Todd McNair out as USC's RB coach


One of the central figures in the NCAA’s investigation into the USC football program is no longer a member of Lane Kiffin‘s coaching staff, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

Running backs coach Todd McNair was neither fired nor did he resign.  Rather, as Kiffin put it in a statement to the Times, “McNair’s contract expired on June 30, 2010.”

As did McNair’s tenure as a USC assistant, apparently.

Kiffin added that there would be no further comment on the situation.

In their final report on the investigation into the football program, the NCAA concluded that McNair had knowledge of Reggie Bush‘s dealings with two would-be marketing agents, who the NCAA found had given the former Trojan RB upwards of $300,000 in illegal benefits.  McNair has already appealed those findings, although his job security at the school bearing the brunt of the sanctions may have been foretold when Kiffin refused to comment on the coach’s status.

In a way, though, this could end up being a very shrewd move by Kiffin and the school, whether it was planned this way or not.  

Regardless of whether USC truly believes McNair had no knowledge of Bush’s side dealings is immaterial; a member of their staff was fingered by the NCAA as knowingly looking the other way while illegal activities were taking place, and that staff member is no longer an employee of the institution. USC’s actions — or, in this case, lack of action in not renewing McNair’s contract — could be viewed as a vehicle to curry favor and garner some leniency from the NCAA when their appeal is heard.

What the hell.  It’s worth a shot.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah