Michigan State’s bid to defend its Big Ten championship got a lift Tuesday with the announcement Brandon Clemons has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
A veteran of 32 college games, Clemons is a three-year letter-winner and has already earned his degree in psychology.
With the Spartans offensive line dealing with significant injuries for much of the 2015 season, Clemons was an important part of the rotation and saw time in 13 games.
“Brandon Clemons adds a great deal of experience and stability to the offensive line,” coach Mark Dantonio said in a news release.
The 6-3, 303-pounder figures to vie for a starting role this fall on a unit that lost All-Americans Jack Conklin and Jack Allen at tackle and center, respectively, as well as starting guard Donavon Clark.
“I believe the team is only as good as the seniors,” Dantonio said. “Brandon has been part of a winning culture here the past five years and we’re excited he’s getting the opportunity to maintain that level of excellence for his sixth season. He’s everything you’re looking for in a quality student-athlete. He earned his degree last year and will be a go-to guy in the offensive line room this season for our football team.”
With quarterback Connor Cook and top receiver Aaron Burbridge among those graduating, the Spartans face a major rebuild on offense.
However, a four-headed monster at tailback including Big Ten championship game hero L.J. Scott could give Dantonio’s team a major building block if the line can come together quickly.
The other Big Ten sports broadcast rights shoe is reportedly ready to drop, and it is full of cash for the oldest major conference.
Sports Business Daily reported Monday morning ESPN has agreed to pay $190 million per year for six years to continue broadcasting Big Ten football and basketball games.
Of course that figure gets more impressive when we recall it is for only roughly half of the conference’s games. The other half already went to Fox Sports for a reported $240 million per year, and CBS is expected to retain some basketball games for $10 million per year.
Then of course there are still the rights owned by the Big Ten Network.
How does it all add up?
SBJ offers some perspective:
The $2.64 billion deals with Fox, ESPN and CBS average $440 million per year and nearly triple the amount ESPN and CBS had been paying for the same programming. ESPN signed a 10-year deal worth $100 million annually in 2006 — a payout that increased to $150 million this year due to the addition of Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers to the conference. CBS paid an average of around $6 million for its current basketball-only deal.
Also of note: Fox managed to secure the first choice of which weeks it will get first choice of games, meaning the network could pluck away the storied Ohio State-Michigan game that traditionally takes place in late November as the season finale.
That game has been fixture on ESPN/ABC for decades.
Previously, ESPN generally had first pick of games with the Big Ten Network taking what was left.
Whether Michigan State will have Ed Davis on the field in the fall of 2016 will be wholly dependent on the linebacker’s academic performance off the field in thew summer.
Davis is seeking — or is wanting to seek — a sixth season of the eligibility from the NCAA that would allow him to play this upcoming season. However, MSU cannot apply for that sixth season on Davis’ behalf until the linebacker graduates from the university.
Davis likely won’t graduate until mid-August, meaning his availability for the start of the season is certainly up in the air. From mlive.com:
[Head coach Mark] Dantonio said Davis needs to take classes during both summer sessions to earn his degree, but that he’s “on track” to graduate in the summer.
According to Michigan State’s academic calendar, the second of those sessions doesn’t end until Aug. 18. That date falls two weeks and one day before the Spartans’ season opener, and will be well into the team’s fall camp.
After that day, the team will still have to file paperwork with the NCAA and wait for a response before it knows whether or not Davis can play in 2016.
Good luck getting a speedy response from that governing body.
A key contributor from 2012-14, Davis started 12 games in that latter season. He was third on the team in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (seven), and was named honorable mention All-Big Ten for his performance.
Davis didn’t play at all in 2015 because of a torn ACL sustained in the first full-pads practice of summer camp last August.
It’s not often that a player transfers from the MAC to a Big Ten school; it’s normally the other way around. This time, though, it’s the former.
On his personal Twitter account Monday, Matt Seybert announced that he will be transferring into the Michigan State football program. The tight end went to the same Michigan high school that produced the plethora of Bullough brothers who have played for the Spartans.
Seybert was a two-star member of Buffalo’s 2015 recruiting class. He did not take the field for the Bulls as a true freshman.
After sitting out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Seybert will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.
The top two teams in the ACC, Clemson and Florida State, are widely expected to once again lead the way in the ACC and the first batch of season win totals from Las Vegas outlet The Golden Nugget back that up. The initial 2016 win totals for a handful of college football programs were released by The Golden Nugget this week, and it would appear the sportsbook expects a big season from the defending ACC champion and national runner-up Clemson.
As noted by The Sporting News, The Golden Nugget gave a regular season win total of 10 to Clemson and Oklahoma, both coming off an appearance in the College Football Playoff last season. Florida State also gets a double-digit win total, as does Tennessee. Defending national champion Alabama has a line of 9.5 for its win total.
Tennessee having a higher win total than Alabama? Well, consider the divisions each play in. The SEC West is still arguably a stronger division than the SEC East, suggesting Tennessee will have an easier path to hitting 10 wins during the regular season. Tennessee opens the season on a neutral field against Virginia Tech in Bristol, while Alabama hits the big stage in Arlington to take on USC. The Trojans have a win total of just 7.5. There was no number available for Virginia Tech.
Defending Big Ten champion Michigan State has a win total number of 8, which is half a game lower than the 8.5 given to Ohio State (take the over now while you can) and 1.5 games lower than in-state rival Michigan (9.5). Defending Pac-12 champion Stanford has to get to eight games to break even. The Golden Nugget set UCLA’s win total at nine, the highest among Pac-12 teams.
Clemson 10 (over -120)
Florida State 10 (over -120)
Oklahoma 10 (under -130)
LSU 9.5 (over -140)
Michigan 9.5 (over -120)
Houston 9 (under -150)
Notre Dame 9 (under -125)
Ohio State 8.5 (over -115)
Baylor 9 (under -125)
Michigan State 8 (under -135)
Stanford 8 (under -130
Ole Miss 7.5 (under -115)
Georgia 8.5 (over -145)
Auburn 7 (over -120)
UCLA 9 (over -120)
USC 7.5 (over -120)
Oregon 8.5 (under -120)
Florida 8 (under -125)
TCU 8.5 (under -125)
Oklahoma State (under -130)