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Bubba Bolden’s withdrawal from USC triggered by 28-month suspension

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And now we know a heck of a lot more of the rest of the story.

In late August, shortly before the season opener, Clay Helton announced that starting strong safety Bubba Bolden would be sidelined indefinitely because of what was described only as a vague “personal matter.” Bolden has not played a down for the Trojans this season, and on Monday his name was finally removed from the team’s roster.

While program officials have declined to discuss Bolden’s situation publicly, the player took to Instagram Monday night to explain that, one, he was slapped with a 28-month suspension by USC’s Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS) over an off-campus incident earlier this year and, two, because “USC’s Title IX Office declined to even open an investigation,” all of the off-field tumult has led him to withdraw from the university.

From Bolden’s social media post:

The University’s office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS) believes that I am responsible for violating the student code of conduct pertaining to underage drinking at an off-campus party back in February 2018 wherein I participated in mutual trash-talking with fellow party-goers. As the vibe at the party turned unfriendly, I left with several friends. Approximately nine days afterward, the party hosts reported feeling threatened by me that night, which sparked a USC SJACS investigation.

After USC’s chief threat assessment officer found me to not be a threat, USC’s Title IX Office declined to even open an investigation. I was not charged with any criminal activity and several party-goers refuted the allegations, SJACS sanctioned me with a 28-month suspension based on the projected graduation date of the party hosts.

While defending himself against the claims made against him, Bolden also apologized for his actions that February night.

“My behavior at the party was not reflective of my character which my family, friends, teammates and many more admire, and for this I am truly sorry,” the defensive back wrote. “At this point, I’m 100% committed to ensuring that the lessons I’ve learned on and off the field will carry me to the next level.”

Bolden was a four-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 safety in the country and the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Nevada on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  As a true freshman last season, Bolden appeared in 13 of the Trojans’ 14 games.

Bolden’s issues were merely a part of significant upheaval and turnover at strong safety over the last month or so for the Trojans.

Ykili Ross and Bolden had been battling for the starting job before Ross abruptly left the program and transferred in late August, clearing the path for Bolden to start.  After Bolden’s suspension, Isaiah Pola-Mao was elevated to No. 1 on the depth chart.  In mid-September, however, Pola underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.

On USC’s most recent depth chart, the starting strong safety is listed as Talanoa Hufanga OR C.J. Pollard.

LSU opens as double-digit favorites on Oklahoma; Ohio State slight underdog to Clemson

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While definitely subject to change, the initial wagering odds for the degenerates in the reading audience are out.

Earlier Sunday, and in a surprise to absolutely no one, the four semifinalists for the 2019 College Football Playoff were released.  LSU was given the No. 1 seed by the selection committee and will face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl.  No. 2 Ohio State, which came into Championship Saturday ranked first in the country, will square off with No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.

According to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, LSU is a 7/5 favorite to win the 2019 national championship.  Clemson is next at 2/1, while Ohio State sits at 3/1.  Oklahoma, which won its way into the playoffs at the expense of Georgia, is a decided underdog at 16/1.

Speaking of underdogs, the SEC Tigers are currently listed as a 12½-point favorite in their matchup with the Sooners.  Despite being the higher seed, the Buckeyes have opened as a two-point underdog to the ACC Tigers.

The over/under for Ohio State-Clemson opened at 63; for LSU-Oklahoma, it’s at 75.

LSU and Oklahoma have squared off just twice previously, with the most recent matchup coming in 2004.  Clemson and Ohio State have met three times in their collective histories, the most recent meeting coming in the 2016 College Football Playoff — a 31-0 win for the Tigers.

Arkansas confirms hiring of Georgia OL coach Sam Pittman as head coach

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When it came to replacing the fired Chad Morris, Arkansas, as it turned out, didn’t have to look outside of the SEC.

Sunday, with one of its top targets, Lane Kiffin, already having been locked up by SEC West rival Ole Miss, Arkansas reportedly pivoted its attention to Georgia’s Sam Pittman.  A few hours later, the Razorbacks confirmed that Pittman has been hired as the school’s next head football coach.

“Sam Pittman has been an integral part of successful teams that have competed at the highest levels, including for SEC and NCAA Championships,” UA athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. “As one of the nation’s premier offensive line coaches, he has built a remarkable body of work thanks to his tremendous passion for his student-athletes, including teaching the fundamentals and developing his players on and off the field. Sam instills in his players the motivation, grit and determination required to compete and win. Throughout this process, I heard from many of his former players about the tremendous influence he had on them as a player and as a man.

“Sam knows the Southeastern Conference inside and out and is one of the nation’s best recruiters. His connections throughout football will enable him to build a quality coaching staff. In his previous tenure, Sam and his wife Jamie fell in love with the state of Arkansas and with Razorback fans. They know what a special place this is and are excited for the opportunity to come back to the Home of the Razorbacks.”

The hiring marks a return to Fayetteville for Pittman as he was a member of Bret Bielema‘s first coaching staff in 2013. In 2016, he left for Georgia, where he spent the past four seasons as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach.  He also served as Kirby Smart‘s associate head coach.

The 58-year-old Pittman will be officially introduced as the Razorbacks’ 34th head coach Monday afternoon.

Mizzou zeroing in on Eli Drinkwitz as next head coach

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Once again, it appears a Power Five program will pilfer a Group of Five school for its next head football coach.

Sunday afternoon, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported that Applachian State’s Eli Drinkwitz “has emerged as a strong candidate” for the vacancy at Missouri.  Subsequent to that, ESPN.com reported that “Drinkwitz has reached an agreement to become Missouri’s next head football coach and a deal is being finalized.”

An official announcement of Drinkwitz becoming the permanent replacement for Barry Odom, who was fired late last month after four seasons at his alma mater, is expected no later than Monday.

The 36-year-old Drinkwitz is in his first season as the head coach of the Mountaineers, his first head-coaching job at any level of football.  App State stands at 12-1 on the season after claiming its second-straight Sun Belt Conference championship Saturday with a win over Louisiana.

Dec. 21, App State will face UAB in the New Orleans Bowl.

Georgia WR Dominick Blaylock reportedly suffered ACL tear in SEC title game loss

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A rough weekend for Georgia was underscored on Sunday as reports surfaced saying one of their key young players is done for the rest of this year and likely part of the next one.

As per Rivals’ Radi Nabulsi and a host of other beat writers in Athens, Bulldogs receiver Dominick Blaylock suffered a torn ACL in the loss against LSU in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.

The freshman from Marietta, Ga. had to be carted off the field in the first quarter after making a short catch and planting his knee awkwardly. The team’s top receiver, Lawrence Cager, was already out after undergoing knee surgery on Nov. 29.

Blaylock had made 18 catches for 310 yards and five touchdowns at UGA this season.