Swami gazing into a crystal ball
Every year I type a headline that I never thought I’d have to type. Welcome to at least the third one of those in 2015.
Tuesday, 24-year-old Donte Faison, the subject of a manhunt led by the U.S. Marshals Service, was arrested following a six-hour standoff that involved the Boulder Police Department SWAT team. Faison was wanted in connection to a shooting in Baltimore — he’s facing first-degree attempted murder charges once he’s extradited — although the fact that the standoff took place at the residence of a current, unnamed member of the Colorado Buffaloes football team brings this under the CFT purview.
According to a statement from the university, Faison is “a childhood acquaintance” of the unnamed Buffs player, and neither the unnamed player nor any of the other CU players who interacted with him since his arrival in the state Monday were aware of his status as a wanted fugitive.
Mr. Faison is a childhood acquaintance of a CU football player and recently asked to reconnect and stay in his home with other players. Every indication we have is that the players had no knowledge that law enforcement agencies had an active warrant for Mr. Faison’s arrest. Our players are cooperating with Boulder police during this investigation.
Faison is originally from Washington D.C.; two current Buffs, defensive back John Walker and defensive lineman De’Jon Wilson, claim the nation’s capital as their hometown on the football program’s official online roster.
Exactly two weeks ago, athletic director Rick George very publicly stated that Mike MacIntyre, 10-26 overall and 2-24 in Pac-12 play, “is going to be our coach next year.“
Following a Week 10 win over Oregon State, Cal won its sixth game of the season and became bowl-eligible… or did they?
Cal opened the 2015 season against FCS Grambling State, a win that is supposed to count toward the six needed for bowl eligibility. According to USA Today, however, a scholarship issue on Grambling’s side could lead to the win not counting for Cal’s bowl eligibility.
More to the point, Cal has already requested a waiver from the NCAA that would allow for the win to count toward bowl eligibility regardless of the scholarship accounting that’s currently ongoing. From Steve Berkowitz‘s USA Today report:
Grambling is a Football Championship Subdivision School, and Cal athletics spokesman Wes Mallette told USA TODAY Sports that the request was made because Grambling officials are trying to determine whether the school has awarded a sufficient amount of financial aid to football players for the game to count without a waiver.
Under NCAA rules, FBS schools generally can count one win against an FCS team per season toward the six needed for bowl eligibility. However, for the game to count without a waiver, the FCS school needs to have awarded — on average — at least 90% of the 63 scholarships allowed under FCS rules during a rolling two-year period.
According to Grambling’s 2013-14 financial report to the NCAA — the most recent one available — the school awarded the equivalent of 52.55 football scholarships in 2013-14. However, that document covers only financial aid awarded by athletics department sources — not all forms of aid that can count toward the scholarship limit. In response to an inquiry from USA TODAY Sports, Grambling’s interim assistant athletic director Patricia Simmons said the school’s athletics department and financial aid office had determined the school awarded the equivalent of 56.44 football scholarships, including all countable aid, in 2014-15. That’s fractionally short of meeting the NCAA’s 90% requirement.
Should the NCAA decide that Grambling falls under the scholarship threshold and Cal’s waiver is denied, it’d mean that the 6-5 Bears would need to beat 6-5 Arizona State Saturday night in Berkeley to become bowl-eligible for the second time this season. Bowl eligibility has served as a flashpoint issue of late, with Cal’s potential postseason plight shining a harsher and much-needed light on the oversaturation of the bowl market.
This year there will be a record 40 bowl games — including the two College Football Playoff semifinals, not including the stand-alone CFP title game — that will need filled with 80 teams. Entering Week 13, and including Cal, there are 71 teams that are currently bowl-eligible. There are 14 five-win teams that could get to that six-win mark this weekend: Buffalo, East Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Old Dominion, San Jose State, South Alabama, Tulsa, Virginia Tech and Washington. There are also four 4-6 teams that could get to six wins with victories the last two weeks of the season: Georgia State, Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas.
It should be noted that South Alabama is currently 5-5 and needs a win either this weekend or the next to become bowl-eligible.
It should also be noted that there are way too damn many bowl games, and the issue of whether a 5-7 team — or teams — will get rewarded for a sub-.500 season will continue annually until the postseason market corrects itself. I’m all for more quality football, just not more football for the sake of more football. I fear, though, I’m in the minority.
A season that will likely end up with LSU parting ways with its head coach will reportedly end with one of the Tigers’ most dangerous threats in the passing game on the sidelines as well.
While there’s been no confirmation from the school, LSU’s student newspaper, the Daily Reveille, is reporting that Travin Dural will undergo surgery this week for a right hamstring tear. As a result, the wide receiver will miss the regular-season finale against Texas A&M as well as a bowl game.
Dural sustained the injury in last weekend’s loss to Ole Miss that seemingly sealed his head coach’s fate. The receiver tweeted the following after the reports surfaced.
Dural is tops on the Tigers in averaging 19 yards per reception, and his 28 catches for 533 yards and three touchdowns are second on the team. The 6-2, 203-pound Dural led the Bayou Bengals last season with 37 catches for 758 yards and seven touchdowns.
A redshirt junior, Dural is expected to make himself available for the 2016 NFL draft. The recovery time for his procedure will be 3-4 months, which puts his availability for the February NFL combine decidedly in doubt.
Fullbacks are a dying breed in college football. So for those who appreciate when one of the sport’s finest positions is actually on the field (yours truly included), it’s tough when one goes down to injury.
Especially just before his team’s biggest games of the season.
Just ahead of a date with Notre Dame and the Pac-12 Championship, Stanford fullback Daniel Marx will miss the remainder of the Cardinal’s season with what the program is describing a “lower leg injury.”
“It’s tough,” Stanford head coach David Shaw told ESPN Tuesday. “Daniel has had a phenomenal year. This is a guy who is going to play on Sundays. He’s that good — a very versatile football player.”
A sophomore, Marx has not rushed the ball this season, but he does have three receptions for 25 yards to his credit. Far more importantly, he’s paved the way for Christian McCaffrey to accumulate 260 carries for 1,546 yards and seven touchdowns.
Headed into a showdown against No. 4 Notre Dame with the Cardinal’s College Football Playoff hopes hanging by the thinnest of threads, Marx’s absence will be missed.
Stanford will turn to senior Chris Harrell in Marx’s stead.
“We have a lot of faith in Chris,” Shaw said. “We have a combination of guys we may use at that position. Chris has prepared as a starter.”