Discussions taking place for possible Illinois-Mizzou revival

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Illinois and Missouri last played in 2010 in St. Louis. Not surprisingly, the president of the St. Louis Sports Commission wants to see those two teams return for a revival of their “Arch Rivalry” in the not-too-distant future.

Speaking with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Frank Viverito said initial discussions have taken place about bringing the game back to the city — at least partially.

“I still think it would be the most successful college football endeavor that we can undertake,”  Viverito said. “Yes, we’re in discussions. It would be whatever the schools want it to be: two years or four years, alternate between St. Louis and Chicago or alternate between Champaign, Columbia and St. Louis. We just feel we bring something to the table to produce that game here relative to atmosphere, revenue and tradition. Both athletic directors have indicated a willingness to look at the game.”

With the Big Ten going to nine conference games in 2016 and the SEC possibly, eventually, doing the same, finding room on the non-conference schedule could be difficult. A Mizzou athletic department official told the Post-Dispatch that the SEC has asked schools not to schedule non-conference games beyond 2014 until a decision on conference scheduling has been reached. The SEC agreed to stay at eight conference games for 2014 and ’15 during spring meetings.

As for Illinois, the new Big Ten divisional alignment means the Illini will have five conference home games during odd-numbered years.

It’s all about where the game fits. If it fits.

So while a possible revival of the series may eventually come to fruition, it also may not happen for several years.

Missouri leads the overall series with Illinois 17-7.

Coroner rules death of Georgia Southern’s Jordan Wiggins a suicide

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Another tragic layer has been added to an already unimaginably sad story.

Overnight, Georgia Southern confirmed that offensive lineman Jordan Wiggins had passed away, although no cause of death for the 18-year-old true freshman was given. In a subsequent press release, the university explained that “[o]n Monday evening, a family member called Georgia Southern Police to request a welfare check at Jordan Wiggins’ residence hall in Statesboro. Upon arrival, officers found Wiggins unresponsive. He was transported to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, where he later passed away.”

Early Tuesday afternoon, WTOC-TV reported that, “[a]ccording to the Bulloch County Coroner, Wiggins’ death has been ruled a suicide.”

Because of Wiggins’ death, the football program canceled practice that had been scheduled for Tuesday.  The university is also providing counseling for those impacted by Wiggins’ sudden passing.

“My heart is broken for Jordan, his family, our team and this university,” said head coach Chad Lunsford in a statement. “Jordan was a great Georgia Southern Man with a bright future. His time on Earth was short, but we know that there is a greater plan, and we must trust that. If he was indeed struggling with some personal issues, I wish the resources that we currently provide our students could have helped more. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone this is affecting.”

And, for those in the reading audience: The phone number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.  Please, pick up the phone and call that number if you ever get to the point where you feel like you just can’t go on.  Or call somebody, anybody.

Illinois loses WR Trevon Sidney to season-ending injury

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After a series of high-profile renegings by transfer wide receivers this offseason, Illinois was able to hold on to a commitment from ex-USC Trojan Trevon Sidney.  Unfortunately for both the player and the program, that first season in Champaign has turned out to be a truncated one.

During the loss to Minnesota in Week 6, Trevon Sidney went down with an unspecified lower-leg injury.  Sidney missed the next two games, including the huge Week 8 upset of then-No. 6 Wisconsin.

Three days later, Lovie Smith confirmed that Sidney will miss the remainder of the 2019 season.  According to the head coach, Smith recently underwent surgery to repair what is still an unspecified injury.

Despite missing a pair of games, Sidney is still third on the Fighting Illini in receptions with 16.  His 123 yards are also fourth on the team.

The good news, such as it is, is that Sidney has another season of eligibility he can use in 2020.

Jerry Jones: Urban Meyer’s comment on Cowboys job a ‘compliment’

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How ’bout them Cowboys?  Urban Meyer‘s answer to a somewhat similar question has kicked up a bit of a kerfuffle.

Meyer, less than a year into his second retirement from coaching and in the midst of being lauded for his work as a college football analyst, appeared on Colin Cowherd‘s radio show late last week.  During the course of the interview, the ex-Ohio State and Florida head coach was asked about the not-vacant-yet job with the Dallas Cowboys and if he would want it.

Sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. That one? Yes.

Fast-forward a couple of days and the Cowboys’ owner has responded to what many are considering a not-so-thinly-veiled overture on Meyer’s part.

Jason Garrett, the current Cowboys head coach, is in the final year of his contract, which has led to the RPMs on that section of the coaching rumor mill ratcheting up significantly.

In addition to the Cowboys, Meyer was connected to the not-yet-vacant job at USC perhaps nanoseconds after his retirement was official.  Yesterday, our own Zach Barnett put Meyer as Florida State’s top target if the Seminoles move on from the Willie Taggart experiment, which thus far has been an abject failure by any measure.

Of course, if any of the upper-echelon Power Five schools end up searching for a new coach, Meyer will be at the top of their list as well.  Whether Meyer is attainable is another matter entirely.

Miami WR Brian Hightower tweets move to transfer portal

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All of a sudden, there’s a bit of upheaval in Miami’s receiving corps.

Earlier today, we noted the long-running, ongoing drama that is the Jeff Thomas Experience at The U. Monday evening, Brian Hightower added to the collective positional brouhaha by announcing on Twitter that, “[a]fter careful consideration and discussion with my family, and THE University of Miami coaching staff, I am entering my name into the transfer portal to openly explore the best opportunities to utilize my remaining eligibility and pursue my education.”

A four-star member of Miami’s 2018 recruiting class, Hightower was rated as the No. 27 receiver in the country.  Mark Pope was the only receiver in The U’s class that year rated higher than Hightower.

Hightower played in 17 games during his time with the Hurricanes — 10 as a true freshman, all seven this season.  He totaled 148 yards and one touchdown on 12 receptions, with eight of those catches and 88 of the yards coming in 2019.