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Some big news out of Tallahassee on Monday: Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was found not guilty of punching a woman.
He was charged on July 10 with misdemeanor battery after being accused of punching a woman in the face outside a Tallahassee bar on June 23.
Ultimately, the jury found credibility issues with the state’s case — the alleged victim admitted to being “pretty buzzed,” the woman’s friend who testified against Cook was very drunk at the time of the alleged incident, according to witnesses, among other things — and just not enough concrete evidence to bring a guilty verdict against the star running back.
So Cook’s indefinite suspension has been lifted and he’s back practicing with Florida State, effective immediately. He will, of course, be the starting running back when FSU opens the season on Sept. 5 against Texas State.
Here’s the most interesting note about the Cook trial, though, straight from the Associated Press: “It took the seven-member jury only about 20 minutes to deliver its verdict …”
That’s it? Twenty minutes? That was enough time to thoroughly dissect and analyze 10 hours of deliberations that included nine different witnesses?
Back in July, state attorney Willie Meggs — this is the same guy who decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Jameis Winston with sexual assault and seems to be the go-to source for all FSU legal scoops now — met with the alleged victim and one of the witnesses and decided to bring charges.
“I found them very credible,” Meggs said. “They have a good recall of the events of the evening, and they are pretty confident in their identification.”
So the state attorney thought there was enough to charge Cook, but a Tallahassee jury needs only half a lunch break to decide there’s no way Florida State’s best offensive player did anything wrong?
Cook may very well have done nothing at all and this is not to insinuate that he’s guilty. I just find this a little curious, and given how inadequately recent legal matters involving the FSU football program have been handled, it’s fair to pause and raise the questions.
Meanwhile, #FSUTWitter is going after Auburn’s T.J. Davis, who the alleged victim in the Cook case says she was dating .
THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. USC bans alcohol from locker room
This Steve Sarkisian story gets weirder. After he apologized for acting like a fool at a booster event over the weekend, it was reported on Monday that alcohol has been banned from the USC locker room. Of course, that begs the question: What was alcohol doing in a college locker room to begin with? Apparently Sarkisian likes to drink beers after games, as did Lane Kiffin at USC, and Sark brought it back after interim coach Ed Orgeron had banned alcohol from the Trojans’ locker room.
Sarkisian held a press conference Tuesday morning and apologized again publicly and took questions from the media, so USC should start to move forward from this. But we’ll see, as TMZ reports there are some “high-powered” alums and boosters who are furious with Sarkisian and want him out.
2. Some quarterback news
A couple notable QB battles to update you on: Kyle Allen has been named Texas A&M’s starting quarterback, beating out five-star freshman Kyler Murray, and Baker Mayfield won the starting job at Oklahoma, where he’s a perfect fit for new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley’s offense, the same style that Mayfield ran at Texas Tech before transferring. And, for what it’s worth, this report says Alec Morris is surging in the Alabama QB race with Jake Coker fighting to make up ground after missing a few days of practice.
3. What do kickers do with all their time at practice?
This apparently (that’s Georgia Southern’s Younghoe Koo, who also makes a strong case for college football’s best name).
* Colleague Stewart Mandel has a primer on what is new about the College Football Playoff this year. Of course, this won’t stop everyone from being irate in December when they just then realize the semifinals are on New Year’s Eve.
* Really liked this piece from SB Nation’s Bill Connelly on seven coaches explaining what kind of work goes into a typical game week.
Have a great Tuesday, everyone.
Teddy Mitrosilis works in social content development at FOX Sports Digital. Follow him on Twitter @TMitrosilis and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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