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Washington paying reported Pac-12 record $1.75 million for home game against Arkansas State

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Washington is really putting the buy in ‘buy games’ going forward.

The Huskies are paying a reported $1.75 million to Arkansas State for their future home game against the Red Wolves on Sept. 18, 2021.

Why is that amount notable? Well according to the San Jose Mercury News, that’s the largest amount a Pac-12 school has paid for a non-conference contest and only the second time a school has gone above $1.3 million for a game (Oregon paid San Jose State a then-record $1.6 million last year).

“There were only a few years left (until the date of the game), and we didn’t have a lot of options,’’ Washington athletic director Jen Cohen told the paper. “There aren’t a lot of options for folks who are willing to come to Seattle.”

Obviously there’s a supply-and-demand issue at work in this case with the opening just two years away but as Jon Wilner gets into during the piece, the lack of options out West compared to football-program rich areas like Texas or the Southeast are also in play.

We’ve seen Power Five programs pony up big sums as a result and given this latest figure to emerge from the Pac-12, it probably won’t be long at all before we see a $2 million guarantee given out to some other Sun Belt or Conference USA school.

Hopefully for the Huskies though, maybe they can at least avoid putting up all that cash and losing like a certain SEC program did earlier in 2019.

Bob Davie expects to return to sidelines for New Mexico-Liberty game

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He’s not there quite yet, but Bob Davie is nearing a return to the sidelines.

Tuesday, New Mexico confirmed that offensive line coach/running-game coordinator Saga Tuitele will once again serve as acting head coach and be in charge of game management for this weekend’s matchup with in-state rival New Mexico State. Separately, head coach Bob Davie revealed that, barring an unexpected setback, he should resume coaching duties for the Sept. 28 game against Liberty, whose head football coach went through his own health issues over the past month as well.

Shortly after New Mexico beat Sam Houston State in its season opener, it was reported that Davie had experienced some type of “heart trouble” and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.  Shortly thereafter, UNM athletic director Eddie Nunez released a statement in which he confirmed that Davie “was taken to the hospital as a result of what appeared to be a serious medical incident” and asked “that you keep the Davie family in your prayers.”

Subsequent updates from the school indicated that Davie was doing well and is expected to make a full recovery, although not well enough to make the trip back to South Bend for the Week 3 game against Notre Dame.

Earlier this month, Davie stated that he was “not being too dramatic by saying [medical personnel] saved my life and my family will forever be appreciative.”

The 64-year-old Davie is in his eighth season as the head coach at New Mexico. He was also the head coach at Notre Dame from 1997-2001 before taking what turned out to be a decade-long sabbatical from the coaching profession. The Fighting Irish went 35-25 during Davie’s tenure, including losses in all three bowl appearances.

Davie served as the Irish’s defensive coordinator from 1994-96 before taking over for the retiring Lou Holtz.

At UNM, Davie has gone 34-55 in seven-plus seasons.

Troy loses RB B.J. Smith, SBC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, to season-ending injury

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This one will certainly leave a lasting mark.

Over the summer, Troy’s B.J. Smith was named as the Sun Belt Conference’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.  Two months later, the football program confirmed, the running back will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2019 season because of an injury sustained in the Week 3 loss to Southern Miss.

While the specific nature of the injury wasn’t divulged by the school, it’s believed Smith injured his knee midway through the second quarter of last Saturday’s game.

Last season, Smith led the Trojans with 1,186 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.  This season, the fourth-year senior had rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in two games.

Because of the timing of the injury, Smith can take a redshirt for the 2019 season and return to the Trojans next season.

Schools reportedly spent an average of $8,200 on hotel rooms before home games last season

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College football coaches love controlling every element that they can in the lead up to a game in order to minimize distractions. As a result, it’s become common place for nearly every football team in the country to spend the night at a hotel before home games.

Now most folks might think it’s strange to have teams shack up in rooms when they can spend the hours before a game at home but that’s not what schools do. And those hotel bills add up to quite a pretty penny in most cases as an investigation into the practice by Gatehouse Media shows.

In 2018 alone, public schools spend a median of $44,000 on hotels and nearly $5 million total across some 109 programs according to the report. That included low spenders like Coastal Carolina (just $2,800 per game) to those rolling in cash like Texas A&M ($278,000 total, or nearly $40k per home game).

Remarkably the Aggies spent so much because the hotel they stay at requires a two-night minimum and they leave the rooms unoccupied for one of those nights.

“We believe we would be breaking sleep routine if we did not stay in a hotel before a football game,” said OSU Associate Athletics Director Jerry Emig told the site after the Buckeyes spent nearly six figures on hotels for home games. “Ohio State has stayed in a hotel the night before every road game and every home game for more than 50 years.”

There’s some interesting sortable data in the full report, which includes noting that the SEC spends the most rooms on average and the Big Ten the least.

So next time you see the buses pull up to your favorite team’s stadium on a Saturday in college football, just remember it cost a decent chunk of change for the school to house those kids in a hotel prior to the game.

Georgia honors Arkansas State head coach’s late wife with ‘Pink Out’

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I don’t care what school you’re a fan of, this is sheer class.

In Week 3, Arkansas State is traveling to Athens to tangle with Georgia at Sanford Stadium.  In the week leading up to that non-conference matchup, momentum began to build among UGA fans on social media calling for those attending the game to wear pink in honor of Arkansas State Blake Anderson‘s late wife.

Saturday afternoon, in heartwarming fashion, the fans did just that.

Arkansas State announced Aug. 19 that Anderson would be taking a leave of absence from his job as head football coach to be with his wife Wendy, who was battling an aggressive form of breast cancer for the second time in three years.  The following day, Anderson posted a heartfelt message on social media revealing that his wife had lost her brave battle with the insidious disease shortly before midnight the night before “with me laying right beside her.”

Anderson’s leave of absence extended into the regular season and led to him missing the opener, but the coach surprised his team by returning to the sidelines in Week 2.