Frank Beamer Butch Jones

Frank Beamer, Butch Jones take in NASCAR at Bristol

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In mid-October, it was announced that Tennessee and Virginia Tech would play a 2016 football game at the famed Bristol Motor Speedway.  Two years ahead of that historic matchup, the two head coaches of the respective programs soaked in the atmosphere — and the rain — at the aptly-nicknamed Thunder Valley.

UT’s Butch Jones and Tech’s Frank Beamer served as the grand marshals for the Food City 500 NASCAR race in Bristol Sunday.  Additionally, the two head coaches, after the second of what could be a handful of rain delays, gave the command to the 43 drivers in the field to start their engines.

It wasn’t the best command ever given, but it certainly wasn’t the worst… or the most demeaning.  Here’s the video of the coaches doing their race thing, courtesy of the UT Sports YouTube channel:

The Vols-Hokies game, dubbed “The Battle at Bristol,” will be played Sept. 10, 2016 at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.  Each football program is expected to pull in more than $4 million for the game, which, in the 160,000-plus seat racing coliseum, could set an all-time attendance record for college football.

Additionally, and as a dyed-in-the-wool member of Junior Nation, I feel obliged to post a pick of the two head coaches conversing with Dale Earnhardt Jr. — a South Carolina Gamecocks football fan, by the way — during the rain delay:

Dale Earnhardt. Jr.

(Writer’s note: for all of your NASCAR and racing needs, head to MotorSportsTalk and/or follow them on Twitter.)

Video: There’s nothing wrong with Cardale Jones

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In the minds of some in the media and even more in the fan base, Ohio State in general and Cardale Jones specifically have been underwhelming through the first five games of the 2015 season.

Jones, in particular, has been a rather large target of much of the angst.  Coming off a Cinderella-like three-game postseason run that helped OSU to a national championship, the perception is that Jones has been underwhelming and underperforming; even head coach Urban Meyer appeared to be leaning in that direction as he considered making the switch to J.T. Barrett prior to the Western Michigan win before reaffirming his commitment to the redshirt junior.

Is that perception valid?  Statistically, he’s not that far off from where he was in the 2014 postseason, at least in a couple of categories.

He’s completing 61.3 percent of his passes this season compared to 59.4 percent in the games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.  It was 9.9 yards per attempt in that three-game stretch last season, 8.2 in five games this season.  When it comes to scoring and turning the ball over, however, that’s another matter entirely.

He threw a touchdown pass every 15 pass attempts in the 2014 postseason; this season, it’s one every 21 attempts.  Even more glaring, he’s currently throwing an interception every 21 attempts as well.  During the run that made him a household name, it was one pick every 37.5 throws.

So, fewer touchdowns plus more turnovers equals validation of the angst, right?  Not so fast, at least as far as the college arm of Pro Football Focus goes.

UCLA suspends P Adam Searl following arrest on rape charges

Tre' Hale, Adam Searl
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A very serious allegation has triggered the latest resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.

UCLA confirmed in a statement that Adam Searl (pictured, No. 39) has been indefinitely suspended from the football program.  The move comes nearly a day after the punter was arrested on three counts of rape.

He was released a handful of hours after his arrest on a $300,000 bond.

“We have been informed of the situation involving Adam Searl, and we take these accusations very seriously,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “Adam has been suspended from the team indefinitely while the legal process runs its course. Due to the ongoing police investigation, we are unable to discuss this matter further at this time.”

The arrest stems from an incident that allegedly occurred in the middle of last October, and is the result what the Los Angeles Police Department described as “an exhaustive investigation.” As for what led to the charges, here’s the Los Angeles Daily News‘ account of the alleged incident:

The victim, a student at UCLA, reported the alleged assault to the LAPD on Oct. 14, 2014. She told police that she had met the suspect outside of an off-campus house party in Westwood. They went to another residence, where she fell asleep and awoke to find him assaulting her. She was able to identify Searl following the police investigation.

Searl punted 11 times as a redshirt freshman last season. He had punted five times this season as the backup to Matt Mengel.