The Oklahoma Sooners waged a stunning upset in the Sugar Bowl yesterday when they defeated the heavily-favored Alabama Crimson Tide 45-31.
Not all the action was on the field, however, as an unidentified Alabama mom sprung into action and leaped onto an Oklahoma fan in the stands (video below).
The mom from Alabama even threw in some wild kicks for good measure, notes the Kansas City Star.
The Oklahoma fan, who identifies himself as Michael Connolly, recently told Sports Illustrated his side of the story.
Connolly claims there was some mutual razzing back and forth between him, his fellow Sooner fan and the mom's family. At one point, the mom's teen yelled at Connolly and his friend to walk over and fight, but they refused.
"That was when the woman came down and the video started," recalled Connolly. "She was screaming at me, and sticking her tongue out at me so I asked, Are you trying to make out with me?' And my friend was yelling 'Kiss her! Kiss her!'"
"That's when she walked away, and then jumped me," added Connolly. "When she kicked me, it left giant boot marks on my shirt. I'm not sure if the guy restraining her was her husband or not, they weren't sitting right next to each other, but she was kicked out of the game and her two daughters were crying."
Greg Lupfer, a defensive line coach for Colorado State University, has been suspended after using a gay slur against a Washington State University player in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 21.
According to SBNation.com, Washington State University quarterback Connor Halliday had just thrown a touchdown pass in the first quarter when Lupfer reportedly called him a “f------."
The gay slur was caught on a sideline camera (video below) and investigated by Colorado State University's athletic department. The school suspended Lupfer for two weeks without pay and is requiring him to take anger management and diversity training, noted The Denver Post.
"I am deeply sorry for my behavior, which does not represent who I am or my values," Lupfer said in a statement. "I embrace the opportunity to participate in anger management and diversity sensitivity training. I was angry and careless with my words, and my words hurt many people. I sincerely apologize to the GLBTQ community for causing pain by using a slur without considering its meaning. I take ownership of my words and fully understand why people are very upset.”
Ultimately, Colorado State University did prevail by staging an amazing comeback to win the game, 48-45.
ESPN's Heather Cox Asks Jameis Winston About Rape Investigation, Winston's Lawyer Attacks Cox (Video)
Florida State University (FSU) quarterback Jameis Winston led his team to a 45-7 win over Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on Saturday night.
While Winston had a great game, his post-game interview with ESPN reporter Heather Cox was also memorable (video below).
First, Cox asked Winston how the recent rape investigation had affected FSU's team and what he (Winston) had learned from the controversy.
He was willing to answer those questions, but when Cox asked the Heisman Trophy favorite why he refused to talk to the Florida state attorney during the investigation, he quickly walked away, notes SportsGrid.com.
Winston's lawyer Tim Jansen later blasted Cox on Twitter and demanded an apology:
Heather Cox was classless and unprofessional after the game. Trying to ambush a 19 year after the game with a flury of inappropriate ques.
@heatherespn your actions after the game w my client were inappropriate and unprofessional. Ur actions were deliberate.
@heatherespn when u realize ur actions were improper u can make amends. Please write me a note to Jameis and his family to apologize.
Coz has not apologized, but defended her questions, which are protected under the First Amendment.
“I certainly knew if we talked to him I needed to ask questions about the investigation,” Cox told Sports Illustrated. “I had thought through the way I wanted to handle it and presented the questions to our team. We all decided it was the correct way to handle it. It was not an issue of me going rogue and deciding last-minute that I would ambush him."
“[FSU] were fully aware that I was going to ask about the investigation,” added Cox. “I was never once asked not to ask about the investigation and if I had been asked not to ask those questions, I would have declined to do the interview because I would not have been able to do my job."
"I think a lot of people out there think I ambushed him and went against Coach Fisher and the Florida State PR group, and that is not at all the case," said Cox. "They were fully aware of my intent to ask questions about the investigation.”
South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Steve Spurrier appears each week on a TV show to go over the most recent ballgame with a co-host.
But Spurrier seemed under the weather when he reviewed the Gamecocks' recent win over the University of Central Florida (UCF) on the "Steve Spurrier Show" (video below).
The coach seemed to be slurring his words, which caused some fans to suggest he was drunk, notes Deadspin.com.
The "Steve Spurrier Show" is usually available on South Carolina's athletic department website, but this episode was taken down. The program is usually rerun by Fox Sport South, but this broadcast was replaced with a show from two weeks ago.
Spurrier said today the show was pulled because he was 'too negative," reports GoGameCocks.com (video below).
"We don't pull a TV show too often, but I way too negative. Afterwards, I said, 'I don't need to be so negative toward some of our players or some of our coaches that coach secondary, including myself. I try to always include myself in not coaching very well," said Spurrier.
When Coach Spurrier was asked if he had been drinking after the game against UCF, he said, “Whether or not I have a few beers after every game for the past 29 years I don’t think I need to get into all that. Most coaches that I know we probably do have a few beers after ballgames after building up all week and so forth. But that was a draining day and I got too negative. I don’t like being that negative after a victory.”
The six points that the Georgia Bulldogs received for scoring their first touchdown of the year came at a heavy price. The team’s top receiver, Malcolm Mitchell, will miss the rest of the season after injuring himself while he was celebrating the scoring play, a 75-yard run by Todd Gurley. To make matters worse, Georgia ended up losing the game to Clemson, 38-35.
Bulldogs coach Mark Richt announced Sunday that Mitchell did damage to the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he landed awkwardly during the celebration.
"[Mitchell] actually hurt it in the exuberance of the first touchdown of the game for us when he went to congratulate his teammate," Richt said. "I think he jumped up and chest bumped or whatever, and he landed in a bad way and that's when he knew something had happened."
"Malcolm unfortunately has an ACL injury that needs to be repaired here. I'm not sure when we'll do the surgery, but sometime in the near future. So what we thought happened did happen. It was confirmed by the MRI today."
Mitchell totaled 40 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns last season, ESPN reported.
"We've got other guys that have gone deep that can make plays for us, but Malcolm was certainly one guy that can do that," Richt said. "He had great speed, quickness, he would snatch the ball in traffic. He was a great competitor."
Gurley also left the game after his long touchdown run but, unlike Mitchell, he got back on the field.
"I do not think after talking to Todd after the game that it's anything that's going to be serious at all," Richt said. "You never know how a guy's going to feel the next day, but I think Ron would have said something to me if he thought something was going on with Todd or with anyone else."
A former U.S. Marine who is trying to fulfill his dream of playing college football is being hindered by an NCAA rule that seems to make little to no sense. Steven Rhodes wants to play football for Middle Tennessee State University but the NCAA is saying he is not eligible at this time because he participated in a military-only recreational football league in 2012. Rhodes, 24, was informed that he would have to redshirt this season and could not play for MTSU.
"This is extremely frustrating. I think it's unfair, highly unfair," Rhodes said. "I just got out of the Marine Corps, and I wanted to play. For (the NCAA) to say, 'No, you can't play right now,' I just don't understand the logic in that."
Rhodes finished his five years of active service in the Marines this summer. He said that the military recreational league that he participated in was highly unorganized and not even competitive.
"Man, it was like intramurals for us. There were guys out there anywhere from 18 to 40-something years old," Rhodes said. "The games were spread out. We once went six weeks between games."
His wife, Adrienne, is finishing her service in the U.S. Navy, USA Today reported.
"I was super excited when he got the chance to play football (at MTSU), but then I was shocked to find out there was a problem with him playing," Adrienne said. "Those games were something they did in their spare time on the same base. They were games against different shops — you know, like the air traffic controllers against the mechanics. It was so disorganized. I couldn't believe that was an issue."
There is still hope for Rhodes.
"The NCAA has provided an initial review of the case and will continue to work with the university. The process is ongoing and a final decision has not yet been made," NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said in a statement that was released on Sunday.
2012 Record: 3-9 (1-8 in Pac-12)
Head Coach: Mike Leach (2nd year at Wazzu, 87-52 All-Time)
Last Bowl Game: 2003 Holiday Bowl: beat Texas 28-20
Stadium: Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA (capacity = 35,117)
Home Field Advantage: ranked 61st out of 69 BCS teams
Out of Conference: 8/31 at Auburn, 9/14 vs Southern Utah, 9/21 vs Idaho
Conference Home Games: 9/28 vs Stanford, 10/12 vs Oregon State, 10/31 vs Arizona State, 11/23 vs Utah
Stats to Fear: converted on just 31.72% of third downs (11th in Pac-12), scored TDs on 53.85% of red zone trips (11th in Pac-12)
Stat to Cheer: had 56 pass plays of 20 yds or more (tied for 1st in Pac-12), held opponents to 76.79% success rate in red zone (2nd in Pac-12)
Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 97th out of 124 teams
Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 8, Defense: 4, Special Teams: 0
Key Defensive Returnees: S Deone Bucannon (106 tackles), LB Darryl Monroe (80 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB Connor Halliday (1878 yds pass, 52.2% completions, 15 TD, 13 INT), WR Gabe Marks (49 rec), WR Brett Bartolone (53 rec), WR Isiah Myers (41 rec), WR Dominique Williams (34 rec)
The word of the day after Mike Leach was hired as Wazzu's new head coach was "excitement". After a disappointing first year, is that excitement still there? Coming off of a 4-8 season, most thought that Leach would be able to plug and play a bit with the offense and at worst finish the 2012 season with the same record as 2011. They started 2-1 but the 35-34 loss to Colorado was a heart breaker and Wazzu never recovered until the final week of the season when they popped rival Washington 31-28. Can they build on that upset as they enter 2013?
Junior Connor Halliday will get the football for the Cougars but he struggled last year in Mike Leach's offense as he completed just 52.2% of his passes and threw 13 INTs. In Leach's offense, Halliday has to be more accurate. In Leach's best season at Texas Tech, his RBs averaged 4.83 ypc and had 28 TDs. Last year the Cougars averaged 1.38 ypc and had just 6 TDs. They ran for just 349 yards. Even in an air raid offense there has to be some balance, some threat of run and something to check to but last year it was not there for the Cougars. The receiving corps is the strength of this team and that's good news for a team that likes to throw the rock around. The OL allowed 57 sacks last year. 57! What will year two bring for Mike Leach's offense? I'm interested to find out.
Statistically the Washington State defense took a small step back last year but that tends to happen when you are near the bottom of the league in time of possession and you don't have a solid run game to control the ball when needed. The defense has some good individual players in Deone Bucannon and Darryl Monroe. Mike Breske did a good job last year with the talent that he had and it will be interesting to see if the Cougars can show improvement in 2013.
There are a lot of questions for this Cougars squad and the schedule is going to be a tough one. The Pac-12 as a whole has stepped up their game with the massive turnover they've had in the coaching ranks over the last few years and every game in the conference will be a battle. The non-conference schedule should put the Cougars at 2-1 at worst unless they can go on the road and beat an Auburn team that really struggled last season. Despite that game featuring two teams with losing records from 2012, that will be a very interesting match-up and will serve as a launching spot for one of these two teams. This could definitely be a team that turns the corner this year but I think it's more likely that happens two or three years down the line. That being said, Leach always has some tricks up his sleeve so the Cougars will be a fun team to watch in 2013. If the buzz word for 2012 was "excitement", the buzz word for 2013 is "interest" and I'm very interested to see what Leach and Wazzu do this season.
Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:ACC- Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia, Wake Forest Demon Deacons Big 12- Kansas, Kansas St, Texas Tech Big Ten- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue C-USA- ECU, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, Tulane, UAB, UTEP, UTSA Independent: Army, Idaho, Navy, New Mexico St, Old Dominion MAC- Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, EMU, Kent State, Miami (OH), Ohio, Toledo, UMass, WMU MWC- Air Force, Colorado St, Fresno St, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, SDSU, SJSU, UNLV, Utah St, Wyoming SEC- Arkansas, Vanderbilt Sun Belt- Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy, ULM, WKU The American- Houston, Memphis, Rutgers, SMU, Temple, UCF, UConn, USF
Get more great college football analysis over at College Football Zealots.
Vanderbilt Football Player Allowed Teammates to Rape His Girlfriend, Says Radio Host Erik Ainge (Audio)
Erik Ainge, a former Tennessee Volunteers quarterback, stated this morning on his radio show that a Vanderbilt football player allegedly allowed three of his teammates to rape the player's girlfriend.
Speaking on his Tennessee Sports Radio program, Ainge said he was given "reliable information" about the alleged crime, notes Deadspin.com (audio below).
“It is four football players, one of whom had a girlfriend... girlfriend victim. The four players, that girl were out, they were drinking," claimed Ainge.
“They went back, boyfriend, Vandy football player, had sex with his girlfriend and then allowed his three drunk teammates with him to also have sex with his girlfriend, and she obviously did not want that to be the case.”
Ainge added: "...Very reliable information. No inclination as to anything, no names taken off websites, nothing. All I was told, four players, one girlfriend. The boyfriend let the three teammates also have their way."
According to The Tennessean, Nashville sex crimes detectives and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are investigating four unidentified Vanderbilt University football players who were kicked off the team and banned from the school on Saturday.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is examining evidence of the possible case in its crime lab. The alleged sexual assault occurred in a Vanderbilt dorm on June 23, say police.
Sources: Deadspin.com and The Tennessean
2012 Record: 10-4 (7-1 in B1G)
Head Coach: Bo Pelini (49-20 at Nebraska, 12-4 in B1G)
Four Year Trend: 9.75 wins and 4 losses
Last Bowl Game: 2012 Captial One Bowl: lost to Georgia 45-31
Stadium: Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE (capacity = 81,067)
Home Field Advantage: ranked 4th out of 69 BCS teams
Toughest Home Games: 11/2 vs Northwestern, 11/16 vs Michigan State
Toughest Road Games: 11/9 at Michigan, 11/23 at Penn State
Stats to Fear: lost 35 turnovers in 2012 (last in B1G), allowed 35 sacks (11th in B1G)
Stat to Cheer: had 80 plays over 20 yards (1st in B1G)
Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 19th out of 124 teams
Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 8, Defense: 4, Special Teams: 0
Key Defensive Returnees: CB Ciante Evans (56 tackles), CB Andrew Green (50 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB Taylor Martinez (2871 yds pass, 62% completions, 23 pass TD, 12 INT, 1019 yds rush, 10 rush TD), RB Ameer Abdullah (1137 yds rush, 5.03 ypc, 8 TD, 24 rec), WR Kenny Bell (50 rec, 8 TD), WR Quincy Enunwa (42 rec)
Inside Scoop with @BigStad24:
CFBZ: Nebraska seemed to find it offense a bit last season increase their ppg by 5.6 ppg. What were the primary reasons for the improvement?
@BigStad24: I think the single biggest factor in Nebraska’s points per game increase last season was the sudden emergence of Taylor Martinez as a competent quarterback. I have probably been more critical of Taylor Martinez than any other quarterback since I started following Nebraska when I was younger (NOTE: I do not include Sam Keller because 2007 was a lost season, and he was completely overrated from the get go, and I should have seen it coming from the start. So the fact that I was fine with him for part of the season speaks volumes to how critical I have been of Taylor Martinez in his career.). This emergence helped take a lot of pressure off an often banged up rushing corps, and lead to a more open offensive game plan. Not only did Martinez increase his yards by nearly 800 for the season, he also increased his completion percentage by six points. All of this had a big factor in why Nebraska’s point average increased from 2011 to 2012.
One thing which I think needs mentioning as a key factor in the improvement of the offense as a whole, was the confidence which Bo Pelini showed in Taylor Martinez last season. In his prior two seasons there was always some sort of “controversy” over who would play QB going into the season. In 2012 there was none of that, and it showed in Taylor Martinez overall performance throughout the season. I highly doubt anyone thought that Ron Kellogg III was going to be taking the reins from Taylor during the season. The other big factor in his confidence was his attendance at the Manning Passing Academy in the 2012 offseason. Much like when athlete’s play together on national teams I think that being around other players better than you can only help you, even if it is not by anything you are mechanically doing. The fact that you see other people around you working to get better, and sharing what they know with you can only help a player in the long run.
CFBZ: Nebraska had the top passing defense in the league but were tenth in stopping the run. Who needs to step up along the line of scrimmage for the Cornhuskers this season?
@BigStad24: Color me surprised with the improvement of the passing defense, not since the days of Coach Elmo (Phil Elmassian) and Coach Cosgrove (Kevin Cosgrove) had I been more critical of the secondary of the Cornhuskers. During the 2011 season I made multiple comments/tweets explaining my utter contempt for Ciante Evans, and this past season he became one of my favorite players to watch, and really stepped his game up. Then again, I am a fickle man, and one performance can really skew my vision of a player, good or bad. As far as the defensive line goes I am looking for a big performance this year from Jason Ankrah, as he is one of only two seniors to be in the projected starting front seven lineups this season. He is the biggest key because he the only person in the front seven who has consistently started for the Cornhuskers in the past and his performance will make a huge impact this upcoming season. Maybe I am building him up too much, but in my mind the other six starters in the front seven will look to him for leadership, and if he is stepping his game up then the rest of his teammates as well.
CFBZ: The Cornhuskers manage to avoid Ohio St and Wisconsin in conference play. What do you see as the biggest games on the schedule?
@BigStad24: The first game I see as being very important is the rematch with UCLA. Last season, the UCLA offense thoroughly embarrassed the Cornhuskers defense to the tone of 653 yards of total offense being put up. To put this in perspective, even in Nebraska’s 70-10 loss to Texas Tech in 2004, the Red Raiders “only” put up 523 yards of total offense. Need another example? In 2007 the Kansas Jayhawks defeated Nebraska 76-39, and in that game they “only” managed 572 yards of total offense. To put it bluntly, this game was an utter train wreck, and I look for an extremely motivated Cornhuskers team to avenge this loss. Even if it isn’t a “blowout” per se, I still look for a win to get some sort of revenge for 2012’s early season defeat.
The next game on my list for importance is probably the game against Northwestern. Since Nebraska has entered the Big 10 in 2011, Northwestern has been able play Nebraska tough, and in my 2011 season preview for this very site, I pinpointed that game as a potential stumbling block, and Northwestern managed to beat the Cornhuskers. This season I look for another close game, but hopefully not to the degree that it was in 2011 (a loss), or last season when Nebraska really had no business winning the game.
The next two games are combined into one for me, and those are the Michigan and Michigan State games on 11/9 and 11/16 respectively. These are big games because they will likely decide the winner of the Legends Division, and who will represent the league in the championship game. With Ohio State being the front runner for the league championship, this could also decide a potential Rose Bowl berth if Ohio State ends up in the National Championship Game.
There is also the Iowa game in the final week of the regular season.
CFBZ: What will make the 2013 season a success in your eyes?
@BigStad24: The thing which will make the 2013 season a success is to get over the hump finally. I am not looking for a National Championship Game berth which I, oddly, predicted on this site back in 2010. (NOTE TO EDITOR: DESTROY THIS COLUMN.) I am looking for a Big Ten Championship, even though that may be tough this year with Ohio State being projected to be as good as they are. What I am looking for is a step in the right direction. When Bo Pelini took over this program back in 2008, all signs seemed to be pointing toward that “right step,” but since then the football program has just kind of been sitting in a pool of good, but not great water. Since 2008, the Nebraska program has gone either 9-4 or 10-4 each season, and while it was great after the Callahan regime ended, it’s become a bit of a joke, and there needs to be some sort of change in things. Last season, I predicted that the clock was running on the Pelini era, and I think that is still true, but winning 9 or 10 games a year may be enough for people, but it’s been a “bad” 9 or 10 win season. Nebraska hasn’t managed to win a big game in years which include regular season, conference championships, and bowl games against teams which are better than them.
Unfortunately, this isn’t like a professional sport where a team can “bottom out” and look toward rebuilding through the draft. In college sports (football in particular) it’s very much all or nothing. My problem is that Bo Pelini may not be the person to get Nebraska to that next level, as much as I wanted him to be the guy to do that after he was hired. The successful part of this season to me will be if Nebraska can remotely look like a team which could make a leap in the next year or so, or if they fall flat to their typical 9-4 or 10-4 season which we (as fans) have become so accustomed to.
There is a lot to like about this Cornhuskers team and a lot of reasons to believe that for the second straight year they will play for the Big Ten Championship. Last year, Taylor Martinez finally broke through and started to become the player that many thought he would become at an earlier stage of his career. Martinez has some weapons at the skills positions with Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell and Quicy Enunwa. The OL also has experience with 78 career starts returning. The offense looks like it should continue to improve.
Whether or not the Cornhuskers can get over the hump will be decided on defense. Despite playing for the Big Ten Championship last season, the defense ranked just 9th in points allowed and 7th in total defense. The Cornhuskers will lose their top five tacklers and eight of their top ten tacklers so this will be a fairly young group that Pelini puts out there on Saturdays.
One reason to really like this team is their schedule. Over the last two years they have played very well at home in Big Ten games (7-1) and I would expect that to continue this season as the toughest home tests are Michigan State and Northwestern. The toughest road games are Michigan and Penn State. Ohio State and Wisconsin are noticeably absent from the schedule. If they can get past UCLA on 9/14, the odds are that this team will be 7-0 heading into November and from that point anything can happen. If the defense comes together, this team could be a fixture in the top ten in Taylor Martinez's final season.
Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:
ACC- Georgia Tech, Miami, VirginiaBig 12- Kansas St, Texas TechBig Ten- Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, PurdueC-USA- ECU, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, Tulane, UAB, UTEP, UTSAIndependent: Army, Idaho, Navy, New Mexico St, Old DominionMAC- Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, EMU, Kent State, Miami (OH), Ohio, Toledo, UMass, WMUMWC- Air Force, Colorado St, Fresno St, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, SDSU, SJSU, UNLV, Utah St, WyomingSEC- ArkansasSun Belt- Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy, ULM, WKUThe American- Houston, Memphis, Rutgers, SMU, Temple, UCF, UConn, USF
Get more great college football analysis over at College Football Zealots.
This time of year all of the NFL draftniks and blowhards come out of the woodwork. Everyone has an opinion on this guy and that guy and he’s a can’t miss and this guy is overrated and blah blah woof woof.
However, Mike Mayock is not one of those guys. Mayock should be in an NFL front office, but for whatever reason is working for NFL Network. So, when Mayock makes an assessment, we listen, even if he’s not perfect. Today, he’s breaking down inside linebackers for the Philadelphia Daily News, and while he touts Georgia’s Alec Ogeltree as the best, he’s still terrified of taking him in the first round because of on- and off-the-field issues.
“I’ve got him No. 1 among the inside linebackers, but hesitantly,” Mayock said. “I think Manti Te’o and Kevin Minter ultimately are going to be really solid inside ‘backers for a lot of years. With Ogletree, you’re just betting on the upside.
“I’m scared to death about Ogletree, both for on and off the field issues. When you put the tape on, he has no clue what he’s doing. He looks like a safety that somebody plugged inside at inside linebacker. He just runs around.
“He’s gong to go in the first round. Some of the Cover-2 teams will love him because he can run down the middle of the field like a safety. If you can train him and he loves the game and he has a work ethic, all of which are question marks right now, the kid can be special.
“But I’m very hesitant about this kid. I recognize his athletic ability. I know he fits today’s NFL. But if I was a GM, I’d probably be leaning toward Te’o or Minter because I’m a little more conservative.”
Mayock raises a lot of good points. If I were an NFL GM, I’d be hesitant to spend a high pick on him as well.