Mark Dantonio

Mark Dantonio knows strength of schedule is important


The College Football Playoff era is supposed to be one that places an emphasis on strength of schedule. This is part of the reason why the Pac-12 and Big Ten will be using nine-game conference schedules and why the ACC and SEC will stick to eight conference games, but require non-conference competition against other power conferences. While most of the new playoff era has questions that can only be answered once we work through at least one or two seasons, the idea that strength of schedule matters more than it has in years appears to be legitimate. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is taking notes.

“I think it will impact scheduling in terms of teams having to take on a little bit tougher schedule, to be honest with you,” Dantonio said in an interview on Wednesday. “I think you’ll have schedules that are formatted to the strength of schedule, hopefully.”

The selection committee will be taking a look at a team’s overall profile, including whom they have played and what level of competition they have faced. Whom a school plays, and when those games are played, will be influential when it comes to comparing résumés when determining which four teams will be given a chance to play for a national championship.

“They are going to recognize if you play a bigger opponent in your first four games, and I think that as the situation continues down the road, that people are probably going to be mandated into that at some point.”

Michigan State is getting a jump on that scheduling philosophy this season with a road game at Oregon (Oregon will visit Michigan State in 2015) and future games against Notre Dame, Arizona State and Miami all on upcoming schedules.

Helmet sticker to

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury