CFT predicts: Independents

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As we look ahead to the 2011 college football season, we take with us the lessons we learned from seasons past. We calculate, scrutinize, dissect and digest schedules, returning starters, coaching changes, injuries, and yes, even hunches, and spew it back in the form of how we think each of the 11 Division 1 FBS conferences — and the independents — will pan out by year’s end.

Of course, these are merely our opinions. Feel free, as we know you will, to disagree. We know that’s why you really come here anyway.

Here are our predictions for the Division 1-A (FBS) independents in order of how we think they’ll do based on regular-season records:

Ben’s take
— Notre Dame returns some great offensive firepower in Brian Kelly‘s second year as head coach, including recently reinstated wide receiver Michael Floyd. Who will be tossing the ball to Floyd, though, is still being battled over between quarterbacks Tommy Rees and Dayne Crist. If the Irish can weather a relatively tough schedule, they might find their way back to the BCS after a three-year absence. (For more on the Fighting Irish, check out Notre Dame Central)

— These are uncharted waters for BYU, who will now be exploring life outside a conference. The Cougars had to experience some growing pains last season with true freshman quarterback Jake Heaps, but Bronco Mendenhall’s squad finished strong, winning five of their last seven regular-season games. Look for the Cougars to get back to 10 wins this year.

— Navy has been the model of consistency lately, but with the departure of quarterback Ricky Dobbs, and road games at South Carolina, Notre Dame and SMU, Ken Niumatalolo‘s squad could be fighting to be bowl eligible by the end of the season.

— Army football has been terrible for years, but things seem to finally, slowly, be turning around under Rich Ellerson. The Black Knights got back to the postseason with a victory over SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl, and the schedule is manageable enough this season that Ellerson could get his team to (gasp!) a second bowl game in consecutive years.

John Taylor’s take
Anything you’d ever want to know about what I think about Notre Dame’s chances in 2011 can be viewed by clicking HERE.  Here’s a hint, though: I ain’t swallowing the green preseason Kool-Aid just yet.

— BYU’s biggest change as an independent will be the schedule.  Instead of annual conference matchups against such Mountain West stalwarts as Utah and Air Force, the Cougars will face the likes of Ole Miss (in Oxford), Texas (in Austin) and home games against UCF and what will now be a non-conference game against the Utes.  A trip to play TCU in Dallas is also in order. Outside of the SEC and their annual evisceration of their own, that might be one of the toughest schedules in the country.  On the plus side, BYU returns 16 starters from a year ago, including all but one on the offensive side of the ball.  Such experience, especially at the quarterback position if Jake Heaps can be who the Cougars think he is, will go a long way toward a successful running of that semi-hellacious scheduling gauntlet.

— Here’s one thing I can predict with relative certainty when it comes to Navy in 2011: they will run the football and run it very well.  How do I know this?  In each of the past nine seasons, the Midshipmen have finished sixth or better in the country in rushing offense, including 2003 and 2005-2008 when they led the nation.  While they return a plethora of talent on that side of the ball once again, they also face a schedule that includes eight games against teams that played in bowl games after last season.  Among those?  Road trips to South Carolina and SMU, as well as their trip to South Bend against rival Notre Dame, their annual military academy date with Air Force at home, and, of course, the season-ending game against Army that’s one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports.  I will say this when it comes to Navy: count your lucky stars that Maryland screwed the pooch and didn’t hire Niumatalolo this offseason when it had the chance.

— Army’s season in a nutshell?  Beat Navy for the first time since 2001.  That’s your objective, young officers.  And, while we’re here, God bless every single man in uniform for what they do for this country every single day.  Screw football; that’s the real deal.


More predictions: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Pac-12, SEC, WAC

CFT’s preseason Top 25

Texas officially adds Syracuse grad transfer Kendall Moore

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In early April, erstwhile Syracuse tight end Kendall Moore announced on social media that he had himself a new college football home.  Nearly four months later, that move has come to fruition.

Texas confirmed Friday that Moore has graduated from SU and officially joined the UT football team.  The Longhorns open summer camp Monday, and Moore will be on hand working out with his new teammates.

As he’s coming in as a graduate transfer — he announced his departure from the Orange in December — he’ll be eligible to play in 2017, his final season of eligibility.

Moore started a total of four games in 2014 and 2015, including two of the first three in the latter season before sustaining the season-ending injury that led to a medical hardship waiver that will allow him to play this season. The 6-5, 245-pound senior finished his ‘Cuse career with 14 catches for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  He caught one of the passes for 15 of the yards in 2016.

In Austin, Moore could very well open the season as the starter.  The incumbent Andrew Beck has undergone a pair of foot surgeries while two others on the roster at the position, Reese Leitao and Cade Brewer, haven’t played a down at the collegiate level.  The former definitely won’t be the starter to start the season as he was suspended for the first two games because of an offseason arrest.

One other option at tight end,Garrett Gray, is making the transition from wide receiver.

Anthony Julmisse, projected starting CB, suspended by Colorado after domestic violence arrest

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Colorado’s rough offseason off the field will continue right up to the eve of summer camp kicking off.

The Boulder Daily Camera is reporting that Buffaloes cornerback Anthony Julmisse was arrested on multiple charges Thursday related to a domestic incident.  Specifically, the sophomore defensive back is facing one count each of third-degree assault and domestic violence and two counts of physical harassment.

No specific details of what led to the arrest and charges have been made available at this time.

As a result of the situation, however, Julmisse was indefinitely suspended by Mike MacIntyre.

“We will determine any further disciplinary action after receiving more information,” the head coach said in a statement. “I am very troubled by these allegations, as they do not represent the values of our university and our football program. I have reported the allegations to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance so that it may conduct any appropriate inquiries.”

Julmisse played in all 14 games last season.  Exiting spring practice, he was one of the Buffaloes’ starters at cornerback.

In June, MacIntyre was publicly reprimanded by the university for his handling of allegations made by the longtime girlfriend of one of his assistants, Joe Tumpkin, of a long history of domestic abuse.  Additionally, MacIntyre was ordered to make a $100,000 donation to domestic violence causes.

Less than a week later, the university’s regents approved a four-year, $16.25 million extension for the coach.

Darren Carrington cleared, will open camp with new Utah teammates

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That certainly didn’t take long.

Not long after Darren Carrington‘s father confirmed that his son would be transferring to Utah, Kyle Whittingham confirmed Thursday that would indeed be the case, although the talented wide receiver still had some unspecified hurdles to clear in order to play or even practice with the team.  One day later, however, a school spokesperson confirmed to the Salt Lake Tribune that Carrington has been cleared and has now been admitted to the university.

Carrington opens summer camp Friday night, and will be on the field practicing with his new Utes teammates.

“It’s always a tough decision when you talk about a player that you’re going to add to your program potentially that has a checkered past,” Whittingham said Thursday. “You’ve got to make a decision based on all the information you can gather, based on the athletes’ attitude. …

“I feel, in this case, that it was the right thing to do to give Darren another opportunity.”

Earlier this month, Oregon announced that it had dismissed Carrington, a move that came a couple of weeks after the senior was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants.  That was merely Carrington’s latest off-field misstep as the receiver was ruled ineligible for Oregon’s College Football Playoff Championship loss to Ohio State a couple of years ago; was cited for open container in October 2015; and was accused of breaking a man’s arm in a Halloween incident last year.

On the field last season he was an explosive weapon as his 606 yards receiving last year were tops on the team, while his five receiving touchdowns were tied for first. His 43 catches were second on the team as well.

Michael Oher: Hugh Freeze is ‘man of God, man full of integrity’

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Hugh Freeze may have been blindsided by his unceremonious exit from Ole Miss, but at least one of his former players has his back.

Homeless for stretches of his teenage life, Michael Oher was taken in by the Freeze family — a 2014 Bleacher Report article notes that “Oher spent one to two nights a week at their house” — while Freeze was the head coach at Briarcrest Christian High School in Memphis.  Oher went on to play football for Freeze in high school, with his compelling life story forming the basis for the Academy Award-winning film “The Blind Side.”

The player and the coach have formed a deep bond that stretches back more than a decade, a bond that hasn’t been broken despite the latter’s resignation as Ole Miss head coach under a cloud of controversy.

“He is a man of God and a man full of integrity,’’ Oher told USA Today Sports of his former coach. “I don’t know the full story but I’m willing to bet that everyone in the world had made a mistake that they have wanted someone to forgive them for.”

The offensive lineman added that without Freeze, “there is no Michael Oher and no “The Blind Side.'”

The news dropped last Thursday night that Freeze’s tenure as the head coach at Ole Miss had come to an end because of at least one call from his university-issued cell phone to a known escort service.  While Freeze blamed the call on a misdial, the administration found a “pattern of misconduct” during a deep dive into his phone records, leading the school to confront the coach about the situation.

After meetings with Freeze Wednesday night and then again Thursday morning, it became apparent that, if he didn’t resign, the school was going to fire him.  Because of a moral turpitude clause in his contract, there was neither a buyout nor a settlement.

“God is good, even in difficult times,’’ Freeze said earlier this week in his first public comments since his departure. “Wonderful wife and family, and that’s my priority.”

“I got some good friends,” he added.

On the same day Freeze resigned, coincidentally, Oher was cut by the Carolina Panthers.  Earlier this offseason, Oher was arrested after an altercation with an Uber driver in which the player allegedly bit the driver on the back.