.m., ESPN2
Thurs., Nov. 19: East Carolina at Central Florida – 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Plan accordingly.

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Louisville DE Devonte Fields headed to trial for assault charge

Texas Tech v TCU Getty Images

It feels like much more than a year has passed since Devonte Fields was set to anchor a TCU defensive front on the Horned Frogs’ quest to rebound from a 4-8 campaign. That all changed last July when the former Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year was accused of pointing a gun at his ex-girlfriend and threatening to shoot her.

He was “separated” from the TCU roster later that same day and never suited up in purple again. Fields announced a commitment to Louisville in February but now his Cards debut appears tenuous as Max Olson of ESPN.com reported Wednesday that Fields will see his day in court for last summer’s alleged crime.

As Olson reports, Fields will be put on trial for misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury to a family member, which carries up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The trial is set to begin June 17.

Fields has attended anger management courses in hopes of reducing his charges, but an agreement to dismiss the charges was not reached.

Pending results of the trial, Fields is set to enroll at Louisville in July. The Cardinals have not commented on the case.

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Former four-star OU QB Justice Hansen to transfer

Justice Hansen

Justice Hansen, a redshirt freshman Oklahoma quarterback from nearby Edmond, Okla., has announced his intention to transfer before appearing in his first game as a Sooner.

The former four-star recruit in the class of 2014 provided a statement to SoonerScoop.com explaining his decision to leave Norman. The site said Hansen will be given permission to transfer without restriction on his future destination.

I have done a lot of thinking, talking with friends and family, and most importantly, praying. In the end I feel it is in my best interest to move on from the University of Oklahoma and continue my football career elsewhere. I can’t thank coach Stoops, coach Riley and all the other coaches enough for how they have treated me during my time at OU.

I would also like to thank my teammates for pushing me and allowing me to be part of the family. The university was a great experience and I appreciate the opportunity. I had to proudly represent it. I wish nothing but the best for OU in the future. God Bless.

Hansen accounted for 7,298 combined passing/rushing yards and 85 touchdowns as a sophomore and junior at Santa Fe High School before seeing his senior season cut short due to an ankle injury.

Josh Huepel‘s dismissal from the staff likely played a role in Hansen’s decision, along with the presence of returning quarterbacks Trevor KnightBaker Mayfield and Cody Thomas. His departure creates an interesting conundrum for new OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley as Hansen was the Sooners’ only quarterback signee in 2014 and the program did not sign a signal-caller in its 2015 class.

10:04 p.m. ET update: Bob Stoops has released a statement on Hansen’s impending transfer.

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SEC to boost penalties for field rushing violations

Alabama v Mississippi Getty Images

There are many things in football that fans love but players and coaches hate. Games marred by excess rain or snow come to mind. But top of the list is field rushing.

Rushing the field is one of the many things that separates college football from its professional counterpart. It’s an entirely collegial activity, the state of being so overjoyed by your men in pads that you don’t know what to do with yourself. If you’ve ever been to a game where a field was rushed, I can guarantee you’ll never forget it.

But it’s also incredibly dangerous for players and coaches – especially those on the losing side. And according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the SEC plans to up the fines it levies on schools whose fans violate its field-rushing rules.

“It’s an attempt to change behavior,” outgoing commissioner Mike Slive said from the league’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla. “I think we have changed it considerably, but there are still times when it happens. I think our folks felt the current fine structure is not sufficiently large enough to be a quality deterrent.”

At present, the SEC doles out $5,000 fines for a first offense, $25,000 for a second offense and $50,000 for each violation thereafter within a three-year period.

Slive wasn’t sure exactly how the penalty structure would change, but said the league would reach a consensus during this week’s meetings. The guess here is that the $5,000 fine goes out the window and the three-year snapshot is expanded to five or six.

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UCLA losing DB Jalen Ortiz to transfer

John Harris, Jalen Ortiz

Not surprisingly, we have yet another departure on the transfer train to feature.

The latest to see its roster pared is UCLA, Jalen Ortiz announcing Tuesday that he has decided to leave the Bruins and continue his collegiate playing career at an undetermined location.  The cornerback made what was a very gracious announcement on the same social media website that all the cool kids these days are doing such things:  Twitter.

A three-star member of UCLA’s 2013 recruiting class, Ortiz was rated as the No. 27 “athlete” in the country and the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Arizona.  In addition to UCLA, Ortiz held offers from, among others, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Boise State, BYU, Utah and Washington.

Ortiz spent his first season with the Bruins as a wide receiver, but moved to the defensive secondary for the 2014 season.  He played in 26 games the past two seasons — mainly on special teams — and caught four passes for 27 yards as a true freshman.

After sitting out the 2015 season if he ends up at another FBS program, Ortiz would then have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

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Nine cities bid to host 2018-20 title games

CFP Trophy AP

We don’t know yet which cities will play host to the College Football Playoff title games after the one following the 2016 season is played in Glendale, Ariz.  We do know, though, the pool out of which the host cities will be selected.

Wednesday, it was revealed that nine cities had placed bids to play hosts to the CFP championship games in 2018 (following the 2017 season), 2019 (2018 season) and 2020 (2019 season). Those cities include, in alphabetical order so as not to offend anyone, Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, San Antonio and Santa Clara.

All eight of those cities had previously had reports (HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE) attaching them to the bidding process for the upcoming games. Arlington, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando and Pasadena had also been mentioned as possibilities, although cities such as Arlington, Indy, Jax, NYC, Orlando and Pasadena all publicly decided against a run at this set of games.

Houston and Santa Clara were the only communities to bid on all three games.  Charlotte, New Orleans and San Antonio bid on two games apiece, the 2019 and 2020 games. The breakdown of the other cities and the years in which they’re interested are as follows:

2018: Atlanta; Houston; Miami/South Florida; Santa Clara.
2019: Charlotte; Detroit; Houston; New Orleans; San Antonio; Santa Clara.
2020: Charlotte; Houston; Minneapolis; New Orleans; San Antonio; Santa Clara.

The winning bids are expected to be announced later this year, likely during the 2015 season.

The first CFP championship game was held this past January at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Tex.  The cities of Glendale, Ariz., and Tampa, Fla., will host the title games following the 2015 and 2016 seasons, respectively.

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Rutgers CB, accomplice netted $20 in alleged armed robbery

Kevin Snyder, L.J. Liston

Well, Bonnie & Clod, hope it is was worth it. Allegedly.

Over the weekend, Rutgers cornerback Darian Dailey, along with another male, was arrested in Florida and charged with robbery with a firearm. According to the victim, it was Dailey’s accomplice, Trazelle Johnson, who pointed what he thought to be a handgun at him.

And the financial haul Dailey (pictured, No. 33) and Johnson came away with? $20. Total.

As detailed by the nj.com, here’s what led up to the twin arrests:

Dailey, who was driving a black Dodge registered to his mother, and Johnson, the passenger, stopped the car directly in front of an 18-year-old who was riding his bicycle home from work just before 2 a.m. on Sunday, according to the warrant. Police said Johnson got out of the car with his face covered by a cloth and pointed what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun at the victim and asked, “What you got?”

After the victim said he had $20, Johnson said, “Hand it over,” according to the warrant. Dailey, 19, stood behind Johnson, 19, near the rear of vehicle during the exchange. Dailey and Johnson then got back into the car and drove away, according to the warrant.

The victim copied the car’s tag number and the vehicle was located by Manatee County Deputies a short time later. A black pellet gun (without red tip) was in plain view in the vehicle, according to the warrant.

The 19-year-old Dailey, who was home in Bradenton, Fla., when the incident happened, and Johnson were both held in lieu of $150,000 bonds. The former posted his bail Monday morning and was released, while the latter remains jailed.

In a statement released Sunday, head coach Kyle Flood said that [w]”e are aware of the situation and are gathering facts,” adding “[o]nce those facts are gathered, we will take the appropriate action.”

A two-star member of the Scarlet Knights’ 2014 recruiting class, Dailey took a redshirt as a true freshman. He’ll be expected to compete for playing time come summer camp — provided he can extract his cranium from his rectum, that is.

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Amidst controversy, Dabo Swinney cancels planned appearance

Florida State v Clemson Getty Images

Quite the ruckus was kicked up earlier this week when a report surfaced that Dabo Swinney is scheduled to appear June 2 at a fundraiser for the Palmetto Family Council, an organization described as being “dedicated to fighting against equality for the LGBT community and same-sex couples.”  Swinney was greeted by criticism in some corners and support in others who consider the PFC a pro-traditional marriage group.

A day later, the former corner prompted the Clemson head coach to blink.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Swinney announced that he has decided to cancel his appearance with the group.  In the statement, Swinney claimed he has “no association” with the PFC and that he “had no idea that I was being invited into a political controversy.”

Below is Swinney’s statement, in its entirety:

“I was recently selected by the Palmetto Family Council, an organization with which I have no association, as their ‘South Carolina Family Champion of 2015′ and was invited to receive this recognition at an event sponsored by the group on June 2. I had no idea that I was being invited into a political controversy. It was my understanding that the nomination and election for this award was based on the work done by our “All In Foundation” and the difference it is making in our community. My acceptance of this award was to be on behalf of all the volunteers that make our foundation a success. The work of our foundation is intended to build a better community and be a positive influence.

“Recently, my scheduled participation in this event has been perceived incorrectly as an endorsement of certain viewpoints and has entered the political arena. I have been out of town since last Thursday and am disappointed that this has become a distraction for me, my team and many others. I have been and continue to be very open about my personal beliefs. However, I do not inject those beliefs or the work of the foundation into the political process.

“I appreciate the recognition of my and the foundation’s efforts. However, after much thought, in order to avoid a distraction for the team and the entire football program, I’ve decided it is in the best interests of all involved that I not attend the event on June 2.”

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