UMass Minutemen

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during the first quarter of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images

LOOK: Mississippi State will dress Patriotic for visit to UMass Saturday

2 Comments

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s true, Mississippi State and Adidas are huge fans of the New England Patriots.

The Bulldogs will pay Massachusetts a visit — and not for a vacation, an actual football game — on Saturday, and the Minutemen will use the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium as their own.

So Mississippi State will dress like the Patriots.

Take a look, and then compare with the shot of the Patriots’ uniform above.

Mississippi State and UMass have never met previously, so how is this a “homecoming,” as Adidas describes it? Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen grew up in Manchester, N.H., which Google Maps tells me is just a short two-hour drive from Foxborough.

Anything you can do to psyche yourself up to play UMass in an empty stadium, I guess.

LOOK: Teams across the country commemorate 9/11 anniversary

1166164
Getty Images
Leave a comment

As you are no doubt aware, tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of one of the darkest days this country has ever faced.

To commemorate and honor those souls lost in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, as well as the military that continues to keep us safe, teams all across the country used the Week 2 game-day stage to wear helmets and uniforms — and gloves and cleats — in remembrance of 9/11.  Below are but a few of those:

(Writer’s note: schools or fans, if I’m missing any — and I’m sure I am — forward them to me at John.Taylor AT nbcuni.com and I’ll add them.)

Two frosh WRs suspended for Florida’s opener, but Antonio Callaway cleared to play vs. UMass

LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 19: Antonio Callaway #81 of the Florida Gators runs with the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

Florida has seen its receiving corps suffer some attrition, but the most important and productive component of that group is officially returning.

Jim McElwain confirmed to the media Monday that Antonio Callaway has been cleared to take the field again and will play in the opener this weekend against UMass. The Gators head coach said he learned of the university’s decision this past Friday.

McElwain’s confirmation comes two weeks after a controversial Title IX hearing found the receiver not responsible for an alleged sexual assault.

A former UF student-athlete and current football booster had been assigned to oversee the Title IX hearing involving current Callaway and former UF quarterback Treon Harris, both of whom were accused in January by a woman of sexually assaulting her this past December.  The alleged victim, as well as her parents and potential witnesses on her behalf, boycotted the hearing because of what they perceived as a conflict of interest.

The true sophomore had been suspended not only from the team but from the university since late January for a violation of the Student Conduct Code, later known to involve an alleged sexual assault.  In March, Huntley Johnson, a lawyer well-known in and around Gainesville as the go-to attorney for Gator student-athletes who run into legal issues, issued a statement in which he claimed that the allegation against his non-client “has no merit.”

Johnson released a statement in early June in which he stated that a modified suspension would permit his client to attend classes on campus as well as allow him to use the football team’s practice facilities.  Early on in summer camp, UF confirmed that Callaway will be permitted to practice with the Gators as they await the results of the hearing, which proceeded without the accuser and her witnesses.

Last season in his first year with the Gators, Calloway led the team in receiving yards (678) and tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (four). His 19.4 yards per catch led the squad, while his 35 receptions were good for third.

At the end of the regular season, he was named to the All-SEC Freshman team.  Earlier today, he was, not surprisingly, listed as a starting receiver on the depth chart released ahead of the opener.

In addition to the Callaway news, McElwain also confirmed that Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells will be suspended for the opener. The true freshmen receivers were arrested in mid-July on a pair of charges related to a BB gun incident that was caught on surveillance video.

Cleveland and Wells are the third and fourth Gators suspended for the opener. It was announced earlier this month that All-SEC cornerback Jalen Tabor and sophomore tight end C'yontai Lewis would miss the opener because of what turned out to be a fight during practice between the two players.

GoDaddy Bowl changes name to Dollar General Bowl

MOBILE, AL - DECEMBER 23: Members of the Georgia Southern Eagles celebrate after defeating the Bowling Green Falcons on December 23, 2015 at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. The Georgia Southern Eagles defeated the Bowling Green Falcons 58-27. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Getty Images
8 Comments

The jokes pretty much write themselves on this one.

The GoDaddy Bowl has changed its name to the Dollar General Bowl effective immediately, it was announced Wednesday.

“Having a title sponsor in today’s world is just fantastic,” bowl president Jerry Silverstein told AL.com. “There are a lot of bowls out there, and for Mobile to get the recognition from a national sponsor, to want to participate in the event we have here, just leads to the national stage of what we try to produce here in Mobile.”

The new sponsor was celebrated in a very, uh, Dollar General way.

Heading into its 18th season, Dollar General Bowl will be the sixth different name and third separate title sponsor for the Mobile, Ala., based game. It was born in 1999 as the Mobile Alabama Bowl, then changed to the GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl a year later. The name stuck as simply the GMAC Bowl from 2001-10, before the name switched to the GoDaddy.com Bowl in 2011. The “.com” was dropped before the 2014 game.

Representatives from the Sun Belt and MAC will compete in the 2016 game for the eighth consecutive season on the night of Dec. 23 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). Georgia Southern took last year’s game by a 58-27 score over Bowling Green. The Sun Belt has claimed three of the last four Dollar General Bowls over its northern adversaries.

Florida suspends CB Jalen Tabor, TE C’yontai Lewis for opener

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Tyler Cameron #3 of the Florida Atlantic Owls reacts after having the ball stripped away by Jalen Tabor #31 of the Florida Gators during the second half of the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Getty Images
7 Comments

Florida has suspended star cornerback Jalen Tabor and sophomore tight end C'yontai Lewis from all team activities through the Gators’ opener against Massachusetts on Sept. 3, the program announced Wednesday.

The dreaded “violation of team rules” is the culprit here.

“Both C’yontai and Jalen will not be involved with the team or practice due to behavior that is not acceptable,” head coach Jim McElwain said in a statement. “By no means are these bad guys and yet consequences have been handed down. We will not look the other way when it comes to breaking of team policies. I want to echo what I said earlier, these are both fine young men who will learn and be stronger from their actions. They will also be suspended for the first game. There are life lessons in everything we do. We will be better because of it and no one person is bigger than the Florida Gators.”

Tabor is the bigger loss here for the Gators. A Washington, D.C., native, Tabor earned First Team All-SEC honors from just about every outlet its possible to win them from, and various All-America mentions as well. He totaled 18 pass breakups and two pick sixes last season. The UMass game will mark his first absence as a Gator.

Lewis, a native of Eutaw, Ala., appeared in nine games as a redshirt freshman in 2015. He caught four passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

Should the pair not plunge themselves further into the doghouse between now and then, Tabor and Lewis figure to return for Florida’s SEC opener against Kentucky on Sept. 10.