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Report: Sun Belt may hold keys to LSU-Florida being played

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The flap over the postponement of the LSU-Florida game because of Hurricane Matthew continues, although an unlikely partner could hold the keys to getting the game played.

Florida has publicly stated it would be willing to buy out its Nov. 19 game against Presbyterian and play LSU in Gainesville.  LSU, which had offered to host the Gators or even play at a neutral site this past weekend, is unwilling to give up a home date Nov. 19 by buying out South Alabama in order to get the UF game rescheduled.

According to ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy, there are two viable options to getting the game played, with both options involving Sun Belt teams juggling their schedules to accommodate the LSU-UF game Nov. 19:

Scenario 1:

LSU at Florida is moved to Nov. 19;

South Alabama at LSU is moved from Nov. 19 to Oct. 29, LSU’s current open date;

South Alabama moves its Oct. 29 home game with Georgia State to Nov. 19;

Georgia State moves its Nov. 19 home date with Georgia Southern to Nov. 26, which is an open date for both Sun Belt teams.

Scenario 2 is the same as Scenario 1 (LSU at UF Nov. 19; USA at LSU on Oct. 29) with the exception of:

South Alabama moves its Oct. 29 home game with Georgia State to Nov. 12, USA’s current open date;

Georgia State moves its Nov. 12 home game with Louisiana Monroe to Nov. 26, which is an open date for both teams.

The Sun Belt teams involved, which McMurphy wrote “likely would require some financial compensation for the various expenses in rescheduling home games,” are amenable to multiple moves, while UF athletic director Jeremy Foley has previously stated he would be willing to give the home date against the FCS school in order to get what could be a key conference game played.  Foley’s counterpart at LSU, Joe Alleva, has previously stated very staunchly that he will not give up the Nov. 19 home game, although either of the two options noted by McMurphy would allow the program to keep its full complement of home games this year.

Playing the game Nov. 19 would likely also require the LSU-Texas A&M game, scheduled for Thanksgiving Day five days later, to be moved back two days to Saturday.  All involved would likely sign off on such a move.

One other potential scenario that had been bandied about, moving the SEC championship game from Dec. 3 to Dec. 10 and playing the LSU-Florida game on the vacated date, is labeled as “highly, highly unlikely” by McMurphy, specifically because the College Football Playoff committee will not hold off on releasing the final standings that will determine the four semifinalists.  That release is scheduled for Dec. 4.

If the game is not played at all, it has the potential to cause some embarrassment for the SEC as it pertains to its championship game.

Per conference bylaws, the winner of the East or West divisions of the SEC is determined by the team with the highest winning percentage. LSU currently stands at 2-1 in league play; if the Tigers win out to finish at 6-1, which would include a win over Alabama, and again the postponed game is not made up, the Tigers could lose out on the West’s spot in the conference championship game to a 7-1 Tide team they beat on the field because of winning percentage (.875 for UA, .857 for LSU).  That scenario, of course, assumes both LSU and ‘Bama handle current conference-unbeaten Texas A&M.

While the potential situation in the other division is not nearly as embarrassing as the above, it’s still a possibility.

Tennessee and Florida are currently tied for the SEC East lead at 2-1, with the Gators’ lone loss coming to the Vols. Should the Gators win out they’d finish at 6-1. If the Vols stumble twice to finish at 6-2, Florida would receive the title game berth based of winning percentage.

Super 16 Poll has a new look after wild Week 7 as everyone is chasing Alabama

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Just like the AP Top 25 and the Amway Coaches Poll this week, the Super 16 Poll from the Football Writers Association and National Football Foundation had some cleaning up to do after a messy Week 7. Of course, when the dust all settled, Alabama remained the runaway team sitting atop the Super 16 Poll, but there were plenty of changes throughout the rest of the poll this week.

Alabama received 50 of 51 first-place votes this week from the voting members of the poll. Notre Dame received the only other first-place vote but the Fighting Irish stand behind Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson.

New appearances in this week’s poll include No. 12 Oregon, No. 14 Kentucky, and No. 16 NC State. All three fill holes in the poll left by Penn State, Wisconsin, and Miami who all fell out of the top 16 this week after suffering their second losses of the year.

Here is this week’s Super 16 Poll:

  1. Alabama (50 first-place votes)
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Notre Dame (1)
  5. LSU
  6. Michigan
  7. Texas
  8. Georgia
  9. Oklahoma
  10. UCF
  11. Florida
  12. Oregon
  13. West Virginia
  14. Kentucky
  15. Washington
  16. NC State

As a disclaimer, three contributors to College Football Talk are voters in the Super 16 Poll; Zach Barnett, Bryan Fischer and myself (Kevin McGuire).

SEC fines LSU $100,000 for fans rushing field after Georgia win

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As expected, LSU has been fined by the SEC offices after Tiger fans stormed the field following LSU’s blowout victory over defending SEC champion Georgia on Saturday afternoon. The offense, the second charged against LSU, amounts to a fine of $100,000.

Per the release from the SEC  offices;

SEC schools unanimously approved the policy which requires fines to be applied when spectators enter the playing field after a game.  The policy states that “access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times.  For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area.  It is the responsibility of each member institution to implement procedures to ensure compliance with this policy.”

LSU was previously fined by the SEC for fans rushing the field following a 2014 game against Ole Miss. Ranked No. 24 at the time, the Tigers edged No. 3 Ole Miss 10-7 on October 25, 2014.

All fine money paid by schools goes to the SEC’s Post-Graduate Scholarship Fund.

Clay Helton is numb over season-ending ankle injury to USC LB Porter Gustin

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USC linebacker Porter Gustin saw his 2018 season come to a close with a season-ending ankle injury suffered in the final minutes of USC’s Saturday night victory over Colorado. Gustin will undergo surgery this week and begin his rehab process.

“We are all kind of numb right now, to be honest with you,” USC head coach Clay Helton said Sunday night, per the Los Angeles Times. “He’s a force of nature, and you think of him as a superhero, as Thor, as we say, and to know that he’s not going to be with us for the remaining part of the season is obviously something that hurts us all.”

Unfortunately for Gustin, he has spent a bunch of time rehabbing from injuries during his time at USC. Gustin missed the start of this season due to an injury, and he may have missed some more playing time if the Pac-12 correctly called an obvious targeting call on him in a game against Washington State.

The loss of Gustin, one of USC’s top defensive players, could never come at a good time, but the injury comes at a critical time for the Trojans. Now in the position to take firm control of the Pac-12 South Division after a head-to-head win against Colorado, USC is heading on the road this week to play Utah. A win for USC will put the Trojans in the best spot in the division, while a loss leaves the door open for Utah to make their own run to the division crown.

Gustin was a watch list player for the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, and Lott Trophy. Now, the injured senior will likely think about preparing for what comes next after this season, the NFL Draft.

Mike MacIntyre didn’t know Colorado scored a TD when Buffs went for two-point conversion vs. USC

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Colorado lost for the first time late Saturday on the road at USC. The result was not entirely puzzling given Colorado may have been due for a loss and USC can be difficult to top in Los Angeles, but a decision to go for a two-point conversion after a late Colorado touchdown cut into the USC lead left many watching scratching their heads. After the game, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre explained the rationale behind the two-point conversion attempt, and it was rather simple.

MacIntyre didn’t know Colorado scored a touchdown and thought it was a first-and-goal situation.

The two-point conversion attempt came following a Steven Montez 19-yard touchdown run with 3:23 to play. The touchdown cut the USC lead to 31-20. A successful two-point conversion would have made it a nine-point game whereas an extra point would have created a 10-point deficit for Colorado. You could argue Colorado still needed two scores in the final minutes anyway and a two-point try would allow for the possibility of a win. The conventional logic, however, suggests there is a better win probability if you only need a touchdown and a field goal. Not that Colorado had a great chance either way to come back and win (which of course, they did not), but the decision to go for two points was a bizarre one. And now we know why.

So, was MacIntyre given incorrect information on the field? Shouldn’t somebody on Colorado have known the team just scored a touchdown, be it an official, a staffer, or one of the players on the field? Who is to blame for this messy situation? The fault should fall on the shoulders of the head coach here. It may not have ultimately altered the outcome of the game, since Colorado did recover the onside kick after all fo this but failed to pick up a first down.