All of those big boys of high school football recruiting listed above have loudly bestowed upon the Gators the mythical crown of having the best group of players who may or may not amount to much of anything at the collegiate level.
And, at least according to Rivals, it wasn’t even close this year. Which was a given coming in.
What was perhaps the most surprising aspect of the final rankings was the school that came in right behind the Gators.
Entering this morning, Southern Cal found itself outside the Top Ten of the rankings. Less than a day later? Lane Kiffin‘s first USC class found itself quite a distance behind the Gators but ahead of every other school in the nation to end up as Rivals’ No. 2 team.
Texas, No. 2 coming into signing day, finished No. 3, followed in quick succession by three SEC schools — Auburn, Alabama and LSU.
Another SEC school found its way into the Top Ten as well, and it might be the most impressive one of the bunch.
Faced with the daunting task of keeping a Top Five recruiting class from splintering thanks to the defection of the coach of the No. 2 recruiting team in the country, Derek Dooley grabbed the reins of an out-of-control Tennessee group and brought it home at No. 9 in Rivals’ rankings. Again, that might be the most impressive job of any coach for any program in the country.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Oklahoma at No. 7, UCLA at No. 8 and Florida State — in their first Bobby Bowden-less class in over thirty years — at No. 10.
Report: Gus Malzahn hands play-calling reins to OC
Following yet another pedestrian performance last Saturday, Gus Malzahn took his play-calling to task.
“Hadn’t been very good,” the Auburn head coach said Wednesday. “It’s gotta be better. It’s gotta be better and it will get better.”
To get better, and avoid the further heating of his coaching seat, Malzahn has elected to fire himself.
Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, al.com is reporting that offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee will call plays in place of Malzahn in what’s almost a must-win game for the coach and the team tonight against LSU. The website writes that “[t]his isn’t the first time Lashlee has called plays in a pivotal game for Auburn… [as] Lashlee called the plays in Auburn’s 26-10 win at Texas A&M last season, the last SEC win for the Tigers.”
Since that game, the Tigers have lost three in a row in conference play.
Lashlee will be orchestrating an offense that, thus far this season, is tied for 86th in scoring offense (26.7 ppg). Take out the 51 points AU scored against Arkansas State in Week 2, and the Tigers averaging 16 points per game against Power Five teams.
WATCH: Like his team, Mark Dantonio disappeared during blowout loss
Who knew that Mark Dantonio was into prestidigitation?
As you already know by now, No. 8 Michigan State was overwhelmed and embarrassed by No. 11 Wisconsin Saturday afternoon, then taken to the woodshed for good measure in a not-as-close-as-it-sounds 30-6 loss in East Lansing. The Spartans’ running game was practically non-existent on the afternoon (2.8 yards per carry), and its special teams weren’t much better.
Those two phases of the game essentially disappeared for the whole of the blowout, as did their head coach at one point in the contest.
Briles embarrassingly began his redemption tour earlier this year with a tone-deaf interview that was overwhelmingly panned. Starr, in an interview during something called the Texas Tribune Festival Saturday, likely trumped that level of embarrassment in the eyes of many as the former president vociferously defended his former coach.
“I believe that Coach Briles is an honorable man who conducted an honorable program,” Starr said by way of the Austin American-Statesman.
An outside review, the details of which have never been made public, accused the school of mishandling rape allegations and alleged that the football program, Briles and his coaching staff included, felt it was above the law.
In one of the lawsuits filed that stem from the rape allegations, one woman claimed that the school and the program were deliberately indifferent to her claims of rape. Despite the appearance of a cultural issue that was pervasive at the Waco school, Starr declined to concur.
“I disagree with the sense that there was a fundamental failure,” said Starr. “I love Title IX. It has been an instrument of great, great reform … [but] the pendulum has swung much too far in one direction. …
“I’m going to resist the issue, or the characterization, that there was an endemic problem. Is there in fact a cultural insensitivity to issues of interpersonal violence? That was not the case at Baylor and is still not the case at Baylor.”
You know that feeling when you’re absolutely positive you should stop talking but simply can’t? When you have the right to remain silent but not the ability? Yeah, that.
Rocky Slop: Tennessee comes up empty twice inside 10-yard line, Florida leads 21-3
If this was supposed to be the year Tennessee finally came out on top in the SEC East, the Florida Gators did not get the memo. Florida is up 21-3 on Tennessee in Knoxville at the half, thanks in part to a Vols offense that has imploded inside the 10-yard line twice in the first half. Tennessee was booed off the field, while on offense, as the final seconds ticked away in the first half. It has been 11 long years since experiencing a win over Florida, so you can imagine the pent-up frustration the home crowd has.
The tempers flared right from the opening kickoff, with Tennessee being called for an unsportsmanlike penalty on the opening kickoff, giving Florida 15 free yards without running a play. Two plays later, Florida starting quarterback Austin Appleby completed a 51-yard pass to Antonio Callaway to the Tennessee four-yard line. Three plays later, the Gators jumped on the Vols with a short pass from Appleby to DeAndre Goolsby for a 7-0 lead right out of the gates.
Tennessee looked to catch a huge break on special teams when Callaway failed to hold on to a punt. Tennessee recovered at the Gators’ two-yard line but was unable to punch it in from the door step on four straight plays. Marcus Maye broke up a pass from Joshua Dobbs intended for Alvin Kamara on fourth down. Down 14-0 in the second quarter, thanks to a touchdown pass from Appleby to Jordan Cronkrite to finish off a 93-yard drive, the Vols worked their way back to inside the 10-yard line and seeing a chance to build some momentum. That hope was dashed when Quincy Wilson picked off a pass from Dobbs to the back of the end zone on third and goal.
Florida turned what could have been three or seven points for Tennessee into a 21-point lead. On the first play of the ensuing possession following the turnover in the end zone, Apply picked up 20 yards through the air with Callaway hauling in a pass.Later, on 2nd and 3, Appleby completed a 36-yard pass to Tyrie Cleveland, and a few plays later it was 21-0 after a video review to confirm Jordan Scarlett had punched one in from the one-yard line.
Nothing has gone well for the Vols, but credit Florida for making the plays they have bene making. The Gators have made plays on both sides of the football and avoided letting a special teams hiccup burn them.