Daily Headlines: Notre Dame and Kentucky Schedule 3-game series in Basketball

Notre Dame and Kentucky set up 3-game series

Two of college basketball’s most historic programs set up a three-game series for the next three seasons, as Kentucky, who has the most all-time wins as a program, and Notre Dame, ranked #9 in that same category, will meet on the hardwood in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Kentucky is, as they usually are, a powerhouse, while Notre Dame is a program back on the rise. The Irish suffer the loss of John Mooney this season, but they have a strong sophomore class and some promising upcoming recruits. Next year’s contest at Kentucky sets the Wildcats up as heavy favorites, but the following two years, at a neutral site and then at Notre Dame, promise to be entertaining clashes. Kentucky leads the overall series 43-19, but the two teams have four contests since 2009. Non-conference battles like this are good for college sports, so it’s great to see this rivalry renewed. After all, who else remembers the last time these two teams met? (Also, if ND could bring back these uniforms along with the rivalry, that would be cool)

Notre Dame will get three chances at avenging this painful memory

Oklahoma sweeps the Big 12 Athlete of the Year Awards

The Big 12 announced some postseason honors on Thursday, and Oklahoma swept the Athlete of the Year awards, with quarterback and Heisman finalist Jalen Hurts taking the male award, and gymnast Maggie Nichols taking it home on the female side. 

Hurts was one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country this past season, denied a Heisman by Joe Burrow’s all-world season. He put up over 5,000 yards of all-purpose offense and accounted for 53 touchdowns. He led the Sooners to a Big 12 title and the College Football Playoff, and he was drafted by the Eagles in the 2nd round this past April.
Nichols, meanwhile, earned her second Big 12 athlete of the year award, having claimed the hardware two years ago as well. She’s won back-to-back NCAA all-around titles in 2018 and 2019, adding to her trophy case of 11 NCAA trophies she accumulated over her time with Oklahoma. 

JT Daniels Transfers to Georgia

In a decision that made waves across the sporting world yesterday, former USC quarterback JT Daniels elected to transfer to Georgia. The starting job under center in Athens was presumed to belong to Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman, but now he’ll be competing with Daniels for playing time. Newman is the presumed favorite, but Kirby Smart’s quarterback room just got a lot better, and the competition got a lot tighter. 

Brown drops 11 varsity sports, adds two

Brown dropped eleven varsity sports, lowering their total to 29 D1 teams. However, the move is unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the administration; rather, they say the decision was made to make the Bears more competitive in the Ivy League. From ESPN: “Varsity sports dropping to club status are men’s and women’s fencing, men’s and women’s golf, women’s skiing, men’s and women’s squash, women’s equestrian and men’s indoor and outdoor track and cross country. Coed sailing and women’s sailing will be elevated from club to varsity status.” 

Dream League Playoffs: Justin Jefferson is automatic

Justin Jefferson shows UP in big games. In LSU’s dominant two-game College Football Playoff romp, Jefferson collected 23 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns. And, apparently, virtual Justin Jefferson also performs in big games, as in an elimination playoff game, Jefferson caught three touchdown passes from Trevor Lawrence to help Cal eliminate Andrew, 37-27. Andrew’s miserable Dream League campaign ended with a dismal 1 win and 8 losses. Cal improves to 5-4 and will have a chance to take down Nathaniel’s 7-1 squad in a best-of-three championship series held this weekend. 

Cal 37 Andrew 27

Jefferson’s dominance allowed Cal to jump out to a 34-14 halftime advantage. Lawrence scrambled for another touchdown, and Jonathan Taylor, who pounded his way to 106 rushing yards, ran in Cal’s fifth and final touchdown of the half. Andrew’s ground-and-pound approach kept him close for a while, but despite 105 rushing yards from Travis Etienne, and 86 from J.K. Dobbins, he simply could not keep up with Cal’s red-hot offense. Late in the fourth quarter, Jalen Hurts hit Jamar Chase for a 25-yard touchdown pass to pull Andrew within ten points, but the two-point conversion failed. Cal ran most of the remaining four minutes off the clock, extinguishing any potential rally. 

Cal will visit NDL in the championship series opener on Friday night – stay tuned for updates.

Cal Christoforo’s 3 Winners and Losers of the Draft: Where does Jalen Hurts fall?

Winner – Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals weren’t known to be searching for defense in the first round, but they obtained an absolute steal with the eighth overall pick, grabbing Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson. Simmons is listed as an outside linebacker, but he can truly play anywhere on the defensive side of the ball, and the fact that he was available at #8 was very surprising. It looked like Arizona had forfeited their chance to grab an impact player at offensive tackle, their biggest need, but somehow, in the third round, Houston tackle Josh Jones, ranked 17th overall on CBS’s draft board, was still available. The Cardinals grabbed the first round talent there, walking away with two steals. Considering their second round pick was part of the deal for DeAndre Hopkins, and the Cardinals were pretty happy with the usage of their top picks. 


Loser – Jalen Hurts

Doug Pederson may find a way to use Hurts in some creative packages, but ultimately, Jalen Hurts wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, and he’s now stuck behind Carson Wentz, who is locked in for another four years in Philadelphia. It’s going to be tough for Hurts to develop, especially considering Pederson’s commitment to Wentz. If winning a Super Bowl isn’t enough to supplant Wentz, nor is his multitude of injuries, it’s going to be a long road for hurts to gain prominence at the next level.

Winner – Wide Receivers
Wide receivers flew off the board left and right, with thirty-seven total receivers hearing their name called this past weekend. Six came in the first round, and seven more in the second, as NFL squads showed a desperate wish to grab receivers, finding value in all seven rounds. As dynamic offenses continue to take hold in the NFL, skill position players, particularly receivers, are becoming huge value picks. 

Loser – Las Vegas Raiders

Henry Ruggs was a good pick, but the Raiders started reaching with Damon Arnette, and then they took two more offensive players. I get offense is the new premium in the NFL, but when you’re in a division with Patrick Mahomes, you simply have to get some impact defensive players, and the Raiders just didn’t do that. Considering the Broncos and Chargers really putting together strong drafts, the Raiders could find them at the bottom of the AFC West next season. 

Winner – LSU
14 draft picks. Absolutely absurd. LSU set all kind of records, including an SEC record with 14 picks, along with becoming the first team to have their quarterback, wide receiver, and running back selected in the first round, as Clyde-Edwards Hillaire snuck in with the final pick of the round. Justin Jefferson, Joe Burrow, K’Lavon Chaisson, and Patrick Queen made it 5 LSU players taken in the first round. You can say what you want about how last year was just an anomaly, how LSU is not really the power of the SEC, but 14 draft picks will get you somewhere in recruiting, and that’s undeniable. Also, bonus points for LSU breaking the prior SEC record of 12 draft picks by getting long snapper Blake Ferguson picked in the sixth round. You love to see that. 

Loser – ACC

This is specifically targeted at the ACC not including Clemson. Clemson had a decent draft day, as would be expected from one of the top programs in the country, but the ACC in general struggled. In the first two rounds, only 3 non-Clemson ACC players heard their name called, and only one of those was in the first round (Mekhi Becton, Louisville). Running backs Cam Akers of Florida State and AJ Dillon of Boston College were the only other ACC players to leave the draft board. As Clemson continues to dominate the ACC, the lack of NFL interest in the other teams in the conference is a tough look for teams looking to recruit heavily and begin to compete with the Tigers once more.

2020 NFL Draft Feature: Jalen Hurts, Quarterback, Oklahoma

In our individual draft features, each of our team assigns a rating from the rating system described below. We combine our ratings to give one rating, a projection for where he will get picked, and best fits in the NFL. Here is our 2020 NFL Draft profile of Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Rating System

0.0-1.0 – Bust, you won’t remember this name in three years

1.0-2.0 – Mostly minor leagues and practice squads, occasionally makes the top level

2.0-3.0 – Gets some minutes off the bench, not a major contributor

3.0-4.0 – System player – not much of a ‘wow’ factor but could be utilized in a good system

4.0-5.0 – Role Player/Depth Guy (3rd down back, run block TE, etc) – can fill a hole

5.0-6.0 – Fringe Starter on the Depth Chart

6.0-7.0 – Top of the Depth Chart potential

7.0-8.0 – Starter with big season potential

8.0-9.0 – Consistent All-Star, one of the best in the league at his position

9.0-10.0 – Future Hall of Famer

Jalen Hurts

Our Grade: 5.0

Grade Range: 1.0 to 10.0

Best NFL Fits: New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projection: Round 4, Pick 11 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Analysis: The Buccaneers? But they just drafted Brady? In my opinion, this is almost an ideal situation for Jalen Hurts. After what he’s been through in his college career, Hurts developed a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most mature quarterbacks in this draft class. However, he’s not going to go in the first round. There are three teams – the Bengals, Dolphins, and Chargers – that will most certainly be taking a quarterback, and they’ll be taking the consensus top 3 signal-callers in Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Tua Tagovailoa. I believe the next two teams to take a quarterback will be the Patriots and Colts, and while I think Hurts is a good fit for both teams, I don’t see him being selected by either.

The Patriots lack a proven starter for Hurts to learn under, and Hurts is not the prototypical pocket passer that New England usually covets. The Colts could go for the former national champion, but given their recent trauma of seeing their franchise quarterback retire early due to a multitude of injuries, my instinct is the Colts are going to be wary of a dual threat that could suffer from the same maladies. After eliminating those options, I believe the next team to be looking to draft a quarterback will be the Buccaneers. They have Brady for two years, but the man is 42 years old and whatever you say about his legacy, the age alone brings some question marks. Hurts will have a chance to learn under the most successful quarterback of all time, and then he will take the reigns in a couple of years, as Tampa Bay looks to extend their window to win.

As for our grade, we were all over the place in grading Hurts, as have many experts will be. The dual-threat quarterback is a tricky topic, and whether Hurts will be closer to Lamar Jackson or Tim Tebow is tough to tell. There’s no question he has the work ethic, and the talent is there, but can Hurts find a system to utilize his strengths, and stay healthy long enough to build a strong career?