Tonight’s game between Louisville and Rutgers was jokingly dubbed the “ACC vs Big Ten Challenge” thanks to future conference affiliations, but the Cardinals came away with this year’s Big East title.
Louisville knocked off Rutgers 20-17 to grab a share of the Big East title and a likely trip to either the Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl. Rutgers and Syracuse also share the Big East title and Cincinnati can make it a four-way tie with a win over UConn this weekend. However, the BCS representative will be the Big East team with the highest ranking. That’s expected to be Louisville.
It initially appeared as though the BCS bid would go to the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers had a 14-3 lead over Louisville at the half thanks to a pair of long touchdown passes from quarterback Gary Nova to Brandon Coleman and Mark Harrison. But RU’s offense couldn’t replicate the big plays in the second half and receiver Tim Wright dropped some passes that otherwise would have gone for big plays.
And then there was Kyle Flood‘s fake field goal call that went for a touchdown, but was called back because of an ineligible player downfield. Rutgers then elected to punt instead and Louisville drove 90 yards on 14 plays to score a touchdown on the very next drive.
We noted at the beginning of the game that UL quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would not start because of wrist and ankle injuries he suffered against UConn last week, but did Bridgewater deliver a gutsy performance. Visibly hurting, Bridgewater still threw for 263 yards and a pair of scores. The sophomore was unable to step into throws causing some passes to float high, and limped off the field after every drive. Sharing playing time with Will Stein seemed like a bizarre move at the start of the game considering what was on the line, but even one play off gave Bridgewater a little relief.
Bridgewater even got a shout-out from Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
It was a gritty showing by Louisville, especially after dropping the last two games. And now the preseason Big East favorites will likely be back in the BCS for the first time since the 2007 Orange Bowl.
For the third time this offseason — a number that could ultimately turn into four — Alabama has seen a player depart Nick Saban‘s football program.
On Twitter over the weekend, Christian Bell announced that, “[a]fter a lot of thoughts and prayers,” he has decided to transfer from the Crimson Tide. The linebacker gave no reason for his departure less than two weeks before the start of summer camp, although al.com has an idea:
Alabama is very deep at outside linebacker and has several other young outside linebackers who were higher-rated recruits than Bell and were ahead of Bell on the depth chart.
Bell took a “grayshirt” for the 2015 season, ultimately enrolling in classes at UA this past January. The Birmingham, Ala., native participated in spring practice with the Tide this year.
A three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com, Bell was rated as the No. 19 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 17 player at any position in the state of Alabama.
In January, it was reported that Shawn Burgess-Becker had decided to transfer, with the defensive back ultimately moving on to UCF. A month after Burgess-Becker’s departure surfaced, reports emerged that linebacker Adonis Thomas was leaving ‘Bama for a junior college.
Senior defensive back Maurice Smith has also been granted permission to transfer, although Smith’s family at one time indicated that the door was open for a return. Earlier this month, it was reported that UA had thus far denied Smith a release from his scholarship.
Heading into his second season in Gainesville, Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins just received a significant raise.
Collins, who signed a three-year contract paying him $600,000 annually after leaving Mississippi State to join Jim McElwain‘s staff last winter, netted a bump to $890,000 with a $150,000 retention bonus according to contract details obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
Nine assistants earned at least $1 million in 2015 according to USA Today, with six of those hailing from the SEC.
Additionally, defensive line coach Chris Rumph‘s salary moved to $500,000 with a one-year extension through the 2017 season, offensive line coach Mike Summers will earn $498,500, linebackers coach Randy Shannon‘s $400,000 salary grew by just under $10,000, and new defensive backs coach Torrian Gray signed a two-year deal paying him $335,000 annually.
Florida’s defense ranked eighth nationally in yards per play allowed in 2015, helping the Gators win an unexpected SEC East championship.
In an odd way, here’s the best way to show just how far Art Briles took Baylor’s football program: his interim replacement will make more money for eight months of work than the full-time head coaches at Iowa State and Kansas.
Jim Grobe will earn $1.25 million for his work from late May through the end of the upcoming football season, according to a report from Brett McMurphy of ESPN on Monday. Iowa State’s Matt Campbell will earn $1.2 million in an incentive-laden contract this year, while KU’s David Beaty will net $800,000.
Grobe’s $1.25 million deal is also the richest for any interim head coach on record. Arkansas paid John L. Smith $850,000 for 10 months of work back in 2012.
Baylor opens its season Friday, Sept. 2 against Northwestern State.
Six Washington State football players have been named persons of interest in a brawl that left two students hospitalized and even more injured over the weekend.
According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, a group of students that included Cougars players started threw fireworks at attendees of a Pullman, Wash., party early Saturday morning. That led to a verbal altercation that soon became physical, where one suffered a bloody wound on the back of his neck and another was forced to undergo facial reconstruction surgery after suffering a broken jaw.
“We’re looking at this as a very serious felony assault level based on the injuries to two victims,” Pullman police commander Chris Tennant told the paper. “I would like to make arrests later in the week. I don’t know if that’s a realistic timeline. I expect this to be a lengthy investigation. A lot of people have to be interviewed.”
Wazzu AD Bill Moos released the following statement Monday afternoon:
“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.”