The No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the only eligible unbeaten left standing, versus the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, the one-loss defending champion, in a winner-takes-all matchup for this year’s BCS championship Jan. 7 in Miami.
Both programs will bring storied traditions into what will be one of the most anticipated title games in the BCS era, armed with a record eight Associated Press titles apiece. The Irish will be playing for its first national championship since 1988, the Tide gunning for its third BCS title in four years.
Notre Dame will be looking to become not only the first non-SEC team to win a BCS title since the 2005 season, they will be looking to become the first non-conference team to beat an SEC team in the title game — seven appearances, seven wins. Meanwhile, Alabama will be charged with extending its league’s unprecedented streak of BCS titles to seven in a row.
North vs. South. Catholics vs. Christians. Whatever trite tag gets slapped on it, this game is shaping up to be a true Game of The Century. Not because of the massive hype that will surely spiral out of control over the next five weeks, either; rather, it will pit a pair of evenly-matched teams whose strengths — and weaknesses — are eerily similar once you strip the invincible SEC veneer off the Tide and remove the Irish-colored glasses.
So, there you have it. Notre Dame vs. Alabama for all the crystal.
Now, who ya got? A back-to-[blank]-to-back-to-back extension of the SEC’s dominance over the college football world, or a program dripping with tradition returning to what they believe is their rightful place in the heirarchy of the sport?
Vote below and, God help us all, let your feelings be known in the comments section below that.
Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Texas among seven finalists for transferring Clemson DT
It appears one prominent graduate transfer is zeroing in on a new college football home.
Not long after it was confirmed that Scott Pagano would be transferring from Clemson, a report surfaced that three dozen or so teams had expressed interest in the defensive tackle. Pagano has since whittled that number down to seven, with 247Sports.com reporting that Arkansas, Cal, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas are the lineman’s finalists.
The recruiting website writes that “Pagano will now begin setting up official visits for the coming weekends before enrolling in May.” This upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.
Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. Pagano started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.
Derwin James, Nate Andrews among 11 for FSU to earn medical redshirts
While the move would technically give James three more years of eligibility, the talented defensive back is widely expected to make himself available for the 2018 NFL draft. Andrews will be a fifth-year senior in his final year of eligibility.
As a true freshman in 2015, James’ 91 tackles were second only to Reggie Northrup’s 94. He was also second on the team in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (4.5).
Andrews has started 22 games during his time with the Seminoles.
At the other end of the personnel spectrum is Ryan Hoefield, with TomahawkNation.com reporting that the offensive lineman has not only decided to leave FSU but leave the sport, period. According to the website, Hoefield will graduate this spring and take a job in the medical field.
Hoefield played in nine games the past three years, only one f which came in 2016 and likely hastened his departure from the Seminoles.
DB Cedrick Wright no longer a part of the Miami football program
College football free agency continues unabated this morning, with Miami the latest to see its roster a little lighter than it once was.
The Hurricanes announced in a press release that Cedrick Wright is no longer a member of Mark Richt‘s program. No specific reason for the parting of ways was given.
“I talked to Cedrick and we both felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else,” the head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”
The departure marks the end of a brief but eventful career for the defensive back with the ‘Canes.
Wright was a three-star member of The U’s 2016 recruiting class who played in nine games as a true freshman. He was also suspended for the Week 12 game against North Carolina State because of unspecified violations of team rules, and missed the team’s bowl game as well because of academics.
“Jake is a guy that I was interested in even before I got the job here at Hawai’i,” head coach Nick Rolovich (pictured) said in a statement. “I always thought he’d be a good fit with our philosophy. He’s well respected on the West Coast, not only for his knowledge but also for the noise he’s made on the recruiting side of the game. I have great appreciation for grinders like Jake. We hope he adds to the trust of coaches and players in local recruiting. Local or not, though, Jake is a good ball coach.”
Yoro played at powerhouse Saint Louis High School before playing at Montana from 1998-01, then returned to the islands to coach in the Hawaii high school ranks. He left in 2009 to serve as linebackers coach at Montana Western, spent five seasons at Pacific University in Oregon and then coached the past two seasons as defensive backs coach at Cal Poly.
The Hawaii job represents Yoro’s first foray into FBS football.
“I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity to join the UH football family. Coach Rolo and the rest of the staff have done a tremendous job of creating a culture that fosters greatness both on and off the field,” Yoro said.
He’ll have his work cut out for him immediately. Hawaii finished Rolovich’s first season ranked 118th nationally in pass efficiency defense, allowing 62.6 percent completions for 8.1 yards per attempt with 29 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 14 games.