Count Florida head coach Dan Mullen among those who would like to see the SEC switch things up with the conference schedule. If it were up to Mullen, the SEC would mix up the cross-division rotation more frequently so teams in opposite divisions could play other members of the conference more often.
The topic of conversation about the SEC schedule came up as Mullen’s Gators are getting ready to play Auburn in a cross-division matchup in two weeks (Florida plays Towson this week). It is the first time Florida has played Auburn since 2011. So, for those keeping score at home, the last time Florida played Auburn, Texas A&M and Missouri were in the Big 12. Mullen made note that Florida has played non-conference schools such as Miami and Florida State more often than they have faced Mullen’s former school, Mississippi State. Florida faces Florida State every season and has played Miami twice since 2013. To go even deeper, Florida has faced Michigan in the regular season as many times as the Gators have faced Mississippi State since 2010 (Florida has also played two bowl games against the Wolverines since 2016).
“I think it’s an injustice for the kids. We should mix those games up and you should play more teams from the West and get the opportunity to play more SEC games,” Mullen said during a press conference this week. “You come play in this league and play in those games, conference games are a lot of fun, playing other SEC teams. I think moving forward scheduling-wise, obviously conference, we don’t control that, but I think that’d be a heck of a deal and I know we’re working to play more Power 5 teams.”
The SEC has 14 members but plays just eight conference games each season. That leaves room for six games against division opponents and two more crossover games. One of the cross-division games is a locked-in protected matchup that never comes off the schedule, and the last remaining game rotates through the opposite division over the years. Florida’s protected cross-over game is against LSU.
One possible way to address the lack of games against schools in the other division would be to expand the SEC conference schedule to nine games, providing one additional game against the other division. Of course, the SEC as a whole has pushed back on the idea of moving from an eight-game schedule to a nine-game schedule. If the SEC is going to remain at eight games, then it might be worth exploring the reception to doing away with the protected cross-division games to allow more opportunities to face more teams from around the conference.
Helmet sticker to Saturday Down South.
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 247Sports.com 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 247Sports.com 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.
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 247Sports.com 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 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.
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.”
HoosierHuddle.com 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.”