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No. 8 Wisconsin punches ticket to Big Ten title game with dominant defensive performance vs. No. 20 Iowa


Sometimes you just have knuckle down and win an ugly game. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) did just that on Saturday against No. 20 Iowa (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten) by coming through for a gritty 38-14 victory on the strength of its defense. The only points scored by Iowa came from cornerback Joshua Jackson, and Wisconsin held Iowa to just 56 yards of offense. The win for Wisconsin clinched a return trip to the Big Ten championship game.

Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook was picked off twice by Jackson, and each time the interception was returned for a touchdown. It was the only way Iowa would manage to score in this one as the offense never got anything going against a stingy Wisconsin defense. Iowa forced two additional Wisconsin turnovers but Iowa could not take advantage of the opportunities unless Jackson was the one getting his hands on the football on defense. Wisconsin’s defense even got in on the scoring with a fumble return for a touchdown by Leon Jacobs. Another Iowa turnover also led to a Wisconsin score in the fourth quarter as the Badgers continued to pad their lead. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor continued to show why he is the Big Ten’s leading rusher with 158 yards on the ground.

A week after lighting up the Buckeyes, Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley completed just eight of his 23 pass attempts for 41 yards.

Here’s the thing with Wisconsin. They’re a pretty darn good team. They tend to be well coached by Paul Chryst. They don’t do many things in a sexy fashion, but they haven’t had to either. The schedule is what the schedule is, and it is fair to analyze that when comparing what Wisconsin has accomplished against what other playoff contenders have accomplished so far. And it is still fair to suggest other teams have a more impressive overall body of work too, conceding that an undefeated season does not necessarily have to mean you have been more impressive thana one-loss team or even, perhaps, a two-loss team.

But Wisconsin is doing exactly what it needs to do to achieve its first goal, which is winning the Big Ten. If the Badgers get to 12-0 with a shot at the Big Ten championship, they will absolutely be worthy of playoff consideration entering the conference title game. Anyone who argues against that is just being dismissive. This Wisconsin team is good. They might even be able to score a point in the College Football Playoff should they be fortunate enough to make it that far. For now, Chryst and Wisconsin will just focus on taking care of what they can and then letting the playoff committee do their job to determine if they are worthy or not at the end of the season.

For Wisconsin, it is on to next week to work on getting to 11-0. To do that, they will have to win one more game at home. Wisconsin will host Michigan next week in the home finale for the Badgers. The Wolverines could be tricky after seemingly discovered how to play some offense the last couple of weeks.

Iowa will return home for their home finale as well. The Hawkeyes host Purdue next week.

Clemson DT Christian Wilkins on substitute teaching: I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Kindergarten Cop’

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Those of a certain age may look back on going to grade school and think fondly on those rare days where the regular teacher was out and a substitute filled in. For many around the country, that often meant watching a movie or two for class instead of doing, well… actual work.

If you happen to be a kindergarten student at James M. Brown Elementary School in Walhalla, South Carolina though, having a substitute teacher for class has been taking on a whole different meaning the past few weeks. That’s because 300-pound Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins has been moonlighting as a sub and trying to corral little kids on a much gentler scale than he corrals quarterbacks on Saturdays in the fall.

“It was fun, but took a lot out of me,” Wilkins told ESPN earlier this week. “I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Kindergarten Cop’ with all those little kids. Talk about energy, but it was a real cool experience.”

Perhaps the most accurate line from Chris Low’s excellent story on Wilkins’ substitute duties came by one young pupil who muttered, ‘That’s one big mister.’ The senior All-American is only getting $80 for a day’s worth of work with the kids but seeing the massive defensive tackle walk into a room is probably as priceless for Wilkins as it is for those at the school.

UCF claims undefeated season was worth $200+ million in exposure for football program

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How much is an undefeated season worth for a program? If you ask the most recent team to accomplish the feat, the answer is a lot of dough. Like nine figures worth.

According to a release by UCF, the school commissioned a report compiled by Joyce Julius & Associates on just how much value they got from their football team’s perfect season that was capped off with an AAC conference title and a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn:

When combining national television game broadcasts, television news coverage, print media, Internet news and social media, the value of the exposure for UCF Football from Nov. 17, 2017-Jan. 31, 2018 was $171,079,417.47. Combined, the entirety of the 2017 UCF Football season’s exposure was valued at well over $200 million.

Further more, the study found roughly 160,000 total social media posts “generated nearly 655 million impressions with an estimated exposure value of $17,696,403.81. Of the 160,792 posts the study found, over 138,000 of them were on Twitter.” No word how many of those tweets were fans ridiculing the school for claiming a national title or just angry Alabama supporters yelling back about the sport’s true champion last season.

There’s no doubt that the Knights’ story and resulting publicity from claiming to be “national champions” was worth plenty to the school, but it seems like a bit of fuzzy math to claim all of $200 million worth of exposure even with new state license plates and trips to Disney World. One wonders if UCF can claim low nine figures from a “championship” run you’ve got to think Nick Saban’s actual title-winning Alabama team might be able lay claim to more than double that amount for winning the College Football Playoff after all.

Louisville signee Jairus Brents caught speeding, arrested for outstanding shoplifting warrant

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It’s never good for a head coach to get a call that one of his players was arrested and equally bad when the player in question hasn’t even arrived on campus. Such is the case for Louisville coach Bobby Petrino as one of his recent signees was arrested by police on Wednesday.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that four-star cornerback Jairus Brents was cited for speeding by local police and then was arrested due to an outstanding warrant that was the result of a shoplifting citation from shortly before National Signing Day. He was reportedly going 86 mph in a 55 mph zone and was also cited by police for reckless driving and driving without a license.

While that’s not great to say the least, here’s what the Courier-Journal says about the reason for Brents’ actual arrest:

He was arrested because of a warrant stemming from an alleged incident on Jan. 26. According to police, Brents and an “unknown (co-defendant)” took five tank-top shirts and four boxer briefs from the JCPenney store at St. Matthews Mall. Brents’ court date was set for March 5, but court records show that he was not present.

Louisville has not released a statement about the matter yet but Brents is still expected to remain a member of the Cardinals’ recruiting class. In addition to being rated as a four-star defensive back by 247Sports, the local star was also listed as the state’s No. 2 prospect in the class of 2018.

Either way, not the way one wants to begin a career in college football… before it really even begins.

With offensive line coach recovering from a broken hip, Baylor turns to former QB to fill in as coach during spring practice

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Spring practice has arrived in Waco and things are probably not off to the smooth start that Baylor head coach Matt Rhule was hoping for after a turbulent 2017 campaign.

In addition to suspending two players amidst sexual assault allegations, the program is dealing with being a coach short on the field for the next several weeks. That’s because offensive line coach George DeLeone is recovering from a broken hip and the ensuing surgery, resulting in former Bears quarterback Shawn Bell stepping into his spot to coach the big boys up front.


“And it’s because of his character and because of his patience and never really questioning anything,” Rhule told the school’s website of the change. “Luckily, there’s no egos with anybody there. I think George kind of hand-picked Shawn, saying he’s the right guy.”

Bell is currently an offensive analyst for the program and was hired when Rhule first arrived in Waco after several years as a head coach in the high school ranks in the state of Texas.