While we don’t know yet just who will replace Bret Bielema at Wisconsin, we do know who it won’t be. Maybe. Possibly.
Mel Tucker has been a highly-regarded NFL assistant over the past eight years, including the last four as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive coordinator. He’s also a former Badger football player who was a member of the first recruiting class of Barry Alvarez, the UW athletic director getting back to his coaching roots on a one-game basis.
The connections are obvious between the two, so much so that Alvarez has already reached out to Tucker. At least for now, though, Tucker’s not ready to bite on a return to his alma mater, although the door wasn’t exactly slammed shut.
“Well, there’s not an interest on my part at this time,” Tucker said during a press conference related to his current job. “So that’s kind of where it is right now. But, yeah, I have talked to coach, coach Alvarez. …
“[T]here’s nothing there really to report, and it’s nothing more than that.”
Tucker added that he has not been offered the job by his former coach.
Despite NFL ties for the past several years, Tucker has been part of prime college programs in the past, including stops at Michigan State, LSU and Ohio State.
Florida State’s off to a rough start on the field, which means have gotten a little bit tougher — and louder — off of it.
FSU lost to Louisville 31-28 Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee to tumble to 2-4, its worst start to a season since Bobby Bowden‘s final year in 2009. After the game, as Jimbo Fisher was headed into the postgame locker room, he was greeted by a fan who shouted down from the stands “get new coaches.”
The head coach’s response? “Walk your ass down here and say it.”
After the game, Fisher was, of course, asked about the exchange. While he allowed that he “shouldn’t have said something” to the heckling fan, he passionately defended his struggling football program, from the football players on the roster to his coaching staff.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
It’s not frustration, just, ‘Hey, listen, be supportive,’” Fisher said of the interaction after the game. “There’s no reason to be nasty. I shouldn’t have said something.
“But at the same time, [I’m] defending players and people you’re with. I’m in charge of them, and I love them like a father. If they say something about your family, you take up for it. …
“Are you going to be a real fan or not?” Fisher said of general fan reaction following the poor start to this season. “Just keep fighting with us. We ain’t quitting on you. Please don’t quit on us. We’re going to keep fighting, scratching, coaching and playing, and you see the heart and desire of those kids.
“I understand you’re going to get on us [coaches]. That’s part of the business. That’s part of life. I understand that. … There ain’t no quit in us either. We’re right there. We just have to find a way to get it.
With this latest loss, FSU now needs to win four of its last five contests to qualify for one. One win is practically guaranteed as they face FCS Delaware State Nov. 18. Beyond that, their work is cut out for them as they have road trips to surging Boston College, Clemson and Florida, as well as a home game against a much-improved Syracuse squad that upset Clemson earlier this month.
The calendar may say October, but we’re already talking bowl bids.
Specifically, it was announced Saturday afternoon that Army has officially accepted a bid to play in the 2017 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. The service academy’s sixth win of the season came courtesy of a 31-28 overtime win over Temple.
“We are absolutely delighted that Army West Point has accepted an invitation to play in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl,” bowl executive director Brant Ringler said in a statement. “Coach Jeff Monken has been outstanding since his arrival at West Point, and again reaching the post-season is a tremendous accomplishment. We are thrilled to be able to host the Army West Point football team and the cadets in Fort Worth.”
“To return to the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is very special for our football program and the U.S. Military Academy,” Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said in his. “The bowl did an exceptional job in 2010 in our win over SMU and we are looking forward to another great experience for our players, coaches and staff in Fort Worth in December.
The bid acceptance is contingent, though, on Army not being selected for the Group of Five’s slot in a New Year’s Six Bowl. The Black Knights are currently 6-2 on the season; as of this posting, there are two G5 unbeatens (USF, UCF) and four with one loss (Memphis, Navy, Marshall, Toledo).
As we noted this week, Army will be making its first back-to-back bowl appearances since the 1984-84 seasons.
I don’t know which one specifically, but this has to be one of the signs of the Apocalypse.
Entering Week 8, Rutgers was 5-23 in conference play — 2-18 the last two-plus years — since joining the Big Ten for the 2014 season. Exiting Week 8, that mark has been bumped up to 6-23 as RU held off Purdue 14-12 in Piscataway. The Boilermakers had a chance to tie the score with 25 seconds remaining after a David Blough touchdown pass, but the two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Making this win even more impressive is the fact that the Knights were outgained 474-217 in total yards by the Boilermakers — and 279 of those yards for the visitors came on the ground. The bend-but-don’t-break defense, though, forced six punts, two turnovers and three turnovers on downs in holding a Purdue offense that came in averaging 26.9 points per game to a pair of field goals and one touchdown.
Combine this victory with the Week 7 road win over Illinois, and this marks the first time RU has won back-to-back Big Ten games becoming a B1G member three years and three-plus seasons ago. Not only that, but it’s also the first time they’ve won back-to-back conference games in any league since 2012, when they were a member of the defunct Big East.
This mini-streak will seemingly face a stiff test to extend as they travel to Ann Arbor next weekend to face No. 19 Michigan in the Big House.
After taking No. 10 Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) to overtime in a defensive battle without turning the football over, Texas (3-4, 2-2 Big 12) quarterback Sam Ehlinger picked the absolute worst time to throw away his first turnover of the day. Ehlinger floated away a ball to a spot in the end zone with no receiver in the area, and Ramon Richards secured the interception to seal a 13-10 victory for Oklahoma State.
The interception came on third down with the Longhorns a short distance away from a shot at a game-tying field goal try to force a second overtime. Texas had the ball spotted at the six-yard line on the play, shortly after being given the ball at the 12-yard line on a pass interference call in the end zone against Oklahoma State.
This was the third time Oklahoma State had played an overtime game this season, and it was also the latest instance of a rebuilding Texas team showing it can hang with the top opponents on its schedule. They just have not been able to make the [plays needed to secure a win. Earlier in the season, Texas let USC tie the game at the end of regulation despite holding a late fourth-quarter lead in Los Angeles. A week ago Texas had a fourth-quarter lead on Oklahoma before letting one slip away. This week, Texas just could not hold off the Cowboys despite a fine defensive effort to keep Oklahoma State out of the end zone since the first quarter.
The win may not inspire much confidence in Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys will remain in the Big 12 championship hunt as well as on the playoff radar after getting out of Austin with the win. This one was much different from the way Oklahoma State typically wins, with the defense leading the way. Oklahoma State allowed just 13 first downs and held Texas to 3-of-17 on third down tries.
Mason Rudolph was without a touchdown pass and he passed for 282 yards. James Washington had four catches for 32 yards and Justice Hill rushed for 117 yards without a score for the Cowboys offense. J.D. King‘s first-quarter score was the lone touchdown by Oklahoma State’s offense.
Texas will now turn its attention to a road game against Baylor. The Bears entered today without a win this season as they prepared to take on West Virginia. After a game at Baylor, Texas is back on the road to Fort Worth to play TCU before returning home for a big revenge game situation against Kansas. I say that somewhat sarcastically, but genuinely believe that is a game that should have been circle don the Texas schedule before the season started.
Oklahoma State will be back on the road next week for another challenge. The Cowboys head to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. West Virginia entered today at 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Big 12 play before a game against Baylor in Waco.