Texas head coach Mack Brown reacts after an interception during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
I’m very quickly closing in on the end of my seventh year being in charge of this place, and the beginning of my eighth. One thing I’ve been very honest and straightforward about from the very beginning is the fact that I grew up in a decidedly Ohio State household, and that The Game between OSU and Michigan is one of the greatest rivalries in not only college football but all of sports.
With the annual hate-fest on tap this weekend, and with Jim Harbaugh‘s first go-round as head coach in the rivalry adding to the build-up, this is easily one of the most anticipated in what’s been a rather one-sided rivalry of late — the Buckeyes have won, on the field, 10 of the last 11.
So, in accordance with the spirit of the rivalry, Harbaugh, of course, took a maize-colored hammer in hand and smashed a Buckeye nut at the grave of his former head coach, UM coaching great Bo Schembechler.
Harbaugh played for Schembechler in Ann Arbor, and it’s quite obvious, from an impromptu graveside speech, that his former coach had an indelible impact on the man who found his way back home to the maize & blue:
Bo was my coach,” Harbaugh said. “I first met him when I was nine years old when my dad coached here at Michigan. He was the secondary coach. He was larger than life to our family. Excited and enthusiasm beyond what anybody could imagine. He would let us come to practice. We were ball boys, my brother John and I.
“And getting to play for coach Schembechler, what I can tell you is this, everything I base my entire professional life on and my personal life was learned here at the University of Michigan. It’s rooted at the University of Michigan, it was experienced at the University of Michigan. And it’s the team, the team, the team. We win as a team. Everybody does a little, and it adds up to a lot. When it came to honor, integrity, doing things at the highest level, Bo Schembechler set the standard.
“I draw daily inspiration from coach Schembechler, like so many that knew him, anybody that knew him, anybody that was associated with him, anybody that played for him or anybody that coached with him, he set the standard at the very highest level. One of the greatest of all time, Bo Schembechler.
Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State last weekend may have taken some of the shine off of Harbaugh’s first go-round in The Game, but the presence of The Khaki One — and his obvious connection to the past — ensures that the rivalry is in good hands moving forward.
A pair of signs that developed Wednesday are pointing to Nick Saban possibly needing to replace his long-time defensive boss this offseason.
According to Yahoo Sports‘ Pat Forde, current Houston head coach Tom Herman, who has a significant raise on the table from his current employer, is no longer a candidate for the same job at South Carolina as he’s withdrawn his name from consideration. Forde writes that “Herman had been the school’s top choice to replace Steve Spurrier, sources said, and third-party discussions had been extensive.”
Nearly simultaneously, Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com reported that ‘Bama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart “has emerged as the frontrunner for the South Carolina head coaching vacancy.” Forde also mentioned that Smart could be the Gamecocks’ Plan B, while ESPN.com wrote that the 39-year-old “has emerged as one of the leading candidates” for the vacancy in Columbia.
If Smart is indeed USC’s top candidate, a fellow SEC East rival could throw a wrench in those plans. Should Georgia and Mark Richt decide to part ways, Smart, who played his college football at UGA, would be a likely candidate to replace the long-time head coach. In addition to playing for the Bulldogs, Smart began his career as an administrative assistant at his alma mater and coached running backs there in 2005 before joining Saban with the Miami Dolphins and, ultimately, the Tide.
An investigation into an alleged sexual assault at the home of three current Nebraska football players will not result in charges, Lancaster County (Neb.) officials announced Wednesday.
An unidentified 20-year-old female claimed she was raped Nov. 15 at the residence of NU quarterback Tommy Armstrong (pictured, left), tight end Trey Foster and wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp (pictured, right). The subsequent investigation could not prove that any type of an assault had taken place.
“Filing charges would require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That simply is not there,” district attorney Joe Kelly stated in announcing the decision. Armstrong had previously claimed that “[f]rom what we’re hearing, everything was consensual.”
The university’s athletic department released a statement in the wake of today’s announcement.
We are aware of this morning’s announcement by the Lincoln Police Department and the Lancaster County Attorney. There is no change in the status of any student-athletes. We will continue to follow University policies.
The school is in the midst of conducting its own investigation into the situation. As it stands now, all three players will be available for Friday’s game against No. 4 Iowa..
If Baylor’s designs on a national championship are to come to fruition, it appears the Big 12 school will be forced to go the Ohio State route and do it with their third-string quarterback.
The university has reportedly confirmed Wednesday that Jarrett Stidham sustained a broken bone in the back of his ankle in the second quarter of Saturday’s win over previously unbeaten Oklahoma State. As a result, the true freshman will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
Stidham had started the last three games in place of Seth Russell, who will miss the rest of 2015 as well because of a broken bone in his neck.
With Stidham and Russell sidelined, the Bears’ title hopes will fall in large part to Chris Johnson. The redshirt sophomore had been moved to wide receiver during summer camp before becoming Stidham’s backup a month ago. In the win over OSU, Johnson completed five of his 10 passes for 138 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Should Johnson find himself injured, the only other player listed as a quarterback on Baylor’s roster is Zack Bennema. A true freshman, Bennema joined the Bears earlier this year as a walk-on.
Baylor will travel to TCU and host Texas to close out the season. Because of a loss to Oklahoma earlier this month, the Bears will need a Sooners loss in Bedlam in addition to winning its last two in order to claim a Big 12 title and, potentially, a spot in the College Football Playoff.