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Bill Hancock: Expanded College Football Playoff not a talking point


With another year of the College Football Playoff teams being selected with a bit of dramatic flair and questions about what exactly the qualifications are for being selected, the idea of expanding the playoff field beyond four teams continues to be mentioned by media and fans alike who are on the pro-playoff expansion side of the conversation. Unfortunately for them, College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock continues to say expansion has not been discussed.

There’s been no talk about a format change in the meetings of the commissioners and the presidents who manage the CFP,” Hancock said Sunday, according to Heather Dinich of ESPN.

Hancock went on to say the system is perfectly fine and suggested the format is drumming up exactly the kind of interest it was intended to when originally formed.

“This was the kind of debate we wanted when we created the playoff,” Hancock said. “We wanted diverse opinions, we wanted people who wouldn’t hesitate to state their feelings, and man, we got it.”

Oh boy, did they.

As will typically be the case, the most conversation will come around who gets the fourth spot in the four-team playoff field. The fun began right out of the gates when Ohio State was selected with the fourth seed ahead of both Big 12 co-champions, Baylor and TCU, in 2014. While Ohio State, who went on to win the national championship, had a case to be included ahead of Baylor and TCU, the outcome helped ignite the Big 12’s decision to bring back its conference championship game, which returned last year for the first time since the conference went from 12 members to 10.

Things went pretty smoothly in 2015 with a pretty clean path to getting to four teams without much debate, but the 2016 season marked the first time a non-division winner was invited to the playoff with Ohio State getting the third seed ahead of one-loss Pac-12 champion Washington. The biggest question here was either whether Ohio State, who lost to Big Ten champion Penn State (who lost two games), should have even been considered without a division championship or whether Penn State deserved a shot at the playoff over Washington. Whatever the case, Penn State had two losses so the final four decision seemed to be the right one in the end.

And of course, last year saw Alabama as a one-loss non-division winner get into the playoff as the fourth seed while Ohio State sat at home as the Big Ten champion, although with two losses. This season marks the third straight year the Big 12 champion has been left out of the playoff mix. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart also stumped hard for consideration to be in the playoff after losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia may be one of the four best team in the country, but a second loss (even to Alabama in the SEC title game) proved to be too much of an anchor to sink Georgia’s playoff hopes.

The four-team playoff field is here to say, but at some point, it would seem likely the format will eventually change, whether it occurs after the current contract expires or before if enough conference commissioners and presidents start weighing in with a different tune. That has yet to happen, which is why Hancock continues to recite the same answers he’s been doing regarding expansion since the format took over for the BCS.

But always remember, Hancock is also the same one who said for years the BCS was not going to change in favor of a playoff system. Until the time comes when the powers that be tell Hancock to start sending a different message, he’ll continue to say this on a regular basis.

Ohio State, Georgia in Final Four for top-rated corner in 2021 recruiting class

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Ohio State already owns the top recruiting class in the next cycle.  The Buckeyes could be set to add to its prospect riches.  Maybe.

On Twitter Sunday, Virginia high schooler Tony Grimes used a video posted on Twitter to reveal his Final Four potential destinations.  And those four potential landing spots?  Georgia, North Carolina and Texas A&M.  And, of course, Ohio State.

That quartet, though, will very likely have to wait a while for a decision.

“So far it is still Dec. 1,” Grimes told when asked about Decision Day. “I am looking for more of a connection and knowing that there is someone there, that when I get there, I can trust, and someone who is going to develop me. Who is going to develop me more and who is going to put me in a position where I can play, ball out and get developed for the next level?”

Whichever school ultimately signs Grimes, they’ll be getting one of the highest-rated 2021 prospects.

Grimes is a five-star recruit in the next cycle according to the composite.  He’s the top-rated cornerback in the country.  And in his home state of Virginia, regardless of position.  On that same composite, he’s the No. 7 prospect in the country overall.

Ohio State currently holds the top-rated class in the country.  The Buckeyes currently hold verbals from four five-star 2021 prospects.  The next 11 schools have a combined four such commitments.

As for the other three schools involved in the chase for Grimes?  North Carolina holds the No. 4 class, while Georgia is 12th and Texas A&M is 24th.

Mississippi State transfer who committed to Ole Miss flips to Florida State

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Florida State is the beneficiary of a relatively rare football portal flip.

In mid-May, Jarrian Jones became the fifth Mississippi State football player to enter the NCAA transfer database in seven weeks.  May 23, he became the latest MSU player to find a new home as the defensive back moved to the Ole Miss side of the Egg Bowl rivalry.

Friday morning, however, Jones flipped.  On his personal Twitter account, Jones revealed that he has committed to the Florida State football team.

Jones was a four-star member of the Mississippi State football Class of 2019.  The Mississippi native was the No. 18 safety in the country on the composite.  He was also the No. 13 prospect regardless of position in his home state.  Only three signees in the class that year for MSU were rated higher than Jones.

As a true freshman, Jones started one of the dozen games in which he played.  In those appearances, he was credited with 12 tackles, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

After sitting out the 2020 season, the defensive back will have three years of eligibility to use starting in 2021.  Barring a waiver for immediate eligibility, of course.

Jones would actually be the second Mississippi State player to transfer into the Florida State football program in less than two months.  In mid-April, Fabien Lovett announced he was transferring to the Seminoles.  While it was reported that the defensive lineman would likely flip to Ole Miss, he confirmed he signed with FSU.

Vanderbilt mourns death of beloved staffer Osia Lewis, 57, after lengthy battle with liver cancer

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Vanderbilt football is mourning the loss of one of its own.

In February of 2017, Vanderbilt announced that football assistant Osia Lewis was battling a form of liver cancer called cholangiocarcinoma.  This weekend, the Commodores have been forced to make the sad announcement that Lewis has lost his three-year-plus battle with the insidious disease.

Lewis was 57 at the time of his death.  He leaves behind a wife and two children.

“We are deeply saddened for the loss of our heart and soul, Osia Lewis,” the Vanderbilt football program wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts and love are with Osia’s family and friends.

“Rest in paradise.”

In 2016, Lewis joined the Vanderbilt football staff as senior defensive assistant and outside linebackers coach.  Following his diagnosis, Lewis stepped away from his on-field coaching role but continued his duties as a senior defensive assistant.  He also carried the title special consultant to head coach Derek Mason.

Prior to his time at Vandy, Lewis was the defensive line coach at San Diego State.  He also served a pair of stints as a defensive coordinator, first at New Mexico (2003-07) and then at UTEP _2008-09)

The Tucson native began his coaching career as the special teams coach and linebackers coach at Oregon State.  Lewis then moved on to Illinois as linebackers and defensive line coach from 1997-02.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Lewis’ death.

Ex-Indiana defensive lineman Chris Beaty, 38, shot multiple times, killed amid violence in Indianapolis

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The violence that has sprung up in the wake of George Floyd‘s murder has directly impacted the Indiana football program.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Chris Beaty “was one of two men shot and killed in separate incidents over the weekend as violence erupted in Downtown Indianapolis.” The 38-year-old Beaty was shot multiple times shortly before midnight local time Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have made an arrest, but it’s unclear if it’s in connection to the shooting of Beaty or another man, 18-year-old Dorian Murrell, early Sunday morning.

Beaty was a defensive lineman for the Indiana Hoosiers football team from 2000-04.

Very sad and horrible news,” Beaty’s head coach for three seasons, current Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo, wrote on Twitter. “We all take responsibility if we don’t make a difference. We’re part of the problem or part of the solution there are no other choices. So sad.” wrote that “Beaty was still actively involved with IU football. He tweeted on April 26th a screenshot of head coach Tom Allen, Mark Deal and several other Indiana football alumni. He thanked Allen for checking in with the former players and said that IU football was in good hands.”

Included was a tweet from Beaty’s personal Twitter account.

The Star noted that Beaty was a nightclub manager in Indianapolis. “Beaty founded events promotion company Fresh Marketing in 2011,” the newspaper wrote. “He was the past operating partner of Revel nightclub, general manager of Dunaway’s Palazzo Ossigeno and assistant general manager of 6 Lounge.”