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#pounditSunday, May 16, 2021

College Football

LSU banning Derrius Guice and erasing stats from school records

Derrius Guice

LSU is trying to clean up its athletics program, and it’s starting by taking strong action against former running back Derrius Guice.

According to ESPN’s Heather Dinich, LSU intends to ban Guice indefinitely from associating with the school’s athletic program. In addition, LSU intends to remove Guice from the school’s record books.

Guice was accused of rape in two separate instances as a freshman. The allegations were not investigated by LSU despite claims that multiple members of the coaching staff were aware of them. Guice later faced three allegations of domestic violence in 2020, which essentially ended his NFL career.

Guice ranks fifth in LSU history with 3,074 career rushing yards and is tied for seventh with 29 career rushing touchdowns. He also has two of LSU’s top ten single-season rushing tallies. His 285-yard game against Texas A&M in 2016 represents the school’s single-game rushing record, and he holds three of the top four rushing games in school history. LSU intends to wipe all of that from its records.

The moves are part of LSU’s effort to make major changes in light of an internal investigation that found a number of failures on the school’s part in reporting and investigating allegations relating to members of the athletic program. That included former coach Les Miles, and it ultimately cost him his job at Kansas.

These are the College Football Playoff expansion ideas discussed by committee

College Football Playoff

Those hoping for expansion of the College Football Playoff will welcome Friday’s news that the NCAA’s CFP subcommittee has at least thought about what an expanded tournament would look like.

A College Football Playoff news release confirmed that the CFP discussed 63 potential changes to the playoff format, including ones that accommodate 6, 8, 10, 12, and 16 teams. According to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, some other formats tossed around by the committee included automatic bids for some conference champions, potentially guaranteed spots for Group of Five champions, byes, and even fields determined solely by rankings.

There was no formal preference agreed on by the subcommittee, nor is playoff expansion a guarantee. It also seems fairly unlikely that major changes would be implemented prior to the expiration of the CFP’s contract with ESPN, which ends in 2025-26.

It’s not clear how much momentum there even is to expand the playoff despite the discussion. Some of the sport’s prominent names have backed expansion, while others have some reservations about the idea. At the moment, it does not seem that there is a clear preference for changes, which would probably have to happen before any are made.

Mel Kiper reveals top QB prospects for 2022 NFL Draft

Spencer Rattler

This year’s NFL Draft features five quarterbacks who are almost certain to be taken in the top 15 picks, and that is the most intriguing storyline to watch heading into the event. We may not see as deep of a QB class next year, but Mel Kiper Jr. has listed two players at the position who are worth keeping a close eye on.

During an appearance on the “Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin” show this week, Kiper was asked to name the top quarterback prospects to watch this upcoming college season. He mentioned Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler and North Carolina’s Sam Howell.

“I think when you look at a guy like Spencer Rattler, I think he’ll be the No. 1 quarterback, coming out of Oklahoma,” Kiper said, via Garrett Stephen of 247 Sports. “I think Sam Howell, North Carolina, will be the second-highest-rated quarterback.”

Rattler, who was featured on Netflix’s “QB1: Beyond the Lights” series, had his first full season as a starter for the Sooners last year. He seems like a lock to continue the trend of Lincoln Riley-coached quarterbacks becoming high picks in the draft. Rattler completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. He added another 160 rushing yards and six scores on the ground.

Howell has completed 64 percent of his passes for 7,227 yards, 68 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 25 games at North Carolina. He has a very strong arm and the ability to run, which is something NFL teams have seemed to focus on more and more in recent years.

Rattler has hit some speed bumps in his college career, as he was temporarily benched at one point last season. If he can put it all together this season, he was top overall pick written all over him. Coming from the same program as Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray should certainly help.

NCAA makes key change to college football overtime rule

Mark Emmert

College football overtime will look a bit different starting in 2021.

In a set of rule changes announced Thursday by the NCAA, teams will now be required to attempt a two-point conversion following a touchdown starting in the second overtime period. Previously, this requirement kicked in at the third overtime.

In addition, the so-called two point conversion “shootout,” in which both teams will trade alternating two-point attempts, begins in the third overtime, a change from the fifth. Both changes are meant to try to reduce the chance of lengthy overtime periods.

While multi-overtime classics can be great viewing for fans, they’re also absolutely brutal for the players involved. Protecting players from physical issues has to be the main priority, and it’s just not feasible to ask them to play seven or eight full overtimes, hence these changes.

Ex-Michigan QB Joe Milton transferring to Tennessee

Tennessee Vols logo

Joe Milton has decided on a transfer destination, and he is headed to the SEC.

Rocky Top Insider’s Trey Wallace reported Monday that Milton was admitted to Tennessee for its summer session. Milton will join the school after spring practice ends.

Milton was a four-star recruit and only played sparingly for Michigan in 2018 and 2019. He got the opportunity to start last season for the Wolverines but played poorly and was eventually replaced by Cade McNamara.

Tennessee is entering its first season under new head coach Josh Heupel. They are also looking for a new starting quarterback after Jarrett Guarantano transferred to Washington State. Milton should be able to compete for the Vols job.

If Milton ends up winning the starting job, Heupel will have his work cut out for him. Based on how Milton looked last season at Michigan, Milton won’t be winning many games in the SEC.

North Texas football commit among those killed in Austin shooting

North Texas

A North Texas football signee was one of three people who were shot and killed at an apartment complex in Austin on Sunday.

The Elgin (Texas) Independent School District confirmed in a statement to ESPN’s Mark Schlabath on Monday that Willie Simmons III, a senior at Elgin High School, was killed. Alyssa Broderick, a basketball player at the same school, was also killed. A third female was killed, but police have yet to publicly confirm the identities of any of the victims.

Simmons, a linebacker, had committed to playing at North Texas. Elgin ISD superintendent Jodi Duron said in a statement that those in the the district are “heartbroken” by the deaths of Simmons and Broderick.

“(Simmons) was an exceptional young man and leader among his peers. Strong, both academically and athletically, he represented the very best of Elgin ISD,” Duron said. “He was captain of our football team; a friend to everyone he met; and most recently, recruited to play football for the University of North Texas.”

Police announced on Monday that former Travis County Sheriff’s Office deputy Stephen Broderick has been arrested in connection with the shootings. Austin Police interim chief Joseph Chacon said the 41-year-old knew all three of the victims.

Stephen Broderick was also arrested in June for the alleged sexual assault of a child. He had been released on $50,000 bond and resigned from his job as a property crimes detective after the arrest.

Look: South Dakota State coaches broke glass in press box celebrating TD

South Dakota State Jackrabbits

South Dakota State picked up a huge win over North Dakota State 27-17 in Fargo, North Dakota on Saturday, and they enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

SDSU ended ended the Bison’s nine-year run as the Missouri Valley Conference football champs with the win. They also picked up the conference’s automatic bid into the FCS playoffs. And to show how big of a win it was, they ended North Dakota State’s incredible 32-game home winning streak.

After scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter to go up 27-17, SDSU’s coaches shattered glass in the Fargodome press box while celebrating.

One Bison fan did not appreciate the glass being broken nearby where she was sitting.

That was one big win for the Jackrabbits … and one big press box celebration as well.

Video: Villanova pulled off a ridiculous, must-see touchdown pass

Villanova touchdown pass

The Villanova Wildcats pulled off one of the most amazing touchdown passes you’re likely to see during a big FCS showdown with Delaware on Saturday.

Villanova was trying to rally late in a top ten showdown with Delaware, trailing 27-13 with just over three minutes to go. On 3rd and goal at the 1, the Wildcats opted to roll quarterback Daniel Smith out to the right to try to pass it in. The Delaware defense seemed to sniff it out and looked to have Smith sacked, but the quarterback essentially flung the ball into the end zone as he was tumbling to the ground and managed to complete the touchdown.

That’s Delaware defensive lineman Fintan Brose celebrating what he thought was his sack just as Smith is completing the touchdown pass. You can’t really blame him for doing so, either.

Villanova is generally better known for its exploits on the basketball court. This play is as memorable as anything you’re likely to see anytime soon, though.

Video: Nick Saban let Alabama WR have it after failed trick play in spring game

Nick Saban

The Alabama A-Game gives us a chance to see Nick Saban in practice mode, complete with audio. Obviously, that provides some one-of-a-kind entertainment that you won’t get during a meaningful Crimson Tide game.

Team White, which consisted of the first-team offense, ran a trick play during the scrimmage, with wide receiver Slade Bolden tasked with throwing the pass. Bolden was a wildcat quarterback in high school, so Saban was definitely looking for something usable here. He didn’t get it, though, as Bolden was forced into a backfoot throw that landed well short of its intended target.

No excuses for Saban, who promptly told Bolden just how terrible his pass attempt was.

Saban knows he’s mic’d up, so you wonder how much he’s censoring himself here — and whether Bolden would have gotten it even worse without that factor.

The Alabama coach is a gem when he gets ornery, so much so that it even entertains other coaches. Then again, if Saban can be like this over a gadget play in a spring game, it’s no wonder his teams end up so well-drilled when the games start to count.

Video: Ohio State got a sideline warning during its spring game

Ohio State logo

The Big Ten referees working the Ohio State spring game might have been a little bit overzealous when it came to the penalty flags.

In a game that is essentially a glorified scrimmage with no tackling allowed, one of the Ohio State sidelines was hit with a sideline warning early in the second half. It’s anyone’s guess as to why.

Fair play to the referees, who are clearly taking this game and their jobs seriously. That said, we all probably could have lived without the flag there.

Big Ten referees always get a lot of criticism, sometimes deservedly so. Plenty of people would say they’re already in midseason form doing something like this.