To nobody’s surprise — and appropriately enough for a game held in Atlanta — Georgia is well represented on the Super Bowl LIII active rosters of the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots. What is a bit head-turning is which school the Bulldogs share the honors with for the most players in the final NFL game of the year.
Yes, that’s right, the Scarlet Knights are tied with UGA in having four players in the Super Bowl this year. The Patriots have three State University of New Jersey products (Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty and Duron Harmon) while the Rams have Sebastian Joseph-Day. The Bulldogs are evenly split and have some big names playing just down the road from Athens in Todd Gurley and Ramik Wilson for LA and Sony Michel plus David Andrews with New England.
Michel is a notable name in particular, not just because he’s a big part of the Pats offense but because he played in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game for Georgia in the same building one year ago.
Auburn, Cal, Florida, Iowa, Miami, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, USC and Washington all had three players on the active roster. The SEC is on top as a conference (21) and edged out the Big Ten (20), Pac-12 (18), ACC (11) and Big 12 (7). There are 10 FCS and four Division II players in the big game too while the AAC led the Group of Five with six representatives.
One interesting quirk? While Alabama and Clemson have dominated college football in recent years, that success didn’t carry over into Super Bowl LIII. There are just two Crimson Tide players in the game (Mark Barron and Dont’a Hightower) and a single Tigers player (Dwayne Allen).
Both of those former Nick Saban players do have a chance to join a select group in winning both an FBS national title in college and a Super Bowl ring though (Hightower actually has two of each already). The others are Lamarcus Joyner (Florida State) and Andrew Whitworth (LSU) with the Rams along with some guy named Tom Brady (Michigan).
Former Missouri and Toledo head coach Gary Pinkel revealed in a TV interview on Sunday night that he is once again undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I’m doing good. I had to get treatment again for the first time in four years. My cancer came out of remission, and so I had treatment last month. I’m doing fine,” Pinkel told KMIZ. “With my type of lymphoma, you’ll never be healed. But that’s kind of why I retired when I did – I just wanted to not go back and regret working 85 hours a week, 35 weeks out of the year when I could be doing other things with my family and my eight grandkids.”
Pinkel was originally diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May of 2015 and stepped down after that season. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the lymph nodes and then spreads throughout the body.
“You keep battling it. I’m going to battle it, Pinkel said. “I’ve got a very positive approach to it, and I’m around a lot of good people that are helping me. There’s a lot of people out there with a lot worse cancers than Gary Pinkel has, and so prayers to all of them.”
Since retiring, Pinkel has used his time as a fundraiser for Missouri and also running the GP M.A.D.E. Foundation, which supports children with cancer and also provides mentoring for at-need kids.
Pinkel, 63, was 191-110-3 as a head coach at two schools over 25 seasons.
Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese is joining Florida’s staff as an analyst, according to Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Benoit.
Zampese spent the 2016-17 seasons as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator after serving 13 seasons as Marvin Lewis‘s quarterbacks coach. Cincinnati went 13-18-1 in Zampese’s two seasons running the offense, which is why he spent 2018 as the Cleveland Browns’ quarterbacks coach and the first part of 2019 as the offensive coordinator for the AAF’s Atlanta Legends.
He is the son of former Chargers, Rams, Cowboys and Patriots offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese.
It is not immediately known what the younger Zampese’s role will be with the Gators, but his experience indicates he’ll work with Dan Mullen and coordinators John Hevesy and Billy Gonzales to develop Florida’s offensive plan and help Brian Johnson tutor the quarterbacks, or perhaps use his coordinator experience to self-scout Florida’s offense and scout Florida’s future opponents.
All the reporting that came out since the bombshell reports saying Connecticut is looking to leave the American Athletic Conference to rejoin the non-football Big East have confirmed that, yes, this is really happening, likely in time for the 2020-21 athletic year. The reporting has also said that UConn’s soon-to-be-homeless football program will not drop down to FCS, but instead join a different conference or try to make it as an FBS independent.
On Saturday, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy tweeted that UConn has determined it will not return to FCS, where the program competed for most of its history before joining the then-power conference Big East in 2004.
On Sunday morning, NCAA.com’s Andy Katz followed with a note saying it looked like the Huskies will try to make a go of it as an independent, writing that UConn will attempt to schedule neighbors like UMass (a fellow independent), Boston College, Syracuse and Rutgers while honoring existing contracts for home-and-homes with Duke, Illinois, NC State and others.
For a check in with someone who might actually know something, let’s see what Huskies head coach Randy Edsall has to say.
Either way, it sounds like the train is moving and we could hear something official sooner rather than later.