WHO: Florida State (6-6) vs. Southern Mississippi (8-4)
WHAT: The 42nd Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana
THE SKINNY: To say the 2017 season did not go according to plan for Florida State would be a massive understatement. Among the preseason favorites to reach the College Football Playoff, the Seminoles had to reschedule a game against Louisiana-Monroe just to reach the six-win minimum to become bowl eligible.
Now, Florida State is heading to the Independence Bowl after losing head coach Jimbo Fisher to Texas A&M prior to the last game of the season and taking on a Southern Mississippi team that may be more dangerous than expected. Florida State will also be playing the game without one of their best players because Derwin James has decided to pass on the bowl game to focus on preparing for the NFL Draft circuit.
Florida State’s season took a nasty wrong turn right out of the gates of the season when they lost to Alabama in the Atlanta in the most-hyped season opener in years. Not only did they lose, but starting quarterback Deondre Francois was lost for the season, meaning Florida State had to play the season with James Blackman. Blackman has had his ups and downs this season, as most freshmen would. But the experience could pay off in the long run, and extra practices to prepare for the bowl game could come in handy during a time of transition.
Florida State is still a heavy favorite against the Golden Eagles in this bowl matchup. If Southern Mississippi is to score a wild upset, quarterback Kwadra Griggs must avoid making mistakes against the Florida State defense. Griggs has thrown 15 touchdowns with just two interceptions all season. Running back Ito Smith has rushed for 150 yards or more in each of the last three games, but doing so against Florida State may be difficult.
Southern Mississippi has faced two power conference opponents this season. The Golden Eagles opened the season at home against Kentucky, losing 24-17. Later in the year, Southern Miss visited Tennessee and returned home with a 24-10 loss. Southern Miss may have the talent to do some damage against most of the teams on the schedule this season, but the evidence suggests they could be in for a struggle against Florida State, even though the Seminoles have had their own struggles this season.
THE PICK: Florida State 33, Southern Mississippi 17
The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation. Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life. Hopefully.
That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.
So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 10, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.
(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section. Mailbag, maybe?)
THE HEADLINE: Déjà vu all over again: Talk resurfaces of Nick Saban wanting Texas job after winning 2012 title at Alabama
THE SYNOPSIS: Saban and his wife both stated they weren’t leaving Tuscaloosa. Saban’s high-powered agent, Jimmy Sexton, though, reportedly playing point man in at least a couple of meetings with those connected to the Longhorns football program. Of course, there is — or, was — a reason to question what the future Hall of Famer says publicly.
“I guess I have to say it… I’m not going to be the Alabama coach,” Saban, then the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, said on Dec. 21, 2006, nearly two weeks before he was named the Alabama coach Jan. 3, 2007.
THE HEADLINE: Steve Sarkisian gets nothing in $30 million lawsuit against USC
THE SYNOPSIS: This was the biggest win related to football for the Trojans in quite awhile.
THE HEADLINE: Add ‘2016 Olympian’ to Oregon WR Devon Allen’s list of accomplishments
THE SYNOPSIS: After posting a personal-best 13.03 in the 110-meter hurdles, Allen was part of the United States Olympic team in Rio De Janeiro. In The Games, Allen finished fifth after putting up a 13.31 in the finals. In November of that year, Allen announced he was foregoing his remaining eligibility to pursue a professional career in track. That announcement also comes nearly two months after he sustained a torn ACL, his second such tear in less than two years.
THE HEADLINE: Florida State suspends RB Dalvin Cook following warrant for alleged battery of woman
THE SYNOPSIS: The following month, a jury found Cook not guilty.
THE HEADLINE: Pac-12 commish: ‘I think we will have football’ in China
THE SYNOPSIS: Seven years later, and we have yet to see this come to fruition. And Larry Scott, meanwhile, could be on his way out of the door.
One of the highest-rated signees for Central Michigan football a couple of years ago is leaving the MAC program. Or, at least, he is exploring the option of doing as much.
According to 247Sports.com, George Pearson is listed in the NCAA transfer database. That would be the first step in the redshirt sophomore quarterback’s potential departure from the Central Michigan football team.
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.
Pearson was a three-star member of the Central Michigan football Class of 2018. Only one offensive signee in that cycle for CMU, wide receiver Keonta Nixon, was rated higher than the New Jersey product. As a true freshman, Pearson completed 12 of his 24 passes for 94 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Pearson didn’t play a down for the Chips in 2019.
In 2018, Central Michigan lost a school-record 11 games. In Jim McElwain‘s first season in 2019, CMU won went 8-6. Included in the losses was a New Mexico Bowl beatdown at the hands of San Diego State.
From Oh Canada to Ole Miss football? I’m thinking one recruit might be in for a little culture shock. Actually, make that two.
Last month, a Canadian college football player, the University of Guelph’s Tavius Robinson, committed to Ole Miss football. On Twitter Wednesday, Deane Leonard did the same. The cornerback comes to the SEC school from the University of Calgary.
“First off I’d like to thank my friends, family, and coaches that have supported me through this process,” Leonard wrote. “I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for all that you’ve done for me over the years. Love you guys!
“With the cancellation of the USports season I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to look at my options down south.
“With that being said, I’ll be transferring to Ole Miss to complete my collegiate career.”
During his time at That Country Up North, Leonard appeared in 23 games. In that action, the defensive back was credited with 47 tackles, 19 passes defensed, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, one tackle for loss, one sack and one block. He also returned five kicks for 124 yards (24.8 average) and 19 punts for 195 yards (10.3 avg.). One of those punts was returned for a touchdown.
Both Leonard and Robinson are expected to be immediately eligible for new head coach Lane Kiffin and the Rebels.
It didn’t take long for the most powerful man in SEC football country to respond to what the B1G wrought.
As you may have heard, the Big Ten confirmed Thursday afternoon that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season. That was the first significant Power Five domino to tip, but it certainly won’t be the last. In the coming days, or perhaps next week, the ACC and Pac-12 are expected to make a similar announcement. The Big 12 and SEC, though, are widely expected to kick that football scheduling can down the road a bit longer, perhaps as late as the end of July.
Not long after the B1G announcement, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement addressing just where his conference is at decison-wise.
The Southeastern Conference will continue to meet regularly with our campus leaders in the coming weeks, guided by medical advisors, to make the important decisions necessary to determine the best path forward related to SE Fall sports. We recognize the challenges ahead and know the well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans must remain at the forefront of those decisions.
Again, it’s expected that the SEC will make a decision on the football path it will take later this month. Barring unforeseen circumstances pushing up that timeline, of course.