Mike Pereira: three NFL replacement refs were fired from Pac-12

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The NFL? Not exactly our beat here at CFT. But, when applicable, we like to connect the collegiate dots regarding major issues in the world of football.

Last night’s “Toucherception” on Monday Night Football between the Packers and the Seahawks, which has officially become the climax on the replacement referee dumpster fire for those who follow the NFL, seems like an appropriate topic.

One day before Toucherception, the San Jose Mercury News published a piece featuring the thoughts of FOX officiating expert and former head of league officials, Mike Pereira (pictured, right), on the replacement officials. Pierera, as you may recall, was hired last year as the Pac-12′s interim coordinator of football officiating. Not one month into his stint with the conference, he fired (or, “did not to renew the contracts of“) 11 officials who worked conference games in 2010.

Per his interview with the Mercury News, Pereira said three Pac-12 officials let go for poor performance have found their way into the NFL as replacement officials.

Pereira said many are small-college officials while others are former major-college refs who have come out of retirement. He knows of one who only had high school experience, as well as three former Pac-12 Conference officials who had been let go for poor performance.

We’re not going to blast the replacement refs for last night’s blown calls because they’ve been asked to do a job greater than what they’re capable of doing. In fact, many are doing the best they can in a tough situation (when they’re not trying to score as many fantasy points as possible, that is).

This comes down to the league, which has been shameless. The NFL is far and away the most popular sport in America, and the league office knows that no one is turning off the TV because of replacement refs. Still, the NFL puts the best athletes on the field and is given the best coverage, so it deserves the best officiating possible. If some of these officials weren’t good enough for the college game, they sure as hell aren’t good enough for the NFL.

WATCH: Colorado State OL Luis Lebron forced to walk after Atlanta airport shuts down

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Colorado State played in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, and afterward the players were released to return home to their families for Christmas break.

For freshman offensive lineman Luis Lebron, that meant a cross-country trip to Jacksonville. And, like many a trip cross-country, that required a stop at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

That quickly turned into a problem when the entire airport shutdown due to a power outage on Sunday. Without any other options, Lebron started walking. He said he walked six miles before he ran into a reporter from the local Fox affiliate.

The story comes with a happy ending: Lebron eventually hitched a ride.

I could say something snarky here, but it’s Christmas so instead I’ll just say this: the Colorado State program and the Lebron family should be proud of how Luis carried himself on a day that would cause many of us to snap. And I’ve no doubt they are.

Report: Kent State to hire Syracuse co-OC Sean Lewis as head coach

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The final open job in FBS is no longer open. According to a report from FootballScoop, Syracuse co-offensive coordinator Sean Lewis will be the new head coach at Kent State. (Full disclosure: I also work for FootballScoop.)

Lewis’s ascension to head coach completes a meteoric rise through the FBS coaching ranks. He was a graduate assistant at Akron in 2011, then joined Dino Babers‘s staff at Eastern Illinois in 2012-13. He followed Babers to Bowling Green where he served as wide receivers coach in 2014 and as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in ’15, then did the same at Syracuse from 2016-17.

The site also reported that former Babers staffer and current Chattanooga defensive coordinator Tom Kaufman will join the staff as defensive coordinator.

Lewis is set to take over one of the most down-trodden programs in FBS. The Golden Flashes carry a lifetime record of 321-500-8 and have three all-time bowl appearances, all of them losses. Kent State has one MAC championship in its history, coming under Don James in 1972.

The 2017 Flashes went 2-10 and ranked 129th nationally in yards per play and scoring, beating out UTEP for the cellar for both spots.

Report: Florida State TE Mavin Saunders pursuing graduate transfer to Kansas

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Florida State tight end Mavin Saunders will pursue a graduate transfer to Kansas, according to a report from Bud Elliott of SBNation.

Saunders did not record a statistic as a redshirt junior in 2017. He caught 10 passes for 182 yards in 12 appearances in 2016, and made two starts as a redshirt freshman in 2015.

A native of the Bahamas, Saunders graduated from The Kinkaid School in Houston before enrolling at Florida State. The Jayhawks are losing their top tight end from the 2017 team. Senior Ben Johnson finished second on the club with 30 receptions for 363 yards and one touchdown this fall. He was the only tight end to catch a pass this season.

Scott Frost adds AP Coach of the Year to award haul

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Scott Frost will have to make room for a little more hardware as he moves to Nebraska. On Monday, the Associated Press named Frost its coach of the year for the 2017 season.

Frost received 21 first-place votes and 100 total points in the voting consisting of 57 voters in the AP Top 25. Frost beat out Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney for the award following an undefeated 12-0 season at UCF that ended with an AAC championship and a berth in the Peach Bowl as the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion. Despite already being hired to be the head coach at Nebraska and UCF hiring a new head coach, Frost has stayed committed to coaching the Knights in the bowl game even if it makes for some long days flying between Lincoln and Orlando as he pulls double duty.

Frost turned UCF football around in short order. After inheriting a team that had gone 0-12 just prior to his arrival, Frost reinvigorated the mindset of the program and led UCF to a 6-7 season in his debut as UCF head coach in 2016. To follow that up in 2017, Frost led UCF to an undefeated season and conference championship to help return the program to a big bowl game for the first time since facing Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl with Blake Bortles at quarterback.

Frost already collected a few coach of the year honors with the Eddie Robinson Award from the Football Writers Association of America and the Home Depot Coach of the Year award.