'Worst of the Weak' — Michigan back at No. -1

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No. -10 The Oh-for-Nines . . . Eastern Michigan, Rice, Western Kentucky and New Mexico are all still streaking toward perfection! Eastern Michigan made quick work of itself in a 50-6 loss to Northern Illinois. Rice actually held a first-quarter lead at SMU, before handling its business and losing 31-28. Western Kentucky embarrassed Troy, trailing by just a point at halftime, but eventually got doubled up, 40-20, and finally got head coach David Elson (pictured) BLOUNTlegarrette.jpg

No. -6 The reinstatement of LeGarrette Blount . . . Everyone was in full agreement over the season-long suspension handed to the Oregon running back, who coldcocked Boise State defensive end Byron Hout in addition to other acts of mayhem following an embarrassing season-opening loss to the Broncos. We didn’t hear any opinions to the contrary when that whole thing went down. Therefore, it has to make this list when Blount is back for the final three games of the regular season and possibly the Rose Bowl. Time usually heals all wounds in this forgiving society and that’s a good thing, but the revision of the original decision is fundamentally weak.

No. -5 Wyoming . . . The Cowboys experienced their worst loss since 1985 last Saturday, getting blown up by BYU, 52-0, in Laramie. It was Wyoming’s second shutout loss in its current three-game slide. The Cowboys’ new head coach Dave Christensen, who was previously the offensive coordinator at Missouri, doesn’t seem to have many answers. Wyoming has beaten three FBS teams this season, but the combined record of those teams (UNLV, Florida Atlantic and New Mexico) is 6-21.

No. -4 SEC officials . . . Yes, it’s the same old story every week and we’re tired of it too. But these guys are so crooked we can’t ignore them even though we desperately want to. The shameless way they denied LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson his fourth-quarter interception boggles the mind. The officials on the field thoroughly botched the call, not making a decision immediately and then were unable to fully communicate to the crowd what they had determined before turning it over to the replay officials upstairs. The bozos in the booth fouled things up even worse, somehow discounting clear evidence, showing that Peterson did indeed have possession of the football while having, not just one, but two feet inbounds. At this point, we are left to assume that the SEC may eventually resort to shaving points off the scoreboard when nobody’s looking if a game might somehow jeopardize a $17 million check.

No. -3 USA Today Coaches’ Poll . . . Enough is enough. Make the ballots public (like the AP Top 25), so that we can see all of the idiots coaches who contributed to USC (No. 10) being ranked six spots ahead of Oregon (No. 16), which destroyed the Trojans, 47-20, two weeks ago in Eugene. We’re aware that the BCS Standings, Harris Interactive Poll and AP Top 25 also got those two Pac-10 teams mixed up by four, four and three spots, respectively (No. 9 USC, No. 13 Oregon; No. 10 USC, No. 14 Oregon; No. 11 USC, No. 14 Oregon). But at least we’re able to identify the dopey media people who voted that way and we know the BCS computers didn’t stay up late to see how horrible the Trojans looked during their dreary 14-9 victory at Arizona State last Saturday night.

No. -2 Notre Dame . . . Absorbing an embarrassing upset at home doesn’t get you a free pass into this ranking of the truly rank. If it did, we wouldn’t have weekly room for the latest crime committed by shady SEC officials or clueless poll voting coaches. What does automatically qualify a team for inclusio
n are instances when a service academy openly treats a tradition-rich national power as “just another team.” Navy did just that last weekend, walking into Notre Dame Stadium like it owned the place and waltzing out with a routine victory. As long as bowling over the Fighting Irish in South Bend is far easier than beating Temple in Annapolis, Charlie Weis’ boys have a spot reserved here.

And finally, the absolute “Worst of the Weak” . . .

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No. -1 Michigan . . . Easily retaining the top-ranking they earned last week, the Wolverines are now a lock to go bowl-less for the second year in a row thanks to their loss at home to lowly Purdue last Saturday. Michigan hasn’t beaten a FBS team since September, and that was Indiana, so that barely counts as its only Big Ten victory. Allowing the Boilermakers to rack up 38 points and 494 total yards was absolutely incomprehensible. In a 37-0 loss at Wisconsin the previous week, Purdue gained only 141 yards. Since we already know that defensive coordinator Greg Robinson (pictured) is done in Ann Arbor, where is he going to get fired from next year?

UNC and Minnesota line up future home-and-home deal

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While one football series between an ACC and Big Ten team may be hard to come by, North Carolina and Minnesota have put together a future home-and-home scheduling agreement to look forward to. The Tar Heels and Gophers will meet for the first time on the football field in 2023 and follow up with a second game in 2024, the schools announced on Wednesday.

North Carolina will host Minnesota on Sept. 16, 2023. The two schools will then open the 2024 season at Minnesota, either on August 31, 2024 or for a Thursday opener on August 29, 2024.

The ACC and Big Ten each require their members to play one game against another power conference opponent each season. North Carolina already satisfied that requirement in 2024 with a season-opener against South Carolina scheduled to be played in Charlotte, NC, but the 2024 game fulfills the power conference scheduling requirement for the Tar Heels. The home-and-home series will also satisfy Minnesota’s obligation to the Big Ten scheduling policy for both seasons (Minnesota is getting an exemption for 2018 and 2019 due to previous scheduling arrangements being in place prior to the Big Ten’s stance on strength of schedule in non-conference play.

Pitt leaves renewal of football series in Penn State’s hands

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Ever since the in-state rivalry between Penn State and Pitt came to a temporary end in 2001, it has been a struggle to get the two schools back on the field for any stretch of time. With the third in a four-game series upcoming this fall, Pitt is hoping to find a way to continue playing the Nittany Lions on future schedules, but the offer is now apparently in Penn State’s hands awaiting a response.

Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke told reporters Wednesday she has proposed a four-year series beginning in 2026 to her Penn State counterpart, Sandy Barbour, but Penn State has not responded to the offer.

“We’re going to wait a tad more patiently, but not much,” Lyke said, according to Trib Live. “We can’t. We have people who want to play us and good opportunities to play what would be a very attractive game.”

The four-game series currently ongoing between the Panthers and Nittany Lions comes to a close after their meeting in the 2019 season in Happy Valley. According to FBSchedules.com, Penn State will not have another opening for a non-conference game until 2021. That is also the first season Pitt will have scheduling availability for non-conference matchups. Both schools already have power conference opponents lined up through 2025 as well, perhaps eliminating the desire to add another power conference opponent to the schedule.

Both Penn State and Pitt have scheduling requirements for non-conference play from the Big Ten and ACC, respectively, to include at least one game against another power conference opponent. It seems like a natural solution for Penn State and Pitt to agree to a long-term scheduling commitment to satisfy their respective conferences’ scheduling requirements, but the old issue has always come down to the financial incentive of a game. With Penn State playing in a larger stadium, it would be losing out on potential revenue that could be gained by an extra home game when possible. And playing road games at Pittsburgh only helps another program in the state by filling the seats more than any other home game on Pitt’s schedules in just about any season (Notre Dame and West Virginia would be other candidates to help Pitt fill Heinz Field).

It took so long just to get the two schools together for a two-year series, which was later expanded to a four-year arrangement. Don’t count on this in-state rivalry being renewed for quite some time after the 2019 season.

QB Blake Barnett reportedly transferring from Arizona State

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Quarterback Blake Barnett is now on the graduate transfer market. According to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated, via Twitter, Barnett will find a new program to wrap up his college football career as a graduate transfer. South Florida is reportedly set to get an official visit from the former Sun Devils and Alabama quarterback.

Barnett started his football career at Alabama, where he sat out the 2015 season as a freshman. During his redshirt freshman in 2016, Barnett appeared in just three games as Jalen Hurts rose to become Alabama’s starting quarterback that would lead the Tide for the next two seasons (until halftime of last season’s national championship game). Barnett transferred to Arizona State, leaving behind a seemingly tumultuous relationship with Nick Saban, and played in just two games for the Sun Devils last fall, while Manny Wilkins established himself as the quarterback for former head coach Todd Graham.

A former four-star recruit out of high school, Barnett has played in just five games and completed 14 of 24 pass attempts for 259 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Barnett’s latest transfer news comes a day after former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen took a swipe at Barnett, who was ranked ahead of Rosen in various recruiting rankings out of high school.

“Blake Barnett was the Elite 11 MVP,” Rosen said, per SEC Country. “He was the dude that was going to go to ‘Bama, win a couple championships, call it quits and go to the league as the first overall pick. You don’t really hear about him too much.”

As a graduate transfer, Barnett will be eligible to play immediately this fall.

Transferring BYU QB Kody Wilstead finds new home at Kansas JUCO

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With eight quarterbacks on the roster, Kody Wilstead opted to leave the Cougars in mid-March.  A little over a month later, Wilstead has found a new home, albeit a little further down on the college football ladder.

According to the Deseret News, Wilstead has signed to play at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.  As Coffeyville is a junior college, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.

It’s expected that Wilstead will spend at least one season at the JUCO level before looking at making a move back up to the FBS.

Wilstead, a three-star 2015 signee, took a redshirt as a true freshman last season after serving an LDS mission the previous two years.

After Wilstead’s departure, the seven remaining Cougar signal-callers are, in alphabetical order, Stacy ConnerJoe CritchlowHayden GriffittsBeau HogeTanner MangumBaylor Romney and Zach Wilson. Mangum, last year’s starter, is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury he suffered in November of last year but remains on track to return for the start of summer camp in August.