Times are tough in Gainesville. Following Saturday’s home loss to Vanderbilt, the Gators are in danger of not reaching the postseason. The pressure is increasing on a weekly basis for Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Typically in these situations athletics directors, and sometimes presidents of universities, will come out and lend a public show of support for their head coach. That is not the case at Florida.
Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley has not gone on record about Muschamp’s job security, but according to Miami Herald he has done so in private. But in the SEC, where nothing short of a BCS championship contender is expected at most of the schools, and with some programs beginning to turn things around, the rumor mill will continue to spin around Florida’s head coach until Foley says anything in public. Even then, how much will that mean?
Muschamp has admitted to some mistakes and has been critical of his coaching. He knows some things need to be changed.
“I’m a lot harder on myself than y’all are or anyone else is going to be or anyone else in this Gator Nation,” Muschamp said according to Miami Herald. “You know, again, I’m very critical of myself and what I need to do to be better, and I don’t need to hear any fan from the outside telling me what we need to do with this football team. I can assure you that.”
Florida lost at home to Vanderbilt for the first time since 1945, and just the second time in school history. As a result, Florida now needs to win two of their final three games to avoid missing the postseason without a postseason ban since 1986 (Florida was on a postseason ban in 1990).
Muschamp is probably coming back to Florida in 2014, but it is clear the Gators need to start turning things around soon. Muschamp inherited a bit of a rebuilding project, at least by Florida standards, and the progress has been limited at best overall.
UCF will have its head coach for one of the biggest games in the football program’s history, but they’ll be without their quarterback’s blindside protector.
According to Shannon Green of the Orlando Sentinel, Aaron Evans will not play in No. 12 UCF’s Peach Bowl matchup with No. 7 Auburn New Year’s Day. The specific nature of the injury that will sideline the offensive lineman wasn’t detailed.
The past three seasons, Evans started 36 of 37 games at left tackle. 12 of those starts came during the Knights run to a perfect regular season and American Athletic Conference championship that helped propel them to a New Year’s Six bowl.
With Evans out, Jake Brown will likely get the start against the Tigers. Brown started 11 games at left guard for the Knights this season.
Two-thirds of the way through a one-win season, Zach Smith lost his job as the starting quarterback at Baylor. Nearly three weeks later, it appears the sophomore has decided to ply his future football wares elsewhere.
According to ESPN Radio‘s Central Texas affiliate, Smith will be transferring from the Bears football program. An official announcement, either from the player or the team or both, is expected to go down at some point in the not-too-distant future.
As a true freshman, Smith started the last four games of the 2016 season because of an injury to starter Seth Russell. He started six games this past season before true freshman Charlie Brewer started the last four. Brewer is now the only scholarship quarterback the Bears have on their roster.
Smith will leave Waco having thrown for 2,997 yards and 21 touchdowns. The highlight of his career was a 463-yard, four-touchdown performance in an eight-point loss to Oklahoma this past September.
We haven’t yet reached the first-ever early signing period, and Oregon has already bolstered its 2018 defense.
Jalen Jelks confirmed to The Oregonian that he has decided to push off the NFL and will instead return to Oregon for another season. The redshirt junior indicated that he needs to work on his game before he takes it to the next level.
“I’m back for sure,” the redshirt junior defensive end told the newspaper. “I talked to my parents and my family and everything and just probably the best decision for me is to make the best out of next season and make a lot more plays than I did this season.
“I missed a lot of plays, and if I can capitalize on that and translate it to next season I could contribute a lot to the draft.”
This season, Jelks led the Ducks in tackles for loss with 15; in sacks with 6.5; and in quarterback hits with four. The tackles for loss were second in the Pac-12 to Washington State’s Hercules Mata’afa‘s 21.5.
A little over a year after his death, one of the most noteworthy pieces of Rashaan Salaam‘s athletic career finds itself up for sale to the public yet again.
According to the Denver Post, the former Colorado star running back’s 1994 Heisman Trophy will be auctioned off next month and is expected to sell for upwards of $300,000. A portion of whatever the trophy fetches will be donated to CTE research.
Salaam, who took his own life at the age of 42 last December, was diagnosed with CTE symptoms postmortem.
After rushing for more than 2,000 yards, Salaam in 1994 became the first, and thus far only, Buffaloes football player to win the most prestigious trophy in college football. In 2013, Salaam sold the trophy to a sports memorabilia dealer who subsequently sold it to the unnamed individual who is selling it at auction. “The trophy also includes a letter from Salaam, acknowledging the 2013 sale,” the Post wrote.
Based on what we’ve found, the largest amount a Heisman Trophy has ever brought in was the $395,000 a California businessman paid for Minnesota’s Bruce Smith‘s 1941 award in 2005.