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Upsets a mere rumor in early window as all six ranked teams hold serve

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If there is to be a Week 12 shakeup in the next edition of the College Football Playoff rankings, it won’t be as a result of the early television window.

In the noon block of kickoffs, six teams currently ranked in the CFP Top 25 squared off with unranked opponents.  And, in each of those matchups, the ranked teams held serve — in the majority of the cases by a comfortable margin for good measure.

There was, though, one potentially significant development to unfold during the early window.

  • No. 5 Alabama (-21) 38, Mississippi State 7 — The outcome was never in doubt and the final score doesn’t matter; the health of star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa moving forward absolutely does as the hip injury suffered by the junior late in the first half, and a couple of other injuries to Crimson Tide players for that matter, could play a significant role in helping to shape the playoff field next month.
  • No. 9 Penn State (-15) 34, Indiana 27 — The Hoosiers got as close as three points early in the fourth quarter as the Nittany Lions narrowly avoided a second straight loss, setting the stage for a huge Big Ten East matchup with No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus next Saturday.
  • No. 11 Florida (-6½) 23, Missouri 6 — *snore* *yawn* *ssstttrrreeetches* *scratches self* *snores again*
  • No. 14 Wisconsin (-15) 37, Nebraska 21 — Nice timing on that contract extension, Nebraska, as Jonathan Taylor rushes for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in the easy road win. This game marked the Badgers’ seventh-straight win over the Cornhuskers.
  • No. 15 Michigan (-13½) 44, Michigan State 10 — With pleas for civility ringing in their ears, Michigan beat its “little brother” in Ann Arbor for the first time since 2012 and earned a win in the rivalry for just the fourth time in the last dozen meetings.  It was also U-M’s most lopsided win in the series since a 49-3 blowout in 2002.
  • No. 22 Oklahoma State (-17½) 31, Kansas 13 — In Les Miles‘ return to Stillwater, the Cowboys had no problem whatsoever in extending its winning streak over the Jayhawks to 10 straight, with KU’s last win coming in 2007.  OSU’s Chuba Hubbard, who entered Week 12 as the nation’s leading rusher, ran for 122 yards in the romp.

In the 3:30 ET window, there are five more ranked vs. unranked matchups — No. 2 Ohio State at Rutgers, Wake Forest at No. 3 Clemson, No. 18 Memphis at Houston, No. 19 Texas at Iowa State and West Virginia at No. 24 Kansas State.  Later on, there are six additional such games — No. 1 LSU at Ole Miss, No. 17 Cincinnati at South Florida, No. 25 Appalachian State at Georgia State, UCLA at No. 7 Utah, New Mexico at No. 21 Boise State and Arizona at No. 6 Oregon.

Additionally, there are four games in which both teams are ranked — No. 23 Navy at No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 4 Georgia at No. 12 Auburn, No. 8 Minnesota at No. 20 Iowa and No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor.

Tua Tagovailoa carted off the field late in first half of Alabama-Miss. St. game

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The questions will come, as they have already: what the hell was Tua Tagovailoa still doing in the game?

Up on Mississippi State 35-7 late in the first half, Tagovailoa, once again a game-time decision heading into Week 12, appeared to successfully lobby the Alabama coaching staff to remain in the game.  Not long after, everyone’s worst fears were realized as the junior quarterback was injured at the end of a scramble and, after not being able to put any weight whatsoever on his right leg, was carted off the field and into the locker room for further evaluation.

While it was originally thought that Tagovailoa had reinjured his surgically-repaired ankle, ESPN‘s sideline reporter, Molly McGrath, stated during the broadcast that it’s a hip injury.  Per McGrath, Tagovailoa was “screaming in pain” while being attended to on the field by the UA training staff.

As he headed into the halftime locker room, head coach Nick Saban confirmed that it’s a hip issue for Tagovailoa, the extent of which isn’t yet known.  The coach also confirmed that the staff wanted Tagovailoa out there to practice the two-minute drill and pushed back against the narrative that the player had lobbied to remain the game.

There is also speculation that Tagovailoa may have broken his nose on the play, although that has yet to be confirmed.

At the time of his injury, Tagovailoa was 14-18 for 256 yards and two touchdowns.  He will be replaced in the second half by redshirt sophomore Mac Jones.

Tagovailoa suffered a high-ankle sprain in Alabama’s win over Tennessee last month that led to surgery and sidelined the quarterback for the blowout of Arkansas.  A game-time decision in the days leading up to LSU, Tagovailoa started and went the distance in the Crimson Tide’s loss to the Tigers.  Monday after the loss, Saban stated that the junior didn’t injure himself further even as there was a noticeable limp during the game that was even more pronounced after it.

Throughout the week leading up to today’s game, Tagovailoa had been either a non-participant or very limited because of the ankle.

High risk of rabid bats at Alabama-Mississippi State game?

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SEC Football — where more than the fan bases are rabid.

And, yes, this is definitely a first.

Mississippi State is set to play host to No. 5 Alabama at Davis Wade Stadium in a Week 12 SEC West matchup, with kickoff set for noon ET.  Ahead of what the Crimson Tide hopes is a bounce-back game from their first loss of the season last weekend, an announcement was made warning those in attendance that there are bats inside the stadium that are considered high risk for rabies.

Seriously.

OK then.  Prepare accordingly, I guess.

At 4-5, Mississippi State needs to win at least two of its last three games — ‘Bama, Abilene Christian, Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl — to extend its bowl streak to 10 straight.  Alabama enters today’s game as a 21-point road favorite.

Auburn transfer QB Joey Gatewood to reportedly visit Kentucky, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State

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Not long after saying his goodbyes on the way out of the door from The Plains, Joey Gatewood is taking the next step on his college football journey.

First reported by Kentucky Sports Radio and subsequently confirmed by 247Sports.com, Gatewood will visit the Kentucky campus this weekend as UK plays host to Tennessee Saturday.  According to the latter website, Wildcats tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow paid the quarterback an in-person visit last week that paved the way for this weekend’s visit.

Florida, LSU and Mississippi State are also reportedly in the mix as well.

A four-star 2018 signee, Gatewood was rated as the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Florida and the No. 49 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. The Jacksonville product was the highest-rated signee in the Tigers’ class that year.

After redshirting as a true freshman — and after losing out on the starting job to five-star 2019 signee Bo Nix — Gatewood had thrown for 54 yards and two touchdowns this season prior to his decision to leave Auburn, adding another 148 yards and three scores on the ground.

Barring something unexpected, Gatewood will likely have to sit out the 2020 season.  That would then leave him with two years of eligibility he can use beginning in 2021.

Buzz continues to grow around a Greg Schiano-Rutgers reunion

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Will Rutgers look to its past for its future head football coach?  The signs seem to be pointing in that general direction.

Almost immediately after Rutgers mercifully pulled the plug on the Chris Ash era in Piscataway after three-plus seasons and just eight wins, speculation turned to Greg Schiano, the head coach who made Scarlet Knights football relatively relevant earlier this century, as a potentially attractive successor.  Since then, attention over the last month or so has turned to the likes of Joe Moorhead (HERE) and Butch Jones, with the former Tennessee head coach reportedly interviewing for the job late last week.

A couple of days after that reported interview, however, speculation has circled back to Schiano as nj.com is reporting that, according to what were described as several high-level donors, “[a] meeting between Rutgers officials and… Schiano is imminent.” According to the website, “the Scarlet Knights’ coaching search is trending toward a return for the former head coach” and that an announcement could come as early as Wednesday, a date which marks the 150th anniversary of the first-ever college football game between RU and Princeton.

As of Sunday night, Schiano and RU officials had not met formally, although there have been informal talks since Ash was canned.

In 11 seasons from 2001-11, Schiano went 68-67 as the head coach at Rutgers.  In the seven-plus seasons since Schiano left for the NFL, the Scarlet Knights have gone 35-56 and are 13-43 since the start of the 2015 season; in the 17 years prior to his arrival in Piscataway, they went 67-114-2.

After leaving Rutgers, the 53-year-old Schiano spent two decidedly unsuccessful seasons (7-9 in 2012, 4-12 in 2013) as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Schiano served as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State from 2016-18 before being replaced as part of the post-Urban Meyer staff shakeup by new OSU head coach Ryan Day.  In the two years in between the NFL and OSU stints, Schiano coached at a Tampa preparatory school.

In 2017, Schiano was the leading candidate to replace Jones at Tennessee until he wasn’t.