Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama is just looking out for itself in not scheduling in-state opponents

3 Comments

Alabama has not played an in-state opponent not named Auburn since 1944, and it appears that is a trend unlikely to change course. At SEC spring meetings, Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne said he did not see the Crimson Tide looking to schedule any in-state opponents for future non-conference games at any point in the future.

The last team from the state of Alabama to play the Crimson Tide in a non-conference game was Samford, and that was before the school was known as Samford. Despite a number of options within the state boundaries that would love a chance to accept a big paycheck play Alabama such as UAB, Troy, South Alabama, and additional FCS schools like Alabama A&M and Jacksonville State, Alabama instead chooses to fill any scheduling vacancies with smaller schools outside of the state but within the southeastern region after booking multi-million dollar games against power conference opponents on a neutral field.

The main criticism Alabama receives for their supposed scheduling policy is they miss out on an opportunity to help keep money in the state to help out other schools in the state. It is a fair criticism to point out, but one that is easily refuted by the idea that it is not Alabama’s mission to help keep other programs afloat. Alabama scheduling a game against another school in the state would barely chip at the Alabama pedigree, so there is minimal risk involved in playing these games. So why would Alabama choose note to sign these schools?

It could be that Alabama is showing mercy in most respects. Sure, the paydays from Alabama would be nice, but those schools can likely get those paychecks from a number of other places, and they would avoid getting demolished by the Crimson Tide in the process. But that would suggest Alabama is looking out for the best interests for Alabama. But maybe there is another explanation.

As I suggested in the Bump and Run bumpcast today, there could be a reason why Alabama would choose not to schedule programs like UAB or South Alabama and so on for future non-conference matchups. Why pick on the cupcakes in your own state when you can flex some muscle throughout the SEC’s footprint against other opponents from Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and so on? Alabama is in a position where it doesn’t need much help in recruiting, but there could be something to be gained by playing out of state opponents and thrashing them throughout the SEC’s (and ACC’s) stomping grounds. It puts more good press for Alabama in more headlines in all of those states, instead of just the ones in Alabama already buzzing about the Tide.

Sure, it would be nice of Alabama to throw a bone to an in-state opponent a little more often than once every 75 years and counting, but Alabama is out to do what is best for Alabama. Playing out of state cupcakes serves more of a purpose for Alabama’s main objective.

VIDEO: LSU RB Derrius Guice squats 650 pounds

Getty Images
3 Comments

Derrius Guice may be the most underrated player in college football.

Playing in the shadow of Leonard Fournette, Guice posted an eye-popping 8.55 yards per carry (51 rushes for 436 yards) as a freshman in 2015, then kept his big-play ability as his usage increased while Fournette battled injuries in his final college season. Guice rushed 183 times for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns; his 7.58 yards per carry average was the most among Power 5 rushers with at least 180 carries.

So, yes, Guice is really good. He’s also a physical freak.

LSU captured and tweeted video Friday of Guice squatting 650 pounds, more than three times his listed 212 pounds.

If — and this is a massive, Les Miles-firing if — LSU can consistently throw the ball in 2017, go ahead and make Guice your darkhorse Heisman contender in 2017.

(HT CBS Sports)

Former Miami TE Jovani Haskins headed to West Virginia

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jovani Haskins announced two weeks ago he was leaving Miami for “somewhere else.” That somewhere else proved to be a favorite destination of other Sunshine State transfers: West Virginia.

“WVU is my new home and I can’t wait to perform in front of the fans of West Virginia!” he tweeted on Saturday.

A 3-star prospect out of Bergenfield, N.J.., Haskins was offered by West Virginia in the class of 2016 and most recruiting experts actually had him signing with the Mountaineers before a surprise commitment to Miami.

Haskins joins two former state of Florida players on WVU’s roster: starting quarterback Will Grier (Florida) and former Miami quarterback Jack Allison (Miami). The Mountaineers also employed Florida State transfer Clint Trickett at quarterback and Miami transfer Antonio Crawford at cornerback.

Haskins redshirted in 2016 and will presumably sit out 2017 before gaining eligibility in ’18. West Virginia could use the help immediately; the roster lists one scholarship tight end at present. WVU currently has two tight ends pledged for the 2018 class in addition to Haskins.

 

BYU wearing special patch in honor of LaVell Edwards

BYU Athletics
Leave a comment

BYU got the summer media day fun started on Friday with their football media day. BYU tends to pull out all the stops on its media day with coach and player interviews, alumni returning, and a handful of announcements about the future of the program. In addition to news about their relationship with ESPN, BYU also announced the football team will be sporting a patch this season in honor of the late LaVell Edwards.

In addition to players wearing the patch on their jerseys, BYU coaches will also wear the patch on their sleeves.

Edwards passed away in December at the age of 86. The BYU coaching legend spent 29 seasons on the sidelines in Provo and accumulated 257 wins along the way. Among those was a national championship season in 1984, which remains the most recent national championship to be claimed by a program not currently in a power conference. Edwards took 22 BYU teams to a bowl game.

Now if we can just keep getting BYU to stick to that lighter shade of blue as their main home uniform, we’ll be in great shape.

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images
4 Comments

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.