Craig James

Craig James fails in U.S. Senate bid


And, somewhere, a pirate-loving head coach is smiling a satisfied smile.

Craig James, an ESPN college football analyst through the 2011 season, gave up that position to make a run in the political arena.  That run by the former SMU running back, however, fell well short of its goal.

According to multiple media outlets, James conceded the primary race for the Republican nomination for Texas’ U.S. Senate seat late Tuesday night.  With just nearly 70 percent of the precincts reporting at the time, James had received four percent of the votes, which was fourth out of the nine GOP candidates running to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison.

The unofficial final results had James garnering 3.6% of the more than 1.3 million votes cast, or just a little over 50,000.  For comparison’s sake, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who advanced to a late-July runoff for the vacant seat, received 44.6 percent (621,000 votes) and 34.2 percent (477,000) of the votes, respectively.

James left his job at ESPN this past December to make his run at the U.S. Senate.

In December of 2009, Mike Leach was fired as Texas Tech’s head coach after an incident involving one of his players, Adam James, the son of the then-ESPN personality.  Leach has accused James in lawsuits of, among other things, using his “power” at ESPN to get him fired; calling him a “helicopter dad” who attempted to pressure the coaching staff into playing his son more; and hiring a PR firm to spread what the current Washington State head coach refers to as untruths.

(Tip O’ the Cap:

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury