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Dabo Swinney not having excuses made for Alabama’s title game loss

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Dabo Swinney isn’t quite ready to go full Rodney Dangerfield… but he’s getting there when people try to rehash Clemson’s rather historic beatdown of Alabama in last season’s national title game.

Lately the Tigers head coach has been hearing plenty of excuses from those in and around his alma mater about why the final score from Levi’s Stadium read 44-16 and the ACC champions were the one holding up the trophy at the end. It seems one line of thinking goes that the Tide were simply too tired from the ‘rigorous’ SEC schedule they played that they  were simply all beat up by the time the title game came around.

Well, Dabo isn’t buying any of that non-sense as a way to downplay the historic accomplishment his team put together in their one-of-a-kind 15-0 campaign last season.

“My thing on that is, ‘Are you serious? They’re tired?,'” Swinney told ESPN. “Then you look at Clemson, and we won 12 games by 20-plus. Who really challenged Alabama in the SEC? They didn’t get challenged by anybody until the Georgia game [for the SEC championship].”

“I keep hearing that Alabama was worn down by this gauntlet they went through… I’m like, ‘What game did they get challenged in?’ And the response is, ‘They played in the SEC.’ Well, we played Alabama, Texas A&M and South Carolina, three SEC teams, and one of our toughest games was Syracuse. Our quarterback got hurt in that game, and we found a way to win. That [Clemson] team last year was a dominant team, and it’s just fascinating to me to see all the stuff out there.”

It’s worth pointing out that some from within the program in Tuscaloosa used a different excuse, namely citing lack of preparation and focus for the game being the cause behind both the loss and the lopsided scoreline. Clemson players weren’t having any of that in mid-July either and it seems like the defending champions are getting really tired of, well, having to defend their crown before a game has even kicked off in 2019.

While some casual college football fans may not like it, it will all make for an even more interesting matchup when Alabama-Clemson V eventually happens in the College Football Playoff like many expect later on this year. Something says there will be no shortage of locker room quotes that both coaching staffs will be taping up for motivation given what has happened recently…

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

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The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

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Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.

Safety graduate transfers from Penn State to Pitt

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Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.

Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.

Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.

A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.

NC State transfer Tim Kidd-Glass tweets move to Liberty

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Hugh Freeze may be dealing with what was a significant health issue, but he’s still working his first-year roster at Liberty.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday evening, Tim Kidd-Glass announced that he “would like to thank God for allowing me to have another opportunity to further my football career… at Liberty University.” The announcement comes a couple of weeks after the safety triggered a move from North Carolina State by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.

As a graduate transfer, Kidd-Glass will be eligible to play for the Flames in 2019.

The past three seasons, the Virginia native played in 33 games for the Wolfpack.  He started nine of those contests, all of which came during the 2017 season.