LSU prevails over Alabama in overtime

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Okay, so it wasn’t the unwillingly anointed “game of the century” — not unless you spend your free time analyzing the art of field goal kicking. The 9-6 overtime boxing match between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama was filled to the brim with great defense, but unless you were expecting a shootout with all kinds of crazy momentum swings and off-the-wall, how-in-the-Les-Miles-did-that-work big plays, well, then you might have turned off the TV slightly disappointed.

If that was the case, I apologize. We built this one up a lot.

[/taps chest] Our bad, man.

But what were we supposed to do? We had two weeks to fill! Two weeks!

But for those who tuned in to watch the top two ranked teams in the country earn every yard, every inch they gained, then you probably turned off the TV happy — even if you were sporting a houndstooth hat. If you sat down to watch good ol’ fashioned ground-and-pound football game, you probably walked away satisfied — even if you end each sentence with “Roll Tide!”. If you were stuck in a Buffalo Wild Wings praying for overtime, you were probably elated — even if the walls were decorated in signed in Crimson memorabilia.

The modern-day sports fan is picky and cynical. “Ugh, this game was so boring! Where was the offense? These two three quarterbacks are get a ‘B’ at best!”

They also fantasize in absurd hypothetical scenarios. “If this were the Big Ten, no one would watch this game! If Julio Jones was still at Bama, it’d be different.”

Well, guess what? It isn’t, and he’s not.

What we had tonight were 60 minutes and an overtime of generally well-played, evenly-matched, hard-hitting, high-stakes football. How much more can we really ask for? Not much at all.

Okay, maybe one trick play from Les Miles. 

Come to think of it, Miles was uncharacteristically conservative tonight. No fake punts or field goals. No wacky fourth down quadruple reverses to the right tackle (is that even allowed?). No nothing. Miles gets plenty of attention — or grief depending on the situation — for his high risk, high reward philosophy, but in a tight game that was dictated by stingy defense and special teams, Miles made the correct call. Don’t put the team in an unnecessary situation, win the field position battle, and eventually, someone will more than likely make a mistake.

While more flashy at times this season, that’s been LSU’s mantra all along. That’s Pop Warner football right there, folks, and Miles has the record in big games to show for it.

And to think people have been giving that man the business. Foooorrrrr ssshhhaaammmeee.

But since we’re praising Miles, it’s only appropriate to criticize one move he made in particular: replacing Jarrett Lee with Jordan Jefferson immediately after Lee threw his first interception, only to toss Lee back in the game three series later. I get that Miles wants to use two quarterbacks, but what’s the point of inserting Jefferson if he’s going to do what Lee did? Besides, playing in the “game of the century” on national TV seemed like a decent time for Miles to put Lee back out there right away and show some confidence in him. Trying to plug Lee in later in the game turned out to be a head-scratching move paid in full by a second Lee interception.

Ultimately, it didn’t cost the Tigers the game, and Jefferson stayed in at quarterback. Thankfully, LSU didn’t have to rely on their quarterback to win. Both sides were so even for the entire game and this one just had the feeling that it would come down to a couple plays, perhaps on special teams.

That turned to be the case. Bama missed four of six field goals and LSU was able to flip the field position in some key moments thanks to punter Brad Wing. It was a close game from start to finish, so you’d expect the outcome to be determined by something like that.

Was it the “game of the century”? No. It wasn’t even the best 1 vs. 2 matchup, but it was fun to watch. So let’s cool it on the rematch talk, live in the moment and take some time to digest what was a really, really good football game. There’s a month left in the college football season. We should hope every is like the one played tonight.

Missouri WR Kam Scott steps into transfer portal

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One of Missouri’s top wide receivers from 2019 could be on the move. Kam Scott has reportedly entered the NCAA transfer portal, allowing him to begin evaluating potential transfer options for the upcoming season.

By entering the transfer portal, Scott is now free to have contact with any other college football program interested in recruiting him. Scott is also free to pull his name out of the portal and remain at Missouri, but Missouri is no longer obligated to hold his scholarship. If Scott does transfer to another FBS program, he will be required to sit out the 2020 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Of course, a potential relaxed waiver process could make a path to immediate eligibility in 2020 a realistic possibility if the NCAA does approve a new waiver process.

Scott caught 17 passes for 328 yards in 11 games last season for the Tigers. He was Missouri’s third-leading receiver in 2019 behind Jonathan Nance and Tyler Badie.

Penn State and Paterno family resolve their issues

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It seems there is peace between Penn State University and the family of former head coach Joe Paterno. Or, at the very least, the two can go their separate ways without any more hostile feelings.

On Friday, the Penn State Board of Trustees announced the university and the Paterno family have reached a resolution on their ongoing issues. The Paterno family has agreed to drop all outstanding claims against the university and Penn State will cover some Paterno family expenses.

“The University recognizes and takes great pride in the many contributions made by Joe Paterno, not just to the football program, but to the academic advancement of this institution and to countless charitable causes in the community as well,” a statement from Mark Dambly, Penn State Board of Trustees chair, said. “We are pleased that the Paterno family has indicated that they will not support public or private advocacy efforts to revisit the past, through further review or release of investigative materials, or otherwise.”

“The last eight years have been difficult, made more so by the opinions in the Freeh Report, which my family and I believe was deeply flawed, reached unsupported conclusions about Joe and unjustly criticized the culture of Penn State,” a statement from Sue Paterno, the wife of Joe Paterno, said. “The University has made clear that Mr. Freeh’s opinions about Joe were never endorsed by Penn State. By confirming this position and reaching this understanding, the leadership of Penn State has acted in the best interests of the University, and for this I am grateful.”

The Paterno family has taken public aim at the Freeh Report, a report commissioned by the Board of Trustees following the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that rocked the university and community in 2011, which ultimately led to the dismissal of Joe Paterno as head coach of the Penn State football program and landed the program on hefty NCAA sanctions (which were later removed in part due to the Paterno family fighting the NCAA in court). Given the Paterno family’s long-time association with the university and the tension that arose with Paterno amid the Sandusky scandal, there were plenty of bitter feelings to go around.

As both the university and Paterno family stated, the real victims in this tragedy have been the ones truly suffering, and the hope is the university and Paterno family putting their differences aside can help keep the focus on what is really important in all of this.

And no, we’re not talking about the whereabouts of the Paterno statue.

Butch Jones getting a new job title at Alabama

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Former Cincinnati and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is moving up the ranks on the Alabama football staff. Jones will be promoted from analyst to special assistant to the head coach, according to a report from Al.com.

Jones joined the Alabama program in 2018 as an offensive analyst after his tenure at Tennessee ended in 2017. As a number of Alabama assistants and analysts tend to be, Jones has been a candidate for some potential jobs on the market since arriving at Alabama. the 2020 season will be Jones’ third with the Crimson Tide, as his name will likely continue to circulate the coaching rumor mill once the coaching carousel picks up again. With a new title at Alabama, it is expected jones will not be a candidate for the vacancy at Colorado.

What jones will do as the special assistant to the head coach, Nick Saban, can be pretty broad, but it will certainly be more than simply getting coffee (although the image of Jones as a coffee boy sounds entertaining). Jones will assist Saban in many parts of the operation of the program, taking some of the load off Saban’s shoulders where needed.

Just remember that Jones is not the assistant head coach, but he is the assistant TO the head coach. But if there is an Alabama spin-off of “The Office” in production, we’d certainly like to see it.

 

Ted Gilmore leaves Wisconsin for job at Michigan State

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Mel Tucker has continued to quickly assemble his first Michigan State football coaching staff.

Friday, MSU announced the addition of Ted Gilmore to Tucker’s first staff in East Lansing.  The 25-year veteran of the profession will serve as the Spartans’ tight ends coach.

“Coach Gilmore is a great teacher and excellent motivator who brings high energy,” said the new Michigan State football head coach in a statement. “He’s a proven developer of players and a very effective recruiter. He’s a true difference-maker.”

Gilmore comes to the Michigan State football program armed with recent and extensive experience in the Big Ten.  The past five seasons, Gilmore worked at Wisconsin as wide receivers coach.  From 2017-19, he carried the added title of passing-game coordinator for the Badgers.  From 2005-10, Gilmore was the receivers coach at Nebraska.  The last three seasons with the Cornhuskers, he was also the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator.

In between those two stints, he worked as the receivers coach at USC (2011) and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders (2012-14).

Gilmore has also served as the receivers coach at Colorado (2003-04), Purdue (2001-02), Houston (2000) and Wyoming (1997-98).  In 1999, Gilmore was the tight ends coach at Kansas.  He played his college football at Wyoming, and began his coaching career at his alma mater as a graduate assistant (1994-96).

The hiring of Gilmore is the seventh officially announced by the Michigan State football program.

This past weekend, it was confirmed that Ron Burton and Mike Tressel would be retained.  Shortly thereafter, Chris Kapilovic officially followed Tucker to MSU from Colorado.  Wednesday, former first-team All-Big Ten wide receiver Courtney Hawkins returned to East Lansing to coach the same position he played for the Spartans.  A day later, Jay Johnson was confirmed as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and Harlon Barnett was brought back as defensive backs coach.