In terms of suddenly interesting conference rivalries who have added several layers of weirdness over the years, it’s hard to top the budding battle between Louisville and Wake Forest.
Most of the recent animosity surrounding the two programs involves last year’s bizarre “WakeyLeaks” scandal in which a Demon Deacons radio analyst reportedly passed confidential game plan information to the Cardinals’ co-offensive coordinator. While that saga has mostly died down now that several schools and the ACC have levied punishments, it seems there’s still plenty of bad blood left in the ACC Atlantic.
The latest chapter involves the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, who appears to have read and reacted to comments from an anonymous ACC coach dismissing his NFL prospects in a Sports Illustrated story published back in January.
“Yeah, I heard Wake Forest. I heard (it was) the Wake Forest coach,” Jackson said Saturday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “But we won, so I don’t really care.”
It’s unclear if the quarterback is referring directly to Wake head coach Dave Clawson or an assistant but he’s certainly pointing the finger directly at somebody in Winston-Salem. The Deacs were one of the few defenses to contain Jackson (season low 145 yards passing and five sacks) last season in a game that wound up being a (much closer than the scoreline indicated) 44-12 win for Louisville.
While you wouldn’t think Louisville at Wake Forest is on the short list of must-see ACC games in 2017, go ahead and circle that October 28 meeting between the two schools anyway because there could definitely be a little bad blood that spills over onto the field in one of the league most unconventional football “rivalries” of recent memory.
UCF has won another trophy for last season and this is one they can very proudly display in the school trophy case.
That’s because recent Knights linebacker Shaquem Griffin was named the winner of the inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award during a ceremony in the Dallas area on Thursday night. Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph were also finalists for the new award.
Griffin was one of the best players in college football for UCF despite the fact that his left hand was amputated when he was younger because of a congenital condition called amniotic band syndrome. A tenacious pass rusher, he was the AAC’s defensive player of the year in 2016 and was recently named the defensive MVP of the Peach Bowl as his team capped off a perfect season.
The award honors “exemplary leadership” on and off the field from a Division I college football player and was presented by Witten’s foundation. The former Tennessee star and All-Pro tight end with the Dallas Cowboys started the award last year and serves somewhat as the college version of the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
We’re inching closer to the release date of HBO’s Paterno about former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and his story in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. Emotions already run high in State College whenever this subject is brought up and that seems like it will be the case again after today as the worst scandal in college sports history is relived and brought vividly to life on cable TV.
This is something that is happening however and HBO released a new, official trailer for the film on Friday that gives us an extended look at both Al Pacino in the title role and a bit more on some of the plot lines that are being brought to the silver screen.
In addition to starring Pacino, Barry Levinson is directing the movie, Riley Keough plays reporter Sara Ganim, Kathy Baker is Sue Paterno and Darren Goldstein was cast as former Nittany Lions coach-turned-whistleblower Mike McQueary. As you can see in the trailer above, the film is mostly centered on what Paterno did or did not know about Sandusky — the team’s defensive coordinator who was found guilty on 45 of 48 child-sex abuse charges in June of 2012 and is currently serving a prison sentence of at least 30 years.
Paterno premieres April 7th on HBO.
The FBI sting into college basketball malfeasance has gotten a lot of folks riled up on Friday afternoon, especially when it comes to NCAA rules and potential violations. This, in turn, is leading to everybody and their brother rehashing the argument to pay (or not pay) players.
While you would probably not have expected it, even football coaches are wading into the discourse and there’s a somewhat surprising line of thinking being taken by UConn head coach Randy Edsall on Twitter:
While Edsall’s first point about football coaches getting nervous about the FBI probe spilling over into their sport probably rings true, it’s not every day you see a head coach openly advocating for paying players and calling college football a farm system for the NFL.
The Huskies head coach’s latter tweet is referring to a proposal put forward by the SEC that was approved last month which essentially allows non-coaching analysts to evaluate film of recruits in ways they could not previously do so. This has led to many expecting programs (looking at you, Alabama) creating player personnel departments in even greater numbers to streamline evaluating prospects and allow certain staffers to handle more of the recruiting load.
Edsall is far from the first coach to advocate paying players but something says his comments on Friday will also mean he will just be the latest in a long line of advocates for advancing much the same cause, especially in light of the payments going on in college basketball that are just beginning to come to light.
Country roads, take him home.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, Charlotte assistant Greg Adkins is expected to return to his alma mater of Marshall to take over as the Thundering Herd’s next offensive line coach.
Adkins is well known around Huntington for his work with the team back in the early 1990’s when they were winning NCAA titles and making regular title game appearances at the then-Division I-AA level. He also had stops at Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma State and with the Buffalo Bills among others before being hired at Charlotte by Brad Lambert.
The return of Adkins fills the hole on Marshall’s staff after the departure of offensive line coach Alex Mirabal, who left for Oregon earlier in the week.