Temple sends ECU’s big bowl dreams off the plank

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There are some games where you can look at the box score and see just how dominant a team was in victory. This was not one of those games.

For the first time in program history, Temple (5-3, 3-2 American) defeated a top 25 team at home. The victim was a  No. 21/23 (AP/CFB Playoff ranking) East Carolina (6-2, 3-1 American) program looking to keep in front of the pack racing for a guaranteed spot in the College Football Playoff access bowls. Despite being outgained by a wide margin in the box score, Temple took advantage of four East Carolina turnovers to score a 20-10 upset of the Pirates.

East Carolina had over 200 more offensive yards than Temple. It did not mater. East Carolina had more than twice as many first downs as Temple. It did not matter. East Carolina lost five fumbles to the Temple defense. It mattered. By the time Marquez Grayson pushed in to the end zone for East Carolina’s first touchdown of the game, Temple was just two minutes and 15 seconds away from victory, with a 20-10 lead to protect after the ECU extra point. It was a game of many missed opportunities for ECU, and it could end up costing the American Athletic Conference a spot in one of the big bowl games at the end of the season.

Temple’s offense was never able to do much, but it did do all it could to run clock when with the football. Temple’s defense recorded one of the two Temple touchdowns with a long fumble return for a score in the first half. It was enough to get head coach Matt Rhule a big win for the Temple program.

For East Carolina, this loss stings, but it remains to be seen just how much it could hurt. It would be quick to assume the Pirates are now at risk of falling behind Marshall in the playoff ranking, because nobody knows just how the selection committee views Marshall at this point. An undefeated Marshall needed East Carolina to lose, but losses for Colorado State and maybe Boise State, UCF and Cincinnati the rest of the way would certainly help as well. This will be important to pay attention to Tuesday when the new rankings come out.

East Carolina will get a week off to regroup, and they will return to action the following Thursday in a big conference game at Cincinnati. UCF is also in the conference hunt. East Carolina ends the season at home against the defending conference champions.

Temple’s last victory over a top 25 team came in 1998, against Virginia Tech. This was the first time Temple has defeated a top 25 team at home. The Owls are now one win shy of becoming eligible for postseason play.

CB Tony Butler posts classy, heartfelt goodbye in announcing transfer from Nebraska

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Thanks to a Nebraska football player, we won’t have to go through an entire day without a portal post.  Hurray?

Late this past week, Tony Butler announced in a very classy, heartfelt post on Twitter that he will be entering the NCAA transfer database.  The move would serve as the first step in a departure from the Nebraska football program.

The cornerback could also return to the Nebraska football team if he so desires.

That said, Butler would be leaving the Cornhuskers as a graduate transfer.  The 2020 season will be his final year of collegiate eligibility.

“In 2016, I came here as an 18-year-old kid lost and looking for a home.  Nebraska, you became my home and brought me in with open arms,” Butler wrote. “This place became very special. …

“Nebraska, you have done an incredible job at helping a lost boy become a man.  My family and I are forever grateful for this opportunity.”

A three-star 2016 signee, Butler was rated as the No. 22 player regardless of position in the state of Ohio.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

The past three seasons, Butler played in 27 games.  Four of those appearances came in 2019, which was likely the trigger for the decision to transfer.  Most of the games played came on special teams.

Butler is the third player to leave the Nebraska football program in a week.

Linebacker Pernell Jefferson, a three-star 2016 signee, entered the portal Wednesday.  Days before that, offensive lineman John Raridon decided to retire from football to pursue a career in architecture.

Five-star Penn State WR Justin Shorter tweets transfer to Florida

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The Florida Gators football program is the latest to benefit from Ye Olde Transfer Portal.

In late November, Justin Shorter took the initial step in transferring from Penn State by entering the NCAA database.  Two months to the day later, the wide receiver took to Twitter to announce that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career as part of the Florida Gators football team.

As of yet, UF has not announced Shorter’s addition to the roster.

A five-star member of the Nittany Lions’ 2018 recruiting class, Shorter was rated as the No. 1 receiver in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New Jersey; and the No. 8 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only defensive end Micah Parsons was rated higher than Shorter in Franklin’s class that year.

Limited to four games as a true freshman in large part because of injuries, Shorter caught three passes for 20 yards in 2018.  In 11 games this season, Shorter caught 12 passes for 137 yards.

Barring the unexpected, Shorter will have to sit out the 2020 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.  He would then have two seasons of eligibility beginning in 2021.

World of college football reacts to tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter in helicopter crash

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As is the case across the entire world of sports, college football is reacting to the devastating news involving Kobe Bryant.

Sunday morning, Bryant was one of nine people killed — initial reports had the number at five — in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on his way to a travel basketball event.  The former NBA superstar, who retired from the sport following the 2015-16 season, was 41.

Adding to the devastation, one of Bryant’s daughters, who was also a player on her father’s travel basketball team, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Bryant, was killed in the crash as well.

Kobe and Gianna are survived by wife/mother Vanessa and three daughters/sisters.  The oldest is 17, the youngest will turn one in June.

In the hours after the heartbreaking news was confirmed, the world of college football mourned the passing of Kobe Bryant. Below is just a sampling.


Georgia state rep. proposes pay-for-play legislation with a twist that will make no one happy

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Ever since California’s SB 206 passed last September, more than a dozen states followed with their own versions of the Golden State’s Fair Pay to Play Act, to go along with a number of concurrent pushes in Washington. No matter your stance on the pay-for-play issue or what side of the political aisle you sit on, it seems we can all agree that politicians are not the people to solve this issue, and yet the NCAA kept dragging its feet, and dragging its feet, and draaaaggging its feeetttt and, well, here we are. And Sandra Scott‘s bill a large reason why.

Scott, a state representative in Georgia (D-Rex) has introduced HB 766, a type of compromise bill that will make no one happy.

The appeal, at least from the outside, of California’s SB 206, is that it would allow college athletes to capitalize on their popularity during the lifetime of that popularity while costing the school very little money, since the money would come from third-parties.

Scott’s bill does neither. In fact, it goes out of its way to do the opposite.

According to HB 766, Georgia would require its schools to set aside a third of all monies earned in postseason play into an escrow account, which would then be given to players upon graduation.

Read for yourself below.

To recap, Scott’s bill would cost the schools millions of dollars and also shut out a lot of the players who generate those millions. Why should, say, Jake Fromm be barred from having a hand in the money he produced for Georgia just because he went pro?

In short, Scott’s (well-meaning) bill would anger both schools and athletes while continuing the overly paternalistic attitudes adults have adopted toward college athletes that applies to no other demographic in college sports.