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Bobby Bowden’s player misconduct strategy: Turning felonies into misdemeanors

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There’s a Bobby Bowden documentary debuting Sunday, focusing on how the College Football Hall of Fame coach turned Florida State into Florida State.

Part of the Seminoles’ success in those days was not losing talented players who ran afoul of the law. That tended to happen a lot, relative to other major programs of the day, but Florida State managed to hang on to most of those players, often turning them around into contributors on the field. That strategy was simple, as Bowden remembers: turning felony charges into misdemeanors.

“Back in those days, when a boy gets into too much trouble it starts as a felony. If a boy has a felony, he can’t play, nothing I can do,” Bowden told USA Today. “So you try to get it reduced down to a misdemeanor, and unless it’s a terrible thing you usually can. I think (the movie) shows how I’d give them second chances if I can. Some boys would get in trouble so bad I couldn’t do nothing. I’d lose ‘em. But the worst thing is I didn’t want to kick them back out on the street. They don’t need to be out on the street. I’d try to save ‘em.”

Though the quote can easily be read cynically, the focus of the film — The Bowden Dynasty: A story of Faith, Family and Football — centers on Bowden’s sincere belief second chances were crucial in saving the young men in his charge as players and as people.

“I could probably name a whole lot of players who turned out real good, you know it?” Bowden said. “There’s always the exceptions but gosh, I don’t know many of them that came through our program. I did have some players where you can’t save ‘em. You have to let ‘em go. People wonder, why do coaches defend their boys? Well, you know, Ann and I had six children and if they got in trouble I’d sure want somebody to give them a second chance.”

While his intentions may be genuine, it’s also a genuine fact that, say, Jimbo Fisher would be roasted alive if he gave that exact quote today.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.