Jameis Winston vs Florida

Florida State delivers final blow to dismal Florida season

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Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had three touchdowns to Kelvin Benjamin as No. 2 Florida State (12-0, 8-0 ACC) blew out Florida (4-8, 3-5 SEC) in Gainesville, 37-7. Florida State now heads to the ACC Championship Game, where a win will more than likely clinch a spot in the BCS Championship Game.

In his final regular season game of the year, Winston completed 19 of 31 pass attempts for 327 yards and three touchdowns, and he was intercepted once in the first half. It was a slow start for Winston and the Florida State offense, but they found their rhythm in plenty of time to take firm control of the game against a weakened Florida team. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher did not let Winston lose his composure either in the second half, grabbing Winston by the face mask to get in his ear when tensions seemed to be rising on the field. The objective is clear for Florida State is clear right now. Take care of what you can on the field and win one more game. There is no need to get caught up in nonsense at this point of the game and season, and keeping a young player like Winston focused on that ultimate goal is good coaching, especially considering all fo the off-field drama floating above Winston.

As far as on-field performance is concerned, Winston did nothing to suggest he should not be the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Another fine performance next week to lead Florida State to an ACC title could be the clincher.

Florida State’s opponent in next week’s ACC Championship Game will be Duke, who hung on for a road win at North Carolina while Florida State’s game was being played. Duke intercepted a late fourth quarter pass to seal a victory in Chapel Hill to clinch the ACC Coastal Division. This will be Florida State’s second straight ACC Championship Game appearance after defeating Georgia Tech last year.

Florida’s season is now complete, and perhaps that is a good thing. The Gators won just four games this season and ended the year with a woeful seven-game losing streak marred by losses to Georgia, Georgia Southern, Vanderbilt and Florida State. The talk about Will Muschamp being on a hot seat may be legitimate, but there has been no indication he could be looking for a job to this point. Florida AD Jeremy Foley has backed Muschamp and Florida did win 11 games last season. There is work to be done, and it appears Muschamp will be there to do it.

ECU transfer QB Kurt Benkert moves on to Virginia

In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 East Carolina quarterback Kurt Benkert rolls out to pass during NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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On April 25, East Carolina announced that Kurt Benkert had decided to transfer out of the Pirates football program.  Less than a week later, the quarterback has found himself a new football home.

On Twitter Sunday afternoon, Benkert confirmed that he will be enrolling at Virginia and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Cavaliers.  Beckert also acknowledged his decision in a text message to 247Sports.com.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Beckert said in a portion of the brief text.

As Beckert is headed to UVa. as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Hoos immediately in 2016.  Not only that, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Beckert was named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, but sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season.  In Charlottesville, Beckert will join a competition that includes returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.

Mark Richt continues to be the classiest of acts in college football

Mark Richt gestures after being introduced as the new University of Miami NCAA college football head coach, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015,  in Coral Gables, Fla.  (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
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In my seven-plus years at CFT, I’ve never been shy in expressing my absolute and utter respect for Mark Richt, whether it was for an honorable against-the-grain stance on transfers or honoring a high school football player who tragically drowned before he could become a walk-on at Georgia or myriad other things.  Sunday, Richt solidified that respect.

As you may know, Richt and UGA parted ways this offseason, with the head coach ultimately moving on to Miami to take over his alma mater’s football program.  As expected, his departure from Athens was classy.

Just as expected, one of Richt’s returns to his old stomping grounds further showed his class.

Not to be outdone, Richt’s replacement showed his class as well.

Bravo to both head coaches.  Sometimes, most times, being classy is the absolute right move — even as Richt’s successor could take some lessons from his predecessor when it comes to transfers.

Ohio State draftees to sign contracts worth in excess of $110 million

Urban Meyer
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Forget about going shirtless at a satellite camp or a sleepover or climbing up a tree or any of the like; this is what you call a recruiting pitch.

During the course of the three-day NFL draft, a dozen former Ohio State Buckeyes were drafted.  While OSU failed to break its own record for most picks in a single draft, the 12 selections in the first four rounds were the most ever.

And, not surprisingly, those players are going to get paid.

According to PennLive.com‘s David Jones, those players will sign contracts that could be worth a total of $120 million.  Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch has the number pegged slightly lower at $111,462,707.  Either way, that’s a lot of cash — and a lot dollar signs for Urban Meyer to flout in front of potential recruits.

Of course, not all of that money is guaranteed, although the guaranteed dollars involved aren’t too shabby either.  From the Dispatch:

Just the signing bonuses alone, which range from Bosa’s projected $17,017,226 to Jones’ $383,393, have an expected total of $60,526,660. Unless a player does something to cause his contract to be voided, signing bonuses are theirs to keep.

Regardless of how you spin it, former Buckeyes did quite well financially the last couple of days.  And, as Jones alludes to when it comes to James Franklin and Penn State specifically and the Big Ten in general, Meyer and the Buckeyes are in an entirely different zip code than the rest of the conference — a fact that will no doubt come up on the vast expanses of the recruiting trail.

The good news for Franklin and Penn State: They had three of those 11. The bad news for them and everyone else in the league: Urban Meyer is probably preparing a recruiting flyer right now with a 9-figure dollar amount printed in big bold numbers.

Veteran NFL assistant reportedly to fill Alabama’s coaching vacancy

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Buffalo Bills
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On the same day some details emerged on an Alabama assistant’s “resignation,” that assistant’s potential replacement has been identified.

Citing unnamed sources, al.com is reporting that Karl Dunbar is expected to be hired as the Tide’s new defensive line coach.  Dunbar would replace Bo Davis, who “resigned” Friday amidst allegations of potential NCAA violations.

Dunbar served as Nick Saban‘s strength & conditioning coach at LSU from 2001-02, and then returned to Baton Rouge as Les Miles‘ line coach in 2005 after spending two years (2003-04) in the same position at Oklahoma State.

Most of Dunbar’s coaching career, though, especially recently, has come at the NFL level.

From 2006-11, Dunbar was the line coach for the Minnesota Vikings, and then held the same job with the New York Jets from 2012-2014.  Hired by Rex Ryan to coach the Buffalo Bills’ line in 2015, Dunbar was fired in March of this year.

Dunbar is a former NFL defensive lineman who played for Arizona in 1994-95, when Ryan was one of his Cardinals assistant.