Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey reportedly sent a strongly worded memo last week to conference coaches and athletics directors threatening fines and possible suspensions for those who do not follow COVID-19 protocols.
Hopefully, Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen will be the first to get hammered with a heavy fine and/or suspension for his incredibly irresponsible comments following Saturday’s defenseless 41-38 loss to coach Jimbo Fisher’s No. 21-ranked Texas A&M Aggies.
Mullen, commenting on the effect Texas A&M’s announced crowd of 24,709 had on the game, said UF’s administration needs to lift its COVID-19 crowd constraints, follow Gov. Ron DeSantis’s Phase 3 reopening guidelines and allow UF to pack the Swamp for its next home game.
“The crowd was certainly a factor in the game,” Mullen said of Texas A&M’s fans. “I know our governor passed that rule so certainly, hopefully the UF administration decides to let us pack the Swamp against LSU — 100% — because that crowd was certainly a factor in the game. I certainly hope our administration follows the governor. The governor has passed a rule that we’re allowed to pack the Swamp and have 90,000 in the Swamp to give us the home-field advantage Texas A&M had today.”
When I asked Mullen a follow-up question just to clarify his previous comments, he doubled down on his ill-considered stance.
“Absolutely I want to see 90,000 at the Swamp,” Mullen said. “The section behind our bench (today), I didn’t see an empty seat. It was packed; the entire student section; must have been 50,000 people behind our bench going crazy. Hopefully, that will create a home-field advantage for us next week because we’ve passed a law in our state that allows us to do that.”
Thankfully, it appears, UF’s administration is not on board with Mullen’s opinion. Florida
Shenault caught five of six targets for 86 yards and rushed once for five yards in Sunday’s 33-25 loss to Cincinnati.
A large chunk of Shenault’s production came in the two-minute drill at the end of the first half, as he recorded three catches for 59 yards to set up a 20-yard field goal. He finished nine receiving yards shy of DJ Chark’s team-leading total, but Chark found the end zone twice while Shenault has now gone three weeks without a touchdown after scoring in his NFL debut. Shenault more than doubled his previous career high of 37 receiving yards, and he’ll look to build off this performance in Week 5 against the win-less Texans.
Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s announcement of COVID-19-related learning loss projections for Tennessee students took state lawmakers and school superintendents by surprise.
In a joint news conference with Gov. Bill Lee last week, Schwinn announced Tennessee students are expected to face learning loss of 50% in English and 65 % in math, stressing the importance of in-person learning. Projections were based on national research and early results of beginning-of-year student checkpoint assessments in Tennessee.
“This press release really caught a lot of us off guard,” Henry County Schools Superintendent Leah Watkins told The Center Square. “I feel like this was a smack in the face of my educators, of my team, who have given up summer break to have had to change everything they do to make it work for a dual environment – virtual and in person. It just feels like an affront to the work that my team does.”
Schwinn did not give superintendents notice of the learning loss announcement on a regular conference call Wednesday morning before the Wednesday afternoon news conference, Watkins said. Superintendents received the data report Thursday evening, after an outpouring of distress.
“I’ve had about 21 superintendents call me furious about the Wednesday release,” state Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, told The Center Square. “They feel betrayed.”
Schwinn apologized to superintendents for the lack of notice on a phone call Friday.
“It’s heartbreaking to see this with no preparation, no opportunity to look at the data to question the data before it’s released,” Watkins said.
Superintendents have raised concerns with the data underlying the department’s projections. When questioned about the source of the data, Schwinn said Wednesday projections were based on a national learning loss study, as well as Tennessee student data collected from the
At times, Lamar Jackson has resembled something of a superhero on the football field. His latest clash against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, however, ended with him being unable to save the day.
Under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, the reigning AP Most Valuable Player, in the midst of a difficult night, was faced with the daunting task of climbing back from a halftime deficit in a much-hyped showdown against the defending Super Bowl champs.
In the previous nine times Baltimore has faced such odds since drafting Jackson in 2018, it was unable to secure a victory, per NFL Research. Against a Chiefs squad that looked all but unstoppable, the Ravens would again run out of steam, falling 34-20 on a night where Jackson notched a career-low 97 passing yards (15-of-28) and remained winless (0-3) against Andy Reid and Co.
“Well, I’ll say, second half, just like I say always, like we always start cranking up at the wrong time. We gotta come in and finish how we start. Like, we always go opposite against them for some reason. We just got to tighten up and play better. That’s all,” Jackson told reporters postgame after labeling the Chiefs as the Ravens’ “kryptonite.”
As he alluded to, Baltimore began the game on shaky ground, much like last season when it faced a 23-6 halftime hole against the Chiefs. Watching Mahomes’ flame thrower of an arm lead K.C. to a hot start forced Jackson to fight fire with fire. When the smoke cleared, Baltimore trailed, 27-10, entering the third quarter after failing to score a touchdown on six drives. Jackson went 7-of-15 for 35 yards while Mahomes already turned in an evening’s worth of work with 260 yards and three TDs.
If Week 4 was any indication, then the 2020 College Football Playoff race will be just what the sport needed.
LSU, last year’s national champion, lost in Week 4. Oklahoma, which has made the College Football Playoff each of the past three seasons, lost to Kansas State for the second straight season. The Big Ten and Pac-12 haven’t even started their seasons, but it’s clear that this could be a fun year.
MORE: Updated AP, Coaches Polls
Oklahoma was one of SN’s picks to make the College Football Playoff, and the Sooners can still do that. It’s just going to be more difficult than ever given the nature of this season. We moved Oregon, which won’t start its season until November, into the Playoff picture as a result.
Sporting News also is revisiting its bowl projections in their entirety, and we will revisit those as the Big Ten and Pac-12 near the starts of their seasons. We can still pick the College Football Playoff, which will go on as scheduled. This season’s semifinals are Jan. 1 at the Rose Bowl Game and Allstate Sugar Bowl. The CFP championship game will be Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
With that in mind, here are Sporting News’ picks for the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Day Six heading into Week 5: