Michael Rocco

CFT Preseason Top 25: No. 25 Virginia

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2011 record: 8-5 overall, 5-3 in ACC (2nd-tie Coastal)

2011 postseason: Chick-fil-A Bowl (43-24 loss to Auburn)

2011 final AP/coaches’ ranking: unranked/unranked

Head coach: Mike London (36-18 overall, 12-13 in two seasons at Virginia)

Offensive coordinator: Bill Lazor (third season at Virginia, third as OC)

2011 offensive rankings: 52nd rushing offense (162.1 ypg); 56th passing offense (238 ypg); 46th total offense (399.8 ypg); 86th scoring offense (23.2 ppg)

Returning offensive starters: six

Defensive coordinator: Jim Reid (third season at Virginia, third as DC)

2011 defensive rankings: 48th rushing defense (139.5 ypg); 45th passing defense (212.2 ypg); 40th total defense (351.7 ypg); 46th scoring defense (23.8 ppg)

Returning defensive starters: five

Location: Charlottesville, Va.

Stadium: Scott Stadium (61,500; grass)

Last league title: 1989 (co-champs with Duke)

Schedule: [view]

Roster: [view]

2011 statistics: [view]

The Good
Winning five of six conference game had the Hoos eyeing a spot in the ACC title game heading into a home date with in-state rival Virginia Tech, although a 38-0 whitewashing at the hands of the Hokies ended any and all thoughts of a Coastal crown. The experience gleaned through that eight-win season, however, should serve Mike London and his players well as they look to build on that late-season conference momentum. The quarterback position seems in solid if unspectacular hands with the return of Michael Rocco. The backfield is also chock full of experienced backs, with three players capable of carrying the load at any given time.

The Bad
The conference road schedule, with trips to Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech on the slate. The non-conference schedule is no bargain, either, with a home date against Penn State and a road game at TCU in early-season offing. Add in a very suspect defense, and the Cavaliers could be traversing a rough road in matching last year’s win total.

The Unknown
As much as we love what London is doing in Charlottesville, we have to wonder if 2011 was a perfect storm that will be very difficult to repeat despite some significant inroads made on the recruiting trail. Of the Cavaliers’ eight wins, five of them came by a combined total of 15 points. Will the same breaks be caught this season? Given the schedule, the Magic 8-ball response at the moment would be a resounding “Reply hazy, try again.”

Make-or-break game: at Virginia Tech, Nov. 24
It’s been eight seasons and nearly nine years — Nov. 29, 2003, to be precise — since Virginia was able to beat its in-state rivals. As previously noted, all the Cavaliers needed to do to be the Coastal’s representative in the ACC title game last year was beat the Hokies the last weekend of November. That didn’t happen, of course, and now Virginia will be forced to travel to Blacksburg in its attempt to win just its second game in 14 attempts in a rivalry that dates back to the late 1800’s.

Heisman hopeful: quarterback Michael Rocco
OK, this is a stretch. A significant stretch. But, if the defense is as suspect as we, well, suspect, the Cavaliers will be forced to score a lot of points just to stay in games let alone win ’em. And the triggerman of what’s expected to be a vastly improved offense is Rocco, who threw for nearly 2,700 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He must improve in the turnover arena — 12 picks in just 366 attempts — but, based on his work in the spring, should show improvements in all aspects of the position.

Return to CFT’s preseason Top 25

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Ex-Ohio State lineman to continue career at Cincinnati

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 13:  Fans of the Cincinnati Bearcats cheer on their team at the start of the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Nippert Stadium on November 13, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Less than two weeks after leaving Ohio State, Grant Schmidt has a new college football home — and he won’t even have to leave the state to get there.

Citing university sources, the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Schmidt will continue his collegiate playing career at Cincinnati.  The offensive lineman had indicated earlier this month that the Bearcats would be his landing spot.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Schmidt will be forced to sit out the 2016 season.  He would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

A three-star member of OSU’s 2015 recruiting class, 247Sports.com rated Schmidt as the No. 52 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 1 player at any position in the state of South Dakota.  Schmidt was the first player from that state to sign with the Buckeyes, but he failed to become the first to play in a game as he didn’t see the field during his brief stint in Columbus.

Schmidt’s mid-May move was believed to be related to a logjam along the offensive line and his failure to make a dent on the depth chart during spring practice.

Josh Rosen, on UCLA’s $280 million deal: ‘we’re still amateurs though … gotta love non-profits’

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Josh Rosen #3 of the UCLA Bruins runs back to the bench after he threw a touchdown pass to Kenneth Walker III against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi's Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Here’s to guessing that, right or wrong, Jim Mora won’t be pleased with his young quarterback’s latest social media foray.

Late last week, the UCLA head coach used the public airwaves to help “guide” Josh Rosen down the straight and narrow.  Specifically, in regards to the Freshman All-American infamous “f**k Trump” cap flap this offseason, Mora stated that the rising sophomore was “heading towards Johnny Manziel” territory with stunts like that.

Hyperbole?  Yes.  But Rosen is seemingly hellbent on giving Mora further reason to continue down his odd “Money Manziel” path.

Shortly after it was reported that UCLA was set to sign a record-breaking $280 million apparel deal with Under Armour, Rosen took to social media to offer up some snark on the financial windfall that will line the pockets of the athletic department — and which the student-athletes won’t get a sniff.

We’re still amateurs though … Gotta love non-profits #NCAA

A photo posted by Josh Rosen (@josh3rosen) on May 24, 2016 at 8:53am PDT

(The tweet above was retweeted on Rosen’s personal Twitter account)

Coming from a kid who had a hot tub in his dorm his freshman season and whose parents graduated from Ivy League schools — one’s a surgeon — it might not be the actual money but the principle that has Rosen feeling feisty.  Whether his head coach gets just as feisty on his own JFF moral high ground in return remains to be seen.

UCLA set to announce record-setting deal with Under Armour

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In July of last year, Michigan’s reported apparel deal with Nike set a then-record of $169 million over 15 years (the final figure came in at just shy of $174 million).

Four months after UM’s new deal was reported, news surfaced that Texas’ new contract with Nike would be worth $250 million over 15 years.  In January of this year, Ohio State announced its new deal with Nike, an agreement that will pay that school upwards of $252 million over 15 years.  Four months later?  There’s a new unofficial record-holder.

According to ESPN.com‘s Darren Rovell, “Under Armour and UCLA will announce a 15-year schoolwide shoe and apparel deal worth $280 million” later Tuesday.  Scout.com is also reporting the same financial parameters of an agreement between the two entities.

From the latter’s report:

UCLA’s agreement with Under Armour, too, will be unique in the details, providing UCLA a vast amount of benefits that are reportedly unequaled in other apparel agreements. For one, we’ve learned that the money is guaranteed, and doesn’t include royalties, which is a significant difference.

UCLA’s athletic program’s have been aligned with adidas since 1999.  A press conference to announce the switch to Under Armour is set for 3 p.m. ET.

OL Tyler Grimsley opts to transfer from Miami

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 15: The Miami Hurricanes mascot, Sebastian the Ibis leads the players onto the field for their game against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on September 15, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Hurricanes defeated the Wildcats 38-10. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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The Miami Hurricanes had two late additions to its 2014 recruiting class: Joe Brown and Tyler Grimsley.

In January, Brown opted to transfer from the Hurricanes.  Four months later?  Lather, rinse, repeat for Grimsley.

In a press release, the Hurricanes announced that Grimsley has opted to transfer out of first-year head coach Mark Richt‘s football program.  No reason was given for the offensive lineman’s decision to move on to another, unspecified program.

“Tyler has decided to transfer away from our football program in the hopes of gaining more playing time,” Richt said in a statement. “I certainly respect his decision and I wish him nothing but the best in his future college football career.”

Grimsley took a redshirt as a true freshman.  The following season, the school described the lineman as a key member of the team’s practice squad in 2015.