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Report: Arizona State not extending Todd Graham’s contract as it had every year previously

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Earlier this year, Kevin Sumlin‘s boss put the Texas A&M head coach squarely on the hot seat.  A few weeks later, Todd Graham‘s boss at Arizona State has seemingly done the same.

Every year that Graham has been at ASU, he’s received a one-year contract extension that kept him with five years left on his contract.  This year, however, ASU, for the first time, has not rolled his deal over another year, the Arizona Republic reports.

Graham’s current deal runs until June 20, 2021.

From the Republic‘s report:

ASU Vice President for Athletics Ray Anderson said a contract extension for Graham is not mandatory although his contract reads: “If grounds do not exist for termination for cause, ASU will ask the board to extend coach’s contract for one additional year following completion of the 2016 football season.”

Anderson said, “That’s not an automatic provision in the contract. It wasn’t rolled over because it didn’t need to be rolled over.”

Graham had no comment on the decision not to extend his contract.

In his first three seasons with the Sun Devils, Graham guided ASU to a combined record of 28-12, a total that included a pair of bowl wins as well as a Pac-12 South title in 2013.  The 10 wins in 2013 and 2014 was the first time the program had done that in back-to-back seasons since a four-year stretch from 1970-73.

However, a 6-7 2015 season gave way to a 5-7 2016 mark that led to talk of Graham possibly entering the 2017 season on hot seat.  With the decision eschew the annual contract extension, feel free to remove the word “possibly” from the previous sentence.

In shocking turn of events, Alabama is media’s pick to win SEC in 2019

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We hope you’re sitting down to hear this next bit of news… But Alabama is the media’s pick to win the SEC in 2019.

Yes, it’s shocking that a program that has made the national title game in each of the last four seasons and has one of the greatest coaches of all time leading the program would be the media’s selection to win the league but we’re just passing along the news release here folks.

In all seriousness though, the Crimson Tide were the overwhelming favorites in both the SEC West and the conference overall to take home the trophy at the beginning of December. Alabama garnered 253 first place votes, compared to runner-up LSU (five). The full West division predictions were as follows, first place votes in parentheses:

SEC West Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Alabama (253)
  2. LSU (5)
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Auburn (1)
  5. Mississippi State (1)
  6. Ole Miss
  7. Arkansas

In the East, things were a bit more interesting. Georgia was still the massive favorite to win the division but all schools sans Vanderbilt received at least one first place vote to make it to Atlanta.

SEC East Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Georgia (233)
  2. Florida (21)
  3. Missouri (3)
  4. South Carolina (1)
  5. Tennessee (1)
  6. Kentucky (1)
  7. Vanderbilt

Finally… somebody voted for Tennessee and another voted for South Carolina to win the entire SEC in 2019. That is a thing that happened and sadly we won’t be able to find out who without bribing somebody in the league office.

SEC Champion Prediction

  1. Alabama (203)
  2. Georgia (49)
  3. LSU (3)
  4. Mississippi State (1)/Tennessee (1)/Florida (1)/South Carolina (1)/Auburn (1)

Kansas fans will be able to buy alcohol at Memorial Stadium this year

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Les Miles isn’t the only big addition to Kansas football for the 2019 season.

No, the school has something much better that will help pass the time during Jayhawks losses in the form of expanded beer and alcohol sales to general seating areas of Memorial Stadium.

“In consultation with the University, Kansas Athletics has introduced the sale of beer and wine at selected venues on a trial basis to help assess the viability of a broader offering of alcoholic beverages,” athletic director Jeff Long said in a release. “That program has been very successful, and with the support and collaboration of on-campus entities, we are now prepared to expand it. Fans have told us that one of the best ways to enhance their experience at Kansas Athletics events is for them to have the ability to enjoy beer and wine, and we are pleased to provide this opportunity.”

We’re not sure if by “enhance their experience” the fans of KU football mean forget what they’re seeing on the field by we digress.

The school notes that the Jayhawks will be the sixth Big 12 school (along with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas and Texas Tech) to allow such sales in the general seating areas. That should make the conference the first with a majority of its programs selling beer and alcohol to the public during football games this upcoming season.

It also makes Kansas one of some 50 total FBS schools who have opened up the taps officially. Something says the new head coach is no stranger to just such an environment either so good news all around for KU fans during a week where negative headlines were more closely associated with the program.

Rutgers WR Zihir Lacewell transferring to junior college to play DB

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We’re in the final stages of the offseason in college football with training camps across the country starting as early as next week but it’s never too late for a player to transfer elsewhere for 2019.

One such case comes in the form of Rutgers wide receiver Zihir Lacewell, who NJ.com reports is transferring to Garden City Community College in Kansas. While a backup player leaving the Scarlet Knights from time-to-time isn’t all that interesting, the fact that Lacewell is departing to flip sides and play defensive back is.

The Staten Island, NY native did see action last season at Rutgers but played in only four games to preserve his redshirt. He was not expected to crack the starting rotation on offense in 2019.

Rated as a three-star recruit by 247Sports, Lacewell was one of the program’s highest-rated recruits in the class of 2018 and held offers from a host of Power Five programs in the Northeast.

Wisconsin launches early Heisman campaign for RB Jonathan Taylor

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The Heisman Trophy has generally been synonymous with the best quarterback on one of the best teams in recent years but there have been a few running backs who have broken through to win the most prestigious award in all of college football.

Hoping to become the next tailback to break the signal-callers’ grip on the stiff arm? That would be Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, who appears to have a budding campaign for the trophy that was launched by the school on Thursday:

Herschel Walker. Ron Dayne. Ricky Williams. Adrian Peterson. LaDainian Tomlinson. Dominant running backs. Legendary names. Unrivaled production … until now,” one tagline reads. “There’s a new kid on the block and he’s “Bringing Running Back,” back into the spotlight, just like those that came before him. And his name is Jonathan Taylor.”

The website goes through all of the notable stats that Taylor has piled up in just two seasons in Madison and while it doesn’t explicitly say everything is designed to raise the junior’s awareness ahead of Big Ten Media Days and the upcoming 2019 campaign, it does note that his fellow Wisconsin Doak Walker Award winners have all been finalists in New York at some point in their career.

i.e. hint, hint media this guy is pretty good.

And nobody is debating that after he has set numerous records during his first two years on campus. Key to actually making it to New York though might be how Taylor’s team does around him. If the Badgers can get back to being in contention for the Big Ten title once again in 2019, chances are high that the tailback’s play will play a bigger part in getting him the attention he deserves than a website and a hashtag.