Bishop Media Sport Network
By: Garrison Ryfun
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Just before Saint Patrick’s Day, Florida State and Georgia Tech announced they would play their 2024 season opener in Ireland as a part of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.
This will be the 9th college football game played in Ireland, and one of the few times neither school playing in Ireland has had an Irish/catholic connection.
The Aer Lingus College Football Classic started in 2016 with a contest between Georgia Tech and Boston College, where the Yellow Jackets prevailed 17-14.
The Classic then took a five-season break and finally returned in Fall of 2022, with a matchup between Nebraska and Northwestern last season.
Now, The Classic seems serious about bringing a week 0 college football game to Ireland, with games set up to begin the 2023 and 2024 seasons.
Notre Dame, a more fitting brand for Ireland, is set to take on Navy to start the 2023 season at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland for The Classic.
There are pros and cons to the more increasingly common, neutral-site season openers – even ones that take place outside of the United States.
The biggest pros are for the student athletes and brand of college football in general.
The student athletes get to go and experience a different country and different culture, something many of which likely have never done in their lives.
The brand of college football also gets to be put onto display for Irish citizens, who have likely never experienced American college football in their lives.
The cons for a college football brand is losing a home game and the revenue that the local businesses around your school usually get with a home game.
In this case, the home team would have been Georgia Tech, and the game would have been played in Atlanta, Georgia.
This is one case where I do not think local businesses will be as hurt with a neutral-site game. Though there is said to be a large alumni base of Florida State graduates in the Atlanta area.
This kind of classic abroad is also done in the National Football League with five games already set to be played out of the United States in the 2023 season: with the Bills, Titans, and Jaguars playing in London and the Chiefs and Patriots both hosting games in Germany.
This is all done in an attempt to grow the brand of American Football abroad.
Something that may wind up failing, but as long as the governments of these countries continue to advocate for it – American football will be there to show off in all its glory.
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
It appears the Jacksonville Jaguars want to give Gardner Minshew every opportunity they can to be that franchise QB they have not had since Mark Brunell.
Yes, it has been that long Jaguar fans since Jacksonville has had a true franchise quarterback.
Dave Caldwell traded Nick Foles to Chicago and it appears the Jags are ready to roll with Minshew for the foreseeable future.
Minshew started 12 games for Jacksonville in 2019 and did a pretty good job. He passed for 3200 yards with 21 TD’s to only 6 interceptions.
Jacksonville went 6-6 with Minshew as the starter. Now with Minshew penciled as the starter it is Jacksonville’s responsibility to get him some weapons at wide receiver to be successful.
Many mock drafts have Jacksonville projected to go defense with their first selection in the first-round pick #9, but they also have pick #20 in the first round so many scenarios could unfold for the Jags.
Jerry Jeudy is regarded as the top wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft. He should still be on the board with the #9 pick if a team like the Raiders doesn’t trade up to select him from the #12 spot.
Jeudy burst on the scene at Alabama in 2018. He caught six touchdown passes in Alabama’s first three games of the 2018 season, including a 136-yard, two-touchdown performance against Ole Miss.
He had 135 yards and 2 touchdowns against Arkansas, and the next week set a career high with 147 yards and a touchdown against Missouri.
He had 139 yards and a touchdown in Alabama’s loss to Clemson in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Jeudy was named a consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC. He was awarded the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wide receiver. His 14 receiving touchdowns led the conference and was tied for third nationally, and his 1,315 receiving yards were second in the conference.
Jeudy picked up where he left off in 2019. He was the Crimson Tide’s leading receiver in each of their first two games, finishing with 137 yards and a touchdown in the season opener against Duke, and 103 yards and 3 touchdowns against New Mexico State the following week.
He finished the regular season with 959 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns and was again named first-team All-SEC. He saved his best game for last, with six receptions for 204 yards and a touchdown in the Crimson Tide’s win over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl.
In early January Jeudy declared for the NFL Draft.
He finished his Alabama career with 159 receptions for 26 TD’s with a 17.2 yard per catch average. He is listed at 6’1 and 193 lbs. and ran 4.45 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
Jeudy can blow the top off of a defense. Jacksonville had good production with DJ Chark and company in 2019, but the WR room in Jacksonville is one of the least intimidating in the league at the moment. Jeudy could change all of that.
Jacksonville could still address defense at the #20 pick in the first round, and get a great player like Javon Kinlaw maybe to help shore up the defensive line, but if they insist on going defense with the #9 selection they will miss out on the best receiver in the draft.
Come on Jaguars, excite the fan base by selecting Jerry Jeudy with pick #9 if he is still on the board. Give Gardner Minshew the tools he needs to be that franchise QB you have been hoping for since Mark Brunell.
Blaine Gabbert, Byron Leftwich, and Blake Bortles all first round QB selections by Jacksonville would have loved to see a Jerry Jeudy type talent in their receiver room during their stay in the River City.
It will all unfold on April 23rd. With the Covid-19 pandemic gripping our nation this could be the most watched NFL Draft in history.
By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The NCAA launched the transfer portal two years ago, and suddenly the transfer portal has made a major impact in the 2019 season. It’s paid off handsomely for three of the four teams in the College Football Playoffs.
Justin Fields (Ohio State), Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) and Heisman Trophy winner and National Championship MVP Joe Burrow were all transfer quarterbacks. Many fans criticized these players decisions and made excuses for them leaving.
The most important offer a coach or program can make a player is an immediate chance to play.
Just look at Gardner Minshew after transferring from East Carolina, he was supposed to be a graduate assistant at Alabama before Coach Mike Leach offered him an opportunity to play at Washington State.
Not all transfers were as successful as Fields, Hurt or Burrow: just ask Tate Martell and Brandon Wimbush.
Has college football turned into a high stakes game of musical chairs?
So, who’s the next Joe Burrow or Garder Minshew?
Jamie Newman is a 6 foot 4, 230 pound quarterback who completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 2,869 yards and 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Newman made his decision to transfer to the University of Georgia. He provides the Bulldogs with a dual threat element after running for 574 yards and 6 touchdowns in 12 games in 2019.
Newman should have a chance to start next season. The Bulldogs currently have Stetson Bennett, D’Wan Mathis and 2020 signee Carson Beck to compete with Newman.
D’Eriq King is a 5 foot 11, 195 pound dual threat quarterback, who completed 52.7 percent of his passes for 663 yards and 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in four games with Houston in 2019.
King made his decision to transfer to the University of Miami as a graduate transfer, he is eligible to play in the 2020 season. King immediately becomes the favorite to start for the Hurricanes in new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee’s offense.
The Hurricanes have a very crowded quarterback room. Last season, starter Jarren Williams was a redshirt sophomore, N’Kosi Perry, a redshirt junior, Tate Martell, redshirt junior (transfer last season from Ohio State), Peyton Matocha is a redshirt freshman and Tyler Van Dyke is a true freshman in the 2020 class.
Feleipe Franks is a 6 foot 6 quarterback, who completed 76.1 percent of his passes for 698 yards and 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in 2 and a half game in 2019.
Franks, who enrolled immediately and is going through spring drills with the Razorbacks.
Franks has had an inconsistent career at the University of Florida. I’m unsure if he will find stability in his new transfer.
Arkansas was one of the worst Power Five teams in all of football last season. Arkansas has a long way to go before they’ll be competitive, but adding Franks is certainly a step in the right direction.
Under new offensive coordinator Kendall Briles, Franks, KJ Jefferson, Jack Lindsey and John Stephen Jones will compete for the starting job.
Here is a list of other transfer quarterbacks to keep your eyes on: Jake Bentley (Utah), Phil Jurkovec (Boston College), Joey Gatewood (Kentucky), Chase Brice, KJ Costello and some others.
The exciting part of the college football offseason the past two seasons has been the movement among quarterbacks in the transfer portal: College Football’s new free agency.
By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
At the end of every season, regardless of the sport or the level of competition, there is turnover within the coaching ranks.
While a school like UCLA, who fired Steve Alford over three months ago, is still searching for his replacement, SEC schools have been hiring coaches as if they were contestants on “Supermarket Sweep.” In the span of basically two weeks, they filled their four vacant positions.
Alabama: Nate Oats. I don’t follow the inner workings of the Alabama basketball program, so unless there was some sort of internal dysfunction taking place, I was a bit surprised to see them let Avery Johnson go.
Putting my initial reaction aside, I think the Oats hiring has been the best hire, up to this point. The two time MAC Coach of the Year exceeded expectations at Buffalo and has already made an impact in Tuscaloosa, convincing John Petty to take his name out of the transfer portal and stay at Alabama.
His biggest task though is being just as persuasive with All-SEC player, Kira Lewis, whose name is still in the portal. If he can convince Lewis to return, Oats’ inaugural season with the Crimson Tide could be a very successful one.
Texas A&M: Buzz Williams. The former Hokies coach is certainly an upgrade from Billy Kennedy. In his eleven years at Marquette and Virginia Tech, Williams’ teams only twice failed to win 20 games, and only missed out on the NCAA Tournament three times.
It may take a year or two for that success to transfer to the Aggies, but there’s nothing in his past to make you think it won’t ultimately happen.
He doesn’t always have the best demeanor with fans and the media, and while that has absolutely nothing to do with his team’s on the court performances, it should make for some interesting columns in College Station.
Vanderbilt: Jerry Stackhouse. This was an interesting hire just because Stackhouse hasn’t been a name thrown around in the college circles that much, but I have to give Vanderbilt credit for thinking outside the box.
Stackhouse has minimal head coaching experience- he had a short stint in the D-League where he did win Coach of the Year in 2017- and I have no idea how he’ll do on the recruiting trail.
He does have a very good reputation on the NBA level though, and obviously did a good job developing his players in the D-League; hence the COY award.
Personally, I’ve always liked Stackhouse- as much as a Duke fan can like a Carolina player- so I hope he’s able to succeed.
Arkansas: Eric Musselman. Musselman’s a decent coach, but besides Nevada’s Elite 8 run in the tourney last year, I’m not sure there’s anything in his coaching past that makes you think he’s going to be the answer.
I guess when you haven’t made the Sweet Sixteen since 1996 you’re kind of forced to take whomever you can get. I’m not wishing for the guy to fail, but if you were to ask me which of these four will be the first to go, my money would be on Musselman.
The level of play within the SEC has drastically improved over the past few years, so all four coaches have their work cut out for them.
The question now is “Will they make the grade, or will they be forced back on the shelf, waiting for the next coaching cart to swing by and pick them up?”
By: Kipp Branch
GeorgiaSportsEdition.com news services
It’s that time of year again where the cream rises to the top and the really good bowl games start.
The bowl season to date has been a huge disappointment. Georgia Southern won on the last play of its game and Georgia Tech looked like hot garbage in getting blown out by Minnesota in Paul Johnson’s retirement party.
Here goes my NY6 Predictions:
Saturday, December 29, 2018 – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA): No. 7 Michigan (10–2) vs. No. 10 Florida (9–3).
The Gates led by Dan Mullen have a shot to win 10 games in what was considered a rebuilding year in Gainesville. Michigan with rumors swirling of Jim Harbaugh’s departure to the New York Jets are coming off getting 62 points hung on them by Ohio State.
Shame on the bowl system for not matching up Florida against UCF. Give me Michigan 24-20 in a close contest. Harbaugh ends up staying in Ann Arbor.
Saturday, December 29, 2018 – (CFP Semifinal) Capital One Orange Bowl (Miami Gardens, FL): No. 1 Alabama (13–0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (12–1).
Tua says he is at 80-85% for the contest with his injured ankle. Oklahoma has Kyler Murray the best player in college football, but a defense that can’t stopping a dripping faucet.
Alabama has Nick Saban, and a defense that is pretty solid and that should get past the Sooners 38-24 to advance to the title game.
Saturday, December 29, 2018 – (CFP Semifinal) Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (Arlington, TX): No. 2 Clemson (13–0) vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (12–0).
Clemson may be without some starters due to testing positive of a banned substance.
Doesn’t it seem like every time ND is involved in a big game the NCAA steps in and creates some controversy that will benefits the Irish?
I know ND is 12-0 and the record says they should be in the playoff, but this team played a weak schedule and struggled with Pitt, Vandy, and a 7 loss USC team. I think Clemson has more talent, better head coach, and a better QB.
Clemson beats ND 35-21 and plays Alabama for the national championship.
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 – PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ): No. 8 UCF (12–0) vs. No. 11 LSU (9–3).
UCF is another overrated 12-0 team that plays in a weak conference with the likes of Houston, and Memphis. Houston just had 70 hung on them by Army. LSU has a good defense, but they are not so great on offense. 25 game winning streak comes to an end when LSU whips UCF along the line of scrimmage and wins 34-17.
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 – Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual (Pasadena, CA): No. 6 Ohio State (12–1) vs. No. 9 Washington (10–3).
Big 10 Champ Ohio State got left out of the playoff and they will take it out on the Huskies in the Rose Bowl. Urban’s last game. Washington has no shot. OSU rolls 42-24.
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 – Allstate Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA): No. 5 Georgia (11–2) vs. No. 15 Texas (9–4).
Will the Dawgs have an SEC title game hangover? Will Justin Fields stay, go, or play in the Sugar Bowl.
Texas is on its way back. Georgia is a national power. Fromm, Holyfield, Swift, Godwin, Hardman, Ridley and company will provide too much firepower for the Horns to match. Dawgs win the Sugar Bowl 41-28.
Enjoy the NY6 Bowls everyone and Happy 2019.
By: Kenneth Harrison Jr.
GeorgiaSportsEdition.com news services
By now, we are all aware the Paul Johnson has stepped down as Georgia Tech’s head coach. He was replaced by Geoff Collins. I’m not sure how I feel about this hire so let’s take a look at Collins and his coaching history.
Collins is from Conyers, Georgia so he’s back in his home state. He played linebacker at Western Carolina (1989 – 1992). After graduation, he coached at his alma mater during the 1993 and 1994 seasons.
Following a year coaching high school, Collins became the linebacker coach for Fordham in 1996 before becoming the defensive coordinator at Albright College from 1997 through 1998. Collins would leave Albright to become a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech under George O’Leary for the 1999 and 2000 seasons.
He was promoted to tight ends coach at Tech for the 2001 season. Collins would return to his alma mater to become Western Carolina’s defensive coordinator from 2002 through 2005 before returning to Georgia Tech in 2006 as the Director of Player Personnel. The following year he became Director of Player Personnel at Alabama.
He became a defensive coordinator at FIU (2010), Mississippi State (2011 – 2014) and Florida (2015 – 16). Then he took over as head coach at Temple for the past two seasons.
One good thing is that Collins has experience coaching at Tech. He’s also a much better recruiter than Paul Johnson. The current recruiting class ranks 48th nationally and 10th in the ACC. For Johnson’s recruiting classes that is typical. The highest recruiting class under him was 41st.
Collins is aware that there are recruiting challenges unique to Georgia Tech but he is already aware and prepared for that. As the Yellow Jackets director of player personnel his 2007 recruiting class was ranked 15th nationally and included Morgan Burnett, Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan and Joshua Nesbitt.
The Ramblin’ Wreck has been outmatched from a talent standpoint under Paul Johnson. The gap in talent has only gotten wider between them and the upper echelon programs like Clemson and Georgia. If Collins can consistently bring top 20 recruiting classes in, he can close that gap and make them more competitive against their rivals.
In his two seasons coaching the Temple Owls his record was 15 – 10. That does not sound very impressive on the surface. Temple has been a struggling football program for as long as I can remember. They have only become respectful recently. In his first year in 2017 they were 7 – 6. In 2018 he improved to 8 – 4.
From strictly a coaching perspective, I think Collins is slightly above average. His Owls lost the season opener to an FCS team, Villanova. They are cross-town rivals but he should never lose to FCS competition.
I think this is a good hire mainly because the fan base has grown tired of Paul Johnson and it’s time for a change. His triple option scheme has hindered recruiting. Collins is bringing a pro-style offense and that will help with gaining recruits that want to play in the NFL.
He is also a defensive coach and the Jackets have been abysmal on D. In 2018 Temple ranked sixth nationally in yards per play and are tied for third in takeaways. Only time will tell but I believe Georgia Tech should improve under Collins.
By: Mike Anthony
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Summer is a time for reckless speculation when it comes to college football and – for Sun Belt schools whose summers are especially long and oppressive – there is no shortage of time spent obsessing over how things will play out once the fall arrives.
It has taken nearly two months, but the first cool nights have finally arrived in the Sun Belt just as the race for the top of the conference standings is starting to really pick up the pace.
As for the preseason projections, it’s a mixed bag. The general idea of how things would play out in the conference seems to be going along with the script, but there have been just enough curve balls thrown in that it is anyone’s guess how the second half of the season will play out.
Three teams were the trendy picks to win the Sun Belt in 2018. Troy and Arkansas State are dealing with issues while Appalachian State is steaming right along.
But another contender now has to be acknowledged.
Georgia Southern entered the season with even the most optimistic predictions simply thinking that the Eagles could attain bowl eligibility.
But at the halfway post of the regular season, the Eagles are already just one win from qualifying for the postseason and – more importantly – the owners of a gaudy 3-0 mark in Sun Belt play.
The Eagles found themselves as big favorites in a midweek road game at Texas State last week, only to find themselves in a dogfight.
Georgia Southern’s option offense never got on track, but the defense held tough, stifling the Bobcats throughout the night and denying a late two-point conversion attempt to slip away with a 15-13 victory.
Georgia Southern will take a step out of the Sun Belt this weekend as they embark on another long road trip to New Mexico State.
The Eagles hope to return to Statesboro as a bowl-eligible team, but the real drama lies just a bit farther down the road as an East Division showdown between the Eagles and Appalachian State is quickly approaching.
While the Troy Trojans still control their own destiny in the East Division, their season has taken a drastic turn over the last two weeks.
During an otherwise uneventful steamrolling of Georgia State on Oct. 4, Troy starting quarterback Kaleb Barker went down with what was later found to be a season-ending ACL tear.
The Trojans and air-raid savant head coach Neal Brown were hopeful that backup Sawyer Smith could step right in, but Smith was shaky and the rest of the Trojans looked even worse as they were upset by first-year FBS program Liberty over the weekend.
If there is a silver lining, it’s that Troy is now able to reassess itself during a bye week. The rest will be welcomed by regular starters and the extra time before conference play resumes will be vital for getting Smith and the Trojan offense back on track.
While Troy’s role as a conference title hopeful is suffering due to injury, Arkansas State’s presumed shot at another Sun Belt championship is fading of its own volition.
The Red Wolves were picked to cruise to the top spot in the West, but have been beaten up by the East, losing to Georgia Southern and Appalachian State in consecutive weeks to begin its conference schedule.
Arkansas State still controls its destiny as the rest of its division hasn’t fared any better against the East.
However, a season finale with Troy would be a high hurdle to clear if it’s a necessary win for ASU to make the conference title game. The Wolves’ offense has shown enough flaws over the last two weeks to cause plenty of concern even against divisional rivals that didn’t appear to be threats at the beginning of the season.