Brett McMurphy’s College Football Musings and Predictions for Week 1

What I’m wondering while waiting for this weekend’s games…

Tennessee announced on Monday star sophomore CB Bryce Thompson was indefinitely suspended after his arrest for domestic violence. In a statement, UT coach Jeremy Pruitt said all the right – and predictable – things: “We hold our student-athletes to a high standard. The safety of all students is our first priority here at Tennessee.”

The next day, the Knoxville News reported that in January 2018 (Thompson’s senior year in high school), a different woman (not the one involved in Saturday’s alleged incident) had filed for a restraining order against Thompson after being in a relationship with him.

That woman wrote in her filing for a restraining order that Thompson “has a history of violence against me and others” and Thompson had “slapped me, choked me and thrown me around,” the Knoxville News reported. She also wrote Thompson said in a text message he “would kill both me and that other guy” if she dated someone else.

Thompson and the woman agreed to a one-year mutual restraining order in April 2018. One month later, Thompson signed with Tennessee. Pruitt declined comment when asked if Tennessee knew about Thompson’s past. 

Just wondering, but … how in the world could Pruitt and/or Tennessee not have known about Thompson’s past? Maybe they decided to ignore it or that he deserved a fresh start at UT? Thompson played at Dutch Fork High School, which is located exactly 17.2 miles from the University of South Carolina. Thompson committed to USC on Dec. 13, 2017, but by the time the Feb. 7, 2018 National Signing Day arrived, South Carolina had rescinded its scholarship offer. 

Thompson was a local star headed to USC until the school – based on the above timeline – rescinded its scholarship offer about a month after the woman accused Thompson of slapping, choking and throwing her around.

Coaches from opposing schools talk. A lot.

School officials within the same conference talk and interact. A lot.

Tennessee knew exactly what it was getting with Thompson. Now, after at least his second domestic violence incident in the past couple of years (but only his first at UT, if you’re counting), he’s indefinitely suspended. Should Tennessee reinstate him or dismiss him from the program? That’s for the Vols to decide. What’s funny/sad in this whole thing is if the Vols decide to part ways with Thompson, that exact instant there will be a dozen schools trying to add the talented Thompson to their roster because he deserves another (third/fourth?) chance and a fresh start.

Whenever a player is dismissed from a program, no matter what the issue, other schools swoop in immediately. That’s not “our” problem, they say. That’s in the past. He’s changed. It reminds me when a visiting player hits a home run. The home crowd cheers when a fan throws the ball back onto the field. And then immediately fans along the left- or right-field lines start positioning themselves to get the ball as soon as the ball is retrieved off the field. Someone’s trash can be someone else’s treasure. …

While wondering what Tennessee does with Thompson, USC and new OC Graham Harrell open up against Fresno State Saturday. This is a huge game for coach Clay Helton. Jeff Tedford’s Bulldogs have to replace a lot of talent, but the Bulldogs enter the contest having not allowed more than 30 points in 25 consecutive games, the nation’s longest current streak. If USC, in Harrell’s debut, is limited to less than 30 points – USC only topped 30 points in four of 12 games last season – that will be viewed as a disappointment. However, USC and Helton will take any win, no matter what the score is. …

While Fresno State has the nation’s longest streak allowing less than 30 points, UCF has the nation’s longest streak scoring at least 30 points. UCF notched its 27th consecutive game scoring 30 points when the Knights opened the season Thursday at home against Florida A&M. As dedicated as the Knights are to scheduling home-and-home series, I wonder when the return game against the Rattlers in Tallahassee will be? …

When we last left Boise State last season, the Broncos’ bowl game in Dallas was canceled because of lightning. Now Boise State’s Saturday opener against Florida State in Jacksonville has been moved to Tallahassee because of a hurricane. Barring any earthquakes or plague of locusts, the Broncos will next host Marshall Sept. 6. … 

Texas is back: or so they say. But it depends on who you ask. Sports Illustrated picks the Longhorns to finish fifth in the nation, while the excellent Collin Wilson of the Action Network picks the Longhorns to finish eighth – in the Big 12. I’ll go with somewhere in between: most likely 9-3 or 8-4. I think there are too many personnel losses on defense for Texas to reach 10 wins. Disagree? Ok. Cool. Hook ‘Em. …

ESPN’s Desmond Howard likes long shots and, of course, Wayne Brady. His Heisman Trophy pick: Purdue WR Rondale White. His prediction for Kansas: the Jayhawks “will go bowling this year.” Howard, however, forgot to mention if it would be at Royal Crest Lanes or Crown Lanes Bowling Alley in Lawrence.

Wondering where my picks are for this week? You’re right, I’ve stalled long enough. Odds from @BetOnline_ag:

Louisiana Tech +21 at Texas

Louisville +18.5 vs. Notre Dame

Florida State -7 vs. Boise State

Toledo +11.5 at Kentucky

Northwestern +6.5 at Stanford

Lock of the Week: Master Lock No. 1175D ProSeries Resettable Combination Padlock

Last week: 0-0

Last year: Don’t ask

Lifetime Lock of the Week record: Undefeated

MORE: Brett McMurphy’s College Football Playoff & Bowl Predictions