By Jack Lev ’20 and Jack Navarro ’20
By Jack Lev ’20 and Jack Navarro ’20
By Ryan Burg ’18
The College Football Playoff National Championship was on Monday night with the number three ranked Georgia Bulldogs playing against the fourth ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The game was on Jan. 8, 2018 in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The Georgia Bulldogs were looking to win their first National Championship since 1980 while the Alabama Crimson Tide were looking for their fifth since 2008.
The Alabama Crimson Tide won in overtime 26-23 against the Georgia Bulldogs. The game ended with a 41-yard bomb from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to DeVonta Smith for the game winning touchdown. One play earlier, the Bulldogs had sacked Tagovailoa for a 16-yard loss.
The game started with Georgia’s quarterback, Jake Fromm, throwing an interception. After the interception, the Bulldogs defence stopped Alabama and held them to a 40 yard field goal attempt with 9:58 remaining in the first quarter. Alabama’s kicker, Andy Pappanastos, missed it left of the goal posts keeping the game tied 0-0.
With 14:15 remaining in the second quarter, Alabama held Georgia to a 41 yard field goal attempt with Rodrigo Blankenship hitting it threw the uprights making it 3-0.
Georgia got stopped by Alabama and forced Georgia to kick a 27 yard field goal making the game 6-0 with 7:35 remaining in the second quarter. With 12 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Mecole Hardman Jr. had a one yard run to the left side for a touchdown making the game 13-0 at the half.
At the end of the half, Nick Saban, the head coach for Alabama, sat their starting sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was 3 for 8 with 21 passing yards and 6 carries for 47 rushing yards in the first half. They replaced him with freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
“We had in our minds if we struggled offensively we give Tua an opportunity,” Saban said. “He gave us a chance, and a spark.” he stated in a Kansas City Star article.
With 8:57 remaining Tagovailoa had a six yard pass to wide receiver Henry Ruggs III in the back of the end zone for a touchdown making the game 13-7.
Fromm threw an 80 yard bomb to Hardman Jr resulting in a touchdown making the game 20-7 with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter giving Georgia a two score lead.
With 6:32 remaining in the third quarter Tagovailoa scrambled out of the pocket and threw a pick to the Georgia’s defence. The play directly after, Fromm threw a pass which deflected off an Alabama defensive lineman’s head and got picked back by defensive lineman Raekwon Davis with 6:21 remaining. This got Alabama back in field goal position to make the game 10-20.
With the score of 13-20 because of another Alabama field goal, Alabama was in the Bulldogs red zone with fourth and four on the seven yard line. Tagovailoa threw a pass, with pressure in the pocket, in the back of the end zone to Calvin Ridley with 3:40 remaining in the fourth quarter resulting in a tied game with the score of 20-20.
With five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Alabama put Pappanastos in position for a 36 yard field goal attempt to win the game for Alabama. Pappanastos going wide left and missing again resulting in the championship game into overtime.
With Georgia having the first position in overtime, Alabama held them to fourth down. Blankenship nailed a 51 yard kick giving the Bulldogs a 23-20 lead.
The game ended with Alabama winning the College Football Playoff National Championship giving Nick Saban six national championships, tieing with the most National Championships won by a coach with Bear Bryant.
By Jack Lev ’20
When “Selection Sunday” rolled around Dec. 3, the four (supposedly) best teams in the nation were chosen to take part in the College Football Playoff; the winner will take home the NCAA national championship.
Although the 13-member committee spent over two months selecting the teams to compete in the tournament, there was once again controversy surrounding the consensus the group came down to. The committee decided to place Clemson as the one seed, Oklahoma as the two seed, Georgia the three and Alabama sneaked in as the last spot at the fourth seed.
In order to decide which teams qualify for the playoff, the committee must consider the following: the number of championships won by the program, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory), and other relevant factors such as key injuries that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.
After reviewing the evidence, it was clear that Clemson deserved to be the one seed due to the fact they faced multiple ranked opponents and managed to defeat all of them. Clemson’s only loss came in a game where their starting quarterback was injured; in turn, they were defeated by three points. The committee made the correct choice in putting Oklahoma as the two seed because they defeated all ranked opponents they faced (four) and the only loss the team obtained was in a game which came down to the final play versus an Iowa State team who was desperate for a win. Georgia did not deserve to be ranked higher than the three seed due to the margin of victory they were beaten by in their only loss; 40-17 against at the time, the number seven seeded Auburn. Nick Saban’s Alabama was a great selection for the fourth seed of this tournament because their only loss was by 12 points and was handed to them by an Auburn team who as mentioned earlier, defeated Georgia by 23 points; not to mention, the Crimson Tide have also made an astonishing sixty-four bowl appearances!
One team that was not satisfied after Dec. 3 was Ohio State. The buckeyes finished with a strong 11-2 record, losing to the number two Oklahoma by 15, and the unranked Iowa State by a large margin of 55-24. The reason Ohio State made a strong case for the four seed was because they ended the season with a win over the previously undefeated Wisconsin; a win which was supposed to earn them an invitation to the College Football Playoff, but due to Alabama’s long history of success, it did no such thing.
As the College Football Playoff semifinal round wrapped up on Jan. 1, it was evident the committee’s long selection progress payed off. Alabama proved the critics wrong as they blew out Clemson 24-6, while Georgia showed their true colors beating the number two seeded Oklahoma 54-48 in a hard fought game that came down to the last play of overtime.
By Ryan Burg ’18
The “Turnover Chain,” a thick golden necklace worn by a defensive player who recovers a turnover for the University of Miami’s football team, is gaining not only the media’s attention, but also many fans around the NCAA.
Before the first game of the 2017/2018 season for the Hurricanes, coaches decided to give the defence a little bit more motivation. Defensive Coordinator for the Hurricanes, Manny Diaz, told his defense if they get a turnover they are in for a surprise.
The creations of the chain started two weeks before the 2017/2018 season started with legendary defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. The original plan was getting a rope chain that the players would wear to the sideline. Wilfork had an idea to change the rope chain into a cuban link, something that Miami is famous for. After hearing that, Anthony John Machado, the creator for the chain, had the idea of putting the school’s emblem on the front so it could flash out and grab people’s attention.
The Miami player who causes the opposing offense to turn over the ball celebrates with his teammates by going back to the sideline where the Director of Player Development, Joel Rodriguez, gets the chain out of its case and gives it to the defensive player. The player is then able to wear the chain for the remainder of Miami’s offensive drive.
“The turn over chain is great for the University of Miami’s defence, it really now is a symbol for this team, and the school.” Mark Didio ’20 said. “ It drives the kids even further to play to the best of their ability.”
The chain contains 10-Karat Gold with 900 orange and green sapphire stones arranged in the
colleges well known “U” shape.
“No one wears it unless you come back to the sideline with the ball in your hand. It’s not who forces it, it’s who recovers the turnover and actually secures the ball for our team,” Rodriguez said in a ESPN video interview.
When the player gets back on the field it becomes a clean slate for the player, and the chain gets put back in its bag waiting for the next player to claim it.
By Jackson Daignault ’18
Ohio State University defensive coordinator Greg Schiano agreed to become the head football coach for the University of Tennessee on Nov 26.
A few hours later, their mutual agreement was off. Vols fans were livid with his hiring.
“The Rock” at Tennessee, painted daily with the messages of students on campus, read the words “Schiano covered up child rape at Penn State.” Fans took to twitter to voice their displeasure that he was hired in the first place.
While fans had the right to be worried about the morality of their newly hired football coach, these accusations against Schiano were solely hearsay. They severely damaged his reputation, ultimately leading to his unjust termination.
Fans throughout the country cited the testimony of former Penn State Assistant Coach Mike McQueary for their disapproval.
During the trial, in a hearsay exchange, McQueary stated that another former assistant, Tom Bradley, had also been aware of what had happened and had talked to Schiano. In McQueary’s testimony, he claimed that Bradley had told him that Schiano had commented on the situation, “I can’t remember if it was one night or one morning, but that Greg had come into his office white as a ghost and said he just saw Jerry doing something to a boy in the shower. And that’s it. That’s all he ever told me.”
Bradley’s lawyers later came forth saying that Bradley had never seen or heard of any misconduct during his time at Penn State, and testified that way in court. Schiano also strongly denied the claims in a 2016 interview with ESPN.
That accusation was never again brought up in the court of law. The Attorney General did not use this evidence in the Penn State trial.
These accusations against Schiano were solely hearsay, which ultimately led to his termination as head coach. It would be different if Schiano was convicted or even tried, but one of the most important members of the United States judicial system never found it fit to actually try him in the court of law.
Maybe Schiano was guilty. Maybe he did in fact know of the misconduct by Jerry Sandusky and chose to stand idly by. Maybe he should never have another coaching job again. However, it is unfair to now accuse Schiano, 20 years later, as a guilty man. As listed in the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution, “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.” While there is no way to know if Schiano is guilty, his innocence is constitutionally protected until he is tried (which he never was).
These accusations were not present until 2016, and were shut down almost immediately. Mark Dominik, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager that hired Schiano, stated in a tweet on Nov 26, “We spent hours & hours interviewing & background checks on Greg Schiano. Yes we didn’t win. Fact-he’s honest, awesome father/husband, & an excellent football coach. This shouldn’t be whether YOU think you like him or not, you don’t even know him. #Meyer #Belichick ask them.” Why didn’t these accusations surface when an NFL team did an extensive background search on Schiano? A year later, these random accusations, that may very well not be accurate in any sense, just prevented Schiano from obtaining a collegiate head coaching job.
While the underlying truth of what Schiano may or may not have known is currently a secret to anyone and everyone except Schiano himself, he still is seen in the eyes of many as a guilty party in this everlasting incident.
A reason for Vols fans crucifying Schiano has to deal with past immorality in sports. Sports fans throughout the country have dealt with controversy regarding their athletes for years now. NFL players Ray Rice, Aldon Smith and Greg Hardy, were all accused of domestic abuse in the past couple years. All eventually had their punishments overturned or altered, to the horror of many fans. While what these players did was terrible, they were granted some kind of pardon from their actions. Vols and sports fans throughout the country thought that this incident, a blind, solely hearsay based accusation, was the time to step up against this immorality of athletes. They had seen so many injustices and immoral actions from their beloved athletes and thought that they should make an example of Schiano. Their claims, however, were not factually based and ultimately resulted in an unfair perception of Schiano.
Things would be different if there was clear cut evidence such as in the Greg Hardy case, where pictures were released of the abuse he put upon his spouse. He was suspended by the NFL. He was brought to trial. There was a legitimate concern that he was guilty of abusing his spouse and therefore should be punished accordingly. There was clear cut evidence. Schiano, however, was never proven guilty. There were no pictures or videos of the incident. He was never questioned under oath. He wasn’t even tried.
Still, fans throughout the country believed that he was unfit to become a head coach because of his alleged past. Where was this outrage when he inked his deal with Ohio State in the same year his accusations surfaced? Sports fans throughout the country were simply trying to make a point with this Schiano situation, to right all the past wrongs of inept or nonexistent punishments/repercussions of former athlete’s negative actions.
Of course, all of this would be a moot point if Tennessee had stuck to their guns and signed Greg Schiano as their head coach. They knew that their decision to hire him would not be a popular one, but they must have done enough background research to conclude that he was innocent and fit to be hired. Tennessee allowed the masses to ultimately make the decision for them. The university was obviously okay with Schiano’s past and were prepared to ride out the backlash that came along with it, believing, or even knowing that he was innocent.
The witchcraft like accusations on Twitter ultimately resulted in his demise as head coach of Tennessee. I understand where those concerned within the school were coming from. Tennessee is a publicly funded university, and any large scale controversy like this severely damages them financially and in the eyes of many. This could have turned into a PR nightmare, with Tennessee becoming the “bad guys.” However, it is the university’s job to do thorough background checks on their coaches. If everything checked out, Greg Schiano should have stayed the head coach at Tennessee. It is an utter lack of responsibility by the University to allow the masses to influence them with potentially false information, resulting in them firing their newly acquired head coach.
Maybe Schiano was guilty, and deserved his reign as head coach at Tennessee to end in a few hours. Maybe he wasn’t, and would’ve led a successful rebuild of his brand new program. We’ll never know what could have happened.
Regardless, it was unfair to ruin Greg Schiano’s reputation and possibly his career over an unsupported and invalid claim.
By Jack Lev ’20 and Jake Navarro ’20
By Ben Klau ’18
College football fans around the country now know the name Baker Mayfield, but where did he come from? After being a finalist in the past two Heisman races, Baker Mayfield has established himself as one of the top players in the country.
Mayfield grew up in Travis County, Texas. The fifth most populated county in Texas. Football is bigger than life itself in Texas. Being able to play on any good team takes a lot of talent. Although Mayfield has always had immense talent, his size had held him back early in his high school years. His high school coach, Hank Carter, always knew that his talent would shine one day.
“If that Baker Mayfield ever grows,” the coaches said in an interview with NewsOK, “he’d end up being a good player.”
Mayfield hit a big growth spurt going into his junior year. By the time he was a junior, he was the starting varsity quarterback for Lake Travis High School. He then went on to lead his high school to two state championships.
Mayfield started his collegiate career with Texas Tech. He won the starting job in 2013 when Michael Brewer, who had graduated from the same high school as Mayfield, went down with a back injury. Mayfield started off that 2013 season with a bang, passing for 413 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He tallied 43 completions in that game against SMU which broke a school record held by Billy Joe Tolliver. That performance earned Mayfield the Big 12 offensive player of the week. Little did Mayfield know that was the start to something much bigger.
Mayfield’s season was cut short after injuring his knee on Oct. 5th, 2013. Once he returned to practice, he soon found out that his starting job had been given away. He finished the season with 2,315 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Mayfield earned the Big 12 Freshman Offensive player of the year in 2013. After miscommunication with the coaches and an overall anger with the staff at Texas Tech for giving his job away, Mayfield decided to leave the program.
Mayfield has always had a competitive nature about him. “He’s beyond competitive — I think that’s obvious — and he’s not afraid to say what’s on his mind,” Carter said in an interview with NewsOK. “He’s always been that way.”. That competitive nature lead Mayfield to part ways with Texas Tech and look for new opportunities. This decision would be one that Texas Tech looks back on and wishes they didn’t make.
Mayfield’s next opportunity came at the University of Oklahoma. At first he did not know whether he would continue to play football. Mayfield enrolled in January of 2014, without contacting anyone on the Sooner coaching staff. Just a month after enrolling, head coach Bob Stoops confirmed that Mayfield would be walking on. After the transfer from Texas Tech, Mayfield was forced to forfeit a year of eligibility as a result of a failed appeal of his transfer restrictions. At the start of the 2015 season, Mayfield was named the starting quarterback after winning the job over Trevor Knight. Mayfield, who has been playing as the underdog for most of his life, showed that trait off to the Sooner fans with his second win of the season over the no. 23 Tennessee. That win showed college fans that Baker Mayfield was the real deal and here to stay. Mayfield finished his first season with 3,700 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also finished fourth in the Heisman race. Mayfield then lead the Sooners into one of the two college playoff games. The Sooners lost 37-17 to a very talented Clemson Tigers team.
Baker Mayfield continued his tear into the 16-17 season. Mayfield along with his top offensive weapon Ded Westbrook, were up for the Heisman Trophy. This time Mayfield cracked the top three finishing third in the race. Mayfield capped off a great season by leading the Sooners to a 35-19 win over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Mayfield is projected again to finish atop the Heisman Trophy race. Baker Mayfield looks to continue his reign of terror on defenses in the 17-18 season.