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Friday night lights at the Horseshoe? Ohio State AD says no, “Friday night is not our world”

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Two of the biggest discussion points surrounding Big Ten schools as a result of their humongous new television deal centered on the amount of money flowing to their coffers and the new addition of Friday night football games to the conference schedule. Naturally, both aspects caused people to shake their fist at commissioner Jim Delany and complain about the good old days but everybody pretty much assumed that the league would be business as usual and they would join the rest of college football in hosting mid-week games.

Only that wasn’t the case at all. Penn State rejected the idea of hosting games on Friday in Happy Valley and Michigan later did the same. At the time, Ohio State seemed committed to the idea when it was first announced, despite the uproar over from those around the state’s high schools who have a strong tradition of being the focus on Friday before attention shifts to the Buckeyes, Bearcats and others in college football. Between OSU opening against Indiana on the first Thursday of the season and athletic director Gene Smith’s comments at the time, it sure sounded like there would be a time where football would be played under the lights of Friday night at the Horseshoe.

Right? Well, apparently not.

The Columbus Dispatch caught up with Smith this week ahead of the team’s massive game against Oklahoma and it sure sounds like the tune has changed in Columbus over playing on a day other than Saturday:

“We don’t think Ohio State is a program that will ultimately play on Friday night,” Smith told the paper. “We’re more valuable on a Saturday for our television partners. We don’t need to play on a Friday night.”

So will the Buckeyes ever play a Friday game?

“I don’t anticipate it,” Smith said. “If you’re running a network, would you put us on Friday night or Saturday? … Friday night is not our world.”

Smith, who is on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, went on to say that he still supports the idea for the Big Ten and for other schools in the conference… just not his own. As a result, don’t be holding your breath on seeing any of the league’s powerhouses like OSU, Penn State or Michigan squaring off on Friday night. It seems that is a day best left to local high schools and the likes of Purdue, Northwestern, Maryland and others.

Lamar Jackson leapfrogged by Baker Mayfield as Bovada’s Heisman favorite

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So much for that wagering momentum, I guess.

Entering the 2017 season as not only the reigning winner but also as seemingly an afterthought, a pair of scintillating performances to open the year pushed Lamar Jackson to the head of Bovada.lv‘s Heisman Trophy pack.  Coming off a 26-point Week 3 loss to now-No. 2 Clemson in which he totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the Louisville quarterback has seen his odds lengthen a bit from 7/4 a week ago to 11/2 in Bovada‘s latest Heisman release.

Bovada’s new betting front-runner?  Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from 4/1 to 7/4.  Sam Darnold, 6/1, also saw his odds shorten slightly to a Jackson-match 11/2.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, 10/1 in the previous odds release, is now at 9/1, same as the holding-steady-from-a-week-ago Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

There’s also, interestingly, one true freshman on the board: J.K. Dobbins.  The Ohio State running back went from off the board to 40/1 odds.  His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, saw his odds go from 25/1 to 33/1.

Below is the latest set of 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Illinois adds UCF grad transfer QB Pete DiNovo

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Illinois has an immediate addition to its quarterback room.  Or its wide receivers room, depending on how things play out.

Pete DiNovo confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Illini.  The acknowledgment comes a month after DiNovo decided to transfer from Central Florida.

As a graduate transfer, DiNovo would be eligible to play immediately this season.  Per the player, a former high school teammate and former high school coach currently at Illinois played a role in his decision.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out,” DiNovo told the Times. “I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff.”

DiNovo began his Knights career as a quarterback — he replaced Blake Bortles as UCF’s starter before being quickly replaced himself — before being moved to wide receiver before being moved back under center this offseason.  How the Illini will use DiNovo, who has an eye on a career in coaching after his playing days are over, remains to be seen.

UTEP stays in-house to replace fired OC Brent Pease

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Not surprisingly, UTEP will stay in-house following its in-season dismissal of one of its coordinators.

The Miners confirmed Sunday that offensive coordinator Brent Pease had been fired.  A day later, the football program announced that Brian Natkin has been given the keys to the offense by Sean Kugler and will call the plays moving forward.

Natkin began the season as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  He was an All-American tight end at UTEP a decade-and-a-half ago and became a full-time assistant at his alma mater in 2011.

Through three games, UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners are also 125th (out of 130 teams) in scoring at 13 points per game.

The promotion of Natkin also means there will be some additional adjustments to Kugler’s staff.  Wide receivers coach Chuck Veliz will take over Pease’s other role as quarterbacks coach, while safeties coach Don Yanowsky assume Natkin’s duties as special teams coordinator.

Natkin will continue in his role as tight ends coach.

Oregon State QB Jake Luton discharged from hospital after leaving Wazzu game on a stretcher

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Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton was taken away on a stretcher after a tackle left him motionless on the Reser Stadium turf on Saturday.

Family members were called to the field, where medical professionals stabilized an apparently unconscious Luton and removed his face mask. The game continued, of course, as Oregon State lost to Washington State 52-23 despite Luton’s 179 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.

Luton tweeted on Saturday night that he’ll “be back.”

Luton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to The Oregonian, though his father posted a message stating Luton was probably dealing with a “thoracic spine fracture.”

Oregon State is off Saturday before hosting Washington on Sept. 30.