Every conference has a down year or two, and the Big Ten is in the middle of one hell of down year right now.
No. 10 Michigan State’s embarrassing 20-3 loss to No. 20 Notre Dame now means there are no Big Ten teams that look (as of Week 3) like they can win a Rose Bowl, let alone a BCS championship.
Michigan, thought to be back on the upswing among traditional powers, was ripped apart by Alabama in Week 1; Nebraska’s early-season loss to No. 22 UCLA leads us to believe it’s another 9-4 season in Lincoln; defending Big Ten champ Wisconsin has been… well… the Badgers needed Utah State miss a field goal to beat the Aggies.
We’ll just leave it at that.
Even the Big Ten’s best option right now, No. 12 Ohio State, is ineligible to compete in the Big Ten championship and a postseason game because of NCAA sanctions, and the Buckeyes didn’t look particularly strong against Cal on Saturday, either.
Yes, we know. There are some of you — particularly in the Southeastern quadrant of this great country — who called this little factoid before the season began. We apologize, and we promise to read your emails more carefully next time.
But the reality is that there are no Big Ten teams carrying the flag for a conference ridiculed for being too slow, too old-fashioned. You know, “old man football.” To put it into perspective, Big Ten teams have a combined four wins over BCS conference opponents. Three of those are courtesy of Northwestern.
There are two times when conferences get to whip out their measuring stick: nonconference games and bowl season. So far, the Big Ten’s coming up short — way short — in the former category.
Less than a week after he left his first college football home, teams are lining up to inquire about being Treon Harris‘ second. Reportedly.
According to 247Sports.com, at least nine FBS programs have either spoken to Harris’ family or “have interest and have requested Harris’ release so they have the option to make contact.” Two included in the latter group are Power Five teams — Kansas and Minnesota.
Other FBS teams in that second group also include Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Eastern Michigan and SMU. Georgia State, Southern Miss and Texas State have all reportedly made contact with Harris and his family.
Additionally, a handful of FCS programs have been in contact.
Should Harris move on to another FBS program, he would be forced to sit out the 2016 season, but would then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017. A move to the FCS would give him immediate eligibility in 2o16.
Monday, Florida confirmed that Harris had decided to transfer out of the Gators football program. There was no specific reason given for the departure, although the announcement came less than a week after Jim McElwain confirmed that Harris would be moved from quarterback to wide receiver.
At his press conference prior to the start of spring practice, McElwain acknowledged that a pair of his players, Harris and wide receiver Antonio Callaway, haven’t been a part of the Florida football team since January.
And that’s without even mentioning Harris’ in-season issue in 2014 that was ultimately resolved a week later.
Harris started the 2015 season opener, but gave way to Will Grier — with a suspension thrown in for good measure — until Grier was himself suspended in October for the remainder of the season. The true sophomore then started the last eight games of the year, with the Gators going 4-4 in that span. Included in that stretch were three losses to close out the year by an average of nearly 25 points per game, with Harris completing under 44 percent of his passes (36-83) and directing the offense to a combined 24 points.
A four-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, Harris was rated as the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Florida and the No. 123 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.
Jimbo Fisher‘s native and adopted states could soon be crossing paths on the gridiron, this time in the regular season.
Mike Casazza of the Charleston Gazette-Mail was the first to report that West Virginia and Florida State are in talks for a game that would open the 2020 season, and that the two sides were close to finishing the deal. ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy subsequently confirmed that report.
The game, which would be the latest iteration in the long-running Chick-fil-A Kickoff series, would be played Sept. 5 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The football programs have met three times previously, with all three coming in the Gator Bowl. As WVU was in the process of moving from the Big East to the Big 12 in February of 2012, it cancelled a 2012-13 home-and-home series with the Seminoles.
The final of what was a trio of FSU wins over WVU came in the last game for Bobby Bowden, the legendary head coach of the Seminoles who coached the Mountaineers for six seasons before leaving for Tallahassee.
Bowden’s successor at FSU, Fisher, is a native of Clarksburg, WV.
As you no doubt know by now, the Big 12 announced earlier this month that the conference will expand. Wednesday night, a pair of entertainment heavyweights threw their celebrity behind two of the potential candidates.
A handful of teams have been mentioned as possibilities, from Houston to UConn to USF to BYU to Tulane to East Carolina to Cincinnati to Colorado State to Boise State. Additionally, Memphis and UCF have been heavily speculated on for months, and they’re the two programs that have seen Memphis native Justin Timberlake and Nebraska fan Larry the Cable Guy, respectively, stumping for them within a couple of hours of each other.
It’s highly, highly doubtful that the celebrities throwing their support behind their favorites will have any impact whatsoever on the process or the Big 12’s ultimate decision. Still, it certainly can’t hurt in the court of public opinion.
A situation that began to grow legs earlier this week now has some video evidence to prop it up. Purportedly.
Monday, reports surfaced that a group of Washington State football players triggered a brawl at a backyard party in Pullman early Saturday morning. The players allegedly threw fireworks at attendees, which twice led to a request by the house’s residents to leave. A third request saw the verbal engagement escalate into a physical confrontation on the part of the players, with one of the residents being knocked unconscious for 10 minutes and another sustaining a broken jaw that’s going to require reconstructive surgery.
The names of the Cougars reportedly involved have not been divulged.
A police investigation into the situation is ongoing, and felony charges against those involved are possible. One snippet that will be of interest to those investigating the brawl was obtained and posted by Spokane Spokesman-Review.
Head coach Mike Leach has yet to comment publicly on the incident, although athletic director Bill Moos released the following statement:
In regards to the events that took place over the past weekend, the university was made aware of the situation shortly after the incident occurred. It is our understanding there is a thorough investigation underway by local law enforcement and we will cooperate fully as we take these matters seriously. In addition, facts are being gathered within the athletic department in order to provide assistance. We have high expectations for the conduct of WSU student-athletes, and treat any alleged allegations with the utmost transparency. The WSU athletic staff is in constant communication with the Office of the President and the Office of Student Life to ensure that university leadership is aware of the continuing investigation by local law enforcement. We will refrain from further comment until the findings of the investigation are complete.