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Florida State hangs on against Notre Dame

The game lived up to the hype. Notre Dame gave Florida State everything they could handle last night in Tallahassee, with the winning touchdown being taken off the board on what turned out to be the correct call. Both Jameis Winston and Everett Golson were spectacular, and it seemed like whoever had the ball last would win. As it turned out, Notre Dame thought they had it but the refs called them out for a pick on the last touchdown to Corey Robinson.

Both teams were impressive, and frankly both are in good shape for the upcoming playoff. Florida State has a pretty easy road so all they need to do is take care of business in the ACC. Notre Dame will have to impress over other one-loss teams if they win out, but they have a tougher road which helps if they win them, but . . . . they have to win them! Road games against USC and Arizona State will be tough ones.

Here are some other observations from yesterday’s games:

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Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Fran Tarkenton scolds AJ McCarron

This is pretty hilarious.

AJ McCarron has a pretty inflated view of himself, and that came across when he criticized the current Alabama team by saying it didn’t have the leadership the team had last year (that would be himself, AJ McCarron). He also made some comments about Nick Saban “handcuffing” the offense.

The great Fran Tarkenton reacted with a classic rant about McCarron:

“A.J. McCarron- he needs to be quiet,” Tarkenton said on Jox 94.5-FM’s The Opening Drive. “He was so fortunate to play in that program. He’s an average quarterback at best. He couldn’t have played anywhere else but Alabama and to make any kind of comment is just disrespectful. He shouldn’t have made it and he should keep his mouth shut, praise Saban and Alabama for the rest of his life.”

Does anyone disagree with that?

Tarkenton is one of the ex-players who says what’s on his mind and doesn’t sugar-coat things. He’ll tell you most modern players are using HGH, which is why players are so huge these days and why defensive ends are running 4.5 40s.

As for McCarron he backtracked of course, and he’s be wise to heed Tarkenton’s advice.

Fox investigation shows FSU obstructed Jameis Winston investigation

Fox released stunning results of its investigation into how Florida State “handled” the Jameis Winston investigation when he faced rape allegations. In some ways this shouldn’t be stunning at all – the campus police and athletic department basically did everything possible to undermine the investigation and keep Winston on the field. They stacked the deck in favor of the defense and made it hard for the prosecutor to conduct a real investigation, basically tainting witnesses by letting the defense have first crack.

Its this kind of disgrace that has many people rightfully outraged but is also leading to proposals on how to deal with sexual assault allegations on campus that can create other problems.

The key is to force universities to take this stuff seriously and care as much about the alleged victim as they do about athletes.

On the other hand, knee-jerk suspensions of any player immediately after an allegation is made is also problematic. We just saw that this week in Florida when a player was immediately suspended and then soon after reinstated after the accuser recanted. We don’t know whether this was a case of false accusation, but this case looks very bad.

The question of whether athletes or other students will receive real due process when accused of sexual assault will be front and center as pointed out by Jonathan Chait after states like California start to rewrite the rules regarding these issues. The real way to deal with this would be to make sure athletes like Jameis Winston do not get special treatment and allegations are treated seriously, but getting rid of due process goes way too far.

Desmond Howard and Aflac Team Up

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Heisman Trophy Winner, Desmond Howard, partnered with Aflac to celebrate the launch of their new ad, “The Paymaker,” and teach the Aflac Duck a thing or two about the game.

The video offers a humorous look at the Aflac Duck and highlights that, while the Aflac Duck may not be good at football, he pays claims fast.

Are you the ultimate college football fan? If so, Aflac has an #AflacSweeps is for you. Three lucky fans will win a trip for two, a pair of tickets to one of three college football games in early November, a chance to meet Desmond Howard and more.

To win the Ultimate College Football Experience Sweepstakes, enter once per 24 hours on Facebook; for bonus entries, share on Twitter.

Enter here: http://afl.ac/ANis9

Who will contend for College Football Playoff?

The BCS is dead. Finally!

We’ve been complaining about it for years, and now we finally have a playoff system, so all of the debate around who is the best team in college football can at least be expanded to the four best teams who should play in the playoff. All of the debate on ESPN and other outlets will still be annoying, but at least the end result is somewhat more rational. Hopefully this will be a precursor to at least an eight-team playoff, but we can live with this for now.

With that in mind, now that the NFL Draft is over, people are starting to talk college football again, and you can have some fun looking over the college football futures as you contemplate who you like going into the 2014 season. There are plenty of teams that will give Florida State a run for the title, with Alabama, Ohio State, Auburn, Oregon leading the way. Then you have upstarts like Baylor who became a media and fan darling last season until they got smacked silly 52-42 by UCF in a huge Fiesta Bowl upset.

College football can be very unpredictable, and lately with all the new spread and hurry-up offenses things change very quickly. But we still see many of the regular names at the top.

One name that will get plenty of attention as usual is Ohio State, the team that many around the country love to hate. Urban Meyer has brought the program back after the brief hiccup during the Luke Fickell season, but the team has a ways to go before actually winning a national championship. You should keep your eyes on two critical factors: Braxton Miller and the defense.

You’ll see Miller in the futures as well, as he is again a legitimate threat to contend for the Heisman Trophy. Yet he is still an enigma, as he’s very injury prone and also very inconsistent. He’s an incredible runner out of the pocket. Frankly, at the next level, he should probably be a tailback. The reason has to do with his passing, which is still very mediocre. This year he’ll have some great receiving weapons, and he’ll also have some young backs who should do a nice job replacing Carlos Hyde. But the offensive line is very young, so this team likely will not be able to maul defenses with their running game like last year. Miller needs to step up and mature as a quarterback for the Buckeyes to have a chance at the playoff.

Then there’s the defense, which has been an embarrassment since Jim Tressel left Ohio State. Sure, they’ve had injuries, but the pass defense was a joke last season. Urban Meyer has pledged to fix it, and this year he promises to showcase press coverage from his young secondary. The key will be a dominating defensive line led by super-sophomore Joey Bosa. If the line lives up to the billing, then maybe the Buckeyes can finally get back to playing real defense again.

But the Buckeyes show how hard it can be to predict college football, so do your homework!

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