Ah, nothing like a little bit of recruiting intrigue just three days ahead of National Signing Day.
When last we heard from Reuben Foster, the top-rated recruit in the state of Alabama had whittled his list of schools down to Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. Foster also had a visit to the Tigers scheduled for this weekend, giving the AU coaching staff what many considered the last in-person shot at making an impression on the uncommitted linebacker.
Foster did indeed take that planned trip to The Plains. However, the player lit the recruiting world afire Saturday evening when it was reported that he cut short his trip to Auburn and headed to Alabama.
Rivals.com, 247Sports.com and ESPN.com all confirmed the development.
The Birmingham News writes that “[r]umors of Foster’s surprise departure from Auburn appeared to have been confirmed by Alabama wide receiver Christion Jones, who tweeted on Saturday “Chillin with my boy Alvin and Reuben tonight” before deleting the message from his account.” The “Alvin” in Jones’ tweet would appear to refer to Alvin Kamara, a four-star recruit who’s one of the top all-purpose running backs in the country.
Whether or not Foster’s decision to cut short his Auburn visit is a sign the linebacker is leaning toward the Tide remains to be seen. Foster, the No. 13 player at any position in the country according to Rivals.com, is expected to announce his school of choice at a televised press conference Monday night at 7 p.m. ET.
A 5-7 team is going to go bowling this season, but Missouri will not be one of them. Missouri athletics director Mack Rhoades released a statement Monday evening confirming the Tigers will not accept any bowl invitation.
“Following this weekend’s football games, there have been significant discussions nationally concerning 5-7 teams participating in bowl games,” the statement read. “After careful consideration, we have decided it is not in the best interest of our football program to seek permission from the NCAA to participate in a bowl game. Our focus remains on identifying the right leader for our program and moving forward with the transition process.”
Missouri would have been among the first of the 5-7 schools to receive an invitation to whatever bowl is left needing to fill a bowl spot this season after it became mathematically impossible to fill all available bowl spots with bowl-eligible teams. Based on APR scores, Missouri was expected to be one of the first 5-7 schools to fill an empty spot. Nebraska would be the first school in line base don APR scores, followed by the Tigers. Not anymore.
The decision also means Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel has coached his final game for the Tigers. After announcing his retirement earlier in the month, effective at the end of the season, Pinkel was prepared to coach until the end of the season even if that mean going to a bowl game. As noted in the statement, Missouri is focused on hiring a successor to Pinkel, and that search continues to develop.
Now, what other schools are going to forfeit a bowl trip?
It was a long season for fans of the UCF Knights, but at least one bar may have been the biggest loser of all. Orlando bar The Basement committed to giving away free beer during UCF football games after starting the season with four losses. The free beer promotion would continue until the Knights won a game, which of course never happened. USF demolished UCF on Thanksgiving night to bring an end to a dreadful 0-12 season in Orlando. So, what was the final tab?
An estimated total of 15,000 free beers were given away to patrons during UCF games this season, and the promotion is expected to continue into the 2016 season.
“We thought the next two games after we came up with the offer were our most winnable games of the season,” Jake Whitacre, marketing director for The Basement, said in a local TV interview. “Once we lost those two we realized we had really gotten ourselves into a hole.”
Whitacre said the bar still ended up making money thanks to customers buying other beverages in addition to receiving free beer.
If you were curious, UCF opens the 2016 season at Michigan unless they fill a scheduling vacancy on September 3.
If your favorite college football program is in the market for a new head coach, you may want to pay close attention to the Broyles Award. The award honors the top assistant coach in the nation, and its list of finalists for the 2015 season’s award was announced on Monday. It includes some names that will likely be a head coach in due time, some as early as this season.
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley are the five finalists for the award. A few have been connected to various coaching carousel headlines and rumors already. Smart is pegged as a possible candidate for either the Georgia or South Carolina vacancy. Venables has been connected to some rumors as well and Chizik, of course, has previous head coaching success worth noting as well.
Last year’s winner, Tom Herman, won the award as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator and now he is the rising head coach at Houston. Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi won the award the previous season as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator. The year before that saw Notre Dame assistant Bob Diaco win the award. He is now the head coach at UConn. Other past winners of the award that have gone on to become a head coach include Gus Malzahn, Kevin Wilson, Norm Chow, Randy Shannon, Mark Mangino, Ralph Friedgen and David Cutcliffe. You can also add Chizik’s name to that list. The 2004 Broyles Award winner later went on to be the head coach at Iowa State before returning to Auburn as head coach. He and Smart are looking to be the first two-time winner of the award.
The Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 8.
Navy lost a chance to play for the American Athletic Conference this past weekend with a road loss at Houston, but the Midshipmen will still get a chance to close out the regular season with a win. They will be doing so in quite a unique style.
On Monday, Navy took to social media to show off their specially designed “Navy Fleet” uniforms and hand-painted helmets that will be worn for the annual Army-Navy Game next week. We have seen individually hand-painted helmets before, but never quite like this. The helmets to be worn will pay tribute to seven historic battleships in the United States Navy, and each player will have a different ship on their helmet depending on their position.
Here is the helmet design breakdown, as explained by Navy:
- Linebacker: Cruiser- Provides anti-air defense and packs the biggest punch of Naval surface ships representative of the linebackers on the Navy football team
- Defensive Back: Destroyer- Known for significant fire power, speed, and anti-missile defense as are Navy’s defensive backs
- Wide Receiver: Submarine- Predominantly utilized as blockers, wide receivers play a key role in driving the Navy rush attack, taking on a stealth-like persona as they blend into the rhythm of the offense but bring significant fire power when called upon, just like a Naval submarine
- Lineman: Amphibious Assault Ships- Just as a lineman’s job is the create a hole for a running back or linebacker, these ships are utilized to establish the “beach head” that enables the invading force to gain access and ultimately accomplish their objective
- Quarterback: Aircraft Carrier- The QB of the Naval Fleet, the aircraft carrier is the ultimate decision maker; the “quick strike” weapon of the Naval fleet
- Running Back: Littoral Combat Ship- Like running backs, these fast and nimble ships can navigate through both crowded shallow and deep waters
- Kicker/Special Teams: Minesweeper- Much like the specific task of the Navy special teams, this small ship has a unique mission of identifying and eliminating mines
Compared to some of the uniforms Navy has worn in the past for the Army-Navy Game, these are certainly more unique. I’m personally a fan more of some of the more recent uniforms worn, but I certainly cannot wait to see what these uniforms look like in person.
Army and Navy square off in Philadelphia on Saturday, December 12.