Five-Step Drop: Jeff Demps' Health, Boise State Suspension and More
1. Florida coach Urban Meyer gave Gators fans good news about running back Jeff Demps, who is expected to play Saturday against No. 1 Alabama.
"He'll have very limited practice, but we're counting on him Thursday and even if we have to go out Friday with him in practice," Meyer said, per the Florida Times Union. "I'd say it's probable he'll play."
Demps suffered a foot injury two weeks ago against Tennessee and aggravated it last week against Kentucky, and there were concerns that he might have to miss a week. But Demps, a track star who's the fastest player in college football, should be ready to go.
2. Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson struck the right balance in his decision to suspend Boise State safety Winston Venable for the first half of Saturday's game against New Mexico State. Venable delivered a brutal his helmet-to-helmet hit on Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers last week, causing a concussion that knocked him out of the game, and if college football is serious about protecting its players' health, conference commissioners need to crack down on illegal hits.
"After reviewing this play, it was determined that a flagrant personal foul should have been called by the game officials which would have resulted in the player being ejected," Benson said, per the Idaho Statesman.
So why only half a game? Venable was originally suspended for a full game, but Benson reduced it on appeal, and I think that's a reasonable decision for a hit that wasn't flagged.
Of course, it's not going to make much of a difference on Saturday, when Boise is a six-touchdown favorite.
3. As a 17-point favorite, Ohio State is expected to run over Illinois on Saturday. But maybe the Buckeyes won't really run over the Illini at all.
Rusty Miller of the Associated Press has a good piece about the way Ohio State has changed since the days of Woody Hayes, Archie Griffin and "three yards and a cloud of dust." The running back position just isn't all that important to what the Buckeyes do on offense, while quarterback Terrelle Pryor leads the team with 43 carries for 269 yards.
If the Buckeyes jump out to a big lead against Illinois, they'll feed the ball to running backs Brandon Saine and Dan Herron to run out the clock, but they'll get that big lead with the arm and legs of Pryor, running an offense that Woody Hayes would barely recognize.
4. Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr isn't roaming the sidelines anymore, but he's still a keen observer of college football. And he says that conference realignments aren't over yet.
"I'll give you one prediction -- and this is just a personal prediction -- but I think Notre Dame is going to come to the Big Ten," Carr said during an appearance in Montgomery, Alabama.
5. Stanford plays Oregon on Saturday, and that means the local papers in Oregon will have stories about Owen Marecic, because fans of every team that plays against Stanford will want to know about Marecic.
For those who don't know, Marecic, a fullback and linebacker, is the only player in major college football who's a starter on both offense and defense. And The Oregonian has a story documenting just what a tremendous player Marecic is, on both sides of the ball -- just as FanHouse did Saturday.
Says Marecic of getting tired from playing both ways, "It's far worse to be standing on the sideline. I can't stand it.''
Marecic is the closest thing football has to Chuck Bednarik these days.