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Other sports raise expectations for Noles and Gators football programs

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With Memorial Day weekend winding down, it’s been another tremendous May for the Florida State and Florida baseball and softball programs. And when you add up what Seminoles and Gators basketball programs have also added recently, there will be a lot to live up to, on the football grid iron in Tallahassee and Gainesville.

Coming off the weekend, FSU and Florida softball both advanced their World Series in Oklahoma City. The Lady Gators have a sense of “unfinished business” having gotten all the way to the final two teams playing in 2017. However, Oklahoma beat them the for the National Championship  in the final series.

They advanced to this year’s final eight teams with a dramatic walk off homer to defeat Texas A&M Sunday afternoon:

The Lady Noles are in the final eight by virtue of defeating LSU twice in the same day in their super regional and will be playing UCLA in their opening game in Oklahoma City.

On the baseball diamond, the Gators are the defending champions from 2017 (above), and Monday afternoon on the NCAA baseball tournament selection show, Florida was tabbed as the #1 overall seed in the 64 team tournament. The Gators will obviously host their regional this weekend in Gainesville.

As for FSU, it was a huge weekend for them, as they captured the ACC Baseball Tournament title with an 11-8 win over Louisville and it was also announced Monday afternoon now they’re hosting an NCAA sub-regional in Tallahassee starting Friday.

Now, you couple the softball and baseball success with the recent March Madness success in men’s basketball for both Florida State and Florida and the accomplishments are mounting.

FSU, after upsetting top seed Xavier, narrowly missed a shot at the Final Four losing the West Regional final to Michigan in the final minutes. Florida advanced to the second round the Men’s 2018 NCAA before being eliminated. However, in March of 2017, they too were on the door step of the Final Four before losing in the Elite Eight game to South Carolina.

Look, we all know and agree that football is the primary focus of athletics of FSU and Florida (and 90% of the Power Five conferences, too).

Still, FSU languished through 2017 and their head coach, Jimbo Fisher, spent more time in November trying to become the Texas A&M coach than still being the FSU coach.

And, the Gators had an awful losing season where they ran the coach, Jim McElwain, out of North Florida faster than you could spell “Gators.”

Now it’s Willie Taggart and Dan Mullen’s turns to try to get them back to national success and relevance.

And one thing is for sure, the other programs around them have set the bar high with their postseason play.

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New Jersey authorities charge Janoris Jenkins brother in homicide at his home

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It only took a little over 24 hours for authorities in Bergen County, New Jersey to make an arrest in the homicide at the home of New York Giants defensive back Janoris Jenkins. And as it turns out, Jenkins older brother William is being charged aggravated manslaughter in the death of 25-year-old Roosevelt Rene.

Rene, who had been staying at the Jenkins home as a guest and friend of the family, was found by a worker in the basement of the home on Tuesday morning.

The 34 year old older brother, William Jenkins had been taken into custody early Tuesday in New Jersey and was sent to Ontario County, New York on a parole violation. He is in the process of being extradited across the New York/New Jersey state lines to Bergen County to face the manslaughter charge.

On Monday evening the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that Rene had been strangled or suffocated to death.

Meanwhile. Janoris Jenkins, who just completed his second season with the Giants after signing as a free agent, is reportedly still in Florida. And, he has yet to comment either himself or through a spokesperson about the death at his home.

Janoris Jenkins was not believed to have been home this weekend as neighbors  reported that he and his girlfriend had gone to Florida two weeks ago after Giants mini-camp at concluded.

The Giants have had no comment other than they are monitoring the situation.

As we wrote on Monday, Jenkins is a former star at Pahokee High School where they won the state championship and was part of the Gators National Championship season of 2008 as a freshman in Gainesville.

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Is there a referee crisis for the NFL?

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of the past couple of weeks a story has developed that isn’t getting nearly as much attention as it probably should.

Yes, whether or not Bucs QB Jameis Winston is suspended for at least the first three games of the season is a big deal.

Whether or not Quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski are happy or unhappy with the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick is also a big deal.

And yes, whether or not players, like Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, can get new contracts or will be holding out come training camp next month is again, a big deal.

However, we haven’t seen nearly as much coverage on something that is also very significant once the game start being played. There are four former NFL referees from a year ago that have all resigned/retired and that’s a big number all at once.

As is laid out here, with the NBC official announcement Thursday that former referee Terry McAulay will be joining NBC Sunday Night Football in the booth, that means three of them will be in the Network TV booth this fall:

There has already been some eyebrow raising at Triplette going to Monday Night Football as a rules expert for ESPN, but they obviously had a need when Gerry Austin agreed to go join former MNF analyst Jon Gruden in a newly created position with the Raiders.

And as for Steratore, who worked Superbowl 52 last year, he will serve not only in the booth with the Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, but will be used as a college basketball rules analyst this winter for CBS’ hoops coverage. He’s shown above dealing with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll being on the field and flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct in their December loss at the Jaguars.

The fourth referee is Ed Hochuli, who is retiring and yet to have a TV role, if there is one for him.

The bigger point is that everyone of these head referees are long time veterans and represent approximately 25-30% of the referees who work weekends in the NFL.

And in the cases of Steratore and McAulay, they are younger than Triplette and Hochuli, and could have conceivably been referees another 10 years or so, had they wanted.

So, why didn’t they want to continue?

Former supervisor of the NFL officials and now Fox TV rules analyst, Mike Pereira, has repeatedly expressed that due to the micromanaging that HD replay reviews have caused, that many of the “rank and file” are disgruntled and discouraged.

And, if several on field officials can follow his lead and end up with a high paying network TV gig, then who can begrudge them?

Still, we at F.F.I. can’t hope but wonder if this kind of turnover with head referees will have some effect with the new ones taking over botching calls or situations come this fall.

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Former Bucs first round pick McCants arrested, again

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The sad tale of former Buccaneers number one pick Keith McCants continues, as early Monday morning he was arrested, yet again, this time in St. Petersburg for drug possession.

McCants, who was taken fourth overall as the Bucs first round pick in 1990, was booked in the Pinellas County jail for felony possession of crack cocaine.

According to jail records, this is the ninth different time that McCants has been arrested on some charge in the Tampa Bay area in the last eight years.

McCants, now 50 years old, never lived up to the billing of being taken in the top five, as he played only three seasons in Tampa Bay,. He battled weight and knee problems and only registered 12 sacks in three seasons. He also played for the Oilers and the Cardinals in subsequent seasons, but was out of the NFL by 1995.

McCants has repeatedly tried to get his life in order, including giving motivational speeches and writing an essay in the Sporting News in 2011 warning younger players about dangers with drugs, etc. and his troubles. 

The former Alabama All American was also featured on the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Broke” in 2012, where he detailed how he had lost all of his $4.5 million dollars from his playing career.

McCants was booked at 4:24 a.m. in the Pinellas County Jail Monday morning and bonded out at $2,000  on the felony charge for drug possession, and also for driving with a revoked or suspended license.

One of McCants previous arrests was for driving with a suspended license in January of this year and he was to have stood trial on July 10th on that charge.

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