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Colorado and Northwestern line up future home-and-home series

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Colorado and Northwestern have lined up a future home-and-home series for those planning ahead. The two schools announced a home-and-home series that will be played in 2025 and 2026, with each game being played on home campuses. None of that neutral field nonsense here!

Northwestern of the Big Ten will host Colorado of the Pac-12 on September 19, 2026. The Wildcats will make the trip to Boulder, Colorado the following season on September 11, 2027. The two schools have faced each other twice before, with Northwestern securing a 35-11 victory in 1951 and Colorado blowing out the Wildcats by a score of 55-7 in 1978. Each team won a game on their home field.

“This will be a great series for several reasons,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a released statement.  “Not only is it a quality match-up between two great academic and Pac-12 and Big Ten institutions, it’s important for us to get to that part of the country and the Chicago area for our alumni we have there.”

You may remember a few years back, before the Big Ten expanded to 14 members and both conferences had 12 members, the Pac-12 backed out of an arrangement for a full conference vs. conference scheduling agreement with the Big Ten. That would have been fun to watch, similar to the various conference vs. conference series in college basketball, so any time we can get a Big Ten and Pac-12 team on the same field is to be praised.

As a Big Ten member, Northwestern is required to schedule one game per season against another power conference opponent. Northwestern has the power conference scheduling commitment fulfilled in 2017 with Duke, 2018 (Duke, Notre Dame), 2019 (at Stanford), 2021 (at Duke), 2022 (Duke), 2023 (at Duke), 2024 (Duke), 2026 (Colorado), and now in 2027 (at Colorado).

The Pac-12 has no similar scheduling requirement for Colorado.

Once ticketed for Arizona, ex-USC lineman moves on to JUCO

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Noah Jefferson will indeed restart his collegiate playing career, albeit at a much lower rung on the football ladder than originally expected.

A Twitter account dedicated to all things junior college tweeted earlier this week that Jefferson will transfer to Arizona Western College. While the defensive lineman is not currently listed on the team’s official roster, Jefferson retweeted the original tweet and also followed up with responses to congratulations from followers.

In early March, Noah Jefferson announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from USC to Arizona. Four months later, Rich Rodriguez announced that Jefferson would not be playing for the Wildcats this season. No reason for the abrupt and unexpected about-face was given.

Jefferson wouldn’t have been eligible to play in 2017 for the Wildcats even if his move to the desert had come to fruition. He would’ve, though, had two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018 at his disposal.

A four-star member of USC’s 2015 recruiting class, Jefferson played in 14 games, starting one of those, as a true freshman. After starting the season-opening loss to Alabama last season, Jefferson never played another down for USC.

Nick Saban has his own thoughts on Josh Rosen’s football, academics not mixing comments

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Josh Rosen created a bit of a stir, to say the least, in a Bleacher Report interview earlier this week in which he stated that “football and school don’t go together.” To buttress his point, he used Alabama as an example of what would happen to the talent level of a team if SAT requirements were raised.

Thursday, the Crimson Tide head coach addressed the UCLA quarterback’s contention that “[h]uman beings don’t belong in school with [football players’] schedules.”

That head coach, Nick Saban, fully understands the athletic and academic demands of a college football player as he played at Kent State in the early seventies. While some would say that there’s no comparing Saban’s time in the sport to the here and now — and at a football monolith like Alabama vs. a MAC school no less — the coach, when asked about Rosen’s comments, says he “[doesn’t] know it’s changed a whole lot” since his playing days.

From al.com:

I don’t know that it’s changed a whole lot,” Saban said. “We used to have two-a-days every day. We don’t have two-a-days anymore. We don’t spend any more time in fall camp than when I played as a player (at Kent State 1970-72). We don’t practice any longer through the course of the week.”

“[Earning a degree] means a lot of guys — even though football might be difficult, nobody is saying it isn’t. Nobody’s saying school is not very difficult. Nobody is saying that getting a college education isn’t very difficult — but for a lot of those guys, being good football players is what created the opportunity for them to make a tremendous investment in their future by graduating from school.

“Is it difficult? Probably,” he said. “Was it difficult for me? Absolutely. So, I don’t think it’s ever been more difficult. It’s just never been easy. But I do think the reward of it all — the lessons that are learned being part of a team, the lessons being a competitor in an environment like this or any college football program … the lessons that you learn in life. I mean, how valuable can those things be?

The key quote pulled from Saban’s sermon on the subject just might be “[i]t’s just never been easy,” which is likely a very valid point. And Saban’s thought on how rewarding it is to put in the hard work of earning a degree while playing football is certainly something that shouldn’t be mitigated either.

Given how the sport has evolved since Saban’s playing days and the millions and billions of dollars at stake, though, it’s fair to wonder, as Rosen did, whether the demands involved with today’s game make it even harder and in a very real way dilutes the education a football player receives. And it’s a discussion for which Rosen should be praised for advancing, not chastised– even if he is just a rich white kid who very likely will be a first-round NFL draft pick.

College Football Playoff releases 2017 dates for rankings, committee member recusals

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Preseason camps are alive and well across the country and even the College Football Playoff Selection Committee is joining in.

The group announced that staff members from the CFP and the 13 selection committee members met this week in Colorado Springs, Colo. as part of a preseason set of meetings designed to finalize a few items on the agenda and refresh everybody with the process that will lead us to the eventual four teams in the running for the national title this year.

“It was good for everyone to be together again, and we had an excellent, thorough meeting,” Kirby Hocutt, chair of the selection committee and director of athletics at Texas Tech, said in a statement.  “We reviewed our protocol and processes in detail.  We’re all looking forward to the start of the season.”

The CFP also confirmed the times and dates of the committee’s top 25 rankings, which will once again start after Week 9 and continue past the conference title games. Hocutt will once again put a face on the rankings and take questions as part of the reveal on a TV show on ESPN at the following times:

  • Tuesday, October 31 – 7-8 p.m. ET
  • Tuesday, November 7 – 7-8 p.m. ET
  • Tuesday, November 14 – 9-9:30 p.m. ET
  • Tuesday, November 21 – 7-8 p.m. ET
  • Tuesday, November 28 – 7-7:30 p.m. ET
  • Sunday, December 3 (Selection Day) – Noon-4 p.m. ET

Also, the CFP announced the recusal process for 2017 would remain unchanged from prior seasons and the following members would not participate in votes on the following teams:

  • Arkansas – Jeff Long
  • Central Michigan – Herb Deromedi
  • Clemson – Dan Radakovich
  • Duke – Tyrone Willingham
  • Georgia – Frank Beamer
  • Missouri – Jeff Long
  • Ohio State – Gene Smith
  • Oregon – Rob Mullens
  • Southern Mississippi – Jeff Bower
  • Stanford – Tyrone Willingham
  • Texas Tech – Kirby Hocutt
  • Virginia Tech – Frank Beamer 

Committee members will recuse themselves if they or a family member are being compensated by a school. That explains why somebody like Tyrone Willingham is recused from Stanford and Duke (where his children are on the staff there) but not somewhere like Notre Dame, where he used to coach. This will be Beamer, Smith and Robert Morris president Chris Howard’s first year on the committee.

NCAA board adopts new sexual violence policy, creates new football safety task force

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The NCAA announced on Thursday that the organization’s Board of Governors has adopted a new policy for all schools that will require them to certify that coaches, administrators and players were educated in sexual violence prevention.

In addition to submitting a report to the NCAA that those staffers and players received the education, the formal policy also states that athletics departments must distribute school policies regarding sexual violence, along with contact information for the campus Title IX coordinator, to all student-athletes. The moves are the culmination of a nearly yearlong process at the association following the creation of a special commission designed to combat sexual assault on campus — a direct response to the (still ongoing) scandal that surfaced at Baylor not long before. Stanford head coach David Shaw and activist Brenda Tracy were among those who played a role in shaping the new policy.

The NCAA also announced the formation of a new football task force under the umbrella of player safety. The aptly named ‘Task Force on Football Data Analysis and Policy Implications’ (try saying that three times, fast) will gather football practice information and try to identify better strategies for member schools to use. It seems unclear as to why this is outside the purview of the Football Oversight Committee beyond the health/safety aspect but this is the NCAA we’re talking about so there is not surprisingly a committee (or task force, in this case) for just about everything.

In light of both the rash of sexual violence scandals across the country and the elimination of two-a-days when it comes to college football, it seems the NCAA is hoping the moves will help address any concerns schools have while also trying to address two of the bigger problems in the sport right now.