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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 Boyd-Jameis 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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Doeren issues apology to Fisher for faking injury accusation

Jimbo Fisher, Dave Doeren

NC State head coach Dave Doeren took a shot at Florida State following Saturday’s defeat to the top-ranked team in the nation. Doeren made the accusation Florida State players were faking injuries in an attempt to slow down the tempo of the game, which saw the Wolfpack give Florida State’s defense all it could handle. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher took exception to those remarks and responded by suggesting took exception to those remarks and responded by suggesting Doeren had no clue what he was talking about, and that he should worry about coaching NC State instead.

On Tuesday Doeren issued a public statement saying he has apologized to Fisher for his remarks. The statement was released via Twitter.

As suggested yesterday, it is rare to see one of the top teams in the country accused of faking injuries to slow down the opponent’s momentum. Florida State was already facing some injury depth concerns on the defensive line, so it is reasonable to expect some players slowing down at some point, but there is not much evidence to suggest Florida State was faking any injuries along the way.

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Texas Tech QB Webb is day-to-day

Davis Webb

Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb is day-to-day for the Red Raiders heading into this weekend’s game against Kansas State. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury provided that update Monday during a Big 12 coaches conference call. Webb injured his left shoulder in a Thursday night loss at Oklahoma State last week, but Kingsbury is not ruling out his possible return this weekend on the road in Manhattan.

“Just make sure he can protect himself, really, and operate at a level we need him to operate,” Kingsbury said, according to The Dallas Morning News,  when asked what needed to happen for Webb to return to the field to play this weekend. “But more than anything, that he can handle taking a hit and protect himself.”

Webb was sacked just once by Oklahoma State on Thursday night, but he did take a beating at times. Webb had 54 passing attempts and three rushes. He was intercepted twice and fumbled once, but the fumble was recovered by Texas Tech. Ball protection will be important for Webb moving forward.

“That’s two weeks in a row we’ve given a very good football team the ball inside our own 15, and they’ve scored on all four of those chances, so that’s the biggest deal,” Kingsbury said Monday. “We’re not protecting the ball against quality opponents. You’ve got to do that to win.”

Kansas State enters this weekend’s game with Texas Tech with a -2 turnover margin. The only two teams in the Big 12 with a worse turnover margin are Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Red Raiders and Mountaineers each have a -5 turnover margin.

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Urban Meyer says Braxton Miller will be back in 2015

Wisconsin v Ohio State

Ohio State looks like they are going to survive the 20145 season without Braxton Miller at quarterback. After a rough start to the season with a tough test at Navy and a home loss to Virginia Tech, tough test at Navy and a home loss to Virginia Tech, J.T. Barrett has grown and the Buckeyes offense has been playing well. Ohio State still looks like a team capable of winning the Big Ten this season, if they can get by Michigan State later in the season. Whatever happens this season, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer remains confident he will have Miller back under center in 2015.

“Braxton is our quarterback,” Meyer said Monday, per ESPN.com. “To be fair to Braxton, Big Ten Player of the Year. But it’s good to know we’ve got both of them.”

Miller was lost for the season with a right shoulder (his throwing shoulder) injury in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season. The shoulder was initially hurt during Ohio State’s Orange Bowl loss to Clemson. Miller had surgery that went well and could be on track to return for Ohio State in 2015, which he has stated is his plan. The NFL could also come calling for Miller, but with a shoulder injury it may be better to come back in 2015 and show the shoulder is healed and good to go. Otherwise, Miller would be considered a huge draft risk for any franchise looking for a quarterback. A healthy 2015 season could move Miller up the big boards.

And if Miller returns for 2015, Ohio State could once again start the year with playoff expectations.

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Michigan AD admits lack of communication regarding Shane Morris concussion, but statement raises more questions

Brady Hoke, Devin Gardner, Shane Morris

Michigan’s lack of communication on the sideline led to the mishandling of a head injury to quarterback Shane Morris on Saturday. As it turns out, Morris did suffer a concussion to go with a high ankle sprain. Michigan athletics director Dave Brandon says he has been thoroughly reviewing the situation the past few days and admits to a “serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline.”

“Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes,” Brandon said in the Michigan statement released overnight. “I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first.”

Morris was on the receiving end of a big hit from Minnesota defensive end Theiren Cockran. The hit appeared to leave Morris wobbly, but the quarterback appeared to wave off trainers for assistance and remained on the field. During his Monday press conference, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke suggested that “tells you something” about the competitive nature of the player. Hoke said he did not see the hit and believed Morris was playing through pain in his ankle, which was injured earlier in the game. He was cleared to play through the ankle injury by medical staff at the time. The statement from Michigan released overnight states nobody on the Michigan sideline saw the hit to Morris, which led to the lack of response for care for possible head trauma.

“We now understand that, despite having the right people on the sidelines assessing our student-athletes’ well being, the systems we had in place were inadequate to handle this unique and complex situation properly,” Brandon said. “From the field level and without the benefit of replays, medical and coaching staffs did not see the hit. Because they did not see the hit, the athletic training staff believed Shane stumbled because of his ankle injury.”

Brandon said a team neurologist did not see the hit on Morris but did not notice the stumbling on the field. He determined Morris needed to be evaluated but because he did not see the hit he was unaware of the severity of the possible injury. Because he did not see the hit, the medical trainer cleared Morris to return to the field after just one play, which is what led to the whole mess blowing up in Michigan’s face the past few days.

Michigan’s statement does have some clarity and does explain how something like this could happen. If legit, it also raises some more questions. How did Brady Hoke not become aware of any of this internal reviewing when he went out for his Monday press conference? During his press conference on Monday Hoke said if not for the high ankle injury, Morris would have practiced with the team Sunday night. According to the Michigan statement, Morris was diagnosed with a mild concussion on Sunday. Did Hoke know that? If not, then why not? Hoke is still responsible for the actions of the football staff, including to a certain degree the medical staff. This does not clear Hoke entirely from guilt, but if we are to take this Michigan statement as the full and accurate explanation for what unfolded, Michigan left Hoke out to dry.

You can read the full statement from Brandon on Michigan’s website.

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Unauthorized selfies lead to Todd Gurley being falsely accused of punching Georgia student

Todd Gurley

At 3:18 a.m. Sunday morning, a 20-year-old Georgia student stood in his apartment and told police he had been punched by Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley. Police, however, had reviewed footage from Bourbon Street Bar and Grill and told the student that was impossible, because the person who punched him was white.

Strange as that is, it is not the strangest part of this story.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the whole thing started when the student began taking unauthorized selfies with Gurley in the background. The student then began getting pushed by what Gurley described as “other guys”, and the student lost his hat in the process. Gurley reached down to retrieve it, and the student repaid that kindness by tossing a racial epithet his way.

It was then that the unidentified white male punched the student, who was then ejected from the bar.

The Banner-Herald‘s report then offers this glorious sentence: “The student admitted he’d had been drinking that night, but contended he was not drunk, according to police.”

After an interview with police, Gurley has officially been cleared of all wrongdoing.

“In consideration of all the information, to include statements and video recordings from the incident location, Todd Gurley’s involvement in this report is unfounded,” the detective wrote in a supplemental report. “Based also on the information … I was able to see clearly that Todd Gurley had no involvement in this case other than trying to give an individual his hat back.”

Earlier that day, Gurley had rushed 28 times for a career-high 208 yards and two touchdowns while also catching four passes for 30 yards in Georgia’s 35-32 win over Tennessee, so he presumably followed up his early-morning altercation with some well-earned sleep.

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Hey Kansas, Ed Orgeron wants to be your next head coach

Ed Orgeron

Kansas is without a head coach. College football’s favorite coaching free agent, former USC defensive line coach-turned-interim head coach Ed Orgeron, is without a job.

Let’s make it happen, Jayhawks.

“It’s a Power Five (job),” Orgeron told George Schroeder of USA Today at a speaking engagement Monday in Little Rock, Ark. “(Mark) Mangino went 12-1 and went to the Orange Bowl. It’s in a great conference. His staff proved that you can do it.”

When asked if he really wanted to be Kansas’ fourth head coach seven years, Orgeron was undeterred.

“It’s a challenging job,” he said. “But most jobs you get, there’s gonna be some things you’re gonna have to fix.”

The popular longtime assistant holds a 16-27 career record as a head coach – 10-25 at Ole Miss from 2005-07, and 6-2 on an interim basis at USC last season. He believes the second job is more indicative of his ability as a head coach than the first. “I believe I put my résumé out on the TV those last eight games,” Orgeron said. “They know who I am and what I’ve done.”

Orgeron credits his success at USC with loosening the atmosphere inside Heritage Hall following Lane Kiffin’s ouster, famously putting cookies on the training table and pitting position groups against each other in tug of war. “Play with energy. Have fun. Loosen up,” Oregon said.

Kansas still has eight games to play before it can officially bring in a new coach, but Orgeron has nothing but time on his hands to watch football. He’ll be watching, and he’ll be ready.

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Former UCF DC Paul Ferraro accuses George O’Leary of racist remarks in wrongful termination suit

St. Louis Rams 2009 Headshots

Paul Ferraro worked under George O’Leary as Central Florida’s defensive coordinator for approximately two months this winter. According to a lawsuit Ferraro filed on Friday, those had to be the worst two months of his three-decade career.

Hired in late December and gone by early March, Ferraro is accusing O’Leary of racist remarks and creating a work environment “permeated by bullying, threatening behavior, and repeated discriminatory epithets.” He accuses O’Leary of referring to the NFL as “one big ‘Ru-Ru’ tribe” and encouraging his assistants to “make sure (African-American players’) gums are blue, because they are bigger and stronger than (African-American players) with red gums,” according to a copy of the suit obtained by USA Today.

“No longer will I put up with your constant verbal abuse of both our coaching and support staff,” Ferraro emailed to O’Leary while copying the coaching staff. “Threatening coaches on a regular basis with their jobs and racial slurs mixed in to make a point is wrong.”

For its part, UCF is denying everything.

“UCF immediately investigated the allegations Mr. Ferraro made when he abruptly abandoned his job,” UCF vice president of communications and marketing Grant Heston emailed USA Today. “The university’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office found the allegations to be untrue.

“None of the individuals alleged to have been the subject of, or to have overheard, these supposed statements corroborated Mr. Ferraro’s claims. In fact, until seeking compensation after abandoning his job, it does not appear he ever discussed this with anyone at UCF.”

Translation: “This dude is making the entire thing up.”

Of course, the basis for all of this is money. The school claims Ferraro resigned, and Ferraro claims he was fired without cause. He thinks he is owed $15,000 in salary on the two-year, $440,000 contract he signed. UCF maintains it has paid Ferraro what he is owed.

Ferraro was hired away from Maine in late December, just days before UCF’s win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, and left the staff on March 5. He returned to the Maine staff as defensive coordinator on March 29.

Ferraro claims he because he “wanted to return to work in an environment free from O’Leary’s bullish and discriminatory tactics and that he did not and was not resigning.”

And around and around we go.

This is the type of suit that had better be true, otherwise Ferraro has damned his former boss to a lifetime of search returns pairing “O’Leary” with “racist”, all in the name of a money grab. In the always-online culture we live in, that’s (allegedly) one of the sorriest stunts a person can pull.

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Kentucky suspends four players for airsoft gun incident, police action pending

Ohio v Kentucky

Well, this got out of hand.

Kentucky has suspended four freshmen – wide receiver Dorian Baker, running back Stanley “Boom” Williams, quarterback Drew Barker, and defensive end Tymere Dubose – for a Sunday evening airsoft pellet gun incident that ended with Lexington police shutting down campus.

“Proper conduct is emphasized as a core value of our program,” head coach Mark Stoops said in a statement. “If we have a situation in which someone who does not act according to our standards, we hold him accountable.”

This story doesn’t end there, though. The chief of the University of Kentucky police department will meet with the Fayette County Attorney’s office Tuesday to “determine what next steps need to be taken” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Police were called around 9:30 Sunday night to a residence complex on the south end of campus, near the football facilities, after fielding calls about possible shots being fired. UK and Lexington police searched the area for two hours and recovered three airsoft guns.

“We absolutely respect being part of a wonderful campus community,” added AD Mitch Barnhart. “It disappoints us when one of our student-athletes does not live up to our expectations. We respect the process of the University and are working hand-in-hand with the campus community on this issue.”

Williams has produced 174 yards and two touchdowns on 21 touches from scrimmage, and Baker has collected 11 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown. Barker and Dubose are expected to redshirt.

All four will miss Kentucky’s date with South Carolina on Saturday. With the amount of eye rolling and hand wringing a suspension like this is sure to inspire, you half expect Saturday’s official roster to list these four as “Suspended: SMH.”

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John Harbaugh speaks, wants Brady Hoke to remain Michigan’s head coach

John Harbaugh

Straight from the desk of the “What would you expect him to say?” department, active Baltimore Ravens coach and Michigan alum John Harbaugh denied having any interest held by active Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. A report emerged Monday morning saying the same thing, but now we have the quote straight from the horse’s mouth.

Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun that he “really didn’t know why” speculation linked he and his brother Jim to the job, which, c’mon coach, you can’t play that dumb. But he did speak for his brother in stating that they both hoped Hoke turned things around and finished the year successfully.

“Brady Hoke is a guy that we all believe in. The Harbaughs believe in Brady Hoke. He’s a great coach. He believes in Michigan. I believe in what they’re doing there. I think they’re going to get it turned around,” he told the paper. “The team should be galvanized right now. They should be like lions. I’m interested in Brady Hoke being the coach at Michigan for a long time coming.”

Coaches aren’t fond of displaying interest in other coaches’ jobs, especially before the calendar even hits October, and especially when that coach is speaking about a school where his father worked, his brother played, and he spent his high school years going to school nearby. Add in the fact that Harbaugh and Hoke worked together at Western Michigan from 1984-86 and describe themselves as friends and there was no way Harbaugh was going to provide anything other than a flat refusal.

And then, of course, there is the likely option that Harbaugh is telling the unvarnished truth. He’s entrenched into a job that pays him $6.5 million through 2017, is fresh off a recent Super Bowl victory, and is off to a 3-1 start this season. He has plenty of reasons to stay right where he is and watch the maize and blue bonfire that is the current state of Michigan football from afar.

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Yale receives national honor for overtime defeat of Army

The best game you didn’t see on Saturday took place in New Haven, Conn.

Yale defeated Army, 49-43 in overtime, at the Yale Bowl, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 start to the season and their first victory over the Black Knights since 1955. With the win, Yale was honored as the Football Writers Association of America’s “National Team of the Week” award on Monday.

“For the second week in a row, it wasn’t pretty, but the perseverance of these guys came through,” said Yale head coach Tony Reno. “We continue to follow the process, taking it one play at a time. This is an incredible group of young men that has limitless potential.”

The Bulldogs and Black Knights combined for 1,222 yards of total offense and 7.18 yards per play on  170 total snaps. Quarterbacks Angel Santiago (6-of-8 passing for 117 yards, eight rushes for 88 yards and two touchdowns) and A.J. Schurr (6-of-12 passing for 94 yards and a score, 15 rushes for 135 yards and another touchdown) paved the way for Army, while Yale quarterback Morgan Roberts threw for 290 yards and a touchdown with an interception while adding 67 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and running back Tyler Varga rushed 28 times for 185 yards and a school-record-tying five touchdowns.

Army took a 28-14 lead just 88 seconds into the second half after Jeremy Timpf returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, but the Bulldogs battled back to tie the game at 36-36 and again at 43-43 on Varga’s third and fourth scoring dashes.

After a missed field goal in the top of the first overtime by Army kicker Daniel Grochowski, Varga’s fifth touchdown, a three-yard plunge, gave Yale the win – and the Ivy League’s first win over an FBS opponent since Penn topped Navy 30-26 in 1986.

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Jimbo Fisher: FSU did not fake injuries vs. NC State

Jimbo Fisher, Dave Doeren

Florida State was given a good scare by North Carolina on Saturday, but the Seminoles managed to respond and get out of town with another victory to keep their unbeaten streak alive. North Carolina State head coach Seminoles managed to respond and get out of town with another victory to keep their unbeaten streak alive. North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren accused Florida State of faking injuries in Saturday’s game in Raleigh.

“The tempo we had (in the first quarter) was working until all the crazy fall down things were going on and the clock kept stopping,” Doeren said, according to The Rocky Mountain Telegram. “You know the refs can’t do anything about that, but it’s horrible the way the tempo gets slow downed by these injuries. We went fast in the first-quarter, I guess there were no fake injuries.”

On Monday, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher fired back.

“I accuse him of not knowing what he’s talking about,” Fisher said Monday, according to The Orlando Sentinel. “We did not fake injuries, no one fakes injuries. We’ll coach Florida State, he can coach North Carolina State.”

NC State ran 87 plays (50 pass plays, 37 rushing attempts) against Florida State and controlled the football for nearly 32 and a half minutes. Florida State ran 71 plays on offense.

The topic of teams faking injuries is nothing new in college football, but it is not often you see one of the top-ranked teams in the country be on the receiving end of such criticism. Doeren is probably misguided in thinking Florida State felt a need to stoop to that level, given the overall athleticism of the roster on both sides of the football.

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Report: Oklahoma transfer QB Mayfield’s appeal denied

Baker Mayfield

Quarterback Baker Mayfield will not play this season for Oklahoma after having an appeal for immediate eligibility denied. According to a report by The Oklahoman, the Texas Tech transfer had his appeal denied by the NCAA and Big 12.

Per the report by The Oklahoman, Big 12 transfer rules for players moving from one Big 12 school to the other will actually cost Mayfield a year of eligibility despite his status as a walk-on player at both Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech after being informed by head coach Kliff Kingsbury the Red Raiders would be going in a different direction at quarterback this fall.

There was some confusion last week regarding Mayfield’s transfer status. One report suggested Mayfield’s appeal had been approved, which would make him eligible to play for Oklahoma this season (assuming there was a need; Trevor Knight is clearly the team’s quarterback in Norman).Trevor Knight is clearly the team’s quarterback in Norman). There was also talk of Mayfield being able to retain a year of eligibility, but the latest now seems to suggest those talks did not pan out as Oklahoma and Mayfield would have hoped.

This latest news is adding more fuel to the fire regarding the transfer rules. Should schools be allowed to prevent a player from moving to another school, regardless of conference affiliation? Should conferences be allowed to force a player to lose a year of eligibility under these situations?

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LSU names Brandon Harris starting QB vs. Auburn

New Mexico State v LSU

In a blowout win against New Mexico State, LSU quarterback Brandon Harris appeared to show some promise as LSU’s quarterback. He will be put to the test this weekend in a night game against the defending SEC champions. LSU head coach Les Miles named Harris LSU’s starting quarterback for this weekend’s road game at Auburn, a primetime match-up in the vaunted SEC West.

Harris completed 11 of 14 pass attempts for 178 yards and three touchdowns in LSU’s 63-7 against New Mexico State. He also rushed for 36 yards and two more touchdowns. This performance came a week after coming in against Mississippi State and generating some offense, completing six of nine pass attempts for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Harris may have entered the game too late for LSU to avoid a home upset by the visiting Bulldogs, but Miles will hope having Harris on the field from the start in another crucial SEC West battle will give his team the bets chance to win.

Anthony Jennings started the season for LSU and he has struggled along the way to find any consistency. Against Wisconsin in week one, Jennings was 9-of-21 for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Against Mississippi State, Jennings was 13-of-26 for 157 yards without a touchdown. He will now take on a back-up role for the Tigers.

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USF adds 3 games with Texas and BYU home-and-home

South Florida v Wisconsin Getty Images

The USF Bulls have been busy putting together some future opponents. USF has added a three-game series with Texas and a home-and-home series with BYU to fill some dates between 2019 and 2024.

As originally reported by Brett McMuprhy of ESPN, via Twitter, USF and BYU will play their home-and-home series in 2021 and 2022, although which school hosts which year was not confirmed. As of now, BYU already has two home games scheduled in 2021, against Arizona State and Boise State. The Cougars are set to visit USC as well. BYU only has two games scheduled for 2022, with road games at Boise State and Stanford.

USF will make two trips to Texas as part of the three-game package deal. The Bulls will visit Austin in 2019 and 2024. Texas will make the trip to Tampa in 2022. This will mark the first games between the two schools, unless they happen to collide in a postseason game between now and 2019. Texas has never played a game in Tampa. The last time the Longhorns played a game in the state of Florida was in 2007, a regular season game at UCF.

Texas is 4-2 all-time in games played in Florida. The only regular season loss came in a 1973 meeting at Miami, but the Longhorns also left Florida with a loss in the 1974 Gator Bowl (to Auburn). Two of the wins came in the Orange Bowl, in 1965 against Alabama and in 1949, against Georgia.

This game offers both schools a chance to expand on the recruiting trail. USF obviously should benefit from being in the state of Florida, but another reason to make a connection in Texas (along with conference rivals in Houston and SMU) is always a good thing. Texas also gets a chance to make a pitch to Florida prospects. Both states are rich with football talent, and both programs are in need of all the talent they can find.

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Brady Hoke goes on the defensive in Monday presser

Brady Hoke

Michigan held its regularly scheduled weekly press conference Monday, and it saw head coach Brady Hoke on defense from the start. Like much of Michigan’s performance on the field, Hoke’s defense was shaky.

Facing multiple questions regarding the handling of quarterback Shane Morris during Saturday’s loss to Minnesota, Hoke constantly referred directions to a statement that will be presented by the Michigan medical staff later on. As far as Hoke was concerned, Morris suffered a high ankle sprain and was not ruled out by his medical staff.

“I don’t make decisions on who does or doesn’t play when there are injuries,” Hoke said. Just like that, Hoke tried to deflect any negative reaction to the handling of Morris off on the medical staff at Michigan.

On multiple occasions, Hoke said he trusted his medical staff and claimed they had never let him down at any point the last three years. Hoke also stood firm on the ankle sprain injury to Morris being the only reason he was taken out. Asked about video showing Morris wobbly on the field, Hoke said it was his quarterback’s ankle that was giving out on him and not a head trauma concern.

According to Hoke, Morris waving off trainers on the field “tells you something,” about Morris and his mentality. Hoke took that motion as a sign Morris was able top play through pain. The video tends to speak volumes and paint a different picture, but Hoke stood firm on the ankle injury. Hoke even said Morris would have practiced last night if not for the ankle injury.

Asked if he had spoken about his job performance or the Morris injury with Michigan Athletics Director Dave Brandon, Hoke said “No.” Hoke was also asked if he would wear a headset moving forward. “No,” was his response.

Hoke attempted to shift the focus to Michigan’s next opponent, Rutgers, but each question posed to him during the Monday press conference was related to his handling of the team’s injuries, specifically Morris.

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