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Bob Long Sports has moved to a new website, http://boblongsports.com/. Check out the new site for the same great sports coverage, with a whole new appearance and more ways than ever to access sports articles, opinions, and podcasts. Thanks to all the readers and listeners that have supported me throughout the past year, it means so much, and I couldn’t have made it this far without you. Thanks especially to the subscribers that have read my work every day and have been supporting the site. I look forward to being your source for sports at http://boblongsports.com/.
Title: 12/9 Sports Blitz
This Bob Long’s Sports Podcast discusses the hottest issues in sports, including College Basketball (the Big East specifically), Ndamukong Suh’s fine after hitting Jay Cutler, the MLB Winter Meetings and the big deals, the hottest team in the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and a discussion of their season moving forward.
The 2011 Outback Bowl will be the last game Urban Meyer will coach for the Florida Gators. Meyer announced minutes ago that he will step down from the position due to his desire to focus on his family and life off the football field. Florida will play Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
This is not the first time Meyer has publicly decided to leave his position at Florida permanently. Last season, before the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati, Meyer announced that he would resign as Florida head coach. The next day, he edited his statement to assert that he would only be taking a leave of absence. Meyer had been battling migraines, chest pains, and dehydration at the time, and at one point was admitted to the hospital due to his condition. However, after the Sugar Bowl on January 1st, 2010, only 7 days after he mulled over his possible resignation and his leave of absence, Meyer declared that he would return as head coach of the Gators for the 2010 season. Today, he has officially declared his resignation, and while he could still take back his words, it appears very likely that the Outback Bowl will be Meyer’s last game on the sidelines as head coach for the Gators.
In an interesting twist of fate, Florida is now playing for their legendary coach, with 2 National Championships at Florida, who is coaching his last game in a New Years Day bowl game. In the 2008 Capital One Bowl, on January 1st, Florida and Urban Meyer looked to spoil Lloyd Carr’s final game at Michigan. Carr was stepping down after more than 10 years as Wolverine head coach, and after coaching the program to a National Championship in the 1997 season. Michigan won the 2008 Capital One Bowl 41-35, and sent Carr to his retirement in victorious fashion. In a reversal of roles, Florida will now try to send Meyer off victoriously, and Penn State, with legendary head coach Joe Paterno, will attempt to defend the Big Ten and spoil Urban Meyer’s final game.
Villanova Forward JayVaughn Pinkston was officially suspended for the Spring Semester today by the university, due to his two counts of simple assault and harassment. He was charged after he engaged in a fight off-campus before the beginning of the season. Pinkston was initially suspended indefinitely until a thorough investigation was conducted, and today the Villanova Athletic Department and basketball staff suspended Pinkston for the remainder of the year.
Villanova decided to suspend Pinkston on its own, because if the NCAA suspended the forward, he would most likely lose a year of eligibility. However, Pinkston can now return next season as a redshirt freshman. In addition, Villanova’s self-imposed penalties lessen the potential additional NCAA sanctions on the program.
Pinkston asserts that he has learned from his mistakes, and will return a better basketball player and person next season. By all accounts, Pinkston simply stood up for himself when the fight started. He was harassed and was called derogatory names, and while he is not excused from his actions, I understand why he reacted the way he did to the people who disrespected him. Hopefully, Pinkston has learned that, while he only reacted to what others were doing and saying to him, he can not do these type of things while being in the spotlight of Villanova basketball. Pinkston will return next season and will anchor the frontcourt with Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton.
BREAKING NEWS: Jayson Werth has signed a contract with the Washington Nationals for 7 years worth $126 million. This deal comes in a heated free agency period for Werth, who was sought by the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, and other big market teams. Werth will fill a major void in the outfield for Washington, and becomes one of the highest paid players in the league with the deal.
After 4 opening round play-in games last week, the FCS playoffs continued yesterday with 8 marquee games. The 8 winners advanced to the quarterfinals and moved one step closer to the National Championship Game in Frisco, Texas.
(1) Appalachian State crushed Western Illinois 42-14 behind a 270 yard, 2 TD rushing performance from their quarterback and Walter Payton Award nominee DeAndre Presley, and App St. now awaits the winner of Villanova and Stephen F. Austin next Friday in Boone, NC.
Villanova used a 47-3 run from the 2nd quarter to the end of the game to thwart the Lumberjacks’ dreams of meeting Appalachian State in the 2nd round. Stephen F. Austin appeared to have an advantage over Nova, as the Lumberjack passing attack, combined with the at times weak Nova pass defense, concerned many Villanova players, fans, and even Head Coach Andy Talley. However, after falling behind 21-7 in the first half, the Nova defense became very stingy against the pass, and forced 6 turnovers for the game (3 INTs). Chris Whitney threw for 4 touchdowns en route to the blowout win. Villanova, who needed a win against then No. 1 Delaware to qualify for the playoffs, will travel to Appalachian State to play the Mountaineers in the quarterfinals this weekend.
In what I consider to be the weakest quarter of the bracket, (5) Eastern Washington defeated Southeast Missouri State 37-17 on the new red turf. Taiwan Jones controlled the ground game with 168 yards and 2 touchdowns.
In a down year for the Big Sky conference, (4) Montana State was upset 42-17 by North Dakota State, a school that has been less than dominant this season. NDSU was only 4-4 in conference, and finished the regular season 7-4, barely qualifying for the playoffs, and needing a play-in game just to play Montana State. North Dakota State will travel to the red turf to play Eastern Washington this weekend.
(3) Delaware took care of its business early in its game against Lehigh, winner of the Patriot League. The Blue Hens won 42-20 behind the 4 TD, 256 yard passing performance of its All-FCS quarterback Pat Devlin. The Blue Hens were trying to put a loss against Villanova in the last week of the season behind them, and the demolition of Lehigh put Delaware in a good position moving forward, and the team awaits the winner of New Hampshire and Bethune-Cookman.
New Hampshire defeated Bethune-Cookman 45-20 on the road behind the performance of quarterback Kevin Decker, who threw for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns. New Hampshire was the team that I said to watch out for before the playoffs started. Although they are not in the top 5 (or not even the top 10) in the FCS rankings, the Wildcats have finished the season in strong fashion, winning 6 of its 7 games against formidable competition in the most difficult conference in the FCS. New Hampshire travels to Delaware to play the Blue Hens this weekend, and I implore anyone who enjoys football to watch this game. It will be an extremely entertaining game to watch, and these teams are 2 of the best in the FCS.
Wofford brought its tough-nosed, triple-option offense to Jacksonville State to play their high-powered offense. This season, Jacksonville State had one of the most notable victories by an FCS team of all-time, as in Week 1 the team went to Ole Miss and defeated Houston Nutt and the Rebels. Jacksonville State has since come back to earth in its FCS schedule, but the Gamecocks are still a formidable opponent. However, Wofford played a solid offensive and defensive game, and capitalized on multiple Jackonville State mistakes. Wofford won an ugly 17-14 game, and now awaits the winner of the William and Mary and Georgia Southern game.
In the upset of the day, Georgia Southern defeated (2) William and Mary 31-15. The loss by William and Mary marks the first by any CAA team thus far in the playoffs. Georgia Southern Jaybo Shaw controlled primarily the running attack, as he ran for 87 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tailback Robert Brown ran for 178 yards and 1 touchdown, and the William and Mary offense simply could not respond to the rushing attack and the 7+ minute time of possession advantage for Georgia Southern.
Stay tuned for more FCS football coverage as the playoffs continue.