Hard to believe but not all that long ago Texas and USC were on top of the college football world, before the SEC started flexing conference muscle to the tune of seven consecutive BCS national championships. The 2006 BCS Championship Game was the last one not to involve a team from the SEC and instead featured USC and Texas trading blows until the clock ran out to determine the BCS champion. Little did we know, this would be the last time either was seen as a legitimate championship contender. Sure, Texas played for a BCS title a few years ago against Alabama and USC was a trendy preseason pick last year, but anyone who may have caught a glimpse of either team on Saturday may have been fooled if they did not know any better.
USC could not even muster 200 yards of offense at home against Washington State in a 10-7 loss to the Cougars. College football usually sees fans sing in unison along with the marching band performing the team’s fight song, but USC’s final moments were serenaded by a chorus of chants to pursue a coaching change.
BYU has a strong history for passing the football but on Saturday it was the ground game that led to Texas making some drastic changes on the defensive coaching staff. Texas allowed 550 rushing yards to BYU on Saturday and on Sunday the team removed Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator. The best option to take over as defensive coordinator? None other than Greg Robinson, the very same defensive coordinator who led Michigan’s worst defenses in school history.
It is no wonder that USA Today ranks Texas and USC on top of The Misery Index, which measures the reactions of fan bases around the country and takes in to account the most recent performances, expectations and future of the program. Given the belief that Texas and USC should be programs that achieve greatness with relative ease (Texas has top-notch financial support and USC is in Los Angeles). The Longhorns and Trojans are followed by another program coming off a rough weekend outing, Florida. The Gators moved the ball well and the defense locked down on Miami but turnovers proved too costly for the Gators to be able to afford in the road loss.
There is still plenty of football to be played this season, and conference championships are still a possibility for Texas, USC and Florida. One loss is not enough to completely derail a season, but don’t tell that to the fans still recovering from a rough weekend. They need more time to get over things like this. This is what being a fan is all about.
The search for a new coach at Missouri continues, and apparently one candidate has backed away from the pursuit. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Temple head coach Matt Rhule has turned taken himself out of the mix for the job at Missouri, which likely means Rhule will stay put in South Philly during this coaching carousel cycle.
According to the report, Temple is also in the process of negotiating a new contract for Rhule. Rhule has already signed a contract extension with Temple that runs through 2021. Rhule’s Owls are also preparing to take on Houston in this week’s American Athletic Conference championship game. Rhule does not believe this will serve as a distraction to his team as they prepare for the Cougars.
“I think our team is way too strong to be distracted about anything with me,” Rhule said. “I am honest with our players and tell them everything.”
Ironically, Houston also received some encouraging news this week when head coach Tom Herman said he has an agreement in principle to stay at Houston. Not only is that good news for Houston and Temple, but that is outstanding news for the conference as a whole, although Memphis did lose Justin Fuente to Virginia Tech.
For Temple, this should be encouraging news as a program. The two coaches before Rhule took the job each left to take on power conference opportunities once they came along. Al Golden took an offer to coach Miami (that, uh, didn’t exactly pan out nicely) and Steve Addazio bolted for Boston College. Who knows if Rhule will stick around for the long haul, but it would seem just being able to get him to return in 2016 would be a major step in the right direction for Temple.
Texas Tech may be getting ready for a bowl game, but they will do so without three defensive assistant coaches. Co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Mike Smith, cornerbacks coach Kevin Curtis and outside linebackers coach Trey Haverty have been cut from the coaching staff, head coach Kliff Kingsbury announced today.
“We appreciate all that Mike, Kevin and Trey have done at Texas Tech over the last three seasons,” Kingsbury said in a released statement. “All three are great Red Raiders and we wish them the very best.”
Texas Tech had the Big 12’s ninth-ranked total defense after allowing 540.2 yards per game. That was nearly 100 yards more per game than Iowa State’s eighth-ranked defense. Only Kansas had a worst defense, allowing 560.8 yards per game. Texas Tech’s defense ranked 126th in the nation out of 128 schools. The Red Raiders were torched through the air, allowing 268.3 yards per game through the air, which was ranked 113th in the nation.
Offense appears to be the key to success in the Big 12 and defense has tended to be a hurdle for the Red Raider program. This much appears to be clear though. Kingsbury is making moves with his roster to find a way to improve defensively and become a more well-rounded threat in the Big 12.
Forget about all of the talk regarding 5-7 teams going to bowl games or not, because teams that have actually qualified and deserved a bowl trip are starting to line up their postseason plans. Western Michigan confirmed today it will head to the Bahamas Bowl, where the Broncos will face Middle Tennessee of Conference USA.
There were three potential bowl destinations for Western Michigan. The two in addition to the Bahamas Bowl were the Boca Raton Bowl and the Poinsettia Bowl. There really wasn’t a bad destination here for Western Michigan, but a chance to go to the Bahamas seemed to be a crowd pleaser, and how could it not?
After the video revealed the bowl destination for the program, head coach P.J. Fleck went on to commend the Broncos for accomplishing a number of firsts for the program this season, including its first win over a top 25 team, a share of the division crown for the first time in over a decade, and the first time going to bowl game sin back-to-back seasons. Now, Fleck wants his program to put together an eight-win season, which would mark the first back-to-back eight-win seasons. Keep rowing that boat, Western Michigan.
The odds are pretty good East Carolina never would have received a bowl invitation as 5-7 teams wait in line for a rare bowl invitation to fill bowl vacancies. Either wayt, East Carolina is on the record now to say it would not accept any bowl invitation.
“While we understand there are still numerous programs with higher APR scores ahead of us who merit stronger consideration, we have already determined that we would decline an offer should one be extended,” East Carolina Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said in a released statement. “Our efforts should be centered on positioning the Pirates for future championships.”
With Nebraska and Illinois already reportedly ready to accept any bowl invitation they would receive, East Carolina was already going to eb locked out of the postseason as long as the Huskers and Illini stayed true to those reports. Missouri has publicly said it would turn down an ofer, but there are still other schools that would stand in the way of ECU, which is way down the order on the wait list.