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The Arizona Wildcats gave us a preview Thursday night of what promises to be a crazy weekend of football. 'Zona upset #2 Oregon - again - this time in Eugene, 31-24. This was the second straight win by the Wildcats over a Top 5 Oregon team, and featured a spectacular play by LB Scooby Wright III to clinch it. (Yes, there are two other Scoobys - Scoobies? - out there.) The Wildcats were underdogs by three touchdowns (+21.5) in what most expected to be a high-scoring shootout (82 o/u) featuring the Ducks scoring machine, quarterback Marcus Mariota. But Anu Solomon, Arizona's redshirt freshman QB, made the biggest impact, aided by diminutive (listed at a generous 5'7") RB Terris Jones-Grisgby.
This Week In Criminal Justice
The Kentucky Wildcats proved that even on the police blotter, they are hopelessly outgunned in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky suspended four players who were charged with disorderly conduct for discharging an air pistol near a dormitory last Sunday night. After getting off to a promising 3-1 start, UK's season looks shot. A witness identified the players by noticing one wearing a special T-shirt - one that was only given to Kentucky's special teams players.
This Week In Charlie Weis
The Charlie Weis Death Watch is over in Kansas. The Jayhawks mercifully dismissed Weis and installed defensive coordinator Clint Bowen as interim head coach. KU hasn't played a game under Bowen yet, so it's impossible to know what impact he will have on the field, but we love his attitude at the podium. Interviewed about his new position, Bowen said: "Game day is too fun, game day is too exciting. If a kid makes a great play, I can't change that. I'm not going to be a Tom Osborne standing there with my arms crossed. It's not what I do. It's not what I want to do." Yes! College football is fun! Finally a head coach who gets it!
This Week In McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey inexplicably stopped by the Texas Longhorns' practice to dispense some, um, whatever it is that McConaughey does. Not quite "time is a flat circle" but close.
This Week In Rat Packs
What does this guy, this guy, that guy, and Johnny Football have in common? Well, they hung out together once. That's it. That's the story. Add Manziel, another sports figure, a few rappers, place in an exotic (if Miami counts as exotic) locale, toss in a few B-list celebrities, and presto!
This Week In Booster Clubs
A booster group for Florida State fired the club's comptroller after the cash drawer turned up $500,000 to $700,000 short. Just a half million between friends, no big deal, right? Somebody had to pick up the bill for all those Tomahawk Thursdays!
Michigan Death Watch
Michigan (2-3) surrendered the Little Brown Jug for only the second time in the last 24 years in a 30-14 loss to Minnesota last Saturday, only intensifying the call for athletic director Dave Brandon and head coach Brady Hoke to go. But few are talking about the loss in Ann Arbor this week; they're talking about Hoke allowing QB Shane Morris to re-enter the game after sustaining a concussion. Brandon's defense of Hoke isn't helping.
"I don't think Brady deserves any blame for what happened on the sidelines," Brandon told the Detroit Free Press. "Because Brady is responsible for coaching."
Apparently that doesn't include responsibility for the health of his players.
"I will take the full responsibility," Hoke said, "but at the same time I'm not clearing guys to go play."
In other words, I will take full responsibility but it's not my responsibility and I'm not taking it!
I guess we can expect Brandon and Hoke to fire the medical staff, then. But Hoke says the medical staff should be absolved because Morris was responsible for clearing himself.
Really. And he's not even pre-med!
So Morris should be fired - though he'd apparently have to fire himself.
Hoke, interviewed immediately after the game, on his QB's toughness: "Shane's a pretty competitive, tough kid, and Shane wanted to be the quarterback, and so believe me, if he didn't want to be, he would've come to the sideline or stayed down."
Of course, the kid was too dazed to even know there was a sideline - or that he was in the middle of a football game - but nevermind.
Brandon and Hoke may be going down on the same ship. UM reportedly started searching for a new AD earlier this week and we imagine a new coach will soon follow. Although a petition demanding Brandon resign has reached 10,000 signatures, the money is on his side. Millionaire alum Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, vouched for Brandon in an he still has Brandon's vote for whatever that's worth. (Not much.) If Hoke's players have spit the bit, he'll know it. Michigan goes on the road (6 p.m., Michigan favored by 2) to face Rutgers, the first meeting between the two schools. Rutgers (4-1, 0-1) lacks the talent level but could easily beat an uninspired UM team. The Scarlet Knights will host the Wolverines in a sold-out High Point Solutions stadium that will be keyed up for an upset. If the Maize and Blue leave with an L, Hoke and Brandon might as well pack their bags.
Michigan beat writer Nick Baumgardner summed up the fans' exasperation best: "They're tired. Of both. And when I say tired, I mean this: Outside of 2011, Michigan has been mediocre or worse on the football field for the past seven years. Seven years. Think about that."
Related: A study released by Harvard University and Boston University found that college football players suffer 26 various head injuries for every one concussion reported.
"In my mind, the most important finding is that college football players are intentionally playing through the vast majority potential concussions," Chris Nowinski, co-founder of the concussion education group Sports Legacy Institute, told ESPN. "Their intention is influenced by a lack of understanding of the injury [and] the culture of their position, as well as a learned perception that their coach may not support reporting a concussion."
The schedule is chockablock with head-to-head match-ups in the Top 25. Here's a quick look:
#6 Texas A&M vs. #12 Mississippi State, 11 a.m.
Our pick: Kenny Hill is the trillest.
#14 Stanford (-2.5) vs. #9 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m.
Our pick: This seems like the right time of year for the Irish to lose against a quality opponent, dropping them out of the running for the national championship, only to finish the year with a single loss and thus remain hypothetically in contention. This means, given the four-team playoff format, Notre Dame may actually be in contention when all's said and done. It's as if we just saw the next two months flash before our eyes.
#3 Alabama vs. #11 Ole Miss, 2:30 p.m.
Our pick: ESPN College GameDay invades picturesque Oxford, MI this weekend, meaning that the game will be the backdrop to the atmosphere rather than the other way around. Why? This video should explain it all about Ole Miss fans.
These people invented a cheer that doesn't mean anything, even in English.
If tailgating had a holy grail, it would be entombed somewhere on the grounds of The Grove in Oxford.
#4 Oklahoma (-5) vs. #25 TCU, 2:30 p.m.
Our pick: This is everyone's upset special. We say no. Boomer Sooner!
#15 LSU vs. #5 Auburn (-8), 6 p.m.
Our pick: How good is the SEC West? Every team in the division but Arkansas appears in the Top 25 this week. That's ridiculous. For the first time in history, a conference division has six ranked teams taking the field in three head-to-head match-ups. We can't figure out all the conference and national title implications, so let's just say the results will be significant. As for this one? We'll take the Tigers.
#19 Nebraska vs. #10 Michigan State (-6.5), 7 p.m.
Our pick: Not to leave out the Midwest, the evening slate includes a match-up between two of the Big Ten's top teams. Sparty has yet to play in conference, while the 'Huskers are 1-0 following a win over Illinois. With so little quality data to draw from, we're leaning toward MSU.
The Chicken's Picks:
UMass vs. Miami Ohio (-3.5)
South Alabama (-3.5) vs. Appalachian State
Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State (-17)
Virginia Tech (-3) vs. North Carolina
Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.
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Posted on Feb 20, 2018