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WR Dominic Stampley tweets intent to transfer from Illinois

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Following an impactful first season as a member of the Illinois Fighting Illini football program, Dominic Stampley has decided to call it a career in Champaign after two years. Probably.

On his personal Twitter account this week, Stampley announced that “I feel as if my best option is to remove [myself] from the [U]niversity of Illinois and enter the transfer portal.” The wide receiver confirmed that he would be leaving the Illinois Fighting Illini football team as a graduate transfer.

Stampley could always pull his name from the portal and remain with Lovie Smith‘s team as well.

“First I would just say that these last two years have been a hell of a ride in my football career,” Stampley wrote in his tweet. “I want to first, thank all of my teammates who welcomed me to the program with open arms, glad to call you guys brothers for life. I would like to thank coach Lovie Smith for giving me a 1 in a million shot, and I am very appreciative of that till this day.”

Stampley came to the Illinois Fighting Illini football team in 2018 after spending the first two seasons of his career at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.

His first season with the Illini, Stampley caught 19 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns. In a late October loss to Maryland that year, he totaled 153 yards and both touchdowns on four catches. Included in that was an 84-yard touchdown catch that was the third-longest pass play in school history.

Stampley, who went to high school in Champaign, couldn’t build off of that promising debut, however, as he caught just nine passes for 101 yards this past season. He appeared in nine games in 2019.

The Illini are coming off a season in which they played in their first bowl game since 2014. That, though, turned into a Redbox Bowl loss to Cal.

LSU, two B1G schools will have most players on Super Bowl rosters

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The LSU Tigers football program represented the sport well in winning the 2019 national championship, and now they’re set to be well-represented when the next level crowns its Super Bowl champion as well.

Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs again overcame an early deficit to beat the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game. In the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers pummeled the Green Bay Packers to earn a berth opposite the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. That game will be played at the home of the Miami Hurricanes, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Feb. 2.

The 49ers, seeking their first Super Bowl win since 1994, have four former LSU football players currently listed on their official online roster*. The Chiefs, in search of their first title since 1969, have one former LSU football player on their Super Bowl roster. That total of five is tied for the most for a single school in this year’s game.

The number for LSU is matched by a pair of schools from the Big Ten — Iowa and Penn State — for the most players on Super Bowl rosters this year. Three former Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes play for the 49ers, two for the Chiefs.

Two SEC schools, Florida and Vanderbilt, each have four former players as part of the game, as does Stanford. Middle Tennessee State and San Diego State are two of a gaggle of schools with three players on teams playing in the game, which is the most of any Group of Five conference member.

Conference-wise, it was the SEC leading the way (again) with 32 players, followed by the Big Ten’s 22. The ACC (17), Pac-12 (16), Big 12 (12) and Conference USA (11) were the only other FBS leagues in double digits.

As for the other conferences?

  • Mountain West, nine
  • AAC, six
  • MAC, five
  • Sun Belt, four

Football independents accounted for six players. There were a total of 21 players who played at levels of football other than the FBS.

Below are all of the individual schools that will be represented on Super Sunday:

FIVE
Iowa
LSU
Penn State

FOUR
Florida
Stanford
Vanderbilt

THREE
Arizona
Auburn
Clemson
Kansas State
Middle Tennessee State
Mississippi State
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Pittsburgh
San Diego State
South Carolina

TWO
Alabama
BYU
Central Michigan
Duke
FAU
Florida State
Georgia Southern
Michigan
Michigan State
NC State
Ole Miss
Oregon
Purdue
Southern Miss
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
USF
Utah
Virginia

ONE
Air Force
Alabama A&M
Appalachian State
Arizona State
Arkansas
Baylor
Boston College
Bowling Green State
Buffalo
Cal
Cincinnati
Colorado
Colorado State
Colorado State-Pueblo
Eastern Illinois
Eastern Michigan
Eastern Washington
Georgia
Georgia Tech
Grand Valley State
Harvard
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
James Madison
Louisiana Tech
Louisiana
McGill (Canada)
Minnesota
Montana State
New Hampshire
New Mexico State
North Texas
Northern Illinois
Northern Iowa
Oklahoma State
Old Dominion
Oregon State
Princeton
Samford
San Diego
San Jose State
SMU
South Carolina State
TCU
Temple
Texas Tech
UConn
Utah State
Valdosta State
Villanova
Virginia Tech
Wagner
Washington
West Alabama
Western Illinois
Western Kentucky
Wyoming

(*Includes players on injured reserve, practice squad, etc.)

Jim Brown named by ESPN as the greatest player in college football history

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Jim Brown, greatest college football player ever?

College football is rapidly nearing the end of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the sport, with the 2020 College Football Playoff championship game serving as the capper of its sesquicentennial season.  So, why not kick off the next 150 years of the sport by doing what we as fans do best — argue about lists.

During halftime of the Clemson-LSU title game — the SEC Tigers came storming back in the second quarter, by the way — ESPN unveiled their Top 150 college football players of all-time in celebration.  The entire list can be viewed HERE.

Also during halftime, the Top 11 players on the Worldwide Leader’s list were feted on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium field.  Coming in at No. 1?  Jim Brown, according to ESPN, is the greatest college football player in the first 150 years of the sport.

The Top 11 are as follows:

  1. Jim Brown (RB, Syracuse, 1954-56)
  2. Herschel Walker (RB, Georgia, 1980-82)
  3. Bo Jackson (RB, Auburn, 1982-85)
  4. Archie Griffin (RB, Ohio State, 1972-75)
  5. Jim Thorpe (RB, Carlisle, 1907-12)
  6. Red Grange (RB, Illinois, 1923-25)
  7. Earl Campbell (RB, Texas, 1974-77)
  8. Dick Butkus (LB, Illinois, 1962-64)
  9. Barry Sanders (RB, Oklahoma State, 1986-88)
  10. Gale Sayers (RB, Kansas, 1962-64)
  11. Roger Staubach (QB, Navy, 1962-64)

I have but two comments on that top-tier group.  One, Barry Sanders is laughably, criminally low.  Two, Herschel Walker was the only college football player in my lifetime who was better than Sanders.

Seriously, Sanders being ninth offends me.

Other than that, fire away…

Chase Garbers, Evan Weaver lead Cal to Redbox Bowl win

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Chase Garbers earned MVP honors after passing for 272 yards and four touchdowns as Cal (8-5) pulled away from Illinois (6-7), 35-20, Monday in the Redbox Bowl. The Redbox Bowl victory was Cal’s first bowl win since the 2015 Armed Forces Bowl.

The first touchdown thrown by Garbers gave Cal a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. His only touchdown run on Cal’s next possession re-gained the lead for the Bears, and his second touchdown pass late in the first half lifted Cal to a 21-10 lead. Cal never really had much reason to check the rearview mirror after that.

Garbers added two more red zone touchdown passes to provide a solid cushion against the Illini, who still have plenty of reasons to be satisfied with their 2020 season despite taking a loss in the final game of their season. Illinois just did not play as clean and efficient game as Cal and it cost them. Illinois had the only turnover of the game, although the defense made up for it by forcing a three-and-out and a punt.

Cal defensive standout Evan Weaver also made some history in the game. Weaver set a new Pac-12 single-season record for most tackles, bringing his season total to 182 tackles in 2019.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 have now split their first two bowl meetings this season, which means the Rose Bowl will determine a bowl season winner between the two conferences. Wisconsin will face Oregon on New Years Day. Iowa defeated USC in the Holiday Bowl. The Big Ten is now 3-2 this bowl season, and the Pac-12 evens its bowl record at 2-2.

Cal will kick off the 2020 season in Las Vegas on Aug. 29, 2020 with a game against UNLV in the brand new Allegiant Stadium, the new home to UNLV and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders (soon to be the Las Vegas Raiders). Cal will continue to be a team nobody in the Pac-12 will want to play next season with a young nucleus set to return next year.

Illinois will open its 2002 campaign at home against Illinois State. Hopes of getting to a second consecutive bowl game could be lifted early with a favorable home schedule to start the season (UConn and Bowling Green). Illinois is on track to return up to 16 starters next season and Lovie Smith has done a decent job filling out the roster where needed. Expect to see Illinois in a bowl game again in 2020.

Big first half by Chase Garbers has Cal leading Illinois in Redbox Bowl

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Illinois has a little bit of work to do if the Illini are going to win their first bowl game since 2011. Illinois trails California at halftime of the Redbox Bowl, 21-13.

The Illini and Bears exchanged touchdown drives on three striaght possessions beginning with Cal’s second offensive series of the game. Chase Garbers completed a short pass to Collin Moore to give Cal a 7-3 lead midway through the first quarter. Brandon Peters answered for Illinois with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Barker on the ensuing possession, but Garbers came up with his own response with a short run on the goal line after the Bears moved down the field their next time out.

Garbers has completed 13 of 16 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. He has also rushed for one touchdown.

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox and Illinois head coach Lovie Smith are each hoping to secure their first bowl victory as a head coach.