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Ex-Buffs QB transferring to Akron

Colorado v Arizona State Getty Images

A week after Colorado’s spring practices came to an end, quarterback Nick Hirschman decided he would spend his final two years of eligibility at another program. That new program, initially rumored to be “an Ivy (League)-type school” is Akron.

Hirschman told ESPN’s Joe Schad Thursday that he would be transferring to the Zips. He will be eligible to play immediately.

Hirschman started two games last season and finished with 589 yards passing, two touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Fellow Buffs QB Jordan Webb sustained an ACL tear near the end of spring practices and it was initially thought that he would miss the 2013 season. Early rehab success has given some hope that Webb could play this year, however. Connor Wood, a Texas transfer, started one game last season.

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Oklahoma WR Jordan Smallwood suffers ACL injury

Jordan Smallwood, Steven Parker

On the same day its running back depth took a hit, Oklahoma’s pool of wide receivers got a little more shallow. The Sooners announced on their official Twitter account Monday that Jordan Smallwood had suffered an ACL injury and will be out through early-to-mid September.

A junior, Smallwood caught three passes for 21 yards a year ago.

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Nick Saban “very, very sorry” for way Jonathan Taylor situation worked out

Nick Saban

Nick Saban is sorry. Well, sort of.

The Alabama head coach spoke to reporters Monday evening for the first time since giving troubled defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor the boot one day ago for yet another domestic violence charge, saying he was sorry for the way the situation worked out but not for taking a player with two strikes on his record in the first place.

“I’m not apologizing for the opportunity that we gave him,” Saban told the Associated Press. I wanted to try to help the guy make it work. It didn’t work. We’re sorry that it didn’t work and we’re sorry that there was an incident and we’re sorry for the people that were involved in the incident. But we’re not apologizing for what we did, and we’re going to continue to try to create opportunities in the future.”

The confusing thing about the Taylor saga is that Saban went against his whole ethos to sign him, saying at SEC Media Days last summer that “there’s never been a player I’ve kicked off the team that ever amounted to anything.” So why would that mantra hold any less true for a player Mark Richt already kicked off his own team? Why did Saban mention the “psychological profiling” his program performed on Taylor, but not bother to contact Richt or the Athens-Clarke County District Attorney?

“I think you learn from every experience and we certainly learned some things from this one,” Saban said. “But I will say this. We will continue to try to create opportunities for players and try to help them be successful, and even in Jonathan Taylor’s case, if there’s anything we can do to help him overcome his issues and problem we will still certainly try and help him be successful. But right now the guy just can’t be on our football team.”

Elsewhere in “Alabama players in handcuffs” news, Saban said that Tide defensive back Geno Smith, arrested Friday on DUI charges, could return to the team provided he behaves properly.

“When he does a few things that he needs to do over the next few days, and he’s going to have quite a bit of things that he has to do in the future, which I’m not going to be willing to share with anybody — that’s kind of a private matter — then he’ll be back on the field and we’ll allow him to practice again,” Saban said.

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PHOTO: Ohio State has a Michigan fire hydrant near its vet school

Michigan v Ohio State

Ohio State is hoping, pining, aching for Jim Harbaugh to turned the hated Wolverines into a worthy adversary to Urban Meyer and the scarlet-and-grey behemoth in Columbus.

Don’t believe me?

Buckeyes fan site Eleven Warriors shared a photo taken near the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine of a maize-and-blue fire hydrant for the local canine population to, uh, enjoy.

So, yes, Ohio State is definitely ready for this to become a rivalry again.

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UW Huskies add 2017 game against Fresno State

Paul Williams

It’s not exactly Colorado adding TCU and Texas A&M or Stanford adding TCU and Vanderbilt, but another Pac-12 school has added a game to its future schedule against a very respectable Group of Five team.

In twin press releases, Washington and Fresno State announced that the two football programs have reached an agreement on a 2017 game.  Not surprisingly, that game will be played at Husky Stadium and will take place Sept. 16.

The two teams have played just three times previously, the last coming in 2006.

“This is a great opportunity for us to stay on the west coast and play a highly competitive Pac-12 program,” Fresno athletic director Jim Bartko said in a statement. “This game will provide us with great exposure and is an easy trip for both our team and our fans to get to and from Seattle.”

UW had previously announced two other non-conference games for the 2017 season, a home game against FCS Montana and a road trip to Rutgers. There are also future home-and-homes scheduled against BYU (2018,2019) and Michigan (2020, 2021).

The Bulldogs have played teams from the Pac-12 17 of the last 20 seasons, and have schools from that conference on schedules in four of the next five years: Utah (2015), UW (2017), UCLA (2018) and Colorado (2019).

(Photo credit: Fresno State athletics)

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Louisville has a new WR… sort of

Alphonso Carter

As part of Louisville’s 2015 recruiting class, the Cardinals announced the addition of Paul Harris this past December.

Paul Harris is no longer with the team, but the player is.  Wait, what?

It’s actually very simple, even as its something that leans toward the rare side: Harris, you see, has changed his name.  The U of L unveiled the name change in a tweet posted to the football program’s Twitter account, although they didn’t get into the why of the situation.

Harris… errr Carter came to the U of L from the JUCO ranks, but actually began his collegiate career at Tennessee.  A four-star member of UT’s 2013 recruiting class, Carter was rated as the No. 40 wide receiver in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Maryland.

Playing in five games in his one and only season with the Vols, Carter had one catch for 15 yards.  After transferring to Iowa Western Community College, Carter missed the 2014 season with a broken leg.

In addition to Louisville, Carter also held offers from Nebraska and East Carolina in his second recruiting go ’round.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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UNC grad assistant busted for DWI resigns

Gerald McRath

It’s not just college football players who set back our “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.

According to WRAL-TV, North Carolina graduate assistant Gerald McRath was arrested early Monday morning and charged with driving while impaired.  According to the television station’s website, McGrath was found asleep at the wheel by police with his vehicle running.

He was released on a $1,500 bond a short time later.

A few hours later, McRath also relieved himself of his duties at UNC as he announced in a statement that he has decided to, ahem, “resign” his post.

“I apologize for my actions and for bringing negative publicity and attention to the University of North Carolina and the football program,” McRath wrote. “I have decided to resign my position as a graduate assistant coach at UNC and move forward with my career.”

McRath was just added to Larry Fedora‘s staff earlier this year as a defensive grad assistant. He played a portion of his college football career for Fedora at Southern Miss during the latter’s first year in Hattiesburg (2008) before embarking on a four-year NFL career with the Tennessee Titans.

His first coaching job was in 2014 as a defensive quality control coach at his alma mater.

(Photo credit: North Carolina athletics)

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Wake Forest announces six-game series with Army, other non-conference games

Duke v Wake Forest

Wake Forest announced a season’s worth of non-conference games in one fell swoop Monday as athletics director Ron Wellman revealed 13 new games in a column on the Demon Deacons’ website.

Headlining the list of games is a six-game series with Army beginning in 2016 and then occurring occasionally through the next decade. The Deacons will host the Black Knights in 2016, 2022 and 2025 and visit West Point in 2021, 2024 and 2026. The schools have met 14 times previously, most recently a 24-21 Wake Forest win last fall, with the Deacons taking 10 of those affairs.

Wake Forest also announced a home-and-home with Vanderbilt (in Nashville in 2022, in Winston-Salem in ’23), as well as a 2022 home game with Air Force and guarantee games with Presbyterian (2017), Elon (2018) and Elon (2019). Wellman wrote to his constituents to expect more road non-conference games due to the college football underclass raising the prices of guarantee games. “Our goal of playing seven home games each season is becoming more challenging in today’s economic environment. The financial guarantees that non-conference opponents are receiving today for ‘buy games’ have doubled and tripled from just a few years ago,” he wrote. “Therefore, it is more realistic to play a home- and- away series against quality opponents than to ‘buy’ one-time games.”

Wellman also broke a little news, confirming that the ACC will indeed require a Power Five non-conference foe for each of its schools moving forward and that BYU will be counted among that group. “The ACC athletic directors have agreed that each ACC school will play a football non-conference opponent from the SEC, Big 10, PAC 12, Big 12 or Notre Dame or BYU annually,” he wrote.

As it stands today, Wake Forest has non-conference dates with the likes of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Tulane, Air Force, Ole Miss, Purdue and North Carolina lined up through 2026. Ah, yes, the North Carolina non-conference series. You remember that, right? Yeah, Wellman told you that you can take your criticisms and your snark for that unorthodox piece of scheduling and shove it.

“The overwhelming feedback from Wake Foresters has been extremely positive, as they want to play UNC as often as possible,” he wrote.

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More games set to be added to postseason bowl platter?

Portland Trail Blazers v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

If you’re of the mindset that the more bowls the better, you might just be in for a treat.  If you’re not?  Well, you might throw up a little bit in your mouth over the following possibility.

ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy is reporting that the cities of Tucson and Little Rock are wanting a piece of the postseason pie, tweeting that both are expected to apply for new bowl games for the 2015 season.  The proposed Tucson game would pit the Mountain West against Conference USA, while the Little Rock matchup would find the AAC squaring off with the Sun Belt.

According to McMurphy, the bowl in Little Rock will likely be televised by either NBC Sports Network or CBS Sports Network.  There is no indication from McMurphy who would televise the other, which will likely be called the Arizona Bowl.

Last year, not counting the College Football Playoff game, there were 38 bowl games.  If these two games are added, it would bring the total to a whopping 41 bowls for the 2015 season — the Cure Bowl in Orlando was announced last April and will debut following the upcoming season.  At that number, a full 65 percent of FBS programs would “earn” a bowl bid.

In 2014, there were 84 teams — counting UAB, which disbanded its football program prior to the start of the postseason — who were bowl-eligible with at least six wins.  That’s enough to fill the spots for 42 bowl games.  The year before that, 82 schools reached the requisite six wins; in 2012, there were only 77 bowl-eligible teams, which means that there could very well be years where not enough teams reach six wins and bowls would have to take a look at 5-7 teams to fill all of the slots.

And, if you’re anti-bowl expansion, that’s enough to make your skin crawl.  But wait, there’s more…

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Harbaugh, staff add ‘guest coach’ stops at Florida, PA, Cali camps

Jim Harbaugh AP

Last week it was reported that Jim Harbaugh was going the way of James Franklin and Brian Kelly, with he and his Michigan coaching staff appearing as guest coaches at football camps in Alabama and Texas.

It appears that Harbaugh’s summer road show won’t be limited to just those two states.  And one of the new additions may not sit very well with one of UM’s Big Ten rivals.

According to mlive.com, Harbaugh & Company are planning on “guest coaching” at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania June 7.  Lafayette is located less than three hours away from Big Ten member Penn State, so that could ruffle the feathers of Franklin and his Nittany Lion associates.

Additionally, Harbaugh will invade Pac-12 country at an undisclosed location in California (June 10) as well as one in Tampa, Florida (June 6).

Finally, the UM staff will make an appearance at a June 8 camp in Houston, Texas.  One day later, they’ll “guest coach” at a previously-announced camp in Dallas.

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Buckeyes tops in combined Final Fours/major bowls in BCS/CFP era

Urban Meyer Billy Donovan

This past weekend, the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was set, with Michigan State, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Duke punching their tickets to Indianapolis.  While the two Big Ten teams in that foursome bolstered their two-sport résumés, it still wasn’t enough to catch one of its conference rivals.

Since the advent of the Bowl Championship Series for the 1998 college football season, and bleeding into the College Football Playoff established for the 2014 season, Ohio State has played in 11 so-called major bowl games.  Additionally, the hoops version of the Buckeyes has qualified for three Final Fours in that span; that total of 14 BCS/CFP/New Year’s Six/Final Four appearances since the 1998-99 season is the most of any FBS program in general and Power Five conferences specifically.

(Writer’s note: Yes, I’m including the “vacated” Sugar Bowl appearance following the 2010 season.)

Behind OSU is Florida, which has four Final Fours and seven major bowls since the 1998 college football season for a total of 11.  The only other school in double figures is Oklahoma, which comes in with a total of 10 that decidedly favors the gridiron — nine on the football side of the ledger, to be exact.

After that it’s the two B1G teams mentioned in the lede, with MSU totaling nine (seven hoops, two football) and UW eight (three and five).

Speaking of the B1G, a total of six of its current members have pulled off this particular “double-double,” with the others being Michigan (one hoops, five football), Illinois (one, two) and Maryland (two, one).  And in fairness, yes, none of the latter’s came while it was a part of the Big Ten; in fact, all three came while the Terps were members of the ACC..

As far as the rest of the Power Five conferences go, the Big 12 has had five teams pull it off, followed by the ACC with three and the Pac-12 and SEC with two each.

Other than the schools already mentioned, just one other has multiple appearances in the Final Four and major bowls since 1998: Louisville.  The Cardinals have appeared in three Final Fours and two BCS bowl games.  Those appearances came while the U of L was a member of  Conference USA and the Big East.

There has also been exactly one major college that has won a national championship in both basketball and football in this time period: Florida.  And, actually, and more impressively, they won multiple titles in each, with the football Gators laying claim to the crystal following the 2006 and 2008 seasons, and the hoops Gators hoisting the trophy after the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.

Of course, the head coach of Florida for their two football championships is now the head coach at Ohio State, with Urban Meyer adding the first CFP title to his illustrious résumé in his third year with the Buckeyes.

Below is the complete list of 18 teams that have earned a spot in the Final Four and qualified for a major bowl berth since the 1998-1999 season:

Ohio State, 14 (three basketball, 11 football)
Florida, 11 (four, seven)
Oklahoma, 10 (one, nine)
Michigan State, nine (seven, two)
Wisconsin, eight (three, five)
LSU, six (one, five)
Michigan, six (one, five)
Kansas, five (four, one)
Louisville, five (three, two)
Texas, five (one, four)
UCLA, four (three, one)
West Virginia, four (one, three)
Illinois, three (one, two)
Maryland, three (two, one)
Syracuse, three (two, one)
Arizona, two (one, one)
Georgia Tech, two (one, one)
Oklahoma State, two (one, one)

For all of your college hoops needs, hit up CollegeBasketballTalk HERE or follow them on Twitter HERE.  Or do both.  You know you want to.

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Urban on Braxton’s potential violation: ‘Everything is fine. No issue’

Urban Meyer, Braxton Miller AP

It’s been nearly a week since reports surfaced that Ohio State was looking into a potential NCAA violation committed by Braxton Miller.

Since then, OSU has been mum on the issue — until now.  Sort of.

According to a tweet from Todd Porter of the Canton Repository, head coach Urban Meyer was asked about the potential for NCAA issues when it comes to the quarterback’s situation.  At least publicly, Meyer has taken the Lt. Drebin tack and stated, essentially, move on, there’s nothing to see here.

Whether Meyer is correct in his assessment remains to be seen.

As for the issue at hand, a school spokesperson last Wednesday confirmed to The Lantern, OSU’s student newspaper, that the university is looking into a potential NCAA rules violation committed by Miller.  ElevenWarriors.com wrote at the time that “Miller… had a bit of a lapse in judgement [Tuesday] night when he appeared to endorse Advocare, a weight-loss and nutrition multi-level marketing firm that some people consider a pyramid scheme.”

The apparent endorsement came in the form of a post made to Instagram, which was subsequently taken down when the mini-controversy began to grow.

Braxton Miller

Student-athletes are permitted to hold jobs and even be self-employed, which appears to be the case in Miller’s association with the Amway-like AdvoCare group.  However, as Texas A&M compliance director Brad Barnes explained to SBNation‘s Steven Godfrey in an excellent Q&A on the issue, a player’s earnings “may not include any remuneration for value or utility that the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability.”

That will be the decision that OSU, and potentially the NCAA, has to make: whether Miller’s Instagram post constitutes using his “reputation, fame or personal following” for financial gain (whether it should be that way is another matter entirely).

Meyer doesn’t seemed concerned at all over the issue, although until the school officially reaches a decision and issues a public statement, it’s a situation that bears watching.

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Sooners indefinitely suspend RB Keith Ford

Keith Ford AP

With rumors and speculation swirling that there was some type of an issue with Keith Ford, Bob Stoops confirmed as much Monday morning.

According to Oklahoma’s Twitter account, the head coach acknowledged that Ford has been indefinitely suspended from the OU football program.  Stoops stated that the running back’s suspension is related to “academic and team rules violations.”

While true sophomore Samaje Perine is certainly the bell cow in the running game, Ford is still an important part of that aspect of the offense.

Last season, Ford’s 392 yards rushing were good for third on the team, while his five rushing touchdowns were tied for second.  The junior added 11 receptions for 140 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

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Cincy QB says racial slurs preceded punch that KOd victim

Cincinnati v Miami Getty Images

Back in late October, backup Cincinnati quarterback Jarred Evans was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge and suspended a short time later, even as head coach Tommy Tuberville said “there’s a good chance he’s not guilty.”

While Tuberville’s player is not denying there was a punch thrown, he is saying there was something that triggered it.

Testifying in court Friday in connection to the charge, Evans alleged that the victim, 20-year-old UC student Ryan Smith, was part of a group of males who began harassing him and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Jennifer Dunlap.  According to Evans, the group, or someone in the group, was directing “n****r lover” comments at him and his girlfriend; Evans is black, his girlfriend is white.  Evans said in his testimony that he tried to ignore the epithets, but the situation ultimately escalated.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Eventually, Evans responded: “I told them, ‘I will f**k all of you up if you come after me.”

Soon after, he testified, one of the men stood in front of them, blocking their path.

“He flinched at me with his hands up,” Evans testified, “and I just reacted with a punch, a jab.”

The individual who was on the receiving end of the jab was Smith, who sustained a concussion and lacerations that required stitches. Smith had previously testified that he wasn’t with the group of men who were harassing Evans and Dunlap. Oddly enough, Dunlap’s roommate, Courtney Gravett, backed up Smith’s account, testifying that the victim was not a part of the harassing group and that she tried to stop Evans from confronting them.

“For no obvious reason,” the Enquirer said Gravett testified, “Evans struck Smith, who had his head down and his hands in his pockets.”

According to the paper, closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected Monday.

Evans, incidentally, remains suspended from the football program.

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Syracuse’s Luke Arciniega granted two additional years of eligibility

Chris James, Luke Arciniega AP

It appears the NCAA was feeling particularly benevolent this past week.

On Instagram Saturday, Syracuse’s Luke Arciniega revealed that he has been granted two additional seasons of eligibility by The Association.  One of the years came from Arciniega missing all but the first four games of the 2014 season due to what was only described as a lower-body injury.  The second year is a bit murkier, although the Syracuse Post-Standard has an idea from where it came.

He finished his career at Spanish Springs (Sparks, Nev.) High School in 2009 before initially attending Nevada. He spent three semesters there, but was only on scholarship for the first year as a disagreement with the coaching staff regarding his concussion history left him on the sideline for each game that first year.

It’s possible that the second season in which Arciniega was not part of the program merited another year of eligibility by the NCAA.

Regardless of where the additional season came from, the NCAA’s decision means that he’ll be eligible to play in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

“College career hasn’t gone as planned with all the injuries but patience and faith [have] kept me on track,” Arciniega wrote on the social media site. “After few months of waiting, found out that I was granted 2 years of eligibility back when I was only hoping for one. Feeling blessed.”

Arciniega came to the Orange in 2013 from the JUCO ranks, playing in all 13 games that initial season.  This offseason, he’s transitioning from linebacker to defensive end.

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Fourth-most votes for Jim Harbaugh in UM student president election

Jim Harbaugh AP

Earlier this month, Nick Saban finished third in the student government’s presidential election.  A couple of weeks later, another high-profile college football coach is making political waves as a write-in candidate.

According to the Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan’s student newspaper, first-year head football coach Jim Harbaugh received 115 votes in the Central Student Government’s election for president.  That equates to 1.26 percent of the vote, which is not bad for a fledgling campaign that was, one, not launched until January of this year and, two, never actually launched to begin with.

And, for those into the comparison thing, Harbaugh’s 115 votes vastly surpassed Saban’s six; what percentage of the vote the latter received is not something that’s at my disposal.  Nor is it something that I’m interested in concretely knowing as it’ll be a lot funnier seeing the B1G/UM fans tout Harbaugh trouncing Saban in unrelated elections.

One of the best parts of Harbaugh’s vote total is the breakdown, which per the Daily is thus: 82 votes for “Jim Harbaugh;” another 18 simply for “Harbaugh;” four for the joint ticket of “Jim Harbaugh and Diag Squirrel;” and one vote each for “Jim Harbaugh and Jabrill Peppers,” “Jim Harbaugh and His Khakis” and “Jim Harbaugh and Jesus Shuttlesworth”. For a primer on the squirrel who was part of the joint ticket, click HERE; for a primer on Jesus Shuttlesworth, click… nah, don’t click anything.  Broaden your horizons as everyone should know that particular basketball Jesus.

(Writer’s note: I have no clue where the other eight unaccounted for votes came from or how they were designated on the ballot.)

UPDATED March 30 at 11:44 a.m. ET: The competitive juices obviously flowing, Jim Harbaugh took to Twitter to not only express his disappointment over the fourth-place finish but to also throw his hat in the ring for the 2016 race.

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