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  • SMU AD Rick Hart says they’ve had no contact with Mack Brown

    Associated Press

    Associated Press

    On Thursday the Dallas Morning News ran a report running down 11 potential candidates for the vacant SMU head coaching job and stated that the Mustangs camp had “floated” a four-year, $32 million offer toward Mack Brown.

    We wrote a follow-up piece stating that the report just didn’t smell right for a number of reasons, but chief among them was this: if SMU had truly offered Mack a $32 million contract, why isn’t he the SMU coach right now?

    Brown has said he’s waiting until December to make any final decisions, but he has nothing stopping him from accepting an offer. So, why wouldn’t he have accepted?

    Friday, SMU athletics director Rick Hart broke his silence – I believe he’s given one interview since June Jones’ resignation in early September – to address the rumor.

  • Week 9 Best Bets – The FootballScoop staff weighs in

    Dak Prescott

    We came thiiiis close to pulling off a perfect Week 8 in our Best Bets. Scott pegged Cincinnati over SMU and Doug nailed Michigan State over Indiana, while Zach pushed Texas Tech -13 over Kansas. No matter. We’re hitting all three this week.

    Scott: mississippi-state.120 over kentucky.120

    I like Mississippi State, giving the 14 points, at Kentucky. This is a mismatch and Mississippi State is coming in well rested; whereas Kentucky took some lumps last week in Tiger Stadium. I don’t see Kentucky’s front being able to slow Mississippi State between the tackles; and when Stoops loads the box, Dak can beat you with his arm. Tough matchup for Kentucky.

    Doug: alabama.120 over tennessee.120

    I learned my lesson last week picking against Alabama, so this week I’m rolling with the Tide (see what I did there?). After dismantling Texas A&M by 59 last week, a -17 spread at Tennessee feels like stealing. Roll Tide!

    Zach: Georgia Southern logo over georgia-state.120

    If you read Item 9 in my 9 for Week 9 piece, which you surely have by now, you’d know the hoopla built up around this game, and the animosity Georgia Southern feels toward Georgia State. Georgia Southern may be the best team in the Sun Belt, and Georgia State may be the worst. Georgia Southern has the nation’s best rushing offense, and Georgia State has one of the worst. 17.5 points aren’t going to be nearly enough to hold the Eagles at bay.


    This season: Scott (3-5), Doug (3-5), Zach (4-3-1)

     

  • Week 9 Upset Picks – The FootballScoop staff weighs in

    LSU

    The nature of picking upsets demands that sometimes you swing and miss. Sometimes you hit a grand slam, and other times you don’t. Last week? Scott nailed Nevada over BYU. Zach missed, narrowly, on Notre Dame over Florida State. Doug? Yeah, he had Texas A&M over Alabama. Don’t ask.

    Scott: odu-logo over western-kentucky.120

    I’m going with Bobby Wilder’s guys strictly on gut feel (ODU is a 13 point road dog). Wilder has built this program the right way, and his players play hard and they play smart. Despite coming out on the wrong end of three straight, they aren’t an easy out for anyone. Don’t be surprised if ODU shocks the Tops.

    Doug:  lsu.120  over ole-miss.120

    My upset pick can’t get any more embarrassing than last week’s pick of Texas A&M over Alabama, so I’m going to roll with LSU taking care of business in Death Valley against #3 Ole Miss (the Vegas lines favor Ole Miss -3.5). Baton Rouge is as tough a place to play as anywhere in the country, and I think Ole Miss’ dream run has to end somewhere…why not Death Valley?

    Zach: washington.120 over arizona-state.120

    By now you’ve certainly seen the statistic: of the first 18 Pac-12 games played this season, the road team won 14 times. Seemingly every bounce went the way of the visitors. That is a remarkable trend, and also one that is guaranteed to turn back toward the middle. This is a toss-up game where I would almost certainly take Arizona State to win in Tempe, but give me the three-point Dogs.


    This season: Scott (4-4), Doug (3-5), Zach (3-5)

     

  • Nine for Week 9: What to watch this weekend

    Brady Dantonio

    1. No. 1 goes on the road for the first time. Mississippi State has held leads of 34-10 over LSU, 48-17 over Texas A&M and 21-0 over Auburn. This team appears to be the dictionary-perfect example of legit.

    Kentucky, while undoubtedly improved over recent versions, just went to LSU and lost 41-3. Ah, but nothing is that easy when you go on the road in conference play.

    SB Nation’s Bill Connelly dug up this stat, showing that teams carrying a No. 1 ranking away from campus for the first time ever are 3-5 since 1984. (Admittedly, this is just the third time it’s happened since 1990, and al five losses came to teams ranked No. 17 or higher.)

    No 1

    Another nugget from the “Stats That Make You ‘Hmmm'” Department: Kentucky has knocked off a No. 1 at Commonwealth Stadium fairly recently, as the 5-1 Wildcats took down LSU 43-37 in triple overtime. Although if you’re Mississippi State maybe you’re hoping history repeats itself. LSU did go on to win the national championship that season.

    2. Will the SEC’s middle class step up and bite someone this year? Mississippi State still must go to Alabama. Auburn owes Ole Miss and Georgia a visit. The Egg Bowl and Iron Bowl are waiting. Carnage is waiting.

    But will one of the SEC’s middle class notch a takedown or two and really make things interesting? The best candidate is LSU, back in the rankings at No. 24 consecutive wins over Florida and Kentucky. Les Miles’ Bayou Bengals have the best shot at throwing a wrench into the process with No. 3 Ole Miss and No. 4 Alabama coming to Death Valley in the next three weeks. The Rebels are up first with an ESPN prime time game waiting Saturday.

    Who outside of Baton Rouge will be rooting for LSU to light the top of the SEC West standings on fire? Oh, just everyone from the Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12 and Notre Dame.

    3. Return of the LaneLane Kiffin used to be the head coach at Tennessee. Then he left. Now he’s the offensive coordinator at Alabama. Alabama and Tennessee hate each other. With that out of the way: Alabama’s offense has perhaps the biggest home/away offensive splits in the SEC. The Tide average 610 yards per game (fifth nationally), 7.87 yards per play (third) and 48.5 points per game (seventh) in the friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Away from Tuscaloosa, Alabama puts up 21.3 points per game (91st) on 387 yards per game (69th) and 5.53 yards per game (59th). Tennessee’s defense ranks 17th nationally in yards per play, and seventh in Neyland Stadium. Does Alabama’s make the trip to Knoxville?

    4. Return of the… Larry. Lane Kiffin’s isn’t the only homecoming this weekend. After 17 years as a Penn State assistant, Larry Johnson makes his first visit to the visitor’s sideline at Beaver Stadium, leading an Ohio State defensive front hoping to feast on a Penn State running game that ranks 121st nationally.

    This game also marks the first of what will hopefully be many meetings between Urban Meyer and James Franklin.

    5. When does the trend end? By now you probably know that road teams won 14 of the first 18 Pac-12 games. If ever there was a trend begging to be reversed, it’s this one. There are a number of toss-up games in the league this week – Arizona State at Washington, USC at Utah, even Arizona at Washington State and UCLA at Colorado – that have to start going the way of the home teams.

    6. Brady Hoke’s last stand? I don’t claim to be an expert on the Brady Hoke era of Michigan football, but last season’s 29-6 loss in East Lansing where the Wolverines’ offensive line got totally obliterated has to rank as one of the lowest moments.

    As Michigan heads to East Lansing the athletics department has offered a concession in the form of lowered student ticket prices for next year, protests have stopped, the team hasn’t lost a game in three weeks.Maybe things are turning around in Ann Arbor. Okay, maybe that’s a little too simplistic of an explanation of the complicated web of factors that Michigan football has become, but if things are to turn around for Hoke and company, it has to include a win over Michigan State.

    7. SMU try-outs continue. A week ago Tommy Tuberville got his in-person audition for the SMU job and made the most of it with a 41-3 blowout of the Mustangs. This week it’s Justin Fuente’s turn, as everyone’s favorite hot, young name brings his 3-3 Memphis squad into Ford Stadium. For someone who cut his teeth in major college football by spending five years 40 miles west on Interstate 30, he’d love to stretch his legs out on his former rivals. (And from the “Hey, I’m just sayin'” Department: Noted unemployed coach Gene Chizik will serve as CBS Sports Network’s color commentator for Tigers-Mustangs.)

    8. West Virginia’s opportunity. What a difference a week makes. After beating (and beating up) Baylor 41-27 in Morgantown, noted Oklahoman scribe Berry Tramel is touting the Mountaineers as a Big 12 championship possibility. And I have to admit, it’s not crazy. You have to love their schedule: entirely winnable road games in Stillwater, Austin and Ames, with newly-anointed favorites Kansas State and TCU coming to Morgantown. None of that can happen without defeating Oklahoma State on Saturday, though.

    The last time West Virginia won a Big 12 road game over a team with a winning record? That would be Nov. 23, 2012, when WVU managed a 31-24 win over a 6-5 Iowa State club.

    9. The best rivalry you’ve never heard of… probably because it technically doesn’t exist yet. Georgia Southern visits Georgia State on Saturday, two teams that share a state, an acronym, a conference, and not much else. Georgia Southern has six national championships, Georgia State is in its fifth season sponsoring football. Georgia Southern has four wins over FBS opponents in half a season in college football’s largest subdivision, Georgia State has zero in a season and a half. A win Saturday will give Georgia Southern more wins over FBS opponents at the Georgia Dome than Georgia State has…. and it’s Georgia State’s home stadium. Considering their program’s opposite resumes and the fact that Georgia Southern leads the nation in rushing offense while Georgia State ranks 120th in rushing defense, this should not be a fair fight.

    Still, one school is in the regional metropolis of Atlanta, and the other is down state in anonymous Statesboro. One school gets to call itself “State”, and the other is relegated to picking a direction. A hundred college rivalries have been built with the exact same formula.

    Despite the mismatch on the field, the Georgia Southern fan base is treating this game like it’s a century-old rite of passage (via SB Nation):

  • Saban wrote a letter to the Alabama HS that lost their coach

     

    Earlier this week, Deshler HS (AL) head coach Jake Linville passed away, leaving behind a wife and pair of daughters, and a grieving community.

    A few days later the school received the letter above from Nick Saban, who was kind enough to reach out and offer his condolences the old school way, with a letter from his office.

    Say what you will about his fiery nature on the sideline or stern demeanor with the media, because its clear that behind all that is a man who understands what football, and its coaches really mean to a community. That is evident in his letter.

    That hand inscribed #RollTide at the bottom of the page is a nice personal touch from Saban as well.

    Classy move coach Saban. I tip my cap to you.

    (H/T Saturday Down South)