If Northwestern wants to try to climbing the ladder in college football, they certainly are on the right track. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has done a remarkable job in getting the Wildcats to believe in their ability to win football games, highlighted by the school’s first bowl victory since 1948 last postseason, and this year are expected to compete for a shot in the Big Ten championship game. Now, according to a report by USA Today, it appears as though the school is paying Fitzgerald like a big time head coach.
Per the report, citing tax documents, Fitzgerald was credited with more than $2.2 million in compensation in 2011. That is about $1 million more than what he is reported to have received in 2010. The increase in pay makes Fitzgerald the highest paid employee by Northwestern, which goes to show the new philosophy about the importance of the football program at the university largely built on a academic profile (if you have not read Fourth And Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, do yourself a favor and do so as this change in philosophy at Northwestern is one of the key points to the book). According to USA Today, this marks the first time since 2005 a head coach within Northwestern’s athletics department was the highest paid employee by the school.
Of note, Fitzgerald received a base pay of $1.97 million and $82,500 in bonuses and incentives. Fitzgerald agreed to his new contract with the school in 2011. The school felt a need to make a move to secure their former player and face of the program after Michigan was thought to make an attempt to lure him away to Ann Arbor. Michigan had parted ways with Rich Rodriguez and eventually hired Brady Hoke from San Diego State. Fitzgerald has remained firmly committed to being the head coach at Northwestern and may not have left his alma mater anyway, but having a nice pay raise certainly helps when it comes time to making a decision.
Fitzgerald has earned his money in Evanston, few would argue that.
Northwestern opens their home schedule on Saturday against Syracuse.
The personnel situation in Arizona’s backfield has gotten dicey all of a sudden.
J.J. Taylor picked up the injured Nick Wilson‘s carries in last weekend’s loss to Washington and rushed for 97 yards, but will be lost for a significant period of time because of a broken left ankle sustained in the same game. Now Wilson, who missed the UW game because of an ankle injury, is listed as questionable for the UCLA game because of that lingering injury issue.
Wilson originally sustained the injury early on in the Week 3 win over Hawaii, meaning the dreaded high-ankle sprain may be in play.
Taylor and Wilson are currently 1-2 amongst Wildcat running backs in rushing yards with 261 and 257, respectively. Wilson was UA’s leading rushers the first two games of the season, with Wilson taking that honor in Week 3.
Overall, though, quarterback Brandon Dawkins leads the team in yards (391), rushing touchdowns (seven) and yards per carry (8.9).
Dawkins will be making his fourth straight start in place of Anu Solomon, who began the season as the starter but hasn’t played since injuring his knee during practice leading into Week 2.
Unfortunately, it appears the dreaded high-ankle sprain has bitten one of the most snake-bitten running backs in the country.
In Georgia’s Week 4 loss to Ole Miss, Nick Chubb sustained an ankle injury in the second quarter and couldn’t return. Kirby Smart has held his cards close to his vest this week when to came to Chubb’s availability for the Week 5 game against Tennessee, even as most, if not all of the signs pointed to the running back being sidelined for the key SEC East matchup.
Friday, Chubb’s father all but ended the mystery over his son’s availability, while simultaneously indicating that a Week 6 return should be in the cards — provided it’s not the usual lingering high-ankle sprain.
“I don’t think he’s going to play,” Henry Chubb told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s got that high-ankle sprain. He twisted it trying to make a cut against Ole Miss. He’s in good spirits and all. He understands it. The doctor said he’d need a couple weeks, so he’ll probably play next week.”
Chubb returned from a devastating knee injury that knocked him out for more than half of the 2015 season, rushing for career regular-season high of 222 yards in the 2016 opener in his first game back. In his three games since the opener, however, Chubb has run for just 200 yards total.
Still, his 422 yards are far and away tops on the Bulldogs. With Chubb out for at least this weekend, the running-game load will fall to Brian Herrien (184 yards) and Sony Michel (106).
The 2016 presidential election could be coming to a college football stadium near you.
According to the Kansas City Star, a women’s advocacy group, UltraViolet Action, will fly airplanes over five stadiums this Saturday to protest what the group describes as “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s ‘long record of misogyny.'” The five stadiums are Michigan Stadium, Ohio Stadium, Kinnick Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field and Wallace Wade Stadium.
The most high-profile of the five games will be in the Big House, with No. 4 Michigan playing host to No. 8 Wisconsin.
The planes that the group have commissioned to do the flyovers will tow behind them banners that read “Trump Says Women R Pigs. Disagree? Vote.” The stadiums selected reside in the so-called swing states of Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
The Star writes that “UltraViolet describes itself as a ‘powerful and rapidly growing community of people from all walks of life mobilized to fight sexism and expand women’s rights, from politics and government to media and pop culture.'”
Unfortunately, the news when it comes to Vince Biegel could actually be a little bit worse than what was originally feared.
Yesterday, the Wisconsin linebacker’s father revealed that his son would be out as long as a month after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted into his foot. In a press release, UW confirmed that Biegel did indeed undergo surgery Thursday night, and put the timeline at an ambiguous “several weeks” for a return.
The decision to undergo a medical procedure on what’s been a lingering issue was made after the player met with UW team physicians Wednesday and Thursday.
“I really hate any time a player has to miss time due to an injury, especially a senior like Vince,” head coach Paul Chryst said in a statement. “Vince has such a passion for football and loves playing the game. This team is very important to him and he is very important to our team. What you appreciate is that you know he will do everything in his power to get back on the field as soon as possible.”
At the bare minimum, Biegel will miss the next four games, a stretch that includes matchups with No. 4 Michigan, No. 2 Ohio State, Iowa and No. 15 Nebraska.
Biegel had started 29 games in a row for the Badgers. At least initially, Biegel will be replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt freshman Zack Baun.