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#pounditThursday, October 6, 2022

College Football

Jimbo Fisher addresses relationship with Nick Saban

Jul 16, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher addresses the media and answers questions during SEC football media day at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The public feud between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher became the biggest story of the offseason in college football, and we are going to hear plenty about it heading into Saturday night’s game between Alabama and Texas A&M. What we should not expect is either coach to fuel the narrative.

Fisher on Monday was asked where his relationship with Saban stands. He said both coaches have “moved on” from whatever issues they had months ago.

“That’s over with,” Fisher said, per Tyler Shaw of KBTX 3. “He and I are in great shape and we’ve moved on.”

While speaking at a dinner party in Birmingham, Ala., back in May, Saban was critical of the way some programs have been violating Name, Image and Likeness rules. He singled out Texas A&M and said they “bought every player on their team.” Fisher responded by unloading on his former boss for being a “narcissist.” Fisher indicated at the time that he wants nothing to do with Saban anymore.

Fisher also spoke on Monday about how much he learned while working as an assistant under Saban.

“I’ve been around some successful people, so you learn a lot of things,” he said. “Nick’s just a tremendous coach, arguably people would say he’s one of the best ever or the best ever. That could very well be.”

That was not the first time Fisher backed down from his harsh comments about Saban.

Texas A&M is coming off a disappointing loss to Mississippi State. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young may not be able to play on Saturday because of a shoulder injury. You can understand why both Fisher and Saban want their players focusing all their attention on the task at hand.

Details on Paul Chryst’s buyout from Wisconsin revealed

Paul Chryst was fired by Wisconsin on Sunday, a day after his Badgers lost badly at home to Illinois 34-10. Chryst’s firing comes less than a year after he received a 5-year contract extension in January.

Chryst’s buyout was supposed to be $19.5 million. According to The Athletic’s Matt Fortuna, Chryst agreed to a reduced buyout of $11 million.

Though that’s only 56 percent of his full buyout amount, it’s still quite a hefty sum.

Chryst’s Badgers played well below expectations this season. They lost at home to Washington State 17-14 in their second game. They got blitzed badly by Ohio State in their fourth game. And then they got embarrassed at home by Illinois on Saturday to drop to 2-3.

Chryst was in his eighth season at Wisconsin after three years at Pitt. He was 67-26 as the school’s head football coach, including a 6-1 record in bowl games.

Tulane pokes fun at Aaron Judge with uniform reveal

Jul 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) goes to the dugout between innings against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Tulane Green Wave had a pretty hilarious way of revealing their uniforms for this week’s game.

Tulane poked fun at the recent coverage of Aaron Judge’s chase for the American League home run record in a video posted to social media Wednesday. ESPN has spent the last two weekends interrupting college football telecasts whenever Judge stepped to the plate, and Tulane had some fun with that.

At least Tulane used footage of Judge’s 62nd home run in their video. The New York Yankees star did not do nearly as well during the actual cut-ins in each of the last two Saturdays.

ESPN’s decision to show Judge’s plate appearances at the expense of its college football telecasts was met with widespread derision, and some of the network’s own talent seemed displeased with it. Fortunately, Judge hit his milestone home run on Tuesday, and the regular season ends Wednesday anyway, so college games should air without interruption on Saturday.

Mike Leach has radical solution to fix NIL issues

Oct 2, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach argues a call while playing against the Texas A&M Aggies in the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leach is known for being a bold thinker, both as a coach and as a personality. It’s no surprise then that the Mississippi State coach has a bold plan for how to address the current mess facing college football due to new transfer and Name, Image and Likeness rules.

Leach spoke with SI’s Ross Dellenger about his solution. He thinks the sport needs to differentiate between amateur and professional college athletes. He thinks players should choose which categorization they want, and they will be treated under different rules.

“This should not be a masquerade party of professionals. Are you a professional or are you not?” Leach told Ross Dellenger of SI. “Instead of sitting here and having 17-year-olds lecture everybody that they are professionals, well, let them be professionals. It’s one [amateur] or the other [professional]. Right now, we’ve got this whole mysterious stratosphere of people wiggling all over back and forth.”

For players who categorize themselves as pros, Leach is proposing systems similar to those used by the NFL. That means a player draft, salary cap, trades, and free agency. For those who are amateurs, they can choose where they want to go to school, and they would be eligible to receive a $100,000 bonus upon graduating from the school where they originally signed. These amateurs could transfer, but they would forfeit the bonus.

Both groups of players would have to attend school.

Leach’s proposal is nothing if not creative. A lot of other coaches are forecasting some sort of breakaway division as a result of the changes to the sport. Leach is proposing a solution that would allow both an amateur and professional model.

1 successful college coach would ‘crawl’ to get Wisconsin job?

Jul 22, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; N.C. State Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren speaks to the media during the ACC Kickoff at The Westin Charlotte. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin made a bold move over the weekend when they decided to fire Paul Chryst despite the coach being largely successful throughout his run as head coach of the football team. The question now becomes who will be the replacement coach.

Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard is the interim coach, and the belief has been that Wisconsin wants to give their former safety a shot at winning the job. But if Leonhard fails to impress for whatever reason, there might be another coach of note with eyes on the job.

Pete Thamel said on ESPN’s “College GameDay” podcast episode that was released on Monday that NC State coach Dave Doeren would want the job.

“My hunch is Dave Doeren would crawl there. He has Midwest ties. There’s some risk with Leonhard, there aren’t a whole lot of certainties once you go past that,” Thamel said on the podcast, via 247 Sports.

Doeren is a Shawnee, Kansas native. He played college ball at Drake in Iowa, coached throughout the midwest, and he was an assistant at Wisconsin from 2006-2010. Prior to NC State, he went 23-4 in two seasons at Northern Illinois. Doeren has gone 68-50 at NC State with three 9-win seasons.

The ceiling to win at Wisconsin is higher than it is at NC State, which has only had one double-digit win season in program history (in 2002 with Philip Rivers at quarterback).

If things don’t work out with Leonhard, Doeren would be a really strong hire if Wisconsin were able to land him.

Clemson football players sued over alleged crash with mail truck

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 14-8 win over Georgia Tech in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021. Credit: Ken Ruinard / staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Two Clemson football players are facing a lawsuit after they were allegedly traveling at a dangerous speed in a car that crashed into a mail delivery truck last year.

Defensive backs Fred Davis II and Malcolm Greene were named in the lawsuit, which was filed in Pickens County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday. According to Scott Keepfer of the Greenville News, the civil suit claims Davis was racing and driving recklessly on a highway near Clemson when he collided with a mail truck on July 21, 2021. The driver of the mail truck, Karen Alvarez, suffered serious injuries.

Electronic data from the airbag module in the vehicle driven by Davis showed that Davis was “traveling at 115 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone when he first applied his brakes 2.8 seconds before he collided with the rear of Plaintiff’s vehicle,” the suit says.

Davis was arrested and charged with reckless driving. Greene, who was in the vehicle with Davis at the time, is also named in the lawsuit. Alvarez is seeking unspecified damages.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said the lawsuit will not effect the two players’ status with the team. He expressed sympathy for the victim. Both players were disciplined internally after the incident.

“It’s a very sad situation,” Swinney said. “Someone almost lost their life. They’re really fortunate that the lady involved survived, but she’s got a lot of challenges. I don’t think anybody’s surprised that this will play out on the civil side.”

Davis, a junior, has started three games for the Tigers this season. He has 10 total tackles and has broken up two passes. Greene, also a junior, has appeared in three games and made 7 total tackles.

Paul Finebaum caller makes outrageous Jimbo Fisher ‘hitman’ comment

Oct 16, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher reacts during the first half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

A caller to “The Paul Finebaum Show” on Thursday made an absolutely outrageous comment about Jimbo Fisher.

A caller who identified himself as “Roger in Texas” discussed the Texas A&M coach. Roger began by talking about some comments Nick Saban made about fans attending Saturday’s game between the Aggies and Crimson Tide. Then Roger turned his attention to Fisher.

“As far as Jimbo’s contract, that $90 million contract, a hit man costs a lot less than that. Thank you and have a great afternoon,” the caller said.

Yeah, that is pretty wild.

We’re not suggesting that Fisher should start traveling with extra personal security. But for a fan to even think in those terms is a big concern.

Fisher got a big contract extension after going 9-1 with A&M in 2020. He followed that up with an 8-4 season, and the Aggies are 3-2 this year with losses to Appalachian State and Mississippi State. The bad losses have led to talks about buyouts for Fisher, who is owed over $90 million.

Oklahoma coach addresses whether Quinn Ewers’ return will impact them

April 23, 2022; Austin, TX, USA; Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) throws a pass during Texas’s annual spring football game at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas on April 23, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY NETWORK

There was a big development ahead of Saturday’s Red River Rivalry game.

On Thursday, we learned that Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers will return from his shoulder injury to play against Oklahoma. Ewers had missed the Longhorns’ last three games after getting hurt against Alabama in Texas’ second game of the season.

Oklahoma coach Brent Venabales was asked earlier in the week about whether the Sooners would have to change their preparation depending on which quarterback plays for Texas — Ewers or Hudson Card.

“My guess is it won’t affect either side,” Venables said. “I know it won’t for us. They’re going to run their system. They’ve got tremendous football players. Their quarterbacks have played really well. So whether it’s Card or Ewers, I don’t see something dramatically different in what they do. I don’t see a whole from them, expectation-wise, game-planning, in what they would do different.”

Venables is probably using the most diplomatic response possible. But Ewers won Texas’ starting job over the offseason, which suggests the Longhorns should be better off with him at quarterback.

Texas enters the game 3-2 with losses to Alabama and Texas Tech. Oklahoma is similarly disappointing at 3-2, with losses to Kansas State and TCU in consecutive games.