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The Fifth Quarter: Week 6 Rewind

Washington v Stanford Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

WINNERS

Still standing tall on The Farm… barely
Washington outgained Stanford 489-279, and not-so unexpectedly doubled up the Cardinal in first downs 30-14.  Keith Price threw for 350 yards, while Kevin Hogan managed just 100.  Thanks to Ty Montgomery — and a fortuitous replay booth reversal on fourth down with just over a minute left — the Cardinal still managed to escape in spite of the statistical disadvantage with a hard-fought 31-28 win.  Montgomery totaled 204 yards on four kick returns, including a 99-yarder for a touchdown on the opening kickoff.  The junior wide receiver also caught a touchdown pass, and totaled 290 all-purpose yards on the night.  It was far from pretty, but it was a quality win over an above-average and undefeated opponent that should do nothing but strengthen the Cardinal’s résumé in the eyes of the national media.  Speaking of which…

Buckeye beat goes on… barely
You can almost hear the voters licking their chops from here.  Yes, Ohio State pushed its nation’s-best winning streak to 18 games in a row with a victory over a very good and very much unbeaten Northwestern on the road.  No, the Buckeyes didn’t look their best, in large part due to the fact that they were playing a very good and very much undefeated Wildcats team on the road.  No, the game wasn’t decided until the final minute, again due in large part to the fact that they were playing a very good and very much undefeated Wildcats team on the road (noticing the theme?).  Voters will very likely devalue the win because it was “just” Northwestern; they shouldn’t.  Drop the Buckeyes if you must, but do it because you view schools behind them as the better team or teams, not because they eked by a squad that’s not your grandfather’s — hell, your father’s — Wildcats.  Doing that would be a slap in the face to what Pat Fitzgerald is building in Evanston.

Lache Seastrunk, Karl JosephBearly legal offense
I’ve been watching the game of college football for more than 30 years, and, no offense to Oregon, I’m fairly certain that I’ve never witnessed anything like what’s going on in Waco.  The devastating speed and laser-like precision in which Baylor’s offense leaves a trail of defensive carnage in its wake is awe-inspiring.  The Bears totaled 56 points and 617 yards in the first half alone against West Virginia; those totals were the fourth-most WVU has ever given up… for an entire game.  The Bears took their foot off the gas in the second half, totaling 66 points and 745 yards through three quarters and 73 points and a Big 12-record 872 yards at game’s end.  Baylor now has the three highest single-game yardage marks this season with the total last night and 781 twice (Oregon has Nos. 4 and 5, incidentally) and they’ve played just four games.  And it’s not like the Mountaineers are horrific on defense; in three games against Oklahoma, Maryland and Oklahoma State, WVU gave up an average of 24.6 points and 397 yards.  Much like with the Buckeyes, critics will sneer in the general direction of what the Bears are doing, waiting for Art Briles‘ crew to sputter against the likes of, well, Oklahoma mainly.  I, for one, am borderline giddy over the prospects of that Nov. 7 game in Norman.  You’d better believe BU is feeling the same, if for nothing more than the opportunity to silence the doubters as well as put themselves squarely in the conference driver’s seat.

Smokin’ Winston
The talent Jameis Winston possesses is unfair and should be illegal — hell, it may already be illegal in several states as it is.  His play — and the play — against Maryland further solidified the legend that continues to grow by the week: 23-of-32 for 393 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in just three quarters — plus one play in the fourth — of work.  For the season, his first as a starter, Winston is now completing 73.2 percent of his passes for 1,441 yards, 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions.  After just five games, Winston is already establishing himself as the future of the position for at least the next year and a half.  How he factors into this season’s Heisman discussion, however, should be determined in two weeks when the Seminoles travel to Death Valley to take on Clemson in a game that will be dripping with BCS implications. Speaking of which…

Boy oh Boyd
I understand that football is the ultimate team game, but the Tajh BoydJameis Winston game-within-the-game will be utterly fascinating to watch play out.  In a couple of minutes of playing time less than Winston, Boyd lit up Syracuse for 455 yards and five touchdowns, although he did throw his first two interceptions of the season.  Aside from the BCS implications, the Boyd-Winston showdown could go a long way in determining a Heisman front-runner, or at the very least who deserves to be among the front-runners with less than two months until the stiff-armed trophy is awarded.

Gutsy UGA
When you consider the injuries Georgia had coming into this game… and the myriad injuries they incurred during it… and coming off a span of four games that saw them play three teams that were ranked or are currently ranked inside the Top Six, Saturday’s overtime win over Tennessee was as impressive as any they have had this season.  It was a gutsy performance in a game that, in all honesty, the Bulldogs likely deserved to lose.  They didn’t, though, and because of that UGA remains in the thick of the BCS title hunt.  Those injuries, however, could come back to haunt them and hurt them more down the road than a loss Saturday would’ve.

Live at The MettZach Mettenberger, Conner Neighbors
While there has been a plethora of outstanding quarterback play thus far this season, there might not be a more improved player at the position than Zach Mettenberger.  The senior came into the game sixth in the country in passing efficiency (he was 67th last season), and did nothing to hurt that standing.  In the 59-26 win over Mississippi State, Mettenberger completed 25-of-29 passes for 340 yards and a pair of touchdowns, although he did throw his second interception of the season.  While a lot of the credit for Mettenberger’s astronomical rise (rightly) goes to new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, the player deserves as a sizable chunk of it as he put in yeoman’s work this offseason to get better.  Why Mettenberger’s barely on the periphery of the Heisman discussion is beyond me.  A winning team plus eye-popping stats normally equates to stiff-armed talk.  Maybe one of these weeks eyes will open to what’s going on down on the Bayou.

What’s this “running the football” you speak of?
For anyone who’s a fan of passing the football, Saturday’s Washington State-Cal game was like Christmas in early October.  With strippers and booze.  In the Cougars’ 44-22 win, the two teams combined for an astounding 1,027 yards in the air, with Wazzu’s Connor Halliday accounting for 521 and Cal’s Jared Goff 489 more.  Of the 179 plays that were run in the game, 129 of them were pass attempts.  On the carries that were few and far between, relatively speaking, Cal totaled 79 yards rushing while Wazzu mustered just 49.  And, yes, somewhere Woody Hayes is rolling over in his grave at what the game has become.  And punching an angel.  Probably.

Hope on The Plains
To say that the Gus Malzahn era at Auburn has gotten off to a rousing start would be a massive understatement.  With the 30-22 win over No. 24 (for now) Ole Miss, the Tigers improved to 4-1 on the season; in the last year under Gene Chizik, AU won just three games.  Malzahn’s charges have already won two SEC games after going 0-8 in the conference in 2012.  With Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama left on the schedule, any shot at a return to the SEC championship game would appear to be nothing more than a pipe dream.  However, with four very winnable games outside of that, the Tigers should slide comfortably into bowl eligibility, which would be a helluva just — and unexpected — reward for Malzahn and his players.

No quit in SMU
June Jones may be on the losing end of a battle for his job, but if the head coach ends up on the unemployment line it won’t be because his players gave up on him.  SMU came back from not one but two 21-point deficits in their game against Rutgers to force overtime… and another… and another before finally succumbing to the Scarlet Knights 55-52 in three extra sessions.  The wild affair included an absolutely unbelievable two-point conversion with just over a minute to go in the fourth quarter to send the contest into its first overtime.

LOSERS

Not-so-merryland
Heading into an unexpected matchup of unbeatens, Maryland had lost all 11 games it had played in Tallahassee and was 2-21 all-time against Florida State, with the last win coming in October of 2006.  Suffice to say, that history doesn’t look any better for the Terps exiting Week 6.  The 63 points the Terps allowed to the Seminoles were the most since they coughed up 70 to Penn State way back in 1993.  The loss was the most lopsided by a ranked team since No. 11 Texas was taken to a 66-3 woodshed by UCLA in 1997.  Maryland’s defense entered the game having allowed four touchdowns in four games; FSU scored touchdowns on eight consecutive possessions at one point and nine total.  After winning just six games total the first two seasons of the Randy Edsall era, the Terps certainly appear to be on the right track.  After today’s derailment, however, they undoubtedly have a long way to go ahead of its move to the Big Ten in 2014.

Still Mullen change
I hate beating a deceased equine (not really), but the situation in Starkvegas bears watching.  In four-plus seasons at Mississippi State, Dan Mullen is 18-4 in non-conference games.  Counting the 33-point beatdown at the hands of LSU Saturday, Mullen is now 13-21 in SEC play, including an 0-2 mark this season.  Hey, if MSU officials are fine with 7-9 wins every season and Music City/Gator Bowl berths, have at it.  If settling for mediocrity is not what they want for their football program, they need to think long and hard about whether Mullen is the coach that can push the Bulldogs to the level of the Alabama’s and Georgia’s and LSU’s of the SEC.

Charlie WeisSorry Charlie… literally
After taking a surprising 10-0 lead on Texas Tech, Kansas allowed the Red Raiders to come back and tie the game at 10-apiece.  Facing a fourth and 13 from his own 16-yard line, Charlie Weis did what any coach with a clear head and sound mind would do in a tie game in the middle of the second quarter: he called for a fake punt.  Of course, the try came up shy as they turned the ball back over to the Red Raiders, which converted the play-calling gaffe into a touchdown as part of a 44-point run in their 54-16 romp.  If there were ever a sequence that sums up Weis’ tenure as a college coach — head, coordinator and otherwise — that was it. Just embarrassing.

Southern aMiss
Or “Southern Missery,” you pick the pun.  Anyway, we now come to the gut-punch part of the program.  Southern Miss entered its home game against winless FIU sporting a nation’s worst 16-game losing streak.  On the final play of the game, a 44-yard field goal attempt that would’ve won it for the Golden Eagles was no good, extending Southern Miss’ misery to 17 consecutive games.  Todd Monken is a good football coach, and it’s hard to see the university doing a one-and-done at the head-coaching position in back-to-back years, but it has to be awfully tempting for the administration to blow it up yet again.  Of course, that would be the absolute worst tack to take, but you never know in this win-now-or-else era.

Grounded Air Force
Apparently, a sizable chunk of the Air Force football program was furloughed even prior to the official government shutdown implemented earlier this week.  How else can you explain what’s happened to the Falcons?  In the first four seasons under Troy Calhoun, Air Force bookended a pair of eight-win seasons with nine-win years.  In 2011 and 2012, however, the Falcons combined to win just 13 games, dovetailing into the tailspin that the 2013 season has become: with the 28-10 loss to Navy, Air Force is now 1-5 on the season, its worst start since a 1-5 start in 1993.  The Falcons’ only win came against FCS-level Colgate, and they’ve lost their five FBS games by a combined total of 108 points.  Calhoun is so well-respected by officials at the academy in Colorado Springs that it’s doubtful his job is in jeopardy.  However, the program had better begin turning itself around in a hurry as, if it doesn’t, you might not keep Calhoun off the hot seat in 2014.

Hoosier non-hysteria
You want to know how I know the college basketball season is fast approaching?  I saw this picture of Indiana’s home “crowd” taken 10 minutes or so before the start of the game against Penn State:

Indiana Fans

Yes, I understand that the weather was not exactly optimal.  However, you live in the Midwest; the weather in that area of the country is rarely ever optimal, especially in October and beyond.  Just a bad look, Hoosiers.  A bad, bad look, especially in light of the fact that the Hoosiers went out and scored its first-ever win over the Nittany Lions a couple of hours later.

Picky beater
If there were ever an opportunity to point to an individual player in a team game and say he singlehandedly lost the contest, it would’ve been Thursday night’s UCLA-Utah matchup.  In the Utes’ loss, quarterback Travis Wilson threw a staggering total of six interceptions.  As if that weren’t bad enough, the Bruins turned those six picks into 24 of their 34 points, which included, appropriately enough, a pick-six.  Five of Wilson’s interceptions came in a second half that saw the Utes tied with the Bruins early in the fourth quarter. “Minus-five in the turnover margin pretty much says it all when you play a team the caliber of UCLA. You turn it over six times and gain one, you’re not going to win,” head coach Kyle Whittingham succinctly stated after the loss.

TOP 25 TOO-CLOSE-FOR-COMFORT
How ranked teams endured close shaves vs. unranked opponents

— No. 1 Alabama 45, Georgia State 3: Yes, the Tide won by 42, but they were favored by 54.5 or so.  And they allowed a newly-minted FBS program to not only cross midfield but score.  So there.

— No. 11 Oklahoma 20, TCU 17: The Horned Frogs have one of the toughest defenses in the Big 12, and it showed as the Sooners mustered a season-low 355 yards of offense.  A 76-yard touchdown run by Brennan Clay late in the fourth quarter, however, proved to be almost all of the offense needed.

— No. 12 UCLA 34, Utah 27: As noted above, nothing good happens when you commit six turnovers… unless you’re the beneficiaries of said turnovers as the Bruins were.

Kentucky v South Carolina— No. 13 South Carolina 35, Kentucky 28: The Gamecocks were cruising along with a 27-7 lead in the fourth quarter before the Wildcats exploded for 21 points to make the game closer than it should’ve been.  I’ll just chalk this one up to The Ol’ Ball Coach being bored in the fourth quarter or something.

— No. 14 Miami 45, Georgia Tech 30: This is one of those games where the final score doesn’t tell the whole story as the Yellow Jackets had pulled to within one at 24-23 with 10:38 to go in the game.  The Hurricanes, however, scored the next 21 points in a six-minute stretch to ice the game and remain unbeaten.

— No. 21 Oklahoma State 33, Kansas State 29: The Cowboys needed a touchdown with just over for four minutes remaining, and a field goal with just over two minutes left, to finally overcome four deficits in a back-and-forth affair and avoid losing its second straight game.

CFT TOP FIVE
A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Monday if I, ya know, had a real vote instead of a measly and meaningless preseason poll.

1. Alabama — The two-time defending BCS champs scrimmaged this weekend.  The outcome was expected.  Not much to see or say here, other than thank goodness that part of the Tide’s schedule has come to an end… ah crap; Chattanooga the week before the Iron Bowl. Oh well, at least a game against LSU is in the offing. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: at Kentucky

2. Oregon — Another week, another 55-plus points on the scoreboard.  This coming weekend, though, will be where we begin to learn exactly where the Ducks stand nationally as three of their next four games are against teams currently ranked in the Top 15, including a Nov. 7 trip to The Farm. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: at No. 15 Washington

Tajh Boyd,3. Clemson — After a three-point win over then-No. 5 Georgia, the Tigers have won their last four by an average of 33.7 points.  Clemson has its own date with BCS destiny in two weeks, but must avoid, well, ya know this weekend. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: vs. Boston College

4. Ohio State — The coaches and media may downgrade the Buckeyes’ win over Northwestern, but I won’t.  That was a quality W in my book, especially coming off a solid win over Wisconsin the week before. (Last week: No. 4)
Next up: vs. Iowa

5. Stanford — The big win over No. 15 Washington is part of five-week stretch that includes home games against No. 12 UCLA and No. 2 Oregon, as well as a road trip to Corvallis against 4-1 Oregon State.  If The Cardinal comes through that stretch unscathed, they will vault up the rankings. (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: at Utah

HE SAID IT
“Well first of all, I want to thank our great fan base. Electric atmosphere, they definitely created a home field advantage. That’s why they’re the best in the country. I want to thank our student body. Over 12,000 students came out. I think what we learned is we need that environment. We’re going to need that. I need to challenge everyone. I need you to come to the South Carolina game. We’re on winter break and our team needs it.” — Tennessee’s Butch Jones.

HE SAID IT, THE SEQUEL
“[Guys] are doing their own crap.” — Steve Spurrier, a bit perturbed at how his freelancing South Carolina defense performed in the win over Kentucky.

SAY WHAT?
In Week Six of the 2013 season, three teams fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, and all three losses came against fellow unbeatens: Maryland (to Florida State), Northwestern (to Ohio State) and Washington (to Stanford).  There are now 17 teams at the FBS level that have yet to lose a game.  The ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 each have three undefeated teams apiece, while the AAC, Big Ten and SEC have two each.  The other two unbeatens come from the MAC (Northern Illinois) and MWC (Fresno State).

On the flip side, both FIU and USF picked up their first wins of the year, dropping the total of winless teams from 11 to nine.  UConn (0-4) and Temple (0-5) are the only winless teams from an automatic qualifying conference, and both of those are from the AAC.

TRUE STORY
The last 12 games Wisconsin has lost, going back more than three years, have been by a combined total of 53 points, none by more than seven points.  Included in that total are a pair of two-point losses and four more by a field goal.  A full quarter of those 12 losses came in overtime.  The last loss by more than a touchdown?  A 34-21 defeat at the hands of Michigan State Oct. 2, 2010, in East Lansing.

FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSES ONLY

— With a 24-yard pass in the second quarter, Georgia’s Aaron Murray became the SEC’s all-time leader in career passing yards with 11,548.  He surpassed the previous record of 11,528 set by former Bulldog David Greene.

Marcus Mariota totaled 398 yards of offense (355 passing, 43 rushing) and seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) in Oregon’s 57-16 win over Colorado.  Mariota is a big reason why the Ducks have scored at least 55 points in all five games this season.

Fresno State v Idaho— Fresno State’s Derek Carr passed for 390 yards and five touchdowns… in the first half.  The Bulldogs as a team put up 557 yards of total offense in jumping out to a 47-0 halftime lead.  Carr finished with 419 yards and the same five touchdowns in the 61-14 win over Idaho.

Garrett Gilbert accounted for five touchdowns passing and another two on the ground in SMU’s triple-overtime loss to Rutgers.

— In the 38-24 win over Kent State, and on his birthday, Northern Illinois running back Cameron Stingily ran 37 times for 269 yards.

Logan Thomas threw for 293 yards in Virginia Tech’s 10-point win over North Carolina; it was the quarterback’s highest total in a winning effort since he threw for 310 yards in an Oct. 8, 2011, game against Miami.  He also tied a career-high with three touchdown passes, which he also did twice in 2011.

Ameer Abdullah ran for a career-high 225 yards on just 20 carries in Nebraska’s easy 39-19 romp over Illinois.

— In 26 minutes of play in Alabama’s scrimmage against Georgia State, AJ McCarron tied a career-high with four first-half touchdown passes.  He also completed 12 straight passes at one point, which is tied for the third-longest such streak in school history.  All told, Tide quarterbacks completed passes to a whopping 15 different players.

— In Iowa State’s controversial loss to Texas, wide receiver Quenton Bundrage caught five passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.  Bundrage’s score was a 97-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter.  And, before you ask, yes, I included this note just so I could type the name “Bundrage” a couple of times.

— Ohio State has now won 29 of its last 30 games against Northwestern, with the Wildcats’ last win coming in 2004.  It’s also been 54 years since NU has beaten a Top-Five team (Iowa, 1959), a streak of 37 straight losses.

— The state of Florida was 7-0 in FBS play Saturday, with FIU and USF picking up its first wins of the season.  The prefect record for the Sunshine State squads is the first time that’s ever happened on the same weekend.

— Thanks to a pair of interceptions each by Clemson and Oregon, New Mexico is the only team at the FBS level that has not thrown a pick this season.

— Colorado (four games) and Southern Miss (five) are the only two teams at the FBS level that has not scored a rushing touchdown this season.

— West Virginia wide receivers caught one pass in a loss a couple of weeks ago; Syracuse went one better as its receivers had zero catches in the blowout loss to Clemson.

— Temple is the only FBS team that has not intercepted a pass this season.

Butch Jones— With the heartbreaking, punch-in-the-gut loss to Georgia, the Vols have now lost 19 straight games against teams that were ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.  Their last win against a Top-25 team came Oct. 31, 2009, against No. 22 South Carolina.

— It’s been 1,065 days since Kansas’ last Big 12 win (Nov. 6, 2010 vs. Colorado) and 1,456 days since the Jayhawks’ last conference win over a team still in the league (Oct. 10, 2009 against Iowa State).

— Speaking of conference losing streaks, Illinois’ blowout loss at the hands of Nebraska was the Illini’s 15th straight in Big Ten play.  Their last league victory came against Indiana Oct. 8, 2011.

— TCU was unable to earn a first down until there was 8:35 left in the third quarter of its loss to Oklahoma.

— Navy’s win over Air Force bodes well for the Midshipmen as the last 13 winners of the Navy-Air Force games has gone on to claim the Commander-In-Chief Trophy.

— Boston College’s eight penalties through four game was the lowest total in the country entering Week 6.  In the 48-27 win over Army, the Eagles were flagged six times.

— Miami of Ohio came into their game with Central Michigan with just five third-down conversions in four games; in their 21-9 loss, they converted 5-of-15.

— Wake Forest and North Carolina played for the 104th straight year Saturday, the fourth-longest such streak in college football.

— In their overtime game Friday night, Nevada and San Diego State combined for 95 points, 1,111 yards and 55 first downs.  The Aztecs were able to escape with a 51-44 win thanks to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Quinn Kaehler in the first overtime.

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Tar Heels uniform refresh includes argyle patterns on unis, helmets

Tar Heel Logo

Yep.  Argyle.  On a football uniform.

Monday, North Carolina, in conjunction with apparel supplier Nike, announced what it described as a “refresh” of the Tar Heels’ “brand identity.”  The refreshed look is the culmination of an 18-month process, which the university stated utilized “student-athletes, coaches, administrators and alumni to gather insights on key attributes of the institution.”

The refresh will impact all 28 UNC varsity sports, not just the football team.

“We are excited to once again partner with Nike, one of the most recognizable brands in the world, to help us refresh and refine our marks and logos,” athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. “The changes are subtle, but they celebrate our history and create consistency as we further seek to distinguish our brand. This is our blue and we’re proud of it.”

The most interesting aspect of the refresh is that argyle, a fixture on the basketball program’s uniforms for more than two decades, has been integrated into the new football look, both on the uniforms and the helmets. Take a look at the new duds that would no doubt turn Alex P. Keaton and Carlton Banks into Tar Heel football fans:

(Writer’s note: I actually like the argyle pattern in the stripe on the helmet.  Well done.)

For all of the updated marks and logos, click HERE.

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Florida transfer Gerald Willis seeking ‘run-off’ waiver for immediate eligibility at Miami

South Carolina v Florida Getty Images

Yeah, good luck with that.

A month after it was confirmed he he would be “transferring” from Florida, Miami announced in February that Gerald Willis would be transferring into the Hurricanes football program.  Normally a player in Willis’ situation would be forced to sit out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.

While that will very likely be the case with Willis, he’s giving immediate eligibility, Dorial Green-Beckham-style, the old college try.

In a conversation with CaneSport.com, Willis claims that he was actually dismissed by new UF head coach Jim McElwain.  The defensive lineman also confirmed that he has applied for a so-called “run-off” waiver with the NCAA.

From SBNation.com:

The “run-off” waiver is a little known provision of the NCAA handbook where a player can petition to be ruled immediately eligible if the NCAA finds that the player left their previous institution against their will, i.e. they were “run-off” from the program. Here are the requirements to apply for such a waiver, from athleticscholarships.net

  • Documentation demonstrating that the student-athlete would not have had the opportunity to return to the previous institution’s team for reasons outside the control of the student-athlete.
  • A written statement from the applicant institution that the student-athlete is in good academic standing and meets all progress-toward-degree requirements at applicant institution.
  • A written statement from the student-athlete’s previous institution indicating that the previous institution supports the request.

Willis’ self-proclaimed dismissal came after multiple physical run-ins with Gator teammates, so how he could argue that he could not return to the team for reasons outside of his control is head-scratching to say the least.  Additionally, as UF and The U are in-state rivals, it seems highly unlikely that the former would help the latter by writing a letter of support for Willis.

A decision on the waiver is expected at some point next month at the earliest.

Willis was a four-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 strongside defensive end in the country.  He played in five games as a true freshman last season.  Willis’ stay at UF was a brief one as, a couple of months after a verbal disagreement over a pair of cleats escalated into a physical altercation with a teammate, it was announced that Willis was leaving the program.

In addition to Miami, Willis told the Rivals.com website that Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M pursued him after he left UF.

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Hogs suspend Randy Ramsey as LB gets academic house in order

Corey Grant, Randy Ramsey

For the second time in six months, Randy Ramsey has some educational issues to clear up before moving forward.

Arkansas head coach Brett Bielema confirmed Monday that Ramsey has been suspended from the football program.  According to Bielema, the linebacker needs to clean things up academically, and needs to do it post-haste.

He has got to have some urgency in the classroom immediately,” Bielema said according to ESPN.com in explaining the suspension. “No off-the-field [legal issues], just got to get him going in the classroom because we invest a lot in them and we hope to have our biggest returns when they are sophomores, juniors and seniors and getting better.”

Ramsey didn’t travel to last October’s game against Texas A&M because of academic issues.

A three-star member of Bielema’s second Razorbacks recruiting class, Ramsey played in seven games as a true freshman last season. He started one of those contests, the Sept. 20 win over Northern Illinois.

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Jimbo to support Jameis draft night, serve as analyst next two days

Jimbo Fisher, Jameis Winston

Make room, David Shaw.  And, Jameis Winston, make room on your couch as well.

Earlier this month it was reported that Winston, expected to be selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the first-overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft, would not attend the Chicago festivities in person.  Instead, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner has decided to stay in his home state of Alabama to be close to his ailing grandmother, who is unable to travel due to health concerns.

According to tweet from a writer on Florida State’s official website, head coach Jimbo Fisher will be in Birmingham for the first round of the draft Thursday night, April 30, as well, offering support to a player who played a major role in FSU’s 2013 national championship.  After spending opening night with his former player, Fisher will then spend the next two days, Friday and Saturday, serving as a guest analyst on the NFL Network’s coverage of Rounds 2-7.

Fisher was also a part of the 2014 coverage of the draft, and acquitted himself quite well.

Shaw will serve as a guest analyst on the NFL Network as well.  The Stanford head coach will be the only college coach featured on the opening night of the draft.

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Pierre Ingram, Cal’s top recruiter, arrested for soliciting a hooker

Pierre Ingram

There has to be a recruiting/solicitation parallel in there somewhere, right?

Regardless, the latest individual to land on CFT’s “Days Without An Arrest” ticker is not a player but a coach, with Cal wide receivers coach Pierre Ingram arrested April 16 following a prostitution sting.  Ingram, who also holds the title of recruiting coordinator, was charged with misdemeanor solicitation of a lewd act.

The Contra Costa Times writes that Ingram “was arrested after he allegedly solicited an undercover officer online and then showed up at the Motel 6 on Embarcadero.”

There is no word from the school on what this does or doesn’t do to Ingram’s status with the football program moving forward, although an indefinite suspension will likely be the first order of business.

Ingram spent the past two seasons as the Bears’ running backs coach before moving over to receivers. He’s also widely considered the program’s top recruiter.

(Photo credit: Cal athletics)

UPDATED 5:24 p.m. ET: Cal has confirmed that Ingram has been placed on administrative leave, presumably paid, as they further assess the situation.  Ingram did not take part in Saturday’s spring game because of the incident.

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NIU suspends LB Rasheen Lemon after domestic battery arrest

Boca Raton Bowl AP

A mini-run of players diving headfirst into offseason legal issues continues, with Northern Illinois the latest program to take a hit.

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle is reporting that linebacker Rasheen Lemon has been arrested on a domestic battery charge. The charges stem from an incident that occurred April 12. No details of what led to the arrest have been released.

NIU officials learned of the situation late last week, and indefinitely suspended Lemon from the football program.

If the incident results in any type of game or games suspension, it would be a significant blow to the Huskies’ defense.

After starting two games in 2013, Lemon started every game in 2014 as a redshirt junior. Lemon was second on the team in tackles (90) and quarterback hurries (six), and tied for second in forced fumbles (two). He was also tied for fifth in sacks (2.5).

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Auburn does the expected, names Jeremy Johnson as starting QB

Arkansas v Auburn Getty Images

Earlier this month, Jeremy Johnson had yet to separate himself from the rest of the Auburn quarterback pack, even as he’s long been expected to be the successor to Nick Marshall.  Monday, the expected officially came to fruition.

Head coach Gus Malzahn took to Twitter Monday afternoon to announce, to the surprise of absolutely no one, Johnson has been named as the Tigers’ starting quarterback.  The anointing comes two days after Auburn’s spring game.

“Everyone in our program has 100 percent confidence in him!” Malzahn wrote in his tweet.

Johnson’s main competition had been redshirt freshman Sean White.  Jason Smith and Tyler Queen were also technically in the mix.

Last season as Marshall’s primary backup, Johnson completed 28-of-37 passes for 436 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. More than half of those pass attempts (21) came in the 2014 opener against Arkansas as Johnson started in place of Marshall, who was suspended following an offseason weed incident.

Johnson and Auburn will open the 2015 season Sept. 5 against Louisville in a neutral-site matchup in the Georgia Dome.

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Buckeyes title team feted by POTUS at White House event

Urban Meyer President Obama

As has been the case for at least a decade, winning a national championship has its presidential privileges.

Monday afternoon, Ohio State became the latest college sports team to be feted at the White House, with President Barack Obama hosting the Buckeyes three months after OSU claimed the first-ever College Football Playoff title.  OSU is actually the first college football team since Alabama in 2013 to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as Florida State was unable to manage a trip to D.C. last year to celebrate the Seminoles’ 2013 title.

This visit marked Urban Meyer‘s third, with the first two coming while he was the head coach at Florida.  Meyer was hosted by George W. Bush following the Gators’ first title in 2006, then by Obama following the second one for the 2008 season.

As for this trip, the President hit on several notes surrounding the Buckeyes, mentioning defensive end Joey Bosa‘s now-famous shoulder shrug as well as his newly-shorn locks; thanked running back Ezekiel Elliott for tucking in his shirt, with the preseason Heisman contender asking the POTUS for a little help with the recent rule change on crop-top jerseys; referred to Michigan as “a certain team up North;” and made mention of title-winning quarterback Cardale Jones‘ “12-gauge” nickname.

Wisely, the President didn’t wade into who should start at quarterback for the Buckeyes this upcoming season.  One member of the Buckeyes, though, did have a little fun at the POTUS’ expense.

The President was given a game ball and jersey by the football program.  He was also introduced to a pair of Buckeye legends, Cris Carter and the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.

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WR LaQuvionte Gonzalez takes to Twitter to announce A&M transfer

LaQuvionte Gonzalez, Ross Cockrell

In Texas A&M’s Class of 2013, seven wide receivers were signed.  With this latest development, as SBNation.com notes, that seven has been whittled down to two.

On his Twitter account Monday afternoon, LaQuvionte Gonzalez announced that he has decided to transfer out of the A&M football program.  No reason was given for Gonzalez’s departure, which comes a week or so following the end of spring practice.

A four-star member of A&M’s 2013 recruiting class, Gonzalez was rated as the No. 30 player at any position in the state of Texas and the No. 234 player overall by Rivals.com.

As a true freshman in 2013, Gonzalez was fifth on the team with 21 receptions and 240 receiving yards.  His production took a precipitous drop in 2014, however, as he finished with just five receptions for 77 yards.

Ricky Seals-Jones and Jeremy Tabuyo are the only 2013 receivers still with the Aggies. That said, A&M is still loaded with talent at the position, mitigating all of those personnel losses.

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Ex-Utah State QB won’t be permitted to transfer to UW Huskies

Utah State v UNLV Getty Images

We don’t know yet to where Darell Garretson will be transferring.  We do, though, know one place where he won’t be.

ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad tweeted that the former Utah State quarterback will be unable to transfer to Washington.  Garretson had apparently expressed a desire in the Huskies, but because UW is a future USU opponent — the two teams will play in 2015 — the quarterback wasn’t given a release to that program.

As to where Garretson might end up, it was reported earlier this month that Oregon State is a very realistic possibility.  Part of the draw for Garretson to the Beavers is that his former Aggies offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Kevin McGivens, is now the quarterbacks coach at OSU.

Schad also noted that the West Coast OSU is a possibility.

After starting seven games as a freshman in 2013, Garretson played in just five games in 2014 before suffering a season-ending wrist injury.  It was announced late last month that he was transferring out of USU.

Garretson will be forced to sit out the 2015 season if he ends up at another FBS program.  Beginning in 2016, he would then have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

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Georgia Tech, UCF announce future home-and-home series

Bitcoin St Petersburg Bowl - North Carolina State v Central Florida

George O’Leary‘s former team and his current one have agreed to meet on the gridiron a little further down the road, Georgia Tech and UCF announced Monday afternoon.

The Yellow Jackets will travel to Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 16, 2017, and will then host the Knights on Sept. 19, 2020. The 2017 game will mark Tech’s first regular season non-conference game in the state of Florida since Sept. 19, 1981, a 27-6 loss to Florida in Gainesville.

Tech and UCF have met three times previously, the first coming in 1996 and the last in 2000. All three of those games, played at Bobby Dodd Stadium, were won by the Yellow Jackets.

O’Leary has been the head coach at UCF since 2004. Prior to that, he served as Tech’s head coach from 1994-2001.

With the addition of Tech, UCF continues to bolster its future schedules, with previously announced series including Stanford (2015,2019), Michigan (2016), Maryland (2016, 2017) and Texas (2017). Tech had previously announced a future home-and-home with UCF’s in-state rival USF (2021, 2022), and now has games scheduled every year from 2017-22.

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Judge sides with Notre Dame in ESPN’s open-records lawsuit

Touchdown Jesus AP

In mid-January, ESPN filed a lawsuit against the University of Notre Dame contending that the school was withholding police documents involving alleged campus crimes committed by unnamed student-athletes, which would be a violation of Indiana’s open records laws.  Three months later, a judge has disagreed.

Monday, the South Bend Tribune writes, “[a] St. Joseph County judge ruled… that the University of Notre Dame isn’t required to give ESPN campus police department records because it’s not a public agency under state law.” While the judge sided with the private institution, he did so with some hesitancy and trepidation.

From the Tribune‘s report:

Superior Court Judge Steven Hostetler said he shared the Indiana public access counselor’s “discomfort” with the notion that a private party can exercise police powers without sharing records related to that power with the public, but that’s simply how the state’s Access to Public Records Act is written and has been interpreted.

Furthermore, the judge wrote in his 11-page ruling that “[t]his court will not strain the language of the statute in order to do what the Legislature has not, even though there are indeed persuasive reasons why the statute should be amended to read the way ESPN desires.”

ESPN had filed an open-records request with the university in November. An Indianapolis attorney representing ESPN told the Tribune he’s uncertain if an appeal of the ruling will be filed.

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Hoosier DL Ralph Green III arrested on battery charge

Ralph Green III, Nate Hoff, Jake Rudock AP

Well, so much for all of the feel-good in the post directly below this one.

According to the Bloomington Herald-Times, Indiana defensive lineman Ralph Green III (pictured, No. 93) was arrested very early Sunday morning following an off-campus incident.  Green was charged by Bloomington police officers with a trio of misdemeanors: battery, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

As for what led to the arrest and charges…

Bloomington Police Department responded to a disturbance at the residence on North Lincoln and found Green struck the victim in the face, causing a complaint of pain, according to a preliminary police report.

IU has yet to comment publicly on the situation.

Green started nine of the 12 games in which he played as a redshirt freshman in 2013.  He played in 11 games (no starts) this past season, and is expected to be a significant part of the Hoosiers’ line rotation in 2015.

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Blind fan who inspired USC could play in a game for Trojans

Pete Carroll Jake Olson

If you can’t hardly stomach all of the off-field issues surrounding the game of college football, this may be the elixir you’ve been looking for.

A few years back, the Pete Carroll-led USC Trojans football team essentially adopted Jake Olson, a teenage fan suffering from cancer of the retina in his right eye (he lost his left eye when he was less than one year old).  It was subsequently determined that Olson would need the right eye removed; on his final day of sight prior to the surgery that would leave him blind for the rest of his life, he chose to attend a Trojans football practice.

Fast-forward roughly five years, and Olson is now an 18-year-old young man who became a long-snapper for his high school football team and is about to embark on his journey as a college student — at USC, of course.

Olson, the Los Angeles Times writes, “is a recipient of a Swim With Mike scholarship, awarded annually from the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship fund.” While he’s not a part of the Trojans’ incoming recruiting class, it appears that he will have part of his favorite team as a walk-on.

From the Times‘ report:

Olson, 18, was introduced as a Swim With Mike scholarship winner in February during an event where video highlights of incoming football players were shown to Trojans fans. He would join the program as a walk-on.

Olson said he was “stoked” to be headed to USC, which also accepted his sister.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said.

For Steve Sarkisian, it’s a matter of when, not if, Olson takes the field in a real football game.

“Someday, he’s going to snap in a game for us,” the head coach said. “When? I don’t know. But it will happen.

“When that day comes, it will be awesome.”

“I can’t even fathom what an extraordinary thing that would be,” Carroll said when asked about Olson playing in a game for his former program, with Olson, when the subject of preferential treatment came up, adding, “[I] just [want] the opportunity to prove myself like anyone else.”

Bravo to Olson, Sarkisian, Carroll and the entire USC program. That is going to be one special day when the young man takes the field for the first time.

(Photo credit: openyoureyes.org)

 

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After position switch, Wyoming QB Austin Fort to transfer

Craig Bohl

In revealing a few days ago that former Indiana quarterback Cameron Coffman was sitting atop his depth chart, Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl confirmed that 6-4, 218-pound Austin Fort would be moving from that position to tight end.

Less than a week later, the player is moving on entirely.

This weekend, Bohl confirmed that Fort has decided to transfer out of the Cowboys football program and continue his playing career elsewhere.  According to Bohl, Fort’s decision to transfer was triggered by his desire to play quarterback at the collegiate level.

The coach also confirmed that Fort will likely move on to the JUCO level initially.  If Fort had decided to transfer to another FBS program, he would’ve been ineligible to play immediately in 2015.

Fort was a two-star member of Wyoming’s 2014 recruiting class.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.

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