Skip to content

The Fifth Quarter: Week One Rewind

Alabama Michigan AP

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

WINNERS

The fans
After one of the worst — check that, the worst — offseasons in the history of the game, a full day of the glorious entity called college football was back at a campus or on a television near you.  Certainly, what happened the past few months, particularly at Penn State, wasn’t washed away completely by the start of a new season, but it did allow fans all across the country get back to doing what they love to do — irrationally rooting for a school they may or may not have a direct connection to and obsessing over any and every call that may or may not have gone their way.  Welcome back, college football.  Oh how we’ve missed your on-field glory.

Should Tide rise over USC to No. 1?
We asked this question in our poll tonight, but will expound on it here.  In every way imaginable, in every single phase of the game, No. 2 Alabama was the better team in the defending BcS champion’s 41-14 woodshedding of No. 8 Michigan.  And it wasn’t even really that close.  Ben did an excellent job recapping the carnage in Arlington Texas, so I’ll tackle this the question posed in this note.  And, if you’re a fan of marquee nonconference matchups, you’d answer the same way I would: hell yes.  Teams that schedule these types of games should be rewarded for playing top-ranked programs, and bumping them a spot or two or three or whatever would/should have an impact on athletic directors looking for more of those types of early-season games.  Besides that, it’s rather obvious even as it’s awful early: the Tide will once again be a major factor on the national stage yet again.  That was a textbook evisceration by Nick Saban‘s charges of what’s a very talented Michigan team.  The good thing for the Wolverines?  They have 11 more regular season games to make up the spots they will tumble in the polls when they come out early this week.  And, they can take solace in the fact that they won’t face a better team the remainder of the regular season.

“Wait, what about us?” No. 1 USC says
Yes, yes, yes Trojans.  We’re well aware of your 49-10 throttling of Hawaii.  Yes, you have one of the top teams in the country and, if you can remain healthy, you will be a title contender.  Unfortunately, taking apart an unranked team at home simply doesn’t compare with humiliating a Top 10 team on a neutral field.  Sorry, that’s just the way it is.  Or the way it should be, at least.  If voters have a lick of common sense, of course.

That’s just offensive
In wins over Savannah State and Arkansas State, No. 19 Oklahoma State and No. 5 Oregon, respectively, combined to score a total of 141 points; rushed for 677 yards; passed for 610 yards; and totaled 1,287 yards of offense.  And punted three times — combined.  And that’s with the Ducks scoring 50 in the first half and calling off the dogs the last two quarters.  Those were the final, gory offensive stats — unless they added to them in the postgame, which is entirely possible based on how the two “contests” went.  The 84 points the Cowboys put up, by the way, were the most since 1991 when Fresno State hung 94 on New Mexico.

Urban renewal commences in earnest in Columbus
Bad pun aside, Ohio State couldn’t have scripted a better start to the 2012 season.  Not only did No. 18 Ohio State romp over Miami of Ohio 56-10 — after a sluggish first quarter — in Urban Meyer‘s first game as Buckeyes’ head coach, but sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller showed flashes of brilliance more consistently than he did at all last season, combining for nearly 360 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in less than three quarters of work.  It hardly portends great things for the Buckeyes generally or Miller specifically in 2012; the RedHawks won just four games in 2011.  It does give some reason to hope, however, in a season where there’s no hope of reaching the postseason thanks to NCAA sanctions.

The defense rests… after dominating
Against a good BcS football team, No. 3 LSU will have a really good defense.  Against the likes of North Texas?  They had a really good defense.  While the Mean Green totaled 219 yards of offense — 40 yards per game less than they averaged giving up last year — they averaged just 2.2 yards per carry and were limited to an 80-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown that was the result of a mix-up in the secondary and a meaningless touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.  The No. 3 team in the country did what it was supposed to: easily hold serve at home against a vastly inferior opponent with a 41-14 win.  And, based on the way LSU’s defense played in the opener, we’re guessing that, just like SEC West rival Alabama, the Tigers will be in the thick of the BcS mix deep into the 2012 season.

Coaches with new teams
Putting this under the winners heading may have been a bit of a stretch.  When the last spinning of the coaching carousel came to a stop, 27 FBS football programs had new head coaches.  These past three days, those 26 coaches (Kevin Sumlin‘s debut as Texas A&M’s coach was postponed) went 13-13.  Two of those 12 losses came at the hands of FCS schools: Pittsburgh’s Paul Chryst and Memphis’ Justin Fuente.

Holgorsen has this offensive thing down pat
In the past two games, No. 11 West Virginia’s offense has totaled the following: 1,250 yards of total offense, 748 yards passing and a staggering 139 points.  To put that into perspective, last season New Mexico scored 144 for points the entire 12-game season.  Yeah, the Mountaineers will fit right in in the high-octane Big 12.  About that defense, though; WVU allowed the Herd 545 yards of offense, including 413 yards passing.  Then again, defense is optional in the Big 12, so that side of the ball might not be as big a deal after all.

Perfect Wes
For the first half, at least.  Making his first start at the collegiate level, quarterback Wes Lunt completed all 11 of his first-half passes in what would ultimately become an 84-0 win over Savannah State.  Those would actually be the only throws Lunt made in the blowout win as he gave way to J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf for the rest of the first half and through the end of the “game.”

Lattimore’s return a boon for ‘Cocks
If No. 9 South Carolina entertains any thoughts of getting past defending SEC East champ Georgia, Marcus Lattimore returning to — and remaining at — 100-percent health will be of utmost importance.  Based on one game, that’s the direction the running back, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear last year, is headed.  In South Carolina’s season-opening conference win over Vanderbilt on Thursday, Lattimore rushed for 110 yards and scored the Gamecocks’ only two touchdowns in the 17-13 decision.  While Lattimore wasn’t worked as hard as he’s been the past two seasons, the fact that he came out healthy against a stout ‘Dores defense portends — all available appendages crossed — good things for the player and the team in 2012.

Youth romps in uncle vs. nephew tilt
In his first game as head coach at Richmond, Danny Rocco had the misfortune of taking his FCS program into Virginia and going up against an underrated Cavaliers squad.  And, as if a 43-19 pasting wasn’t bad enough, a player very close to the coach helped in the torching.  Michael Rocco, the head coach’s nephew, threw for 311 yards and a touchdown in the 24-point win.  Suffice to say, Thanksgiving/Christmas gifts should be interesting in the Rocco households this year.

LOSERS

Floyd Mayweather
The boxer bet a total of $2.9 million on Michigan to cover the spread against Alabama.  The spread was anywhere between 12 and 14 points.  The Wolverines lost by 27.  That will leave a mark on the ol’ bank account, regardless of how big the purse was for your last fight.

Sooner forgetting this, the better
Forget the final score as it’s more than deceiving.  At halftime, No. 4 (for now) Oklahoma was tied with UTEP at 7-7.  And it stayed that way until the 10-minute mark of the third quarter, with a field goal giving the Sooners a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.  And it stayed that way until 10:32 was left in the game, with Landry Jones tossing an 18-yard touchdown pass. Final score?  24-7.  Yes, it’s just one game.  But it was one game against a vastly inferior opponent that’s simply not acceptable for a team with BcS-title aspirations.

Post-JoePa toe stub
For the first time in more than six decades, Joe Paterno was not on the Penn State sidelines as either an assistant or head coach.  Instead, Bill O’ Brien was patrolling Beaver Stadium… and overseeing an embarrassing start to his collegiate coaching career.  How embarrassing?  “Overheard: Ohio fan laughing ‘It isn’t even a big win for us,'” one tweet from a Penn State fan read.  After taking a 14-3 lead into the half, the Nittany Lions were outscored 21-0 the rest of the way as Ohio came away with the nonconference road win.  And that would be the Mid-American Conference’s Ohio University, not Brady Hoke‘s Ohio, incidentally.  Certainly with all of the tumult and turmoil the football program has been through over the past nine months, and with the roster attrition courtesy of NCAA sanctions, a rough start to O’ Brien’s tenure may have been expected.  However, losing by double digits at home to a MAC team that outgained them by nearly 150 yards (499-352) certainly wasn’t a part of the new coach’s plan for rebuilding all that’s been torn down in less than a year.

Gator chomp goes limp
Entering the second season under Will Muschamp, hopes were high that the No. 23 Florida Gators would begin taking the steps that would lead to a return to national prominence for the football program.  While that still may happen, eventually, this season, UF’s performance Saturday gave no sign whatsoever that 2012 will be anything other than yet another rebuilding year.  At home against Bowling Green — they of the five-win MAC Bowling Greens — the Gators slogged its way to a too-close-for comfort 27-14 win over the Falcons. Continuing a theme that’s entering its third year, the Gators were in large part ineffective on the offensive side of the ball.  While they rushed for over 200 yards, they passed for just 145 among two quarterbacks as the struggles through the air continues.

’12 Edsall similar to ’11 model
Sitting atop one of the hottest coaching seats in the country entering just his second season at Maryland, Randy Edsall needed a solid start to the season in order to, at minimum, keep the Terp wolves howling for his dismissal at bay following a disastrous two-win debut.  Uh, whoops?  Against William & Mary Saturday, and at home no less, Edsall’s Terps managed to eke out a 7-6 win over the FCS-level school in a game that was a loss for anyone who witnessed any part of it.  And that win came after W&M dropped what could have been the game-winning touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.  Yes, the Terps’ lost their starting quarterback and a dozen other players to injuries, but a one-point win against that level of competition isn’t — and shouldn’t — be acceptable.  Edsall has asked for patience from the fan base; more performances like this one, and there’ll be none in reserve.  If there’s even any left at this point.

Tedford: Latin for “damn that seat’s hot!”
And speaking of coaching seats that have gone beyond warm, well hello Jeff Tedford.  Playing for the first time in its refurbished stadium, Cal couldn’t keep Nevada’s pistol holstered in a 31-24 loss.  In and of itself, dropping a season opener wouldn’t impact things one way or the other, even as it represented the first home loss to Nevada in 109 years..  Coming off the past two seasons that saw a combined total of 12 wins?  Seat will be sizzling soon, I think that [/yoda].  Additionally, and after a home game vs. Southern Utah, the Bears travel to Ohio State and USC in back-to-back weekends.  Yep, good luck with that buzz saw Coach Tedford.

Houston had big problem with newly-minted FBS school
And the big problem was a loss.  Tony Levine‘s first game as Houston’s replacement for Kevin Sumlin figured to be a relatively easy one: at home against first-year FBS program Texas State.  A 30-13 loss later, and the Cougars realize how much they’ll miss Sumlin (Texas A&M) as well as quarterback Case Keenum (NFL).  It’s a long season; unfortunately for Houston, this loss will make it that much longer.

Franco Harris
Staunch in his very public support for Joe Paterno after the now-deceased head coach’s controversial ouster at Penn State last November, Franco Harris took that support to a whole other level Saturday afternoon.  In his suite Saturday witnessing the first game of the O’ Brien Era, Harris did, well, this with a cardboard cutout, courtesy of mocksession.com:

Way to keep it about the current coaches and players inside the stadium, Franco.  Excellent work.

Ball State “fans”
Coming off a six-win season in 2011, Ball State opened 2012 with a 37-26 win over Eastern Michigan that was witnessed by less than 13,000 individuals.  That number caught the attention of Fort Wayne News-Sentinel columnist Tom Davis, who skewered Ball State’s supporters — or lack thereof —  for their seeming indifference toward the football program.  “But I’ll tell you who hasn’t delivered? The Ball State students, the Cardinal alumni, and the community of Muncie, who continue to demonstrate year after year … that they simply don’t care whether they have a good football team or not.”  Davis went on to write that he wishes second-year head coach Pete Lembo well “when he eventually bolts for a more supportive environment.”  Ouch.

TOP 25 TOO-CLOSE-COMFORT
How ranked teams endured close shaves vs. unranked opponents

–No. 9 South Carolina 17, Vanderbilt 14: Unlike most of the other schools that litter this list, the Gamecocks actually opened the season against a quality conference foe.  While it wasn’t pretty — particularly in the passing game — a win is a win is a win, especially when it involves an SEC game.

– No. 12 Wisconsin 26, Northern Iowa 20: Ahead 26-7 with just over 12 minutes left in the game, the Badgers’ defense allowed allowed the Panthers to score two touchdowns in less than five minutes to close the gap to five points with seven minutes to play.  A failed fourth-down attempt with 2:46 left erased any hopes the FCS school had entertained of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.

No. 14 Clemson 26, Auburn 19: As was the case with South Carolina, the Tigers differed from others on this list as they actually faced a BcS opponent, albeit one of the nonconference variety.  And they pulled out the win with their top receiver, Sammy Watkins, serving the first of a two-game suspension, which certainly bodes well for the Tigers.

– No. 21 Stanford 20, San Jose State 17: In the first game of the post-Andrew Luck era on Friday, the Cardinal eked out a three-point win over a team that was 27(ish)-point road underdogs.

– No. 23 Florida 27, Bowling Green 14: Tied at 14-all midway through the third quarter, the Gators managed to score 13 unanswered points to squeak by with a win in the opener.

CFT TOP FIVE
A snapshot look at how our ballot would look Monday if we, ya know, had a real vote instead of a measly preseason poll.

1. Alabama — A school should be rewarded for a quality neutral-field win over a Top-10 team, and we do just that with a two-spot jump. (Last: No. 3)
2. USC — “It wasn’t anything you did honey.  Honest.  It’s just me.” (Last: No. 1)
3. Oregon — Oregon might’ve scored a touchdown or two on Clemson in its obliteration of Arkansas State.  My goodness, that was a mesmerizing first-half offensive display by the Ducks. (Last: No. 7)
4. LSU — With that defense, and continued improvement at the quarterback position, the Tigers are positioned for yet another run at an SEC title.  And more. (Last: No. 4)
5. (blank) — Oklahoma, Georgia and South Carolina all underwhelming in wins. Michigan lost.  Florida State and Arkansas stuffed their collective faces on tasty pastries.  Yep, blank it is.

HE SAID IT
“Tape will say we were fortunate to beat Vandy… they don’t have a bunch of slow dudes like they used to.” — South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier following the No. 9 Gamecocks’ four-point win over Vanderbilt.

HE SAID IT, THE SEQUEL
“I would think we’re on the short end of the measuring stick.” — Brady Hoke, following Michigan’s 27-point loss to Alabama when asked about the game being a measuring stick for his team.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Despite it being the opening weekend of the 2012 season, the video clip of the week has nothing to do with football.  Sure, we easily could’ve gone with Hundley’s cherry-popping TD or Devin Smith‘s ridiculous TD reception or Kent State’s Andre Parker‘s wrong-way muff run or myriad others.  Instead, it has everything to do with my six-year-old daughter doing her best impersonation of Evil Knievel.  And don’t worry, it’s OK to LOL; with the exception of a bloody nose and a coupla scratches, she’s fine:

REALLY?
From the “Whoda thunk it?” department, by way of Nebraska sports information: Taylor Martinez (no relation) accounted for 249 yards of total offense in the first half of today’s game to push his career total to 5,808 total offensive yards. In the first half he passed Zac Taylor (5,777 yards) (no relation) to move into second place on the career total offense list.

FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSES ONLY

– Of the 74 games (Texas A&M-Louisiana Tech, Oregon State-Nicholls State postponed due to Hurricane Isaac) involving FBS programs the past three days, 35 of them featured opponents from the FCS level.  FBS schools, incidentally, were 32-3 in those games.  The three losses?  Pittsburgh to Youngstown State (ROTFL!!!), Memphis to Tennessee-Martin and Middle Tennessee State to McNeese State.

– Official attendance for Alabama-Michigan: 90,413, a record crowd for a college football game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

– From Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News: the Big Ten has lost 10 straight nonconference games vs. Top-Five teams by an average of 15.9 points.  Ouch.

– Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon became the first Alabama player ever to top the 100-yard plateau in his first game, rushing for 111 yards on just 11 carries.

– In just over three quarters of work, preseason Heisman favorite Matt Barkley passed for 344 yards and four touchdowns in USC’s romp over Hawaii.  Barkley’s top target was wide receiver Marquise Lee, who caught 10 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown.

– Oregon’s electrifying running back, DeAnthony Thomas, touched the football seven times in the win over Arkansas State — and scored three touchdowns.

– Nebraska’s Martinez set a career high in passing yards (354) and tied his career mark in passing touchdowns (five) in Nebraska’s 49-20 win over Southern Miss.

– Clemson running back Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards in the Tigers’ 26-19 win over Auburn, while wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins set a school record (Sammy who?) with 13 receptions.

– In West Virginia’s 69-34 thrashing of in-state rival Marshall, Heisman contender Geno Smith threw for 323 yards on 33-of-36 passing and four touchdowns.

– Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib passed for a career-high 470 yards and four touchdowns in the Orange’s 42-41 loss to Northwestern.  He also obliterated the school record for completions with 44; the previous record was 29.

– Boston College’s Chase Rettig completed 32-of-51 passes for 441 yards and two TDs in a 41-32 loss to Miami

– On the fourth offensive snap of Nebraska’s win, running back Rex Burkhead ran 57 yards to open the scoring for the Cornhuskers.  That run represented the longest run of Burkhead’s career.

– In their 62-0 whitewashing of Elon, North Carolina had 14 different receivers catch a pass in the win and no one caught more than three balls.

– From ESPN’s Stats & Info Thursday night: “Cameron Nwosu of Rice blocked 3 PAT attempts tonight vs UCLA, setting an FBS single-game record and tying the overall Division I record.”

– Tulsa running back Trey Watts rushed for 125 yards on 10 carries — with no touchdowns — in a 38-23 loss to Iowa State.

– Florida has won 23 straight season openers, which represents the second-longest current streak in the nation.  The longest?  Nebraska’s 27.

– Last season, New Mexico was dead last in FBS in scoring, averaging just a hair over 12 points per game.  In their opener against Southern, the Lobos scored 38 — in the second quarter.  For the game, the Lobos totaled 66 in a 45-point win over the FCS program.

– For the first time in UT-San Antonio’s history, the Roadrunners have won a road game, dropping South Alabama 33-31 on a 51-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in a game originally scheduled for Thursday.  Of course, UTSA’s history consists of one season and one game, but still.

– Carson-Newman College’s Ken Sparks won the 300th game of his career Thursday, becoming the 11th head coach in college football history to hit that milestone.

– Sam Durley of Division III Eureka (Ill.) College set an NCAA all-division record with 736 yards passing.  He broke the old mark of 731 set back in 2000.

Permalink 28 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Posts
yo

Jameis Winston advisor tweets QB to cooperate with Title IX probe

Jameis Winston

Back in April, a lawyer for the alleged victim of an alleged 2012 sexual assault claimed that, because Jameis Winston had refused to cooperate, Florida State shuttered a federally-mandated Title IX investigation into the allegations.

It was reported five months later that FSU officials had spoken to the alleged victim for the first time a month before, even as the quarterback’s advisor, David Cornwell, released a scathing statement blaming the alleged victim for the delay in the probe.  While Winston had still not spoken to investigators looking into the allegations, that appears ready to change.

In a tweet posted to his Twitter account Tuesday morning, Cornwell wrote that Winston will cooperate with the Title IX investigation.  Cornwell was said to be informing FSU officials of his client’s intent today.

What level of cooperation to which Cornwell is alluding is unclear.

In early December of last year, following a three-week investigation, the Florida State’s Attorney office announced that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the sexual encounter between Winston and the alleged victim was not consensual, and that no charges would be filed against the player.  The state’s attorney in charge of that investigation, William Meggs, was highly critical of the Tallahassee Police Department’s investigation into the alleged rape in a New York Times report earlier this week, a report in which the university subsequently expressed its disappointment.  The Tallahassee PD subsequently revised its policies when it came to handling sexual assault complaints in the wake of intense criticism it received.

In April it was reported that the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has launched its own investigation into FSU’s handling of the case.

Cornwell’s declaration comes one day after Winston was reinstated from his one-game suspension.  The reigning Heisman winner missed the narrow escape over Clemson because of a vulgar and obscene incident earlier in the week.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

A ninth one bites the dust as Texas boots OT Estelle

Mississippi v Texas

Monday brought word that the three indefinitely suspended Texas players would remain that way at least through the Kansas game this Saturday. As it turns out, one-third of that trio (likely) won’t ever play for the Longhorns again.

UT announced late Tuesday morning that Kennedy Estelle has been dismissed from the football team by head coach Charlie Strong. The only reason given was a “violation of team rules.”

The offensive tackle, projected to be a starter, had missed the last two games because of the suspension meted out after he played in the opener against North Texas.

What changed over the past 24 hours that brought about Estelle’s dismissal is unknown. What is known is that a new sheriff is most certainly in charge, and he’s brought a big ol’ broom to town with him.

Estelle had played in 16 games for the Longhorns, starting nine of those contests.

At least for now, the two remaining suspended players, wide receiver Daje Johnson and offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, are still on the team.  Both were projected starters entering summer camp.

Permalink 1 Comment Back to top

Auburn, LSU eyeing dismissed UGA DT

Gator Bowl Football AP

Despite a sketchy off-field résumé of late, it appears Jonathan Taylor could find his way back to the SEC after all.

According to a report from 247Sports.com ($), the former Georgia football player is drawing interest from both Auburn and LSU.  The defensive tackle already visited the latter this past weekend, and is expected to visit the former this coming weekend for their game against Louisiana Tech.

Louisville, led by former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, also reportedly has Taylor on its radar.

Taylor was arrested in March of this year following theft by deception charges against he and three other Georgia players.  Four months later, Taylor was arrested for the aggravated assault of a female and dismissed by UGA the following day.

A four-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2012 recruiting class, Taylor was rate as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country.  After redshirting as a true freshman, Taylor played in 10 games in 2013 and was in line to be a significant part of UGA’s line rotation this season prior to his off-field escapades.

If Taylor lands at another FBS school for the 2015 season — he’s spending 2014 at a Mississippi JUCO — he’d be able to play immediately and have two years of eligibility.

Permalink 5 Comments Back to top

Major Applewhite reportedly applies for SMU job

Texas v Texas Tech Getty Images

If SMU is looking for a permanent head coach with deep Texas roots, this reported candidate would certainly qualify.  There could be, though, at least a little controversy over his potential candidacy.

In his weekly “Nine Things and One Crazy Prediction” column, the Austin American-Statesman‘s Kirk Bohls writes that “I’m told former Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite has applied at SMU, but he couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday.” And that was the extent of the mini-report.

The Mustangs are currently searching for a replacement for June Jones, who abruptly resigned earlier this month. The athletic department is expected to cast a wide net in looking for a successor, and the 36-year-old Applewhite, if the school wants to go the “first-time head coach with Texas ties” route, could certainly be in play.

Applewhite was a Texas Longhorn quarterback from 1998-2001, then served the next three years as a UT grad assistant. In between stints at Syracuse (2005) and Alabama (2007), Applewhite was the offensive coordinator at Rice. Then, from 2008-14, he served on Mack Brown‘s staff in various capacities: co-offensive coordinator, assistant head coach, running backs coach and quarterbacks coach.

Applewhite, though, would come to SMU with some, well, major baggage.

In January of 2013, Texas acknowledged in a press release that “Applewhite [had] engaged in inappropriate, albeit consensual, [sexual] behavior with an adult student during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl trip.” Applewhite acknowledged in a statement at the time that “[s]everal years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate.”

Despite the controversy, Applewhite remained on staff for the 2013 season.  Upon the hiring of head coach Charlie Strong, however, Applewhite was given a one-year severance.

Permalink 8 Comments Back to top

Ex-USC player suing Kiffin, Trojans

USC v Arizona State Getty Images

With new coordinator Lane Kiffin on board, Alabama’s offense is off to a prolific and potentially historic start.

Thanks to Kiffin’s past, however, an issue has popped up that’ll serve as at least a minor inconvenience, if not an outright distraction.

Multiple media outlets reported late Monday night that Brian Baucham filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court Monday in which Kiffin and his former employer, USC, are named as defendants. The Los Angeles Times writes that the former Trojan football player claimed in the suit that Kiffin and the school “were negligent by forcing him to play in a game when he was ill and that they did not follow the school’s injury-plan guidelines, leaving Baucham with cardiopulmonary damage and brain injury.”

On September 22 of 2012, nearly a year to the day prior to Kiffin being fired as USC’s head coach, Baucham fell ill during a game against Cal and was taken from the stadium to a local hospital via ambulance. He remained in the intensive care unit on a ventilator for two days before being released a short time later. He never played another down of football.

The lawsuit also claims that USC medical personnel told the player he was in no condition to play, but that the coaching staff played him anyway. “USC and head coach Kiffin were clearly negligent and acted with conscious disregard for Brian’s welfare and safety by forcing him to play … despite his verified medical history and seriously ill condition,” one of Baucham’s lawyers, Bruce M. Brusavich, told the Associated Press.

The suit is seeking unspecified damages for the former cornerback, who just recently received his degree from the university.

Kiffin has declined to comment on the suit, while USC’s athletic director offered the Times a very generic statement.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment on this lawsuit, and due to privacy laws we cannot comment on the specifics of this case,” Pat Haden said. “I will say that I am confident that we provide excellent medical treatment to our student athletes and that their health is always our primary concern ahead of any athletic competition.”

This isn’t the first time USC is facing a lawsuit over an ex-player’s medical claims. In a lawsuit filed in late August of 2012, former USC defensive tackle Armond Armstead claimed that “team doctors repeatedly administered a painkiller to him that gave him a heart attack, and that after he recovered the school blocked his attempts to transfer and cost him a shot at the National Football League.”

Armstead wasn’t selected in the 2012 NFL draft, nor did he sign as an undrafted rookie that year.  After brief stints with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts (2012) and the New England Patriots (2013), Armstead retired from football in July of this year.

Permalink 6 Comments Back to top

UW Huskies lose RB Callier to another season-ending injury

Jesse Callier

For the second time in three seasons, Jesse Callier will see a season come to a premature end thanks to an injury.

According to both the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune, the running back has a ruptured Achilles tendon and will miss the remainder of the 2014 season.  Callier suffered the injury on the opening kickoff of Washington’s win over Georgia State Saturday.

“That’s a hard one to take, just a guy that’s a senior and some of the things that he’s been through,” head coach Chris Petersen said. “He’s doing such a great job for us. So that’s hard.”

Callier also missed most of the 2012 season with a torn ACL suffered in the first quarter of the season opener, so the fifth-year senior would seemingly be eligible for a sixth season from the NCAA. However, both the Times and News Tribune wrote that the injury effectively ends his collegiate career.

Thus, Callier will apparently end his collegiate career with 997 yards rushing and five touchdowns. He also caught 36 passes coming out of the backfield.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Texas may get TE Greg Daniels back in time for Kansas on Saturday

Valero Alamo Bowl - Oregon v Texas Getty Images

In what was a fairly newsy news conference Monday in Austin, Charlie Strong announced that suspended players Daje JohnsonDemsond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle will remain suspended, and quarterback Tyrone Swoopes pulled a Joe Namath and said that his 1-2 Longhorns had their sights set on the College Football Playoff.

There was a bit of tangible, realistic, good news for the Longhorns on Monday, that tight end/glorified offensive lineman Greg Daniels is progressing toward seeing the field for the first time this season.

Daniels has not seen the field this season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in August. The time table at that point pointed toward an Oct 11 return against Oklahoma, so he appears to be ahead of schedule.

The senior has mostly been used as an extra blocker in his 25 career games after beginning his career on the defensive line. He has eight career catches for 118 yards; Daniels’ claim to fame was catching a 47-yard pass on Texas’ first play from scrimmage during UT’s 33-7 win over Iowa State way back in 2012, a play the Longhorns ran out of the Wishbone in tribute of the recently-passed Darrell Royal. That play was called by then-Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, who has taken two jobs since then. So, yeah, it’s been a while since Daniels contributed anything of substance in the passing game.

But Daniels’ return to the field would still be an upgrade. Tight ends M.J. McFarland and Geoff Swaim have combined to produce five receptions for 23 yards and a touchdown thus far this season, so it’s not as if that position is a major portion of the passing game in the first place. Pairing Swaim with Daniels would give the ‘Horns two above-average blocking tight ends and, considering the state of the offensive line, that would be a sorely needed advantage.

Texas travels to Kansas on Saturday (4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1).

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

UMass reportedly close to adding games with Tennessee, BYU and Army

Massachusetts v Vanderbilt Getty Images

After getting kicked out of the nest by the Mid-American Conference, Massachusetts football is currently falling to the ground at a rapid rate, hoping it can flap its wings and fly on its own before its body meets the dirt. The Minutemen will play their final season as a football-only member of the MAC in 2015, and will compete as an independent in 2016 and 2017, with anything beyond that still to be determined.

Considering the Minutemen are 2-26 since moving to FBS in 2012, getting back down to FCS as fast as possible should be on the table for 2018 and beyond, but a discussion for another time.

For now, athletics director John McCutcheon has the unenviable task of building a schedule as an FBS independent without the established history of Notre Dame, BYU or Army (Navy is dropping out of the independent game after this season.)

One of the challenges of filling a full, 12-game schedule is finding November games, when most of college football is knee-deep in conference races. But UMass has found an unlikely ally: the Southeastern Conference. SEC teams usually take a week off of conference play in November, and McCutcheon is poised to take advantage of that by securing a game and a paycheck in lining up a game at Tennessee for a game in November 2017.

The game between the Volunteers and Minutemen would be the first.

According to Matt Vautor of the Daily Hampshire Gazette, UMass is set to announce games against fellow opponents BYU and Army past part of announcement for 2016-17 that will include as many as 10 games.

UMass currently has games lined up against Florida, Connecticut, Boston College, Rhoad Island and Old Dominion for 2016, and dates with Connecticut, Old Dominion, Temple and Indiana for 2017, according to scheduling tracker FBSchedules.com.

Permalink 2 Comments Back to top

Vanderbilt suspends RB Brian Kimbrow indefinitely

Brian Kimbrow

Vanderbilt running back Brian Kimbrow has rushed just once this season, a six-yard loss that resulted in a fumble. Sadly, that may be his only quote-unquote contribution to the team this fall, as head coach Derek Mason announced Monday that is his junior running back has been suspended indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

“No one player is bigger than the team. We’re not going to comment on anything else. It’s always about team,” Mason said Monday evening on his call-in radio show, according to The Tennessean.

Vanderbilt (1-2) ranks 105th nationally with 477 rushing yards, averaging 119.3 yards per game and 3.85 yards per carry. Redshirt freshman leads the ‘Dores in rushing with 77 carries for 377 yards.

Kimbrow has 748 career rushing yards with six touchdowns. A heralded pick up out of Memphis for former coach James Franklin, Kimbrow rushed for 413 yards as a freshman and 314 as a sophomore. Considering he may be stuck at minus-6 for his junior campaign, and that’s a pretty telling statement about the direction Kimbrow’s career is headed.

Permalink 1 Comment Back to top

Photo: Michigan giving away two free tickets to Minnesota game (with purchase of Coke products!)

Brady Hoke

You know it’s bad when the student newspaper is printing headlines like “Clock’s Ticking, Brady.” But perhaps the most accurate depiction of where Michigan football sits under Brady Hoke is this picture being passed around social media on Monday.

The Wolverines have drawn more than 100,000 to the Big House for 254 consecutive games – a streak the maize and blue protects more ferociously than a mother cougar guards its young. And with enthusiasm and confidence in the program sinking to Rich Rod-era lows (or worse?), Michigan brass has apparently decided to link up with Coca-Cola in hopes of filling Michigan Stadium.

Of course, by counting season ticket holders, media members, peanut vendors, janitors and anyone else who happens to wander inside the gates, Michigan will announce more than 100,000 no matter how many bleachers go untouched.

With Hoke waiting until Tuesday to make a decision on Saturday’s starter, it’s apparent now he needs to make the right decision. He needs to beat Minnesota.

Update: Michigan is pulling the promotion immediately. Whether it really was an unauthorized promotion, that somehow surely passed by a number of desks before the material above saw the light of day, or if this is the result of NFL-style “reaction is bad, so let’s change direction” public relations remains to be seen.

Permalink 12 Comments Back to top

Despite report of immediate eligibility, OU QB Mayfield remains in college football purgatory

Baker Mayfield

There was a report Monday from KWTV-TV sports director Dean Blevins that Oklahoma transfer quarterback Baker Mayfield‘s appeal to the NCAA has been granted, giving the former Texas Tech gunslinger the chance to play immediately.

“Baker Mayfield finally caught a break. And so did the Oklahoma Sooners,” Blevins reported. “The talented Texas Tech transfer won his appeal with the NCAA and has been granted a third year of eligibility. He is thus is immediately eligible to play for the No. 4/No. 3-ranked Sooners.”

But it’s not that simple, reports Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman. Nothing is inside the jungle that is NCAA eligibility.

According to Aber, Mayfield’s status has been something of a collective bargaining discussion between Oklahoma, Texas Tech and the Big 12. Big 12 rules require players lose a year of eligibility for intra-conference transfers.

Even if Mayfield does not play this season, there is the possibility of Mayfield keeping his extra year of eligibility in exchange for sitting out 2014. “Sources close to the situation said there have been discussions between OU, Texas Tech and the Big 12 about the possibility of Mayfield retaining a year of eligibility if he doesn’t play this season,” Aber writes.

Mayfield met with the NCAA on Friday and, citing sources close to the quarterback, Aber writes that Oklahoma may at least win the right to put Mayfield on scholarship retroactive to the beginning of the fall semester.

Texas Tech has denied Mayfield’s transfer, and maintained that stance ever since the move was announced in December.

As a true freshman in 2013, Mayfield paid for the privilege of tossing a dozen touchdowns and 218 completions for 2,315 yards in eight games.

Permalink 1 Comment Back to top

Virginia K Ian Frye went 4-for-4 while his dad suffered heart attack in the stands

Ian Frye, Rob Burns, Zachary Swanson

Virginia kicker Ian Frye made all seven of his kicks Saturday, three extra points and field goals from 23, 41, 22 and 46 yards, during the Cavaliers’ 41-33 loss at No. 20 BYU on Saturday. Turns out, his day was much more impressive than any of us realized.

In a story that was told during the team’s Monday press conference and relayed over the Cavs’ official Twitter account, Frye’s father Mark suffered a heart attack inside the LaVell Edwards Stadium during the game.

Frye was notified while coming off the field for halftime – moments after he knocked in a 22-yarder to give Virginia a 16-13 lead – and was notified of the situation. Outside the locker room, Frye witnessed his father, clearly in pain, and being attended to by paramedics.

Frye checked on his father multiple times throughout the break, but remained with the team at Mark’s insistence. While receiving updates throughout the second half, Frye only informed three of his teammates, fellow kickers Dylan Sims and Alec Vozelinik and long snapper Tyler Shirley. Despite that weighing heavily on his mind, Frye knocked in a 46-yard field goal to keep Virginia within 27-19, and extra points to pull the Cavs within 34-26 and 41-33. Following the game, Frye was shuttled to the hospital, where he discovered his father, recovering from surgery and watching college football.

Frye was very complimentary of the BYU staff, especially athletics director Tom Holmoe, who visited Mark at the hospital and even brought him food.

Thankfully, with dad Mark’s health secure, the story can end on a happy note that brings everything full circle.

Considering the circumstances, I would say Frye certainly deserves it.

(Helmet sticker to Vanquish the Foe)

Permalink 3 Comments Back to top

Vols dismiss freshman RB Treyvon Paulk after domestic incident

KNOXVILLE, TN - Football Headshots

Somewhat abruptly, Tennessee’s present and future depth at the running back position has taken a bit of a hit.

According to Wes Rucker of GoVols247.com, head coach Butch Jones announced Monday afternoon that true freshman Treyvon Paulk has been summarily dismissed from the football team.  The dismissal was triggered by what Jones described as a “personal conduct” issue.

While Jones refused to elaborate on what led to the dismissal, it appears it was triggered by a rather significant off-field incident.  From Rucker’s post on the dismissal:

Paulk… struck his ex-girlfriend at a party over the weekend, according to a release from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Paulk “became agitated and struck her in the mouth with his fist” at the party, according to the KCSO release, which cited the incident report.

Paulk’s girlfriend — noted in the report as 18-year-old Chelsea Reece — had multiple cuts to her lips but refused medical assistance, according to the report.

The alleged victim declined to press charges.

Paulk was a three-star member of the Vols’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 12 all-purpose running back in the country and the No. 37 player at any position in the state of Georgia.  He didn’t play in any games this season as he continues recovering from a torn ACL he sustained his senior year of high school.

(Photo credit: Tennessee athletics)

Permalink 5 Comments Back to top

‘Miscommunication’ led to Jameis Winston dressing for Clemson game

Clemson v Florida State Getty Images

Jameis Winston was highly criticized in numerous corners, including here, for an “incident” over the weekend.

The Florida State quarterback was suspended for the Clemson game because of a vulgar and obscene incident earlier in the week. Winston dressed out in full football gear for pregame warmups, much to the chagrin of an incredulous Jimbo Fisher, who sent his starting quarterback to the locker room to change into street clothes.

Monday, Fisher was asked about the situation. In falling on the sword, the head coach took the blame for what he called the “miscommunication” that led to the brouhaha.

“That was a miscommunication between us and the locker room,” the head coach said Monday. “He was scheduled to dress the next day and the stuff was in the locker. He assumed he was going to dress in warmups and he went out. It got miscommunicated from our part. We should have never had (his uniform) in the locker. We saw it, corrected it. He was great about it. He went in and came back out.

“That was one part that slipped through the cracks getting that communication to the equipment people.”

That said, Fisher continued taking Winston for his decision-making and judgments that have led to situations like the one that got him suspended in the first place.

“He’s got to be smarter about these decisions and the things he says and does,” Fisher said. “You can have fun but you can’t do it at the expense of others or circumstance or situations. There’s an example and a respect you have to have for your organization and your family.

“Jameis is not a bad individual. He makes some poor choices on spontaneous situations to make people laugh. He does like interacting with students (to show) that he’s not a guy that can’t relate with (the students because he’s a high-profile athlete). He needs to continue to do that but he needs to do it with better judgment.”

Winston was replaced by Sean Maguire for the Clemson game, with the first-time starter helping the Seminoles pull off the overtime win.  In the first extended action of his career, Maguire completed 21-of-39 passes for 304 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.  The redshirt sophomore’s scoring toss was a 74-yarder to Rashad Greene with 6:04 remaining in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 17-all and essentially forced overtime.

As expected, though, Winston will be back under center for this Saturday’s game against North Carolina State after serving his one-game penance.

Permalink 33 Comments Back to top

Three suspended Texas starters will remain that way

Daje Johnson AP

For those Texas fans looking for some offensive help to return this week, and as it looks to continue its run to the College Football Playoff, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer.

At his weekly Monday press conference, head coach Charlie Strong confirmed that any player who is currently suspended will remain that way.  That means wide receiver Daje Johnson as well as offensive tackles Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle will not play in Saturday’s game against Kansas.

Harrison and Johnson were two of three Longhorn players — the other safety Josh Turnersuspended indefinitely in early August by Strong for violating unspecified team rules.

Turner has since dug his way out of Strong’s doghouse, while Estelle, Harrison and Johnson have yet to play in a game this year.

Getting Johnson back would certainly help the Longhorns’ offense — provided he stayed on the straight and narrow, which has proved to be elusive during his time in Austin.

Last year, Johnson missed two different late-season games because of off-field issues. He and teammate Chet Moss were suspended for the Thanksgiving gameagainst Texas Tech, then he was declared academically ineligible for the Alamo Bowl against Oregon.

When healthy — and staying out of trouble — Johnson totaled 757 all-purpose yards in 2013 and started six games in 2013. Johnson scored three touchdowns — one each rushing, receiving and on a punt return — along with being one of the team’s top return specialists.

An ankle injury cost Johnson playing time early last season as well.

Estelle and Kennedy were the projected starters at both tackle positions prior whatever issue it was that led to their suspensions.

Permalink 3 Comments Back to top