Meet college football's unlikeliest player: 39-year-old DT Andy Staten

There's something unusual about Culver-Stockton College (NAIA - MO) defensive tackle. He stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 295 pounds. He wakes every morning with tremendous back pain. He has two child support payments. And he turns 40 years old later this month.

Andy Staten signed with Ferris State out of high school but, by his own admission, did not take school seriously. "I just wasn't ready," he told Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free-Press. Not long after, he suffered a broken back during a head-on collision, and then spent 15 years in manual labor. Add in the fact that he has two 16 and 12-year-old sons, and Staten is easily the unlikeliest player to currently buckle a chin strap in college football today. 

Staten grew up in a football family as the son of a longtime high school coach in Michigan. His brother, Mark, coaches the offensive line at Michigan State, and it was he who breathed life into his older brother's career. Andy initially resisted, but a desire to spend the rest of his life doing less taxing than cutting down trees for a living. 

Staten is now making the most of his impossible second chance, serving as something of a walking, talking coaching point for teammates young enough to be his sons.

"The payoff is in the classroom, where Andy has a 3.4 grade-point average and has embraced the opportunity to learn again," Rexrode writes. "He mentors his young teammates — he lived in a fraternity house his first year and now lives in a dormitory — and warns them against being too focused on revelry and not enough on responsibility, as he was at their age."

Staten lives in the dorms during the season, and returns home to Dowagiac, Mich., for the summers, where he sells cars and lives with his parents and sons. Through it all, the back pain remains. 

"It takes a special kind of person to do this," said trainer Rob Carmichael. "He plays with pain, he plays with swelling — probably against my better judgment at times. But if it’s a risk he’s willing to take, that’s his decision."

Read the full story here.

Mack Brown's North Carolina home burned down last week

Mack Brown maintained a residence in Linville, North Carolina throughout his 16 years as Texas head coach and had, understandably, increased his time there after stepping down from his post in January. Brown's wife, Sally, is a North Carolina native. In fact, the Browns had recently moved much of their Texas memorabilia to the home. 

Unfortunately, that home burned down last week.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, Brown said the only parts remaining are two chimneys.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the blaze.

This Gigapixel is a cool way to engage your fan base and build social media buzz

So, this is pretty cool. 

Fans looking to remember and share their experience from Mississippi State's 49-0 thrashing of Southern Miss on Saturday now have the opportunity through an interactive Gigapixel taken at midfield of Davis Wade Stadium. Fans can tag themselves and their friends, connect to each other and, beyond that, locate the Egg Bowl trophy somewhere within the interactive photo to win tickets to a future Bulldogs home game.

Mississippi State isn't the first program to do this, but we like what they've done here. It's a nice way to let the game day experience spill into the following week.

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Someone added the Game of Thrones theme to a Big Ten commercial. The result is outstanding

The Big Ten has a new commercial out, and if you live in the Midwest, you're likely going to be seeing this more times than you can count over the next few months as football season stretches into basketball season. However, once you see it get mashed up with the Game of Thrones theme, you'll never see the commercial in the same way.

After seeing this, it's hard to think that this isn't what the folks over at the Big Ten offices had in mind in the first place...it just fits so well together.

For those that aren't familiar with the HBO hit Game of Thrones, here's the intro scene.

College football has its first hashtag on a helmet, courtesy of a D-III program

Before the NCAA came in and ruined the fun, Twitter hashtags were popping up on football fields; starting with Mississippi State's #HailState in the end zones back in 2011, followed by Michigan's #GoBlue during their Spring game a few years ago. However, helmets have remain untouched by the trend. 

Leave it up to a Division III program to change that.

St. Scholastica, a D-III school in Minnesota, has become the first college football program in the country (at least that I'm aware of) to put hashtags on their helmets, placing a small #sucCeSS sticker on the back of their lids. The capitalized CSS stands for College of St. Scholastica.

I hate to say it, but it's only a matter of time before the NCAA intervenes on this as well.

Update>> Grand Valley State (D-II - MI) featured a hashtag on the back of their helmet in 2012, and will be doing the same this season. (H/T Michael Pannone). I stand corrected.

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