What an absolutely huge sports night we’re getting set for. It just doesn’t get much bigger than this. What a spectacle it will be.
That’s right, it’s opening night of the 2017 college football season! Oh yeah, and there’s that other sporting event you may have heard about.
As the Stanford-Rice game Down Under in Australia is being played, the much-hyped megafight between one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of any generation, 40-year-old Floyd Mayweather, and 29-year-old UFC superstar Conor McGregor will be going down in a Las Vegas squared circle.
Earlier in the day, Colorado State will christen its brand-new on-campus stadium with its opener against Oregon State as well. All of that leads us to this, with Bovada.lv releasing earlier this week a pair of cross-sport prop bets involving the latest Fight of the Century and the two previously-mentioned college football games.
For the record, No. 14 Stanford is a 31-point favorite over a Rice team that won three games last season while the over-under for the entire OSU-CSU game is 60 points. If I were a gambling man — and I’ll bet you I’m not — I’d go with McGregor on both counts. But that’s just me.
Back to football one final time, though, as there are three other games featuring at least one FBS team being played today on what’s officially the opening weekend of the college football season but is more like a formal dress rehearsal for the real thing next weekend: Portland State at BYU (3 p.m. ET on ESPN), Hawaii at UMass (no TV) and No. 19 South Florida at San Jose State (7:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network).
And there you have it.
A couple of days after learning he had lost his job to a true freshman, and after missing two straight days of practice that led to intensified speculation about his future, Kelly Bryant has confirmed to the Greenville News that he has decided to transfer from Clemson. Because the senior has played in only four games this season, he will be able to take advantage of the new NCAA transfer rule and play at another FBS program next year as a graduate transfer.
“I feel like it’s what’s best for me and my future,” Bryant said in an exclusive interview with The News. “I was just going to control what I could control and try to make the most of my opportunity, but at the end of the day, I just don’t feel like I’ve gotten a fair shot.”
Bryant was informed by his position coach Sunday of the Tigers’ decision to go with Trevor Lawrence as the starting quarterback, then had a lengthy conversation with head coach Dabo Swinney Monday in which they discussed, among other things, the possibility of a transfer. The move to Lawrence came after Bryant had started the last 18 games under center for Clemson, with the Tigers winning 16 of those.
“To me, it was kind of a slap in the face,” Bryant said about his demotion.
Bryant’s decision to transfer leaves the Tigers with just two recruited scholarship quarterbacks, 247Sports.com noted. Redshirt freshman Chase Brice will serve as Lawrence’s backup for the balance of the season.
Since Lawrence signed with Clemson in December of last year as part of the first Early Signing Period, four quarterbacks have transferred from the Tigers — Bryant, Zerrick Cooper (HERE), Tucker Israel (HERE) and Hunter Johnson (HERE). The football program also added FCS graduate transfer quarterback Patrick McClure in late July as a preferred walk-on.
Randy Edsall wanted no part in heading down the road one media member at least attempted to get him to travel.
Following a subpar start to the 2018 season on that side of the ball, Wake Forest earlier this week announced that they had decided to part ways with defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel. On a related note — you’ll see in a minute — UConn is currently dead last among the 130 FBS programs in total defense (a staggering 664 yards per game; next closest is Ohio at 540.3) and scoring defense (54.4 points per game; next closest is Bowling Green at 44).
At his weekly press conference Tuesday, Edsall was asked about the Wake situation and his philosophy on such an in-season move. Suffice to say, the head coach wasn’t particularly fond of the media member’s line of questioning.
From the Hartford Courant:
Reporter: “Wake Forest just fired their defensive coordinator. I’m just curious about your philosophy on that.”
Edsall: “What does that have to do with us? I’m done. I can see where this is going. I’m not — I’m done.
Edsall’s defensive coordinator is Billy Crocker, who is in his second year with the football program. In Crocker’s first season, the Huskies were 122nd in scoring defense (37.9 ppg), 127th in total defense (519 ypg) and 130th (dead last) in pass defense (339 ypg).
Prior to his time at UConn, Crocker was on the coaching staff at Villanova for 12 seasons, the last five of which he spent coordinating the FCS team’s defense. In his last season with the Wildcats, they had the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense at that level.
Michigan State could again be without one of the top returning running backs in the Big Ten.
In the third quarter of the Week 2 loss to Arizona State, LJ Scott went down with an ankle injury and did not return to the game. The injury also sidelined him for the conference opener, a 14-point win over Illinois, in Week 4.
With its non-conference finale against Central Michigan set for this Saturday, it appears the senior back will be essentially a game-time decision. At least, I think that’s what his head coach was getting at.
“Probably a little of both,” Mark Dantonio said when asked if Scott was day-to-day or will play against CMU. “I expect him to play. Maybe day-to-day.
“He may be out there today or he may not be. Probably the best answer I can give you.”
Despite missing nearly a game and a half, Scott’s 103 rushing yards are still tops on the Spartans. Scott has led Michigan State in rushing each of the past three seasons — 898 yards in 2017, 994 in 2016 and 699 in 2015.
Following MSU’s Holiday Bowl win last December, Scott confirmed that he would be eschewing early entry into the 2018 NFL draft and would be returning to East Lansing for a fourth season.
Once again, a player has utilized social media to make a rather significant announcement.
On his Instagram account earlier this week, Nevada defensive back EJ Muhammad announced that he will miss the remainder of the 2018 season after undergoing surgery. Just what the medical procedure he underwent is unclear at the moment.
The football program, for what it’s worth, has not addressed Muhammad’s status moving forward.
Muhammad appeared in nine games as a redshirt sophomore last season, starting three of those contests. He had started the first two games of the 2018 season as well before missing the last two because of the injury that ultimately will sideline him for the remainder of the year.