Davey O’Brien Award announces semifinalists

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We’ re past the halfway point of the 2012 season, so you know what that means, right?

That’d be correct. The ever-popular and always-illuminating release of semifinalists for awards that you may or may not care about. One of the first to release such a list? The Davey O’Brien Award, given annually to the top quarterback in the country.

There are, as always, 16 QBs on the midseason list, including a handful of players who a year ago were in the same position — Matt Barkley (USC), Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Seth Doege (Texas Tech), Landry Jones (Oklahoma) and Denard Robinson (Michigan).  And why Arizona State’s Taylor Kelly (no relation) or ULM’s Kolton Browning or Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton or Marshall’s Rakeem Cato or a handful of others weren’t selected over the likes of Jones and Robinson is a mystery to me as well.

It should be noted that, aside from Louisiana Tech’s Colby Cameron, every other O’Brien semifinalist hails from a “BcS” conference, which pretty much answers the rhetorical question in the previous paragraph as most of these awards suffer from an acute case of Big Six nearsightedness.

Anyway, below is the complete list of O’Brien 2012 semifinalists.

Matt Barkley, USC, Pac-12
Tajh Boyd, Clemson, ACC
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville, Big East
Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech, WAC
Seth Doege, Texas Tech, Big 12
Nick Florence, Baylor, Big 12
Landry Jones, Oklahoma, Big 12
Collin Klein, Kansas State, Big 12
EJ Manuel, Florida State, ACC
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, SEC
Marcus Mariota, Oregon, Pac-12
AJ McCarron, Alabama, SEC
Braxton Miller, Ohio State, Big Ten
Aaron Murray, Georgia, SEC
Denard Robinson, Michigan, Big Ten
Geno Smith, West Virginia, Big 12

Butch Jones says the most Butch Jones quote of all time

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It’s become a theory among some in the media that Butch Jones is conducting a social experiment or participating some sort of performance art. While that’s the more charitable and fun interpretation, I tend to think the Tennessee head coach is just frighteningly insecure and, thus, fighting for every inch of public approval he can in a likely doomed attempt to keep his job.

That approach has backed him into some verbal corners that, in the long run, make his job more difficult on himself.

I’m talking about the “Champions of Life” quote of last season or, in February, actually stating that he didn’t want 5-star players, he wanted 5-star hearts.

This season has seen Jones go on an odd rant blaming the media for negative recruiting and saying Tennessee had one of the best bye weeks ever last week.

It wasn’t one of the best bye weeks ever, because Tennessee lost at home to South Carolina, 15-9. And you’re not going to believe Jones’s explanation for why Tennessee loss. Scratch that. You will believe his explanation, and that’s the problem here, isn’t it?

Here’s the full quote.

Jones is 33-24 in his four-plus seasons in Knoxville, and 14-21 in the SEC. Those numbers will likely fall to 33-25 and 14-22 after Saturday, when the Vols face No. 1 Alabama. The end is likely near.

And here’s the grand irony of Jones’s everything’s-sunny-here p.r. strategy: his attempt to keep his job by stating blatantly cliche quotes in the state of the obvious will live on much longer than Jones’s actual tenure. Two and three years from now, when Jones is working on someone else’s staff or sitting on his buyout money, the next time an on-the-hot-seat coach says his team won the game everywhere except the scoreboard, we’ll see he Pulled a Butch.

Houston Nutt settles lawsuit with Ole Miss

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Houston Nutt wanted money and an apology from Ole Miss. He’ll have to settle for the second of the two — and a largely different future for the program he used to lead.

It was Nutt’s lawsuit, remember, which exposed the documents that led to a Mississippi State fan finding Hugh Freeze‘s call to a Tampa escort service, which led to Freeze’s resignation, which led to… we have no idea what it will lead to, but, whatever that future is, it will be wildly different than if Freeze was still the Rebels’ coach.

Nutt amended his lawsuit in August to seek simply an apology from Ole Miss, and that apology finally came on Monday.

Each side released their own bitter, short statements.

Nutt will go on, with his apology but without any monetary compensation, while Ole Miss will play out the string of this season, hire a new coach, and move into a future that will be immeasurably different that the one it would have lived had it apologized to Nutt in the first place.

Washington loses LT Adams, CB Miller for the season

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No. 12 Washington’s loss to Arizona State was a disaster on the field — for more reasons than one.

The Huskies not only put their College Football Playoff hopes in danger — they’ll need to sweep their next six games, including a finishing kick that calls for games against No. 22 Stanford, No. 15 Washington State and, presumably, No. 11 USC, two of them away from Seattle. But the road to get there became noticeably more difficult after losing two starters.

Left tackle Trey Adams suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, and cornerback Jordan Miller sustained a broken ankle. Head coach Chris Petersen confirmed Monday that both will be lost for the season. Miller is the third Husky this season to suffer a broken ankle.

The Seattle Times noted that Washington is also without another starting corner in Byron Murphy, who is expected to return later this year from a broken foot. The Huskies are expected to replace Miller with either a pair of true freshmen or a converted running back.

But Adams may be the bigger loss for the Huskies. A junior, Adams was widely expected to be a first round pick in this spring’s NFL Draft. It’s the second straight season Washington has lost a key player in the trenches to a season-ending injury; a year ago, it was linebackers Joe Mathis, who finished one sack away from the team lead despite playing in only seven games, and third-leading tackler Azeem Victor.

Maryland AD Kevin Anderson to take 6-month sabbatical

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Maryland AD Kevin Anderson will not be the Maryland AD for the next six months.

Anderson announced Monday he will take a 6-month sabbatical to focus on “professional development.” That leave of absence will see him remain on his national committees with the NCAA and NACDA, the professional organization of ADs.

It was reported over the weekend that Anderson would be out completely as Maryland’s AD, but those reports were knocked down by the university.

Additionally, Maryland announced that former Georgia AD and current Terps associate AD/CFO Damon Evans will run the department in Anderson’s stead.