AP

No. 3 Ohio State dismantles No. 14 Oklahoma

17 Comments

It was a heavyweight bout the college football public waited three-and-a-half decades, plus an extra 90 minutes, to see. But in the end, the third ever meeting between the top two programs in the history of the AP poll wasn’t much of a fight as No. 3 Ohio State rolled No. 14 Oklahoma 45-24 in Norman.

After a three-and-out on their first possession, the Buckeyes scored six of the next seven times they touched the ball. The deluge started with a 36-yard Curtis Samuel run and continued with a 68-yard Jerome Baker interception on a tipped 4th-and-3 pass to give Ohio State a 14-0 lead at the 4:34 mark of the first quarter.

Oklahoma answered with a 97-yard Joe Mixon kickoff return for a touchdown. But replay showed Mixon actually dropped the ball at yard 96. The play was not reviewed, however, and the score stood.

Ohio State (3-0) responded, though, with an 89-yard drive capped by the first of four Noah Brown touchdown catches from the arm of J.T. Barrett. Barrett found Brown from 37 yards out one play after another interception of Baker Mayfield and, with just six seconds to go before the half, a 21-yarder that Brown pinned against defender Micah Brown‘s back to give the Buckeyes a 35-17 halftime lead.

Barrett found Brown again, from eight yards out this time, to cap Ohio State’s drive to open the second half and push the edge to 42-17.

Oklahoma (1-2) notched its only score of the second half when Mayfield found tight end Mark Andrews for a 5-yard score at the 4:06 mark of the third quarter, but never seriously threatened beyond that.

Barrett played like the true Heisman contender in a showdown of stiffarm hopefuls, hitting 14-of-20 passes for 152 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 17 times for 74 yards. Mike Weber added 18 carries for 123 yards, and Samuel carried 11 times for 98 yards and a score.

For Oklahoma, Mayfield hit 17-of-32 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, but his two interceptions proved extremely costly. The combination of Mixon and Samaje Perine combined to rush 26 times for 138 yards.

Ohio State enters Big Ten play now squarely in the Playoff hunt and an undeniable heavyweight in the 2016 title chase. Oklahoma, though, faces a season where a Big 12 title is still on the table, but chances of winning the program’s first national title since 2000 are all but gone.

Florida’s Cece Jefferson reportedly out four months after surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of the most heralded members of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class has hit a medical speedbump.

According to Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun, Cece Jefferson underwent surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week after injuring it during the Gators’ spring game.  As a result of that surgical procedure and the ensuing rehab, the defensive lineman is expected to be sidelined for the next four months.

Such a timeline would see Jefferson returning to on-field football action in mid-August, which would be right in the middle of summer camp.  Whether the lineman would be ready for the start of the 2018 regular season remains to be seen.

Jefferson was a consensus five-star prospect, rated as the No. 2 strongside defensive end in the Class of 2015; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 7 player overall on 247Sports.com’s composite board.

This past season, Jefferson led the Gators with 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.  After considering early entry into the 2018 NFL draft, the 6-1, 242-pound lineman opted to return to Gainesville for one more season.

Ohio State OL Matthew Burrell transferring from Buckeyes

Getty Images
Leave a comment

For the third time this offseason, Ohio State has lost an offensive lineman to transfer.

The latest to leave the trenches in Columbus is Matthew Burrell (pictured, right), with the rising redshirt junior taking to Instagram to announce that, “after prayer and thought, I will be transferring from OSU.” While no specific reason for the decision to transfer was given, the lineman’s placement on the depth chart likely played a significant role.

A four-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2015 recruiting class, Burrell was rated as the No. 7 guard in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Virginia.  The past two seasons, the lineman had seen action in a total of 25 games, including 12 this past season.

In addition to Burrell, OSU offensive linemen Jack Wohlabaugh (HERE) and Kevin Feder (HERE) have all left the program since the end of the 2017 regular season.

UCF police go all in on national championship campaign

Getty Images
1 Comment

Look, I get it. I know exactly how this game is played. They do it so that people like me will write about it and people like you will read it. It’s all a ploy to make everyone on campus puff their chests out just a little bit further and to keep their name on our lips just a little bit longer.

But doggone if it isn’t working.

More than three months after claiming its 2017 national championship, UCF has found a way to keep itself relevant, this time by having the campus police department get in on the act.

AD Danny White already committed to pay national championship bonuses for coaches who are no longer in the school’s employ, but that’s not even the end of this. There’s still a ring ceremony that is (or at least should) be forthcoming, and the banner reveal at Spectrum Stadium that’s surely coming at the 2018 season opener.

If you’re going to go all in on a publicity campaign, it’s best to go all the way in. As UCF has done here.

NCAA tables proposal that would allow players to play in up to four games and retain redshirt

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NCAA’s Division I Council on Wednesday tabled a proposal that would allow players to compete in up to four games and retain their redshirts. Championed by AFCA executive director Todd Berry, the rule was touted as a necessary change in an era where teams play 14- and 15-game seasons.

The rule would allow redshirting players to replace injured players without personal cost to their careers. Presently, a coach with dwindling numbers at a given position is put in between the rock and the hard place of burning an innocent player’s redshirt or putting players at risk of injury through overuse.

Here’s how the NCAA presented the news:

The Council tabled a proposal that would allow football student-athletes to participate in up to four games per year without using a season of competition. Proponents argue that late-season injuries and other factors often require student-athletes who hadn’t played all season to burn a year of eligibility for a small number of games. Others wonder whether the proposal could be applied to other sports, as well, whether the number of games in the proposal is appropriate, and whether the timing of the four games matters.

It is not clear what opposition exists to the rule, though Big 12 commissioner, Council member and noted fear-mongerer Bob Bowlsby posited in January that teams could, for some unexplained reason, hold their best players back until the final four games of the season.

“I think it’s got a lot of merit,” he said, “but there are some hooks in it. I don’t know how comfortable people are with, suddenly in the last three games and a bowl game, you go from being a guy who’s on the scout team to [a prominent role].”

The rule would, for e

The proposal is not all dead, as Miracle Max would say. The Council will now turn the tabled proposal over to the Football Oversight and Student-Athlete Experience Committees for discussion and feedback solicitation.