The War on I-4 is getting a little offseason juice.
At the center of the latest faux controversy drummed up by UCF folks this month is the fact that their conference rival USF had the audacity to schedule a 2-for-1 series with Miami starting in 2025. This replaced a previously set trio of games with Texas for the Bulls and allows a big name from the ACC to visit Tampa and no doubt sell tickets.
While it might seem like a smart move by USF to land an in-state power like the Hurricanes on their home schedule in exchange for two trips to South Beach, the Knights are no fan of teams from the AAC embarking on these kinds of 2-for-1 deals as UCF is trying to hold fast to their own scheduling philosophy of landing home-and-home with major opponents.
“I don’t know what I would do if I was in that (AD) chair,” Knights AD Danny White told an Orlando radio show. “(USF AD) Michael Kelly and I talk about a lot of different things … I’m sure that gate is meaningful for them for that single-game sale for those games. It’s a precedent I don’t like being set in our conference for schools to start doing a lot higher volume of 2-for-1s. We haven’t as a conference been that kind of place. We’ve been successful, historically, of getting home-and-homes with Power 6 opponents, and I’d like to see our conference peers continue to do that as we intend to do.”
Why is White so against 2-for-1’s by his fellow conference opponent? Well, a lot of that has to do with himself getting rebuffed from home-and-homes from Power Five opponents in favor of the three game series. Most notably this has devolved into a war of words between UCF and Florida, which has offered to play the Knights… but only with two of the games in Gainesville.
UCF thinks they’re above such scheduling tactics after “winning” a national championship and earning two Group of Five bids to the New Year’s Six bowls. Their Power Five peers like FSU, Miami and Florida though, still see things a bit differently with the Knights and their AAC brethren.
We’ll see how things play out eventually but something says White, Kelly and the rest of the Florida-based athletic directors will not be sending each other Christmas cards this holiday season after all the banter back-and-forth this spring.
Ole Miss has looked to a service academy to significantly bolster its football roster. Officially.
Back in mid-March, Jake Springer signaled his intention to transfer from Navy by entering the NCAA transfer database. A little over three months later, the striker utilized Instagram to announce that he had committed to the Ole Miss football team.
Two weeks after that social media revelation, Ole Miss confirmed that Springer has signed and been added to the Rebels football roster. It was initially thought that Springer would be headed to the Rebels as a graduate transfer. Instead, the school confirmed he’ll have to sit out the 2020 season. The 2021 season will be his final year of eligibility.
Springer was a two-star member of the Class of 2017 for the Midshipmen. His recruiting pedigree, though, belies the potential for production he brings to Ole Miss football.
After playing in six games as a true freshman, Springer saw action in a dozen in 2018. He started four of those contests, intercepting a pair of passes in that action. The Missouri product had a breakout season in 2019, starting 10 games for the Midshipmen. He led the team in both tackles for loss (16) and sacks (eight). The latter total is tied for third-most in academy history, the former tied for the fifth-most.
Following the regular season, Springer was accorded second-team All-AAC honors.
While he played a hybrid linebacker/safety (striker) position at Navy, Springer is expected to make his mark in the secondary for the SEC school.
Illinois has been on the right side of the football portal throughout the offseason. Now, Lovie Smith‘s crew finds themselves on the wrong end.
First reported by Rivals.com, Joseph Thompson has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database. 247Sports.com subsequently confirmed that the defensive back is intent on leaving the Illinois football program.
Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.
As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.
NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.
Thompson was a three-star member of the Illinois football Class of 2019. The Chicago native was rated as the No. 27 recruit regardless of position in the state of Illinois. As a true freshman, Thompson didn’t appear in any games and took a redshirt.
On the positive side for the Illini? Illinois has added seven transfers to its football roster this offseason. Five of those have come from Power Five programs.
In mid-March, ex-Alabama linebacker Christian Bell tweeted that he was moving on to the Illini. Shortly thereafter, we noted that an FCS All-American offensive lineman had opted to transfer into the Illinois football program. New Mexico State wide receiver Desmond Dan did the same. As did Miami wide receiver Brian Hightower. And Mississippi State offensive lineman Brevyn Jones as well in early May And Louisville defensive back TreSean Smith last week mid-May. And Cal defensive tackle Chinedu Udeogu that same month.
While seemingly everyone in the sport is looking to push games back, Oklahoma is actually looking to move its football opener up.
Oklahoma is currently scheduled to open the 2020 college football season at home in Norman against FCS Missouri State Sept. 5. According to The Oklahoman, however, OU is looking to move that matchup up a week, to Aug. 29. Reportedly, the FCS school is amenable to such a move.
The reasoning behind such a waiver?
OU athletic director Joe Castiglione’s rationale in this pandemic-stricken year is that moving the opener would give OU an off week after each of its first two games, which could be valuable with the testing of players for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
With constant testing and the subsequent contact tracing for those exposed, teams face a season with frequent quarantines and isolation of players who either have the virus or have been exposed to it.
At the moment, Oklahoma is scheduled to face Tennessee at Memorial Stadium Sept. 12. Then coming off a bye, OU would travel
All of this, of course, is contingent on there actually being non-conference games in the sport. The Big Ten was the first conference-only scheduling domino to fall. The ACC and Pac-12 are expected to follow suit. The Sooners’ conference, the Big 12, likely won’t make a decision on that front until the end of this month. The same goes for the SEC as well.
There’s a health concern involving one of the crown jewels of the Georgia football Class of 2020.
With Auburn in hot pursuit, Broderick Jones confirmed back in February that he had signed with Georgia football. The offensive lineman stated on National Signing Day he is “a Georgia boy” and “wanted to be close to home so my family could support me.“
Now, though, 247Sports.com is confirming that Jones suffered “a lower leg injury related to an accident involving a motor bike.” No details surrounding the accident have been revealed, although the website noted that it didn’t happen in the last couple of days.
It’s expected that Jones will be recovering for multiple weeks, perhaps up to two months. As of yet, the Georgia football program has not commented on the development.
The No. 3 recruit regardless of position in the state of Georgia, the 6-5, 298-pound Jones is the No. 2 offensive tackle in the country. On the 247Sports.com composite, he’s listed as the No. 11 prospect overall in the Class of 2020. Only one signee in this year’s class for the Bulldogs, cornerback Kelee Ringo, was rated higher.
While Jones verbally committed to UGA in April of 2018, the departure of line coach Sam Pittman for the head job at Arkansas in December caused some concern. In January, Jones took an official visit to Arkansas. He took another to Illinois that same month.
With the Bulldogs, the expectation is that Jones will slide into a starting job as a true freshman. Provided there is a season, of course.