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.

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.

Trey Holtz set to join father Skip’s staff at Louisiana Tech

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Coaching is the family business for the Holtz family, and now two of them will work under the same roof.

As first reported by Bleed Tech Blue, Louis Leo Holtz, Jr., better known as Skip Holtz, has hired Louis Leo Holtz III, better known as Trey Holtz. The younger Holtz will serve as Louisiana Tech’s wide receivers coach.

Trey Holtz played his college ball at Texas under Mack Brown and Charlie Strong. A reserve quarterback, Holtz appeared in 23 games as a holder in 2015-16.

He then moved into the family business at Ohio State, where he worked as a graduate assistant for the past three years. Holtz worked with the Buckeyes’ running backs and tight ends, but will now coach receivers for his father’s staff. He replaces Todd Fitch, who left to become the offensive coordinator at Vanderbilt.

For the Holtz family, Skip hiring Trey is an act of history repeating itself. After serving as a GA at Florida State and Colorado State, Skip’s first full-time job came on his father Lou Holtz‘s staff as Notre Dame’s wide receivers coach in 1990. Skip was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1992 and became Connecticut’s head coach in 1994.

Two workers injured by falling beams at Bryant-Denny Stadium renovation

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Two workers were injured Saturday by falling beams at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The workers were laboring on a manlift when a pair of beams fell and struck the lift, trapping the workers, who were not named.

Firefighters responded around 5 p.m. Saturday to extract the workers, who were “seriously injured,” according to AL.com. After they were extracted, the workers were transported to DCH Regional Medical Center. Their condition was not known as of press time.

The workers were working on a $92.5 million phase of renovation to Bryant-Denny Stadium, announced in last fall. Crimson Tide AD Greg Byrne said in September that construction would be expedited to meet an aggressive schedule.

“We realized this is an aggressive construction schedule we are going to be talking about. However, our contractors are confident. They have expressed they will deliver this on time,” he said at the time.