Winners & Losers: A 'No. 1' Hindenburg'd again

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WINNERS

Auburn football: it’s Cam-tastic!We pretty much summed up our feelings on Auburn’s win over LSU right Eric LeGrand.jpg Pitt & their fansThe fact that Pittsburgh nearly doubled-up on Rutgers 41-21 is of no import whatsoever.  How the Panthers went above and beyond the call of
duty in the class department in a show of solidarity for paralyzed Scarlet Knight player Eric LeGrand is something that should be acknowledged and roundly applauded.  It was the first game Rutgers has played since an injury left LeGrand with no movement from the neck down, and the show of support via buttons and banners and all other manner of empathy was certainly appreciated by all those involved in the football program.  And something that was very, very good to see from the outside looking in.

Doug MarroneWhile we take a shot at his conference a little further down, there’s no denying that the Syracuse coach deserves plaudits for what he’s doing with the Orange.  With five games left in 2010, the ‘Cuse sits at 5-2; just once in the last six years has the football program hit the mark for an entire season.  Yes, it’s just the Big East, but for all the suffering Syracuse fans have gone through of late, they deserve to feel good about their football program.

LOSERS

Iowa guilty of clock-icide; charges pendingApparently, Kirk Ferentz graduated summa cum laude from the Les Miles School of Clock Management at some point this past offseason.  How else do you explain his heinous butchering of a poor, defenseless game clock at the end of the Wisconsin-Iowa game?  Down by what would be the final of 31-30 and sitting at the Badgers’ 39-yard line with a fresh set of downs, the Hawkeyes could’ve stopped the clock at around :12 by spiking the ball.  Instead, Ferentz inexplicably blew Iowa’s final timeout.  The next play after the timeout was a completed pass, but the receiver failed to get out of bounds and the final seconds ticked off the clock as the Hawkeyes were helpless to stop it.  Iowa may or may not have made what would have been a lengthy field goal, but it was ridiculous that the kicker was never given the opportunity.  And, no offense, but it was just as ridiculous that Ferentz downplayed the final sequence in the postgame.

Losing to UCLA and Iowa State in the same season?

clapclapclapclap…deep in the heart of Texas…

The Big EastAfter knocking off West Virginia — the conference’s only ranked team coming into this weekend — Syracuse is now a half-game behind league-leader Pittsburgh, which has lost to Miami by four touchdowns and Notre Dame for the love of God.  Ladies and gentlemen, your 2010 Big East football leaders!

(Writer’s note: the above was not meant to disparage Marrone and the turnaround he’s in the midst of at Syracuse.  Rather, it was meant to disparage the conference as a whole and further cement the fact that it’s an embarrassment the Big East gets an automatic bid and the Mountain West does not.)

The Blighting IrishI was debating amongst myself whether to put the Navy win in the winners or the Notre Dame loss in the losers.  With all due respect for what the Midshipmen do for our country, it feels so much better to go with the latter.  After dominating the series for 43 consecutive games, the Irish have now been pwned by the Middies three of the last four years, with this year’s being the worst of the trio.  The previous two losses came by a total of four points; today’s loss was an embarrassing 18-point beatdown that was actually worse than the final score indicated.  Navy absolutely pounded the Irish defense into submission, not only rushing for 367 yards but averaging 6.1 yards every time they ran it.  Certainly Brian Kelly has a lot residual ineptness left over from the Charlie Weis era to slog through and will enjoy a significant honeymoon, but losing by nearly three touchdowns to a military academy will significantly cut into the goodwill he’s garnered despite what’s now a 4-4 start.

Yeah, good luck filling that vacancyIf Minnesota is going to find an experienced, quality replacement for Tim Brewster, it’s patently obvious that they’re going to have to open the checkbook and pay above whatever number it is they have in their minds right now.  Not only did the Gophers hand a rebuilding and struggling Penn State team their first Big Ten win of the season, they allowed the Nittany Lions to do it with a former walk-on replacing their injured starting quarterback.  Cha-ching, Gophers.  Cha-ching.

Jane, stop this crazy thing!In addition to today’s 50-17 win over Arizona State, Cal has won games by scores of 52-3, 52-7 and 35-7.  Their two losses have come by the score of 52-31 and 48-14.  The Bears’ only sane game was a 10-9 loss to Arizona.  What do all of these numbers mean?  I have no freaking clue.  And, I’m betting, neither does Jeff Tedford.

Mississippi State Bull…What, you thought we were going to let this slide even though they won?  You trail UA-freaking-B in the fourth quarter, and you’re a ranked team this late in the season, you deserve a spot down here amongst the dregs.  29-23 at home against an under-.500 Conference USA school?  That’s not gonna cut it in the big boy leagues, Dan Mullen.

Bowling Green might wanna try a new sportLike, well, kegling.  The Falcons of the MAC were held to -10 yards rushing in their 30-6 loss to this past week’s Lotto winners, Kent State.  BGSU is now 1-7 on the season, with their lone win coming against Marshall by 18 points.  Shame on you, Herd.  Shame on you.

Gary DanielsonI understand you were just mentioning something that you have heard people discuss, but Cam Newton, as brilliant as he’s been in eight games, has a long, long, long way to go before he should even be mentioned in the same book, let alone the same sentence, as Bo Jackson.  Please don’t contribute to the dumbing down of this country, Mr. Danielson.  Thanks in advance.  (Man, I hate it when people go overboard in praising these players…)

GUESS WHAT?  IT’S BONUS TIME!!!While we won’t even hazard a guess as to how the BcS will shake out, we will take a stab at how we think the coaches’ Top Ten will look when USA Today releases their poll Sunday afternoon.  And, after you read our piece, go state yours by voting on who you think should be the No. 1 team in the country by clicking HERE.

(Again, this is how we think the coaches’ poll will look, and is not a reflection on our own personal opinion as to how it should look.)

1.) Oregon2.) Boise State3.) Auburn4.) TCU5.) Michigan State6.) Alabama7.) Missouri8.) Oklahoma9.) Utah10.) Wisconsin

Alabama confirms handful of staff changes, including addition of Miami’s DL coach

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An offseason of upheaval on Nick Saban‘s Alabama coaching staff has apparently come to an official end.

Early Thursday afternoon, the Crimson Tide announced the additions of two new assistant coaches as well as the promotions/new responsibilities for others on the staff last season.  As previously reported HERE and HERE, the new hires are Dan Enos as quarterbacks coach and Craig Kuligowski as defensive line coach.  Both coaches, who come to Tuscaloosa from Michigan and Miami, respectively, will also carry the titles of associate head coach.

“We are pleased and happy to have Dan Enos joining our coaching staff at The University of Alabama,” Saban said in a statement. “He brings a wealth of knowledge with five years of head coaching experience and numerous stops as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Dan is a bright football mind and an outstanding recruiter who will strengthen our coaching staff and give our players the best chance to be successful.”

In addition to those hirings, Saban also confirmed that Mike Locksley (HERE) has been promoted to offensive coordinator and Tosh Lupoi (HERE) has been promoted to defensive coordinator.  Locksley replaces Brian Daboll, who left after one season in Tuscaloosa for the same job with the Buffalo Bills last month, while Lupoi takes over for Jeremy Pruitt, who left after Alabama’s win in the national championship game to take over as the head coach at Tennessee.

As had previously been announced, Jeff Banks will serve as special teams coordinator while also being in charge of the Tide’s tight ends.  Josh Gattis, who was confirmed as the new wide receivers coach late last month, will also carry the title of co-offensive coordinator, while Pete Golding, in addition to his duties as inside linebackers coach, has been given the title of co-defensive coordinator.

And, finally, Burton Burns will step away from his longtime role as running backs coach and take on an unspecified off-field position.  Replacing Burns in his on-field role is Joe Pannunzio, who had been in charge of tight ends.

NCAA grants Houston LB Austin Robinson another season of eligibility

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As it turns out, Houston will have the services of Austin Robinson a little while longer than originally expected.

The football program announced Wednesday that the NCAA has granted Robinson a sixth season of eligibility. While the school wrote in its release that the linebacker “received a legislative relief waiver” from The Association, the specific reasoning behind the waiver being granted is unclear.

With the NCAA’s decision, Robinson will now have eligibility he can use in both 2018 and 2019.

Robinson began his collegiate career at UT-San Antonio in 2014, playing in eight games as a true freshman before transferring to UH and sitting out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He then played in 11 games in 2016 and 12 this past season, starting four contests in 2017.

This past campaign, Robinson was credited with 33 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack. He also had a pair of quarterback hurries on his statistical resume.

Minnesota losing CB Ken Handy-Holly to transfer

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Heading into spring practice, Minnesota will find its defensive secondary a bit thinner than it was when the curtain fell on the 2017 season.

A school spokesperson confirmed to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that Ken Handy-Holly has been granted a release from his scholarship. 247Sports.com had previously reported that the safety was looking to transfer to be closer to family in Jackson, Ala.

A three-star member of the Gophers’ 2017 recruiting class, Handy-Holly was rated as the No. 38 safety in the country and the No. 28 player at any position in the state of Alabama. Only one signee in Minnesota’s class that year, offensive tackle Blaise Andries, was rated higher than Handy-Holly.

Because of injuries, Handy-Holly was pressed into action as a true freshman. He made his collegiate debut in a Sept. 30 loss to Maryland, and went on to play eight games total this past season.

In that action, Handy-Holly was credited with 12 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Arkansas QB Cole Kelley pleads guilty to DWI

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An off-field situation for one playing member of the Arkansas football program that began during the 2017 regular season has taken yet another step toward winding its way to a conclusion.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Cole Kelley pleaded guilty Wednesday to driving while intoxicated.  While the quarterback was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 89 of those days were suspended while he was given credit for time served for the other.  Additionally, the Democrat-Gazette wrote, the 20-year-old Kelley “was also ordered to complete an alcohol safety class and pay $720 in fines and court costs.”

Kelley was arrested for DWI and reckless driving in November of last year. A day after the arrest, Kelley was indefinitely suspended by the football program and missed UA’s Week 12 game; he was subsequently reinstated after serving what amounted to a one-game suspension.

Austin Allen started the first five games of the 2017 season before going down with a shoulder injury. Kelley replaced him and started the next four, with a healthy Allen returning to his starting role for the remainder of the year.

On the season, Kelley completed almost 58 percent of his 151 passes for 1,038 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions.  The rising redshirt sophomore is expected to compete for the starting job in 2018 under new head coach Chad Morris.