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Friday, September 20, 2019

Featured Stories

Tulane beats Houston with incredible fake kneeldown play in final minute

Tulane trick play

Tulane beat Houston 38-31 on Thursday night thanks to one of the most creative playcalls you will see.

The Houston Cougars had kicked a field goal with 21 seconds left to tie the game and thought for sure they were going to overtime and that their job was done. Not so fast.

Tulane returned the ensuing kickoff to their 29, and just when you thought they would kneel out the clock and go to OT, the Green Wave pulled off the greatest fake ever. Take a look at this gorgeous play:

The Annexation of Puerto Rico run to perfection!

Tulane gained 18 yards to the 47 and had three seconds left. Then they did this:


Houston has to be kicking itself over the collapse. Meanwhile, Tulane just made our list of favorite trick plays ever. Well done, fellas.

Is this the reason why Lynn Swann suddenly resigned as USC AD?

Lynn Swann’s sudden resignation as USC’s athletic director on Monday caught many people by surprise. After all, Swann managed to hang onto the gig for 3.5 years despite being terrible at it, by most accounts.

So why did he resign from his position? What was the impetus? It may have been the result of Swann being exposed as hired despite his lack of qualifications due to cronyism from the school’s biggest donor.

The Los Angeles Times’ Harriet Ryan and Matt Hamilton published a lengthy exposé on Sept. 5 on billionaire B. Wayne Hughes Sr., the founder of Public Storage. The Times said Hughes had donated around $400 million to USC, mostly anonymously. They reported Hughes donated $360 million to the school from 2010-2015. His donations reportedly have been focused on the athletic department.

Hughes attended USC and was close with many of the Trojans’ football players, such as OJ Simpson, Al Cowlings, and Swann.

When Pat Haden stepped down as USC’s athletic director in April 2016, the school reportedly retained a search firm to help identify candidates. They whittled down a list of 200 to around seven candidates, according to the LA Times.

From the Times:

Multiple rounds of interviews winnowed 200 prospects to about seven finalists. One person knowledgeable about the search process said Hughes indicated to (Former USC president Max) Nikias that he preferred Swann for the job. Hughes’ attorney said it would be “wholly inaccurate” to say he had lobbied Nikias to appoint Swann.

Swann had never run an athletic program, let alone worked at a university, and he had scant management experience beyond serving on the boards of companies and charities. USC’s athletic director would oversee a budget of $100 million, 21 varsity teams and at least 650 student-athletes.

Some of Swann’s moves included announcing he was keeping Clay Helton despite fans calling for the football coach’s job; banning the USC Song Girls from performing at basketball games; and generally being absent amid a school scandal.

Swann kept the job despite all that. But two business days after the LA Times exposed Swann’s relationship with Hughes, and a quote in the story said Hughes might be the most powerful figure at USC — more powerful than the school president — Swann resigned. Perhaps USC believed that they needed to flex some muscle to show who’s in charge after new president Carol Folt had her power called into question. She may have called for Swann to resign, which he did. And perhaps USC felt comfortable firing Swann because they’ve already gotten so much money from Hughes in donations from 2010-2015.

There is a saying in journalism — also popularized by “All the President’s Men” — to “follow the money.” In this case one need only follow Hughes’ money and relationships to understand how Swann got the job and why he remained in it until recently.

H/T Sports by Brooks

Report: Jaguars owner ‘loves’ Jalen Ramsey, would pay him top dollar

Jalen Ramsey

There is a growing belief that Jalen Ramsey may have played his last game with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, but one very influential person within the organization would prefer not to see the star cornerback leave. That person would be the owner.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan would rather sign Ramsey to a long-term extension than trade him, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Friday. Khan supposedly “loves” Ramsey and would be willing to make him the highest-paid cornerback in football, but the relationship between Ramsey and other members of the organization could be damaged beyond repair.

Rapoport later added that Ramsey’s issues are more with executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin than head coach Doug Marrone.

“This is not about Marrone,” Rapoport said. “It’s about management — Tom Coughlin and others. That is a situation that doesn’t seem like it can be handled and fixed, but we simply don’t know.”

Coughlin was given total control over personnel decisions when he was hired by the Jaguars, so he will likely have the final say over whether Ramsey stays or goes. Even if Ramsey’s primary issue is with Coughlin, it doesn’t seem like his relationship with Marrone is all that strong. Ramsey shoved the coach during last week’s game and the two had to be separated during a sideline altercation, which speaks for itself. Ramsey also had a blunt assessment of Marrone’s job security when the Jags were struggling last year.

The Jaguars have placed a high asking price on Ramsey, but there will likely be teams willing to pay it. He seems destined to be traded, even if Khan is a big fan.

Jamal Adams removes Jets from social media bios, unfollows team

Jamal Adams

Jamal Adams is one of the most talented players on the New York Jets’ roster and someone the team would be wise to build around, but he may be sending signals that he is unhappy with the way things are going for the franchise.

At some point after New York’s 23-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Monday night, Adams removed all references to the Jets from his social media bios and unfollowed the team from his accounts.

What does that mean? Possibly nothing, but it seems like a bizarre move from a player who is not trying to send a message. We have seen instances in the past where players unfollowed their teams on social media right before a breakup, so the changes Adams made will result in some uneasiness from Jets fans.

For what it’s worth, Adams told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that he never followed the Jets to begin with, but that doesn’t explain removing “defensive back for the New York Jets” from his bio.

The Jets drafted Adams with the No. 6 overall pick in 2017, and the former LSU star made the Pro Bowl last season. He also seemed to be all-in on helping the team rebuild this offseason by recruiting both head coaching candidates and star players. Believe it or not, social media changes like the ones Adams made are worth monitoring in the year 2019.

Gardner Minshew once tried to break his own hand to get medical redshirt

Gardner Minshew may not be the most talented quarterback in football, but there is no one in the NFL willing to go to greater lengths to achieve their goals than the Jacksonville Jaguars rookie.

Minshew was a guest on the “Pardon My Take” podcast this week, and hosts Big Cat and PFT Commenter asked him to tell a story that most encompasses what a “football guy” he is. The former Washington State star recalled the time he had just enrolled at East Carolina from junior college and was so desperate to redshirt his first year that he tried to smash his own hand with a hammer.

Minshew said he had two senior quarterbacks ahead of him in his first year at ECU, and one was moved to running back in the fourth game of the season when the starter got knocked out with concussion. That left Minshew to play about a half, but the starter returned the following week. Minshew’s only hope at that point to save a year of eligibility was to be granted a medical redshirt. We’ll let him take it from here.

“I get an idea. I go home and I grab a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and I grab a hammer,” Minshew said. “I go in my room and take a pull of Jack Daniel’s, put my hand down on the table and BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. I can tell it’s not broken, so I take a pull and one, two, three do it again. Still nothing. I’m just shaking but I knew it still wasn’t broken. One more time, another three hits was all I could take. I couldn’t break my own hand.”

All Minshew was left with was a swollen hand for a few weeks, which he said he he told his coaches was the result of slamming it in a car door.

In case you were still questioning whether Minshew was anything more than just a fantastic mustache guy, there’s your answer. If he’s willing to pulverize his own fingers for an extra year of college ball, you know he is laying it on the line every week for the Jags.

Tip va Cordog

5 big surprises of the 2019 NFL season so far

Lamar Jackson

The 2019 NFL regular season is now two weeks old — boy, does it go fast — and to say there have been a few surprises that stand out would be an understatement.

Things got off to a fast start league-wide and have not slowed down one bit. Whether it’s on the field or off of the field, the NFL is jam-packed with excitement, drama and theater.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the five biggest surprises of the 2019 season (so far) — a list that should also include the San Francisco 49ers’ success, but hey, we had to draw the line somewhere.

5. Something is brewing in Buffalo

The Bills entered 2019 with a lot of question marks, some relatively tame hype, and the expectation that they’d be Bill Belichick’s whipping boy for another year. And while the latter part of that may still turn out to be true, Buffalo has started the season hot, dropping both the New York Jets and New York Giants on the road on consecutive weeks to start 2-0 and tied for first place with the aforementioned Patriots. Those wins aren’t overly impressive in and of themselves, but the fact that Buffalo now has more wins in MetLife Stadium through two weeks than the Jets and Giants have combined over the last year-plus is somewhat impressive.

Josh Allen has showed some obvious signs of growth, their defense has established itself as one of the most dominant in the league, and they’re gritty. Will they overtake the Patriots? Probably not, but the Bills are easily the next best team in the AFC East, and unlike their counterparts, appear to be headed in the right direction.