Buff fans rejoice! Hawkins out as Colorado coach

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Buffalo Nation, your wish has been granted and your long regional nightmare is now over.

The reports began surfacing in earnest late Monday night, and officially became a reality with a press release Tuesday morning.  Dan Hawkins is out as Colorado’s head coach.

According to a press release issued by the school, has been relieved of his duties as head football coach of the Buffaloes effective immediately.  Associate head coach Brian Cabral will serve as the interim head coach for the final three games of the 2010 season.

“We collectively believed that it was important to provide the opportunity for Dan as head coach and his current staff to pull things together, and things looked bright just one month ago after we opened with a 3-1 record,” athletic director Mike Bohn said in a statement. “However, things have gone downhill from there.  While we recognize the progress that we have made in several areas during nearly five years under Dan, the negativity and divisiveness that is associated with the current leadership has become detrimental and is beyond repair to our current enterprise and it’s time to make a change.”

I’ve met some tremendously special people and had some fantastic experiences during my time here at Colorado,” Hawkins said.  “Unfortunately, I was not able to bring the wins that so many Buff faithful wish for and deserve.  My biggest pain comes from not being able to see the joy and happiness on our players faces on more occasions following a victory.  CU has a great group of young men running out behind Ralphie every Saturday, those guys have worked very hard in the classroom, off the field, and on the field and have earned the right to win.  I want the Buffs to experience that special feeling.

“I’d like to thank all the great people who surround and support the program, and especially those people on our staff who touch the players on a day-to-day basis; they are special. Please come out and support the University f Colorado football program and the players in the last two home games, as well as on the road in Lincoln, they need and deserve your encouragement.  In the future I wish nothing but the best for CU as it moves in to the Pac-12, I hope everyone concerned with the program will pitch in and support the program on the path to another national championship.”

Per the release, Bohn said a search committee would be in place by the end of the week if not sooner to conduct a national search to name a replacement.  While there is no established timetable, Bohn is fully aware that coaches can begin making in-home recruiting visits on December 1.

Hawkins, who was hired away from Boise State in December of 2005, finishes his four-plus years in Boulder with an overall record of 19-39 and a Big 12 mark of 10-27.  He becomes the third Div. 1-A hot-seat coach to be fired during the 2010 season, joining Tim Brewster of Minnesota and Todd Dodge of North Texas.

“I fully support Mike Bohn’s decision to relieve Dan Hawkins of his duties immediately and appoint Brian Cabral interim head coach of the Buffs,” CU-Boulder Chancellor Dr. Philip P. DiStefano said.  “I believe this is the right decision first and foremost for our players, who have worked hard and endured much this season, but also for our alumni, donors and fans, who have stood by the team over the last five years.  Our focus should now be on supporting Coach Cabral and the team, finishing this season as strongly as we can, and setting our sights on obtaining a new head coach as we head into our inaugural season in the Pac-12 Conference.”

As for who will replace Hawkins as they move to a new conference, the early frontrunner appears to be former CU head coach Bill McCartney.  The 70-year-old McCartney, the winningest coach in school history, has not coached since 1994, so of course he should be considered as the leader heading into the search.

Another name that’s been speculated on before Hawkins’ became official is LSU’s Les Miles.

Michigan RB declares Wolverines actually beat Ohio State last year

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No. 9 Ohio State heads to No. 24 Michigan on Saturday (noon ET, FOX) looking to protect its 5-game winning streak against That Team Up North. According to Michigan running back Karan Higdon, though, it’s Michigan that’s looking to protect its claim over the scoreboard.

Higdon surely remembers last year’s game well. He was there, after all, carrying three times for five yards. However, it was actually Ohio State who won the game, 30-27 in double overtime. The game was incredibly close, as the score indicates. Michigan would have won if not for a pair of Wilton Speight disasters at the goal line, the first an interception that Malik Hooker returned for a touchdown to give Ohio State a 7-3 lead and the second a goal line fumble that ruined Michigan’s chance to take a 17-7 lead.

As we know, Ohio State fought back to win by this much. How much? Jim Harbaugh shows us below.

Higdon figures to have a much greater impact on this year’s game. He’s the Wolverines leading rusher 874 yards and 10 touchdowns, and ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries in Michigan’s most recent home game, a 33-10 win over Minnesota.

Here’s hoping, for his sake, that he can have an impact on an actual Michigan victory this time around.

Finalists announced for a number of individual awards

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The final week of the regular season is upon us. Heck, some teams still have two games to play between now and bowl season. Still, it’s awards season in college football, and the petty matter of actual games won’t get in the way of the pageantry.

Let’s dive right in.

Bednarik Award (best defensive player)
Bradley Chubb, NC State
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Roquan Smith, Georgia

Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver)
Michael Gallup, Colorado State
David Sills V, West Virginia
James Washington, Oklahoma State

Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player)
Bradley Chubb, NC State
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Josey Jewell, Iowa
Ed Oliver, Houston
Roquan Smith, Georgia

Butkus Award (best linebacker)
Devin Bush, Michigan
Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin
Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson
Roquan Smith, Georgia

Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback)
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

Doak Walker Award (best running back)
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)
DeShon Elliott, Texas
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Josh Jackson, Iowa

John Mackey Award (best tight end)
Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
Mike Geisicki, Penn State

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)
Daniel Carlson, Auburn
Dominik Eberle, Utah State
Matt Gay, Utah

Maxwell Award (best overall player)
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Outland Trophy (best interior player)
Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Ed Oliver, Houston

Ray Guy Award (best punter)
Michael Dickson, Texas
J.K. Scott, Alabama
Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

Wuerffel Trophy (best community servant)
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State
Courtney Love, Kentucky
Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame

Winners will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards show in Atlanta, Thursday, Dec. 7 on ESPN.

Kentucky loses TE C.J. Conrad to foot injury

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Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad has been lost for the season to a lisfranc injury in his left foot, head coach Mark Stoops announced Monday. He will undergo surgery to correct the issue on Tuesday.

Though he caught just 16 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns on the season, Conrad was Kentucky’s leading receiver this season. The junior caught one 17-yard pass in Big Blue’s 41-38 defeat of Louisville last season.

With Conrad, a junior, out, Kentucky will turn to senior Greg Hart and/or sophomore Justin Rigg at tight end, though the Louisville Courier-Journal notes that both have battled injuries of late.

Kentucky will close the season against Louisville in Lexington on Saturday (noon ET, SEC Network) and in a to-be-determined bowl game.

Joey Jones steps down as South Alabama head coach

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There’s never a good time to lose a football game 52-0, but even by that scale it’s an especially bad thing to lose 52-0 in a game you had to win to keep your bowl hopes alive to a team so disgusted by its own season that it fired its head coach a month ago.

That’s what South Alabama did on Saturday in dropping a 52-0 decision to Georgia Southern, giving the Eagles their first win of the season.

And on Monday, South Alabama announced head coach Joey Jones will resign following the Jaguars’ Dec. 2 finale at New Mexico State.

“There comes a time in every program where there is a need for change.  For this program that I love so much, that time is now,” Jones said in a statement.  “One of the proudest days of my professional life was being the named the first head coach at South Alabama.  Today is difficult, but it is the right step for me, my family and for this football program.”

Jones is the only head coach South Alabama has ever known, hired Feb. 15, 2008. He led the Jags for three seasons as an FCS Independent before joining the Sun Belt in 2012, taking the club to bowl games in 2014 and 2016.

The loss Saturday dropped the program to 4-7 this season, ending hopes of returning to a bowl game for the first time in the program’s short history.

“Joey Jones is the father of our football program.  He, his wife Elise and his entire family put their arms around the program and committed to its establishment and growth,” said AD Dr. Joel Erdmann.  “He has placed South Alabama Football on strong footing, which is something he and his family can be very proud of and we sincerely appreciate.  His good, hard work and commitment will forever be recognized.”