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Troy LB Dimitri Miles charged with murder

Dimitri Miles

A member of the Troy Trojans football program is facing very serious legal charges stemming from an incident over the weekend, the Troy Messenger is reporting.

According to the paper, linebacker Dimitri Miles was charged with murder in connection to the death of 26-year-old Marquise Jermaine McLendon.  Police allege that Miles shot McLendon a little before eight a.m. local time Sunday morning.  McLendon was transported to a local hospital after his body was discovered in an apartment complex, and subsequently died as a result of the gunshot wounds.

Miles was arrested late Sunday afternoon.  The police have yet to release any details as to what may have led to the shooting.

As a result of the charges, Miles has been dismissed from the football program.  A dismissal from the university is pending the resolution of the charges.

“First and foremost, anytime there is a loss of life it is tragic event and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and his family,” said athletic director John Hartwell. “[Miles'] association with our football team and the Troy Athletic Department has been terminated as a result of these charges which are associated with an incident that occurred off campus.”

Miles was a walk-on linebacker who was academically ineligible for the 2013 season.  He had been practicing with the scout team, however.

Last season, Miles started seven games for the Trojans.

(Photo credit: Troy Police Department)

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Utes lose leading picker Gionni Paul for what’s left of season

Gionni Paul AP

An injury delayed the start of Gionni Paul‘s 2014 season.  Unfortunately, another one bookends it.

Wednesday, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham confirmed that there’s been “a setback” with Paul’s foot.  As a result, the linebacker will miss the last two games of the Utes’ regular season (Arizona, Colorado) as well as the bowl game.

The good news is that a full recovery is expected for the junior.

Paul initially suffered the injury during spring practice and, months later, it caused him to miss the first two games of the year.  Despite that, he leads the Utes with four interceptions, a total that’s second in the Pac-12.

In early January of 2013, it was confirmed that Paul was no longer a part of the Miami (Fla.) football team.  A short time later, Paul landed with the Utes and was idle all last season because of transfer rules.  Despite never playing a down for the Utes, Paul was voted a team captain in the spring.

He will still have one season of eligibility remaining.

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Stefon Diggs (kidney) out rest of regular season; bowl still possible

Maryland v Penn State

Rumored to be out for this weekend’s game, one of Maryland’s top offensive playmakers will be out a little bit longer than that.

Thursday afternoon, Maryland head coach Randy Edsall announced that wide receiver Stefon Diggs will miss the last two games of the regular season due to injury.  Diggs sustained a kidney injury in the Nov. 1 win over Penn State – he also received a one-game suspension stemming from his pregame antics the same day — and, following a bye week, did not play in last Saturday’s loss to Maryland.

Edsall’s announcement means Diggs will also miss Saturday’s game against Michigan and the regular-season finale against Rutgers.  Edsall did allow that Diggs could return for the Terps’ bowl game, and he’s expected to be cleared for contact Dec. 1.

As the Terps look to climb up the Big Ten’s bowl game pecking order, the loss of Diggs is a substantial one.

Despite missing one complete game and part of another, Diggs is easily the team’s leader in receptions (52), receiving yards (654) and receiving touchdowns (five).  Not only will it hurt in the passing game but his absence will leave a mark on special teams as well as he’s the Terps’ leading kick returner.

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A.D. releases statement on FSU shooting tragedy

Shooting on the Florida State Universaity campus in Tallahassee AP

Sadly, tragedy struck the Florida State University campus overnight as a lone gunman wounded three people in a shooting at the Strozier Library. Police officers responding to the scene shot and killed the suspect, who has been identified as an FSU alum who received his law degree from Texas Tech.

According to reports, hundreds of students were in the library at the time of the shooting studying for final exams, one of whom was reportedly saved from a bullet by his textbooks.

One of the victims is in critical condition while another is listed in stable condition. The third victim was treated at the scene after being grazed by a bullet.

It’s unclear how many if any FSU athletes in general and Seminole football players specifically were in the area or at the library at the time of the shooting. There was an on-campus prayer vigil held this morning, though, with the most recognizable face on campus offering up his prayers and support.

This afternoon, athletic director Stan Wilcox released a statement addressing the tragedy. While offering up thoughts and prayers, Wilcox also confirmed that all athletic events, including FSU’s home football game against Boston College, will be played as scheduled.

We are deeply saddened by the early morning events on campus. The entire Florida State family and surrounding community are affected. Our university administration has increased security measures and is providing a strong law enforcement presence on and around campus. We have been assured there is no further threat.

Classes have been canceled today, but campus is open. This weekend’s athletic events, including those planned for tomorrow, will take place as scheduled.

Following tragic times like we experienced today, athletic events can help in unifying both the student body and community. That is our hope in moving forward with these events.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those directly affected by this tragedy.

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Five finalists for Nagurski Award announced

Aaron Donald

Forget semifinalist appetizers; the award that honors a Minnesota college football legend has gone straight for the main course.

The Bronko Nagurski Award announced Thursday the five finalists for the 2014 version of the award.  Two of the finalists hail from the SEC, while there is one each the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12.

Three of the five, interestingly, are defensive backs.

The finalists for the award, given annually to the nation’s best player on the defensive side of the ball, appear below.

  • Texas defensive tackle Malcolm Brown
  • Alabama defensive back Landon Collins
  • Ole Miss defensive back Senquez Golson
  • Louisville defensive back Gerod Holliman
  • Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright

The 2013 winner of the Nagurski Award was Pittsburgh defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

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Beavers announce another home-and-home with Boise

Hawaii Bowl: Boise State v. Oregon State

Already scheduled to play Boise State in the back-end of one future series, Oregon State has decided to double-up on the blue-field love.

In a press release sent out Thursday, OSU announced that it his reached an agreement with BSU on another future home-and-home series.  The Beavers will play host to the first game of the new matchup on Sept. 3, 2022, in Corvallis, while the Broncos get their home game in Boise on Sept. 2 the following year.

The two teams are still scheduled to play Sept. 24, 2016, in Corvallis.  The first game of that home-and-home was played in Boise in 2010, a 30-27 win for the Beavers.

There have been a total of six meetings between the two programs, with the series tied at three wins apiece.  The last meeting came in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl, a 38-23 OSU win.

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All-defensive look to Lombardi Award’s four finalists

Aaron Donald AP

A parade of finalist announcements made on Thursday begins with an award that’s handed out annually to the nation’s most outstanding lineman on either side of the ball — or a linebacker who lines up no more than five yards off the ball.

While the Lombardi Award is for linemen on either side of the ball, this year’s finalists are decidedly defensive as there are no offensive linemen among the four final finalists.  Instead, there are two defensive linemen and one linebackers.

All are first-time finalists, with two being seniors and two being sophomores.

  • Clemson senior defensive end Vic Beasley
  • Ohio State sophomore defensive end Joey Bosa
  • Washington senior linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha
  • Arizona sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright

The individuals who vote for the Lombardi were obviously enamored by the stats that defensive linemen could put up as opposed to the non-stats for offensive linemen.

Kikaha, Wright and Bosa are all in the Top Five nationally in sacks per game, and are in the Top Seven in tackles per loss.  Beasley this season became Clemson’s all-time leading sacker, and is in the Top 15 among FBS players this season in sacks and tackles for loss.

Last season’s winner was Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald.  And, for those who are wondering, the last offensive lineman to win the award was Ohio State’s Orlando Pace in 1996.  Pace actually won it the year before as well, and is the only two-time winner of the prestigious trophy.

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Snowed-out MACtion forces league to shuffle pair of games

Record Snowstorm Pummels Buffalo Getty Images

A winter storm that impacted one MAC game this week will do the same to another next week.

First things first: the Kent State-Buffalo game, scheduled for Wednesday night but postponed due to extreme weather conditions, has been tentatively rescheduled for Friday, Nov. 21.  Instead of a night kickoff, however, the game will begin at 1 p.m. ET tomorrow afternoon.

Television information is to be announced later.

The MAC made sure to insert the word “tentatively” into the release. A severe winter snowstorm, which has been blamed for eight deaths, has dumped upwards of six feet of snow in the Buffalo area, with another 2-3 feet possible throughout the rest of Thursday and on into Friday.

Additionally,the conference announced that, due to this schedule change, next week’s Akron-Kent State game at Kent’s Dix Stadium will be rescheduled for Friday, Nov. 28 at 1 p.m. ET. That game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. ET.

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Bowden on unbeaten FSU’s ranking? ‘Don’t care for it one dadgum bit’

Eric Barron, Molly Barron, Bobby Bowden

Even as it’s been four years since he stepped off the sidelines, Bobby Bowden‘s patented “dadgum” is still relevant.  Well, it’s still relevant in my eyes, at least.

Shortly after the latest College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night, the legendary former Florida State head coach took to Facebook– yes, the 85-year-old Facebooks — to decry the undefeated Seminoles’ placement at No. 3, behind a pair of one-loss teams.

How many times have you heard a Coach say,” We didn’t finish”? Coaches harp on it continuously, finish, finish, finish! Coaches emphasize each practice,”finish your block”, Finish your tackle, finish your run, finish the last quarter. Every team in the Top Ten failed to ‘finish’ their game at least one time, but not Florida State. One thing they have done is ‘finish’ the game. They have ‘finished’ 10 straight times this season and the last 26 games in a row. All the Polls now are just speculation and opinions. 26 finishes in a row is not an opinion!

A day later, the slotting of a team that’s won 26 straight games still wasn’t sitting well with the Hall of Famer.

“I don’t care for it one bit,” Bowden told the Tallahassee Democrat. “I really don’t care for it one dadgum bit.

“But that’s what they’ve decided to do and I’ll be pulling for it to work. But just think of all the scrutiny you see nowadays. This team or that team or this team or that team. Why don’t they vote like they did last year, they end up with two and that decides it?”

The reasons for Bowden lashing out at the rankings is likely twofold, aside from his obvious loyalties.

One, he, as a coach, places more value on wins and losses. The committee, obviously, places more importance on résumés and contrived “game control” stats than they do the loss side of the ledger.

And, two, he’s simply not a fan of the new system that will determine a national champion.

“I always thought they got one and two right. Really people don’t care about three and four,” Bowden said back in late August. “It’s going to give more teams an opportunity to play for the national championship, but I like it the way it was. I’m not sure it’s going to work. Maybe it will turn out better. …

“Now No. 5 is really upset. No. 5 says we should have been in that dadgum top four. That’s what three said. You get the same debate going on down the line.”

I don’t agree one bit, but keep railing, dadgummit.  Keep railing.

(Photo credit: ACC’s Facebook page)

(Also, thoughts out to the FSU community on the tragedy that hit the campus overnight.)

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A&M AD on possible bowl matchup with Texas: ‘it’s out of our control’

Texas v Texas A&M AP

Quite the pot was stirred this week when a report surfaced that the SEC — or the SEC on Texas A&M’s behalf — would nix any potential A&M-Texas bowl matchup this season.  Aggie fans were, of course, up in arms over the suggestion, while Longhorn Nation took great joy in the perception that their former conference mates were ducking a postseason renewal of the bitter rivalry.

One current Longhorn piled on later in the day, saying in no uncertain terms that “[a]nybody on this team would love a chance to play A&M,” the insinuation being the other side would loathe a chance.

According to A&M’s athletic director, however, it’s not a matter of want when it comes to a postseason game with UT. Instead, it’s something that’s out of his hands.

In a chat with Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle, Eric Hyman explained the process in which the SEC finds postseason destinations for its schools. In summation, and at the very bottom of the bottom line, the SEC decides which teams play where, not vice versa.  And, apparently, that decision comes without a whole lot of input from the individual schools.

“Quite frankly, that’s a decision made by the conference,” Hyman told Zwerneman. “The configuration is so different than it’s been in the past. They ask us to rank the bowls, and they ask the bowls to rank us. The (SEC) then ranks all the different teams from that, and that’s how the selection will be made.

“It doesn’t matter if I speculate about playing this team or that team in a bowl. It’s out of our control. … Wherever they tee us up, we’ll play.”

In talking about “how the bowl selection has changed dramatically from the past,” Hyman reiterated that A&M doesn’t “really have a lot of say, the conference office picks who they want.”

Left unsaid was what would happen if A&M approached the SEC and strenuously argued for a bowl game against UT this year. Would the conference, as they reportedly are, remain strident against such a matchup out of fear that it could hurt either its or its member institution’s brand?

In his initial report that triggered this whole mini-maelstrom, Chip Brown of HornsDigest.com wrote that the SEC “won’t support a Texas vs Texas A&M postseason matchup [because] A&M has too much to lose from a potential loss.” Oddly enough, both the SEC and A&M are seemingly taking a loss in the here and now from the appearance that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

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Vandy gives boot to another RB, this one 2013′s leading rusher

Jerron Seymour, Peter Angeh

For the second time this season, Derek Mason has whittled down his depth in the offensive backfield due to a non-football issue.

Wednesday evening, the first-year head coach announced that Jerron Seymour has been dismissed from the football program.  As expected, the only reason given was the ever-present “unspecified violation of team rules.”

Seymour had been listed on the depth chart released ahead of the Mississippi State game this Saturday.  He didn’t, however, practice Wednesday, ahead of the announcement of his forced departure from the team.

The dismissal punctuated a season rife with turmoil for the senior.

He was suspended for a mid-October non-conference game, and missed two games early on in the season because of injury.  Since carrying the ball nine times in an early-October loss to Georgia, Seymour totaled just two carries the past four games.

Last season, Seymour led the Commodores in rushing yards (716) and rushing touchdowns (14).  This season, he was third in the former (123) and had none of the latter.

Seymour remains in school and is on track to graduate in May.

In mid-October, fellow running back Brian Kimbrow was tossed from the squad.  He was the team’s third-leading rushing in 2013.

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Toledo still in (Kareem) Hunt for MAC West title

Kareem Hunt

Toledo (7-4, 6-1 MAC) kept pace with Northern Illinois in the MAC West Wednesday night with a cross-division victory against Bowling Green (7-4, 5-2 MAC). Kareem Hunt carried the Rockets to a win with 265 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in the 27-20 victory. One run went 91 yards for a touchdown, the third longest touchdown run in Toledo history. The Rockets managed to win despite losing the turnover battle with three turnovers to Bowling Green’s zero.

With the win, Toledo remains tied for first place with Northern Illinois, after the Huskies won Tuesday night. NIU holds a head-to-head tiebreaker with Toledo, so the Rockets will need some help from Western Michigan. If Toledo wins its final game against Eastern Michigan on the Friday after Thanksgiving, a Western Michigan win over NIU would send Toledo to the MAC Championship Game. If NIU wins at Western Michigan, the Huskies will win the division. Western Michigan can win the division with wins against Central Michigan and NIU and if Toledo loses to Eastern Michigan.

Bowling Green has already wrapped up the MAC East, so the Falcons will have a chance to defend it’s MAC Championship from last season.

Buffalo and Kent State snowed in

Buffalo and Kent State were also scheduled to play Wednesday night, but the game was postponed due to severe weather in Buffalo dumping massive amounts of snow. MAC and school officials are scheduled to meet Thursday morning to determine when or if the game can be rescheduled.

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PSU welcomes back Ryan Keiser after three weeks in hospital

Ryan Keiser, DeAngelo Yancey

There was a familiar face back at Penn State practice this week, and with it came an uplifting spirit. Ryan Keiser, a senior captain and safety, is back with the team in a leadership role, although he will not play again this season after undergoing surgery to take care of a bowel injury.

“It was great. I haven’t seen him in a while,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said Wednesday. “Having him back was really good. He sat in meetings. He actually was here last night in the training room, so a bunch of guys got to see him then.”

Keiser fractured a rib during a practice in late October that led to a bowel injury. He underwent treatment at Hershey Medical Center, where he spent about three weeks being cared for.

Keiser will not travel with the team this week when the Nittany Lions head to Illinois, but Franklin does want to do all he can to make sure he is a part of the team’s pregame routine before Penn State’s final home game of the regular season against Michigan State.

Penn State is bowl eligible this season after winning its sixth game this past weekend against Temple, although it is unknown if Keiser will be able to return for any potential bowl game or not.

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Texas WR Shipley says Longhorns would love a shot at Aggies

Jaxon Shipley

The SEC may prevent it from happening, but Texas wide receiver Jaxon Shipley says the Longhorns would love to have a chance to play Texas A&M. Now if only we could make it happen.

“Anybody on this team would love a chance to play A&M,” Shipley said Wednesday when meeting with the media (via Mike Finger).

It feels like listening to a broken record hearing one player or coach on Texas or Texas A&M lay out a challenge, but higher powers will intervene. Maybe it is jealousy, maybe it is hurt or bitter feelings. Or maybe the hatred runs so deep the mere thought of losing to the other or providing any slight benefit to the other is so detestable. Whatever the case, the waiting game will simply have to continue before the day the Longhorns and Aggies once again meet on the field.

At some point in time Texas and Texas A&M will meet on the field again. It is just a matter of when it will happen. Fans on both sides may say they do not need to see the rivalry resurrected, but deep down you know each side would love to stick it to their old rivals one more time.

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Armani Reeves ready to provide extra spark for Buckeyes

Urban Meyer, Armani Reeves

With two games to play, Ohio State is bringing back a key member of the defense for the final push for a Big Ten championship and perhaps a spot in the College Football Playoff. Nickel Armani Reeves will return to the starting line-up this week when the Buckeyes take on Indiana in Columbus.

Reeves has missed Ohio State’s last three games, although why he has been absent has been unconfirmed. Head coach Urban Meyer previously suggested Reeves had trouble focusing, but there was no indication suggesting he suffered a concussion. It has been a bit of a mystery. Whatever the case, Meyer says Reeves is ready to get back on the field.

“He had a good week in practice, he’s ready to go.” Meyer said Wednesday, per Cleveland.com. “Armani’s a great kid and a heck of a player, an emotional guy and give us a little spark.”

Ohio State has two games left in the regular season. One more win by the Buckeyes will clinch the Big Ten East Division and send Ohio State back to the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. Having every player available could be key in making a case for the playoff.

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Saban on Muschamp: He made Florida better

Will Muschamp, Nick Saban

The college football coaching fraternity will rarely turn on brothers within the coaching circles, for the most part. This holds especially true when one coach loses his job. So don’t look for Alabama head coach Nick Saban to be kicking outgoing Florida head coach Will Muschamp on his way out of Gainesville.

Muschamp will coach the final two games of Florida’s 2014 season, but will not coach any potential bowl game. Florida announced the program will part ways with the head coach at the end of the season. Saban has Muschamp’s back, suggesting the Gators coach helped make the Gators program better. So, take that Urban Meyer?

“I don’t care what’s happened to Will in his circumstance, he did a really good job, in my opinion of making that program better,” Saban said Wednesday, per Al.com. “He did a great job of recruiting. He was a great competitor out there in recruiting and I think he did a really good job coaching the team.”

Florida is sitting on five wins with two games to play after winning just four games last season. The Gators won seven games in Muschamp’s first season replacing Meyer, who retired at the time following the 2010 season. Florida won 11 games and reached the Sugar Bowl an a top five ranking in Muschamp’s second season, but it went downhill from there with an offense that lacked consistency.

“There were just some parts of the team that never did as well as people’s expectations and that’s the business that we’re in.”

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