'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” . . .


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?

Kentucky QB Patrick Towles to transfer

Patrick Towles

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles will transfer, he announced in an Instagram post Sunday afternoon.

Towles leaves school as Kentucky’s sixth-most prolific passer, completing 427-of-759 passes for 5,099 yards with 24 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.

Once compared to Ben Roethlisberger, Towles’ career peeked in a 2014 game with then-No. 1 Mississippi State, as he completed 24-of-43 passes for 390 yards with two touchdowns in a 45-31 loss to the Bulldogs.

But Kentucky stumbled down the stretch, starting 5-1 and finishing 5-7, and Towles stumbled through a 2015 campaign in which he threw nine touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

He’d been passed by freshman Drew Barker by the end of the season, and threw only four passes in a loss to Louisville on Saturday.

A junior, Towles will complete his political science degree in December and be eligible for immediate playing time at a new destination in 2016.

Penn State fires offensive coordinator John Donovan

Penn State football practice, Sept 9, 2015

Penn State has fired offensive coordinator John Donovan, the program announced Sunday.

“I have tremendous respect for John and the work he has put in the last five years,” head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”

Donovan originally hooked up with Franklin when the two were at Maryland, then coordinated his offenses at Vanderbilt and later Penn State.

Despite playing with what many project to be a future first-round pick in quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Penn State ranked 101st nationally in scoring, 108th in total offense and 80th in yards per play.

Penn State dropped its final three games of the regular season and averaged only 14.6 points in its five losses.

Purdue retains head coach Darrell Hazell, fires both coordinators

Markell Jones
AP Photo

It’s never a good thing when a head coach has to fire both of his coordinators on the same day. Of course, it’s never a good thing to be 6-30, either.

Both are realities at Purdue, as the Boilers announced Sunday head coach Darrell Hazell will return for a fourth season in 2016, but offensive coordinator John Shoop, defensive coordinator Greg Hudson and defensive line coach Rubin Carter will not.

“I appreciate the efforts of each of those guys over the last three years,” Hazell said in a statement. “They are quality men who are well respected by their players and their peers, and I am disappointed that things didn’t work out better. But I believe that in order to turn around this program, we need to make some significant changes and move in a different direction at those positions.”

Purdue, 2-10 in 2015, ranked 115th nationally in yards per play and 112th in yards per play allowed.

Virginia Tech announces Justin Fuente as head coach; Bud Foster to stay on as DC

Associated Press

Justin Fuente is officially Virginia Tech’s new head coach. A day after reports linked the two parties, the Hokies made the match official by announcing the 39-year-old as their new head coach on Sunday afternoon.

“Justin is a very impressive individual who also happens to be one of the brightest offensive minds in college football,” Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock said in a statement. “He elevated Memphis to unprecedented heights. His recruiting philosophy is progressive and comprehensive. Coach Fuente has displayed tremendous talent in evaluating players and developing young men as they strive to reach their full potential. Simply put, Coach Fuente exudes all the qualities that Hokies hold near and dear. We are excited to officially welcome Justin Fuente as the leader of the Virginia Tech football program.”

Fuente went 26-23 in four years as Memphis’s head coach, but his success runs far beyond a simple won-loss record. After going 7-17 in his first two seasons, Fuente guided the Tigers to a 19-6 mark in 2014-15, which included a 15-game winning streak, a No. 13 national ranking and a win over rival Ole Miss within that run.

Simply put, it was the absolute peak of modern Memphis football.

And now Fuente is tasked with taking Virginia Tech to new heights. The Hokies dominated the ACC throughout much of the 2000’s, taking conference crowns in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010. But as Florida State and Clemson have risen, Virginia Tech has fallen.

After posting 13 top-25 finishes in 14 seasons, the Hokies are set to conclude their fourth straight campaign outside the national rankings, going just 16-16 in ACC play over that span.

The offensive numbers state exactly why Fuente was hired, and what he must do in Blacksburg; Memphis ranks seventh nationally in scoring offense and eighth in passing efficiency, while Virginia Tech sits at 64th and 59th, respectively.

The cupboard is not bare, though. Virginia Tech is in the midst of a 23-year bowl streak, and Fuente has already secured one key commitment — longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster has agreed to stay on staff.

“I’ve been privileged to work for a legendary coach who always did it the right way,” Foster said. “I enjoyed that chapter and the success we’ve had, however, I am equally excited for the next chapter and working for Justin. Justin and I share a vision for the future of our program. After spending time together, I’m convinced he’s the right person to continue building on the standard we’ve established at Virginia Tech. I’m truly looking forward to working with him and supporting him.”

Clearly, Babcock and the VT brass believe, a Fuente offense and a Foster defense are what the Hokies need to catch Clemson and Florida State.

Now it’s Fuente’s job to make that happen.