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Baylor to honor RGIII with statue of Heisman winner

Texas Tech v Baylor Getty Images

Nick Saban has one. So does Cam Newton. Sam Bradford has one as well as Tim Tebow. Hey, even John Harbaugh has one. Soon former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III will have one as well. We’re talking about statues, of course.

Baylor’s new football stadium is set to open this season, and fans will have a chance to snap a photo by one of the top attractions at McLane Stadium, a 9.5-foot bronze statue of RGIII, the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner in program history. The statue will be installed in the south end zone plaza of McLane Stadium, according to David Ubben of FOXSports.com.

The statue was designed by Tom White of Arizona. White is a native of Midland, Texas. Details about how the statue will look are being kept under lock and key for now, adding to the anticipation for the grand unveiling prior to Baylor’s home opener against SMU on Sunday, August 31.

“It’s gonna be awesome,” White said to FOXSports.com. “It’s a great tribute to him and all his wonderful accomplishments.”

We will just have to wait and see how the final product looks, but odds are White strayed as far away from Griffining as possible.

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Suspended Notre Dame players to have hearings soon

DaVaris Daniels, Taylor Richards

Five Notre Dame football players who have served suspensions for their ties to an ongoing investigation into academic conduct will soon have their hearings. Head coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday the hearings for wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive backs KeiVarae Russell and Eilar Hardy, defensive end Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore will be held by the end of next week.

Daniels, Moore, Russell and Williams were initially suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation by the university on August 15. Hardy was added to the suspension list for the season opener later in the month. A committee will now be formed by Notre Dame to determine if any of the players in question were guilty of violating the school’s academic misconduct policy. Because the hearings will not be held until next week, all players will be expected to miss this week’s game against Syracuse in MetLife Stadium, their fourth of the season.

“It’s a very complicated situation, obviously,” Kelly said, according to a report from ESPN.com. “There are a lot of pieces here. There are NCAA implications, certainly. We’re probably going down a path that [we've] never gone before, so there are things there.”

Kelly has suggested he is in touch with Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick to make sure everyone is on the same page with regards to the situation, and the process is moving as swiftly and thoroughly as possible. It may hurt Notre Dame’s depth in the short run, but getting to the bottom of the situation is more important.

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Former Michigan QB sounds off on state of program

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Michigan v Virginia Tech

Former Michigan quarterback Michael Taylor was among the last four-year players to play solely for Bo Schembechler in Ann Arbor, so his old school roots with the program are worth mentioning when discussing the state of the Wolverines. In a radio interview on Wednesday, Taylor pulled back no punches when asked for his opinions on today’s Michigan football program and its leadership.

“Michigan football is not going in the right direction,” Taylor said on the “Ryan and Rico” show on WMGC-FM (105.1), according to USA Today. “The leadership is bad, there are many more issues on and off the field than I care to talk about. It’s just sad.”according to USA Today. “The leadership is bad, there are many more issues on and off the field than I care to talk about. It’s just sad.”

He was just getting started. Taylor had some thoughts about Michigan hiring Brady Hoke as head coach, and they were not favorable.

“We didn’t get the coach who should have been our coach here (referring to San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh) because we insulted him in the first place,” Taylor explained. “So then look who we get. It’s nothing personal; Brady’s a nice guy, I’m sure all you guys agree. I’ll agree to that. Really nice guy, very personable guy. However, his pedigree did not deserve to be a $4-million coach here at Michigan.”

Hoke’s performance since arriving at Michigan has been coming under fire as the Wolverines struggle to beat other power conference opponents and fail to be a viable threat in a Big Ten conference that has been down compared to other conferences. To make things worse, Michigan State now has the upper hand in the state of Michigan when it comes to on-field performance.

“What we’ve become is a propaganda football team, telling people how great we are when we’re mediocre,” Taylor explained. “When, in your last 12 games, you’ve only got victories over Northwestern, [Appalachian] State, Indiana and Miami of Ohio, that is not good. That is not good. We’re mediocre right now. Will it stay that way? I don’t know. I don’t work there. I don’t have the say-so. But I do know this: I know a few hundred players who are not happy with what is going on and definitely think changes need to be made.”

Taylor may be right. Michigan does need to make some changes, and fast.

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Charlie Weis challenges Kansas fans to show up for Texas game

Charlie Weis

It is not very often Kansas has a better record than Texas when they play in football, but that is the case this weekend in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks are 2-1 following a win at home against Central Michigan this past weekend. Texas is coming off two straight losses to BYU and UCLA as the Longhorns enter Big 12 play for the first time with Charlie Strong at the helm. Kansas head coach Charlie Weis hopes that encourages fans to come out and support the Jayhawks Saturday afternoon, and he is challenging fans to show up Saturday afternoon for the nationally televised game.

As noted by The Dallas Morning News, Kansas had the worst attendance in the Big 12 in 2013 with an average of just 37,884 fans per game. Memorial Stadium in Kansas has a listed seating capacity of just over 50,000 fans. When Texas visited Kansas in late October 2012 a total of just over 40,000 fans were reported to attend the game. The 2011 season finale between Kansas and Missouri welcomed slightly over 47,000 fans for the final game in the series before Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC. The 2008 game against the Longhorns welcomed 51,930 fans to Memorial Stadium, most of them being Texas fans cheering on the then fourth-ranked team in the country.

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Swinney says Clemson center threatened on social media for bad snap vs. FSU

Discover Orange Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State

Clemson’s chances to knock off Florida State in Tallahassee Saturday night could come down to any number of miscues or missed opportunities for the Tigers. One of those such instances occurred when center Ryan Norton sailed a snap over the head of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, resulting in a loss of 23 yards after being just half a yard from the end zone. Because of that play, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says Norton has received threats over social media

“Coach [Chad Morris] told me [about the threats] last night,” Swinney told reporters, according to an ESPN report. “That’s disappointing. I think he deleted his account. It’s a shame that young people have to deal with that kind of stuff. Nobody wants to make a bad snap.”

As is typically the case for any athlete on Twitter or Facebook, they will quickly become the target of misguided fans venting their frustrations over a bad play or game. Sadly, this happens all too often with college players. In Norton’s case, Clemson ended up missing out on some likely points in regulation, which may have been needed to avoid losing in overtime to the top-ranked team in the country. Kicker Ammon Lakip missed a 40-yard field goal on the imploded drive. Clemson had a number of other opportunities to pick up a win on the road though, so singling out Norton’s bad snap is not fair at all.

“I think most of it was people mad and venting, but it was threatening to Ryan is what I was told,” Swinney said. “Those aren’t fans — those are people with issues.”

There is a fine line between allowing college football to be a part of your life and running your life. If you fall on the side where you feel better about yourself sending threats and derogatory remarks to a college student following a bad game, perhaps you should spend some time re-evaluating your priorities in general.

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Holgorsen says CB Travis Bell has ‘retired’

West Virginia v Maryland

The up-and-down career of Travis Bell in Morgantown has apparently come to an end.

After taking the week off and not dressing for the Oklahoma loss this past Saturday, Bell has “retired,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday.  Whether Holgorsen meant that the defensive back retired from the Mountaineers or the game of football entirely is not clear.

We wish him well,” the coach said.

In a span of 10 months last year, the cornerback was arrested and charged twice.  In mid-February, Bell was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery following an incident involving his girlfriend.  10 months later, in early December, Bell was charged with driving under the influence.

Because of the second arrest, Bell was suspended for all of spring practice earlier this year.  He was reinstated in time for summer camp and played in the first three games of the year, albeit sparingly.

In 2013, Bell started nine of the 12 games in which he played.

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Indiana loses two key defensive reserves to season-ending injuries

Indiana v Ohio State Getty Images

Indiana’s upset win over Missouri came at a big cost personnel-wise.

During a press conference Monday, head coach Kevin Wilson confirmed that cornerback Kenny Mullen and linebacker Marcus Oliver will not play again during the 2014 season due to injuries incurred in the Mizzou win. Both players suffered unspecified knee injuries that will sideline them for the last nine regular season games and a bowl game if IU qualifies.

Both players should qualify for a medical hardship waiver and another season of eligibility, which is especially important for the senior Mullen.

“Unfortunately, they’re two of our better backups and special team guys,” Wilson said. “It’s unfortunate for Kenny and Marcus. They’re two great kids and great players, but we gotta move on. We need those guys to continue to be great leaders for us and bring energy because they’re veterans.”

Mullen was the Hoosiers’ top backup cornerback, and had played in 38 games the past three-plus years. He started five of those contests.

Oliver was a backup linebacker who saw extensive action the first three games this season

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SEC suspends Miss. St. player for stomping LSU players

Mississippi State v Arkansas

During Saturday’s Mississippi State-LSU game, television replays seemed to indicate that Bulldogs offensive lineman Dillon Day, on two separate occasions, had stomped on a pair of Tiger football players.

Three days later, the lineman’s conference agreed.

In a statement, the SEC announced that Day has been slapped with a one-game suspension for what it described as “multiple flagrant and unsportsmanlike acts” during the win in Death Valley. Because MSU is on a bye this weekend, Day will be sidelined for the Oct. 4 game against Texas A&M.

Here’s the SEC’s statement, in its entirety.

Upon review of game video from the contest between LSU and Mississippi State on Sept. 20 in Baton Rouge, La., SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has announced that Mississippi State senior center Dillon Day is suspended for the Bulldog’s next game, which is scheduled for Oct. 4 in Starkville.

This action is the result of multiple flagrant and unsportsmanlike acts during the game, as well as previous disciplinary action for similar behavior.

This action is taken in accordance with Southeastern Conference Constitution, Article 4.4.2 (d) which states that a student-athlete may be suspended if it is determined that the student-athlete has committed a flagrant or unsportsmanlike act.

In a letter posted on social media Monday, Day vehemently denied that he had intentionally stomped on any LSU player.  Below is Day’s tweet, which contains a photo of the letter:

Day’s protests notwithstanding, the video clips of the two incidents appear to indicate that the stomps were very much intentional and could’ve easily been avoided.  Suffice to say, the SEC agrees with that stance.

Also, as noted by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger earlier this week, Day was suspended for a half game last season for stomping on an Auburn player.

The clip below shows the two most recent incidents, and puts into doubt Day’s recollection of the events that ultimately led to his latest suspension.

 

Day will be eligible to return to the starting lineup for the Oct. 11 game against Auburn.

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Statistical adjustment nets Blake Sims a record-setting game

Florida Atlantc v Alabama

Blake Simsmonster game Saturday, as it turns out, will officially go in the Alabama record books as a historic performance all on its own.

The Tide quarterback’s 445 yards passing and 457 yards of total offense in the win over Florida were, at the time, the second-most and tied for most totals in school history, respectively.  That remains the case for the former.  The latter, though, has been tweaked to Sims’ benefit.

What happened was, 27 yards have been added to Sims rushing total.  That pushed his total offense to 484 yards, a single-game UA record ahead of the 457 yards at which he and Scott Hunter (1969) had been tied.

The additional yardage was connected to a second-quarter fumble.  From al.com:

On his second-quarter fumble, Sims was inaccurately docked 33 rushing yards — the distance between the line of scrimmage (Florida’s 32-yard line) and where Florida ultimately finished with it (Alabama’s 35). Sims, though, should only have been docked 6 — the distance between the line of scrimmage and where it was recovered (Florida’s 38).

The decision also moves Sims from 24th nationally in total offense per game (301.3) to 22nd (308.0).  That total is fifth among SEC quarterbacks.

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Orange to be without leading receiver for ‘a couple weeks’

Ashton Broyld, Steele Divitto

With its first conference game in its second season as a member of the ACC on the horizon, it appears Syracuse could make its 2014 league debut without its top threat in the passing game.

During the first half of ‘Cuse’s loss to Maryland last Saturday, Ashton Broyld suffered what’s only being described as a lower-leg injury.  Head coach Scott Shafer confirmed Monday that the wide receiver will be “a couple [of] weeks” because of the injury.

Such a timeline means he won’t play in the prime-time game against Notre Dame this weekend, and all but guarantees he won’t be on the field for the conference opener against Louisville the following Friday.

“He’s really done a nice job growing as a young man this past year and a half,” Shafer said. “Disappointing, but it’ll be a great challenge for him to learn from.

“I know he’ll be working hard on the rehab.”

Broyld is currently tops on the team with 11 receptions and is second with 125 receiving yards. Broyld led the team last year in both categories (52-452).

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Broken hand costs Hawaii its No. 2 QB for rest of 2014

Jeremy Higgins AP

Moving forward, Hawaii won’t have Jeremy Higgins as a quarterback security blanket.

UH athletics has announced that the senior will miss the remainder of the 2014 season due to a fracture in his left (throwing) hand.  Higgins suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss to Colorado.

Head coach Norm Chow had yanked ineffective starter Ikaika Woolsey (10-24, 64 yards) at halftime in favor of Higgins. The replacement wasn’t much more effective as Higgins went 4-of-17 for 66 yards before being injured.

Higgins was replaced by former Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham.

Chow said that while the injury essentially ends Higgins’ playing career, it’ll allow him to get a jumpstart on the next phase of his career: coaching.

“It’s really a tough deal and we feel really badly for Jeremy,” the coach said in a statement. “He’s the consummate teammate and team leader who worked really hard in his career to get where he’s at. It’s very unfortunate but Jeremy will still be around the team, serving as a student assistant. He wants to get into coaching and this will be a good start for his career.”

Over his three-year career at UH, he appeared in nine games, with one start, and completed 41-of-82 attempts for 489 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for one touchdown in 2012.

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Jameis Winston’s, FSU’s Bovada odds take precipitous drop

Jameis Winston AP

It was understood that, because of his one-game suspension, Jameis Winston‘s hopes of becoming just the second player ever to claim back-to-back Heismans had nearly been extinguished,

Today, we have some unofficial data to back up that contention.  And the contention that his team is no longer the favorite to claim back-to-back titles.

Entering the 2014 season, Winston was a 9/2 favorite to win the 2014 Heisman per Bovada.lv.  Two weeks later, those odds dropped to 15/2, and then 10/1 a week ago.  After another week of tumult?  The FSU quarterback is now at 20/1, tied with Baylor’s Bryce Petty and behind nine other players.

Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is the prohibitive favorite at the moment at 2/1; the Ducks quarterback was at 11/2 a week ago.  The next three all saw there odds drop from where they were a week ago: Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill, 10/1 (15/2 a week ago); Georgia running back Todd Gurley, 10/1 (7/1); and Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, 12/1 (10/1).

Amari Cooper made the most noteworthy jump of the week, with the standout Alabama wide receiver going from 33/1 to 18/1.

On the College Football Playoff side of the wagering equation, Florida State, coming off the narrow and Jameis-less overtime win against Clemson, saw its odd dip to 15/2 from 5/1.  After spending the entire offseason as well as the first four weeks as the betting favorite, FSU now finds itself behind Alabama (13/2, up slightly from 7/1) and on par with Auburn (15/2, 9/1) and Oklahoma (the same 15/2 as a week ago).

Somewhat surprisingly, it was a pair of Big Ten teams with two of the biggest upward movers.  Coming off a bye weekend, Ohio State went from 33/1 to 20/1.  Michigan State, fresh off the boot stomp of Eastern Michigan, went from 33/1 to 20/1 as well.

Below are the complete set of Heisman and College Football Playoff odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

Week 5 Bovada Heisman Odds

Week 5 Bovada CFP Odds

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Auburn’s Jermaine Whitehead remains indefinitely suspended

Arkansas v Auburn Getty Images

For those looking for some clarity on Jermaine Whitehead‘s playing status moving forward, you’ll have to wait a while longer.

On his Monday night radio show, head coach Gus Malzahn said “[n]othing’s changed at this point” when asked about Whitehead’s suspension. The defensive back was indefinitely suspended last week by Malzahn, reportedly after getting into a verbal altercation with an assistant coach.

Malzahn followed that up with a teleconference Tuesday in which he stated Whitehead won’t be on the sidelines for this weekend’s game.  He’s already missed last Thursday’s narrow road win over Kansas State.

The good news for the Tigers is they already have a quality player in place. Starting in place of Whitehead, Josh Holsey was credited with a career-high 11 tackles in the win over the Wildcats. For that effort, he was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week.

That said, Holsey moved over from cornerback, so getting the talented Whitehead back sooner than later would be optimal.

Prior to his suspension, Whitehead started the last 26 games at safety, and currently leads the Tigers in interceptions with two. One of those picks was returned for a touchdown in the season-opening win over Arkansas.

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Hoke reverses course, won’t decide on starting QB today

Devin Gardner, Shane Morris

Monday, Brady Hoke stated that a decision on whether starter Devin Gardner or backup Shane Morris would be under center for Michigan’s game Saturday against Minnesota would be made Tuesday.

24 hours later?  Forget about it.  Pretend it never happened.

At least publicly, the Wolverines head coach reversed course during a teleconference very early this afternoon, stating that he and his coaching staff aren’t prepared to announce a starter right now.  Whether Hoke and his assistants know who will start and don’t want to divulge it publicly, and give the Gophers a heads up in the process, is unclear.

What is clear is that everybody outside of the football program will have to wait until later on in the week to see if Hoke pulls the trigger on a change and goes with Morris or sticks with the struggling Gardner.

The fact that Hoke isn’t deciding now would tend to make one think that he’s leaning toward the status quo with Gardner.  Or, at least, it’s making some think that way.

Regardless of who ultimately starts this weekend, it’s highly doubtful we’ve heard the last of the quarterback questions in Ann Arbor.

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Jameis Winston advisor tweets QB to cooperate with Title IX probe

Jameis Winston

Back in April, a lawyer for the alleged victim of an alleged 2012 sexual assault claimed that, because Jameis Winston had refused to cooperate, Florida State shuttered a federally-mandated Title IX investigation into the allegations.

It was reported five months later that FSU officials had spoken to the alleged victim for the first time a month before, even as the quarterback’s advisor, David Cornwell, released a scathing statement blaming the alleged victim for the delay in the probe.  While Winston had still not spoken to investigators looking into the allegations, that appears ready to change.

In a tweet posted to his Twitter account Tuesday morning, Cornwell wrote that Winston will cooperate with the Title IX investigation.  Cornwell was said to be informing FSU officials of his client’s intent today.

What level of cooperation to which Cornwell is alluding is unclear.

In early December of last year, following a three-week investigation, the Florida State’s Attorney office announced that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the sexual encounter between Winston and the alleged victim was not consensual, and that no charges would be filed against the player.  The state’s attorney in charge of that investigation, William Meggs, was highly critical of the Tallahassee Police Department’s investigation into the alleged rape in a New York Times report earlier this week, a report in which the university subsequently expressed its disappointment.  The Tallahassee PD subsequently revised its policies when it came to handling sexual assault complaints in the wake of intense criticism it received.

In April it was reported that the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has launched its own investigation into FSU’s handling of the case.

Cornwell’s declaration comes one day after Winston was reinstated from his one-game suspension.  The reigning Heisman winner missed the narrow escape over Clemson because of a vulgar and obscene incident earlier in the week.

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A ninth one bites the dust as Texas boots OT Estelle

Mississippi v Texas

Monday brought word that the three indefinitely suspended Texas players would remain that way at least through the Kansas game this Saturday. As it turns out, one-third of that trio (likely) won’t ever play for the Longhorns again.

UT announced late Tuesday morning that Kennedy Estelle has been dismissed from the football team by head coach Charlie Strong. The only reason given was a “violation of team rules.”

The offensive tackle, projected to be a starter, had missed the last two games because of the suspension meted out after he played in the opener against North Texas.

What changed over the past 24 hours that brought about Estelle’s dismissal is unknown. What is known is that a new sheriff is most certainly in charge, and he’s brought a big ol’ broom to town with him.

Estelle had played in 16 games for the Longhorns, starting nine of those contests.

At least for now, the two remaining suspended players, wide receiver Daje Johnson and offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, are still on the team.  Both were projected starters entering summer camp.

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