The epicenter of college football will shift to Tuscaloosa Nov. 5 for the showdown between top-ranked LSU and No. 2 Alabama, provided both teams take care of business this weekend of course.
A game that would be dripping with SEC and national title implications deserves a slot in primetime, with little distraction from less meaningful games (too much?).
Unfortunately, the game is currently scheduled for a 3:30 ET kickoff. Fortunately for any fan of college football, that could change.
Chatter we’ve received in recent days has indicated that the game could be shifted from the afternoon to the evening. WAFB-TV, the Baton Rouge CBS affiliate, takes the speculation a step further, reporting Friday afternoon that their network will likely move the game and turn it into a primetime kickoff.
The station writes that “the possible move is contingent on both LSU and Alabama winning their games this Saturday” against Auburn and Tennessee, respectively.
An LSU official told the Baton Rouge Advocate that they have been in contact with the SEC about the possibility of switching to a nighttime kickoff. The issue, though, is between a pair of networks.
CBS is permitted by contract to show just one night game per season, and the network opted to show the Oct. 1 Alabama-Florida game in primetime. In order to move the Alabama-LSU, CBS would need to work out some type of deal with ESPN, another of the conference’s broadcast partners. Such a deal could consist of ESPN allowing CBS to move the game to primetime in exchange for “considerations” on next year’s slate of SEC games.
It’s unclear when a decision will be made; both schools have a bye next weekend, giving the two broadcast entities plenty of time to work something out that’s satisfactory to both parties. And is good for the fans of college football.
Just in the nick of time, Mike MacIntyre has rounded out his new defensive staff for the 2017 season.
The Buffaloes announced on Friday evening that former Purdue defensive coordinator Ross Els would be joining the program and serving as inside linebackers coach. The release notes that Els’ paperwork was completed in time for him to join the team for their second practice of spring ball.
“Coach Ross Els brings a lot of energy,” MacIntyre said. “He has great experience as a coordinator, positions coach and special teams coach, and we’re really excited about having his expertise in those phases in our program.”
Els adds plenty of experience to Boulder, having coached linebackers at New Mexico State, Ohio and Nebraska. In addition, he was the Boilermakers’ defensive coordinator and safeties coach last season.
The move completes the staff for the Buffs after seeing a number of coaches depart to Oregon with former coordinator Jim Leavitt.
Spring practice is just around the corner but Maryland coach D.J. Durkin is still tinkering with his coaching staff.
The school announced on Saturday afternoon that Fordham offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen is joining the Terps as the team’s new OL coach. Bowen is no stranger to the program, having played for the school for three years before becoming a student assistant coach for then-head coach Ralph Friedgen in 2010. He also served as a graduate assistant with the Terps for two seasons.
That’s not the only move being made by Durkin however, as former offensive line coach Dave Borbely is remaining in College Park. According to the school’s release, the coaching veteran will remain on the staff — but in an off-the-field role as Special Assistant to the Head Coach.
Adding Bowen as an on-field coach is the bigger news for the program though. With current Maryland OC Walt Bell still calling plays, the two should be an interesting mix and give the Terps two bright young offensive minds to lead that side of the ball as the team tries to build on a surprising turnaround season from 2016.
They always say a quiet offseason is a good offseason in college football. That appears as though it will not be the case for Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops this year however.
According to booking information and a preliminary police report released by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Arkansas, Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing the scene.
The report also states that Mayfield was booked at 8:21 a.m. CT on Saturday morning and released at 11:07 a.m. A preliminary hearing on the case has been scheduled for 8 a.m. in Fayetteville District Court on Monday.
Mayfield has been a star for Oklahoma the past two seasons in leading the team to back-to-back Big 12 titles. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist a season ago and is expected to be a front-runner for the award in 2017 as a senior.
An Oklahoma statement on the matter said they are aware of the matter but are still gathering information. The Sooners are set to begin spring practice on March 21st and open the season against UTEP before traveling to Ohio State the second week of the year for what is likely a top five showdown.
After floundering on defense the past three years, UMass’ change at the top on that side of the ball is official.
The football program, via a press release, announced Saturday that Mark Whipple has signed off on Ed Pinkham as his new defensive coordinator. Pinkham replaces Tom Masella, who was ousted last month after three years on the job.
Whipple and Pinkham have a previous working relationship, serving on the same staff at New Hampshire in the late eighties.
“I’ve known Ed since we worked together at UNH,” Whipple said in a statement. “I have tremendous respect for his approach and how his defenses have always played. He brings a wealth of knowledge at the FBS level. He’s an outstanding recruiter and great leader of young men. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our program as we head into winter conditioning and spring practice.”
Pinkham had spent the past three seasons as the coordinator at Western Michigan. Last season, the Broncos finished 16th nationally in scoring defense at 19.5 points per game.
The Minutemen in 2016 were 108th in the same category at 35.5 points per game. The previous two seasons, they were 93rd (31.4) and 105th (33.0).
“I’m extremely excited to be back in New England and renewing relationships with coaches I’ve worked with in the past at previous stops,” Pinkham said. “I coached against UMass so I’m aware of the strong football tradition that exists here. I’m excited to play a role in achieving the goals that we set as a staff and as a program.”
Pinkham has also served as the coordinator at Rutgers (2009-10) and as secondary coach at Minnesota (1989-91) during a coaching career that began in 1975.