No. 7 LSU playing like SEC’s best playoff contender

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Nobody should be foolish enough to ignore Alabama, Ole Miss, Texas A&M or Florida, but it No. 7 LSU (5-0, 3-0) is currently playing like the team with the best chance to represent the SEC in the College Football Playoff. Playing a transplanted road game at home in Baton Rouge, LSU pulled away from South Carolina (2-4, 0-4 SEC) to win 45-24 to remain undefeated with plenty of key games still to play.

Leonard Fournette did not rush for his weekly 200 yards, as he has done the last couple of weeks, but he did go for 158 yards and a touchdown, an 87-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second half to give LSU a 24-10 lead. That lead would grow to 31-10 before South Carolina started to chip away a bit. The damage had been done though and LSU was able to give Fournette a bit of a rest later in the half. That gave Derrius Guice a chance to shine, with 109 rushing yards and a touchdown.

LSU even got a productive afternoon from the quarterback, Brandon Harris. Harris completed 17 of 29 pass attempts for 229 yards, a new career high, and two touchdowns. Harris did not throw an interception either, showing there is potential for LSU’s passing game to get the job done as well. LSU should stick to the running game first and use the passing game as a compliment to whatever Fournette does. Then it falls on the LSU defense, which only allowed 17 points to South Carolina (Gamecocks had one special teams TD) and allowed just 12 first downs. LSU’s defense may not be quite up to the bar we have seen past LSU defensive units, but this Tigers team can still make somethings happen and that makes them as dangerous as any team in the SEC.

Between having a Heisman Trophy candidate running back, a potentially serviceable passing game and a well-rounded defense, what’s not to like about LSU? It might be the schedule.

Next week LSU hosts a rising Florida Gators squad that could be undefeated (Florida visiting Missouri tonight) and the Tigers later will make road trips to Alabama and Ole Miss. Both key SEC West road tests will be key, not to mention the regular season finale at home against Texas A&M. Consistency will be the key to LSU’s SEC and potential playoff success. Right now, LSU is playing like one fo the best teams in the conference, but can they keep it going?

South Carolina, meanwhile, is in danger of falling out of postseason bowl contention. Now at 2-4, South Carolina must win four of their final six games this season. The second half of the schedule includes games against Texas A&M, Florida and Clemson and a road game at Tennessee. South Carolina has not missed the postseason since 2007. This is also the first time Steve Spurrier has started 0-4 in SEC play in his career.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Steve Sarkisian getting nothing in his $30 million lawsuit against USC

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The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 10, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Déjà vu all over again: Talk resurfaces of Nick Saban wanting Texas job after winning 2012 title at Alabama
THE SYNOPSIS: Saban and his wife both stated they weren’t leaving Tuscaloosa.  Saban’s high-powered agent, Jimmy Sexton, though, reportedly playing point man in at least a couple of meetings with those connected to the Longhorns football program.  Of course, there is — or, was — a reason to question what the future Hall of Famer says publicly.

“I guess I have to say it… I’m not going to be the Alabama coach,” Saban, then the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, said on Dec. 21, 2006, nearly two weeks before he was named the Alabama coach Jan. 3, 2007.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Steve Sarkisian gets nothing in $30 million lawsuit against USC
THE SYNOPSIS: This was the biggest win related to football for the Trojans in quite awhile.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Add ‘2016 Olympian’ to Oregon WR Devon Allen’s list of accomplishments
THE SYNOPSIS: After posting a personal-best 13.03 in the 110-meter hurdles, Allen was part of the United States Olympic team in Rio De Janeiro.  In The Games, Allen finished fifth after putting up a 13.31 in the finals.  In November of that year, Allen announced he was foregoing his remaining eligibility to pursue a professional career in track. That announcement also comes nearly two months after he sustained a torn ACL, his second such tear in less than two years.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Florida State suspends RB Dalvin Cook following warrant for alleged battery of woman
THE SYNOPSIS: The following month, a jury found Cook not guilty.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Pac-12 commish: ‘I think we will have football’ in China
THE SYNOPSIS: Seven years later, and we have yet to see this come to fruition.  And Larry Scott, meanwhile, could be on his way out of the door.

Central Michigan loses one of its highest-rated 2018 signees to the transfer portal

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One of the highest-rated signees for Central Michigan football a couple of years ago is leaving the MAC program.  Or, at least, he is exploring the option of doing as much.

According to 247Sports.com, George Pearson is listed in the NCAA transfer database.  That would be the first step in the redshirt sophomore quarterback’s potential departure from the Central Michigan football team.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Pearson was a three-star member of the Central Michigan football Class of 2018.  Only one offensive signee in that cycle for CMU, wide receiver Keonta Nixon, was rated higher than the New Jersey product.  As a true freshman, Pearson completed 12 of his 24 passes for 94 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Pearson didn’t play a down for the Chips in 2019.

In 2018, Central Michigan lost a school-record 11 games.  In Jim McElwain‘s first season in 2019, CMU won went 8-6.  Included in the losses was a New Mexico Bowl beatdown at the hands of San Diego State.

Ole Miss pulls in second transfer from a university in Canada

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From Oh Canada to Ole Miss football?  I’m thinking one recruit might be in for a little culture shock.  Actually, make that two.

Last month, a Canadian college football player, the University of Guelph’s Tavius Robinson, committed to Ole Miss football.  On Twitter Wednesday, Deane Leonard did the same. The cornerback comes to the SEC school from the University of Calgary.

“First off I’d like to thank my friends, family, and coaches that have supported me through this process,” Leonard wrote. “I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for all that you’ve done for me over the years. Love you guys!

“With the cancellation of the USports season I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to look at my options down south.

“With that being said, I’ll be transferring to Ole Miss to complete my collegiate career.”

During his time at That Country Up North, Leonard appeared in 23 games.  In that action, the defensive back was credited with 47 tackles, 19 passes defensed, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, one tackle for loss, one sack and one block.  He also returned five kicks for 124 yards (24.8 average) and 19 punts for 195 yards (10.3 avg.).  One of those punts was returned for a touchdown.

Both Leonard and Robinson are expected to be immediately eligible for new head coach Lane Kiffin and the Rebels.

SEC commish issues statement in wake of Big Ten’s seismic announcement

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It didn’t take long for the most powerful man in SEC football country to respond to what the B1G wrought.

As you may have heard, the Big Ten confirmed Thursday afternoon that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season.  That was the first significant Power Five domino to tip, but it certainly won’t be the last.  In the coming days, or perhaps next week, the ACC and Pac-12 are expected to make a similar announcement.  The Big 12 and SEC, though, are widely expected to kick that football scheduling can down the road a bit longer, perhaps as late as the end of July.

Not long after the B1G announcement, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement addressing just where his conference is at decison-wise.

The Southeastern Conference will continue to meet regularly with our campus leaders in the coming weeks, guided by medical advisors, to make the important decisions necessary to determine the best path forward related to SE Fall sports.  We recognize the challenges ahead and know the well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans must remain at the forefront of those decisions.

Again, it’s expected that the SEC will make a decision on the football path it will take later this month.  Barring unforeseen circumstances pushing up that timeline, of course.