Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Big 12 is only conference with College Football Playoff and Final Four participant

Leave a comment

A basketball tournament that opened with 68 teams vying for a chance to win in all has come down to four final contenders. Over the weekend, Villanova, Kansas, Michigan, and Loyola-Chicago all captured their respective regions to advance to next weekend’s Final Four in San Antonio, Texas. With Big 12 champion Kansas reaching the final weekend, the Big 12 is the only conference this year to place a team in both the College Football Playoff and the Final Four of the men’s basketball tournament.

The Oklahoma Sooners won the Big 12’s football championship last fall and were sent to Pasadena, California to play SEC champion Georgia in the Rose Bowl semifinal of the College Football Playoff. The Oklahoma men’s basketball team also was selected to play in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, although they did not stick around for very long. The Sooners were bounced in the first round by Rhode Island. This marks the second time the Big 12 has had a final four team in both sports. The last time it happened was 2016 when Oklahoma played in their first College Football Playoff and the Sooners reached the basketball Final Four. Oklahoma is still the only school to reach the Final Four in both sports in the same season in the young College Football Playoff era.

This year marks the first season in which the ACC was not represented in each sport’s final four since the introduction of the College Football Playoff, thanks to Kansas knocking out Duke in a regional final on Sunday. The ACC was represented by Florida State and Duke in the College Football Playoff and Final Four, respectively, in the 2014-2015 season. Clemson football has appeared in the past three College Football Playoff brackets while the Final Four was represented by the ACC thanks to North Carolina and Syracuse in 2016, and UNC again in 2017 (The Tar Heels won it all last season).

The SEC has had a final four team in both sports twice in the CFB Playoff era. Alabama has been in every College Football Playoff to date and in 2015 (Kentucky) and 2017 (South Carolina), the SEC had a basketball team win a region to get to the Final Four.

The Big Ten has had a team in the final four of both sports in the same season just once. Ohio State played in the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014-2015, and the basketball Final Four included both Wisconsin and Michigan State to represent the Big Ten a few months later. This year’s Michigan team is the first Final Four team out of the Big Ten since then. This is also the first year the Big Ten was not included in the College Football Playoff.

The Pac-12 has also had a team in the final four in both sports just once, and it occurred last year. Washington was selected to play in the College Football Playoff and Oregon reached the Final Four. This year the Pac-12 was left out of the College Football Playoff and the conference went 0-3 in the NCAA Tournament.

A non-power conference has never been represented in the College Football Playoff (although that hasn’t stopped UCF from claiming a national championship), but a mid-major in the Final Four has happened each of the past two seasons (which of course does not include the Big East, since the Big East is considered a major conference in basketball).

The ACC is the only conference to get a team to reach the championship game in both sports in the same season. Clemson’s back-to-=back College Football Playoff national championship appearances against Alabama in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 was accompanied by North Carolina’s back-to-back national championship game appearances in the same seasons (against Villanova and Gonzaga, respectively). Of course, that means the ACC is the only conference to win it all in the same season in the brief College Football Playoff era with Clemson and UNC winning it all in 2016-2017.

Helmet sticker to Diehards.

Oregon WR Bryan Addison serving ‘in-team suspension’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

That’s certainly a new way to describe it.

Monday, Mario Cristobal announced that Oregon freshman Bryan Addison is serving what he labeled as an “in-team suspension.” The only reason given for the punitive measure was an unspecified violation of team policy.

“He’s part of the team,” the head coach said of the wide receiver according to 247Sports.com. “But he will be practicing with the team in a couple of weeks as long as he abides by what he needs to.”

Addison had played in the first three games of the 2018 season, but hasn’t taken the field in any of the last four.  He has one reception for 12 yards, which came in the Week 2 win over FCS Portland State.

A four-star 2018 signee, Addison was rated as the No. 1 player at any position in the talent-rich state of California.  Only one signee, offensive lineman Penei Sowell, was rated higher than Addison in the Ducks’ class this year.

After less than two months at Pitt, Jeff George Jr. ascends to No. 2 QB

Getty Images
Leave a comment

That certainly didn’t take long.

In late August, after summer camp had closed, Jeff George Jr. was confirmed to have transferred to Pitt. Through the first three weeks of the 2018 season, the son of former Illinois great Jeff George wasn’t even listed on Pitt’s depth chart; the last five weeks, he’s been listed as the Panthers’ No. 3 quarterback.

On Monday, however, Pat Narduzzi confirmed that George has been elevated to the No. 2 spot behind starter Kenny Pickett. George’s ascension comes at the expense of Ricky Town, the former USC quarterback who transferred to Pitt late last year.

“Jeff’s come in and really picked stuff up well,” the head coach said, adding, “We have confidence in Ricky as well.”

The move up the depth chart continues a roller coaster that’s been George’s last few months.

It was confirmed in mid-August of this year that George had decided to transfer from Michigan.  The quarterback announced two months earlier that he had decided to transfer to U-M, which came approximately five months after he decided to transfer from Illinois.

In starting five games last season, George was the Illini’s leading passer after throwing for 1,273 yards.  He accounted for seven of the Illini’s eight touchdown passes on the year, as well as 10 of their 19 interceptions.

All told, George started nine games during his time in Champaign.  His first career start? At Michigan in October of 2016, a 41-8 loss that saw George complete four of his 15 passes for 95 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Pickett’s 117.8 pass efficiency rating is currently 10th among ACC quarterbacks and 103rd nationally, which raises the specter that George could ascend to the starting job for the 3-4 Panthers before it’s all said and done.

Report: Foot surgery could sideline Ohio State WR Austin Mack for the rest of the regular season

Getty Images
2 Comments

Ohio State’s loss this past Saturday has proven costly in more than just the won-loss column.

Austin Mack went down with a foot injury early in the second half of the upset loss to Purdue in Week 8 and left the stadium on crutches.  Tuesday, Austin Ward of LettermanRow.com is reporting that the wide receiver underwent surgery on the injured foot and is expected to be sidelined for a period of 6-8 weeks.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report through an OSU spokesperson.

Even on the low end of that 6-8 week timeline, Mackwould be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.  Should the Buckeyes earn a spot in the Big Ten championship game, the junior receiver’s availability would be unlikely as well.

The good news, such as it is, is that Mack should be healthy enough to play in whatever bowl game for which the Buckeyes qualify.

This season, Mack is third on the Buckeyes with 26 receptions, while his 331 receiving yards are good for fourth.  Both of those totals are already career-highs.

Overwhelming favorites Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa see Bovada title, Heisman odds shorten

Getty Images
3 Comments

During this current college football season, three of the surest things are upsets, Rutgers continuing to embarrass the Big Ten and oddsmakers really loving the defending national champions in general and one of its players specifically.

Bovada.lv has released its latest set of odds to win the 2018 College Football Playoff championship, with Alabama yet again the overwhelming favorite to claim the title at 1/2. Those odds are a bit shorter than the 5/9 the Crimson Tide was at just a week ago.

Clemson and Notre Dame both saw their odds shorten as well, with the former going from 13/2 to 5/1 and the latter from 19/2 to 13/2. Ohio State, meanwhile, fell from 7/1 to 12/1, the same as rival Michigan. The Wolverines, coming off a big road win over Michigan State, were also at 12/1 last week at this time.

Individually, Tua Tagovailoa saw his stranglehold on the odds to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy increase. A week ago, the Alabama quarterback was at 2/3; he’s now at 4/11.

Tagovailoa’s two main competitors saw their odds lengthen, with Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray at 7/2 (3/1 a week ago) and Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins at 12/1 (3/1).

The biggest climber has been Michigan’s Shea Patterson, with the quarterback going from off the board last week to 12/1 and behind only Tagovailoa and Murray.

Below are the complete set of national championship and Heisman odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv: