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Lee, Redd and Allen lead USC to halftime lead on Oregon State

Oregon vs USC Getty Images

Marqise Lee was quick to make an impact and Silas Redd has led the USC running game to help the Trojans take a 21-14 in to the break against Oregon State.

USC’s offense has had some easy plays against an Oregon State defense that has been lost at times and lacks pursuit other times. Allowing Lee to break free in a wide open field on USC’s first play proved to be costly, to the tune of a 71-yard touchdown for an early lead. Redd leads USC with 85 rushing yards but Javorious Allen has stepped in to score twice on the ground.

Oregon State dug the 14-0 hole in the first quarter but wasted little time in storming back in the second quarter. Sean Mannion connected with Brandin Cooks for a 27-yard touchdown to get the home team on the scoreboard and then 14 seconds later Oregon State’s Ryan Murphy had intercepted a Cody Kessler pass and returned it down the right sideline for a 42-yard pick-six that needed to be upheld by a video review to determine if he had broken the goal line while in the air. He did, and the game was tied at 14-14.

Kessler and the Trojans kept their cool though and marched 75 yards in ten plays and capped the drive with the second touchdown run by Allen in the first half.

Oregon State’s offense may have been cracked last week by Stanford. USC’s defense has risen to the occasion so far, but must keep it going to hold off Oregon State’s potent offense after the break. USC was unable to do that against Arizona State earlier in the season, and Arizona made things interesting in the second half of a game as well. Oregon State is only down one score at home, but the offense has to start playing better against a solid USC defense.

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Maryland AD: I am not pursuing other opportunities (Texas)

University of Maryland Introduces Randy Edsall Getty Images

Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson will not be a candidate for the same position at Texas.

Anderson released a public statement Friday evening to put to rest the rumors connecting him to the Texas vacancy and to ease the Maryland fan base.

“I must confess I am humbled to be mentioned in connection with such a position but more importantly, I feel it speaks volumes to the outstanding progress we have made at the University of Maryland and to the new heights our athletic department is destined for in the future,” Anderson’s statement says.

“Let me be clear, I am not pursuing any other professional opportunities at other institutions. I am steadfast in my commitment to the University of Maryland.”

Anderson helped lead Maryland through negotiations to leave the ACC and  join the Big Ten, a realignment change that will take place next summer. The cash-strapped athletics program has had to make some sacrifices in recent years and a move to the Big Ten figures to help dig the school out of financial trouble in time. If Anderson really is staying put, the decision comes at a great time. A school preparing for a conference change needs stability in the leadership positions off the field, especially at the athletic director position. Having Anderson stay put in College Park will help Maryland focus on the process of leaving the ACC and getting started in the Big Ten.

Earlier this week Ohio State’s Gene Smith said he is staying at Ohio State. Earlier in the month Louisville’s Tom Jurich said he was not interested in the Texas job. Previous reports have suggested West Virginia AD Oliver Luck, who will be a member of the College Football Playoff’s selection committee, is the leading candidate for the job.

Helmet sticker to CSN Baltimore.

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Welcome back Marqise Lee, who has immediate impact

Marqise Lee AP

Marqise Lee is in the starting line-up for USC tonight as the Trojans are visiting Oregon State. He immediately made an impact on the game as well.

After Oregon State’s opening drive field goal attempt was partially blocked and fell well short of the uprights, USC needed just one play to get Lee involved. USC quarterback Cody Kessler dropped back and found a wide open Lee down field and nobody came close to stopping him from getting to the end zone. The play went down as a 71-yard touchdown pass from Kessler to Lee on the first play of the game for USC’s offense.

Lee was upgraded from questionable to probable as the week progressed, and USC is certainly happy to have their biggest playmaker back on the field in good health. Lee had been hindered by a sprained left knee.

USC leads Oregon State 7-0 early in the first quarter.

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Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin stumps for his other Heisman hopeful

Auburn v Texas A&M Getty Images

Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy last season and is still considered to be a strong candidate for this year’s trophy. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is now getting involved with stumping for one of his players to be considered for the Heisman, and it may not be who you think it is.

Sumlin thinks Aggies receiver Mike Evans should be receiving more consideration for the award and wonders why nobody seems to be mentioning it as a possibility.

“I’m puzzled why Mike Evans isn’t in the Heisman race,” Sumlin said in a report by the Associated Press. “I think he’s as good a player as there is in the country.”

“He’s second in the country in yards per game and everybody knows we’re going to throw him the ball,” Sumlin said. Evans is also third in the nation with 11 touchdowns and second in total receiving yards. Evans is also one of the game’s top big-play threats with the nation’s fifth best average yards per reception with 22.94 yards per play.

History is against Evans though. The last time a wide receiver won the Heisman Trophy was 1991 when Michigan’s Desmond Howard was named the Heisman Trophy winner. The only other two receivers to win the Heisman Trophy are Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers in 1972 and Notre Dame’s Tim Brown in 1987. Since 1998 a running back or quarterback has been named the Heisman Trophy winner each season.

At this point in the season the top Heisman candidates are probably pretty much set. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston appear to be locks, and Manziel could very well make the return trip to New York as a finalist. Other candidates still considered to be in the running include Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty.

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Report: Carl Pelini did in fact do more than marijuana

FAU Pelini Resigns Football AP

When Florida Atlantic made the decision this week to remove Carl Pelini has head coach, there was plenty of discussion about alleged marijuana use. Word quickly spread that thee was more to the story besides marijuana use, and apparently there may be some truth to that rumor.

According to a report by SB Nation published Friday, Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis agreed to resign from his job after being tied to alleged marijuana and cocaine use during their tenures at Florida Atlantic. According to documents obtained by SB Nation through a Freedom of Information Act request, two witnesses (possibly an assistant coach) accused Pelini of using the drugs.

You can see the documentation used for the report via SB Nation’s original story.

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Saban, Meyer, Briles and others among Paul Bear Bryant Coach of the Year candidates

Nick Saban, Les Miles AP

We are starting to get down to the nitty-gritty for college football, and that means one thing; postseason awards season is just around the corner! OK, so it means a few things, but the awards are starting to trim down their preseason watch lists to finalists and semifinalists as the college football season starts to wind down.

The Paul Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List was released Friday evening. The list includes 20 coaches and includes coaches who have been in charge of dominant programs and some who have turned things around at heir respective programs. Alabama’s Nick Saban and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer are included on the list. So is Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech and Gary Pinkel at Missouri.

here is the complete list of candidates for the award, which will be presented January 15, 2014 in Houston. A list of finalists will be announced in early December. The Paul Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award is the only coaching award voted on and presented at the conclusion of the bowl season. All other coaching awards are presented in December.

Paul Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Watch List

  • David Bailiff – Rice
  • Art Briles – Baylor
  • Rod Carey – Northern Illinois
  • Tim DeRuyter – Fresno State
  • Jimbo Fisher – Florida State
  • Al Golden – Miami (Fla.)
  • Mark Helfrich – Oregon
  • Brady Hoke – Michigan
  • Kliff Kingsbury – Texas Tech
  • Pete Lembo – Ball State
  • Tony Levine – Houston
  • Gus Malzahn – Auburn
  • Urban Meyer – Ohio State
  • Les Miles – LSU
  • George O’Leary – UCF
  • Gary Pinkel – Missouri
  • Nick Saban – Alabama
  • David Shaw – Stanford
  • Bob Stoops – Oklahoma
  • Kevin Sumlin – Texas A&M

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Weekend Preview: Noles look to continue roll, B1G match-up

Florida State v Clemson Getty Images

Oh, you think this is a down weekend for college football? Well, yeah, you may be right, but this week marks the first weekend of November and that means things are starting to heat up in the conference championship hunts. There is a reason November is the best month for college football. Trust me on this, once we get through this weekend thing will pick up in a hurry with next week. But before you write off this week, keep in mind that crazy things can happen when you least expect them too. Could we be lining up for a crazy weekend in college football nobody saw coming?

Getting back to the glory days: Florida State-Miami getting there

No. 3 Florida State (7-0, 5-0 ACC) and No. 7 Miami (7-0, 3-0 ACC) used to be something special in college football. It was appointment viewing in its heyday, and it may be getting to that point once again with both programs seeming to trend upward. The problem this week though is even though both are starring in the ACC’s second national spotlight of the season, only one seems to fit the part at this time. Florida State is there, and Miami is getting there. Al Golden‘s Hurricanes just aren’t quite there yet.

Florida State has shredded ACC opponents the last few weeks, including that blowout at Clemson two weeks ago. Miami is a top ten team, but they have struggled to climb the rankings while taking advantage of others stumbling along the way. Florida State is a huge favorite in this match-up of top ten teams, and if the Seminoles play the way they have been playing they will have an easy time creating a cushion against the Hurricanes as well.

A win will keep Florida State in the top three, and maybe even help boost them past Oregon, but this game may serve as a preview of this year’s ACC Championship Game as well. For Miami, take notes this weekend because a second game against Jameis Winston could be looming.

What about Alabama and Oregon?

No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) and No. 11 LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) play each other next weekend, and they each get a week off to prepare for the usually physically demanding SEC West battle. The game will once again have a huge influence on what happens in the SEC West race to Atlanta, but Alabama is also hoping to get back to Pasadena to play for another BCS championship. This weekend will also be without No. 2 Oregon (8-0 5-0 Pac 12) and No. No. 6 Stanford (7-1, 5-1). The two Pac 12 North powers collide next Thursday night, and they are getting a bye week to prep for the game as well. Both the Cardinal and Ducks are battling for control in the Pac 12 North, which will likely lead to home field advantage in the Pac 12 championship game at the end of the regular season. The winner will also remain in the BCS Championship hunt as well. Oregon enters this weekend ranked second in the BCS standings, but Stanford is the highest ranked one-loss team, which puts them in prime position if some other teams take a fall in November.

Who’s the real B1G brother?

No. 23 Michigan (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) defeated No. 24 Michigan State (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) last season but the Spartans have won four of the past five meetings and look to add one more this weekend. Michigan State owns the best defense in the Big Ten and Michigan has struggled on the road this season (UConn, Penn State), so it would appear Michigan State has the edge this weekend in East Lansing. The game actually is one of the more important ones in the Big Ten this month, with the winner will take control in the Big Ten Legends Division with the schedule winding down. The Spartans are 4-0 in Big Ten play with two road games coming up the next two weeks at Nebraska and Northwestern. If the Spartans have figured out their offense, which it seems they have the last few weeks, then Michigan could be in for a rough time against their “little brother.”

Baylor will not score this weekend

The only thing that may be able to prevent No. 5 Baylor’s (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) offense is the schedule. Baylor’s high-powered offense will get a chance to recharge their batteries this week as they get a bye. Baylor will return to action next Thursday when they host No. 13 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) in a huge Big 12 match-up. While Baylor may be off, there should still be some fireworks in the conference this weekend. No. 15 Texas Tech (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) and No. 18 Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1) will meet in Lubbock in a top 20 match-up and each should have some offense to unleash in a wild shootout. This will be a good test for Texas Tech, who looks to bounce back after being defeated by Oklahoma last week. Each team has one loss in Big 12 play and trails Baylor by one game in the loss column. Needless to say, whichever team wins will remain in the Big 12 conversation with games against Baylor still to come on each team’s schedule.

Mismatch of the Week

No. 21 Northern Illinois (8-0, 4-0 MAC) remain undefeated with an 8-0 record and the Huskies are beginning to sniff around for a second straight BCS berth. This weekend Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois are on the road against one of the worst teams in the FBS, UMass (1-7, 1-3 MAC). The Minutemen are just 1-7 this season with their lone win coming against a Miami Ohio team still searching for their first win of the season. Northern Illinois should have an easy time keeping their BCS dreams alive and could rack up some style points in a hurry.

Show Me Something

No. 17 UCLA (5-2, 2-2 Pac 12) hung tight with Oregon for three quarters last week, a week after getting shut down by Stanford. The Bruins may still be a pretty good team but it has become clear they are not quite up to par with the top of the Pac 12 just yet. This week UCLA returns home to take on woeful Colorado (3-4, 0-4 Pac 12). Expect the Bruins to bounce back in a big way. Right now, No. 25 Arizona State (6-2, 4-1 Pac 12) looks like the team to beat in the Pac 12 North, but UCLA is right there. Circle the date now, UCLA hosts Arizona State on November 23.

The Streaks Continue

No. 4 Ohio State’s (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) winning streak extended to 20 games with last weekend’s 63-14 blowout of Penn State. As has been noted a few times by now, a 25-0 mark under Urban Meer will get Ohio State to Pasadena, but we just don’t know if it will be for the Rose Bowl or the BCS Championship. Ohio State’s winning streak is the nation’s longest active winning streak.

On the flip side, Southern Mississippi’s (0-7, 0-3 Conference USA)losing streak has hit a dismal 19 straight games. Southern Miss plays their next two game son the road, including this weekend’s trip to Marshall (4-3, 2-1). The best chance to snap the losing streak may not come until a few more weeks when Southern Miss hosts Florida Atlantic.

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Iowa LB dismissed after OWI charge

Marcus Collins

What’s becoming a mini-Arrest Day here at CFT continues, with Iowa becoming the latest football program facing an off-field issue involving one of its players.

According to Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, linebacker Marcus Collins was arrested very early Friday morning and charged with operating* while intoxicated and driving under suspension.  Collins’ BAC was a robust .137, the paper reported.

(*a car, not on a patient)

Iowa City police pulled Collins over initially due to his driving with no tail lights.  He was subsequently arrested at 1:06 a.m. CT, although the process almost literally hit a speed bump:

According to a police complaint, Collins forgot to put the vehicle in park when he exited. The car rolled into the police vehicle, but it caused no damage.

A few hours after reports of an arrest surfaced, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz announced that Collins has been dismissed from the football program.  The dismissal, Ferentz said, came as the player was in the midst of serving a three-game suspension for violating unspecified team rules.

“We will assist Marcus as he pursues other options to continue his career,” the coach said in a statement. “We wish him the best moving forward.”

As a backup linebacker this season, the true sophomore has appeared in six games.

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After return to practice, game-time decision for UW’s Borland

Utah State v Wisconsin Getty Images

Wisconsin is one step closer to getting its top defensive player back on the field.

Chris Borland missed most of Wisconsin’s Oct. 19 win over Illinois after tweaking a hamstring.  Coming off the bye week, head coach Gary Andersen said Monday that he fully expects the linebacker to play this Saturday against Iowa.

Borland returned to practice Thursday, leading Andersen to maintain his cautiously optimistic stance while also allowing that it’ll be up to the player and the medical staff whether or not he sees the field.

“It’s really going to depend on Chris and the trainers,” Andersen said. “The trainers have done a tremendous job of getting him to this point. Chris knows how to take care of his body.

“Like I said early in the week, I’m very optimistic and I expect him to play.”

A final decision on Borland’s availability won’t be made until shortly before kickoff tomorrow.

Borland is far and away the Badgers’ leading tackler with 57; the next closest is Michael Caputo‘s 34.  He’s also tied for second on the team in sacks (two) and third in tackles for loss (three).

Monday, he was announced as one of a dozen semifinalists for the 2013 Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s best linebacker.

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Wyoming adds longtime DC Bill Young to defensive staff

Bill Young AP

Earlier this week, Wyoming announced that it had relieved defensive coordinator Chris Tormey of his duties.

Three days later, the experienced defensive cavalry has arrived for the Cowboys.

Head coach Dave Christensen announced via a press release that Bill Young has been hired as a defensive quality control staff member.  For his time with the Cowboys, which will run through the end of the 2013 season, Young will be paid $12,000 along with lodging and a courtesy car, the release stated.

“I am extremely excited to have Bill Young join our program,” said Christensen.  “I believe he will be a valuable asset to our staff as we prepare for the stretch run this season,” said Christensen.  “I have coached against Bill, and I know first hand what an outstanding defensive coach he has been over his career.

“The NCAA sets limitations on how many coaches you can have on your staff, and what duties those coaches may be involved in.  As a quality control staff member, Bill will be involved in assisting our coaches in analyzing opponents and making suggestions as we develop game plans.  We are excited to tap into his many years of experience as we enter the final four games of the regular season.”

Christensen and his Cowboys will most certainly be getting one of the most experienced defensive minds in the game.

Young’s 37-year coaching career has included stops as a coordinator at Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC, Kansas, Miami (Fla.) and Oklahoma State.  His last job was at the latter school, which ended this past January due to a mutual decision between himself and OSU head coach Mike Gundy.

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Maurice Couch ruled permanently ineligible; Vols to appeal

Maurice Couch AP

At least for the time being, a scandal involving NFL agents and a handful of former/current SEC players has cost one of the latter the remainder of his collegiate playing career.

Tennessee announced Friday afternoon that defensive lineman Maurice Couch (pictured, left) has been ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA.  It was alleged in a mid-September Yahoo! report that Couch had received impermissible benefits from former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis , who reportedly served as a middleman between NFL agents, financial advisers and college football players.

The Vols stated that they intend to appeal the NCAA’s decision.

“At the end of the day, what’s most important is I have my family, my degree, and love n support from the Volnation!” Couch wrote on Twitter shortly after UT’s announcement. “And thanks to UT, coaches, teammates, Volnation, and everyone else involved sincerely appreciate everything you done for me.”

Couch was ruled ineligible by UT one day after that report surfaced and has kept the redshirt senior sidelined for the past six games.  Couch will remain sidelined while the university goes through the appeals process.

The lineman was the only current player mentioned by name in the report.  The other players mentioned were from the SEC but are no longer playing at the collegiate level: Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and receiver Chad Bumphis.

There has been no word yet on whether Alabama, Mississippi State or Tennessee will face sanctions from the NCAA over the allegations.  Each of the schools with players connected to the impermissible benefits scandal are in the midst of conducting internal investigations.

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UGA’s Justin Scott-Wesley popped for pot possession

LSU Georgia Football AP

Earlier this year, Justin Scott-Wesley suffered a season-ending knee injury.  Apparently, as part of the rehab process, a medicinal herb was part of the wide receiver’s personal get-well protocol.

Scott-Wesley, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday, turned himself in on an arrest warrant Thursday afternoon.  The warrant stemmed from the player being cited the night before for (gasp!) possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and possession/use of a drug object.

A university police officer issued the citation after being called to a dorm regarding the smell of weed wafting through a portion of the complex.

After Scott-Wesley was confronted, he grudgingly gave consent to search his room and glass pipe and marijuana “grinder” were located in a desk drawer. No significant quantities of marijuana were found but the residue in the grinder resulted in the possession charges, according to the report.

The school has yet to comment on the development and what if any punishment the redshirt sophomore will face.  Scott-Wesley tore an ACL early last month and is lost for the remainder of the 2013 season, so any punishment for this incident — Josh Harvey-Clemons was suspended for this season’s opener after a similar arrest this offseason — could impact his availability at the start of next season.

At the time of his injury, Harvey-Clemons was second on the team with 16 receptions for 311 yards.

UPDATED 3:07 p.m. ET: Head coach Mark Richt released a statement addressing Scott-Wesley’s arrest.

“I’m disappointed in the news about Justin. We will discipline him according to our policy. We will also educate him, provide him counsel so he can learn from this, and be able to move forward in a very positive direction. I’m confident he will respond properly to the correction process.”

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UCLA’s leading rusher a game-time decision

Jordon James AP

Despite not gaining a single yard since the first weekend of October, Jordon James remains UCLA’s leading rusher.

After nearly a month on the sidelines due to injury, the running back could be set to pad that lead. Maybe.

For the second straight day, James participated in practice as the Bruins prepare for Saturday’s game against Colorado. While no official decision has been made, head coach Jim Mora said the junior “looked pretty good” but will still be a game-time decision.

James suffered a severely sprained ankle — insert high-ankle here — in the Oct. 3 win over Utah.

With 463 yards and five rushing touchdowns, James is tops on the team even with missing three of seven games played. Paul Perkins is second among running backs with 331 and three.

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Nix a no-go for Irish vs. Navy

USC v Notre Dame Getty Images

With a lot of the Notre Dame focus Thursday centered on a former/future offensive player, there was a rather significant development in the here and now on the other side of the ball that flew under the radar.

Head coach Brian Kelly confirmed yesterday that starting nose guard Louis Nix will not play in the Irish’s game against Navy Saturday. The defensive lineman missed the win over Air Force last weekend due to a lingering tendinitis issue in his knee.

Kelly said earlier in the week that Nix’s availability “will depend on his practices and the quality of his practices;” apparently, the lineman is not quite there yet.

“He’s getting closer but really didn’t get enough work for us to play him against an option team,” the coach said.

Nix, one of the top interior linemen in the country, has started 29 games the past two-plus seasons for the Irish.

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Another freshman LSU DB arrested

Odell Beckham AP

Last week, freshman LSU defensive back Jeryl Brazil was arrested on a simple battery charge.

This week, it’s a lather, rinse, repeat report for another Tiger freshman with a similar charge at the same position.

Both the Baton Rouge Advocate and New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Thursday that Kavahra Holmes was arrested last week following an on-campus incident. Both of the papers confirmed that the redshirt freshman was arrested for simple battery at around three a.m. local time.

The Times-Picayune described the situation that led to the arrest as such:

Witnesses told police Holmes, 19, pushed two victims to the ground after a verbal altercation turned physical at the ‘5’ dining hall near West Campus Apartments on Oct. 22, LSU police public information officer Capt. Cory Lalonde said. One of the victims did not wish to pursue charges, but both the victims and a witness identified Holmes as the person who pushed the victims to the ground, Lalonde said.

As a result of the arrest, Holmes, as was the case with Brazil, has been indefinitely suspended by the football program.

This season, Holmes, a three-star member of LSU’s 2012 recruiting class, has played in one game.

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