Brady Hoke

Brady Hoke offers tickets to The Game to young OSU fan/cancer survivor


When it comes to rivalries in sports in general and college football specifically, you can probably count on one hand and still have a finger or two left over those that are more heated than the iconic and annual Ohio State-Michigan grudge match.

One of the lesser known qualities of the two-sided interstate despising?  There has been and will continue to be a whole helluva lot of respect and class coming in from both programs.

Case in point: earlier this month, we posted a piece on a 12-year-old Ohio State fan who had undergone his final chemotherapy treatment.  Two years ago, upon being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Grant Reed, whose parents met when they were both members of Ohio State’s famed Best Damn Band in the Land, decided to give the insidious disease the nickname of “Michigan.”

So, with the final chemo treatment in the book, the young man had, in essence, beat Michigan.

Shortly after the story went viral, Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke was quoted as saying that, in this rare case, he was happy someone “Beat Michigan.”  Two weeks later, Hoke showed just how classy he and his football program truly are.

According to NBC4 in Columbus, Hoke again reached out to the young man Monday.  This time, though, the coach came bearing gifts along with some encouragement: four tickets for the UM-OSU game in late November in Ann Arbor.

An answer from the brave young man came in short order.

“He gave a very clear yes—he’s very excited,” Grant Reed‘s father, Troy, said.

The dad then added that “[i]t’s getting hard to keep my dislike for [Michigan], because they’ve been so classy and unbelievable to us.”

Bravo, Coach Hoke.  Bravo.  The game of college football is all the better for people like you being in it.

Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil to return for Texas A&M on Oct. 24

Associated Press
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As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.

From the university:

The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits.  During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.  In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles.  He later corrected his account and since apologized. 

As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.

Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”

The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.

Hope he’s been practicing.

Report: Steve Spurrier set to retire

Steve Spurrier

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.

Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.

He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.

But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.

Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:

Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.