Alabama opened the week an 11-point favorite over LSU, and that stands as the largest spread of any game between the Tide and Tigers since Nick Saban and Les Miles first squared off in 2007 (via AL.com’s Andrew Gribble).
Saban is 4-3 against LSU in his time at Alabama, though only one of the game has been decided by more than 10 points — that being the 2011 BCS Championship, which Alabama won 21-0.
Of course, because perspective is everything, the 11-point spread is the second-lowest for Bama this season (the Tide were eight-point favorites at Texas A&M). Gribble pointed out, too, that Alabama has been favored in all but one game against LSU since Saban took over — that being the first meeting in 2007, a year in which Alabama went 7-6.
Both Alabama and LSU are coming off bye weeks heading into Saturday’s showdown in Tuscaloosa. For Alabama, it’s their first game against a ranked opponent since stomping then-No. 21 Ole Miss, 25-0, on Sept. 28.
If LSU is able to pull off an upset, it would all but dash the SEC’s hopes of winning an eighth straight national title. The Toledo Blade’s Dave Briggs talked to BCS expert Jerry Palm, who told him there isn’t a realistic scenario in which a one-loss team leaps Ohio State in the BCS. So unless all hell broke loose and Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State and Baylor all lost, the SEC would get shut out.
But with an 11-point spread and the game being in Tuscaloosa, the safe call would be on Alabama on Saturday.
UCF announces largest financial gift in school history for athletics department renovations
UCF announced the largest financial gift in school history from UCF alum Kenneth Dixon. The donation will help give UCF the support needed to move forward with its athletics facility upgrades, including an athletics village. Among those upgrades will be an expansion to the school’s baseball stadium and basketball facility, as well as a better atmosphere outside the football stadium for fans.
As far as the football program is concerned, the upgrades to the football operations and athletics headquarters have received a $2 million commitment to date. Most of the renovations will help bring the school’s other sports programs up to a more level playing field, but the football stadium will be given a fresh look on he outside with a plaza and promenade to make for a more inviting atmosphere for UCF fans before and after home football games.
In all, UCF is looking to invest $25 million in the renovation project, and the recent donation from Dixon has helped the school cross the $10 million benchmark.
“With more than $10 million committed to our $25 million facilities vision, our goal is to build the best Athletics Village in the nation,” UCF Athletics Director Danny White said in a released statement. “Thanks to Ken Dixon’s gift of more than $5 million, we’ve taken a major step in that direction.”
Sirk was Duke’s leading passer in 2015 with 2,625 passing yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He was also Duke’s leading rusher that season with 803 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Naturally, he will likely be a quality dual-threat option for whatever program lands his services in 2017. As a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play this fall at any FBS program.
With the rights to use “Row the Boat” successfully acquired through a deal with Western Michigan, Minnesota is going all in with the merchandising efforts to capitalize on the motto of P.J. Fleck. Aside from being able to use the motto for program-building measures, Minnesota has the rights to market the saying on merchandise, including an upcoming bobblehead featuring Minnesota’s Gopher mascot.
A limited edition University of Minnesota bobblehead featuring Goldy Gopher rowing a boat was unveiled on Friday by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. Though just an illustration now, it looks incredibly promising and I sort of want to add it to my bobblehead collection.
It appears one of Rutgers’ transferring quarterbacks has found a new home.
In late November, Chris Laviano became one of three Scarlet Knights signal-callers who decided to transfer from Chris Ash‘s football program. Over the weekend, as relayed by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Laviano has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at San Diego State.
As Laviano would be coming to the Mountain West program as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately in 2017. This coming season will be his final year of eligibility.
Laviano had started 18 consecutive games for the Scarlet Knights until he was benched in October of last year.
In 2015, Laviano completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for 2,247 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The completion percentage was the best for an RU player since 2008, while the yardage was good for eighth in school history.
Overall, he tossed 21 touchdowns and 15 picks during his time in Piscataway.