Michigan State has been climbing a bit of an uphill battle on their way to a Big Ten championship last season. Always flying under the radar and playing with a chip on their shoulders, the Spartans opened some eyes last season by coming together to make a run for the Big Ten title by overcoming rough play early on, handing Ohio State their first loss under Urban Meyer and then shutting down Stanford in a defensive battle in the Rose Bowl. Now on top of the Big Ten, will the Spartans be able to stay there? If nothing else, quarterback Connor Cook is full of confidence heading in to the spring.
“Heading into 2014, our expectations are so high that I feel like anything less than a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl would be a failure,” Cook told Bruce Feldman in an interview for CBSSports.com. “But it’s different now. I feel like we’re going to have more of a swagger heading into this season.”
Michigan State will be moving to a new division in the fall as the Big Ten expands. The Spartans will remain in the same division as in-state rival Michigan, but will also be in the fray with Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana and newcomers Maryland and Rutgers. The increased exposure in the east could not have come at a better time for the program as they currently hold the Big Ten’s title belt. And if they can get out of the Big Ten’s East Division, the odds may be pretty good they can play their way right back to Pasadena, or perhaps enter the College Football Playoff discussion.
“We won the Rose Bowl. We know what we’re capable of.,” Cook explained. “It’s everyone’s dream to win a national championship, and we feel like we can do that but you just have to take it one step at a time. The main goal at our program, which is what it is every year, is to win the Big Ten championship. If you win that, you’re in a BCS bowl. But it’s still the main goal is to win the Big Ten championship and then really everything else will take care of itself.”
Cook also discussed his trianing and how he is preparing for the upcoming season with Feldman, as well as a number of other topics. You can read the full interview on CBSSports.com.
Hey, if it’s good enough for The Donald and Jesse The Body it’s good enough for The Tubs.
After stepping down as Cincinnati’s head coach in early December, Tommy Tuberville has remained on the coaching unemployment line and appears set to sit out the 2017 season. It looks like Tuberville won’t be sitting idly by, though, as Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com is reporting that the coach is considering throwing his hat into the political ring and making a gubernatorial run in the state of Alabama in 2018.
From Dodd’s report:
Two words — Donald Trump,” said Terry Lathan, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, when she heard Tuberville was a possibility for the GOP. “See, Nov. 8.”
“I mean, seriously, the climate for a non-political person? We saw this clearly on November the 8th …,” Lathan reiterated.
“We’ve just got a big old soup of fun waiting for us. As they say in stands, ‘We’re going to need some more popcorn.’
Tuberville, an Arkansas native who’s never held political office, is expected to decide in the next week or two whether or not he’ll run for governor of Alabama. Most famously, he was the head coach at Auburn from 1999-2008 after abruptly leaving Ole Miss, helping to guide the Tigers to a six-game winning streak over the rival Alabama Crimson Tide during his tenure.
The guess here is that Tuberville runs, wins despite any lingering ‘Bama venom, then, not long after saying “they’ll have to carry me out of this governor’s mansion in a pine box,” leaves Alabama to take the same job in Mississippi.
It appears one prominent graduate transfer is zeroing in on a new college football home.
Not long after it was confirmed that Scott Pagano would be transferring from Clemson, a report surfaced that three dozen or so teams had expressed interest in the defensive tackle. Pagano has since whittled that number down to seven, with 247Sports.com reporting that Arkansas, Cal, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas are the lineman’s finalists.
Pagano’s former head coach, Dabo Swinney, had previously stated that the tackle would “probably” end up at a West Coast school to finish out his career.
The recruiting website writes that “Pagano will now begin setting up official visits for the coming weekends before enrolling in May.” This upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.
Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. Pagano started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.
Things were a little busy on the personnel front for Florida State Monday.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Derwin James and Nate Andrews were two of the 11 Seminole football players who received redshirts for the 2016 season. The twin safeties received their medical hardship waivers because of injuries, James a meniscus tear suffered in Week 2 that kept him out for the rest of the year and Andrews a torn pectoral that sidelined him for the last half of the season.
While the move would technically give James three more years of eligibility, the talented defensive back is widely expected to make himself available for the 2018 NFL draft. Andrews will be a fifth-year senior in his final year of eligibility.
As a true freshman in 2015, James’ 91 tackles were second only to Reggie Northrup’s 94. He was also second on the team in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (4.5).
For that, he was named a consensus freshman All-American and third-team All-ACC. This offseason, he was named to the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Thorpe Award watch lists.
Andrews has started 22 games during his time with the Seminoles.
At the other end of the personnel spectrum is Ryan Hoefield, with TomahawkNation.com reporting that the offensive lineman has not only decided to leave FSU but leave the sport, period. According to the website, Hoefield will graduate this spring and take a job in the medical field.
Hoefield played in nine games the past three years, only one f which came in 2016 and likely hastened his departure from the Seminoles.
College football free agency continues unabated this morning, with Miami the latest to see its roster a little lighter than it once was.
The Hurricanes announced in a press release that Cedrick Wright is no longer a member of Mark Richt‘s program. No specific reason for the parting of ways was given.
“I talked to Cedrick and we both felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else,” the head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”
The departure marks the end of a brief but eventful career for the defensive back with the ‘Canes.
Wright was a three-star member of The U’s 2016 recruiting class who played in nine games as a true freshman. He was also suspended for the Week 12 game against North Carolina State because of unspecified violations of team rules, and missed the team’s bowl game as well because of academics.