What a difference a coach makes.
Mike MacIntyre’s debut as Colorado’s head man was a successful one as his revitalized Buffaloes beat in-state rival Colorado State, 41-27, on Sunday to snap the school’s eight-game losing streak. Colorado now leads the series between the two teams, 63-22-2.
The Buffs looked much improved over last season’s 1-11 squad, though it was admittedly hard to get much worse. But it’s worth noting that after turning the ball over 25 times during the eight-game skid, this rather young CU team didn’t lose the ball once against the Rams.
Quarterback Connor Wood was 33 of 46 for 400 yards and three touchdowns, including strikes of 75 and 82 yards to receiver Paul Richardson (10 catches, 208 yards), as the Buffaloes offense exploded for 513 yards of offense. It was an especially rewarding performance for Richardson, who is coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss all of last fall.
The Buffs defense held CSU to just 295 yards of offense and forced two fumbles, one of which was returned for a score by defensive back Greg Henderson. If not for a 74-yard punt return touchdown by Joe Hansley, CU would’ve allowed its fewest points since the 2011 season.
As it is, Colorado has already matched it’s win total from last year. MacIntyre, who helped lead San Jose State to an 11-2 mark in 2012, seems to have a real gift for resurrecting moribund programs. It’s only one game, but the Buffaloes look nothing like the pushover they’ve been the last couple years. While it’s going to take time for Colorado to return to its former glory, a win like this against a heated rival is just what the doctor ordered.
Colorado State has some work to do, too, as it must travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama on Sept. 21. One bright spot for the Rams was freshman punter Hayden Hunt, who averaged 49.7 yards on seven punts. He should be a busy man in three weeks.
Temple lost its head coach to an FBS program in the state of Texas. Could the Owls find his replacement in the form of the former head coach at that state’s flagship university? Or, as is looking more and more likely, could they “lose” him to a fellow AAC school?
According to at least one report the former could be the case as the Philadelphia Inquirer, citing a source familiar with the situation, reported that Strong and Temple officials have spoken about the vacant head-coaching job. How strong, so to speak, the former Louisville and Texas head coach’s interest is in the AAC football program is something the source couldn’t gauge, the Inquirer noted.
That said, “[t]hey had a conversation with Strong, that is a fact,” the source said.
The strongest, so to speak, competition for Strong may very well be coming from USF, with Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders reporting that “[i]t is believed that USF has already begun negotiating a contract with Strong.” A subsequent report from the Tampa Bay Times noted that USF spent Thursday in heavy pursuit of Strong.
The 56-year-old coach had previously been connected to the USF job, and his deep ties to the fertile recruiting grounds in the state that makes a marriage almost a no-brainer for both sides.
Strong was fired by the Longhorns in November after going just 16-21 during his three seasons in Austin. UT currently owes Strong roughly $11.2 million as part of his buyout. Per the terms of his contract, Strong must make “reasonable efforts” to obtain another job. If he does, USA Today wrote, “Texas’ obligation to him will be offset by an amount equal to 50% of the total compensation Strong receives from his new job.”
Matt Rhule, who left Temple for Baylor earlier this week, was paid just north of $1 million for his final season with the Owls, a figure that was eighth amongst AAC coaches. Willie Taggart, who created the USF vacancy by leaving for Oregon, was the fifth-highest paid coach in the conference at $1.7 million.
Strong’s salary final salary of $5.2 million was sixth nationally.
The college football world gathered in Atlanta on Thursday night as nearly a dozen of the sport’s most prestigious awards were handed out from the College Football Hall of Fame.
While a few of the winners were announced before the televised ceremony, here were the players who took home some hardware at the annual awards show:
Walter Camp Player of the Year — Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson
Maxwell Award as national player of the year — Lamar Jackson
Chuck Bednarik Award for defensive player of the year — Alabama’s Jonathan Allen
Davey O’Brien Award for best quarterback — Clemson’s Deshaun Watson (his second in a row)
Doak Walker Award as best running back — Texas’ D’Onta Foreman
Biletnikoff Award for best receiver — Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook
Outland Trophy for outstanding interior lineman — Alabama’s Cam Robinson
Rimington Trophy for best center — Ohio State’s Pat Elflein
Jim Thorpe Award for best defensive back — USC’s Adoree’ Jackson
Lou Groza Award for outstanding place kicker — Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez
Ray Guy Award for best punter — Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky
John Mackey Award for outstanding tight end — Michigan’s Jake Butt
Butkus Award for best linebacker – Alabama’s Reuben Foster
Wuerffel Trophy for community service — Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight
Home Depot Coach of the Year — Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre
Baylor’s on-going scandal over reported sexual assaults looks like it is about to get even uglier.
Former head coach Art Briles has filed a lawsuit for libel and slander against three school regents and a vice president, according to the Associated Press, accusing them of falsely stating he knew of sexual assaults by players and didn’t report them.
Perhaps most eyebrow-raising is that the lawsuit also accuses the officials of conspiring to keep him from getting another coaching job. Briles has been connected to openings such as the one at Houston but school officials quickly denied reports that he was formally considered for the vacant head coaching spot.
Briles was fired in the spring by Baylor after an investigation from law firm Pepper Hamilton determined the school mishandled reports of alleged sexual assaults, some of which involved numerous football players. The coach denied he knew about the alleged assaults but several regents — including the three named in the recent lawsuit — told the Wall Street Journal on the record that Briles failed to report alleged assaults.
While the football team may be looking to move on from all of this with the recent hire of Matt Rhule as the new head coach, it appears the school itself will continue to deal with the fallout from one of the worst scandals in college football history.