Georgia got its revenge on Alabama on Saturday, I guess. Months after letting a lead slip away in the national championship game, Georgia wiggled past Alabama in the spring game attendance standings on Saturday but the Dawgs still had to settle for second place overall. A record crowd at Nebraska led to the Cornhusker faithful having the highest attendance for a spring game this season.
Nebraska set a school record on Saturday with 86,818 fans attending the spring game in Lincoln, the first under new head coach Scott Frost. It was the first time Nebraska recorded a crowd over 80,000 during the past five years. Nebraska surged to the top of the Big Ten spring attendance standings as well, and stayed comfortably ahead after Penn State recorded an estimated 71,000 fans at its spring game on Saturday. Ohio State had led the Big Ten the previous three years but stadium renovations limited Ohio State to 79,000 available seats this year at Ohio Stadium, and weather and schedule adjustments to the spring game resulted in a crowd of 47,803 for Ohio State’s spring game.
The SEC once again dominated spring game attendance numbers this year. With LSU and Mississippi State numbers still pending, the SEC has five schools in the top 10 in spring game attendance as of today; Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas A&M. As a conference, the SEC eclipsed the 400,000-fan mark for the fourth time in the last five years. Although the Big Ten is typically the second best conference in cumulative spring game attendance, the conference’s number took a big dip this season thanks to weather issues across the conference. Still, the number pulled in by Nebraska, Penn State, and Ohio State helped keep the Big Ten in second place ahead of the ACC.
Keep in mind spring game attendance is treated differently by every school, and the numbers often include estimates so the accuracy can be questioned. Even though there are still a handful of spring games left, none will rival the numbers put up today.
The updated top 10 is listed below, and a full database of spring game attendance can be found here (complete with conference breakdowns and a five-year record of spring game attendance figures by school).
2018 Spring Game Attendance Top 10
- Nebraska – 86,818
- Georgia – 82,184
- Alabama – 74,732
- Penn State – 71,000
- Tennessee – 65,098
- Florida State – 60,934
- Clemson – 55,000
- Florida – 53,015
- Oklahoma – 52,102
- Texas A&M – 48,129
Police suspected Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, according to an affidavit obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.
An anonymous tipster notified the Tallahassee Police Department that Francois possessed in his home a grocery bag with an estimated two pounds of marijuana inside. That led to a search warrant, where police discovered marijuana three times in four searches of his garbage. They classified their discovery as being “consistent with activity” of people looking to distribute.
Francois agreed to a pre-trial diversion program on misdemeanor charges of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
He remains with the team, rehabbing from an injury suffered in the 2017 opening night loss to Alabama. “He understands his responsibility as a student athlete here,” ‘Noles head coach Willie Taggart told the paper on Saturday. “He understands my expectation of what I’m looking for, especially when it comes to our quarterback. He’s got to be smart about who he’s around and what he’s around, and make good decisions.”
It was just a few days ago I said there are two things that never get old to me. One was players finding out they have been put on scholarship, as Minnesota defensive lineman Sam Renner learned in the middle of the Gophers’ spring game. The other was when those serving in our nation’s military surprise their family with a reunion. On Saturday, prior to Florida State’s spring game in Tallahassee, lineman Derrick Kelly was given that special moment.
Kelly was treated to a video message on the scoreboard in Doak Campbell Stadium from his brother, Navy officer Derrickus Kelly. Kelly’s message to his brother started off as an apology for not being able to be in attendance. Of course, this was just a setup to the ultimate surprise; Derrickus Kelly taking to the field from the north end zone to greet his brother as fans stood and applauded.
“We cried a little bit out there,” Derrickus said, per The Orlando Sentinel. “I haven’t seen him in two years. There were times when all I felt like I had was my brothers. So it felt good.”
The emotions of the moment were not lost on anyone, including new Florida State head coach Willie Taggart.
“It was special,” Taggart said. “I teared up myself. I can only imagine what [Derrick] goes through every day probably praying for his brother to come back home safe.”
For the second time this offseason, Deondre Francois is facing an off-field situation.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Francois is currently facing a misdemeanor charge connected to the possession of pot. The Democrat writes that the Florida State quarterback “was given a notice to appear in court by Tallahassee Police and faces a charge of possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana.”
It’s unclear what led up to the charge.
“We are aware of the situation and it is being handled internally,” first-year head coach Willie Taggart told the newspaper in a statement.
In January, police were called to the apartment that Francois shared with his pregnant girlfriend because of an alleged domestic incident. Because of “conflicting statements and lack of independent witnesses,” however, no charges were ever filed in connection to that incident.
Francois started all 13 games under center for FSU in 2016 as well as the 2017 opener before going down in that loss to Alabama with what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury. He has been limited this spring as he continues to recover from that injury.
A relationship that’s was wobbly as recently as last year has been further solidified thanks to today’s development.
Wednesday, it was reported that the ACC would be announcing future venues — or venue, singular — for its football championship game. A day later, the league confirmed, as expected, that its title game will remain in Charlotte for the foreseeable future.
The new agreement will keep the game at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium through the 2030 season. The city was already set to host the game in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“Charlotte has been a tremendous home for the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game and we’re pleased to announce the Queen City as our championship destination through 2030,” said conference commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “With the outstanding efforts by the Charlotte Sports Foundation, Carolina Panthers and city of Charlotte, our game has grown into one of the premier sporting events in the country. We look forward every year to this annual celebration of ACC Football.”
Charlotte had played host to the ACC football championship game every year since 2010 before a controversial bill resulted in the conference yanking the 2016 game from the city and moving it to Orlando. In 2017, the game was moved back to Charlotte.
Prior to 2010, the first three league title tilts were played in Jacksonville (2005-07) and the next two in Tampa (2008-09).