The college football season faced a huge shakeup over the weekend, most notably with Ohio State’s stunning loss to Purdue. The loss dropped the Buckeyes to No. 11 in the AP Poll, with LSU moving into the top four. But with five weeks to go in the regular season, there are a lot of off-the-field stories that college football fans are talking about. Here are the biggest news and notes heading into Week Nine.
Zach Smith accepts plea deal
Former Ohio State assistant Zach Smith accepted a plea deal this week for the charges leading up to the long summer controversy for the Buckeye program. Smith plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct in exchange for the dismissal of a criminal trespassing charge. He was also ordered to pay nearly $300 in fines and court fees.
Before the season began, Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, accused the former coach of multiple instances of abuse, as well as other members of the Ohio State program for failing to help her or report her claims. This included head coach Urban Meyer, who was suspended in early August for overlooking the years of abuse by Smith. He missed all of training camp, as well as the first three games of the season. Smith was fired a day after the allegations were made public.
The criminal trespassing charge last spring, which Smith was able to have dropped, was what led to the past accusations against him over the last several years coming to notice. The judge also awarded Courtney Smith a three-year protection order.
Michigan State fined
Michigan State suffered a loss this weekend, both on the field and in their checkbook. The Big Ten fined the Spartans $10,000 for violating the conference’s sportsmanship policy due to an altercation between their players and a Michigan player before Saturday’s game.
The fight occurred well before kickoff, when Michigan State did their ritual of walking from one end zone to the other while linking arms. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh accused the Spartans of “bush league” tactics, including clotheslining a Michigan player stretching and ripping the headphones off of another player. After the altercation, Michigan linebacker Devin Bush retaliated by trying to kick divots into the Spartan logo at midfield.
In addition to the fine, the league also issued public reprimands to Harbaugh, Bush, and Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio for their roles in the pregame events.
Al Golden sues Miami
Former Miami head coach Al Golden is suing his old workplace for $3 million, seeking what he believes is unpaid settlement money. Golden filed the lawsuit yesterday in federal court.
According to the lawsuit:
“the unpaid portion of Plaintiff’s (Golden) separation pay as of October 2018 is approximately $3 million and continues to grow…Plaintiff seeks judgment for this amount and for any additional sums that accrue and remain unpaid.”
Golden’s final game with Miami was the worst loss in program history, a 58-0 drubbing by Clemson on October 25, 2015, exactly three years ago today. Golden was fired the next day. He went 32-25 at Miami in parts of five seasons, 17-18 in ACC games.
Two games kick off Week Nine tonight, with Baylor at No. 13 West Virginia and No. 25 Appalachian State at Georgia Southern. Saturday is full of big games, but none bigger than No. 9 Florida versus No. 7 Georgia. The Gators and Bulldogs kick off at 3:30 P.M. EST in Jacksonville.