In what should prove to be one of the closest votes in the history of the prestigious award, the Heisman Trophy announced Monday evening the finalists who will travel to New York City for the ceremony.
A minimum of three and maximum of five finalists are selected each year; Chris Huston of heismanpundit.comwrote on Twitter shortly before the reveal that “[i]f it’s 3 finalists, expect a comfortable win for RG3. If there are 4, it will be a bit closer. If there are 5, it’s going to be very close.”
Obviously, this could very well be a close one based on Huston’s analysis, but if it will be as close as the 2009 race between Alabama’s Mark Ingram and Stanford’s Toby Gerhart remains to be seen.
Because of the depth of candidates in this year’s Heisman race it’s hard to say there were any “snubs”, but there were a couple players with the credentials in most any other year who were left without a ticket to the Big Apple. A case could certainly be made for quarterbacks such as USC’s Matt Barkley, Houston’s Case Keenum, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden, Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson or Boise State’s Kellen Moore, as well as Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon and Oregon running back LaMichael James, the nation’s leader in rushing yards per game.
In the end, though, it appears the voters damn-near got the finalists as close to perfect as humanly possible.
Then again, in the end, it won’t matter; RGIII will be toting the stiff-arm hardware back to Waco on Dec. 10. And, yes, I just called my shot. Why don’t you go ahead and call your shot below?
Wisconsin extends head coach Paul Chryst’s contract through 2022
Winning a New Year’s Six bowl and outperforming nearly every preseason expectation typically results in a nice boost to a head coach’s bank account and that is the case at Wisconsin this year.
The Badgers announced on Friday that the school’s athletic board had extended head football coach Paul Chryst another year, running through January 31, 2022. Additional contract terms such as a potential raise or incentives were not announced, meaning this was likely just tacking another year onto the former Wisconsin quarterback’s original deal in Madison.
The move isn’t new for the program, which pulled the same extension almost to the day a year ago after Chryst led the Badgers to a 10-3 year in 2015 that was capped off with a Holiday Bowl victory over USC. The coach one-upped that performance in 2016, winning the Big Ten West title and getting selected for the Cotton Bowl, which the team won over previously undefeated Western Michigan.
Chryst’s original contract he signed two years ago was for a term of five seasons through 2020. He originally made around $2.3 million a year but should be hitting the $2.5 million mark heading into 2017 with various increases incorporated.
Vol legend Peyton Manning reportedly advising alma mater Tennessee on AD search
According to a report from the Knoxville News Sentinel, Manning will be part of a search committee for the school’s chancellor as she attempts to find a new athletic director following the retirement of Dave Hart at the end of June. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is also expected to be part of the six-person strong committee, which will assist recently hired search firm Turnkey Sports and Entertainment in finding the right candidate to lead the department.
Hart’s retirement has known for some time and the fact that Alabama surprisingly hired Greg Byrne away from Arizona without as much as a sniff from the Vols have made many in the fan base a little anxious about the state of the on-going (and lengthy) search. Manning’s former head coach Phillip Fulmer has reportedly been mentioned as a candidate for the gig but the hire of a search firm and advisory committee suggests that a hire may be a few weeks or months away.
There are few folks connected to Tennessee football more fondly remembered around Knoxville than Manning and you can’t help but wonder if Vols fans longing for some stability and a big name in the AD chair wouldn’t mind pushing the quarterback’s name for the position. If so, perhaps joining the search committee is the first step toward that path and a move that would certainly make a lot more sense than bringing somebody like Fulmer back into the fold.
All Oregon football players released from hospital after offseason workouts
The news, first reported by The Oregonian, concludes a dramatic week for the program and their new coaching staff after revelations surfaced on Monday that the three were sent to a nearby Springfield, Oregon hospital with symptoms of rhabdomyolysis. The condition primarily affects soft tissue and is triggered by overwork and can eventually lead to damage of the kidneys.
Senior offensive linemen Doug Brenner was actually released on Tuesday per the report, but it took until Friday morning for redshirt freshmen tight end Cam McCormick and offensive lineman Sam Poutasi to be sent home from the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Middle Tennessee is giving former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer a chance to get back in the game. Shafer has been hired to be the new defensive coordinator for the Blue Raiders, the school announced Friday.
“We are all very excited about Scott and his wife Missy joining the Blue Raider family,” said MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill in a released statement. “Scott brings a wealth of experience as a defensive coordinator and we can’t wait until he gets started and puts his plan in place. He will have a positive impact on the program and university as our defensive coordinator.”
Shafer was out of coaching during the 2016 season after being fired by Syracuse after the the previous season. Shafer coached Syracuse to a record of 14-23 in his three years on the job. Now, he returns to a familiar role as defensive coordinator. Shafer has held the title of defensive coordinator at Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Stanford (under Jim Harbaugh), Michigan (under Rich Rodriguez) and Syracuse (under Doug Marrone; Shafer replaced Marrone once the coach was hired by the NFL’s Buffalo Bills).
Middle Tennessee ranked 96th in the nation in total defense in 2016, allowing 449.5 yards per game. The Blue Raiders also allowed an average of 35.8 points per game (which ranked 109th in the nation).