A couple of weeks after Billy Gonzales left Illinois for the SEC, Tim Beckman has found a positional replacement.
The Illini confirmed Wednesday that Mike Bellamy has been promoted from a support-staff role to wide receivers coach. Bellamy had spent the 2012 season as the Illini’s assistant director of player personnel and relations.
“Mike Bellamy will be a terrific addition to the Fighting Illini football staff,” said Beckman in a statement. “I’ve had a chance to observe Mike over the past year, and the job he did coordinating campus recruiting visits, maintaining communications with our former players and engaging with the current team was outstanding.
“He has a tremendous amount of knowledge about the wide receiver position, and as a former Fighting Illini player, an immense amount of pride and passion for the institution. I have no doubt Mike will be a great wide receivers coach and member of our coaching staff.”
Bellamy’s only previous coaching experience at the collegiate level came at Clark-Atlanta University in 2011. Prior to that, he was a coach at the high school level for three years.
The release added that Bellamy, who was a first-team All-Big Ten receiver in the late eighties, “built a successful business in the beauty industry in the Atlanta area” with his wife following a seven-year career in professional football that ended in 1996.
The third-to-last edition of the College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night, and the only changes in the top 12 came at spot No. 2, where Miami jumped Clemson ahead of the pair’s ACC title clash on Dec. 2.
USC remained the highest-ranked Pac-12 team at No. 11, dimming any hopes the Pac-12 could back-door its way into the top four should chaos reign elsewhere. The Trojans were one spot ahead of TCU and two spots ahead of the Pac-12’s second-highest ranked team in Washington State. Central Florida again led all Group of 5 teams at No. 15.
Virginia Tech re-joined the rankings at No. 25, one spot behind the debut rankings for South Carolina.
The top 25:
8. Notre Dame
9. Ohio State
10. Penn State
13. Washington State
14. Mississippi State
15. Central Florida
16. Michigan State
19. Oklahoma State
23. Boise State
24. South Carolina
25. Virginia Tech
Kevin Sumlin said Tuesday afternoon he expects to be Texas A&M’s head coach in 2018. A report Tuesday night says otherwise.
Sumlin will be fired in the day or days following Saturday’s game with No. 20 LSU, win or lose, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle. The Aggies are 0-5 against LSU under Sumlin and double-digit underdogs for Saturday’s game in Baton Rouge. The Chronicle‘s report is not the first to proclaim Sumlin’s future firing, but it is the most definitive.
Sumlin is 7-4 (4-3 SEC) this season and 51-25 overall, a mark that ranks in the top-third of the SEC since joining the league in 2012 — but Sumlin is not paid to deliver top-third results. His program failed to live up to the standard set in that debut campaign, with an 11-2 mark, a win in Tuscaloosa, a Cotton Bowl blowout of Oklahoma and a Heisman Trophy for Johnny Manziel.
The Chronicle reported that Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher will be A&M’s top target to replace Sumlin.
It was the 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois that pushed Shawn Eichorst out the door, but I wonder if it wasn’t a news item on the Tuesday before that game that convinced Nebraska stakeholders to replace their athletics director. The Big Ten released its 2020-21 football schedules on Sept. 12, four days ahead of Nebraska-NIU, and they featured Nebraska concluding each season against Minnesota — on a Saturday.
For a program that shed all of its traditions in leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten, losing the Black Friday finale was the final cut of the string that connected the current program to any vestige of its past. Eichorst didn’t get Nebraska, and allowing the Black Friday game to be lost proved it. Or so it seemed.
Bill Moos is Nebraska’s AD now, and he’d like to see things remain as they are: with the Black Friday finale, and against Iowa.
“I’m going to really push to establish Iowa as being our rival,” Moos said the Husker Sports Nightly radio show, via the Lincoln Journal-Star. “We came into the Big Ten and we need a rivalry game, and I’ve already been to the Big Ten and talked to them about that so hopefully we can keep that Black Friday game and have that be Iowa each year.”
Nebraska still has two more games against Iowa scheduled after this season, and the Huskers and Hawkeyes have met in each of Nebraska’s six previous Big Ten seasons. The series is deadlocked at 3-3 over that span. (Nebraska led 26-12-3 before joining the Big Ten.)
Though the Nebraska-Minnesota games are on the schedule as of now, there’s really no reason the Big Ten can’t change its schedules for 2020 and ’21 to preserve this tradition. And it should.
The Crotch Grab Seen ‘Round the World has found a way to remain in the news cycle, now 72 hours after it happened.
Oklahoma announced Monday that Baker Mayfield will not serve as a team captain and will now start for the No. 4 Sooners against West Virginia on Saturday, and earlier Tuesday Kansas announced that the players who refused to shake Mayfield’s hand will not serve as captains for its own finale against No. 13 Oklahoma State.
But if those mostly-empty gestures weren’t enough to get the players’ attention, surely this will do it: a public reprimand from the conference office.
The Big 12 issued this reprimand to Mayfield for violating the conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct rules. Said commissioner Bob Bowlsby:
“Mr. Mayfield’s actions are unacceptable and should not be tolerated. I am grateful for the efficient management of this matter by the coaches and administration of the University of Oklahoma. Baker Mayfield is a truly outstanding competitor and I generally appreciate his style of play and the manner in which he competes. However, the behavior he exhibited on the sideline during the Oklahoma-Kansas game was inappropriate and contrary to our sportsmanship policies.”
And here’s Bowlsby’s slap on the wrist to Kansas captains Joe Dineen, Dorance Armstrong Jr., Jeremiah Booker, and Daniel Wise:
“The refusal of these student-athletes to shake an opponent’s hand during the pre-game ceremony is contrary to tradition and inconsistent with common courtesy. The pre-game handshake among team captains is symbolic of good sportsmanship. This breach of protocol is not in keeping with the standards of the Big 12 Conference. I am grateful for the work of the Kansas administration and coaches to resolve this matter.”
The Big 12 noted that this was actually the fifth sportsmanship reprimand it has issued in its history. So there’s that.
Perhaps we can all move on now.