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Fourth & Long: News & Notes From a Busy Weekend in College Football

As usual, we will release our college football preview on Tuesday, which we will discuss on the podcast Tuesday night. With everything going on around the world and college football, it’s safe to say this will be a weekly article. After a weekend where Ohio State ended Penn State’s College Football Playoff hopes, Boston College took a Trevor Lawrence-less Clemson to brink, and COVID-19 topped the news in college football, let’s go over some news and notes from around the country.

  • According to many sportsbooks, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is no longer the Heisman Favorite (DraftKings and FanDuel). After missing his team’s match-up with a sneaky strong Boston College, Lawrence has dropped below Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and Ohio State’s quarterback Justin Fields as the Heisman favorite. Mac Jones is the newly crowned favorite according to DraftKings. Jones and Fields are co-favorites according to FanDuel. This reaction from the college football world is due to Lawrence missing the Boston College game, and Justin Fields and his Buckeyes starting the season. Many thought the Heisman would come down to Lawrence and Fields before the season. You have to wonder if this is an overreaction to one game, or the fact that he will miss Clemson’s trip to (4) Notre Dame this coming weekend. Clemson’s golden boy may not be the favorite right now, but you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll be in New York for the Heisman Ceremony in December.
  • Speaking of Clemson signal-caller Trevor Lawrence, there were rumors flying around the college football world that Lawrence would not enter the 2021 NFL Draft because he didn’t think playing for either New York team because of their histories in the past couple of years. If the season were to end right now the Jets would have the first pick, while the Giants would be second. The Jets have been horrible at producing good quarterbacks lately. Eli Manning played for too long and put the Giants in a bad position. However, no one is in need of a quarterback more than the Jets. The Sam Darnold experiment seems doomed to fail, if it hasn’t already. While Lawrence would come immediately and play for either team, Daniel Jones, Giants quarterback, has shown glimpses of being a good quarterback. You shouldn’t be surprised if the Giants either trade down if they get the first pick, or take Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, who grades out as one of the best tackle prospects in years. For the Jets, however, Lawrence isn’t enough to fix them completely.
  • Well, we sure are on a Clemson roll right now. The AP poll was released today, and the Tigers still hung onto the top spot. However, Alabama is closing the gap, and closing it fast. Clemson got 33 first-place votes, while the Crimson Tide had 31 first-place votes. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, as Trevor Lawrence will be out next week in one of the Tigers’ biggest regular season game in years, traveling to South Bend to take on Brian Kelly and his Fighting Irish. Ohio State followed the Tide, and will stay at (3) this week, while (4) Notre Dame, and (5) Georgia finish out the top-five.
  • Georgia defensive lockdown defensive back Richard LeCounte, was hospitalized early Sunday morning after being a traffic accident. LeCounte was riding a dirt-bike in Athens, after the Bulldogs returned from their game at Kentucky, when he struck a vehicle trying to make a left turn. LeCounte’s mother Erika Blocker-LeCounte was very concerned for her son after the accident. Luckily, he had no life-threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery. “He’s lucky to be alive,” his mother, Erika Blocker-LeCounte, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He was wearing his helmet and (that) saved his life.” However, LeCounte is expected to miss a few weeks while he recovers, which is a huge hit to Georgia’s chances in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (Georgia vs Florida).
  • With Oklahoma State’s loss to unranked Texas on Saturday, the Big 12 has pretty much played itself out of a playoff spot. Mike Gundy and his Cowboys were the conference’s best chance before the weekend, as they were undefeated. This year, more than most, the Big 12 cannibalized each other out of the College Football Playoff.
  • In the second weekend of B1G play, Ohio State dominated a good Penn State team. Even though they are without Micah Parsons, who opted out, they still have the ability to play in big time games. While the Nittany Lions lost 38-25, there are enough young players for Penn State to improve as the year goes on. As for the Buckeyes, Justin Fields was near perfect again, going 28/34 for 318-yards and four touchdowns. On the ground the Buckeyes leaned on Master Teague III who had 23-carries for 110-yards and one touchdown. Receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson each surpassed the 100-yard mark in receiving. Olave also caught two touchdowns. Is Ohio State really on the level of Alabama and Clemson? We shall find out as the season goes along.
  • Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s younger brother who plays for Maryland, was named co-offensive player of the week in the B1G. He shared the honors with Justin Fields. Tagovailoa was 26/35 for 394-yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns.
  • Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan Wolverines were stunned at home versus in-state rival Michigan State. Let’s be clear here, Michigan State lost to Rutgers in week 8. This was a team that had lost 21-straight conference games. This brings Harbaugh’s record at Michigan versus rivals at home to 1-6, including 0-5 vs the Buckeyes. If his seat wasn’t hot before the season, it sure is now.
  • In recruiting news, Billy Bowman, a former Texas recruit, flipped his commitment to Oklahoma. Bowman is an ESPN 300 receiver. In other recruiting news, number one overall prospect Korey Foreman, he is still leaning towards signing with the USC Trojans, but don’t sleep on LSU, Alabama, and Clemson. Finally after landing the commitment of number three overall player, Jack Sawyer, who is from Columbus, the Buckeyes have their eyes on two top-ten recruits in defensive lineman J.T. Tulmoloau and wide receiver Emeka Egbuka. Both players are leaning heavily towards signing with the Buckeyes, Ryan Day just needs to close the deal.

Tomorrow we will have the college football weekend in review. On top of that, we will also be going live for the @4thandlongpod between 9:30 and 10. At this point in the season it’s pretty clear who the teams to beat are, it’s just the question of when they will slip up. Clemson might have already had their slip-up game last weekend in sneaking by the Eagles of Boston College.

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