Well hello, college football. Oh how we’ve missed you. And, Saturday’s slate, you have one helluva act to follow.
Twice during Ole Miss’ Big 12-esque 39-35 win over Vanderbilt, the Rebels reached down and came back from 11-point deficits — and that was after Vandy fell down 10-0 in the first quarter.
With just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter of the back-and-forth affair, Ole Miss held a four-point lead before Jordan Matthews turned a fourth-and-18 into a 42-yard gain — one play after vomiting all over the Vanderbilt Stadium turf as Twitter concussion specialists cried foul — and Steven Scheu turned a busted coverage the next play into a 34-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
35-32 Commodores with just 1:30 remaining and, after the ensuing kickoff, the Rebels 75 yards from a game-winning touchdown. Following an incomplete pass on first down, the Vandy defense proceeded to pull its best Matthews, coughing up a 75-yard touchdown run (pictured) to Rebels running back Jeff Scott with just over a minute left.
As deflating as that turn of events was, Vandy still had the opportunity to shock Ole Miss late in back-to-back seasons. A facemask penalty on the kickoff return following Scott’s TD stunner handed the ‘Dores the ball just shy of midfield, at their own 49. On a third-and-four with 30 seconds or so left, a tipped Austyn Carta-Samuels pass was intercepted by the Rebels, sealing the Ole Miss win in the SEC opener for both schools.
The player who tipped the final, catchable pass? Jordan Matthews, which just makes ya sick to your stomach.
While there will be plenty of pundit bloviating over Matthews and whether he should’ve been in the game, there is one certainty coming out of Nashville very early Friday morning: that was college football at its finest between two very solid teams. And, it should be noted, a warning shot across the bow of the rest of the SEC that neither Ole Miss nor Vandy will be easy outs in 2013.
Oregon, for better or worse, has become (in)famous for its vast collection of futuristic uniforms and the various combinations that annoy the living hell out of purists and dammit what have I told you kids about my lawn.
Instead of the standard look ahead, however, the Ducks are giving a nod to the past this weekend.
Oregon will take the field this afternoon for their annual spring game, and the players will do so with uniforms that pay homage to the 1916 version of the Ducks. That team went on to appear in the football program’s first Rose Bowl game at the end of that season and are certainly deserving of this type of nod.
I could take or leave the Nike-fied duds — the school’s original color scheme I’d begrudgingly acknowledge I like if I allow my inner fashion designer to grab the keyboard — but I could really get behind the sub-nickname “Webfoots” gaining traction and wider usage.
Myriad off-field issues have dogged Art Briles‘ Baylor program of late, but at least the Bears head coach can take comfort in the fact that he’s very well compensated.
As Baylor is a private university, they are not forced to release coaching salaries, although those details are available via federal tax returns. The last known salary for Briles was $3.6 million for the 2013 calendar year; according to the tax returns for 2014 obtained by USA Today, Briles salary for that calendar year jumped to more than $5.3 million.
When all of Briles’ compensation is taken into account, he earned just a shade over $5.9 million for 2014.
In the USA Today coaching salary database for 2015, Briles would’ve been the highest-paid coach in the Big 12, ahead of Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($5.4 million). He also would’ve been the third-highest paid head coach in all of college football, trailing only Alabama’s Nick Saban ($7.087 million) and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh ($7.004 million) in total compensation. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, at $5.86 million, sits in that No. 3 spot.
Per the tax returns obtained by the website, Briles earned $540,000 in bonuses and incentives; how those were broken down wasn’t detailed in the returns. Briles received another $28,000 in retirement and other deferred compensation, as well as $5,000 in apparel from Nike.
As for the lag in the numbers for Briles and why the 2015 financials are not available, USA Today explains it thusly:
Because private schools are organized as non-profit organizations, they must annually file a tax return that includes information about the pay of their most highly compensated employees. Although the returns mostly cover fiscal years that involve parts of two calendar years, the IRS requires that the compensation reporting cover the most recently completed calendar year.
Due to the complexity of their returns, large colleges and universities routinely take filing extensions that result in a significant time lag between the period covered by their most recent return and the date they file.
Baylor’s new return covers a tax year from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015, making 2014 the most recently completed calendar year.
Ohio State had a banner first day of the 2016 NFL draft with five Buckeyes selected, although they fell one short of tying the 2004 Miami Hurricanes for most first-round picks in a single year. A day later, they first matched then set a couple of draft standards.
In Friday’s second round, two more Buckeyes were drafted — wide receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell. That pushed OSU’s total to seven, tying USC in 2008 and Tennessee in 2000 for the most selections through the first two rounds since the common era began in 1967.
In the ensuing round, defensive lineman Adolphus Washington and quarterback-turned wide receiver Braxton Miller were selected. With the nine draft picks through three rounds, OSU broke the common-era draft record of eight set by the 2004 Vols. OSU wasn’t finished as, shortly after Miller’s selection, tight end Nick Vannett was grabbed toward the end of the third round, giving Urban Meyer‘s program an even 10 draft picks thus far.
On opening night, three Buckeyes were scooped up in the first 10 picks — defensive end Joey Bosa, running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Eli Apple — while offensive lineman Taylor Decker and linebacker Darron Lee were selected before the opening round ended.
With four rounds remaining, and six unselected players still available, the Buckeyes might not be done making history as they are within shouting distance of the all-time record for most selections since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994. The record? 14. The record holder? The 2004 Ohio State Buckeyes, which had seven players taken in the first three rounds.
And, before Bevo commences bloviating, it should be noted that Texas holds the all-time record with 17 picks in the 1984 draft. That year, the draft lasted 12 rounds.
While Miami had not yet confirmed it, one of the most talented Hurricanes on the defensive side of the ball, Al-Quadin Muhammad (pictured, right), underwent a successful but unspecified surgical procedure recently. And just how did we know that initially? Because the player posted a picture of himself laying in a hospital bed and clothed in hospital garb, that’s how.
Subsequent to Muhammad’s social media revelation, the university confirmed that the lineman had undergone “a small surgical procedure… on his knee.” Muhammad is expected to resume football activities in a couple of weeks.
The redshirt junior played in 12 games in 2015, leading the team in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (five). He’ll enter summer camp, provided he doesn’t suffer a setback, as arguably the Hurricanes’ top pass rusher.