'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?

Danny Etling holds off true freshman, named LSU’s starting QB

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Myles Brennan is, more than likely, the future at the quarterback position for LSU.  In the here and now, however, the precocious true freshman will have to bide his time — at least for now.

After a significant, and maybe unexpected, push from the true freshman Brennan, Danny Etling Tuesday was officially named as the Tigers’ starting quarterback in a battle that Ed Orgeron described as “very close.”  Etling, a transfer from Purdue, came into the competition as the incumbent, starting the last 10 games of the 2016 season after taking over the job from Brandon Harris.

“We believe in Danny. We hope he has a great year,” the head coach said according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

In his first season at LSU, Etling completed 160-of-269 passes (59.5%) for 2,123 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.  In his 10 starts, the Tigers went 7-3 in a season that saw them finish 8-4.

Brennan was a four-star 2017 signee, rated as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the country.

Etling’s first start in his second season with the team will come Sept. 2 against BYU in the neutral-site opener.

UTSA-Texas State series rebranded H-E-B I-35 Showdown

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For those not familiar with HEB Grocery Company, it’s a grocery giant founded in Kerrville, Texas, in 1905 by a man named Florence Butt. H-E-B now owns nearly 400 stores stretching across south and central Texas and central Mexico. H-E-B essentially owns the San Antonio area and leases back to its million-plus residents, so it makes sense that when UTSA and Texas State wanted to brand their rivalry, they turned to H-E-B.

Starting this season, the UTSA-Texas State series will now be known as the H-E-B I-35 Showdown

Cue the AD boilerplate!

“We’re thrilled that H-E-B has become the title sponsor for the I-35 rivalry football games between UTSA and Texas State,” UTSA Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey said. “No matter the sport, both fan bases always show up in strong support when the Roadrunners and the Bobcats get together on the playing fields. This newly-branded name for the football games this season and next will only add to the rich history between the two schools.”
 
“It is great to have H-E-B supporting the I-35 football series between Texas State and UTSA,” Texas State Director of Athletics Larry Teis said. “H-E-B has a great relationship with the state of Texas and both universities. We have continued to play UTSA in other sports and the rivalry is strong for our student-athletes and fans.”

The two schools are natural gridiron rivals. They sit just 50 miles apart — connected by Interstate 35, of course — and compete for athletes and regular students alike. The Roadrunners and Bobcats have been Olympics sports rivals for years, primarily as members of the Southland Conference. Each football program is (obviously) in FBS now and have met only once, a 38-31 UTSA win in 2012, since the Roadrunners’ program launched in 2011.

The series will resume Sept. 23 in San Marcos, with Texas State making a return visit to San Antonio on Sept. 22, 2018.

Hugh Freeze reportedly made at least a dozen calls to escort services as Ole Miss coach

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Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze dialed “at least 12” numbers associated with escort services through online advertisements, according to a review of open records obtained by ESPN.com. The calls took place over a 33-month period, stretching from April 2014 through January 2017, and typically lasted two minutes or less.

Those calls appear to be what Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter referenced as “a pattern of personal misconduct” on the night he resigned. The calls are the second phone related-issue connected to Freeze’s dismissal. He also made at least 200 calls to a booster that is under NCAA investigation.

There are two puzzling aspects to Freeze’s calls to escort services: A) that he made the calls on a university-owned cell phone in the first place, and B) that Freeze did not redact the calls from the records request, since other private calls were removed from the public review of his 39,000 calls as the Rebels’ head coach.

“Any personal calls having no relation to UM business are not public records,” Ole Miss attorney Robert T. Jolly wrote in an email to ESPN. “Personal calls will be clearly marked and redacted from the documents released.”

Freeze went 39-25 in five seasons as the Ole Miss head coach, peaking with back-to-back wins over Alabama and a long-awaited Sugar Bowl victory to close the 2015 season but ending with a 5-7 mark and a self-imposed bowl ban for the 2017 season, which will be coached by interim Matt Luke. Ole Miss will sit before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Sept. 11, with Freeze’s character and strict adherence to NCAA recruiting rules a cornerstone of the school’s defense.

Reports: Oklahoma State RB Jeff Carr to transfer

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Jeff Carr is planning to transfer from Oklahoma State, according to a report from Pokes sidelines reporter Robert Allen. That report has since been confirmed by the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman. Carr has since been removed from Oklahoma State’s online roster.

A junior, Carr was Oklahoma State’s most experienced running back but was passed on the depth chart by sophomore Justice Hill. Hill ran the ball 206 times for 1,142 yards and six touchdowns a year ago, while Carr rushed 12 times for 83 yards and one score. His 6.92 yards per carry average led the team. Carr rushed 36 times for 142 yards and one score as a freshman in 2015. Carr also saw his touches as a kickoff returner (29 returns to three) and a receiver (11 catches to one) fall from 2015 to ’16.

After losing the Temple, Texas, native, Oklahoma State will have five running backs on scholarship — four freshmen and one sophomore, Hill.

Multiple outlets have reported Carr is headed to Texas A&M-Kingsville, a Division II school that will permit Carr to play immediately.