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Urban Meyer: Ohio State looking into legal action over report

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With its reputation battered earlier this year because of the Zach Smith imbroglio, Ohio State has come out swinging at a new report that surfaced Tuesday morning involving the former wide receivers coach.

In a story posted by college football reporter Brett McMurphy to WatchStadium.com, the father of former OSU wide receiver Trevon Grimes claimed that Smith called his son a “bitch ass [N-word]” during practice in late September of last year.  In the report, McMurphy intimated that head coach Urban Meyer attempted to cover-up the incident by flying down to Grimes’ home in Florida in October of 2017 and promising the player OSU would allow him to transfer anywhere if he didn’t go public with the allegations; conversely, OSU officials claimed that the trip was made solely to support the player and his mother, who was going through a serious health issue at the time.

Appearing on Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches’ teleconference hours after the report surfaced, Meyer described himself as “irate” when he first learned of the allegations made in the report. The head coach called the report “the most preposterous thing” he’s witnessed during his time as a college football coach.

Additionally, Meyer stated that legal action is an option he and the university are considering.

Current and former Buckeyes football players spent Tuesday morning lashing out at the report, claiming there is no racism in the OSU program.  In very strong statements, both OSU president Michael Drake and athletic director Gene Smith vehemently defended Meyer, with the former calling the allegations of racism “outrageous and false” and the latter labeling the accusations “unequivocally false.”

Current, former Buckeyes, OSU officials blast report of racially-charged incident involving Zach Smith

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Regardless of how hard they try, Ohio State simply can’t distance itself from Zach Smith.

According to a report from college football reporter Brett McMurphy, the father of Trevon Grimes claims that his son, a former Ohio State wide receiver, was the victim of a racial epithet lobbed at him by former OSU receivers coach Zach Smith.  Specifically, LeBron Grimes claimed, Smith called his son a “bitch ass [N-word]” during a late September practice in 2017.

Grimes declined to answer questions about the allegations, telling McMurphy “I have no comment on that.” However, three of Grimes’ current Florida teammates — the receiver transferred from the Buckeyes in October of last year and landed with the Gators two months later — claimed that Smith directed the N-word at Grimes.  Those players were not identified as they spoke to McMurphy on the condition of anonymity.

“I’ve never said [the N-word] in my entire life. I’ve never been in a fight with a player in my life. Never. That never happened,” Zach Smith stated.

“If my ex-husband is the person spreading these rumors, everyone should know that neither I nor TreVon have any contact with him whatsoever,” Leah Grimes, Trevon Grimes’ mother and LeBron Grimes’ ex-wife, said in a portion of a statement. “He knows nothing about my health and nothing about TreVon’s transfer to UF. He is an abuser and the worst kind of role model, and he is no longer in TreVon’s life.”

In McMurphy’s report, it’s also alleged that Urban Meyer had essentially covered up the incident and swept it under the rug.  In very strongly-worded statements, both OSU president Michael Drake and athletic director Gene Smith refuted the report and said they stand behind their head football coach.

“The accusations made today by Brett McMurphy regarding our coach and the reasons for the transfer of Trevon Grimes are unequivocally false,” Smith said. “Urban Meyer embraces diversity and would absolutely never support an environment of racism. It simply isn’t tolerated here. And as an African-American, football player and collegiate administrator, I personally can say that our coaches, student-athletes and support staff know there is no place for any such behavior within our programs, at The Ohio State University or anywhere.”

Additionally, numerous current and former Buckeye football players — most of whom said nary a word when Smith’s domestic issues surfaced — took to Twitter to very vociferously dispute allegations made in the report that something racial occurred between Smith and Grimes.

The tweet from Martell, incidentally, was retweeted by Trevon Grimes, who, through a UF spokesperson, told McMurphy for his story to “not believe anything [LeBron Grimes] tells you” as he has not seen or talked to his father in more than two years.

College football odds for Week 9: Notre Dame, Oklahoma among heavy favorites

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Notre Dame has some history of playing down to the level of heavy underdogs under Brian Kelly, but it is catching a struggling Navy squad in a neutral-site game this weekend.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who made a quarterback switch to Ian Book earlier this month, are 23.5-point favorites on this week’s college football odds against the Navy Midshipmen with a 54.5-point total for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The matchup takes place at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. During the nine-season Kelly era, the Fighting Irish are 15-1 straight-up and 6-9-1 against the spread as a favorite of 20.0 or more points. Notre Dame (7-0)  is also 1-4 ATS in its last five games against Navy (2-5) and 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games against American Athletic Conference foes. However, Navy comes in saddled with a losing record on the season and a 0-5 ATS record in its last five games. The total has gone OVER in six of the last eight Notre Dame-Navy matchups.

Elsewhere in Week 9 (all times ET):

West Virginia (5-1) at Baylor (4-3), Thursday, 7 p.m.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are 14-point favorites against the Baylor Bears with a 67-point total in a Thursday matchup. West Virginia is 0-4 ATS in its last four games in October. The total has gone UNDER in six of West Virginia’s last eight conference games. Baylor is 0-9 SU in its last nine road games against teams with winning records.

Miami (5-2) at Boston College (5-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
The Miami Hurricanes are 3.5-point road favorites against the Boston College Eagles with a 49.5-point total in a Friday matchup. Miami is 5-1 ATS in its last six games against Boston College. The total has gone UNDER in 15 of Boston College’s last 20 games in October.

Florida (6-1) at Georgia (6-1), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
The Georgia Bulldogs are 6.5-point favorites against the Florida Gators with a 52-point total in a matchup at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. Florida is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games in October, according to the OddsShark College Football Database. The total has gone OVER in four of Georgia’s last five games in October.

Clemson (7-0) at Florida State (4-3), Noon
The Clemson Tigers are 16.5-point road favorites against the Florida State Seminoles with a 51-point total. The total has gone OVER in seven of Clemson’s last nine road games against teams with winning records. Florida State is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 conference games.

Texas A&M (5-2) at Mississippi State (4-3), 7 p.m.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are 2.5-point favorites against the Texas A&M Aggies with a 45-point total. Texas A&M is 1-4 ATS in its last five games against Mississippi State. Mississippi State is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games at home in October, but is also 1-5 ATS in its last six conference games.

Iowa (6-1) at Penn State (5-2), 3:30 p.m.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are 6.5-point favorites against the Iowa Hawkeyes with a 51.5-point total. Iowa is 8-1 SU and ATS in its last nine games. The total has gone UNDER in four of Iowa’s last five road games against Penn State. Penn State is 15-6 ATS in its last 21 conference games.

Wisconsin (5-2) at Northwestern (4-3), Noon
The Wisconsin Badgers are 7-point road favorites against the Northwestern Wildcats with a 51-point total. Wisconsin is 12-2 ATS in its last 14 road games. The total has gone OVER in seven of Wisconsin’s last nine road games, with an average combined score of 50.11. Northwestern is 6-14 ATS in its last 20 games at home against teams with winning records.

Kansas State (3-4) at Oklahoma (6-1), 3:30 p.m.
The Oklahoma Sooners are heavy 24.5-point betting favorites against the Kansas State Wildcats with a 64-point total. Kansas State is 21-5 ATS in its last 26 road games against teams with winning records. Oklahoma is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 games at home.

Texas (6-1) at Oklahoma State (4-3), 8 p.m.
The Texas Longhorns are 3.5-point favorites against the Oklahoma State Cowboys with a 59.5-point total. Texas is 4-1 ATS in its last five road games against Oklahoma State. The total has gone OVER in seven of Oklahoma State’s last nine conference games.

Washington State (6-1) at Stanford (5-2), 7 p.m.
The Stanford Cardinal are 3-point favorites against the Washington State Cougars with a 53-point total. The total has gone OVER in Washington State’s last six road games, with an average combined score of 72.67. Stanford is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games. The total has gone UNDER in seven of Stanford’s last eight games in October.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

No. 5 LSU strikes first, No. 22 Florida strikes back in back-and-forth first half

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Every matchup between ranked teams in the SEC feels like a heavyweight fight and that was certainly the case in one of the league’s marquee games as No. 5 LSU struck first and No. 22 Florida threw a counterpunch later to take a 14-10 lead going into halftime.

The Tigers needed 10 plays and just over three minutes to find the end zone on their first drive of the game, going 75-yards before Nick Brossette (10 yards total) punched it in for a heck of an opening statement from the visitors that quieted the fired up crowd down just a bit. Despite crossing the goal line, it was still a relatively quiet first half for the tailback as quarterback Joe Burrow (11/14, 127 yards) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (53 yards rushing) were the more consistent sources of offense in a game where yards were hard to come by with a pair of swarming, physical defenses making you earn every play.

The Gators took the opposite track — starting slow in the first quarter before finally getting going a bit offensively in the second. They took advantage of a short field to mount an initial 43 yard scoring drive, tying the game on a bruising run between the tackles by Lamical Perine (53 yards) for the touchdown. QB Feleipe Franks had to escape pressure several times but rebounded to make some big throws on both of the team’s two scoring drives, including hitting a huge pass to Joshua Hammond for 35 yards that setup an easy toss to the back of the end zone to tight end Moral Stephens for the go-ahead score.

Defensively, Florida linebacker Vosean Joseph felt like he was all over the field with 10 tackles and two sacks by the break while Grant Delpit was the star of the show for LSU with six tackles and what seemed like a hand close to nearly every ball that was in the air.

This has been a rivalry game that has almost always come down to the final few minutes (with a key red zone play or two) and we’ve seen nothing in the first half to dissuade us from thinking that will be the case again in Gainesville.

Florida suspends seven for failing to ‘live up to the Gator standard’

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Not that it matters much given the opponent, but Florida will be a bit shorthanded when it opens up the 2018 season.

In a news release about an hour before kickoff, Florida announced that seven players have been suspended for tonight’s opener against FCS Charleston Southern — defensive tackle Luke Ancrum, defensive tackle Kyree Campbell, cornerback Brian Edwards, defensive end CeCe Jefferson, running back Adarius Lemons, wide receiver Kadarius Toney (pictured) and offensive lineman James Washington.

The suspensions of Campbell and Toney aren’t surprising as they were involved in a bizarre offseason incident involving airsoft guns, a frying pan, a baseball bat, rocks and a gambler nicknamed Tay Bang. Five other Gators connected to that incident — wide receivers Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells, quarterback Emory Jones and tight ends C’yonta Lewis and Kemore Gamble — avoided suspensions.

Jefferson’s suspension is for academic reasons, the Orlando Sentinel reported.  It’s unclear what exactly the other four players did to earn their respective suspensions.

Toney’s 15 catches for 152 yards were both fourth on the team, while Jefferson led the team in sacks last season with 4½.  Campbell played in nine games during the 2017 season.