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LSU makes a strong case for best college football season ever

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It may sound almost unorthodox to throw LSU in the conversation for the best team in college football history, but the Tigers certainly left their mark on the college football world during the 2019 season. It may take years to truly realize just how special a season those in Baton Rouge experienced this past season, but the record books and accomplishments along the way will be tough to beat.

As far as individual accomplishments go, LSU players rewrote the school record book, the SEC record book, and etched their places in the NCAA record books. It started with Joe Burrow turning in a truly historic season. Burrow ran away with the Heisman Trophy and a handful of other college football awards. And that was before Burrow set a new NCAA record for most touchdowns thrown in a single season (60) with his five-touchdown performance in the national championship game against the defending national champion Clemson Tigers, who a year ago had shredded Alabama.

Burrow didn’t do it all alone. He had a Biletnikoff Award winner in Ja'Marr Chase to throw too. Chase set his own individual record in the national championship game with 216 receiving yards. Justin Jefferson also had over 1,400 receiving yards, giving LSU one of the most lethal 1-2 wide receiver combos college football has seen. The addition of Broyles Award winner Joe Brady to the staff from the New Orleans Saints was a game-changer, and a program-changer, for LSU. And of course, Ed Orgeron managed to silence any remaining doubters who have crossed his path.

Put aside the individual accolades though, of which there were plenty, and you will find an LSU team that built one of the most impressive seasons to date. At the time the games were played, each of LSU’s seven ranked opponents during the season were ranked inside the top 10, including each of the last three on the schedule. LSU made their first national championship noise with an early road win against No. 9 Texas, in which Burrow had one of his many Heisman Trophy moments in sealing the game with a touchdown pass.  LSU later pummeled No. 7 Florida in Death Valley, 42-28. In late October and into November, LSU faced No. 9 Auburn and then No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa and managed to win each game. Those were the closest calls for LSU all season long.

LSU then put up 50 or more points in each of their next three games, dominated No. 4 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game (37-10) and then put up a playoff record 63 point son Big 12 champion Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl for the semifinal round. And to put the cherry on top, LSU overcame a sluggish offensive start to pull away from Clemson, 42-25, to claim the national championship game. Seven games against top 10 teams, won by a cumulative score of 298-190.

LSU’s stockpile of accomplishments this season is tough to beat. If there was one slight against them, it would be the defense when compared to some other great college football teams (2001 Miami, for example), but there would be no way this offense would not score points against even some of the best defenses of all time. So let the debate begin as the college football world tries to figure out just where LSU’s 2019 season ranks in the 150-year (and counting) history of the game.

Iowa State QB Re-al Mitchell latest to enter name into transfer portal

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The portal has claimed another name and Iowa State’s quarterback depth will suffer as a result.

Cyclones signal-caller Re-al Mitchell became the latest enter the NCAA Transfer Database this week and confirmed on social media that he was leaving Ames for another opportunity elsewhere.

The move is fairly unsurprising given that Mitchell arrived on campus in the same recruiting class as current starter Brock Purdy. With a pathway to significant playing time blocked by one of the best young QB’s in the sport, a ticket out of town seemed like it was coming sooner or later for the team’s No. 2 on the depth chart.

A dual-threat known for his speed, Mitchell was originally ranked as a three-star prospect coming out of high school who picked ISU over Arizona, Illinois, Kansas State, South Carolina and others. He wound up playing in six games under Matt Campbell over two seasons and threw for an even 100 yards and one touchdown.

A Southern California native, it’s possible a move back West could be in the cards for Mitchell. He appears to be insistent on playing under center but did see spot duty as a wide receiver during his stint in Ames.

Following the departure of Mitchell, Campbell will quite a bit of youth behind Purdy on the team’s depth chart. Freshman Aidan Bouman enrolled early for spring practice while fellow Class of 2020 QB and four-star recruit Hunter Dekkers will arrive later as they battle it out for backup reps. Iowa State opens the season at home against FCS South Dakota before heading to Kinnick Stadium to take on rival Iowa in Week 2.

Texas LB Ayodele Adeoye to miss spring practice with foot injury

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New Texas coordinator Chris Ash’s task at turning around the team’s defense got a tad bit harder on Saturday.

According to a release from the school, linebacker Ayodele Adeoye suffered a foot injury and will undergo surgery to correct it. While he is expected to be back in time for summer workouts, the upcoming trip under the knife will knock him out for all of spring practice in Austin.

Adeoye was a top recruit out of high school in 2018 but played in just four games and redshirted his first year on the Forty Acres. He turned into a regular starter (nine games) last season however and was fifth on the team in tackles (45) while recording an interception and 2.5 sacks.

With the redshirt sophomore out, the Longhorns depth this spring as they re-tool under Ash will certainly be tested. Fellow rising sophomore David Gbenda likely will take on an increased role based on the depth chart — though he might have to earn his way back after being sent home from UT’s Alamo Bowl win over Utah due to a violation of team rules.

Texas opens the 2020 season at home against USF and new head coach Jeff Scott before heading to Baton Rouge for a must-see game against reigning national champion LSU in Week 2.

Miami DL Scott Patchan enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has giveth for Miami football and it’s taken away.

Less than a week after Hurricanes got a big pickup in the form of Temple grad transfer DL Quincy Roche, the program learned that veteran defensive end Scott Patchan had entered his name into the transfer portal via an announcement on social media:

Patchan started six games last season and played in all 13 for Miami in 2019. He recorded 33 tackles and 2.5 sacks while in the lineup but ultimately took a back seat to star pass rusher Greg Rousseau and a host of others.

The loss of Patchan certainly hurts the depth head coach Manny Diaz has to play with but is by no means a killer given what will return in 2020 along the line. In addition to Rousseau (coming off a 15.5 sack campaign) and former AAC Defensive Player of the Year Roche, rising sophomore Jahfari Harvey saw action and former five-star Jaelan Phillips will be eligible after transferring from UCLA.

Patchan, who received a waiver from the NCAA for a sixth-year after injuries hampered his career, will be immediately eligible for his new school.

Miami opens the 2020 season with a game against Temple as part of a three-game homestand against Group of Five opponents before traveling to Michigan State for a big non-conference test.

Buyouts and Chip Kelly’s grocery bill lands UCLA with $18.9 million deficit in 2019

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A difficult year for UCLA on the football field was just as difficult on the balance sheet.

According to details obtained by the San Jose Mercury News, the Bruins reported a shocking $18.9 million deficit for the recent 2018-19 fiscal year. This was the result of $108.4 million in revenue and $127.3 million in outgoing expenses.

“A confluence of events over the past two years led us to this point,” AD Dan Guerrero said in a statement to the paper, “and while it is unusual for us, we expect this shortfall can be mitigated.

“The investments made into our football and men’s basketball programs will pay off, ticket sales will normalize and one-time expenses will be paid.”

Those investments included a nearly 30 percent increase in the football program’s funding since the hire of Chip Kelly in late 2017. While former head coach Jim Mora’s buyout (nearly $12.5 million) was recorded in the previous year’s budget, the effects of it naturally carried over and created an even tricker situation when basketball coach Steve Alford’s buyout was thrown in for 2019.

In addition to buyouts, the grocery bill seemed to play a pretty big factor in the deficit as well. While this doesn’t appear to just be the case of switching from Albertsons to Whole Foods, under Kelly the program’s budget for nutrition ballooned from just a shade under $1 million to nearly $5.4 million last year. Add in decreased ticket sales in football (down $3.5 million from projections) after a disappointing year and increased costs from other places in the department and you can see how UCLA quickly went from being in the black into the red.

Needless to say, that puts even more pressure on Kelly and company to help turn things around in 2020. Things in Westwood haven’t been rosy in some time in the major revenue-producing sports and it seems it’s finally caught up to the folks in powder blue.