The Baylor Bears are lighting up scoreboards on a weekly basis and could be the new Big 12 team to beat this season. Meanwhile the turmoil in Austin, Texas could end up sending a the Texas Longhorns on a national search for a new coach in 2014. One of the names that would seem to make some sense at Texas, if Mack Brown‘s future is in a round of Final Jeopardy right now as many seem to speculate it is, is Baylor’s Art Briles. There is also a pretty attractive opening out in Los Angeles at USC that should grab the eyes of a number of candidates.
Briles knows people are paying attention to the success Baylor is having this season, and he is aware enough to know his name will be popping up in conversations relating to other potential job opportunities out there in the next round of the coaching carousel.
“The great thing about my situation is I don’t really pay attention to anything,” Briles said during an interview Wednesday on 105.3 The Fan. “It’s a week-to-week job, and all I am trying to do is just stay focused on the task at hand — and that task is making Baylor the best it can be.”
So far this season no team has been as good as Baylor on offense, not even Oregon. Baylor has scored 282 points in four games, surpassing the entire season’s worth of points of 31 teams in 2012. The only team to score more points to this date than Baylor is Oregon, with 296 points but in five games.
Of course, any conversation about a coach’s future inevitably gets to the money line in which the coach declares himself perfectly satisfied with his current job. To this end, Briles does not disappoint.
“I’m extremely happy here at Baylor,” Briles said. “We’ve got a good thing going and I can’t see myself anywhere else.”
Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze dialed “at least 12” numbers associated with escort services through online advertisements, according to a review of open records obtained by ESPN.com. The calls took place over a 33-month period, stretching from April 2014 through January 2017, and typically lasted two minutes or less.
Those calls appear to be what Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter referenced as “a pattern of personal misconduct” on the night he resigned. The calls are the second phone related-issue connected to Freeze’s dismissal. He also made at least 200 calls to a booster that is under NCAA investigation.
There are two puzzling aspects to Freeze’s calls to escort services: A) that he made the calls on a university-owned cell phone in the first place, and B) that Freeze did not redact the calls from the records request, since other private calls were removed from the public review of his 39,000 calls as the Rebels’ head coach.
“Any personal calls having no relation to UM business are not public records,” Ole Miss attorney Robert T. Jolly wrote in an email to ESPN. “Personal calls will be clearly marked and redacted from the documents released.”
Freeze went 39-25 in five seasons as the Ole Miss head coach, peaking with back-to-back wins over Alabama and a long-awaited Sugar Bowl victory to close the 2015 season but ending with a 5-7 mark and a self-imposed bowl ban for the 2017 season, which will be coached by interim Matt Luke. Ole Miss will sit before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Sept. 11, with Freeze’s character and strict adherence to NCAA recruiting rules a cornerstone of the school’s defense.
Jeff Carr is planning to transfer from Oklahoma State, according to a report from Pokes sidelines reporter Robert Allen. That report has since been confirmed by the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman. Carr has since been removed from Oklahoma State’s online roster.
A junior, Carr was Oklahoma State’s most experienced running back but was passed on the depth chart by sophomore Justice Hill. Hill ran the ball 206 times for 1,142 yards and six touchdowns a year ago, while Carr rushed 12 times for 83 yards and one score. His 6.92 yards per carry average led the team. Carr rushed 36 times for 142 yards and one score as a freshman in 2015. Carr also saw his touches as a kickoff returner (29 returns to three) and a receiver (11 catches to one) fall from 2015 to ’16.
After losing the Temple, Texas, native, Oklahoma State will have five running backs on scholarship — four freshmen and one sophomore, Hill.
Multiple outlets have reported Carr is headed to Texas A&M-Kingsville, a Division II school that will permit Carr to play immediately.
Georgia Southern is rolling with a freshman at quarterback this season.
The Eagles have announced that redshirt freshman Shai Werts will be the club’s starting signal caller to begin the season. Werts beat out junior college transfer Kado Brown and junior LaBaron Anthony to win the job.
“I think Shai certainly came in and took the majority amount of snaps with the ones both in spring practice and in camp and I thought he did a great job,” head coach Tyson Summers said in a statement. “I think that you see him have a very clear understanding of what we want do on offense. I think you see him have a very clear understanding of what he’s got to work on to get better at and I think that he’s done a tremendous job from a leadership standpoint on the field and in the classroom and in the meeting room. He’s certainly one of the key leaders for our entire football team, not just in the quarterback room and not just the offense, so I’m very proud of Shai.”
Werts replaces Georgia Southern’s two departed quarterbacks in seniors Kevin Ellison and Fabian Upshaw. The pair combined to complete 112-of-190 passes (58.9 percent) for 1,485 yards (7.82 yards per attempt) with 12 touchdowns against five interceptions while rushing 208 times for 1,019 yards (4.9 per carry) with nine touchdowns. As a team, Georgia Southern ranked 101st nationally in yards per play and 78th in scoring.
A native of Clinton, S.C., Werts stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 190 pounds. He was named the HSSR-SCHSL Division I AA Offensive Player of the Year as a senior at Newberry High School.
“All the work I’ve been putting in, it’s finally paid off,” Werts said. “I called my mom and she just went crazy so I’m glad that she’s proud of me and I can’t wait to tell the rest of my family.”
Werts will kick off its season at No. 12 Auburn on Sept. 2 (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).
Still a dozen years down the scheduling road, a future Big Ten-Pac-12 series has nonetheless been revealed.
UCLA and Wisconsin announced Tuesday that the two football programs have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home. The two teams play at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 15, 2029, and at Camp Randall Stadium on Sept. 7, 2030.
“UCLA is one of the premier programs in college football,” UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “We had some memorable bowl games when I was on the sidelines but this is a great opportunity for us to play them at Camp Randall. Non-conference scheduling is always a challenge but the folks at UCLA have been great to deal with and we look forward to the series.”
The two teams have met 11 times previously, the most recent coming in the 2000 Sun Bowl. The last regular season meeting between the programs came in 1982.
The Bruins own a 7-4 advantage in the all-time series, including a perfect 5-0 mark in Madison. The Badgers, though, have won the last three meetings, all of which came in the postseason and the first two of which were Rose Bowl victories.