'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?

Minnesota losing DL Mose Hall to transfer

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 15: The jersey and helmet of Jon Christenson #63 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers are seen during the third quarter of the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 15, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Buckeyes defeated the Golden Gophers 31-24. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The transfer train continues its run down the tracks, with Minnesota the latest to see its roster hit with attrition.

As all the cool kids are doing these days, Mose Hall took to social media confirm a change in his current situation, announcing on Twitter that he has decided to transfer out of the Gophers football program. No reason was given for the defensive lineman’s departure.

Should Hall move on to another FBS program, he’d have to sit out the 2016 season. He’d then have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Hall was a three-star 2015 recruit rated as the No. 98 strongside defensive end by 247Sports.com.  He was also the No. 61 player at any position in the state of Alabama.

Last season as a true freshman, Hall took a redshirt.

Expansion rumblings once again swirling around Big 12

Matt Ritchey
Associated Press
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Expansion in major college football has been in hibernation for a couple of years now, but it appears movement on that front could be imminent.  Or it could not.  One of the two.

Over the past 24 hours or so, a handful of stories have surfaced that, once again, have the speculation swirling around the Big 12 when it comes to that conference getting back to matching its numerical name.  From analytics to potential expansion candidates to the 800-pound Longhorn in the middle of the room, the Big 12’s annual spring meetings this week figure to at least begin — or, more specifically, continue — the process of settling the expansion/conference title game/league network issues that are all inextricably intertwined.

To wit:

— Monday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby confirmed that in research performed by an analytics outfit hired by the league, a 12-team conference with an eight-game league schedule and a championship game is the best model for one of its teams qualifying for the college football playoff.  Right now, the Big 12 is the exact opposite of that model, with 10 teams, nine conference games and no title game.

According to Bowlsby, the first combination would increase a league’s chances of sending a team to the playoffs by five percent.  As Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News asked, would that slight bump be enough to get everyone onboard with expansion and a title game?

“Some would say we want every advantage we can get,” Bowlsby said. “Others may say it’s not enough to blow up a good scheduling model.”

From Carlton’s report:

Bowlsby said the Big 12 is scheduled to receive “two major reports” in Irving. In addition to information on the title game, Navigate will examine scheduling models for a 10-, 12- and 14-team conference and the variables involved.

In February, Bowlsby said he hoped to have an answer to the expansion question, one way or the other, this summer.  Just how close Bowlsby gets to that timeline will depend on how things go in Phoenix this week.

— Boise State, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis and UCF have all been mentioned as potential candidates if the Big 12 opts to expand.  According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the UofM has been lobbying the conference for inclusion in a next round of expansion if it comes.

University of Memphis president M. David Rudd sent a promotional publication – highlighting the finer points of the city and its major university – to University of Texas president Dr. Gregory Fenves in December, showcasing the U of M as a possible Big 12 expansion candidate.

Rudd said the publication, entitled “Memphis Soul of a City,” captures “the passion and proud history of Tiger athletics including a historic run by our football program.”

The Memphis publication highlights the city’s top Fortune 500 companies, its overall attributes and the U of M’s attributes, including its recent athletic accomplishments, particularly the turnaround by the football program. Tiger football has gone 19-7 the past two seasons.

— And, finally,that 800-pound Longhorn we spoke of earlier.

It’s long been believed that Texas is not in favor of expanding the conference, especially at the expense of folding its Longhorn Network into a conference-wide network, with Texas Tech and TCU, for their own reasons, following in lock-step with the state’s flagship institution.  According to a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer, the conference is one vote shy of garnering enough support to expand.

It’s believed seven of the 10 schools favor expansion. But Big 12 bylaws call for a super majority vote of 75 percent (so at least eight schools) to make a major change. Texas is believed to be influencing Texas Tech’s and Texas Christian’s decisions to also be reluctant to expansion.

Texas Tech has long fallen in line with Texas. Both are public universities that have been in the same league together since 1956, when they were in the Southwest Conference. Texas and Texas Tech were founding members of the Big 12 in 1996.

TCU is believed to be following Texas’ lead because the conference’s power broker reportedly helped the Horned Frogs get into the Big 12 four years ago.

In other words, we’re right back to where we’ve been on multiple occasions in the past: as Texas goes, so goes Big 12 expansion.  Or doesn’t go, as the case may be.

UPDATED 6:38 p.m. ET: If you want an idea as to Texas’ thought process at the moment, I think this sentence pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

Iowa State lands Duke grad transfer Evrett Edwards

DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Evrett Edwards #2 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after a play against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during their game at Wallace Wade Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Duke’s secondary loss will turn into Iowa State’s gain.

In a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account Monday, Evrett Edwards announced that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Iowa State.  The defensive back visited Ames in the middle of April, pulling the trigger on a decision two weeks later.

Maryland and Troy were also potential landing spots for the graduate transfer, who will be eligible to play immediately for the Cyclones this fall.  The upcoming season will be Edwards’ final year of eligibility.

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2013, Edwards played in 25 games the past two seasons. He was listed as the top backup at the Bandit safety position throughout the 2015 season.

Saban or Bear? Bobby Bowden would side with current Tide coach

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 29:  University of Alabama coach Nick Saban chats with coach Bobby Bowden of Florida State University September 29, 2007 at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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Thanks to Alabama’s run to yet another national championship this past season, an old debate has once again been stirred up: Nick Saban or Bear Bryant.

Suffice to say, both head coaches, one a Hall of Famer and the other soon to be one, carry as impressive a résumé as there is in the profession.

Saban has been a head coach at the collegiate level for 25 seasons, from Toledo to Michigan State to LSU and now at ‘Bama.  In that span, he’s won 191 games, seven conference championships (one MAC, six SEC) and, most importantly/impressively, five national titles.

In a coaching career that spanned 37 years, including 25 seasons in Tuscaloosa, Bryant won a record six national championships and 14 SEC titles.  His 323 wins were a record upon his retirement, and are now third in FBS history behind Penn State’s Joe Paterno (409) and Florida State’s Bobby Bowden (377).

The latter head coach certainly knows a thing or two about running a successful football program, and did it during both Bryant’s reign and Saban’s.  During a radio interview, Bowden was asked which run has been more impressive, Bryant’s or Saban’s.  And, in the end, the FSU legend went with new school over old.

“That’s a pretty good question,” Bowden said by way of al.com. “I’d say probably what Nick Saban is doing (is more impressive) because football is more balanced now. I think when coach Bryant came to Alabama in 1958, I think it was unlimited recruiting. You could sign all the kids you wanted, and he’s gonna get most of them.

“There was an old saying back in those days, ‘He’s gonna get his and he’s gonna get yours.'”

The biggest argument for Saban is what Bowden hinted around, that the current Tide head coach’s run has come with an 85-man limit on scholarships while the likes of Bryant had unlimited scholarships to hoard players and stash them on his roster.  Then there is one-third of Bryant’s titled being shared, as well as two other championship seasons actually ending with a bowl loss, something that could never happen under the old BCS system or the current College Football Playoff.

And all of that’s without mentioning the fact that Saban won titles at two different schools.

While what Bryant did at Alabama is certainly legendary and deserves to be remembered that way, Bowden’s right: what Saban has accomplished is indeed more impressive than the Bear.  And, really, it’s not even that close.