Hokies-to-SEC rumors? ‘Total poppycock’


With Texas A&M all but in as the 13th member of the SEC, the rumor mill’s sights have been trained on not only which school will replace the Aggies in the Big 12 — or how many schools — but also which school will become the SEC’s 14th member and how soon.

As has been the case since the Aggies-to-the-SEC speculation first surfaced with a ferocity late last month, Virginia Tech has been rumored by more than one media outlet to be not only a perfect fit for the SEC, but also a school that would be willing to at least think about a move from the ACC.

Tech officials had previously denied the rumors, and did so politely.  This time around, though, the school has unleashed some very harsh, pointed and “salty” language in yet another attempt to, once and for all, knock down the speculation.

“Total poppycock,” Tech presidential spokesman Larry Hincke told the Newport News Daily Press, presumably before going to wash out that potty mouth of his with soap. “How many times do we have to say it? If one of these rumormongers, would be willing to cite their ‘multiple sources,’ it might lend some credence. Frankly, we’re tired of other people telling us what our future is.

“We are not interested. Nothing has changed. My president will not dignify wild speculation. Our last statement still stands. Bottom line: this is not on our radar screen.”

Suffice to say, there’s not a whole helluva lot of gray area in Mr. Hincke’s statement; Tech is flat-out stating they have no interest in the SEC.  None.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.

Would Tech’s tune change if the SEC came a callin’?  Based on that statement, no.  But, given how this game of conference dominoes has been played over the past 15 months or so, you just never know what the collegiate landscape will look like a year from now.

(Tip O the Cap: Mr. SEC.com)

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
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Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.