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Miscues from No. 15 TCU allow No. 4 Ohio State to storm back for win to go 3-0 without Urban Meyer

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Everybody wondered how No. 4 Ohio State would fare in their biggest non-conference test of the year that also doubled their final game without head coach Urban Meyer. As it turns out, not too shabby.

The fourth-ranked Buckeyes used a series of third quarter miscues from a pesky No. 15 TCU squad to flip momentum and help storm away with a 40-28 victory on Saturday night and move to 3-0 on the season.

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins didn’t quite look as good as he did in the team’s first two games but he eventually was able to figure out Gary Patterson’s difficult defense as the night went on. The budding Heisman candidate left AT&T Stadium with 24 completions for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns while tailback J.K. Dobbins, playing in his home state once again, rushed for 121 yards on the ground. Fellow back Mike Weber chipped in with another 64 on the ground, many of which were runs that helped salt away the game by running clock down the stretch.

Far more impressive was the Buckeyes defense. Despite allowing over 500 yards, the group forced three huge turnovers — two for touchdowns — recorded three sacks and seven tackles for loss. Though attention in Columbus will turn to the return of Meyer next week, the status of star defensive end Nick Bosa will also be front and center for the team after he was injured in the third quarter with what was officially labeled a lower abdomen strain.

The final scoreline didn’t properly indicate how close the Horned Frogs kept his one for most of the night. Signal-caller Shawn Robinson threw for 308 yards and a touchdown (two INTs) while really pushing the tempo early in the game to catch the Buckeyes off-balance. Darius Anderson also introduced himself to a national audience, finishing with 154 yards and a pair of touchdown runs, the first of which went 93 yards along the sidelines that doubled as the longest run in school history and the longest given up by the powerhouse on the other sideline.

If there was one regret for Patterson however, it likely came in a four-minute stretch that all but doomed TCU due in part to their own miscues.

It all started by giving up a Parris Campbell screen play for 63 yards, with the OSU receiver weaving his way to the end zone and through a few arm tackles. On the next series, Dremont Jones stepped in front of a shovel pass and looked much more like a fullback than a defensive tackle as he slipped two tackles and wound up in the end zone.

The Horned Frogs thought they could swing momentum back and made the gutsy call to try some trickeration on the ensuing kickoff. After having a player lay flat in the end zone, the return man was supposed to lateral the ball to him but wound up throwing an illegal forward pass on a play that could have gone for a touchdown. The special teams woes continued on the same series as a bad snap on the punt led to the kick getting partially blocked. Ohio State promptly scored on the next snap with a 25 yard touchdown pass and turn a one-time deficit into a 12 point lead that kept growing as the second half continued.

As a result, the Buckeyes will remain in the thick of the College Football Playoff conversation as they look to be carrying the banner for their conference after a rough Saturday in the Big Ten. Bosa’s health will be a big concern going forward given his obvious impact but attention will no doubt turn to the return of Meyer next week against Tulane at the Horseshoe.

Still, OSU was certainly pushed at time by a TCU team that used tempo effectively throughout the night and look like they have the kind of playmakers to push Oklahoma in the Big 12. They’ll have to regroup quickly in Fort Worth given the upcoming slate but there’s no shame in losing to the Buckeyes based on what we saw in Arlington.

Jim Delany was highest paid conference commissioner in 2017-18; NCAA president Mark Emmert’s salary climbs to nearly $4 million

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The life of a conference commissioner is not an easy one given the amount of criticism from just about every level but at least they are well compensated for their troubles.

Really well in most cases.

Thanks to the latest round of 2017-18 tax returns from the various Power Five conferences and the NCAA being released, we now have a good picture at how everybody stacks up and business booming has resulted in even larger paychecks for most. Here’s the latest figures for the Power Five and NCAA President Mark Emmert:

  • The Big Ten’s Jim Delany moved into the top spot as the highest paid commissioner thanks to a reported $5.5 million paycheck, per USA Today.
  • Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was not far behind his Rose Bowl counterpart with over $5.2 million in compensation, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
  • Big 12 head honcho Bob Bowlsby was bumped to a total of $4.1 million.
  • ACC commissioner John Swofford took home slightly over $3.5 million.
  • SEC leader Greg Sankey was by far the best bargain of the group, with the most recently appointed commissioner making right around $2 million last year.
  • Emmert’s salary was the biggest mover of the group of power players as Yahoo! Sports notes his take-home pay jumped 60% by going from $2.4 million the previous year to $3.9 million. All told, the NCAA’s public face has seen his salary jump by some $2 million since 2015 alone.

As you all know, the compensation for the student-athletes officially remained at $0 in pay for the same time period.

Alcohol sales expected to be hot topic at SEC spring meetings

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It just means more… beer?

It certainly could in the SEC as early as this upcoming season depending on how the league’s annual spring meetings in Destin, Fla. go next week. As Sports Illustrated reports ahead of everybody’s trip down by the beach, repealing an archaic conference rule banning alcohol sales in the general public sections of stadiums is expected to be the hot button topic that will drive the conversation among school presidents, athletic directors and coaches:

Many of the conference’s high-ranking administrators are optimistic that league presidents will not only seriously discuss the alcohol ban but will overturn an archaic policy that exists in no other major conference. The bylaw will be “front and center” during the four-day event at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort, says one athletic director; another AD says it’s “the main thing.” The administrators spoke to Sports Illustrated on a condition of anonymity.

It probably goes without saying that SEC fans have been clamoring for overturning the rule and expanding sales beyond the club areas where adult beverages are currently allowed to be sold. The conference is one of the few holdouts in this area as college football has swung back from being relatively dry the past decade-plus. Half the Big Ten will permit sales in 2019 and other programs like Oklahoma became the latest big program elsewhere to join the trend earlier this month.

There’s two positives supporters of an SEC repeal will no doubt trot out next week, the first being the increased revenues schools can make by opening up sales and the other being the decrease in binge drinking just prior to kickoff. The latter in particular is not something likely to escape the conference presidents given some of the game day atmospheres in the league.

We’ll see if things ultimately get over the finish line in terms of a repeal after a few years of discussion but it probably speaks to the health of the league that throwing a few drinks back is the topic de jour down in Destin this year.

Thanks to resurgence under Kirby Smart, Georgia donors have contributed $140 million the past two years

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Kirby Smart is just plain good for business at Georgia as much as the head coach is for the Bulldogs on the field.

Like, really good for business.

The Athens Banner-Herald recapped a number of the financial figures for UGA athletics’ recently approved 2020 budget and while the overall $153.89 million figure was notable and the projected $44.5 million distribution from the SEC Network somewhat striking, it was one nugget buried in the story that was really eye-opening:

‘Fueled by the football team’s success the last couple of seasons under coach Kirby Smart, donors have contributed about $140 million total over the last two years.’

$140 million over two years!

“Sustainability in college athletics is an ongoing challenge and we are fortunate to be one of the few institutions being on solid ground,” AD Greg McGarity told the board.

We’ll say. That $140 million figure over two years is slightly more than what fellow SEC peers Kentucky and South Carolina brought in just last year in terms of total revenue, per USA Today’s finances database, and even if you split it in two is still a figure that greatly exceeds most Group of Five programs entire budget. And keep in mind this is just donations for the Bulldogs, not revenues from media deals, ticket sales and other items.

Given that UGA has made the national title game and the Sugar Bowl the past two seasons, it’s probably not a huge surprise to see a big uptick in donations but that quite the whopper of a figure thanks to the Smart-led resurgence in Athens.

Wyoming set to ask the state for funds to help with War Memorial Stadium renovation

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Add Wyoming to the long, long list of FBS schools hoping to complete a facelift for their home stadium over the next few years.

According to the Gillette News Record, the Cowboys are all set to ask the state for nearly $50 million in funds to help with the renovation of War Memorial Stadium and other athletics projects such as a pool.

“On the lower west side, the treads and the risers in the bleacher section and the press box are far below Mountain West Conference standards and we need to find a way to upgrade that,” athletic director Tom Burman told the paper. “We’re going to need, as part of our vision, to make fans feel better, whether it’s back-rests or chair-backs or better concessions. They have an expectation level of what Saturday football’s supposed to be like and it’s very different from what we provide.”

The total cost for the stadium and pool, which are not being separated in the request to the state for funds, is expected to cost $74.2 million. Some $24.6 million is expected to be fundraised by the school with the rest covered by the money provided by the legislature.

War Memorial Stadium seats just over 29,000 people for Cowboys home games but has really only seen minor renovations to upgrade the venue in 2004 and 2010. Given that the venue was built in 1950 and only expanded to near its current capacity in the 1970’s, it’s understandable why the school wants to upgrade the home football experience as a result.

Wyoming opens their 2019 season in Laramie against Missouri on August 31.