World of college football reacts to tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter in helicopter crash

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As is the case across the entire world of sports, college football is reacting to the devastating news involving Kobe Bryant.

Sunday morning, Bryant was one of nine people killed — initial reports had the number at five — in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on his way to a travel basketball event.  The former NBA superstar, who retired from the sport following the 2015-16 season, was 41.

Adding to the devastation, one of Bryant’s daughters, who was also a player on her father’s travel basketball team, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Bryant, was killed in the crash as well.

Kobe and Gianna are survived by wife/mother Vanessa and three daughters/sisters.  The oldest is 17, the youngest will turn one in June.

In the hours after the heartbreaking news was confirmed, the world of college football mourned the passing of Kobe Bryant. Below is just a sampling.

 

Boise State, Mountain West release joint statement

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The developing situation between Boise State and the Mountain West Conference has taken yet another twist.

Earlier this month, the MWC announced a new six-year television deal that would significantly increase the annual revenue for league members.  The only problem?  MWC commissioner Craig Thompson stated earlier this month that Boise State’s sweetheart arrangement that allowed it to receive broadcast revenue above and beyond what other league members receive — originally part of a deal to remain in the conference after briefly going to the Big East during realignment’s heyday — would be coming to an end when this new deal expired.

That was apparently news to Boise State, which stated Tuesday that the university was “weighing our options to move forward.” One of those options, apparently, was the legal one as it was reported earlier Wednesday that Boise State filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the MWC.

Two hours or so after those reports emerged, a “joint statement” from Boise State and the Mountain West addressed the latest development.

Last week, Boise State filed a complaint regarding media rights against the Mountain West Conference; however, that action alone does not formally begin a lawsuit. The University and the Mountain West are currently in discussions in hopes of bringing this matter to a resolution without litigation.

In the agreement that allowed Boise State to return to the MWC after the Big East flirtation, the university was to receive an additional $2 million in conference revenue annually.

Boise State suing Mountain West over new TV deal

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Boise State’s biggest fight in Mountain West play may not come on the blue turf this year but in the courtroom.

The Broncos have surprisingly filed a lawsuit for breach of contract against their own conference in local district court over the league’s new TV deal with Fox Sports and CBS.

At the heart of the matter? MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told reporters in early January announcing the deal that Boise State’s sweetheart agreement to take an extra cut of broadcast revenue — originally part of a deal to remain the conference after briefly going to the Big East during realignment’s heyday — was ending. That was news to the Broncos, who were not too happy with such a change that they apparently never agreed to.

“Boise State’s decision to join the conference was predicated on a number of negotiated provisions, including the right to separately negotiate material terms of media rights relating to our home games,” the university said last week in a statement to the media. “This is stated in our conference agreement and cannot be changed by any vote of the membership or conflicting agreement. We will not support any change to this provision and are in the process of weighing our options to move forward.”

Those options naturally included a lawsuit and that’s just what we have now. Interestingly, based on the timing of things, that suit was filed just a few hours after the school issued their statement on Jan. 17. The university is demanding a jury trial on the matter and is seeking that the re-entry agreement signed in late 2012 with the conference be honored (worth over $1.8 million a year).

We’ll see what, if anything, ultimately comes out of this latest tiff between the MWC and Boise State but it certainly does threaten to loom large over the coming months before the new broadcast agreement goes into effect. The Broncos have had a difficult relationship with their peers in the league ever since they first departed (though never in reality) for the Big East many moons ago and then rejoined the conference.

Now that friction is making its way into the courtroom in a way that could lead to even more fireworks than a typical BSU football game features on a typical Saturday night.

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.)

Former Texas A&M, Arkansas QB Nick Starkel headed to SJSU

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It’s been an interesting weekend in the transfer portal. We’ve seen one player move to the team he taunted in an upset. Now we’ve seen another who wound up helping his new team quite a bit in an upset over his old one.

In a pair of social media posts on Saturday, recent Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel confirmed he would be transferring to San Jose State for the 2020 season. If that name and team sounds familiar it’s because, well, he wound up throwing five interceptions to the Spartans in a stunning Razorbacks loss last year.

Starkel began his career at Texas A&M but made the intra-SEC move last March to Fayetteville. The hiring of Sam Pittman as the Hogs new coach appeared to hasten a second transfer in as many years.

The redshirt junior should have one final season left of eligibility and arrives as a potential replacement at SJSU for Josh Love, who was named MWC Offensive Player of the Year as a senior. Starkel threw for team highs in yards, touchdowns and interceptions at Arkansas in 2019 over eight appearances and five starts.