John Harbaugh on brother’s future: ‘You just have to see what happens’

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Based on where Stanford football was before Jim Harbaugh came to town — one win in Walt Harris‘ final year — to where it is now — four wins his first season, 11 this year plus a BcS berth — it’s hardly a surprise that the coach’s name has been attached to many coaching jobs at both the collegiate and NFL level.

Last year it was Notre Dame and Kansas, and Michigan if that position had come open.  This year, it’s been Florida and Miami, and Michigan again if/when it comes open following the bowl game.

This type of speculation is just something that the Cardinal and their fan base will have to deal with as long as Harbaugh is there.  And as long as he’s successful.

With a new year of coaching rumors still very visible in the rear-view mirror, John Harbaugh was asked by Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post what direction he thinks his brother’s coaching career will take.  While saying that he thinks he would lean toward staying at Stanford, he also added the “but” qualifier that makes Cardinal fans uneasy every time their coach’s name is attached to an opening.

“I have no idea what he’s going to do,” Harbaugh said. “We do talk about it all the time. He’s having a baby … he’s not, Sarah’s having a baby, in four or five days, and they’ve got the bowl game, so he’s just swimming right now. So, he’s not even thinking about it right now.

I think he wants to stay at Stanford, I think he’d love to stay there, but then again, you just have to see what happens. He’s not the kind of guy that’s going to make any kind of commitment until he’s ready to make a commitment. I think his commitment right now is having a baby and winning the Orange Bowl. So, we’ll see what happens.”

We think we can very safely and accurately translate what Harbaugh’s brother was attempting to relay: he’s very happy on The Farm.  Until Michigan calls.  Or until an NFL team dials him up.

You hear a lot of things this time of the year as it pertains to the coaching carousel, and there are two tidbits that come up in frequent conversations with multiple people that relate directly to Harbaugh.  One, it’s very likely Rich Rodriguez will be dismissed* following the Wolverines’ bowl game and Harbaugh is at the very top of David Brandon‘s list of replacements.  In fact, you could say he’s No. 1 and No. 2, and possibly even No. 3.

Secondly, we’re hearing that, above all else, Harbaugh’s preference is for his next job — if there is a next job — to be at the NFL level.  And that is really where you hear the rumors fly, with his name being attached to San Francisco, Cleveland and Dallas among others.  Regardless of the rumored destination, though, many are convinced that Harbaugh’s next move will be to the NFL.

The thing is, nobody that’s creating or relaying this chatter really knows what would happen if Harbaugh were offered the opportunity to return to Ann Arbor, or had an NFL job dropped in his lap.  By all accounts, he loves where he’s at now and is not actively seeking another job.  Obviously, nothing Harbaugh says publicly will cause the chatter to cease.  Nor would it keep his agent from picking up the phone if it rings.

And, of course, all it would take is one phone call to change the entire dynamic of the situation.  Especially if the call originated from the 734.

(*just wanted to make things perfectly clear: we are not saying that RichRod will be fired; rather, that’s the overwhelming chatter coming from sources with connections to the situation.)

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

California’s state-funded travel ban to discriminating states raises mild football scheduling concerns

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The state of California is banning state-funded travel to the states of Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota. Those states are added to the previous state-funded travel bans that included Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee due to what California lawmakers say are laws that allow for discrimination against gay and transgender people.

So what does this have to do with college football? My colleague, Bryan, notes this latest decision from the state means scheduling any potential road games for a handful of schools just got a tad trickier.

This development poses a couple of issues for some California schools to address moving forward.

San Jose State is the school affected by this latest news right off the bat. San Jose State has a road game scheduled at Texas on September 9 this season. San Jose State may have to rely on some of that guaranteed money from Texas to cover the expenses, which would put a dent in the total takeaway from playing the game in the first place.

Cal is also scheduled to play at North Carolina on September 2. Cal also plays at TCU in 2021 and at Auburn in 2024. If the ban is still in operation at those times, then Cal will have to budget ahead of time to tackle the expenses. UCLA will play at Memphis on September 19.

The state-funded travel ban to these states may not be an issue for the postseason, as bowl game expenses tend to be carried by the conference and their revenue shares.

Fresno State has a road game at Texas A&M scheduled in 2020. San Diego State has no future scheduling hassles to worry about for the time being.

When ‘physically, mentally ready,’ door wide open for Keyshawn Johnson Jr.’s return to Nebraska

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Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has yet to play a down for Nebraska, but, if it’s up to Mike Riley, he will at some point down the road.

Earlier this month, the son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  This past week, the younger Johnson decided to take a leave of absence, with his father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and will not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

Left open at the time was the question of whether Johnson Jr. would ever play for the ‘Huskers, period.  Friday, Riley left the door wide open for a return.

“We’re disappointed that he’s not here with us right now today,” the head coach said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I think there’s kind of a wellness factor for Keyshawn going home. We talked to him about the possibility of maybe enrolling part time and taking care of his progress toward his degree, and also getting in great shape.

“And we opened the door for return, which is just kind of left open that we’ll deal with at the time that he is physically and mentally ready to do that.”

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.

Ex-K-State WR involved in release imbroglio transfers to Appalachian State

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After public pressure helped get him out of the Little Apple, Corey Sutton is going to resume his collegiate playing career on the East Coast.

On his personal Twitter account Friday night, Sutton (pictured, No. 12) announced that he is “[b]lessed to say I will be continuing my collegiate career at Appalachian State University.” The rising sophomore will have to sit out the 2017 season because of arcane and one-sided NCAA transfer rules.

Beginning in 2018, he’ll have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

The move comes three weeks or so after a very noisy exit from his first college football home.

In early June, the transferring wide receiver revealed in an interview that Kansas State had denied a release to all 35 schools he requested, including FCS and Div. II programs.  Bill Snyder both confirmed the accuracy of Sutton’s accounting of events and defended his decision, then inexplicably ratcheted up the public rhetoric by revealing Sutton had failed a pair of drug tests.

Facing a maelstrom of criticism, Snyder subsequently apologized publicly while the football program granted Sutton a “full release” from his scholarship that still restricted him from transferring to any Big 12 school or one that’s on K-State’s future schedule while he still has eligibility. It’s unclear if the Sun Belt Mountaineers were on Sutton’s original list of 35 schools that was denied by the university.

In his lone season with the Wildcats, Sutton played in 11 games, catching four passes for 54 yards. Sutton came to K-State as a three-star 2016 signee after playing his high school football in North Carolina.