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Rutgers reportedly ditches UCLA for Syracuse in future home-and-home

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A couple of old Big East rivals are reuniting in a few years. The scheduling announcement seemingly leaves UCLA out of the mix after Rutgers arranged to schedule a home-and-home series with Syracuse.

According to a report from NJ.com on Thursday, Rutgers will play a home-and-home series with Syracuse in 2020 and 2021, with the Scarlet Knights of the Big Ten hosting the ACC’s Orange in 2020 and Syracuse welcoming Rutgers to their place the following season. Exact dates of the games have not been confirmed as of yet, although a previous home-and-home deal Rutgers had with UCLA could be used to slot the games into place.

Rutgers previously had a scheduling agreement in place to play at UCLA on Sept. 5, 2020 and host the Bruins on Sept. 11, 2021. It is likely those dates could be used to slot in the Syracuse games. Syracuse previously had vacancies to fill those weeks. And it would seem to make sense to have a school from New York and a school form New Jersey meet on Sept. 11, 2021 on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

The reported home-and-home series between Rutgers and Syracuse will satisfy each school’s scheduling commitment to their respective conferences that require a non-conference game against another power conference opponent.

The scheduling adjustment will leave UCLA with a couple of vacancies to fill in the upcoming years. The Bruins currently only have one non-conference game scheduled in 2020 (San Diego State on the road) but will have LSU and Fresno State at home in 2021.

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.