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#pounditWednesday, May 5, 2021

College Football

Jimbo Fisher had a little trash talk for Nick Saban

Jimbo Fisher

Jimbo Fisher had a little trash talk for Nick Saban on Wednesday.

Fisher spoke at the Houston TD Club to some loyal Texas A&M fans. Fisher is entering his fourth season as the Aggies’ head coach. He was asked about the key to beating Alabama and whether they needed Nick Saban to retire.

Fisher said “we’re going to beat his a– even when he’s there,” via the Houston Chronicle’s Brent Zwerneman.

You have to love that attitude. You’re never going to be or beat the best if you’re afraid of them. And Fisher definitely is not afraid of Saban and Alabama.

Fisher just had his best season yet at A&M. The Aggies went 9-1 in the shortened season, but they lost star quarterback Kellen Mond to the NFL Draft. We know that Saban is able to reload and put a powerhouse team out there year-in and year-out, regardless of what happens in the draft. There is a lot more pressure on Fisher to show he can reload too. In other words, we would be very surprised if A&M had a .900 winning percentage next season, or something close to that.

Urban Meyer shares which player broke his heart in NFL Draft

Urban Meyer

The Jacksonville Jaguars added nine players in the NFL Draft this year, including the No. 1 pick. But there was one player they didn’t get, and that bothered Urban Meyer.

Meyer said on ESPN Thursday that he wished his Jaguars would have been able to select Kadarius Toney No. 25 overall. Instead, Toney went to the New York Giants No. 20 overall.

The Jaguars ended up taking Travis Etienne at No. 25 instead. Etienne teamed with Trevor Lawrence at Clemson, meaning the Jags will now have two of Clemson’s top skill players.

After taking a few offensive players in the first round, the Jags took defensive players in four of their next five picks, including cornerback Tyson Campbell.

It’s odd of a coach to share how much they wanted a player. That’s something to keep in mind for the future during trade talks. It also makes you wonder whether Etienne will feel motivated to prove that the Jags should be happy they got him instead.

Mark Emmert gets contract extension from NCAA and people lost their minds

Mark Emmert

Mark Emmert has received a contract extension from the NCAA, and the news led many people to lose their minds.

The NCAA issued a press release on Tuesday to say they would be working on updating their name, image and likeness rules for student-athletes.

In the fourth item down on the press release, the NCAA shared the update on Emmert’s contract.

“Additionally, the board voted unanimously to extend NCAA President Mark Emmert’s contract to Dec. 31, 2025.”

There you go. Emmert, who is frequently the target of criticism, is now contracted with the NCAA for another four and a half years.

Critics couldn’t believe it.

Some recognized that Emmert keeps his job because he serves as a public shield for the NCAA.

How much money does Emmert make? In 2018, he earned $2.7 million. And now he got extended.

Report: Marshall Faulk in talks with Southern about being their head coach

Marshall Faulk

First it was Deion Sanders going to Jackson State, and now it looks like another Hall of Famer could head to the SWAC.

Marshall Faulk has had some conversations with Southern University about becoming their head football coach, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

Rapoport says nothing is done, but there have been conversations.

Faulk, 48, is from New Orleans. Southern is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, so this would be a return to his home state. However, Faulk played college ball at San Diego State before going to the NFL. He played for the Colts and Rams, making seven Pro Bowls. The 2000 NFL MVP, Faulk is an inductee of both the pro football and college football halls of fame.

Faulk served as an analyst for NFL Network until being suspended in 2017 over sexual harassment allegations.

Southern is looking for a new coach after Dawson Odums left last week to take the Norfolk State job.

Nick Saban explains why he is against College Football Playoff expansion

Nick Saban

Nick Saban is against an expansion of the College Football Playoff format and has his reasons.

The Alabama Crimson Tide head coach was a guest on “The Paul Finebaum Show” on Tuesday and reiterated his belief that an expansion would further detract from the significance of the bowl system.

“I think the playoff, as I said many years ago when we had just two teams in the playoff and expanded to four, that the more playoffs we have, the less significant bowl games are going to be,” Saban told Finebaum, via 247 Sports. “So it’s really not for me, and I don’t think I’m capable of judging how significant the positive self-gratification that players, programs, and coaches get from being able to go to a bowl game. Now, everything has shifted to the four teams in the playoffs, and the bowls seem to be pretty insignificant. So, I think if we expand the playoff, you’re going to see a continuation of that trend, where the bowl games become less and less significant. Maybe these things can’t coexist. But if they’re going to coexist, maybe we should try to leave them pretty much the same.”

“I know there is a lot of interest in the playoff, but the other thing I would be concerned with is how many games do we need to play?” Saban said. “The SEC Championship Game, if you look at it, most of the years we played in those games were playoff games. We were playing somebody in the top five. It had an impact on who got in the playoff or championship game. So, you’re going to eliminate that so you can have more playoff games? Are we going to play less games in the regular season so we can have more playoff games? I think there’s only so many games in these guys. They’re student-athletes. They’re not just football players. I think some of that has to be taken into consideration as well.”

Saban probably is not wrong. The more the playoffs expand, the less important bowls will be. But bowls were already diminishing in importance when more and more bowls were added.

The 69-year-old Alabama coach expressed his opposition to an expanded playoff not too long ago. Expanding the CFP could also cheapen the regular season because it would allow for teams with more losses to get a chance at the national title.

Saban won’t say it, but he’s probably most against expansion of the playoff because it would give more teams an opportunity to upset his Crimson Tide, similar to the NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball.

Report: Central Michigan QB John Keller shot in chest at party

Central Michigan logo

A Central Michigan football player is reportedly in critical condition after he was shot early Saturday morning.

According to Christian Booher of Central Michigan life, sophomore quarterback John Keller was shot in the chest during an off-campus party near Central Michigan’s Mount Pleasant Campus. Police were called to the Deerfield Village Apartment complex following reports of gunshots.

Police say an investigation determined that a fight broke out at the party shortly after several individuals arrived. The Isabella Sheriff’s Department says someone went to a vehicle during the fight to retrieve a gun and began firing shots. Keller and another unnamed individual were wounded. Keller is said to be in critical condition while the other victim is in stable condition.

Keller’s family has organized a GoFundMe page to help pay for medical expenses. The fundraiser states that Keller was shot in the chest by an unknown assailant and is fighting for his life at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich.

Keller transferred to Central Michigan after spending one redshirt season at Cincinnati. He did not play in 2020 due to transfer eligibility rules.

Lane Kiffin has father Monte fire up Ole Miss before spring game

Lane Kiffin

Monte Kiffin is 81 years old, but you wouldn’t know it from watching him get the Ole Miss football team ready for its spring game.

Coach Lane Kiffin’s father, a longtime NFL defensive coordinator, was enlisted to hype up the team prior to the annual spring game Saturday. Judging by this video Lane Kiffin shared on Twitter, it worked.

Monte Kiffin currently serves as a player personnel analyst on his son’s staff. He’s followed Lane to his coaching stops since 2017, having served as a defensive assistant at Florida Atlantic as well.

The real question now is whether Lane’s pre-game speech will look anything like this.

Ole Miss fans! It’s time to jump aboard the Lane Train! This Lane Train shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend – you can buy it here.

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.