Braxton Miller is still Ohio State’s best Heisman Trophy candidate

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You can probably pick an Ohio State player’s name out of a hat and feel good about his chances of being a Heisman Trophy finalist. Running back Ezekiel Elliott was among the top favorites entering the season, with quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett also in the conversation. Some might even feel inclined to throw defensive end Joey Bosa in the debate, because we always feel a need to put a defensive player in the conversation despite having no real shot of seeing it develop. But lost in the Heisman shuffle this offseason was one name that perhaps never should have dropped off as far as it did. On Monday night, Braxton Miller reintroduced himself to the college football nation, reminding everyone watching Ohio State’s 42-24 victory at Virginia Tech just how special a talent he is.

To say we forgot about Miller would be unfair. Miller’s status was a key offseason topic for Ohio State, with various transfer rumors connecting the former quarterback to Oregon, LSU, Alabama and who knows where else. He chose to stay at Ohio State. He chose to move to a new position, wide receiver. If there was any question how that transition would go, Miller answered it with a resounding “It’ll all be OK” Monday night.

Miller’s first catch came on Ohio State’s third offensive series of the night, and it was worth the wait. On 1st and five from the Virginia Tech 48-yard line, Jones sent a rocket toward a diving Miller, and the new Buckeyes receiver showed off great hands by snagging the football for a 24-yard gain over the middle. The second half started with a bang as Jones and Miller once again hooked up for a big play. This time it was a 54-yard touchdown pass that gave Ohio State a spark and the lead after trailing the Hokies at halftime. Later in the quarter Miller served up a spin move so devastatingly video game-like you would have thought Twitter exploded with the response. It was almost as if the world forgot just how special Miller can be on the field, when healthy.

The truth is we always knew Miller had great speed and skill. He showed that off when he was the full-time starting quarterback at Ohio State. Before having to miss the 2014 season due to a shoulder injury, Miller was twice named the winner of The Silver Football and twice named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Two times Miller was named All-Big Ten First Team and he was a top 10 Heisman candidate in both 2012 and 2013. The world knew of Miller. What we didn’t know was juts how well he could take on a key role at a brand new position. Now we know. Let us not forget.

“I would like to say this, I love Braxton Miller,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said after the game. “When you have selflessness, you make a lot of decisions as you have to and he did it for the best interest of his team and Ohio State and when I think about that it makes you feel good. I love that kid, man. And when he does the spin move and the ridiculous athletic ability. He broke down in there, got real emotional. So the negative about football is that you don’t see their faces, you see a helmet and sometimes a visor and you don’t get to see what the kid’s all about.”

In a world in which overreaction following one game in September is unwise, I cannot help but fall into the trap of thinking Miller may just be the best Heisman Trophy candidate Ohio State has to offer this season. History, of course, is not on Miller’s side as a wide receiver has won the Heisman Trophy just once since 1991. That year the Heisman Trophy was won by Desmond Howard of Michigan. The former Heisman Trophy winner chimed in on Miller Monday night…

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I would not go so far as to call Miller’s earlier years at quarterback a waste.I would also suggest Miller may just be a natural talent that was born to play football by any means necessary.

We will see if Miller can continue to show off this level of performance in the weeks to come, but given Ohio State’s schedule coming up it would be fair to say we will see plenty more highlights involving Miller.

Notre Dame-Georgia going under the lights on Sept. 21

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CBS’s contract with the SEC typically gives the network two double-headers a year — one with games at noon and 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, and another at 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. For the past, oh, eight years, the 8 p.m. kickoff has been reserved for the Alabama-LSU game, for obvious reasons.

The last time CBS used its primetime SEC designation for a game other than Tide-Tigers came in 2010, when the network picked Alabama-Florida back when the Nick SabanUrban Meyer rivalry was still popping.

It looks like that’s set to change this year, though, as CBS announced Tuesday that the Sept. 21 Notre Dame at Georgia game will air at 8 p.m. ET.

While leaving open the possibility some backroom negotiations between CBS and ESPN could still find Alabama-LSU on CBS in primetime when the two meet on Nov. 9, clearly CBS has prioritized the chance to put the golden domes under the lights over any other game under its control — and with good reason. Notre Dame hasn’t played inside an SEC stadium since its trip to Knoxville on Nov. 6, 2004 and isn’t scheduled to return to SEC country until an Oct. 4, 2025 game at Arkansas.

Notre Dame has never played inside Sanford Stadium. The Irish and Bulldogs have played just twice previously, once in the 1982 Sugar Bowl (a 17-10 Georgia win) and once at Notre Dame in 2017 (a 20-19 Georgia win).

Though Alabama has beaten LSU eight consecutive times, viewing interest in the rivalry is still quite strong. The Tide’s 29-0 win over LSU in 2018 drew 11.543 million viewers according to Sports Media Watch, trailing only Michigan at Ohio State for the most-watched game of the regular season.

Clearly, though, CBS executives think Notre Dame at Georgia will be a bigger draw than the Alabama-LSU game.

One of world’s largest cranes being used to build Carrier Dome’s new roof

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A new recruit is coming to Syracuse’s campus soon, and he’s absolutely huge.

To build the Carrier Dome’s new roof, the school has rented a LR-11000 crane, which will stand nearly 500 feet in the air.“It’s going to dominate the skyline,” Buckner Heavylift Cranes heavy lift and rigging planner Jim Jatho told the Syracuse Post-Standard. “If you can see the Carrier Dome, it’ll be a couple hundred feet above it.”

So big is the the LR-11000 that it will require between 85 and 87 truckloads to deliver all the necessary parts, and will also require the efforts of three or four other cranes in order to build this one. Construction of the crane is expected to take three to four weeks. The crane is manufactured by a German firm, and SU will rent it from Buckner Heavylift Cranes, based out of North Carolina. There are just 13 LR-11000s scattered across the United States.

The LR-11000 can lift 1,100 tons — that’s 2.2 million pounds — and weighs 3 million pounds on its own.

The reason for such specialized equipment is the tight quarters around the Carrier Dome and the unique job that requires the expertise of the LR-11000, which will construct the crown-truss that will encircle the dome’s bubbly, cloud-like roof. The LR-11000 is typically used to build wind turbines.

“Putting a crane of this size in a space so small is almost unheard of,” Jatho said.

Syracuse initially announced plans to give the Carrier Dome a new roof back in 2016, committing $118 million to improve the 38-year-old stadium’s roof. The new roof will have natural lighting, a 40-year lifespan (the current roof had 20) and will be less costly to maintain, the school says.

Syracuse also plans to install a vertically hung scoreboard, ADA improvements, enhanced WiFi and, by 2022, air conditioning, new restrooms and new concession space.

The new roof is expected to be complete by fall 2020, but the construction is not expected to interrupt Dino Babers and company’s efforts to dethrone Clemson for ACC supremacy.

California JUCO defensive back shot, killed

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Sadly, there’s yet another deadly shooting involving a college football player on which to report.

According to multiple media outlets in the Sacramento area, Sierra College defensive back Chancelor “Chance” Fields-Colbert was shot and killed very early Sunday morning following an incident during what was described as a college sendoff party in Fair Oaks.  Fields-Colbert was shot once inside the residence in which the party was being held and managed to get out of the house before collapsing in an intersection a short distance away.

The sophomore from Fairbanks, Alaska, was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

It’s disbelief and shock,” the junior college’s head coach, Benjamin Noonan, told ABC’s Sacramento affiliate. “It’s been a nightmare these last 48 hours and the kids are, you know, pulling it together and just want to be around each other.”

As a freshman this past season, Fields-Colbert played in five games for the Wolverines.

Oregon’s Calvin Throckmorton headlines Outland Trophy watch list

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With eight semifinalists from a year ago gone, the Outland Trophy’s 2019 preseason watch list takes on a decidedly fresh look this go ’round.

Headlining the 83-player group of the nation’s top interior linemen is Oregon’s Calvin Throckmorton, who is the only Football Writers Association of American All-American from a season ago on this year’s watch list.  Throckmorton is one of 12 players from the Pac-12 listed, which is tied for third among all conferences with the Big 12; with 13 apiece, the Big Ten and SEC lead all leagues.

The ACC’s 10 is the fewest among Power Five conferences, while Group of Five leagues are paced by the AAC’s six.  All 10 FBS conferences are represented, including the Mountain West (four), Conference USA (three), MAC (three) and Sun Belt (three).  Independents account for four as well.

Throckmorton is one of four linemen from Oregon, tied with Michigan for the most of any single school.  Georgia has three, while another 15 schools have two each.

A total of 32 offensive tackles are on the watch list, the most for any single position.  That group is followed by 19 defensive tackles, 18 offensive guards and 14 centers.