Aug. 3 News: A Reasonable SEC Schedule Plan

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The eight-game SEC schedule has been a point of contention throughout the college football, both internally and with other conferences. In seeking some level of uniformity in scheduling for College Football Playoff purposes, Tony Barnhart offers up the most logical proposal to appease most parties.

Barnhart’s SEC schedule plan is worthy reading, but the nuts and bolts are pretty basic. The conference is already instituting a mandatory Power Five game, so this is hardly outlandish. Now, I contend designating Army and BYU as Power Five opponents when neither is fudges the intent of the rule, and this is something that should be addressed.

For example, Missouri is playing a 2015 nonconference of BYU, Connecticut, Arkansas State and Southeast Missouri State. Drop one of UConn or ASU to fulfill Barnhart’s proposed SEC schedule, and this still doesn’t quite cut the muster.

My only other provision is ban FCS games late in the season. Those athletic departments need the payday, and I don’t begrudge them having the opportunity to earn it against an SEC opponent. I do, however, take umbrage with teams like Alabama playing an opponent like Charleston Southern the same weekend Oregon is hosting USC, or any other team in college football is playing a high-stakes conference game.

Late-season losses typically weigh more heavily than those suffered in September, and it’s na├»ve to think otherwise. Playing FCS opponents in and of itself isn’t an unfair advantage, but scheduling them in the midst of the postseason race is akin to the NCAA Tournament reseeding to give a No. 1 seed its No. 16 matchup on Elite 8 weekend.

Beyond that, Barnhart’s SEC schedule idea is the most palatable I’ve read.

Is Montae Nicholson Michigan State’s Next Defensive Star?

Dave Berk, Scout

Michigan State’s defensive prowess in recent years owes a great deal to the play of its secondary specifically. Despite some key losses, Scout’s Spartan Digest pinpoints the leading candidate to continue Sparty’s #NoFlyZone tradition into 2015: safety Montae Nicholson.

Head coach Mark Dantonio raved about Nicholson’s performance in the spring, telling Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free-Press:

Montae Nicholson had a big day with the two picks for touchdowns. Montae really made two outstanding plays and had impressive runs after the catch. He’s a special player.

Michigan State’s pass defense took a dip in 2014, falling to 61st in the nation after it was third in 2013 (though the Spartans still allowed just a 52-percent completion rating last season). However, more players like Nicholson standing out should see Michigan State return to the top tier of pass defenses next season.

So, How Do College Football Players Unwind?

Today’s U.

For Today’s U., I chronicled the offseason pastimes of various college football players. It’s interesting how different the off-field routines and hobbies differ: video games, hiking, MMA, surfing, reading — the interests are diverse.

However, I can’t imagine Chris Petersen will allow Washington Huskies to continue jumping from bridges now that that practice is common knowledge.

Utah Adds Cal Defensive End Transfer

Utah’s bread-and-butter is its front-seven, and the Utes got deeper in that facet late Sunday with the transfer for former Cal defensive end Sione Sina.

Sina transferred to Cal from the College of San Mateo, where he made 56 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. His career never took off in Berkeley, due to injury and an inability to break into the rotation. He was more of a factor for the Golden Bears rugby team than he was on the gridiron — he started at lock for Cal’s renowned squad.

Still, Sina should find a spot in Utah’s lineup.