Getty Images

Arkansas, Notre Dame announce future home-and-home


For those clamoring for a Lou Holtz Bowl, here ya go.

Both Arkansas and Notre Dame announced early Thursday afternoon that the two athletic departments had reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series.  The Razorbacks will travel to South Bend on Sept. 12, 2020, to open the series while the Fighting Irish will head to Fayetteville Oct. 4, 2025.  Both schools will receive an allotment of 7,500 tickets for their respective road trips.

The 2020 game will be the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.

“It’s remarkable to think our historic programs have never met, but we are excited that this will change in the near future as we add the University of Notre Dame to our football schedules in 2020 and 2025,” said UA athletic director Jeff Long in a statement. “This series will benefit our football program, our University and the Southeastern Conference, but more importantly it is an opportunity for our football student-athletes to compete against one of college football’s storied programs while providing a premier match-up for our fans. This series will provide a once-in-a-lifetime road trip and another memorable football Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

“Whenever we have an opponent come to Notre Dame Stadium for the first time, there’s another layer of interest in the game. The same is true for our program and fans when we play away from home at a first-time venue,”Long’s counterpart, Jack Swarbrick, said. “That is especially likely to be true of these games given the quality and tradition of the two programs.”

Provided it goes off as announced, the series with Arkansas would leave three SEC schools that have never played Notre Dame in football — Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State.

Notre Dame has three future games with two SEC schools scheduled, at home against Georgia this coming season as well as a home-and-home with Texas A&M (2014 at College Station, 2025 in South Bend).  There most recent game against a team from that conference came against LSU in the 2014 Music City Bowl; the last regular season matchup was versus Tennessee in 2005.

“This two-game series will provide our program with another opportunity to play a top-caliber foe from the Southeastern Conference,” said Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly. “Coach (Bret) Bielema is a tremendous coach and his teams have always played a physical style of football. I know our team and fans will be excited to play the Razorbacks.”

“Ever since I became a head coach I’ve wanted to get Notre Dame on the schedule and when it became a possibility we were 100 percent in on getting a home-and-home done,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “I’m excited for our program, but I’m also excited for our fans to experience a game at Notre Dame and then come back and show what an amazing home atmosphere we have.”

Holtz was Arkansas’ head coach from 1977-83.  From 1986-1996, Holtz held the same job at Notre Dame.  His 1988 national championship was the last for the Fighting Irish.

His 60 wins are the third-most in Razorbacks history, while his 100 wins while with the Fighting Irish are second only to the legendary Knute Rockne’s 105.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa injures thumb on throwing hand in spring practice opener

Getty Images
Leave a comment

This is not exactly the most optimal way to open the spring for Nick Saban and Alabama.

Shortly before seven p.m. ET this evening, grad transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew, who originally committed to play his last season of college football at Alabama, announced on Twitter that he will instead move on to Washington State.  Not long after that, after the Crimson Tide had completed their first practice of the spring, Saban confirmed that Tua Tagovailoa sustained an injury to the thumb on his right (throwing) hand.  Specifically how he sustained the injury wasn’t clear.

The rising sophomore will be taken to Birmingham for further evaluation; just how long he’ll be sidelined remains to be seen.

Jalen Hurts started every game but one at quarterback the past two seasons, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that span.  He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson, and was in the same spot for this year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Saban to pull the trigger on a change.

And the rest, as they say, is history, as Tagovailoa played a significant role in a second-half comeback that was capped by the true freshman’s game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime.  Even as it seems obvious to those on the outside that this is Tagovailoa’s team moving forward, given how much more advanced the backup is in the passing game than the erstwhile starter, Saban is not quite ready to pull the trigger on a full-time change at the position.  In fact, the head coach even stated that he’s open to playing both quarterbacks.

Minshew, who started five games at East Carolina last season, was viewed as experienced insurance in case Hurts decided to transfer.  Or, if Tagovailoa suffered an injury.

After committing to Alabama, grad transfer QB Gardner Minshew tweets flip to Washington State

Getty Images
Leave a comment

So much for the implementation of the Jalen Hurts Transfer Protection Plan™.

In late February, Gardner Minshew, a graduate transfer quarterback from East Carolina, confirmed that he had committed to play for Alabama and would enroll at the university in May.  Nearly three weeks later, Minshew shifted his course significantly, announcing on Twitter that he is “[p]roud to say that I’ll be playing my last year of college ball at Washington State.”

At least when it comes to the opportunity for playing time, the Cougars, looking to replace Luke Falk, make much more sense than the Crimson Tide, who has, in addition to a two-year starter in Hurts, national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa.

As a graduate transfer, Minshew will be eligible to play immediately for Wazzu in 2018 and could be in line to win a starting job at the Power Five school.

Minshew started five games for the Pirates last season, throwing for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in completing just over 57 percent of his 304 pass attempts. Prior to his departure from ECU, he was penciled in as the Pirates’ 2018 starting quarterback.

The news of Minshew’s initial commitment to UA came a little over a week after Minshew visited the Tuscaloosa campus.  Earlier in February, it was reported that Alabama had an interest in Minshew, the quarterback who announced late last month that he had withdrawn from East Carolina to tend to a personal matter in his home state of Mississippi.

WATCH: Amazon releases trailer for ‘All or Nothing’ season following Michigan

Getty Images

“All or Nothing” has been Amazon’s answer to HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with one clear distinction — “All or Nothing” actually follows its subject throughout the season. The first two seasons followed the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams, and has now expanded into the college game. Amazon on Tuesday unveiled the trailer for its upcoming season with Michigan, in which its cameras followed Jim Harbaugh‘s Wolverines through an 8-5 campaign where the maize and blue won no games of consequence.

This is not the first such documentary series to follow a college team. Showtime’s “A Season With” has chronicled seasons of Florida State, Notre Dame and Navy.

The upcoming season will hit all Amazon Prime streaming devices on April 6.

Report: Auburn WR Eli Stove undergoes surgery for torn ACL

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A significant development has gone under the radar at Auburn, until now. Junior wide receiver Eli Stove tore his ACL during Auburn’s first spring practice and underwent surgery last Tuesday, according to Brandon Marcello of Auburn Undercover.

As a sophomore in 2017, Stove caught 29 passes for 265 yards and rushed 30 times for 315 yards and two touchdowns, which made him the Tigers’ third-leading rusher.

Stove was expected to increase his portfolio heading into 2018, but now he’ll spend the foreseeable future working simply to get back on the field. No timetable has been set for Stove’s return.

Though Stove is one of Auburn’s most talented pass-catchers, the Tigers aren’t hurting for depth even in his absence. Nine wideouts caught a pass for Auburn last season, and not one of them was a senior.