- Jerry Sandusky passed on the Temple coaching job? The Owls dodged one there.
- The halo over Joe Paterno‘s head on a mural has been removed. Here’s a picture.
- Obviously, the Freeh report has dominated Penn State headlines, but the annual Lift For Life did raise over $100,000 for the Kidney Cancer Association.
- Spencer Hall and SB Nation take on the Big 12. If you need to laugh — and judging by many of the comments over the past 48 hours, I would say that’s an affirmative — I would recommend clicking the link.
- Frank Beamer lost 32 pounds? Good for him.
Saturday offseason one-liners
Oklahoma State has dismissed freshman cornerback Juwan Offray from the football program.
According to the original report published by OColly.com, Offray was let go by the football program following an arrest for public intoxication Sunday morning. Offray was arrested with wide receiver Jhajuan Seales after the two were found passed out in a fast food drive thru. Per the report, this was not the first strike for Offray, but the details of any previous infractions have not been confirmed.
Offray is still enrolled at Oklahoma State, although it is being reported he will pursue a transfer in the future to continue playing football elsewhere in the Big 12.
— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) October 24, 2014
Offray has appeared in all seven games to this point in the season for Oklahoma State, with three tackles to show for it. Oklahoma State’s secondary should prove to be as vulnerable as ever as the depth thins out following this dismissal. Oklahoma State ranks 10th in the 10-team Big 12 against the pass. The Cowboys have allowed an average of 288.4 passing yards per game, and Baylor and Oklahoma still remain on the schedule after West Virginia today. So do Kansas State and Texas.
Entering the 2014 college football season, it would have been wise to suggest Cincinnati and Boise State would play a key role in the new Group of Five hunt for the automatic access bowl spot under the new structure. As Friday came and went, the Bearcats and Broncos still hold some cards in the chase for a spot in the access bowl line-up, though perhaps not quite as initially expected.
As a general reminder, one spot in the College Football Playoff New Years Bowl line-up will be reserved for the highest-ranked champion from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West Conference or Sun Belt Conference. That ranking will be determined by the College Football Playoff selection committee (te committee begins releasing its top 25 ranking on Tuesday night). This new structure figures to be one that should see programs like Cincinnati and Boise State in the big bowl conversation on a somewhat regular basis. However, both teams have seemed to take a bit of a step back for other potential candidates this season.
East Carolina still looks to be the frontrunner on the strength of victories over a pair of ACC schools (Virginia Tech, North Carolina), but that ground is a little less stable than it was a month ago. Virginia Tech was tanked at home by Miami and is now in slight danger of not making a bowl game. UNC also has an uphill battle to become bowl-eligible. Marshall is waiting for some help as they look to run through an undefeated, 13-0 season (13-0 with a Conference USA championship game victory). Marshall likely needs East Carolina to lose a second game this season to move past the Pirates. The way East Carolina played Thursday night against UConn and the way Cincinnati performed against USF should prove to most that Cincinnati is East Carolina’s biggest threat to a New Years bowl trip.
Mike Boone rushed for 212 yards to lead Cincinnati past USF Friday night, 34-17. The preseason media favorite in the American put up nearly 600 yards of offense in the game and went three-for-three on fourth-down conversion attempts. Gunner Kiel has played well as the team’s starting quarterback, but Cincinnati already has three losses on the year. With those losses, Cincinnati may need a lot of help even to sniff a New Years access bowl. But they still pose a serious threat to ECU.
A third contender appears to be Colorado State, but the Rams have a Boise State problem. Boise State won a head-to-head match-up with the Rams earlier this season, which means Boise State would have to lose once more while Colorado State wins out in order for the Rams to compete in the Mountain West Conference championship game. Without a conference championship, Colorado State will not qualify for the Group of Five access bowl consideration under the selection committee’s guidelines. Boise state blew away a sinking BYU program Friday night in non-conference action. Boise State still has games against New Mexico, San Diego State, Wyoming and Utah State. Colorado State still has five more conference games to play through, including tonight’s home game against Wyoming.
Boise State has lost twice, including a non-conference neutral site game against Ole Miss. The Broncos have some catching up to do to make a push for a New Years bowl game, but maybe Boise State is hitting its stride at just the right time. Could a 2-loss Boise State edge an undefeated Marshall? Possibly, although probably not very likely. A 1-loss East Carolina? Not likely. But a three-loss Cincinnati? Absolutely.
This is going to be fun.
For the second time this season, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota threw five touchdowns. For the first time this season, he was intercepted. It was another wild night for offensive football as No. 6 Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) pulled away from upset-minded California (4-4, 2-4 Pac-12) Friday night in the first college football game ever played in new Levi’s Stadium. The Ducks continued to roll with a 59-41 victory in a game that saw plenty of offense.
Mariota continued on his Heisman campaign with 326 passing yards, 5 touchdowns and 36 rushing yards as Oregon proved to have just a bit more offense than a rising Cal program. The game was a back-and-forth contest with the offenses trading scores on the game’s first four possessions. After going down 14-7 in the first quarter, Oregon rattled off 24 straight points to seemingly take control of the game. Cal answered before halftime though by picking up a pair of touchdowns in the span of a little under two minutes, thanks in part to an Oregon fumble. With the lead down to three points (31-28), Mariota led the Ducks down field to pad the lead before the break. He did not have to far to go either, as the Ducks started at their 40-yard line. Three plays later, Mariota connected with Dwayne Stanford for a 24-yard touchdown and a 10-point lead.
After halftime Mariota and Byron Marshall hooked up for a 54-yard touchdown pass to quickly get on the board in the second half. At this point Oregon seemed to have a hold of the game. A short touchdown run from Royce Freeman midway through the third quarter gave Oregon a comfortable 52-28 lead.
California went into this game knowing they would be able to move the football and score some points against Oregon. The Ducks have been vulnerable to offenses of this nature in the past few years, but the Ducks still have an overall advantage in talent to be able to overcome holes on defense most of the time. California quarterback Jared Goff ran the offense of Sonny Dykes very well against Oregon by throwing for 360 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. A questionable fumble that was upheld by a video replay hurt Goff and Cal’s chances to make things a little more interesting in the first half. Goff may have been moving his arm forward as the Oregon defense knocked the ball out of his hand. The video replay was not very definitive either way on the play, but because the ruling on the field was a fumble it was far from enough to overturn the call. If the call had been there was forward motion of Goff’s arm, video replay still may have been questionable enough to not overturn the call for a fumble either.
Since losing to Arizona, Oregon has won three straight games in Pac-12 play. At this point, Oregon looks to be the team to beat in the Pac-12 and should be on track for a return trip to the Pac-12 championship game after missing the last two years (Stanford represented the Pac-12 North each of the past two seasons). Next up for Oregon will be a home game against Stanford. The Cardinal have been a trip for Oregon the past couple of years. This should be the biggest hurdle for Mariota and head coach Mark Helfrich to get over before making any case for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Oregon hosts Stanford on November 1.
At some point, Oregon may have to play some defense, but with what is sitting in front of them the rest of the way into the postseason, these Ducks should keep flying.
Meanwhile, California is still sitting two wins shy of becoming eligible for postseason play. The BEars will have quite an uphill battle to get those two wins too. The next two games will be played on the road, first at Oregon State and then at USC. The season wraps up at home with games against Stanford and BYU. Stanford’s defense could be tough, but the Cardinal have no offense. BYU was shredded Friday night by Boise State and continue to be in some form of free fall mode since losing quarterback Taysom Hill.
California has enough to get two more wins, but they may not come easily.
Four quarterbacks have played for the Vanderbilt Commodores this season. Sophomore Patton Robinette has proven to be the most effective during the limited time he’s been at the helm of the offense.
However, Robinette is recovering from a concussion and won’t start Saturday against the Missouri Tigers despite being cleared to play.
QB Patton Robinette has cleared medical protocols, will be in uniform Saturday. Johnny McCrary will get 1st career start vs. Mizzou.
— VandyFootball (@VandyFootball) October 24, 2014
Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason already made 10 changes at the quarterback position through seven games. Freshman Wade Freebeck started last weekend against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers. Freedbeck was 5-of-7 passing for 20 yards before suffering a finger injury during the Commodores’ narrow 21-20 over the FCS program.
Freshman Johnny McCrary took over for Freebeck and played relatively well. The two then competed during practice this week to be the team’s starter. McCrary eventually won the opportunity to start this Saturday.
“When I step on the field, I can only do my best,” McCrary told The Tennessean‘s Adam Sparks Wednesday. “If my best isn’t good enough, I’ll take myself out of the game. You can tell if you’re not moving this team, but I want to stay tough and maybe something special will happen.”
If McCary doesn’t play at his best, he won’t have to pull himself. Mason has proven he’s more than willing to make changes at the position. Now that Robinette is healthy, McCrary could very well be on a short leash.
Syracuse is the latest football program to find itself in the clutches of the NCAA.
While the Orange’s basketball team was believed to be the focus of an ongoing investigation, there are concerns regarding the football program, too.
Syracuse.com’s Nate Mink reported the investigation could affect multiple areas within the school’s athletic department.
“The Syracuse football program is part of the wide-ranging NCAA investigation into the school’s athletic department,” sources told Mink.
“The information shows that the NCAA inquiry that has swirled around the basketball team for two years is more involved, and that the football team is part of the investigation and potentially exposed to penalties. It’s unclear if other teams are involved.”
If the Orange football team was to receive any type of sanctions, possible infractions apparently didn’t occur during Doug Marrone‘s tenure. Marrone served as the Orange’s head coach from 2009-12. The current head coach of the Buffalo Bills spoke with Fink about possible reasons behind the investigation.
“There’s nothing that I know about that we did that wasn’t either punished or put forth,” Marrone said.
“One thing I did, if we made a mistake, an incidental contact or something, I just always reported it. It’s not worth it. This way I can sleep at night.”
Syracuse officials are expected to meet with the NCAA in Indianapolis at some point before the end of the month.
UPDATE (8:45 ET): ESPN.com’s Brett Murphy reported Syracuse officials will go to Indianapolis on Oct. 30-31 to face the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.
While the basketball program is the primary target of the investigation, the football program might not escape unscathed.
“The football team is also facing allegations involving extra benefits, but only for a two-or-three-year stretch around 2004 or 2005,” a source told McMurphy.
The time period falls between Syracuse’s transition from Paul Pasqualoni to Greg Robinson as the team’s head coach. The Orange were 7-16 during those two campaigns.
Some institutions are serious about keeping the student in student-athlete.
The Maryland Board of Regents unanimously voted in favor of a policy “denying bonuses to coaches and athletic directors whose players don’t measure up academically”, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“I think this is another step for Maryland to be in the vanguard on issues of intercollegiate athletics,” former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, who is a member of the Board of Regents, told the Sun. “They were a leader on guaranteed scholarships and now they are a leader in academic accountability.”
Maryland approved a “lifetime guarantee degree” in August. At that time, athletic director Kevin Anderson said, “Our vision is to be the best intercollegiate athletic program while producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in the local, state and global communities. We are confident ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee’ will further demonstrate our commitment to our student-athletes’ pursuit of a college degree.”
The school’s commitment — which extends to Towson, Coppin State and UMBC — took a logical step by making its coaches more accountable for the academic performance of their athletes.
The coaches’ bonuses will ultimately be tied to the school’s yearly Academic Progress Rate. To determine a school’s APR, as defined by the NCAA, “a score of a thousand means every student-athlete on that team stayed eligible and returned to school. You begin losing points for students who are not eligible and/or are not retained.”
During the 2012-13 seasons, the Maryland Terrapins received a score of 950, which would have been worst among Big Ten schools. Clearly, there is room for improvement from Maryland head coach Randy Edsall.
This decision also becomes a recruiting advantage for the Terrapins. With the school’s added emphasis on education and new demands on its coaches, parents can see how dedicated the university is to each student-athlete. Education is at the forefront for Maryland, and it will only help the school’s athletics.
Saturday’s meeting between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Pitt Panthers is a crucial match up in the ACC Coastal division. Both teams are trying to stay within striking distance of the Duke Blue Devils.
The Yellow Jackets will have to do so without their starting right tackle. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chris Griffin has been ruled out for Saturday’s contest.
The redshirt freshman started all seven games on the strong side this season, but he’s currently dealing with a shoulder injury.
With Griffin out of the lineup, another redshirt freshman, Eason Fromayan, is expected to slide into the starting lineup. Fromayan already started one game this season at left tackle when Bryan Chamberlain was unable to play in the Duke contest due to an ankle injury.
Griffin isn’t the only starter that’s been ruled out for the upcoming game. Starting B-back (fullback) Zach Laskey is also dealing with a shoulder injury and won’t be able to play against Pitt.
Laskey is a key component in Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack, which is currently ranked fourth overall in rushing yards per game. The fullback is the team’s second-leading rusher with 595 yards on the ground.
Seniors Synjyn Days and Matt Connors should be able to fill in for Laskey and provide the presence needed to keep the Yellow Jackets’ inside running attack viable. Without the mid-line option, the Panthers will have a much easier time defending the outside runs or pitches by quarterback Justin Thomas.
These injuries will only help a Pitt defense that ranks 18th in the nation against the run.
Running backs such as Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and even South Carolina’s Mike Davis are all expected to bypass their senior seasons and enter April’s NFL draft. A surprise name could enter the equation.
None of those talented backs lead the FBS in rushing, though. Indiana’s Tevin Coleman does.
Coleman’s 1,192 rushing yards and 8.8 yards per carry makes the running back one of the most explosive players in all of college football. Due to this season’s success, Coleman, a junior, now appears to be leaning toward entering the NFL draft.
“There’s been scant news directly from the source but people close to the Indiana Hoosier program are planning for the departure of Tevin Coleman at seasons end,” DraftInsider.net’s Tony Pauline reported.
From a football perspective there is very little reason why Coleman should return this season. He’s already one of the top running backs in the country, and his body hasn’t taken much of a beating after sharing the backfield most of his career. It’s an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot instead of adding more wear and tear to his body.
While the Hoosiers couldn’t replace what Coleman brought to the team the past two seasons (including 23 rushing touchdowns and counting), they can continue to sprinkle freshman running back Devine Redding into the rotation to make sure he’s ready to take over a much bigger role once Coleman and senior D’Angelo Roberts are no longer with the program next season.
Before Csont’e York can go on to the next chapter of his football-playing career, he’ll have to atone for some of his past transgressions.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the former Michigan wide receiver was sentenced to, among other things, 365 days in jail — he’ll have to serve seven — in connection to the incident that he led him to becoming the former Michigan wide receiver. In late September, York pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one charge of assault and battery. In exchange for that plea deal, another assault and battery charge was dropped.
In mid-July, York became involved in a verbal disagreement outside of a drinking establishment in Ann Arbor. Security video that was released Aug. 12 showed York sucker-punching 22-year-old male, who suffered a broken jaw as a result.
The victim in the case requested that York not be sentenced to jail. The judge had other ideas.
“I feel very strongly that some jail term is appropriate to hold you accountable so you can reflect on your actions and see that your behavior will not be tolerated,” Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines said in sentencing York according to the Free Press. “In balancing all those factors — accountability, rehabilitation, considering protecting the community and the wishes of victim in this case — I’m going to sentence you to 365 days in jail. I’m suspending the rest, and you will serve seven of those days.”
The paper writes that “[t]he seven-day sentence will be split, with four days occurring immediately, then York being released and returning to jail Oct. 31 for the final three days.”
In addition to the jail time, York was sentenced to 24 months probation; $540 in court fines and costs; and payment of victim medical expenses that currently total $2,134.70. Even more damaging financially for York is that he will also be held responsible for any future unpaid medical expenses connected to the assault, which the judge said could exceed $70,000.
York has transferred to Toledo although he’s not yet a part of the Rockets football team. That’s expected to occur as early as spring practice next year.
In this latest watch list, it’s all about the Big 12 and SEC, with a healthy sprinkling of the Pac-12 for good measure.
The Bear Bryant Award announced Friday a watch list for its annual Coach of the Year that consists of 20 coaches from seven of the 10 FBS conferences. It’s mainly, though, a list consisting of coaches from the leagues mentioned in the lede.
The Big 12 and SEC lead all conferences with five coaches apiece, while the Pac-12 is right behind with four. The Big Ten, with two, is the only other conference with more than one, with the AAC, ACC and Conference USA hitting that singular number.
Six of the coaches on this year’s initial watch list were on last year’s as well: Baylor’s Art Briles, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops. Malzahn, incidentally, won last year’s award.
As for this year’s contenders? If it were up to me, and at the moment, I’d split the award right down the middle and hand one piece to East Carolina’s Ruffin McNeill and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.
That said, below are the 20 members of the Bear Bryant Award watch list. Bitch, whine and/or moan about who’s on it/not on it below that:
- Art Briles, Baylor
- Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
- Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
- Huge Freeze, Ole Miss
- Todd Graham, Arizona State
- Mark Helfrich, Oregon
- Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
- Doc Holliday, Marshall
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
- Gus Malzahn, Auburn
- Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina
- Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
- Gary Patterson, TCU
- Bo Pelini, Nebraska
- Mark Richt, Georgia
- Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
- Nick Saban, Alabama
- Bill Snyder, Kansas State
- Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
- Kyle Whittingham, Utah
You have to love the twists and turns of a coaching search with a high-profile name connected to it.
In a report taking a look at potential candidates to become the permanent successor to June Jones as head coach that we mentioned Thursday, Dallas Morning News writer Bill Nichols set the Twitterverse ablaze with the following: “SMU officials have already had preliminary discussions with former Texas coach Mack Brown, floating $4 million annually over eight years.”
That came a short time after the former UT head coach’s attorney confirmed that SMU had approached his client about a return to the sidelines. Brown himself, currently serving as a college football analyst on ESPN, said a week earlier that he will decide in December if his coaching career is done.
The hubbub over the $4 million-per-year- report, however, prompted SMU athletic director Rick Hart to take to his Twitter account to shoot it down.
“While it is not our policy to comment during a search process, the attention a recent report has attracted dictates it be addressed. While we have a great deal of respect for Mack Brown, no one associated with our search has contacted him or his representatives. To that end, there has been no offer or discussion of compensation with any potential candidates.”
So, in summation…
“He was approached [by SMU], I was approached, but he’s not interested in coaching anywhere right now.” — Mack Brown attorney Joe Jamail, Oct. 5.
“[N]o one associated with our search has contacted him or his representatives.” — SMU athletic director Rick Hart, Oct. 24.
Yep, love the contradictory statements as part of these searches too. Then again, maybe the well-heeled boosters and political figures connected to the university’s athletic department are merely circumventing official channels, and those in charge of the search are simply unaware of what’s going on behind doors that are closed to even them. In Texas, anything and everything is possible.
Last week it was a suspension. This week, it’s an on-field matter that leaves one of Wyoming’s top running back’s future uncertain.
Earlier this week rumors begin to circulate that D.J. May suffered some type of injury during practice. The school sent out a press release Thursday stating that “May did suffer an injury to a knee in Wednesday’s practice,” but that “[d]octors have not yet evaluated tests on the severity of May’s injury.”
As of early Friday afternoon, there was still no definitive word on May’s status moving forward.
May’s 260 yards and two rushing touchdowns remain second on the Cowboys this season. His two receiving touchdowns are tied for second on the team as well.
Mays was suspended for last Saturday’s overtime loss to San Jose State for violating unspecified team rules.
UConn’s loss to East Carolina Thursday night came at a much steeper cost than just in the won-loss column.
By way of John Silver of snyuconn.com, head coach Bob Diaco confirmed Friday that Byron Jones will miss the remainder of the 2014 season because of injury. The cornerback aggravated a lingering shoulder injury in the loss, and will undergo season-ending surgery in short order.
“Byron was playing through a small issue there,” Diaco said. “That, then exacerbated himself last night to the point that it needs to be addressed. If it doesn’t get addressed it will be something else. Right now, [it's] an isolated thing that needs to be fixed.”
Because Jones is a senior who has already used his redshirt, and will not be eligible for a medical waiver, his collegiate career has come to a close.
Jones started all seven games this season, and started 39 in his career. This season, his two interceptions are the only two picks for the Huskies defense.
For the second consecutive game, it appears North Carolina will be sans one of the most productive members of its backfield.
On its weekly injury report, UNC lists running back Elijah Hood as doubtful for Saturday’s game against Virginia. Thus far, the nature of Hood’s injury hasn’t been disclosed.
Hood was also listed as doubtful heading into last Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, and ended up not playing against the Yellow Jackets.
Prior to the GT game, Hood had been tops among Tar Heel backs with 199 yards rushing. His four rushing touchdowns are currently tied for the team lead.
The true freshman was a five-star member of UNC’s most recent recruiting class and was rated as the No. 4 back in the country.
The “when” of Jameis Winston‘s student conduct hearing is still to be determined.
One “who,” however, has been determined.
According to WCTV in Tallahassee, retired Florida Supreme Court chief justice Major Harding has been selected to preside over the hearing as what’s described as an “independent observer.” Two other former state court justices, Joseph Hatchett and Charles T. Wells, were in the group of three candidates considered by the Florida State quarterback and his accuser.
Each side was able to strike one of the three from consideration. If both struck the same judge, FSU would pick from the remaining two. It’s unknown exactly how Harding came to oversee the hearing.
Harding did confirm to the television station that he has “been chosen to oversee a student conduct hearing, but says no student’s name has been provided to him.”
ESPN.com‘s Mark Schlabach provided a brief description of each judge in his confirmation of the earlier report on Harding.
Harding, 79, was a state Supreme Court justice from 1991 to 2000. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, he is a graduate of Wake Forest and Virginia’s law school. Harding, who is currently a practicing attorney with the law firm Ausley McMullen in Tallahassee, began his career as a jurist in Florida with a 1968 appointment as a Duval County Juvenile Court judge. When he was appointed to the state’s Supreme Court, he was the dean of the Florida Judicial College and chair-elect of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, according to his bio on the law firm’s website.
Hatchett, 82, was the first black man appointed to a federal appeals court in the Deep South, by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Wells, 75, a graduate of the University of Florida and UF law school, was the Florida Supreme Court’s chief justice from 2000 to 2002. He presided over the 2000 U.S. presidential election recount cases involving the hanging chads on Florida’s ballots.
At the hearing, whenever that may be if it even happens at all, Winston could be charged with up to four student code of conduct violations in connection to the alleged sexual assault of an FSU student in December of 2012.
Winston, as long as he is still a student at the university, will be compelled to attend the hearing. He will not be required, however, to answer questions even as he is permitted to give an opening statement and cross-examine witnesses. Unless given explicit permission by whomever is overseeing the hearing, his attorney, David Cornwell, will not be allowed to speak or argue on his client’s behalf.
Provided it doesn’t interrupt the hearing process, Winston can consult with Cornwell, who will presumably be the one “advisor” permitted at the hearing.
Cornwell has publicly expressed concern over the process, saying earlier this month, “I’m not walking this kid into a firing line without the necessary weapons.” That tack’s being viewed by some, including the accuser’s attorney, as taking on the feel of “a stall.”
(Photo credit: Florida Supreme Court)