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Nick Saban takes jab at UCF’s “self-proclaimed” national title, but Gus Malzahn stays out of it

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban added another national title to his ever-growing list of achievements last January when the Crimson Tide rallied from behind to stun Georgia in overtime of the College Football Playoff national championship game. At the same time, UCF was busy celebrating their claim to a national title even if critics shrugged it aside. Although Saban offered some praise for what UCF accomplished last season, including beating an Auburn team that Saba’s Tide could not, Saban suggested that UCF’s claim to a national title carries little weight.

“I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything,” Saban said to USA Today, commenting on UCF’s claim to a national championship for the 2017 season. “But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it. And there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves.”

Saban has a legitimate point, of course. Alabama may not have won their own division but they were selected by the College Football Playoff selection committee to participate in the four-team playoff to determine a true national champion. And to Alabama’s credit, they took advantage of that opportunity by dominating ACC champion Clemson in the national semifinal and then coming from behind to upset SEC champion Georgia. UCF may have gone undefeated last season, with wins against USF, Memphis and Auburn to close out their undefeated campaign, but years from now it will be widely accepted that Alabama was the national champion while UCF is still free to claim their national title as well. College football is loaded with claimed national titles, including some by Alabama of course, so what UCF is doing is nothing out of the ordinary for the history of the sport.

Of course, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn isn’t about to get caught up in the drama despite playing a key role into the Alabama-UCF national title debate.

“They played extremely well that day (in the Peach Bowl),” Malzahn said at a golf tournament, according to Al.com. “We didn’t play our best, but give those guys credit. They played extremely well and got after us.”

Realizing Malzahn didn’t exactly answer the question regarding the national championship claim by UCF, Malzahn stood his ground when asked again.

“They played real well that day,” Malzahn said, “and we didn’t play that well.”

It must be a tough spot for Malzahn seeing as Alabama is his top rival and the other team claiming a national title is using his Auburn team to help support the argument.

Former UCF head coach and current Nebraska head coach Scott Frost has no regrets over his comments about likely not standing behind UCF’s national title claim the way the school has gone about it.

Yet another Texas State football player enters Ye Olde Transfer Portal

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The transfer portal has not been kind to the Texas State football program.  Again.

According to 247Sports.com, Jaylin Nelson has entered the NCAA transfer database.  No reason for the running back’s impending departure was given.

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.

Nelson was a three-star member of the Texas State football Class of 2017.  It’s likely that the back will be leaving the Sun Belt Conference school as a graduate transfer.

During his time with the Bobcats, Nelson appeared in 24 games.  In that stretch, Nelson totaled 143 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries.  The Texas native also returned a pair of kicks for 34 yards.

Oh, and Nelson also attempted one pass.  Which he completed.  For 69 yards.  And a touchdown.

Nelson is at least the fifth Texas State football player to enter the portal this year.

Back in January, Gresch Jensen added his name to the quarterbacking end of the transfer pool. Earlier this month, starting safety Josh Newman took the first step in leaving Texas State by entering the NCAA transfer database.  A short time later, defensive tackle John Lilly hit the portalLast week, defensive lineman Devin Henderson did the same.

Conversely, offensive lineman JP Urquidez transferred in from Texas in late April.  Or, more specifically, he committed to the Bobcats.

Nebraska WR Darien Chase transferring to Portland State

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One of the baker’s dozen scholarship players who have left Nebraska has found a new college football home.  Unofficially.

Citing struggles with mental health and depression, Darien Chase entered the NCAA transfer database in mid-February.  That was the first step in leaving the Nebraska football program.

On Twitter this week, the wide receiver took the next step.  By committing to FCS Portland State.

“First I would like to thank God for getting me through these difficult times,” Chase wrote, ” and my family’s amazing support while being home.  I’ve chosen to stay off social media when it came to my recruiting process so I could make a clear decision on my next steps and commit to the school that makes the most sense for me.

“Thank you to all the universities who gave me the opportunity to play at their program.  I’ll forever be grateful.

“With that being said I’m proud to announce that I will be staying home and attending… Portland State University.”

Chase was a three-star 2019 signee. He was the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Washington.

Prior to committing to, then signing with Nebraska football, Chase had received scholarship offers from, among others, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah and Boise State. He took official visits to the latter two schools.

As a true freshman, Chase played in four games for the Cornhuskers. That will allow him to take a redshirt for the 2019 season.

In that limited action, Chase caught one pass for 13 yards.

In statement, Nick Saban ‘shocked, angered by tragic deaths of George Floyd,’ others

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Nick Saban has one of the most powerful voices in college football.  Some would argue the most powerful voice.  Sunday, he’s using that voice as the nation careens deeper into crisis.

In the aftermath of the despicable, abhorrent, unconscionable murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, at the knee of a white police officer, myriad FBS head coaches have spoken out and spoken up.  In fact, nearly six dozen of them have done so as of this posting.

Sunday evening, Nick Saban added his voice to the burgeoning call for change.  Below is the Alabama head football coach’s statement, in its entirety:

I am shocked and angered by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We’re at an important moment in out country, and now is the time for us to choose kindness, tolerance, understanding, empathy, and most importantly … it’s time to love each other.  Every life is precious, and we must understand we have so many more things that unite us than divide us.

I’ve always been inspired and encouraged by examples set by those who came before us like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and so many others who devoted their lives to find peaceful ways to rid our society of social inequities. As Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We are all part of this and we must banish these types of injustices in not just our country, but our world. The ultimate future of our nation is in our hands, and like the teams I’ve been privileged to coach, we must depend on and respect each other no matter our differences. We must come together as a society and treat one another with respect and dignity.

Wisconsin RB Bradrick Shaw to transfer to Cal

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Cal football is the latest to benefit from a Power Five-to-Power Five transfer.

Bradrick Shaw announced in January that he had been granted a sixth season of eligibility.  Instead of using that added year at Wisconsin, however, the running back opted to enter the NCAA transfer database.

Four months later, Shaw revealed on Twitter that he will be transferring into the Cal football program.

Suffice to say, Shaw will be eligible to play for the Bears in 2020.  Just as obviously, this will be his final season of eligibility.

One final academic postscript: Shaw earned two degrees from the University of Wisconsin.  As for athletically?

Shaw came to the Wisconsin Badgers football team as a three-star 2015 signee.  He was rated as the No. 16 player regardless of position in the state of Alabama.  The back took a redshirt as a true freshman, then missed the entire 2018 season because of a knee injury.  All of that helped lead to the sixth season.

In 2016, Shaw was third on the Badgers in rushing with 457 yards and tied for second in rushing touchdowns with five.  The following season, his 365 yards and four scores were both second behind Jonathan Taylor‘s 1,977 and 13 as a true freshman.

Coming off the knee injury, Shaw ran for 116 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in 2019.  All told, Shaw carried the ball 202 times for 938 yards and 10 touchdowns during his time with the Badgers.

Shaw’s initial social-media announcement came exactly three weeks after Taylor confirmed he will be leaving UW early for the 2020 NFL Draft.  With the departures of Taylor and Shaw, the Badgers’ leading returning rushers in 2020 will be freshman Nakia Watson (331 yards) and junior Garrett Groshek (194).  UW also has a commitment from four-star 2020 running back Jalen Berger.