Auburn shuts out Alabama, get a free car!!!

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Seeing as the Mother of All Iron Bowls will be dripping with SEC as well as BCS implications, and is still 11 days away from actually kicking off, there’s plenty of time for myriad storylines and angles to be developed, repeated ad nauseam and ran deep into the ground.

Thankfully, an Alabama car dealership is adding a quirky twist to the run-up to the Alabama-Auburn game.

By way of al.com, Lynch Toyota in Auburn is offering a rather unique deal to its potential customers: any car that is bought between Nov. 19 and Nov. 29 will be paid for by the dealership IF the Tigers shutout the Tide in the Nov. 30 Iron Bowl.  Additionally, the dealership will give away $25,000 to one buyer if AU wins the game regardless of whether Auburn whitewashes Alabama or not.

Every individual who purchases a vehicle between the stated dates will automatically be entered to have their vehicle paid for as well as the $25,000.

Here’s the clip of the commercial the dealership is currently airing:

“Other dealerships have done things like this for Alabama, but no one has done it for Auburn,” Alan Cox (not pictured), sales manager at Lynch Toyota, told the website. “So, we wanted to be the first to say we’re here and we want them to win. It’s to show that we’re pro-Auburn. We felt it would be a good way to give back.”

Of course, the odds of the dealership actually being on the hook for dozens of free vehicles is, um, not good.

The Tide has scored in 166 straight games, the third-longest such streak in school history.  That streak extends all the way back to Nov. 18, 2000, when Alabama was shutout by… Auburn, of course.  It was the last of four times the Tigers had blanked the Tide in the 76 games the rivalry’s been played.

The closest the Tide has come to being shutout during the Nick Saban era (2007-present)?  The 9-6 loss to LSU in 2011.  In fact, that was the only time the Tide has been held to single digits with Saban as coach, and have only been held under 20 points eight times in 86 games during his six-plus seasons in Tuscaloosa.

On the flip side, Auburn has given up 20-plus points in seven of its 10 games against FBS schools this season, and have failed to record a shutout against anyone on their slate.

So, breathe easy, Lynch Toyota.  It’s highly doubtful a scoreboard doughnut will be on the menu two Saturdays from now, so not only will you not be on the hook for X amount of free cars you’ll get miles upon miles of free publicity and the residual business that comes with these types of stunts.

Well played, car dealer guys.  Well played indeed.

Iowa LB Aaron Mends to miss extended time with injury

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Talk about a hard-luck story.

After never starting a game at Iowa, Aaron Mends (pictured, blocking punt) had earned a starting job at outside linebacker during practice this spring.  With football being the cruel mistress that it can be at times, the Hawkeyes announced Friday night that Mends “will miss an extended period of time due to injury.” The program offered no details as to the specific nature of the injury, although it’s believed to involve the knee.

According to the school’s release, the fifth-year senior suffered the injury during the final week of Iowa’s spring drills.

Mends was a three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class.  He was the highest-rated linebacker in Iowa’s class that year.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Mends has played in 38 games the past three seasons.  A baker’s dozen of those appearances came during the 2017 season.

Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, James Franklin and Clay Helton among 15 CFB coaches attending NFL Draft

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We’re less than a week away from former college players officially finding out their new homes with the start of the 2018 NFL Draft and the excitement is palpable no matter if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan or somebody who dons the cardinal and gold of USC.

Naturally this is a big deal for the players’ former programs as well and their recent head coaches will be taking full advantage of the marketing opportunity to future recruits by stopping by the draft itself at AT&T Stadium for the festivities. The NFL released a list of 14 college football coaches and one recent one on Friday as being confirmed to attend the event and there are a few notable names beyond the big ones we’re used to seeing every year:

In addition, Stanford head coach David Shaw will serve as a draft analyst on NFL Network for a seventh year in a row and even ESPN’s College GameDay is getting involved with a pregame show outside the stadium they are quite familiar with from big games over the years.

Georgia DB Mark Webb tears meniscus in practice but expected back before fall camp

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Georgia’s injury luck this spring isn’t getting much better as the defending SEC champions move toward their annual G-Day spring game over the weekend.

Head coach Kirby Smart confirmed with reporters after Thursday’s practice that sophomore defensive back Mark Webb suffered a knee injury earlier in the week and tore his meniscus. He already had the knee scoped and is expected back before fall camp after the rather minor procedure.

Webb originally landed in Athens as a wideout but made the move to the secondary just as the season was getting going. He appeared in 13 games in 2017, mostly on special teams, but was expected to challenge for one of the starting spots at cornerback heading into the upcoming campaign.

The absence of Webb in the lineup for the final week of spring adds to a growing list of injuries for the team during practice as they do a little bit of roster building toward the future. Receiver Michael Chigbu’s career may be over due to lingering injuries and defensive back Divaad Wilson tore his ACL not long after enrolling this semester.

Safe to say that G-Day on Saturday might not be as physical as Smart and the coaching staff would otherwise like as a result of trying to keep the team healthy as they prepare to head into a big offseason.

Old Dominion announces remodel, expansion plans for S.B. Ballard Stadium

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Old Dominion is making sure the first word in the school’s name is not the first thing you think of when you are playing against the Monarchs, joining a long list of their FBS peers with some significant upgrades for their home venue over the coming years. In plans approved this week by the university, ODU released renderings and an updated timeline on a $65 million remodel of S.B. Ballard Stadium that is set to begin as soon as this summer.

“We are excited to begin Phase 1 reconstruction,” said Greg DuBois, the school’s vice president for administration and finance. “Fan comfort and high-quality amenities are the primary focus of this phase. The project will help us create the type of game-day experience fans want and will set us up for future expansions.”

The stadium, some 81-years-old, will undergo a nearly complete teardown over the next two years in order to transform the place most know as Foreman Field. Both the east and west stands will be demolished and rebuilt, complete with new seating and a new press box. There will naturally be more restrooms and concession stands as part of the plan that includes plenty more bells and whistles for the Conference USA program. Seating is expected to grow beyond 21,000 or so capacity the current venue seats.

While construction will get started in the coming months, the bulk of activity will take place after the 2018 campaign is wrapped up at home and before kickoff of the opener in 2019. The Virginian-Pilot reports that funding will not utilize state funds but that the school is requesting that the legislature approve an added $10 million to the cost structure as a result of rising prices beyond the original $55 million forecasted.

2018 will be just the 10th season for the Monarchs (and fifth in FBS) since the football program was reinstated and it goes without saying that the new digs will be some of the nicest in CUSA when all is said and done. Few programs have been able to successfully navigate the transition as well as ODU has and it seems an updated stadium in the near future is the reward for head coach Bobby Wilder and others in Norfolk.