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NCAA passes significant transfer reforms, redshirt rule

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When we look back down the road, June 13 could be one of the bigger dates in the history of college football when you get into the weeds of byzantine NCAA rules.

In a news release posted Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA confirmed a slate of hugely significant rules changes to how players transfers and the highly debated ‘redshirt rule’ that would allow players an easier path to maintaining an extra season of eligibility.

Perhaps the bigger overarching rule that was adopted by the NCAA Division I Council earlier in the week was a new “notification-of-transfer” model. This essentially takes the school’s power out of the decisions of where a player can and can’t go by allowing a player to simply inform the program of a desire to transfer. In turn, the player’s name will be added to a national “transfer database” which allows coaches from other programs to contact that player without restrictions.

“The membership showed today that it supports this significant change in transfer rules,” said Justin Sell in a release, the chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and South Dakota State AD. “I’m proud of the effort the Transfer Working Group put forth to make this happen for student-athletes, coaches and schools.”

This proposal has been working its way through the process for nearly a year and goes into effect on Oct. 15. There’s still more work left to be done as there are a handful of other proposals on the table for Power Five conferences to vote on in the coming weeks that affect things like scholarships and financial aid.

Also big? A so-called ‘redshirt rule’ that would allow players to play in any four games during a season and still maintain a full season eligibility (they would still have five years to play four seasons).

“This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being. Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries,” Miami AD Blake James said. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition.”

This will be effective for the upcoming 2018 season and allows players to play in, say, the first two games of the year and then the regular season finale and bowl game and yet still be counted as a redshirt for eligibility purposes. As you can guess, coaches have been pushing for this for a while now and this is a pretty big victory for them and for players, who will all be able to see action on the field as freshman and not have it take a year away from them.

Sadly, the rule is not retroactive to players who may have taken a few snaps here or there in the past few years.

It will be interesting to see how all these changes play out down the road but the bottom line is it was a big, big day for players across the country with these rules proposals getting passed.

WATCH: Iowa State honors slain Cyclones golfer prior to Akron game

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A senseless act of random violence stole one of their own earlier this week, and Iowa State paid tribute to the victim’s memory Saturday afternoon.

The body of 22-year-old Celia Barquín Arozamena, a former three-time All-Big 12 female golfer at ISU, was found Tuesday in a pond at a golf course near the university’s campus. The football Cyclones had previously announced that they would honor Arozamena’s memory prior to the Week 4 game against Akron as well as during the game via “CBA” helmet stickers.

Saturday afternoon, the team did just that as did their fans, who wore yellow in Arozamena’s honor — a nod to both one of the school’s primary colors as well as her home country of Spain — as well as golf shirts.  ISU head football coach Matt Campbell is also wearing a Cyclones golf hat and a “CBA” patch on his golf shirt, while the university’s marching band spelled out the late golfer’s initials as a video tribute played on the Jack Trice Stadium’s big board.

A 22-year-old homeless man with a history of violence was arrested shortly after Arozamena’s body was found. He’s being held in lieu of a $5 million bond and could face life in prison if convicted.

USC’s Porter Gustin got away with obvious targeting against Washington State

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The targeting rule is one that routinely creates some confusion and ignites outrage over how it is officiated around college football, but sometimes there is a clear textbook example of the call that cannot be disputed. Late Friday night, one of those textbook examples was on full display, and it was completely ignored.

Late in USC’s 39-36 victory over Washington State, Porter Gustin launched himself into Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew and made helmet-to-helmet contact. At the very least, the action should have been called for a late hit on the quarterback, but everything about this particular play was a clear targeting penalty that should have resulted in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic ejection from the game and the first half of USC’s next game.

As noted by Greg McElroy on the ESPN broadcast, Gustin missed the first half of last night’s game for a targeting foul the previous week at Texas, and yes, he should have been tossed from this game as well. No penalty flag was thrown on the play, which should be reviewed and addressed by the Pac-12 offices in the coming days.

It is impossible to suggest this missed call cost Washington State the game, but it did hurt their chances of winning. Had the call been correctly made, the Cougars would have moved the ball to the USC 10-yard line in the final minutes of the game. Instead, Washington State later resorted to trying a game-tying field goal from the 21-yard line, which was blocked. USC then ran out the clock after picking up a first down.

Jimbo Fisher the latest to try to snap Nick Saban’s unbeaten streak over his former assistants

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To say that this particular teacher gotten over on his former students would be a significant understatement.

Nick Saban‘s Alabama Crimson Tide will square off with Jimbo Fisher‘s Texas A&M Aggies Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa. Saban and Fisher, of course, are very familiar with each other as not only are they both natives of the state of West Virginia but the latter was the former’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at LSU for five seasons from 2000-04.

The two have faced each other once as head coaches, with Alabama knocking off Florida State 24-7 in the 2017 season opener. That game marked the 11th time Saban had squared off against a former assistant; the College Football Playoff championship game win over Kirby Smart‘s Georgia Bulldogs was the 12th.

In those dozen games, Saban’s teams are a perfect 12-0.

Saban’s first win over one of his former assistants came in 2010 as Alabama dropped rival Tennessee and its head coach, Derek Dooley, by 31 points. Saban would go on to beat Dooley two more times, with each of those coming by 31-point margins as well.

Aside from Smart in the national championship game (26-23 in overtime), the closest a former assistant has come to beating Saban was in 2015 when Jim McElwain and Florida fell 29-15 in the SEC championship game. That was one of McElwain’s three losses to his former boss — two at Florida, one at Colorado State.

Saban is also 2-0 against Mark Dantonio (Michigan State) and 2-0 against Will Muschamp (then at Florida).

All told, Saban’s teams have outscored his former assistant’s teams by a combined score of 479-157 in the 12 meetings. For those not so mathematically inclined, that’s an average score of 40-13.

If Fisher can’t end the streak in Week 4, one of Saban’s former defensive coordinators, Jeremy Pruitt, will get the opportunity do it as the first-year head coach at Tennessee will play host to Alabama in Week 8 in Knoxville.

Penn State scores 63 points in back-to-back games for first time since 1917

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For roughly 35 minutes, it appeared as though No. 10 Penn State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) was going to be in for a struggle until the final whistle in a Friday night Big Ten opener at Illinois (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten). But the final score showed just how explosive Penn State is capable of being at any given moment. Penn State pulled scored 42 unanswered points in a 63-24 victory over Illinois, improving to 4-0 overall and setting half of the stage of a big game next week in Happy Valley against Ohio State.

A week after putting up 63 points against Kent State, the Nittany Lions accomplished something the program has not done in over a century. For just the second time in school history, Penn State scored 63 points in consecutive games. The last time that happened was in 1917. The last time it happened, the Nittany Lions took advantage of a couple of non-major programs in the most lopsided of fashions.

  • October 6, 1917: Penn State 80, Gettysburg 0
  • October 13, 1917: Penn State 99, St. Bonaventure 0

According to College Football Reference, Penn State lost the next game, 7-0, at Washington & Jefferson. Guess they should have saved some of those points, huh?

Adding to the somewhat historical start Penn State is on, this marks the first time in program history the Nittany Lions have scored at least 50 points in three consecutive games.

Trace McSorley completed 12 of 19 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns with one interception in the Penn State win. The quarterback also rushed for 92 yards. Running back Miles Sanders was the star of the game with 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Penn State out-scored Illinois 35-0 in the fourth quarter.

Next week, Penn State hosts Ohio State in primetime. As Friday night showed, Penn State will have to tighten up the run defense against the Buckeyes if they are going to avoid their first loss of the year.