The point of David Hale’s ESPN article was about Dabo Swinney‘s potential future at Alabama, or lack thereof. The Clemson head coach is a natural replacement for Nick Saban one day, given that he’s beaten Saban two out of the last three times they’ve played, and that he’s an Alabama native, an Alabama graduate, a former Crimson Tide wide receiver and a former Crimson Tide assistant coach under two separate regimes.
Swinney has towed that thin line splendidly of late, repeatedly stating that, while he loves his alma mater, Swinney’s happy at Clemson and has no plans to leave. Still, the future remains unwritten and who knows how he’ll feel in 2025? Again, he’s done a remarkable job of showing affection to his alma mater and loyalty to his employer at the same time.
It was all going great, until he said something truly ridiculous:
“Who knows what’s going to happen down the road? I have no idea,” Swinney said. “I just try to be great where my feet are. That’s my focus every day. Who knows? They may do away with college football in three years. There may be no college football. They may want to professionalize college athletics. Well, then, maybe I’ll go to the pros. If I’m going to coach pro football, I might as well do that. I may get a terrible president or a terrible AD one day. I don’t know. I have no idea what’s down the road. But I know what we have at Clemson is special, and I wanted to make a commitment to the university. That’s what the message of the contract was.”
Here’s a piece of news for Swinney: College athletics already is a professional enterprise for everyone involved, everyone except the people actually doing the athletics.
Dabo knows this, he works in college athletics every day. In fact, Clemson will pay him $93 million to remain in college athletics for the next 10 years. Assuming he finishes out the life of the deal, Swinney will make well over $100 million over his professional career in college athletics.
The point of this piece is not to shame Swinney for his earnings — although it is incredibly bad optics for a guy making darn near eight figures a year to resent players earning a larger piece of the pie, particularly in a time where Congress is sniffing around the NCAA’s amateurism model. College athletics is a business, and at its highest levels it’s incredibly big business. Clemson is making exponentially more money off its football program than it did 30 years ago, and Dabo deserves a piece of that pie. But the players’ piece hasn’t grown at the same rate over the past 10, 20, 50 years. Not unless you want to count staff nutritionists (and their respective salaries) and some free rounds of putt-putt as compensation.
If we’re to read into the subtext of what Dabo’s saying here, it’s that the only reason he coaches college football is because the players don’t get paid. Turning boys into men? Shaping the next generation of young leaders? Helping form young men’s character in a critical portion of their lives? No, Swinney’s in it because his players don’t get paid.
Perhaps that’s an unfair reading into Swinney’s comments, but then again maybe it’s not. After all, he just told us how he really feels above.
This college football season has been a bit different from most thanks to a combination of two factors that have very little to do with the play on the field: a new rule allowing players to redshirt despite playing in four games and the NCAA transfer portal.
Amid a flurry of player movement as a result of those two, on top of unique situations like Houston’s D’Eriq King deciding to take a redshirt in what amounts to a lost year for the Cougars, it seems the powers at be are already eyeing tweaking the current status quo. West Virgnia AD Shane Lyons chairs the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee and remarked on a local radio show that adjustments to the current set of rules are likely to be discussed during meetings at the NCAA convention in January.
“I don’t think it’s a good optic for college sports,” Lyons said, according to the West Virginia MetroNews. “The way it looks, a student-athlete is potentially quitting on his team.
“It’s something the committee will look at in their January meeting to make any adjustments as necessary.”
Despite the redshirt rule originating from coaches themselves, in practice it has proven to be problematic for many because players have either removed themselves from action in order to save up a season and play elsewhere or simply entered the transfer portal. Such roster management concerns have led to plenty of criticism about the unintended consequences of the changes and now it appears the adults in the room are getting together to come up with a few changes to defeat the reasoning behind both rules.
We’ll see what happens between now and the January meetings but the days of going four-and-out for some might be coming to an end with the 2019 season.
At least based on the sportsbooks, you shouldn’t expect much drama on championship weekend — which means we should all brace for absolute and utter hell breaking loose, of course.
Friday night and on into Saturday, the 10 FBS conferences will hold their respective league championship games, the results of which will not only shape the College Football Playoff but the New Year’s Six Bowls and all the way down to the lower-tier bowls. As of this posting, and by way of the BetMGM Sportsbook, nearly half of those 10 title games feature double-digit odds:
- ACC — No. 23 Virginia vs. No. 3 Clemson (-28½)
- Big Ten — No. 1 Ohio State (-15½) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
- Mountain West — Hawaii vs. No. 19 Boise State (-13½)
- AAC — No. 20 Cincinnati vs. No. 17 Memphis (-10½)
A fifth, the Big 12 championship game, is nearly double-digits as No. 6 Oklahoma is a 9½-point favorite over No. 7 Baylor.
The other five matchups have hovered around seven points or so, including the SEC title game featuring 6½-point favorite and second-ranked LSU clashing with No. 4 Georgia, since the matchups were decided last weekend:
- Pac-12 (Friday night) — No. 5 Utah (-6½) vs. No. 13 Oregon
- Sun Belt — Louisiana vs. No. 21 Appalachian State (-6½)
- MAC — Miami (OH) vs. Central Michigan (-6½)
- Conference USA — UAB vs. Florida Atlantic (-7½)
Some history was made overnight that involves both sides of The Game.
Wednesday night, sixth-ranked Ohio State took seventh-ranked North Carolina to the woodshed in a 74-49 win, handing the Tar Heels the basketball program’s worst-ever home loss at the Dean Dome under Roy Williams. Four days earlier, second-ranked Ohio State took 10th-ranked Michigan to the woodshed in a 56-27 win, handing the Wolverines their eighth straight loss — and 15th in 16 meetings — in the rivalry.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, this marks the first time in nearly three decades and just the second time ever that one school had scored wins in Associated Press Top-10 matchups in football and basketball in a span of four days or fewer. The only other school to pull off that feat? Michigan, in 1992-93.
I have no clue what it actually all means, but it sounds pretty impressive. And fairly hilarious that it involves both sides of the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
Ahead of Saturday’s Big 12 championship game, the status of a key rotational piece of one of the participant’s defensive line is decidedly up in the air.
Jalen Redmond didn’t travel with the rest of his No. 6 Oklahoma teammates to last Saturday’s Bedlam win over No. 25 Oklahoma State because of an unspecified issue. With a date against Baylor on tap for Saturday, it remains unclear whether the redshirt freshman defensive lineman will be available for the conference title game.
“He has progressed this week,” Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley said when asked about Redmond’s availability. “We don’t have a complete decision right now, but he’s certainly better at this point than he was last week.”
In July of last year, Riley confirmed that, because of blood clots, Redmond would not play at all in 2018. However, the then-true freshman defied the initial medical odds and ultimately returned in October to play in three games before a recurrence of the clots in mid-November sidelined Redmond for the remainder of the year.
This season, Redmond had played in the first 11 games, starting two of those contests, before missing the Week 14 win. Redmond is currently third on the Sooners in tackles for loss with seven and second in sacks with four.