WHO: No. 4 Washington (12-1) vs. No. 1 Alabama (13-0)
WHAT: The College Football Playoff at the 49th Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
WHEN: 3 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Georgia Dome, Atlanta
THE SKINNY: This game, no matter the result, will be viewed as a referendum on Washington, but it’s not. This game is about Alabama. It’s always about Alabama.
The Tide have yet to lose in the Jalen Hurts era so any supposed blueprint on how to beat Alabama with the talented freshman at the helm is purely a theory at this point, but the theory begins with making Hurts uncomfortable and forcing him into mistakes. And on that front, there is no more dangerous opponent possible.
Washington forced 33 turnovers through their first 13 games, a full four takeaways ahead of their next closest competitors. The Huskies claimed 19 interceptions, fourth most in FBS, and hopped on 14 of their 27 forced fumbles. They’re also proficient at getting after the quarterback, registering 37 sacks on the season.
But on that front, Washington faces its worst nightmare in Alabama. The Tide rank third nationally with 45 sacks, place fifth with 105 tackles for loss and lead the nation by a country mile in rushing defense (63.4 yards per game allowed) and yards per carry (2.03).
In Washington’s one loss — the one time Chris Petersen‘s team faced Alabama-like talent — the Huskies mustered only 53 yards on 19 true rushes and Jake Browning managed to complete just 17-of-36 passes for 259 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions while enduring three sacks in a 26-13 loss to USC.
THE PICK: Alabama 31, Washington 21
A former Western Kentucky fraternity member says he was attacked by a group of Hilltoppers football players and plans to file charges.
Jerald Armfield, an alum of WKU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, told WBKO-TV he was caught in an ongoing feud between the fraternity and the football team:
“I went to the house in the best interest of the fraternity and Western as a whole to prevent any type of violence from occurring. We got up there and realized they were all hiding behind garbage cans, trees, and buildings.”
“I never in my wildest dreams thought they would attack me in the manner that they did. They all started surrounding me. One of them threw a rock at me. It was within a few seconds that one of them punched me in the face.”
“I fell down. I was kicked several times. The whole time they were beating me, I was begging them to stop, telling them I wasn’t here the night before, I had nothing to to do with it, like please stop, please stop, and they didn’t.”
Armfield said between nine and 10 people ultimately attacked him; it isn’t known for sure how many of that group are on the football team, though the program’s involvement in the incident is being investigated.
“We are aware of the allegations involving a few members of our football team,” the program said in the statement when word of the altercation broke three weeks ago. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities. However, at this time, we have not received a police report and cannot provide further comment.”
While the status of the investigation is currently unknown, Armfield told WBKO he would like it to end with multiple charges. “I made it very clear that night when the police arrived on the scene that I wanted charges pressed,” he said. “As far as I know a detective from Bowling Green Police Department has it. As it stands right now, I still want charges pressed. They need to be held accountable for what they did not only as citizens but as students at Western.”
Baylor has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit claiming 31 football players committed 52 rapes over a 3-year period from 2011-14. The school is citing the expiration of the statute of limitations and that the allegations do not meet the level of “deliberate indifference,” according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.
The suit was initially filed in late January who anonymously claimed she was raped by then-Bears football players Tre'Von Armstead and Shaymichael Chatman in 2013. Armstead and Chatman have both been indicted for that incident. Armstead was arrested earlier this month in Las Vegas in charges of resisting arrest in addition to the 2013 case.
Baylor also challenged the suit’s claim of a widespread culture of sexual violence, including claims the Baylor Bruins hostess program was encouraged to sleep with recruits in order to entice them to Baylor.
“Baylor does not agree with or concede the accuracy of plaintiff’s 146-paragraph complaint and its immaterial and inflammatory assertions,” the motion states.
Former offensive coordinator Kendal Briles told a recruit, according to the suit, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.”
Mark Dantonio broke his silence Tuesday to talk about all the things he couldn’t talk about.
Speaking publicly for the first time since National Signing Day, Dantonio said more players have been suspended in addition to the three players and one staff member already suspended in connection with an ongoing sexual assault investigation. There are actually three investigations ongoing — a criminal probe, a Title IX investigation and an outside evaluation of the football program.
How many additional players were suspended in conjunction with the investigations? Dantonio couldn’t say.
When were they suspended? Dantonio couldn’t say.
When were the original three players suspended? Dantonio couldn’t say.
How, one may wonder, has Michigan State managed to keep the suspended players’ identities secret despite spring practice now being a full month old? Easy: the Spartans have essentially shielded a black cloak around the entire program. The media hasn’t been allowed to watch practice. No depth charts or rosters have been released. No photos or videos have been produced. The content on @MSU_Football has vaguely referred to the ongoing spring practices by referencing the April 1 spring game, but all other tweets have centered around Michigan State’s involvement in the NFL Draft or the basketball Spartans’ NCAA Tournament berth. The program didn’t even comment on two players’ announced transfers throughout the offseason.
Dantonio even deemed it “trivial” to discuss Michigan State’s quarterback derby. The one piece of actual Spartans football news Dantonio revealed? Linebacker Drake Martinez, he of the one tackle in two appearances last season, has transferred.
The state of Arkansas has passed a law that allows concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would include college sporting events.
Since it was realized immediately upon the bill’s announcement what a terrible, horrendous idea allowing lubed-up sports fans to bring handguns with them to the game would be, the law was quickly amended to exclude college sporting events.
But on Tuesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement arguing for Razorbacks events to be exempted from the law.
To date, Arkansas AD Jeff Long and head football coach Bret Bielema have yet to comment on the law, and Sankey’s statement today is likely coordinated with that — pushing the buck upwards while not crossing those in the Natural State that may be in favor of the bill.