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The Fifth Quarter: Week 10 Rewind

Oregon vs USC Getty Images

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

WINNERS

Barner emphatically states his trophy case
Matt Barkley begat Geno Smith, who begat Collin Klein in the progression of Heisman front-runners from the preseason through Week 9.  In Week 10, an Oregon running back not named DeAnthony Thomas made his Heisman presence felt.  And what a presence it was.  In the Ducks’ 62-51 win over USC, Kenjon Barner rushed for 321 yards and five touchdowns, the former shattering a school record in the process.  Barner’s 143.9 yards rushing per game are second nationally, as are his 19 touchdowns; both of those totals would be exponentially higher if the Ducks didn’t perform a first-half evisceration of their opponents on a weekly basis, as evidenced by his full-game performance against the Trojans.  While some voters might hold the “product of the system” argument against Barner, there’s little doubt that, bare minimum, the back has earned a mid-December trip to New York City.

Not your father’s Bruins
In its first year under Jim Mora, and in just nine games, 7-2 UCLA has already won more games than it has since 2009 and is on pace for its best season since 2005.  Hell, if they win out they could break the school record (10, multiple times) for wins in a single season.  The latest example of the Bruins being “back” came Saturday, with UCLA putting a 66-10 woodshedding on then-No. 24 Arizona.  As a result, and for the first time since the 2001 season, UCLA holds a higher ranking than its crosstown rival USC (Obligatory pause for our NBCSports.com editor to throw up a little bit in his mouth) (Still pausing)  (And he’s good)  (For now).  Just as it is for the Trojans, the remainder of the season is really very simple for the Bruins: win out and represent the South — for the second straight season, mind you — in the Pac-12 championship game.  And anyone who says they saw this early-November development coming in the offseason?  Yeah, OK.  Liar.

Huskers slightly tighten Legends stranglehold
On the strength of its win over Michigan last weekend, Nebraska had one simple task: win out and claim its first-ever spot in the Big Ten championship game.  Consider the first of four tests passed.  Barely.  Thanks to yet another conference comeback courtesy of a Taylor Martinez touchdown pass with six seconds left, the Huskers claimed a 28-24 win over free-falling Michigan State to push its conference mark to 4-1.  Three tests remain, however, with home games the next two weeks against Penn State and Minnesota, and then the regular-season finale on the road against Iowa.  Pass all three — or hope for a loss by both Michigan and Northwestern if the Huskers stumble once —  and it’s an early-December road trip to Indianapolis for Husker Nation.

And he won’t… back… down
It’s not too often that a quarterback who barely hits the century mark in passing yards in a 20-point loss lands in the winners section of the Fifth Quarter.  Shawn Petty, though, is no ordinary quarterback.  Hell, he’s not even a quarterback —  literally.  Thanks to an incomprehensible four season-ending injuries at the position in about two months, Petty was moved from linebacker to quarterback and started Maryland’s game against Georgia Tech.  And, much to his credit, the true freshman was serviceable.  Petty, in his first collegiate snaps from under center, completed 50 percent of his passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns.  Perhaps most impressively, Petty tossed just one interception.  Yes, the Terps dropped a 33-13 decision to the Yellow Jackets, but, in the loss, Petty showed the type of team player that he is in shouldering the offensive burden under less-than-ideal circumstances.

The Gardner did it
After stating all week that Denard Robinson was probable for the Little Brown Jug matchup with Minnesota, the Michigan quarterback wasn’t mere moments before kickoff as the school announced the senior would be a no-go. Enter Devin Gardner, the quarterback-turned-wide receiver who flipped back to his former position in the week leading up to the Gopher game… and turned in an electric performance in a game that kept the Wolverines in the thick of the Big Ten Legends division race.  In the 35-13 win over Minnesota, Gardner threw for 234 yards and accounted for three touchdowns — two passing, one rushing — in his first action under center since last season.  The good news for UM is that Robinson should be healthy enough to take the field against Northwestern next weekend.  Even better news?  Even if he’s not, or if he’s injured down the road, the Wolverines seem to have found a very viable backup alternative going forward.

Ohio: the heart of it (footb)all
While the eyes of a nation will be focused on the great state of Ohio this Tuesday — an election or something? — there’s something happening on the weekends that deserves some attention as well.  There are eight FBS football teams that hail from the Buckeye State, and five of them — Ohio State, Cincinnati, Toledo, Kent State and Ohio University — are a combined 40-5 in 2012.  Two of them are ranked in the latest Associated Press poll — No. 18 Buckeyes and No. 23 Rockets — while the Bobcats were ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in over four decades prior to suffering its first loss to… Miami of Ohio.  When it comes to recruiting, Florida and Texas and California are still the go-to states for mass quantities of high-quality football players.  This season, though, has shown that there’s still some pretty damn good football being played in the Midwest generally and the great state of Ohio specifically.

[/PSA]
[/send me my money Ohio Tourism Board]

College football fans
Les Miles furiously dug a finger deep into his ear canal following the failed fake field goal in the loss to Alabama, with a look that screamed “what the hell was I thinking?  There is a GIF of said digging.  It is the Greatest GIF of All-Time.  This GGOAT can be viewed in all its glory by clicking HERE.

LOSERS

Not-So-Optimal Klein
Simply put, there’s one blow Kansas State can’t absorb: losing star quarterback Collin Klein for one game let alone an extended period of time.  And yet that might be where the Wildcats find themselves as early as this coming week.  Early in the third quarter of the Wildcats’ win over Oklahoma State, Klein left the game with what appeared to be some type of injury to his wrist and did not return.  After being evaluated by the K-State medical staff, and in a preemptive attempt to keep him from returning to the game, Klein’s helmet was taken from him, an ominous sign in so much as the ongoing speculation is that the senior suffered some type of a head injury during the course of the game and didn’t remember scoring his lone touchdown.  As is Bill Snyder‘s policy and prerogative, no specific information related to the nature of Klein’s injury is being released, which will of course fuel speculation and send the rumor mill spinning wildly out of control.  The reality as it pertains to Klein’s health will likely lie somewhere between the wafts of smoke.  The truth as it pertains to Klein’s health will have a significant impact on how the BcS shakes out in the coming weeks, regardless of whether Snyder wants to discuss it publicly or not.

O-ver-ra-ted (clap clap clapclapclap)
Even as Mississippi State came charging out of the 2012 gates at 7-0, more than a handful of observers questioned whether Mississippi State was as good as their record would otherwise indicate.  The last two weeks, the Bulldogs have answered that questioning with a resounding and emphatic “nope, we’re not!”  Last week, MSU took a 38-7 beating at the hands of No. 1 Alabama.  A week later, it wasn’t much better in a worse-than-it-looked 38-13 trampling at the feet of Texas A&M.  Thanks to their membership in the SEC, MSU was gifted a loftier ranking than what they deserved.  Thanks to the past two weeks, they should no longer be gifted any type of ranking, lofty or otherwise.

Clock ticking on Rocky Top
Yes, Tennessee improved to 4-5 on the season.  And, yes, Derek Dooley‘s tenuous grip on his job slipped even further despite the win.  Playing in front of a sparse Neyland Stadium crowd, and with Jon Gruden-to-UT rumors growing louder in and around Knoxville, Dooley’s Vols defense imploded and added further credence to the speculation that the coach is not long for Rocky Top.  In the 55-48 win over SBC member Troy, the Vols totaled a whopping 718 yards of offense — and gave up 721, the most ever given up by the Vols in the history of the storied program.  Were it not for two touchdowns in the final 2:54, Dooley could’ve been out as UT’s coach as early as Sunday.  The win, as limp as it was, keeps the Vols on the path to bowl eligibility, although even that will likely be too little, too late for the third-year coach.  In fact, if you listen to at least one former Vol, it already is too little, too late.

Winless drumbeat goes on
It’s one thing to be winless through eight games.  It’s another matter entirely to hold a 16-0 lead in the first half… a 19-14 lead in the fourth quarter… only to lose your ninth game of the season.  Yet that’s the position in which Southern Miss finds itself as the Golden Eagles dropped a 27-19 decision to UAB to fall to 0-9.  It’s also a position in which Ellis Johnson has found himself on the hot seat as the speculation goes that, despite it being his first year on the job, USM could be in search of a new head coach if the year ends with the worst season in school history; the school has won just two games twice in a season previously, the most recent being 1993.  Major college football is a results-driven business, and posting the worst showing in program history coming off a 12-win season is not exactly optimal when it comes to job security.

Bobby Hebert
Geaux Bobby!  No, seriously, just Geaux away already.  Jackass.

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

— No. 4 Notre Dame 29, Pittsburgh 26 (3OT): Why anyone is surprised by the closeness of this game is beyond me.  Of the Irish’s nine wins this season, five have come by single digits, with two of those games extended to overtime.  For better or worse, that’s the modus operandi of the 2012 Domers.

— No. 8 Florida 14, Missouri 7: Just call this the mother of all World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party hangovers, with the Gators’ offense kneeling before the porcelain throne for a full 60 minutes against the Tigers.  An at-large BcS bid is still possible, even as the offense makes it appear improbable.

— No. 13 Oregon State 36, Arizona State 26: After falling behind 19-10 early in the second quarter, the Beavers scored the next 26 points to pull away and bounce back from its first loss of the season.

— No. 14 Oklahoma 34, Iowa State 20: Going into the Ames giant slayer’s den and coming out with a win is impressive, especially when it comes a week after losing a heavily-hyped matchup with a Top 10 team.

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

1. Alabama — A 13-game winning streak dating back to last November, with the latest coming in one of the toughest night environments in all of sports?  Yeah, the Tide is an easy selection for the top spot in our little poll. (Last week: No. 1)
Up next: vs. Texas A&M

2. Oregon — In its first real test of the 2012 season, the Ducks passed with 62-point flying colors.  How would they match up against the likes of Alabama or Kansas State?  I have no clue, but either would have the potential for equal parts viewing intrigue and hellacious fun. (Last week: No. 2)
Up next: at Cal

3. Kansas State — Outside of Alabama, there’s not a more complete or better-coached team in the country in all three phases of game than the Wildcats.  The answer to the injury question when it comes to their Heisman front-runner, however, will make or break K-State’s season. (Last week: No. 3)
Up next: at TCU

4. Notre Dame — The pluck of the Irish indeed.  Sixty minutes and three overtimes later, Notre Dame continues to cling to its unbeaten record after surviving yet another close call. (Last week: No. 4)
Up next: at Boston College

5. Ohio State — Single-minded and shortsighted arrogance will keep the Buckeyes out of any postseason play this year, but Meyer’s charges are improving on a week-to-week basis.  Which is good, as the only tangible thing left to play for is a win over their hated rivals at That School Up North. (Last week: unranked)
Up next: at Wisconsin (Nov. 17)

COACHING HOT SEAT
A weekly look at some of the current head coaches who could most likely be an ex-head coaches by season’s end — if not sooner.

— [space left empty] [pouring one out for Joker]

— Auburn’s Gene Chizik: Yes, the Tigers secured its largest margin of victory of the season (35 points).  Yes, the Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak.  Yes, Chizik is still on the hottest of hot seats as the win came against one-win New Mexico State, an Aggies team that was tied with the Tigers 0-0 at the end of the first quarter and had outgained the home team 131-29 the first 15 minutes.  At the end of the first half, the Tigers held just a 7-0 lead.  Even worse?  When getting over on a one-win WAC team is described as “something that you can build on” in the coach’s postgame.  That, dear readers, is the current state of Auburn football.

HE SAID IT
“I actually had a talk with coach. We were talking about what we wanted to run, me and Coach Stout. I said screens have been there all night. He called it, and it was great.” — current Alabama offensive lineman and future offensive coordinator Barrett Jones, talking about the screen pass-turned-touchdown that kept the Tide’s hope for a third BcS title in four years alive.

HELMETS OF THE DAY
In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Snow Bowl, adidas outfitted Texas A&M and Mississippi State in some new duds for Saturday’s game.  While the uniforms were tastefully understated compared to some of the nauseating fashion statements being made on a weekly basis in college football, the helmets used in the game were utterly spectacular, particularly as it relates to the Aggies:

YOU DON’T SAY?
With the win over Iowa State, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops now has 145 career victories, tying Hall of Famer Bud Wilkinson for second on the all-time OU win list behind Barry Switzer‘s 157.

FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSES ONLY

Tajh Boyd tied a Clemson record with six touchdowns — five passing, one rushing — then sat out the entire second half.  The Tigers had a school-record 487 yards of total offense, then went out and played the last two quarters.  That’s the kind of day it was for Duke in the 56-20 loss to Clemson.

— In Week 9, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee set a single-game Pac-12 record with 345 yards receiving.  A week later, Lee set another conference standard: his 251 kick return yards were the most in league history.

Kenjon Barner‘s Oregon single-game rushing record of 321 yards is more than Washington State has rushed for (264) in nine games this season.

— Utah’s Reggie Dunn set what’s believed to be an NCAA record with the fourth 100-yard kickoff return of his career for a touchdown.  It was also Dunn’s third such return in the past two weeks.  Here’s a free tip for future Utes opponents: SQUIB IT!!!

Tyler Bray‘s 530 yards passing set a single-game Tennessee record and was the second-most in SEC history.

— With a 33-yard second-quarter completion, quarterback Taylor Martinez (no relation) surpassed Eric Crouch‘s Nebraska record of 7,915 career yards of total offense set between 1998-2001.

— Nebraska rushed for 313 yards in the win over Michigan State.  The Spartans came into the game allowing just 91.2 yards per game, which lead the Big Ten and No. 7 nationally.

— Johnathan Franklin became UCLA’s all-time leading rusher, surpassing the record of 3,731 yards set by Gaston Green between 1984-87.

— Thanks to Alabama snapping LSU’s nation’s best 22-game home winning streak, that honor now belongs to Northern Illinois, who have won 20 in a row at Huskies Stadium.

— SID Note of the Week: Ohio State is 274-0-1 all-time when it scores at least 35 points, as it did in the win over Illinois. The tie was 35-35 against SMU in 1978.

— Notre Dame and Louisville each have won five games this season by seven points or less, tied for the most at the FBS level.

— In the win over Minnesota, Michigan had back-to-back 90-yard-plus touchdown drives in a single game for the first time in school history.

— In a 48-0 win, Stanford limited Colorado to minus-21 yards rushing.  The one-win Buffs had just 76 yards of total offense for the game.

— Louisville’s 45-17 win over Temple pushed the Cardinals to 9-0 on the season, the first time in school history that’s occurred.  The biggest reason behind that historic start is quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who passed for a career-high five touchdowns in the win over the Owls.

— Kent State’s 35-24 win over Akron was the Golden Flashes’ seventh straight, the first time that has happened since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in the White House (1940).

— UMass, in its first season at the FBS level, has lost all nine of its games by an average score of 44-10.  The Minutemen have been shut out in three of those games and have scored in double digits just four times.

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
If Indiana wins its last three games — vs. Wisconsin, at Penn State and at Purdue — the Hoosiers will finish 5-3 in Big Ten play… and represent the Leaders division in the conference championship game.  Those Mayans may have been on to something.

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Falsely accused of rape, Temple’s Praise Martin-Oguike gets another year of eligibility

Temple v Houston Getty Images

After being exonerated through the legal system, Praise Martin-Oguike is now getting another chance to extend his collegiate football career as well.

In June of 2012, Martin-Oguike was hit with a litany of charges, including aggravated assault, forcible rape, sexual assault, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment, after a Temple student alleged he raped her in the linebacker’s dorm room. Martin-Oguike, who was indefinitely suspended by the Owls, maintained that the sex was consensual and, a little over a year later, all charges were dropped.

“Upon further investigation it was determined there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed to trial,” a Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office spokesperson said at the time.

Martin-Oguike was reinstated by the Owls in January of 2014, but missed the 2013 season because of what turned out to be false accusations. That has been rectified to some degree, however, as the school announced in a press release Tuesday morning that Martin-Oguike’s appeal for an additional season of eligibility has been approved by the NCAA.

Martin-Oguike will now see his eligibility extend through the 2016 season. He will be a redshirt junior in 2015.

“I can’t imagine what Praise and his family were put through from the time those accusations were made,” head coach Matt Rhule said in a statement. “Hopefully he – and the rest of our players for that matter – learn from that experience how close they are to having the privilege of playing college athletics taken away. Fortunately, in this instance, Praise has been able to restore his life and his reputation. He has done everything we’ve asked of him since returning to the team.”

“I said throughout this process that I just want to get back to the life I had before,” said Martin-Oguike. “There was a path that I was on, to play four years of college football and get my college degree, then hopefully, have an opportunity to play at the next level. I’m working towards that goal and I’m very thankful that I’m back on that path.”

In 2014, Martin-Oguike led the Owls with 7.5 sacks after starting 11 games. For his efforts, he was named second-team All-ACC.

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Oklahoma WR Jordan Smallwood suffers ACL injury

Jordan Smallwood, Steven Parker

On the same day its running back depth took a hit, Oklahoma’s pool of wide receivers got a little more shallow. The Sooners announced on their official Twitter account Monday that Jordan Smallwood had suffered an ACL injury and will be out through early-to-mid September.

A junior, Smallwood caught three passes for 21 yards a year ago.

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Nick Saban “very, very sorry” for way Jonathan Taylor situation worked out

Nick Saban

Nick Saban is sorry. Well, sort of.

The Alabama head coach spoke to reporters Monday evening for the first time since giving troubled defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor the boot one day ago for yet another domestic violence charge, saying he was sorry for the way the situation worked out but not for taking a player with two strikes on his record in the first place.

“I’m not apologizing for the opportunity that we gave him,” Saban told the Associated Press. I wanted to try to help the guy make it work. It didn’t work. We’re sorry that it didn’t work and we’re sorry that there was an incident and we’re sorry for the people that were involved in the incident. But we’re not apologizing for what we did, and we’re going to continue to try to create opportunities in the future.”

The confusing thing about the Taylor saga is that Saban went against his whole ethos to sign him, saying at SEC Media Days last summer that “there’s never been a player I’ve kicked off the team that ever amounted to anything.” So why would that mantra hold any less true for a player Mark Richt already kicked off his own team? Why did Saban mention the “psychological profiling” his program performed on Taylor, but not bother to contact Richt or the Athens-Clarke County District Attorney?

“I think you learn from every experience and we certainly learned some things from this one,” Saban said. “But I will say this. We will continue to try to create opportunities for players and try to help them be successful, and even in Jonathan Taylor’s case, if there’s anything we can do to help him overcome his issues and problem we will still certainly try and help him be successful. But right now the guy just can’t be on our football team.”

Elsewhere in “Alabama players in handcuffs” news, Saban said that Tide defensive back Geno Smith, arrested Friday on DUI charges, could return to the team provided he behaves properly.

“When he does a few things that he needs to do over the next few days, and he’s going to have quite a bit of things that he has to do in the future, which I’m not going to be willing to share with anybody — that’s kind of a private matter — then he’ll be back on the field and we’ll allow him to practice again,” Saban said.

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PHOTO: Ohio State has a Michigan fire hydrant near its vet school

Michigan v Ohio State

Ohio State is hoping, pining, aching for Jim Harbaugh to turned the hated Wolverines into a worthy adversary to Urban Meyer and the scarlet-and-grey behemoth in Columbus.

Don’t believe me?

Buckeyes fan site Eleven Warriors shared a photo taken near the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine of a maize-and-blue fire hydrant for the local canine population to, uh, enjoy.

So, yes, Ohio State is definitely ready for this to become a rivalry again.

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UW Huskies add 2017 game against Fresno State

Paul Williams

It’s not exactly Colorado adding TCU and Texas A&M or Stanford adding TCU and Vanderbilt, but another Pac-12 school has added a game to its future schedule against a very respectable Group of Five team.

In twin press releases, Washington and Fresno State announced that the two football programs have reached an agreement on a 2017 game.  Not surprisingly, that game will be played at Husky Stadium and will take place Sept. 16.

The two teams have played just three times previously, the last coming in 2006.

“This is a great opportunity for us to stay on the west coast and play a highly competitive Pac-12 program,” Fresno athletic director Jim Bartko said in a statement. “This game will provide us with great exposure and is an easy trip for both our team and our fans to get to and from Seattle.”

UW had previously announced two other non-conference games for the 2017 season, a home game against FCS Montana and a road trip to Rutgers. There are also future home-and-homes scheduled against BYU (2018,2019) and Michigan (2020, 2021).

The Bulldogs have played teams from the Pac-12 17 of the last 20 seasons, and have schools from that conference on schedules in four of the next five years: Utah (2015), UW (2017), UCLA (2018) and Colorado (2019).

(Photo credit: Fresno State athletics)

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Louisville has a new WR… sort of

Alphonso Carter

As part of Louisville’s 2015 recruiting class, the Cardinals announced the addition of Paul Harris this past December.

Paul Harris is no longer with the team, but the player is.  Wait, what?

It’s actually very simple, even as its something that leans toward the rare side: Harris, you see, has changed his name.  The U of L unveiled the name change in a tweet posted to the football program’s Twitter account, although they didn’t get into the why of the situation.

Harris… errr Carter came to the U of L from the JUCO ranks, but actually began his collegiate career at Tennessee.  A four-star member of UT’s 2013 recruiting class, Carter was rated as the No. 40 wide receiver in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Maryland.

Playing in five games in his one and only season with the Vols, Carter had one catch for 15 yards.  After transferring to Iowa Western Community College, Carter missed the 2014 season with a broken leg.

In addition to Louisville, Carter also held offers from Nebraska and East Carolina in his second recruiting go ’round.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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UNC grad assistant busted for DWI resigns

Gerald McRath

It’s not just college football players who set back our “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.

According to WRAL-TV, North Carolina graduate assistant Gerald McRath was arrested early Monday morning and charged with driving while impaired.  According to the television station’s website, McGrath was found asleep at the wheel by police with his vehicle running.

He was released on a $1,500 bond a short time later.

A few hours later, McRath also relieved himself of his duties at UNC as he announced in a statement that he has decided to, ahem, “resign” his post.

“I apologize for my actions and for bringing negative publicity and attention to the University of North Carolina and the football program,” McRath wrote. “I have decided to resign my position as a graduate assistant coach at UNC and move forward with my career.”

McRath was just added to Larry Fedora‘s staff earlier this year as a defensive grad assistant. He played a portion of his college football career for Fedora at Southern Miss during the latter’s first year in Hattiesburg (2008) before embarking on a four-year NFL career with the Tennessee Titans.

His first coaching job was in 2014 as a defensive quality control coach at his alma mater.

(Photo credit: North Carolina athletics)

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Wake Forest announces six-game series with Army, other non-conference games

Duke v Wake Forest

Wake Forest announced a season’s worth of non-conference games in one fell swoop Monday as athletics director Ron Wellman revealed 13 new games in a column on the Demon Deacons’ website.

Headlining the list of games is a six-game series with Army beginning in 2016 and then occurring occasionally through the next decade. The Deacons will host the Black Knights in 2016, 2022 and 2025 and visit West Point in 2021, 2024 and 2026. The schools have met 14 times previously, most recently a 24-21 Wake Forest win last fall, with the Deacons taking 10 of those affairs.

Wake Forest also announced a home-and-home with Vanderbilt (in Nashville in 2022, in Winston-Salem in ’23), as well as a 2022 home game with Air Force and guarantee games with Presbyterian (2017), Elon (2018) and Elon (2019). Wellman wrote to his constituents to expect more road non-conference games due to the college football underclass raising the prices of guarantee games. “Our goal of playing seven home games each season is becoming more challenging in today’s economic environment. The financial guarantees that non-conference opponents are receiving today for ‘buy games’ have doubled and tripled from just a few years ago,” he wrote. “Therefore, it is more realistic to play a home- and- away series against quality opponents than to ‘buy’ one-time games.”

Wellman also broke a little news, confirming that the ACC will indeed require a Power Five non-conference foe for each of its schools moving forward and that BYU will be counted among that group. “The ACC athletic directors have agreed that each ACC school will play a football non-conference opponent from the SEC, Big 10, PAC 12, Big 12 or Notre Dame or BYU annually,” he wrote.

As it stands today, Wake Forest has non-conference dates with the likes of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Tulane, Air Force, Ole Miss, Purdue and North Carolina lined up through 2026. Ah, yes, the North Carolina non-conference series. You remember that, right? Yeah, Wellman told you that you can take your criticisms and your snark for that unorthodox piece of scheduling and shove it.

“The overwhelming feedback from Wake Foresters has been extremely positive, as they want to play UNC as often as possible,” he wrote.

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More games set to be added to postseason bowl platter?

Portland Trail Blazers v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

If you’re of the mindset that the more bowls the better, you might just be in for a treat.  If you’re not?  Well, you might throw up a little bit in your mouth over the following possibility.

ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy is reporting that the cities of Tucson and Little Rock are wanting a piece of the postseason pie, tweeting that both are expected to apply for new bowl games for the 2015 season.  The proposed Tucson game would pit the Mountain West against Conference USA, while the Little Rock matchup would find the AAC squaring off with the Sun Belt.

According to McMurphy, the bowl in Little Rock will likely be televised by either NBC Sports Network or CBS Sports Network.  There is no indication from McMurphy who would televise the other, which will likely be called the Arizona Bowl.

Last year, not counting the College Football Playoff game, there were 38 bowl games.  If these two games are added, it would bring the total to a whopping 41 bowls for the 2015 season — the Cure Bowl in Orlando was announced last April and will debut following the upcoming season.  At that number, a full 65 percent of FBS programs would “earn” a bowl bid.

In 2014, there were 84 teams — counting UAB, which disbanded its football program prior to the start of the postseason — who were bowl-eligible with at least six wins.  That’s enough to fill the spots for 42 bowl games.  The year before that, 82 schools reached the requisite six wins; in 2012, there were only 77 bowl-eligible teams, which means that there could very well be years where not enough teams reach six wins and bowls would have to take a look at 5-7 teams to fill all of the slots.

And, if you’re anti-bowl expansion, that’s enough to make your skin crawl.  But wait, there’s more…

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Harbaugh, staff add ‘guest coach’ stops at Florida, PA, Cali camps

Jim Harbaugh AP

Last week it was reported that Jim Harbaugh was going the way of James Franklin and Brian Kelly, with he and his Michigan coaching staff appearing as guest coaches at football camps in Alabama and Texas.

It appears that Harbaugh’s summer road show won’t be limited to just those two states.  And one of the new additions may not sit very well with one of UM’s Big Ten rivals.

According to mlive.com, Harbaugh & Company are planning on “guest coaching” at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania June 7.  Lafayette is located less than three hours away from Big Ten member Penn State, so that could ruffle the feathers of Franklin and his Nittany Lion associates.

Additionally, Harbaugh will invade Pac-12 country at an undisclosed location in California (June 10) as well as one in Tampa, Florida (June 6).

Finally, the UM staff will make an appearance at a June 8 camp in Houston, Texas.  One day later, they’ll “guest coach” at a previously-announced camp in Dallas.

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Buckeyes tops in combined Final Fours/major bowls in BCS/CFP era

Urban Meyer Billy Donovan

This past weekend, the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was set, with Michigan State, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Duke punching their tickets to Indianapolis.  While the two Big Ten teams in that foursome bolstered their two-sport résumés, it still wasn’t enough to catch one of its conference rivals.

Since the advent of the Bowl Championship Series for the 1998 college football season, and bleeding into the College Football Playoff established for the 2014 season, Ohio State has played in 11 so-called major bowl games.  Additionally, the hoops version of the Buckeyes has qualified for three Final Fours in that span; that total of 14 BCS/CFP/New Year’s Six/Final Four appearances since the 1998-99 season is the most of any FBS program in general and Power Five conferences specifically.

(Writer’s note: Yes, I’m including the “vacated” Sugar Bowl appearance following the 2010 season.)

Behind OSU is Florida, which has four Final Fours and seven major bowls since the 1998 college football season for a total of 11.  The only other school in double figures is Oklahoma, which comes in with a total of 10 that decidedly favors the gridiron — nine on the football side of the ledger, to be exact.

After that it’s the two B1G teams mentioned in the lede, with MSU totaling nine (seven hoops, two football) and UW eight (three and five).

Speaking of the B1G, a total of six of its current members have pulled off this particular “double-double,” with the others being Michigan (one hoops, five football), Illinois (one, two) and Maryland (two, one).  And in fairness, yes, none of the latter’s came while it was a part of the Big Ten; in fact, all three came while the Terps were members of the ACC..

As far as the rest of the Power Five conferences go, the Big 12 has had five teams pull it off, followed by the ACC with three and the Pac-12 and SEC with two each.

Other than the schools already mentioned, just one other has multiple appearances in the Final Four and major bowls since 1998: Louisville.  The Cardinals have appeared in three Final Fours and two BCS bowl games.  Those appearances came while the U of L was a member of  Conference USA and the Big East.

There has also been exactly one major college that has won a national championship in both basketball and football in this time period: Florida.  And, actually, and more impressively, they won multiple titles in each, with the football Gators laying claim to the crystal following the 2006 and 2008 seasons, and the hoops Gators hoisting the trophy after the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.

Of course, the head coach of Florida for their two football championships is now the head coach at Ohio State, with Urban Meyer adding the first CFP title to his illustrious résumé in his third year with the Buckeyes.

Below is the complete list of 18 teams that have earned a spot in the Final Four and qualified for a major bowl berth since the 1998-1999 season:

Ohio State, 14 (three basketball, 11 football)
Florida, 11 (four, seven)
Oklahoma, 10 (one, nine)
Michigan State, nine (seven, two)
Wisconsin, eight (three, five)
LSU, six (one, five)
Michigan, six (one, five)
Kansas, five (four, one)
Louisville, five (three, two)
Texas, five (one, four)
UCLA, four (three, one)
West Virginia, four (one, three)
Illinois, three (one, two)
Maryland, three (two, one)
Syracuse, three (two, one)
Arizona, two (one, one)
Georgia Tech, two (one, one)
Oklahoma State, two (one, one)

For all of your college hoops needs, hit up CollegeBasketballTalk HERE or follow them on Twitter HERE.  Or do both.  You know you want to.

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Urban on Braxton’s potential violation: ‘Everything is fine. No issue’

Urban Meyer, Braxton Miller AP

It’s been nearly a week since reports surfaced that Ohio State was looking into a potential NCAA violation committed by Braxton Miller.

Since then, OSU has been mum on the issue — until now.  Sort of.

According to a tweet from Todd Porter of the Canton Repository, head coach Urban Meyer was asked about the potential for NCAA issues when it comes to the quarterback’s situation.  At least publicly, Meyer has taken the Lt. Drebin tack and stated, essentially, move on, there’s nothing to see here.

Whether Meyer is correct in his assessment remains to be seen.

As for the issue at hand, a school spokesperson last Wednesday confirmed to The Lantern, OSU’s student newspaper, that the university is looking into a potential NCAA rules violation committed by Miller.  ElevenWarriors.com wrote at the time that “Miller… had a bit of a lapse in judgement [Tuesday] night when he appeared to endorse Advocare, a weight-loss and nutrition multi-level marketing firm that some people consider a pyramid scheme.”

The apparent endorsement came in the form of a post made to Instagram, which was subsequently taken down when the mini-controversy began to grow.

Braxton Miller

Student-athletes are permitted to hold jobs and even be self-employed, which appears to be the case in Miller’s association with the Amway-like AdvoCare group.  However, as Texas A&M compliance director Brad Barnes explained to SBNation‘s Steven Godfrey in an excellent Q&A on the issue, a player’s earnings “may not include any remuneration for value or utility that the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability.”

That will be the decision that OSU, and potentially the NCAA, has to make: whether Miller’s Instagram post constitutes using his “reputation, fame or personal following” for financial gain (whether it should be that way is another matter entirely).

Meyer doesn’t seemed concerned at all over the issue, although until the school officially reaches a decision and issues a public statement, it’s a situation that bears watching.

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Sooners indefinitely suspend RB Keith Ford

Keith Ford AP

With rumors and speculation swirling that there was some type of an issue with Keith Ford, Bob Stoops confirmed as much Monday morning.

According to Oklahoma’s Twitter account, the head coach acknowledged that Ford has been indefinitely suspended from the OU football program.  Stoops stated that the running back’s suspension is related to “academic and team rules violations.”

While true sophomore Samaje Perine is certainly the bell cow in the running game, Ford is still an important part of that aspect of the offense.

Last season, Ford’s 392 yards rushing were good for third on the team, while his five rushing touchdowns were tied for second.  The junior added 11 receptions for 140 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

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Cincy QB says racial slurs preceded punch that KOd victim

Cincinnati v Miami Getty Images

Back in late October, backup Cincinnati quarterback Jarred Evans was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge and suspended a short time later, even as head coach Tommy Tuberville said “there’s a good chance he’s not guilty.”

While Tuberville’s player is not denying there was a punch thrown, he is saying there was something that triggered it.

Testifying in court Friday in connection to the charge, Evans alleged that the victim, 20-year-old UC student Ryan Smith, was part of a group of males who began harassing him and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Jennifer Dunlap.  According to Evans, the group, or someone in the group, was directing “n****r lover” comments at him and his girlfriend; Evans is black, his girlfriend is white.  Evans said in his testimony that he tried to ignore the epithets, but the situation ultimately escalated.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Eventually, Evans responded: “I told them, ‘I will f**k all of you up if you come after me.”

Soon after, he testified, one of the men stood in front of them, blocking their path.

“He flinched at me with his hands up,” Evans testified, “and I just reacted with a punch, a jab.”

The individual who was on the receiving end of the jab was Smith, who sustained a concussion and lacerations that required stitches. Smith had previously testified that he wasn’t with the group of men who were harassing Evans and Dunlap. Oddly enough, Dunlap’s roommate, Courtney Gravett, backed up Smith’s account, testifying that the victim was not a part of the harassing group and that she tried to stop Evans from confronting them.

“For no obvious reason,” the Enquirer said Gravett testified, “Evans struck Smith, who had his head down and his hands in his pockets.”

According to the paper, closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected Monday.

Evans, incidentally, remains suspended from the football program.

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Syracuse’s Luke Arciniega granted two additional years of eligibility

Chris James, Luke Arciniega AP

It appears the NCAA was feeling particularly benevolent this past week.

On Instagram Saturday, Syracuse’s Luke Arciniega revealed that he has been granted two additional seasons of eligibility by The Association.  One of the years came from Arciniega missing all but the first four games of the 2014 season due to what was only described as a lower-body injury.  The second year is a bit murkier, although the Syracuse Post-Standard has an idea from where it came.

He finished his career at Spanish Springs (Sparks, Nev.) High School in 2009 before initially attending Nevada. He spent three semesters there, but was only on scholarship for the first year as a disagreement with the coaching staff regarding his concussion history left him on the sideline for each game that first year.

It’s possible that the second season in which Arciniega was not part of the program merited another year of eligibility by the NCAA.

Regardless of where the additional season came from, the NCAA’s decision means that he’ll be eligible to play in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

“College career hasn’t gone as planned with all the injuries but patience and faith [have] kept me on track,” Arciniega wrote on the social media site. “After few months of waiting, found out that I was granted 2 years of eligibility back when I was only hoping for one. Feeling blessed.”

Arciniega came to the Orange in 2013 from the JUCO ranks, playing in all 13 games that initial season.  This offseason, he’s transitioning from linebacker to defensive end.

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