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Skull Session: Justin Fields Versus Trevor Lawrence, Fields’ Eligibility, and Notre Dame Wishes It Could Play 13 Games

I’m not going to pretend to be extremely interested in this game, but there’s one last college football game on this season and I’m going to watch it, dammit.

I’m not about to pick against Nick Saban straight up, but I like Clemson to cover 6.5 points. The Tigers have the best defensive line in the country and Tua Tagovailoa struggled with pressure this season.

I don’t think Bama has played a team anywhere near as complete as Clemson this season, outside of Georgia, and they were outplayed for most of that game. I’m sure the Tide pull out some witchcraft and win the game, but I think it will be by less than a touchdown.

Which means you should all put your mortgage on Bama -6.5.


Word of the Day: Agelast.

 JUSTIN FIELDS > TREVOR LAWRENCE? As a true freshman, Trevor Lawrence is undefeated as a starter, plays for a national title and is widely viewed as a generational NFL prospect who would be at least high first-round pick if he was eligible after this season.

But according to one fellow who coached against both in high school, he wasn’t even the best quarterback in his recruiting class. That distinction goes to Justin Fields.

From Buckeye in Georgia on The Ozone Forums:

Moving on to high school, we played him twice. We lost to him his junior year and we beat him his senior year. A couple things to note, though. Justin grew up. He was, without question, the best football player on the field both seasons. We were able to hang and then win because our demographic is way, way different than Harrison. So, we have athletes all over the field. Harrison has a few in spots and they have Justin Fields. Harrison is a 500 team without him. They are elite with him. The kid carried the team, basically. He only really had one outstanding receiver to throw the ball to. But, he used the whole field, spread the ball around, and ran it whenever he wanted to. He was, without a doubt, the best high school QB I’ve ever watched play. He takes over games and his team rallies around him. The best comparison has been made many times on this site. He is a Cam Newton type player.

To close it out, we also played Trevor Lawrence twice in the same two high school seasons. He beat us both times. But he was also surrounded by athletes that matched up with ours at every position. We got to him. We rattled him. But he had enough around him to help him. Justin didn’t get rattled and he didn’t have the same athletes helping him. Justin carried his team. Lawrence took advantage of his (that isn’t meant to be a slam on Lawrence, he did his job). That said, give me Justin Fields every day and twice on Saturday. He’s a better football player than Trevor Lawrence, IMO.

I’m not going to discount Lawrence as an NFL prospect – the dude is basically a prototype. But Fields runs like Terrelle Pryor and isn’t a significantly inferior passer. I mean, he was the Elite 11 MVP over Lawrence coming out of high school. 

I’m more than fine with this #take. Lawrence has already proven himself, but that doesn’t mean Fields won’t prove himself, too.

 BUT WILL HE BE ELIGIBLE? Justin Fields is at Ohio State. That’s step one. The next step is whether or not he will be eligible to play next season for the Buckeyes.

Speaking extremely conservatively, it’s looking not completely impossible.

From Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports:

Under normal circumstances, Fields would have to sit out a year and wouldn’t be eligible until 2020. But Fields and his family have already contacted attorney Tom Mars, a famed collegiate establishment antagonist, to handle his eligibility case. The argument for immediate eligibility isn’t infallible, but it’s certainly reasonable.

The case for Justin Fields’ eligibility is a compelling one, as it hinges on a racial incident and, potentially, Fields’ potential as a professional baseball player. During Fields’ tenure at Georgia, a baseball player allegedly shouted racial slurs toward him during a September game against Tennessee. The player, Adam Sasser, later issued an apology on Twitter and the school threw Sasser off the team.

The incident is relevant for more than the general ugliness of it. Fields was considered a potential high-round Major League Baseball draft pick in high school, and he’d thought enough about a career in baseball that he was considered a potential MLB draft pick. He also considered playing baseball at Georgia. An MLB scout gave this scouting report to Yahoo Sports in 2017: “Similar situation as Jameis Winston when he was in high school. He’s a better overall athlete and runner for sure, but [Fields’] baseball skills are behind due to all the time he gives to football.

The racial element of the case, which the NCAA would be queasy to defend publicly if it rejected Fields’ waiver, combined with the potential baseball revenue aspect make it a case that few can envision the NCAA rejecting.

The NCAA is an organization that’s feeble in the wake of legal challenges and meek amid controversy, which makes coaches in college athletics unaffiliated with the case optimistic about Fields’ chances. The NCAA is sensitive to bad publicity, and sidelining Fields after being the subject of racial slurs would invite headlines the association doesn’t want.

As Thamel alludes, there’s definitely a counter-argument to be made here, but I’m just not all that convinced the NCAA is going to be too stoked about making it, given the content of Fields’ argument.

Fair or not, I’d be willing to bet this is one they’ll just sit out, and that could work in Ohio State’s advantage.

 WE WOULD HAVE PLAYED ANOTHER! Don’t worry, y’all. Notre Dame would have played a 13th game if they were allowed.

From Heather Dinich of

In lieu of playing in a conference championship game, Notre Dame would gladly add a 13th game to its schedule if the NCAA would allow it, Fighting Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick said on Sunday at the College Football Playoff.

“We would love the opportunity to play a 13th game to take that issue off the table,” he told ESPN. “Nothing would make us happier.”

Swarbrick said he has spoken to NCAA officials about it “a little bit” but acknowledged the difficulty in changing a rule that impacts the majority of its membership. The NCAA limits teams to 12 regular-season games, plus a conference championship game if they qualify.

But here’s the thing, nobody cares if Notre Dame adds a random 13th game to its conference schedule, they care that Notre Dame plays in the ACC for all intents and purposes, but because they’re technically “independent,” the Irish managed to skirt by without playing the ACC Champion, which thumped them by four scores and held them without a touchdown when they met in the playoff.

Adding a 13th game against Akron ain’t going to fix that.

I understand why Notre Dame made it into the playoff, but it’s frustrating because everyone knew what was going to happen, and if another Independent team – like Umass, for example – had the same resume as the Irish, there’s no chance they’re in the playoff, much less the No. 3 seed.

 SHANNON SCOTT OWNS G-LEAGUE. So, Shannon Scott was absolutely balling in the NBA G-League this week.

On Thursday, dude set a franchise record and G-League season-high in assists, then followed it up with a triple-double three days later.

He keeps playing like that, he might find himself on an NBA roster. I know he’s playing in the G-League, but there’s just no way he’s a worse option than some dudes on NBA benches right now.

 E.J. LIDDELL BRINGS THE HOUSE DOWN. From former Basketbuck doing cool things to future Basketbuck doing cool things.

E.J. Liddell did the following in an actual game of basketball:

I love the moment of hesitation before he’s like “Meh, may as well.”

After what Chris Holtmann’s done with his first two teams that were picked to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten, I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens when he adds three players more highly-rated than anyone on either roster.

 LINK LOCKER. Sushi king pays a record $3.1 million for an endangered bluefin tuna in Japan… Florida woman chases parents with knife after they refused to take her to Outback Steakhouse… Four retired NFL stars want to go to the 2022 Olympics as curlers… Why North Korea built a fake town along its border with South Korea…

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