Georgia and Notre Dame still discussing home-and-home details

1 Comment

Whether you like it or not, the College Football Playoff is here and it may already be having an impact on the regular season. Those who thought the value of the regular season may have been diminished with the playoff may be right, but we are getting a nice dose of sexier match-ups coming into play. Strength of schedule is now a revitalized factor in the championship race, and Georgia and Notre Dame are continuing their discussions about a potential home-and-home series with that in mind.

“I think we’re just waiting to work through some verbal communications before we have anything in writing,” Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said Tuesday, according to The Telegraph. McGarity feels it would be great for fans as well.

“I think it’s an opponent we’ve played, what, one time? 1980? For our fans to be able to go up to South Bend, and for our fans to see Notre Dame play between the hedges, I think from a national perspective it’d be off the charts, as far as interest, as far as intrigue.”

Georgia and Notre Dame have played just once before, clashing in the 1981 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Vince Dooley‘s Georgia squad won the game, 17-10, to complete an undefeated season and clinch the number one ranking in the AP poll and a national championship.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly came out recently and claimed he wanted to see SEC teams added to the schedule. The Irish and SEC rarely cross paths, having played 10 games against SEC opponents since 1990, and four of those came in bowl games. Notre Dame’s last meeting with a program from the SEC school did not go so well, with Alabama dominating the Irish in the 2013 BCS Championship Game, 42-14.

It should be noted Georgia will be required to schedule one non-conference opponent from a power conference each season under new SEC scheduling policies. That requirement is filled by annual rivalry match-ups with Georgia Tech, from the ACC. Notre Dame may not be a part of a power conference in football, although it has a relationship with the ACC, but the Fighting Irish are being viewed as a school that would satisfy that scheduling requirement. Even if Georgia and Notre Dame work out a deal for a home-and-home series, it is not likely this will replace Georgia Tech on the Georgia schedule.

Georgia has a booked non-conference schedule for 2014 and 2015 but has plenty of openings to work with starting in 2016.

Duke starting safety Jeremy McDuffie out indefinitely after surgery on fractured thumb

Getty Images
Leave a comment

What we do know is that Duke will be without its starting piece of its defense.  What we don’t know is for how long.

The football program announced Wednesday that Jeremy McDuffie underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured right thumb.  The junior sustained the injury during a recent Blue Devils practice.

As a result of the injury and subsequent surgery, McDuffie will be sidelined indefinitely.

McDuffie transitioned from cornerback to safety this past spring. Entering summer camp, the defensive back had been listed as a starter for the Blue Devils.  The past two seasons, McDuffie had played in 24 games.

Duke opens the 2017 season Sept. 2 against NC Central.  They will kick off ACC play three weeks later on the road against North Carolina.

Albeit with a disclaimer, Jim Mora doesn’t see Josh Rosen leaving UCLA early for NFL

Getty Images
1 Comment

Most expect Josh Rosen to be one of the first quarterbacks selected when the next NFL draft rolls around.  Rosen’s coach, though, doesn’t see the outspoken junior being a part of the pool of available draftees.

“My firm belief is that he will not leave,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora told Yahoo SportsPete Thamel over the weekend. “I don’t think he’ll leave. …

“I want a disclaimer, I have an option to change my opinion. But as we sit here right now, I can really honestly say I don’t think he’s going to leave.”

Mora’s proclamation comes less than two weeks before the Bruins kick off the 2017 season and around five months before draft-eligible early entrants have to officially file their paperwork with the NFL.

Rosen flashed brilliance as a true freshman in 2015, passing for nearly 3,700 yards and 23 touchdowns.  His sophomore campaign was marred by a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder that sidelined him for the final six games of the season.  Rosen has resoundingly rebounded from that health issue, and will head into the 2017 season 100-percent healthy.

Whether he enters the 2018 season 100-percent Bruin remains, his head coach’s confidence notwithstanding, highly unlikely or even doubtful, especially given his recent comments that football and school don’t mix.

Report: Call to escort service coincided with a Hugh Freeze recruiting trip

Getty Images
15 Comments

Not surprisingly, more details are surfacing in Hugh Freeze‘s unceremonious exit from Oxford.

Freeze resigned as the head football coach at Ole Miss last month in part because of Jan. 19 phone call to an escort service that was initially deemed to be a misdial.  According to the Wall Street Journal, that call came a few hours after a university plane landed in Tampa, Fla., as part of a five-day, 13-stop recruiting trip.  On that plane was Freeze as well as other members of the Rebels football staff.

The discovery of the link between the call and recruiting trip came after a review of phone records and other documents.

After Freeze’s “resignation,” Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork described an unspecified pattern of personal misconduct that led to the coach’s departure.  Bjork somewhat expounded on that pattern to the Journal.

Although school officials had previously declined to characterize the alleged misconduct, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said in response to questions from the Journal about Freeze’s travel that the university’s investigation uncovered “calls of a similar nature” over the course of several years, often matching up with travel logs showing the coach’s use of the school plane. The school said it examined his travel logs from peak recruiting times—often November, December and January—when Freeze would travel out of state, using the school plane and other public resources.

“When we say pattern, we are describing other phone numbers that when you Google them pull up similar type websites, services, however you would describe them,” Bjork said. “We took action swiftly.

Speculation of late has there being more, potentially much more, to Freeze’s forced resignation.  Only time will tell how much more will ultimately come out — especially if another former Ole Miss head coach’s lawsuit, kicked out of federal court for lack of jurisdiction, is revived in the state of Mississippi as expected.

Reports: ankle injury likely to keep WR Michael Pittman out of USC’s opener

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In his college football preview Bible, the great Phil Steele had Michael Pittman listed as one of three starting wide receivers for USC.  With the start of a new season a little more than two weeks away, Pittman doesn’t appear set to make that magazine projection come to fruition.

According to multiple reports, Pittman suffered an ankle injury during practice Tuesday and was taken off the field via a cart after having a boot placed on his left foot.  While X-rays taken post-practice showed no break or fracture, the sophomore has been diagnosed with the dreaded high-ankle sprain.

As a result, the Los Angeles Daily News writes that “[i]t seems unlikely he would be able to play against Western Michigan.” Rivals.com tweeted that the injury “[p]robably keeps him out of season opener.”

At least for now, the football program has yet to officially rule Pittman out for the opener.

Pittman was a four-star 2016 recruit, rated as the No. 9 receiver in the country.  As a true freshman last season, he caught six passes for 82 yards.