To quote “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, “I’m not dead yet!”
Such is the case with the Toomer’s Corner tree poisoning incident.
Initially given a slim-to-none chance of surviving, Auburn officials have now said that lower amounts of the herbicide Spike 80DF were found in the top 6-8 inches of the soil surrounding the two live oak trees than originally feared.
Much of the top layer of the soil has been removed and replaced with a charcoal mix to try and absorb remaining traces of the herbicide in the week following the initial report.
“The good news is the concentrations are much lower than we initially detected in the beds around the trees. The bad news is we still detected herbicide,” said AU professor of horticulture Gary Keever. Keever has been on the task force assigned to try and save the trees.
“Is your glass half full or half empty? You can look at it either way. I choose to be an optimist because we’re doing the right thing.”
Auburn officials believe a four-pound box of Spike 80DF was used to poison the trees — enough to cover an acre — but aren’t sure how much of the herbicide was absorbed. Tests Monday will be conducted to see if ground water has been contaminated.
Harvey Updyke, the man suspected of poisoning the trees, was arrested shortly after supposedly calling a radio show to announce the act. He was released on $50,000 bail on Feb. 18, and according to the Birmingham News, has been living in his car by a creek somewhere in Alabama.
Those within the college football industry said Whit Babcock and Virginia Tech would be the first major program with a head coaching vacancy to make a hire. It appears they were correct.
As his team beats SMU down something fierce, reports indicate Memphis head coach Justin Funete is on his way out the door for Blacksburg.
Fuente, 39, arrived from TCU following the 2011 season and brought Memphis out of the college football abyss and into the national consciousness. The Tigers went 7-17 in Fuente’s first two seasons, then skyrocketed to 10-3 with a share of the American Athletic Conference championship in 2014 and a (soon to be) 9-3 mark in 2015.
Memphis opened this season 8-0 — running its overall win streak to 15 games — with a win over Ole Miss, rising as high as No. 13 in the College Football Playoff poll.
In Virginia Tech, Fuente inherits a program many described as the best current opening outside of USC, as the Hokies battle for Virginia for a berth in their 23rd straight bowl game.
And keeping around one of the most respected defensive coordinators in the business? That’s a heck of a start to get the Hokies back on top again.
Tonight’s game against Texas A&M will reportedly be Les Miles‘ last at LSU. Unless it’s not, depending on who or which reports you want to believe.
Regardless, speculation has been rampant that, if/when LSU pulls the trigger and dismisses Miles, their No. 1 target by far is Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. The former LSU offensive coordinator has publicly brushed aside the speculation of late, but now is reportedly telling those in positions of power at his current university that he has no intentions of leaving.
From a report by the Palm Beach Post‘s Tom D’Angelo:
Jimbo Fisher met with Florida State president John Thrasher this week and told Thrasher he does not have to worry about losing his head coach.
Sources have told the Post that Fisher, whose name has been connected to the expected opening at LSU, has made it clear he is happy with the administration, the support he receives and the direction of the program, and has no intentions of leaving Florida State for another coaching job at this time.
It seems likely that Miles’ time in Baton Rouge is quickly coming to an end, even as an ESPN report intimates that he could save his job with a win today, as does FootballScoop.com. It doesn’t appear, though, that Fisher will be riding in on his white horse to “save” the Tigers football program if Miles is jettisoned.
Then again, Nick Saban was not going to be the head coach at Alabama before he was, sooo…
No. 8 Ohio State leads No. 10 Michigan 14-10 at the break in Ann Arbor.
Ohio State struck first with a seven-play, 94-yard march late in the first quarter, aided by a highly questionable flag. The Wolverines had forced a Buckeyes punt from their own 9, but a roughing the kicker call, on a play where Ohio State punter Cameron Johnston didn’t appear to make contact with a Wolverine, kept the drive alive. Ezekiel Elliott broke free for a 66-yard run to plays after the flag, and J.T. Barrett scored from seven yards out two plays later.
After mounting drives of 43 and 28 yards on its first two possessions, Michigan answered Ohio State’s score with a short field goal. The Wolverines moved to the Buckeyes’ 6 until two straight incomplete passes forced a 25-yard Kenny Allen field goal at the 9:25 mark of the second quarter.
Ohio State immediately answered, moving 75 yards in nine snaps — all but the first carries by Barrett or Elliott — to push the lead to 14-3 with 5:01 remaining before the half. Michigan, though, answered that answer with a five-yard Jake Rudock touchdown pass to Jehu Chesson on 3rd-and-2 with one minute remaining.
Rudock threw 24 times in the half, completing 14 for 178 yards and a touchdown. Jabrill Peppers led the Wolverines with five rushes for 21 yards and two grabs for 25 yards. Chesson caught four passes for 53 yards and a score, and Jake Butt nabbed three grabs for 43 yards.
Elliott charged Ohio State with 10 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown, while Barrett rushed eight times for 64 yards and a touchdown while completing 3-of-6 throws for 18 yards.
Ohio State will receive to open the second half.
Illinois has extended year-long interim head coach Bill Cubit for another two seasons, the program announced Saturday afternoon. Does that make him a short-term full-time head coach or a long-term interim coach? Or a combination of the two?
Either way, Cubit is in Champaign to stay through the 2017 season.
A mitigating factor here, undoubtedly, is the absence of a full-time chancellor and a full-time athletics director.
“Bill has stepped in during an extremely difficult period and done an outstanding job in leading our football program since August,” interim athletics director Paul Kowalczyk said in a statement. “Our student-athletes have responded in a positive manner and we feel he is the best person at this time to be the head coach. We wanted to allow Bill to make decisions regarding the program as the head coach without the interim title, and lead the Fighting Illini into Saturday’s game without speculation.”
Cubit’s extended contract will pay him $1.2 million annually. Former Illini head coach Tim Beckman made a reported $1.8 million.
“During the past three months, Coach Cubit has led this team with a steady and experienced hand,” interim chancellor Barbara Wilson said. “He has earned respect and appreciation from all of us. This move will allow the permanent Athletics Director to evaluate the program at his or her own schedule and make decisions based on those evaluations once that search is completed.”
Illinois is 5-6 this season, playing to extend its season at home against No. 16 Northwestern (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU).