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Middle Tennessee State’s Zeke Cobb charged in 2018 rape, suspended

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Zeke Cobb‘s collegiate career has been put on hold as he deals with a serious off-field situation.

According to the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, Cobb was arrested Monday on two counts of rape connected to an alleged assault in September of last year.  An indictment on the rape charges was filed on Nov. 6 of this year, which was later served to Cobb prior to his arrest.

Other than the alleged victim being mentally incapacitated or physically helpless at the time, no details surrounding the incident that led to the arrest and charges have been released.

As a result of the allegations, though, MTSU announced that the redshirt sophomore wide receiver has been indefinitely suspended by the football program.

“Zeke is suspended from our team as we allow the legal process to move forward,” head coach Rick Stockstill said in a statement. “It is very disappointing and, if substantiated, such actions do not represent or reflect the standards we have worked extremely hard to develop for our program.”

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2017 because of injury, Cobb caught one pass for 12 yards in four games last season.  In 2019, Cobb had no catches in six games prior to his suspension.

Ole Miss will pay MTSU $1.5 million to not play a game thanks to UConn

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UConn’s haphazard decision to jettison from AAC membership and embark on life as an FBS Independent starting in 2020 has resulted in a number of surprising dominoes getting pushed over across the country.

The Hartford Courant detailed one such move as the Huskies have attempted to cobble together their upcoming schedule for next season and it somehow involves a seven-figure check, an SEC program and a tiny Conference USA school:

As outlined in a contract, UConn will replace Middle Tennessee State on Mississippi’s 2020 schedule, while committing to host the Blue Raiders at some point (presumably also in 2020). As part of that deal, Mississippi will pay Middle Tennessee State $1.5 million, as the schools had originally planned, even though they won’t actually face each other. UConn will neither receive money from Mississippi nor pay anything to Middle Tennessee State.

Under different circumstances, UConn would likely receive more than $1 million to travel to Mississippi, then pay a smaller amount to get Middle Tennessee State to Rentschler Field. But given the need to build a 2020 schedule on short notice, scoring two games appears to have been worth a less lucrative return.

So Ole Miss will pay MTSU a hefty amount to not play in Oxford and in exchange get UConn in town for free. Got it?

The Huskies have confirmed nine games as part of next year’s slate and as the Courant alludes above, the pressing nature of their conference affiliation change has resulted in a potential short-term hit as everything gets sorted out. UConn will collect some $800,000 from games at Virginia, San Jose State and Illinois while dishing out nearly $1.2 million in guarantees to UMass, Indiana, Liberty, Army and FCS Maine.

It’s not often you see things like losing roughly $380,000 (and counting) on one’s schedule or having an opponent pay somebody else in order to not play the next season but UConn’s move to football independence has certainly resulted in more than a few unexpected dominoes falling as a result.

Middle Tennessee State loses leading tackler to season-ending injury

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For a defense looking to continue its conference momentum, this one serves as a sizeable blow.

Reed Blankenship went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter of Middle Tennessee State’s loss to North Texas last Saturday.  The unspecified injury was severe enough that it required surgery.

Surgery that, as it turns out, will end the true junior safety’s 2019 season.

“It’s a tough loss anytime you lose a player to injury,” head coach Rick Stockstill said. “You hate to see it, because you know how much these guys invest in this game.”

Blankenship, who missed all of spring practice because of offseason surgery, currently leads the Blue Raiders in tackles with 58, including a team-leading 18 solo tackles.  Last year, Blankenship earned first-team All-Conference USA honors.

During his time in Murfreesboro, Blankenship has started 28 games.

Ryan named title sponsor of Conference USA title game

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The Conference USA football championship game now has a title sponsor and it is…. Ryan. No, not Ryan of the Gosling variety, or Nolan, or your friend from college. It’s Ryan, a “leading global tax services and software provider,” a Dallas-based LLC that offers corporate tax services firm.

The Ryan refers to the firm’s founder, G. Brint Ryan, a North Texas graduate and the namesake of UNT’s business school.

The firm will sponsor the game through 2021.

“It is an honor to welcome Ryan as the title sponsor for our premiere football game for the next three years,” commissioner Judy MacLeod said. “With Ryan, we have an outstanding local partner that will be involved not only in our sports, but also in our community efforts on campus in conjunction with the C-USA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. We are excited to move forward and want to thank Chairman and CEO G. Brint Ryan for his team’s efforts in making this partnership a reality.”

Ryan is the third title sponsor of the C-USA Championship, now in its 15th year. Dynacraft BSC sponsored it in 2016-17, and Globe Life did the same in 2018.

All ten FBS conferences now stage their own title games thanks to the Sun Belt’s addition in 2018, and eight have title sponsors:

  • Dr. Pepper — Big 12, SEC, ACC
  • Discover — Big Ten
  • 76 — Pac-12
  • Hampton by Hilton — Mountain West
  • Marathon Petroleum — MAC

The 15th Conference USA Championship, and the inaugural Ryan Conference USA Championship, will take place at the home of the winningest division champion on Dec. 7 (1:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network).

Nick Saban: NCAA violations led to Alabama trio’s suspensions, which could last beyond this season

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

Monday night, Alabama confirmed that three players — offensive lineman Deonte Brown (pictured), offensive lineman Elliott Baker, tight end Kedrick James — had been suspended for the Dec. 29 College Football Playoff semifinal matchup with Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.  Thursday, Nick Saban confirmed that the trio would also miss the national championship game if the Crimson Tide gets past the Sooners Saturday night.

Additionally, the head coach also confirmed that unspecified NCAA violations were at the root of the suspensions, which could extend beyond the 2018 season.

“Those things (the NCAA violations) carry certain consequences,” Saban said according to al.com. “And those players knew the situation. They made poor choices and decisions.”

The most notable name of the group is Brown, who has started five of the last six games at left guard for the Crimson Tide.  With Brown out, Lester Cotton, who lost the job to Brown midseason, is expected to take over once again against the Sooners.

James, listed as the Tide’s third-string tight end, has played in 10 games the past two seasons, with five of those appearances coming this year and five coming in 2017.  He has yet to catch a pass at the collegiate level.

Baker has yet to play a down for the Tide, although he has earned his degree from the university.