Blake Sims quiets critics as Alabama leads Florida at halftime

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If one half of play is any indication, there is no longer a quarterback competition in Alabama.

The No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide are leading the Florida Gators 21-14 at halftime in a sloppy affair. In the first half, there were multiple fumbles, an interception, dropped passes and busted coverage.

But the play of Alabama’s senior quarterback, Blake Sims, was the bright spot.

Sims is 17-of-23 passing for 335 yards and three touchdowns. The Alabama quarterback made the right decisions throughout and capitalized on poor defensive play by the Gators. Sims found junior Kenyan Drake racing down the sidelines for an 87-yard touchdown connection. Later in the quarter, the senior signal-caller completed a 79-yard touchdown pass to the dynamic Amari Cooper.

Due to Sims’ outstanding play, junior Jake Coker didn’t see the field in the first half. Considering the current score and how well Sims is playing, no one should expect Coker to receive any repetitions in the second half.

Although, Alabama head coach Nick Saban wasn’t entirely thrilled with Sims play. The fiery coach tore into his quarterback when he fumbled the football in the second quarter.

Florida, meanwhile, isn’t getting close to the same level of play from their quarterback. Jeff Driskel. The Gators’ signal-caller is 5-of-17 passing for 53 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Gators defense, though, made plays to keep the team in the game. If the Florida’s defense can prevent big plays in the second half, Florida has a chance to steal a game from Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Otherwise, Alabama has been the better team sans the turnovers. Saban surely tore into his team at halftime. We should all expect Alabama to play sound football during the second half.

Florida State’s third-leading receiver enters transfer portal

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Just a couple of days after officially taking over at Florida State, Mike Norvell has suffered his first personnel loss.

First reported by SEC Network‘s Cole Cubelic and subsequently confirmed by 247Sports.com and others, Tre'Shaun Harrison has taken the first step in leaving the Seminoles by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  As one Alabama player did this week, Harrison could always opt to pull his name from the portal and remain at FSU.

Moving into the portal also gives other schools the opportunity to contact the wide receiver without receiving permission from FSU.

A four-star member of FSU’s 2018 recruiting class, Harrison was rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Washington.

Harrison is currently third on the Seminoles with 289 yards on 27 receptions.  As a true freshman last season, he caught 10 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, the first of his three scores with the ‘Noles.

Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill declares for draft, will play in Music City Bowl vs. Louisville

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There’s good news and bad news on the early-entry front for Mississippi State.

The bad? As expected, Kylin Hill announced via Twitter Thursday that, “after much prayer and discussion with my family… I will be forgoing my final season of eligibility and entering my name in the 2020 NFL Draft.”

The good? Hill confirmed that he will be playing in the Music City Bowl matchup versus Louisville Dec. 30.

Hill led the Bulldogs and the SEC this past season with 1,347 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns on 235 carries.  He added 17 catches for 174 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

For his career, Hill totaled 2,474 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground, and another 473 and five through the air.

Joe Burrow wins Associated Press Player of the Year in a landslide

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Come Saturday evening, when the results coming out of New York City are made official, I suspect this won’t be the first time we string the words “Joe Burrow” and “wins in a landslide” in the same sentence.

The Associated Press Thursday announced its College Football Player of the Year and, to the surprise of no one, Burrow claimed yet another piece of postseason hardware.  There were 53 media members who voted for the AP award; 50 of them cast first-place votes for Burrow, helping give the LSU quarterback a total of 156 points.

The senior, who is now viewed by some as the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, currently leads the nation in passing touchdowns with 48 and completion percentage at 77.9 percent; right now, the completion percentage would be an FBS record, surpassing the 76.7 percent put up by Texas’ Colt McCoy in 2008.  The Ohio State transfer is also second in the nation in passing yards (4,715) and passing efficiency (201.5).

Speaking of Ohio State, a pair of Buckeyes, defensive end Chase Young and quarterback Justin Fields, finished well behind Burrow in the voting.  Young, who was the only other player to receive first-place votes, totaled 29 points while Fields totaled 43.  Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was fourth in the voting.

All four of those players mentioned, incidentally, were named as Heisman Trophy finalists earlier this week.

New USF HC Jeff Scott lands commitment from ex-South Carolina RB

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After a season away, Lavonte Valentine is back at the FBS level.

By way of his personal Twitter account Wednesday, Valentine announced that he has decided to transfer to South Florida and continue his collegiate playing career with the Bulls.  As Valentine, whose transfer from South Carolina was confirmed in August of this year, comes to USF from the NAIA level, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.

The move comes a couple of days after Clemson offensive coordinator Jeff Scott was named as the football program’s next head coach.

Coming out of high school in Melbourne, Fla., Valentine was a three-star member of South Carolina’s 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 all-purpose running back in the country.  In part because of a torn ACL suffered his senior season of high school that caused him to miss spring practice and fall behind on the depth chart, Valentine took a redshirt for his true freshman season.

Valentine did, though, run track for USC this past spring, and he told The State that he will run track and play football at USF.