WHO: 11-1 Fresno State vs. 9-4 USC
WHAT: Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (22nd year)
WHERE: Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney, Nevada
WHEN: Dec. 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET
WHY: Despite the game being played in the vicinity of Sin City, this bowl bid has to serve as a bitter disappointment for Fresno State.
Entering the last weekend of November, the Bulldogs had a BCS bowl bid well within its reach. A 62-52 loss to San Jose State, however, ended both their perfect season and a legitimate shot at a BCS game. It also kept a player from appearing on the national stage he deserves: quarterback Derek Carr, who currently leads the nation in passing yards and passing touchdowns and is 11th in passing efficiency. Were it not for that loss to the Spartans, Carr would likely have found himself with a trip to New York City earlier this month as a Heisman finalist.
USC, of course, responded to the firing of Lane Kiffin in late September by ripping off six wins in the first seven games with Ed Orgeron as interim head coach. When the Trojans poached Steve Sarkisian from Washington as the permanent replacement, Orgeron abruptly resigned, leaving USC in the hands of offensive coordinator Clay Helton for the bowl game. Regardless of who is the coach, you can expect a heavy dose of Javorius Allen. In the games under Kiffin, the running back carried the ball just 14 times for 78 yards and no touchdowns and did not have a single catch coming out of the backfield; in the eight games after Kiffin was canned, Allen had 112 touches (94 carries, 18 receptions) for 840 yards (621 rushing, 219 receiving) and 14 touchdowns (13 rushing, one receiving). The sophomore closed out the last month of the regular season by rushing for 120-plus yards in four of the five games, including a career-high 145 yards in the Nov. 22 win over Colorado.
One oddity about this game? The same two teams will open the 2014 season against each other, albeit this time in Los Angeles.
PREDICTION: USC 41, Fresno State 38
After some dotting of some i’s and crossing some t’s, and some closed-door legalese, Art Briles is officially a former head football coach.
In a press release Friday, Baylor announced that it and Briles “have mutually agreed to terminate their employment relationship.” In the release, the university mentions “[b]oth parties acknowledge that there were serious shortcomings in the response to reports of sexual violence by some student-athletes.” The public acknowledgement of “serious shortcomings” in responding to claims of sexual assault will likely be of import to the lawyers involved in at least three lawsuits filed against the university and/or Briles that allege “deliberate indifference” in their collective response to claims of sexual assault.
Briles’ termination is effective immediately, but was essentially effective nearly a month ago when Briles was suspended “with intent to terminate” in the wake of the sexual assault scandal that’s rocked the university in Waco.
As Baylor is a private institution, the financial terms of the separation haven’t been divulged. Briles had eight years and nearly $40 million remaining on his contract at the time of his initial “suspension.”
The official separation also comes a week after Briles reportedly reached a contract settlement with the university.
Below is the full and complete release from Baylor on this development.
WACO, Texas (June 24, 2016) – Baylor University and Art Briles have mutually agreed to terminate their employment relationship, effective immediately. Both parties acknowledge that there were serious shortcomings in the response to reports of sexual violence by some student-athletes, including deficiencies in University processes and the delegation of disciplinary responsibilities with the football program. Baylor is addressing these shortcomings and making ongoing improvements.
Baylor wishes Coach Briles well in his future endeavors. Coach Briles expresses his thanks to the City of Waco and wishes the Baylor Bears success in the future.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
Tennessee has become the latest FBS program to see players leave in search of greener playing-time grass, with a pair of offensive linemen reportedly set to make their exits from Knoxville.
According to a pair of tweets from UT radio network sideline reporter John Brice, Vols linemen Dontavius Blair (pictured) and Ray Raulerson have decided to leave Butch Jones‘ football program. According to 247Sports.com‘s Wes Rucker, “multiple program sources have indicated in the past week to GoVols247 that Blair and Raulerson were indeed looking to leave the program in hopes of having better chances to play.”
Both are expected to transfer to FCS programs to either continue their playing careers or, in the case of Blair, finish it.
Blair played in nine games last season, Blair in five. Neither player started a contest as a Vol.
When it came to the 2016 season, neither player was expected to be a significant part of any line rotation.
It appears Will Muschamp‘s Columbia reunion with one of his former Florida players won’t come to fruition as first thought.
Last months, reports surfaced that J.C. Jackson could be headed to South Carolina to join Muschamp’s first-year Gamecocks football program. However, 247Sports.com is now reporting that Jackson will not enroll at USC.
“Sources indicate Jackson is not eligible to transfer to the Gamecocks in a ruling that’s beyond South Carolina’s control,” the site wrote.
Instead, sources indicated to the recruiting website that Jackson will likely end up at Maryland. The Terps’ first-year coach, D.J. Durkin, was Muschamp’s defensive coordinator with the Gators when Jackson was a defensive back with the team.
Facing three felony charges in connection to an armed home invasion robbery, Jackson “transferred” from UF in May of last year. He was ultimately acquitted on all of those charges, and is currently enrolled at a California junior college.
A four-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, Jackson was rated as the No. 21 corner in the country; the No. 37 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 243 recruit overall by Rivals.com. He played in the 2014 opener, but missed the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Exiting the spring, Jackson was expected to take a starting job into summer camp in 2015 prior to the legal issues arising.
If Jackson lands at Maryland, or any other FBS program for that matter, he would be eligible to play immediately in 2016. The redshirt sophomore would then have three seasons of eligibility at his disposal.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a college football player has decided to leave his original home and look elsewhere.
The latest to be hit with attrition via a transfer is Virginia Tech, with the Hokies confirming speculation that Carson Lydon is no longer with the team and intends to transfer to an undetermined location. No reason was given for the linebacker parting ways with the program.
Should Lydon decide to move on to another FBS program, he’d likely have to sit out the 2016 season, leaving him with three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the following season.
Lydon was a three-star member of the Hokies’ 2015 recruiting class coming out of high school in Florida. In addition to Tech, Lydon held offers from, among others, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, North Carolina State, Rutgers and Syracuse.
As a true freshman last season, Lydon played in 11 games.