Head-coaching jobs at Colorado, Minnesota and North Texas have already come open, and there will undoubtedly be several more vacancies once the dust of the 2010 regular season settles. However, we now know of at least one school that officially won’t be hanging a “Vacancy” sign outside its coach’s office.
According to a press release issued by the school, Maryland has announced that Ralph Friedgen will return as the Terrapins head coach in 2011. Yes, The Friedge will be back for an 11th season at the school.
“Based largely on the improved performance of our team and student-athletes this season, Coach Friedgen will be our head football coach next year,” athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “Once this season is complete, Ralph and I will sit down to discuss the current state and future of the program. Right now, the team’s focus will be on winning the 2010 ACC championship and a bowl game, which our coaching staff and student-athletes have put themselves in position to do. We hope our fans, students and alums will come out and support us in the effort.”
Based on the rumblings coming into the season — Friedgen was all but fired regardless of what he did this year — the move comes as a surprise. Based on how Friedgen has started righting the football ship, however, it shouldn’t.
After ten games in 2009, the Terps were struggling at 2-8 and it was thought the coach might not make it through the season let alone the offseason (thank you, $4 million buyout). Fast-forward a year, and Friedgen has his team sitting at 7-3, bowl eligible and still with a very legitimate shot at a berth in the ACC title game; if Maryland wins their last two games — home contests against Florida State and North Carolina State — they will represent the Atlantic division in Charlotte come early December.
“I’m excited about the direction of our program,” Friedgen said in his statement. “We have a great of bunch of kids and a tremendous staff. I’m thankful for all the hard work they have put into this season. Right now we’re just concentrating on Florida State.”
Friedgen is 73-45 in ten-plus season with the Terps. This year marks the seventh time his teams have been bowl eligible.
Really, could there be anybody else?
As it’s the last full Saturday of the 2017 college football season, there are a handful of huge matchups with significant implications both nationally and conference-wise. Given where each stands in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, however, there’s none bigger than No. 1 Alabama traveling to No. 6 Auburn in the latest edition of the Iron Bowl.
Not surprisingly, ESPN‘s wildly popular College GameDay pregame show had previously announced that it would set up shop on The Plains for the rivalry game. And just as much of a non-surprise is the show’s designated guest picker.
Charles Barkley, of course, played his college basketball at Auburn and has since turned into not only an NBA Hall of Famer but also someone who is never, ever shy about giving an opinion on pretty much anything — including issues related to college football and, of course, “hatred” of all things Crimson Tide. Well, except for the Nicktator.
Of course, there’s also the little matter of a preseason bet with a certain ‘Bama starting quarterback that will no doubt get some run during Barkley’s third appearance on the show. His first two, Barkley picked Auburn… and was correct both times, the first being 2004 when he opted for his alma mater over Tennessee. The second? November of 2013, when he tabbed the Tigers to top the Tide, which they did.
Just sayin’, is all.
For the second straight week, Virginia Tech has lost a starting member of its defense.
The school confirmed in a press release that Vinny Mihota will miss what’s left of the 2017 season because of a knee injury. The defensive end suffered the injury in the Week 12 win over Pittsburgh.
This is the second consecutive season Mihota’s year has ended prematurely because of injury as he missed last year’s bowl game with a lingering shoulder issue that required surgery.
“I share Vinny’s disappointment that he’ll miss the rest of the season,” a statement from head coach Justin Fuente began. “But based off last offseason, I also know no one will rehab more diligently than Vinny to get back on the field with his teammates.”
Mihota has started all 11 games thus far this season. He’s been credited with 24 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and 1.5 sacks.
A week ago today, Tech announced that starting safety Terrell Edmunds would miss the remainder of the year after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder.
Akron came into Week 13 needing to either win or rely on someone else to lose. In the end, the Zips decided to just go ahead and punch their own ticket to the Motor City, thank you very much.
Jumping out to a 24-7 halftime lead Tuesday night, that margin proved to be more than enough for Akron as they easily cruised past rival Kent State in a 24-14 win. Kent actually outgained its hosts 246-191, but a fumble return for a touchdown with less than 20 seconds left in the second quarter essentially sealed the win for Akron.
Both Akron and Ohio entered this week tied atop the MAC East at 5-2. However, the Zips beat the Bobcats in Week 12, meaning Akron is the first MAC team to claim a spot in the conference championship game at Detroit’s Ford Field next weekend.
This will mark the Zips’s second-ever title-game appearance, with the first coming in 2005. That season, Akron beat Northern Illinois 31-30 for its first-ever conference championship.
Akron will play either NIU (6-1) or Toledo (6-1) in this year’s title game, although it’s trending heavily toward the Rockets as they own the head-to-head with the Huskies. So, the possibilities?
Toledo wins the West with either a win over Western Michigan OR an NIU loss. Northern Illinois needs to beat Central Michigan AND have Toledo lose to WMU at home to win the division.
Florida’s search for a new head coach could very shortly be ready to take another twist.
Despite a certain former Head Ball Coach saying UF’s new head coach would be a current one, speculation on Jim McElwain‘s replacement has seemingly centered on Chip Kelly over the last few days. In fact, a group of UF officials headed by athletic director Scott Stricklin and president Kent Fuchs visited with Kelly in New Hampshire over the weekend to discuss the job.
While it walks, talks and smells like the university has targeted Kelly as its top choice, it appears they want an answer, one way or the other, from the former Oregon head coach sooner rather than later. From Yahoo! Sports‘ Pat Forde:
But with other potential candidates becoming available for discussion this weekend, Florida officials appear to be ready to move on shortly after Thanksgiving if a deal has not been struck with Kelly.
Potentially mucking up the works in Gainesville is UCLA, which fired Jim Mora Sunday and is also said to be targeting Kelly as a replacement. In fact, it’s being reported that the Bruins’ search contingent has already met with Kelly.
UCF’s Scott Frost, who is believed to be Nebraska’s top choice when/when it moves on from Mike Riley, and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen are thought to be likely targets should either Kelly snub the Gators or they move on.
One very likely reason for UF’s reported urgency for a decision from Kelly is the revamped recruiting calendar. This year marks the first time that there’s an early signing period in football, with Class of 2018 recruits given a 72-hour window from Dec. 20-22 to sign their National Letters of Intent.
The sooner UF can wrap up its search, the sooner its new coach and his staff can try to hold together some semblance of a first recruiting class with the program – especially with two SEC programs, Tennessee and Ole Miss, already looking for a head coach while a couple of others (Arkansas, Texas A&M) could be on the hunt as early as this coming weekend as well.