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No. 25 Virginia holds off Florida State; FSU now 1-2 (or worse) in back-to-back-to-back seasons for first time since 1974-76


While it’s not solely on him, Willie Taggart‘s Florida State football program has hit yet another new low.

In Week 3, Florida State traveled to Charlottesville to take on No. 25 Virginia, the first time ever that a ranked Cavaliers team faced an unranked Seminoles squad.  After six lead changes over four quarters of play, Virginia gave its fans a reason to storm the field — which they wholeheartedly did — as the Cavs scored the last 14 points to secure a 31-24 win.

The Seminoles led 14-10 at halftime, then stretched that lead to 17-10 at the end of the third quarter.  After eventually taking a 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter, the ‘Noles watched as the Cavs scored a touchdown with 6:02 left in the game to pull to within one at 24-23 (missed conversion) and then go ahead 31-24 with 2:34 remaining thanks to a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

FSU had one last chance to at least tie the game, taking over at its own 25-yard line.  Thanks in very large part to penalties (four 15-yarders on UVa. on that drive), FSU drove inside the Cavs’ five-yard line; with time running out, Cam Akers was stopped for no gain at the four-yard line.

Virginia picked up its fourth win all-time in 19 games against Florida State, and have now won three of the last six meetings. None of the three previous wins (2011, 2005, 1995) had been by more than five points (one, five, five).

For an FSU team that went 5-7 in the first season under Willie Taggart in 2018, missing out on a bowl game for the first time in 36 years, Week 3 continued a downward arc that shows no signs of abating.  It also continues a distressing trend: Florida State is now 1-2 (or worse) for the third straight season, the first time that’s happened since 1974-76.

So, for those wondering: Taggart’s buyout is in the neighborhood of $17 million if he’s fired without cause before February 1, 2020.

Godspeed, FSU fans.  And make sure you hydrate properly.

Suspended Florida State punter being investigated in August DUI case

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And now we know a little more of the rest of the story.

Florida State’s primary punter the last three years, Logan Tyler, maintained that job for the season-opening, come-from-ahead loss to Boise State. However, he was suspended for the Week 2 win over Louisiana-Monroe and, on Wednesday, Willie Taggart confirmed that the suspension will continue indefinitely because of what he described as unspecified violations of team rules.

The Tallahassee Democrat subsequently reported that Tyler is under investigation for a case involving a suspected DUI back in August. The Democrat obtained a copy of the police report connected to the incident:

Tallahassee police officers were dispatched to a traffic crash at 2:08 a.m. where a man was found unresponsive. The report says EMS officials were unsure if the victim was unresponsive “due to a possible injury or due to his level of intoxication.”

He was transported to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare in an ambulance following the crash. He became responsive during the ambulance ride, but was not coherent.

No serious injuries were noted, but the police report said he had a swollen left eye and abrasions to his face.

Including one game this season, Tyler has averaged 42.5 yards on his 209 punts during his career, with the average currently fourth in school history. His 82 punts and 3,545 yards in 2018 set a school record.

With Tyler sidelined, walk-on Tommy Martin averaged 42.8 yards per punt in Week 2.

Willie Taggart reportedly adds Jim Leavitt to Florida State staff as defensive analyst

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In the first two games of the 2019 season, Florida State’s defense has allowed a combined 54 second-half points in a 1-1 start.  In a very related move, Willie Taggart has turned to a familiar face to help turn those staggering numbers around.

According to The Athletic‘s Bruce Feldman, Taggart is adding Jim Leavitt to his extended FSU football staff.  Specifically, Leavitt will take on a defensive analyst role with the Seminoles.

Leavitt served as Taggart’s defensive coordinator during the latter’s lone season as the head football coach at Oregon in 2017.  He remained for one season after Mario Cristobal took over for Taggart before being ousted in February of this year.

The head coach at South Florida from 1997-2009, Leavitt’s unceremonious exit from the Bulls was the start of a five-year sabbatical from coaching.  In February of 2015, Leavitt was named the defensive coordinator at Colorado and spent two seasons with the Buffaloes before leaving for the Ducks.

Florida State transfer Xavier Peters granted waiver at Kentucky

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Two games into the 2019 regular season, Kentucky is on the receiving end of some immediate personnel help.

Xavier Peters opted to transfer from Florida State in early May and, a couple of weeks later, landed at Kentucky to be closer to his young son.  Tuesday, UK announced that the outside linebacker has been granted an immediate-eligibility waiver that will allow him to take the field for the Wildcats as early as this weekend.

The basis for the appeal for the waiver was not divulged, although it very likely involved his child.

“We’re excited to have Xavier available to play this season,” head coach Mark Stoops said in a statement. “I appreciate the NCAA understanding Xavier’s situation. I also want to thank our compliance office for the great job they did with the appeal and for Xavier’s patience with the process.”

Including this season, Peters will have four years of eligibility to use in Lexington.

Peters, suspended by FSU head coach Willie Taggart in early April for unspecified violations of team rules before his transfer the following month, was a four-star 2018 signee who was rated as the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Ohio.  As a true freshman this past season, Peters played in a pair of games for the Seminoles.

Because he didn’t appear in more than four games in 2018, the 6-4, 232-pound linebacker was able to take advantage of the NCAA’s recently-instituted redshirt rule.

All-22: Which college has the best starting lineup of alums in the NFL, Alabama or Ohio State?

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Though college football has been in action nearly three full weeks already, the folks over on the professional side of the sport finally got around to kicking off their season on Thursday night when the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in a game that was decidedly Big Ten-esque the way things unfolded.

This is a big year for the league, which is celebrating their centennial season in the run up to the Super Bowl. While some fans might have a rooting interest in various NFL franchises across the country making it to the big game, even more folks from the college game have a stake in seeing alumni from their favorite school do well on Sundays.

To that end, it was interesting to take a look at the number of players from each program on NFL active rosters entering Week 1 of the 2019 campaign. Not surprisingly, Alabama led the way with 56 players cashing checks from pro teams, followed by Ohio State with 44, Florida (35), Miami (34), LSU/Florida State (32) and Oklahoma (31) among others.

There are actually two colleges — the Buckeyes and the Crimson Tide — who could produce a full starting 22 in the league and we decided to figure out who would slot where. Several others came ever so close but were short at a position or two and had to be bumped off the list for now.

So who has the best All-22 in the NFL? We picked the best players for Alabama and Ohio State that were active and slotted them in. Take a look below and vote in the poll at the bottom of the post to let your opinion be known.


QB: A.J. McCarron (Houston Texans)

RB: Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans)

WRs: Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons) and Amari Cooper (Dallas Cowboys)

TE: O.J. Howard (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

OL: Andre Smith (Cincinnati Bengals), Cam Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars), D.J. Fluker (Seattle Seahawks), James Carpenter (Atlanta Falcons), Ryan Kelly (Indianapolis Colts)

DL: Da’Shawn Hand (Detroit Lions, Marcell Dareus (Jacksonville Jaguars), Quinnen Williams (New York Jets), Jonathan Allen (Washington Redskins)

LBs: Dont’a Hightower (New England Patriots), C.J. Mosley (New York Jets), Rashaan Evans (Tennessee Titans)

DBs: Landon Collins (Washington Redskins), Eddie Jackson (Chicago Bears), Dre Kirkpatrick (Cincinnati Bengals), Marlon Humphrey (Baltimore Ravens)

Ohio State

QB: Dwayne Haskins (Washington Redskins)

RB: Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys)

WRs: Michael Thomas (New Orleans Saints) and Curtis Samuel (Carolina Panthers)

TE: Jeff Heuerman (Denver Broncos)

OL: Taylor Decker (Detroit Lions), Isaiah Prince (Miami Dolphins), Pat Elflein (Minnesota Vikings), Andrew Norwell (Jacksonville Jaguars), Corey Linsley (Green Bay Packers)

DL: Joey Bosa (Los Angeles Chargers), Nick Bosa (San Francisco 49ers), Cameron Heyward (Pittsburgh Steelers), Johnathan Hankins (Oakland Raiders)

LBs: Jerome Baker (Miami Dolphins), Darron Lee (Kansas City Chiefs), Raekwon McMillan (Miami Dolphins)

DBs: Denzel Ward (Cleveland Browns), Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans Saints), Malik Hooker (Indianapolis Colts), Malcolm Jenkins (Philadelphia Eagles)

Just missed:

  • Florida (Jeff Driskel is on IR), Miami and LSU (Danny Etling is on a practice squad) needed a quarterback on the active roster.
  • Florida State needed another offensive guard.
  • Oklahoma is missing a center and fourth defensive back.
  • Georgia and Tennessee came close too, needing another offensive and defensive lineman.
  • Texas A&M was missing a linebacker.
  • Clemson was short a pair of offensive linemen.
  • Auburn needed another active wideout.
  • Andrew Luck’s retirement prevented Stanford from the full 22.
  • Fellow Pac-12 programs Washington and UCLA nearly hit position bingo but came up just short.
  • A linebacker was all that prevented Notre Dame from joining the above list.
  • Iowa was a running back and wideout away.
  • A number of other schools were three or four players short.