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Was Notre Dame’s big rig recruiting visit an NCAA violation. Maybe. So what?

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On Thursday morning Notre Dame parked its 18-wheel equipment truck out front of the home of five-star wide receiver Demetris Robertson. The photo of the truck at Robertson’s home did not take long to go viral among the college football world, but this is hardly a new stunt on the recruiting trail, nor will it be the last time a program does it. Heck, Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi sent Pitt’s equipment truck on the road for a recruiting visit Friday morning as well. Of course, this recruiting strategy may have ruffled some feathers from rival programs who were quick to make note this may actually be a violation of NCAA rules.

The violation, a minor one at the most, would be from the act of promoting the visit by sharing an image of the truck on Twitter (NCAA bylaw 13.4.3.5) This would be deemed by some to be promoting the recruitment of a prospective student-athlete. It was another tweet that caught my eye, however.

Notre Dame offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford shared an image of the truck, which appeared to be parked in the same spot as Robertson’s own footage of the truck, suggesting the Irish were, technically, promoting the truck’s presence on a recruiting visit.Sanford later posted another image of the truck while it was in Georgia.

According to a report from Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, a Notre Dame spokesperson stated it was believed to be permissible to use the equipment truck as a mode of transportation. Of course, that would mean Sanford spent 908 miles in the truck from South Bend, Indiana to Savannah, Georgia.

The wording of the NCAA bylaw is open for some interpretation, as most seem to be.

NCAA bylaw 13.4.3.5: “Member institutions and their representatives of athletics interests are prohibited from financing, arranging or using recruiting aids (e.g., newspaper advertisements, bumper stickers, message buttons) designed to publicize the institution’s interest in a particular prospective student-athlete.”

If Notre Dame committed a recruiting violation, OK. the punishment for that violation would amount to little more than a mild slap on the wrist, probably. If that’s what it takes to win the commitment of a five-star wide receiver, I’m guessing newly extended Brian Kelly would be fine with it. The point of recruiting is to make the biggest impression when on the road, and bringing a massive equipment truck with you is just one way to leave a lasting impression that will be the talk of not just the recruit, but the town (and perhaps other future prospects at that school and nearby schools). Don’t think Notre Dame sent their equipment truck without a larger vision beyond just the recruitment of this one, talented recruit. Unless the NCAA sends out a memo saying no equipment trucks may travel certain distances are travel across state lines, we should be seeing more equipment trucks on the road in the recruiting season. If you’re not bringing it with you, you are not trying hard enough.

So don’t blame Notre Dame for sending its equipment truck to Georgia. Don’t blame Jim Harbaugh for sleeping over at the homes of recruits. Don’t blame any coach for thinking outside the box, because really all you are doing is admitting your coach didn’t think of it first and that upsets you on some level.

Colorado lands Nebraska transfer LB Guy Thomas

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There’s a new Guy on the team at Colorado.

On Saturday, former Nebraska linebacker Guy Thomas announced his commitment to Colorado. “I give thanks to everybody that has been influential, and supportive in my life,” Nyon said in a graphic posted to his Twitter account. “I am taking this time to announce that I will be committing to the University of Colorado.”

Thomas first announced his transfer back in November; he appeared in just four games over two years on the club. He posted four tackles in as many games as a redshirt freshman in 2018, with three coming against FCS Bethune-Cookman.

“It’s not working out,” Thomas told the Omaha World-Herald upon his transfer.

Barring a waiver, Thomas will have to sit out the 2019 season and compete as a redshirt junior in 2020. He figures to contribute as a pass-rushing outside linebacker whenever he is cleared to play.

As of now, Jim Harbaugh plans to play Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey in every game

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Michigan does not open training camp until Aug. 2 and does not play its first game until Aug. 31, so any “as of right now” statements are devoid of 20-odd practices worth of context.

Still, as of Big Ten media days, Jim Harbaugh plans to play both Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey in every game.

“Yeah, I do (see games where they’ll both play). Where it stands right now, and that could change later or not, is I see them both playing,” Harbaugh told the Detroit Free Press. “Where it stands right now, I see it as maybe redefining what a starter is…. I’m really not talking about playing them both at the same time (on a play), when I say both in games it’d be they’re both playing quarterback during the same game. And in the way it stands now, in every game.”

Harbaugh has been a one-quarterback man for the entirety of his career, but Patterson’s inconsistency and McCaffrey’s talent may demand a change. Michigan did juggle quarterbacks in 2017 — John O’KornBrandon Peters and Wilton Speight each threw at least 81 passes — but that was due to necessity, not strategy.

Patterson completed 64.6 percent of his passes last season for 2,600 yards (on 8.0 per attempt) with 22 touchdowns against seven interceptions while rushing 76 times for 273 yards and two touchdowns. In his second year in the program, McCaffrey completed 8-of-15 passes for 126 yards with two touchdowns whilst rushing 10 times for 99 yards and a touchdown.

The son of Ed McCaffrey and brother of Christian McCaffrey is certainly the heir apparent in Ann Arbor, and it appears Harbaugh isn’t willing to wait for the future to arrive in order to unleash arguably his most talented quarterback recruit since Andrew Luck.

Big Ten could realign divisions yet again, according to PJ Fleck

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Whether he knew it or not, Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck broke news that will set certain circles of the college football blogosphere (including this one) by touching on the topic that is consistently gobbled up like Thanksgiving turkey: realignment.

“Change is inevitable,” Fleck told The Athletic. “I think we all know that. I think that the East and West have been around for a while. I like it, I like the division of it. But I don’t think it will stay the same. I think we’ll change it at some point because change is coming somehow, some way. And I think people are going to want to move it around, and shake it up a little bit.”

Fleck said the topic came up during the Big Ten’s spring meetings in Arizona; the conference did not comment on the topic.

The Big Ten split into divisions upon Nebraska’s 2011 arrival, memorably going with the idiotic Legends and Leaders alignment that was designed to protect rivalries and preserve competitive balance. That alignment lasted three years, until Maryland and Rutgers joined the party in 2014 and the conference rejiggered its alignment into a more sensible East and West split.

While a geographic divide does preserve rivalries and makes both logistical and logical sense, it has come at the price of competitive balance. The East champion has gone a perfect 5-for-5 in Big Ten title games under the current arrangement.

However, the East is a mere five games ahead of the West in regular season matchups, an average of one extra victory per season.

If — and at this point’s a very big if — the Big Ten does realign again, the conference could return to a Legends and Leaders format (hopefully with different names) or it could scrap divisions altogether, giving each school two or three protected rivals while putting the rest of the league in a regular rotation. The positive aspect of this alignment is it guarantees the top two teams would meet in Indianapolis, but the drawback is it could trigger an instant Michigan-Ohio State rematch.

It’s too early to report when and if a second realignment would happen, but as Fleck reminded us this week it is never too early to speculate.

Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos, RB Journey Brown suspended through rest of July

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The season does not begin today, but if it did Penn State would be without one of its best players.

Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin confirmed to the press at Big Ten media days that defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and running back Journey Brown are presently suspended for a “violation of team rules” dating back to spring practice. The suspension is slated to end Aug. 1.

Gross-Matos, a junior, led Penn State in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (20) while registering 54 tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery on the season. He enters the year a candidate for the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award.

“I talk to him all the time,” Franklin told Lions247 of Gross-Matos, despite the suspension. “[He is] doing great.”

Brown, also a junior, posted eight carries for 44 yards and a touchdown in 2018.