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Thursday, November 21, 2019

College Football

Cincinnati Bearcats take shot at Bengals to promote upcoming game

The Cincinnati Bengals are having one of their worst seasons in franchise history, and an institution of higher learning located nearby is trying to use the team’s struggles to its advantage.

Unlike the Bengals, the University of Cincinnati football team has won a game this year. In fact, the Bearcats have won nine and are currently 9-1 and ranked No. 19 in the nation. They’re playing Temple on Saturday night for a chance to win the AAC East championship, and the school is promoting the contest as “our city’s biggest game of the year.”

If there was any doubt that the Bearcats were taking a shot at the Bengals, the spelling of “Saturdey” seals it. That is an obvious play on the “Who Dey” chant Bengals fans do to support their team.

The Bengals are 0-10 heading into Week 12 and look like they have a great shot to land the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which is a good thing given the current state of their quarterback situation. They may not have expected an in-state school to kick them while they were down, but they certainly deserve the criticism.

Analysis: Which teams are most likely to make the College Football Playoff?

Ryan Day

Though we’re only two weeks from the various conference championship games across the college football landscape, there remains a considerable amount of uncertainty in how the College Football Playoff field will come together. There are only a couple teams who can really feel confident about making it, though a number would seem to control their own destiny, so to speak. That said, the field is still wide open, and the number of teams that still have at least a glimmer of hope sits in double digits.

Here is analysis are the teams most likely to make the Playoff, how likely their chances are, and what they have to do to get there.

HIGHLY LIKELY

Clemson Tigers (11-0, at South Carolina, ACC Championship Game)

Clemson might not be able to afford a loss, but the reality is they’re unlikely to suffer one. They’re the class of the ACC and will be clear favorites in their season finale against South Carolina, as well as in the ACC title game. Clemson should go unbeaten, and that will be an easy ticket to the playoff. Concerns linger that they’re not quite as good as they were last season, but that won’t really matter until they get to the playoff.

LSU Tigers (10-0, vs. Arkansas, vs. Texas A&M, SEC Championship)

The Tigers are exceedingly likely to reach the SEC Championship unbeaten, with winnable home games against Arkansas and Texas A&M on the schedule. That will likely lead to an SEC title game between LSU and Georgia, with the winner almost certainly assured of a spot in the playoff. There’s definitely a route for LSU if they lose. Their resume wins are impressive and include wins over Texas, Florida, Auburn, and Alabama. There’s plenty of precedent for one-loss SEC runners-up to make it in, so the Tigers should be feeling good right now.

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Penn State QB Sean Clifford says he got death threats after Minnesota loss

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford had his roughest start of the season in his team’s loss to Minnesota over a week ago, but there is no on-field performance that would ever justify what he had to deal with after the game.

Clifford, who has led the Nittany Lions to a 9-1 record in his first season as the team’s starter, told reporters on Tuesday that he had to deactivate some of his social media accounts following Penn State’s loss to Minnesota on Nov. 9 because he was receiving death threats.

“It’s kind of sad to say, but you know how some fans get. It gets a little crazy. I was, kind of, sick and tired of getting death threats and some pretty explicit and pretty tough-to-read messages,” Clifford said, per Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Clifford completed 23 of 43 passes for 340 yards, one touchdown and a season-high three interceptions in the 31-26 loss to the then-No. 17 Golden Gophers. The slip-up in what has otherwise been an outstanding season will make it more difficult for Penn State to make the College Football Playoff, but no player deserves death threats no matter how many times he turns the ball over.

Clifford said he appreciates the passion of Penn State fans but would rather avoid that type of negativity.

“I just try to stay away from it,” the quarterback added. “I appreciate all the positive people that are around, but there are also people that try to tear you down.”

Penn State coach James Franklin ripped the fans who would go to that extent to express their anger, calling it “concerning” and reflective of “behaviors in our society now that we accept that I don’t know why we’re accepting.”

“We’re ranked in the top 10, I think,” Franklin said. “We’ve had a pretty good year based on most people’s standards, and sometimes you go on social media and you wouldn’t feel that way.”

Again, it wouldn’t really matter if Penn State was the worst team in the country. Unfortunately, this is far from the first time we have heard of a college football player receiving death threats, and all you can hope for is that the people responsible are tracked down and held accountable. Clifford declined to say whether or not he informed the authorities, but it would not be a surprise if Penn State does on his behalf.

Vanderbilt commits to head coach Derek Mason for 2020

Vanderbilt logo

Vanderbilt is heading for its sixth consecutive losing season under Derek Mason, but the head coach is not in danger of losing his job despite the disappointing results.

On Tuesday, Vanderbilt athletic director Malcolm Turner issued a statement confirming that Mason will remain the head coach of the Commodores going forward.

Mason has been the head coach at Vanderbilt since James Franklin left for Penn State following the 2013 season. His overall record is 26-38, and the Commodores are 2-8 this year. If they finish with two wins, that would be Mason’s worst season with the program. The decision to keep him may not be a popular one, but Vanderbilt obviously believes in the direction the program is headed.

We had heard rumblings of a former NFL coach potentially drawing interest as a replacement for Mason, but that is not going to happen this year.

Tua Tagovailoa hip injury recovery timeline revealed

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa’s recovery timeline from his hip injury has been revealed.

Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip and fracture in Alabama’s win over Mississippi State on Saturday. He underwent surgery in Houston on Monday, and the prognosis for his recover is said to be excellent.

According to information shared by ESPN reporters Adam Schefter and Laura Rutledge, Tagovailoa will be rehabbing daily in Tuscaloosa and be on a partial weight bearing recovery plan for six weeks. He will be able to begin athletic activity again in three months. He should be able to begin throwing again in the spring.

Tagovailoa has another season of eligibility left in college and has the option to return to Alabama for his senior season next fall. He can also enter the NFL Draft, where he would still likely be a high draft pick despite coming off the injury.

For now, the Crimson Tide quarterback is probably just happy that things seem much better than they could have been, especially when people were comparing his injury to Bo Jackson’s career-ending one.

Tate Martell no longer working as wide receiver, wants to play QB

Tate Martell

The career odyssey of former five-star recruit Tate Martell continues, with the Miami Hurricanes transfer working his way back toward the quarterback position.

Martell transferred to Miami from Ohio State prior to the season hoping to claim the team’s quarterback job. When that didn’t happen, Martell shifted to wide receiver. On Monday, Miami coach Manny Diaz announced that experiment is over, with Martell still wanting to play quarterback.

It’s not really clear what Martell’s next move is. He left Ohio State when Justin Fields arrived because he wanted to play quarterback, and he did not take it well when he lost the quarterback battle at Miami. With that in mind, it’s no surprise he’s hoping to return to the position. Starter Jarren Williams hasn’t done anything to lose his job lately, however, leaving Martell back at square one. His future bears watching.

Tua Tagovailoa’s hip injury not like one that ended Bo Jackson’s career

The hip injury that Tua Tagovailoa suffered during Saturday’s game against Mississippi State has been compared to the one that ultimately ended Bo Jackson’s legendary football career, but that is apparently not something the Alabama quarterback needs to be concerned about.

Tagovailoa underwent surgery on Monday, and the doctor who performed it, Dr. Lyle Cain, said the procedure was successful and Tua’s “prognosis is excellent.” According to ESPN’s Laura Rutledge, Cain also said the injury does not present the same risks and potential complications as the one Jackson suffered in the early 1990s.

Even if the two injuries were similar, it sounds like they were handled a lot differently. That should be good news for Tagovailoa going forward.

There has already been a lot of talk that Tagovailoa may not play in 2020, but it is too early to know if that is the case. He has long been viewed as a potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, and he may still go early in the first round if teams are confident in the early prognosis that has been given.

If you saw how much pain Tagovailoa was in after suffering the injury, you knew right away how serious it was. Fortunately, all indications have been that he will be able to play football at a high level again.