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No. 11 Oklahoma State heads to Bedlam at 7-1 after road win at No. 22 WVU

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The stage is nearly set for a massive Bedlam game next week. No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) overcame a sloppy start on offense and rallied when West Virginia (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) started to make some noise to be able to leave Morgantown with a 50-39 victory in a game that featured nine turnovers. The win on the road keeps Oklahoma State in the thick of the Big 12 championship hunt with a big one coming up next week.

Oklahoma State’s defense had to answer the call early on by holding down West Virginia following two early fumbles by Oklahoma State running backs Justice Hill and J.D. King. Not being able to score any points off those early turnovers would set the tone for the game for West Virginia. Needing to play a clean game against the Cowboys, West Virginia failed to net any point son three turnovers before finally managing to make some plays with a blocked punt in the end zone for a score and a pick-six just moments away in the third quarter. The flurry of non-offensive touchdowns cut into a sizable Oklahoma State lead, trimming a 20-point deficit to a six-point margin But in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys got their offense rolling once again and the defense did their part as well.

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier was picked off four times in the game and he struggled to connect with his receivers all game long. Oklahoma State closed well on defense for the majority of the game and never let West Virginia get a good chance to get their hands on the ball through the air. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph passed for 216 yards and three touchdowns, with James Washington scoring two of those touchdowns. Hill left the game in the first quarter to be evaluated for head and neck injuries and a lower leg injury, but he later returned to the game. In his absence, King overcame his early turnover to power Oklahoma State on the ground with 149 rushing yards and a score.

Now, all eyes can properly be set on next week’s big home game against the Oklahoma Sooners. And the impact this one will have on the Big 12 championship picture cannot be overstated. The loser of this game likely falls out of the Big 12 championship hunt with a second loss in conference play. That would be a bit of a far cry from the preseason expectations of a possible Bedlam rematch in the Big 12 championship game, but the stakes for next week will remain high regardless. The loser is also falling off the playoff radar entirely while the winner keeps the dream alive.

Oklahoma State has lost two in a row to the Sooners and four of the last five meetings. Oklahoma State’s last win against the Sooners was in 2014, and the last time they won in Stillwater was 2011. Next week’s clash at Oklahoma State is slated for 4:00 p.m. ET.

West Virginia will host Iowa State next Saturday. The Cyclones will be coming off a home game against TCU.

Illinois LB Joseph Thompson enters the transfer portal

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Illinois has been on the right side of the football portal throughout the offseason.  Now, Lovie Smith‘s crew finds themselves on the wrong end.

First reported by Rivals.com, Joseph Thompson has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed that the defensive back is intent on leaving the Illinois football program.

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.

Thompson was a three-star member of the Illinois football Class of 2019.  The Chicago native was rated as the No. 27 recruit regardless of position in the state of Illinois.  As a true freshman, Thompson didn’t appear in any games and took a redshirt.

On the positive side for the Illini? Illinois has added seven transfers to its football roster this offseason.  Five of those have come from Power Five programs.

In mid-March, ex-Alabama linebacker Christian Bell tweeted that he was moving on to the Illini. Shortly thereafter, we noted that an FCS All-American offensive lineman had opted to transfer into the Illinois football program. New Mexico State wide receiver Desmond Dan did the same.  As did Miami wide receiver Brian Hightower.  And Mississippi State offensive lineman Brevyn Jones as well in early May  And Louisville defensive back TreSean Smith last week mid-May.  And Cal defensive tackle Chinedu Udeogu that same month.

Report: Oklahoma wants to move its 2020 opener up a week, to Aug. 29

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While seemingly everyone in the sport is looking to push games back, Oklahoma is actually looking to move its football opener up.

Oklahoma is currently scheduled to open the 2020 college football season at home in Norman against FCS Missouri State Sept. 5.  According to The Oklahoman, however, OU is looking to move that matchup up a week, to Aug. 29.  Reportedly, the FCS school is amenable to such a move.

The reasoning behind such a waiver?

OU athletic director Joe Castiglione’s rationale in this pandemic-stricken year is that moving the opener would give OU an off week after each of its first two games, which could be valuable with the testing of players for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

With constant testing and the subsequent contact tracing for those exposed, teams face a season with frequent quarantines and isolation of players who either have the virus or have been exposed to it.

At the moment, Oklahoma is scheduled to face Tennessee at Memorial Stadium Sept. 12.  Then coming off a bye, OU would travel

All of this, of course, is contingent on there actually being non-conference games in the sport.  The Big Ten was the first conference-only scheduling domino to fall.  The ACC and Pac-12 are expected to follow suit.  The Sooners’ conference, the Big 12, likely won’t make a decision on that front until the end of this month.  The same goes for the SEC as well.

Five-star 2020 Georgia signee Broderick Jones reportedly injured in motor bike accident

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There’s a health concern involving one of the crown jewels of the Georgia football Class of 2020.

With Auburn in hot pursuit, Broderick Jones confirmed back in February that he had signed with Georgia football. The offensive lineman stated on National Signing Day he is “a Georgia boy” and “wanted to be close to home so my family could support me.“

Now, though, 247Sports.com is confirming that Jones suffered “a lower leg injury related to an accident involving a motor bike.” No details surrounding the accident have been revealed, although the website noted that it didn’t happen in the last couple of days.

It’s expected that Jones will be recovering for multiple weeks, perhaps up to two months. As of yet, the Georgia football program has not commented on the development.

The No. 3 recruit regardless of position in the state of Georgia, the 6-5, 298-pound Jones is the No. 2 offensive tackle in the country.  On the 247Sports.com composite, he’s listed as the No. 11 prospect overall in the Class of 2020.  Only one signee in this year’s class for the Bulldogs, cornerback Kelee Ringo, was rated higher.

While Jones verbally committed to UGA in April of 2018, the departure of line coach Sam Pittman for the head job at Arkansas in December caused some concern.  In January, Jones took an official visit to Arkansas.  He took another to Illinois that same month.

With the Bulldogs, the expectation is that Jones will slide into a starting job as a true freshman.  Provided there is a season, of course.

Florida State’s Mike Norvell to take 25% pay cut

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Less than a year into his job, the Florida State head football coach is the latest to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

This past week, FSU announced a series of cost-saving measures within the athletic department.  Included in that is Mike Norvell, the new Florida State football coach who will take a 25-percent cut in his salary for the fiscal year.  Other coaches for the Seminoles, including men’s and women’s basketball, will take 15-percent cuts.  Athletic director David Coburn will see his salary reduced by 20 percent.

Additionally, 25 full-time jobs within the athletic department are being eliminated.  Overall, that department’s budget will be slashed by 20 percent.

”I am personally heartbroken over the impact this pandemic has had on our employees, and I am disappointed I must give you this discouraging news today,” Coburn said in a portion of his statement. “However, I am sure you have seen that other athletic departments around the country  are also making reductions.”

On that front, the FSU athletic director is absolutely correct.

Below is a partial list of FBS programs that have initiated various cost-cutting measures for athletic department personnel, including coaches:

Additionally, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who reportedly made north of $5 million a year ago, is taking a 20% pay cut.  Scott’s Big 12 counterpart, Bob Bowlsby, announced pay cuts for himself and the conference’s staff.