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Charlie Strong era (likely) ends in Texas’ 22-point loss to TCU

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If this was the curtain call for the Charlie Strong era at Texas, it ended just the way more than half of his other previous did — with a loss.

With speculation regarding Tom Herman enveloping the football program, there was a school of thought that, with a blowout win over TCU Friday afternoon, Strong had a chance to save his job and make it back for a fourth season in Austin.  If that’s the case, it’s not meant to be for Strong as red zone woes played a role early on before the Longhorns’ fourth-quarter mini-meltdown pushed the Horned Frogs to a 31-9 win.

Darius Anderson ran for 103 yards on just three carries, including a backbreaking 70-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter that put an emphatic exclamation point on the win.  With one game remaining, TCU has now hit the six-win mark and will go bowling for the third straight season and 14th time in 16 seasons under Gary Patterson.

As has been the case most of the season, one of the few bright spots for UT was D’Onta Foreman.  The junior running back ran for 165 yards, his 13th straight game with 100-plus yards.  The performance also pushed him over 2,000 yards on the season, making him, along with Ricky Williams, just the second player in UT history to go for 2K yards in a single season.

He failed, though, to find the end zone, which was an overriding theme of this latest loss.

The ‘Horns made six trips into the red zone through the first three quarters, and came away with just nine points in what was a 17-9 game at the end of the third.  Twice they turned the ball over on downs, and once they gave the ball back on a missed field goal.

It was not only symptomatic and symbolic of this game, but of Strong’s first three years at UT as a whole as he simply couldn’t get his team over the hump regardless of how close people thought he was.

After a 6-7 mark his first year, Strong has gone 5-7 in back-to-back seasons.  Those 16 wins are the fewest in a three-year stretch since David McWilliams hit the same number in his first three seasons from 1987-89.  McWilliams ended up getting two more seasons at the helm, although patience isn’t what it was three decades ago.

This will also be the first time since a three-year stretch from 1991-93 that the ‘Horns have failed to go bowling in two or more consecutive seasons, yet another data point trending toward a dismissal.

The true lowpoint under Strong, and what will likely prove to be the proverbial final nail in his coaching coffin, though, was the loss to Kansas last Saturday, the first to the Jayhawks since the 1938 season.  The group think is that no UT head coach could survive a loss to KU, especially a sub-.500 one like Strong.

With the Longhorns’ 2016 season over, all the attention will now turn to when, possibly (probably?), the trigger is pulled and Strong is dismissed.  If Strong is to be fired, UT’s administration needs to do it immediately and not string it out.  You may have questions about his coaching ability, but Strong is a good and honorable man who doesn’t deserve any further embarrassment and indignity.

The rumor mill has done more than enough of that these last couple of months, especially the past week or so.

Georgia’s Latavious Brini arrested on felony forgery charge

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For the third time since winning the SEC championship nearly two weeks ago, a member of the Georgia football program has found himself on the wrong side of the law.

The Macon Telegraph and Rivals.com are both reporting Tuesday night that Latavious Brini has been arrested on a first-degree felony charge of forgery.  Brini was arrested shortly after six local time earlier today and released from the Athens-Clarke County (Ga.) Jail a couple of hours later after posting a $5,700 bond.

No details of what led to the arrest and charge have been released.

Brini was a three-star member of UGA’s 2017 recruiting class.  The linebacker hasn’t played a down for the Bulldogs as a true freshman.

Earlier this month, Natrez Patrick and Jayson Stanley were arrested on marijuana-related charges.

Phil Bennett leaves Arizona State staff

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The plan for success at Arizona State under AD Ray Anderson was to remove head coach Todd Graham and while keeping everything else the same — just with a head coach that was… better. And as we know, that head coach turned out to be Herm Edwards.

But not a week into his tenure, Edwards has already hit his first crossroads.

The Sun Devils announced Tuesday that defensive coordinator Phil Bennett has left the staff over family matters.

The statement from Edwards:

“While I would have liked for Defensive Coordinator Phil Bennett to remain on the coaching staff, I do appreciate the fact that he has chosen not to stay based upon family reasons,” said Edwards. “Family always comes first and right now he needs to turn his attention to that.  My top priorities right now going forward are to solidify our recruiting class and to assemble a defensive coaching staff.  Both objectives are moving along quite well.”

The question now will be who Edwards turns to as Bennett’s replacement. As we know, the new Devils coach has not coached in a decade and not coached in college in nearly three.

So this hire will be anyone’s guess.

Report: Bill Snyder to return to Kansas State in 2018

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Retirement rumors will persist about Bill Snyder until he inevitably retires, especially at this time of year. But a report from K-StateOnline on Tuesday will push those rumors back another year.

According to the site, the Wizard will return to the Kansas State sideline in 2018:

Four separate sources have now confirmed to K-StateOnline.com that Bill Snyder plans to return to coach Kansas State in 2018.

Multiple sources also said that the mood within the Vanier Football Complex and K-State program is “good” heading into bowl season – despite speculation to the contrary.

Snyder took a leave of absence in the offseason to battle throat cancer, but he returned in time for fall camp and has not missed any games this season. A report also emerged last month that former AD John Currie attempted to bring Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt aboard as a head coach-in-waiting, but the school rebutted that by stating Snyder will be the Wildcats’ head coach until he decides he’s not.

Snyder has made no secret he’d like his son, Sean Snyder, to one day succeed him, but a number of logical candidates exist in Leavitt, Brent Venables and new UTEP head coach Dana Dimel.

Now in the ninth year of his second stint as K-State head coach, Snyder owns a record of 209-110-1 with the Wildcats. He has guided the program to two Big 12 championships and six top-10 finishes, though none since 2002.

Kansas State entered this season ranked No. 18 in the AP poll but finished the regular portion at 7-5. The Wildcats will meet UCLA in the Cactus Bowl on Dec. 26 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).

 

Finalists named for inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year

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Jason Witten was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2012, and now his foundation is attempting to start a similar honor for college football. While the William V. Campbell Trophy goes to the nation’s best scholar-athlete and the Wuerffel Trophy honors the nation’s best community servant, no other college award attempts to recognize what the Witten Man of the Year recognizes.

And what is that, you ask?

Reads the boiler plate from the Jason Witten SCORE Foundation:

Presented annually to the Division I college football player who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field. The award honors the type of exemplary character and commitment to community, family and teammates demonstrated by Jason Witten, the 2012 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year and one of the most prominent role models in the game.

Nominees are gathered from the Sports Information Directors of each NCAA Division I football-playing institution. Three finalists are selected by the award’s board of directors, and the winner is selected by a panel of prominent former players and coaches, as well as members of the college football media.

The finalists were announced Tuesday, and they are:

  • Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin
  • Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph

“I am very excited to announce these three exceptional young men as the finalists for the inaugural Collegiate Man of the Year,” the former Tennessee tight end said in a statement. “Minkah Fitzpatrick, Shaquem Griffin and Mason Rudolph are outstanding leaders on the field, in the classroom and in the community, and they embody what the sport of college football is all about. It was a nearly impossible task to choose just three from all of the great student-athletes nominated. There are so many outstanding leaders who are great representatives for college football, and I commend all of the nominees for the tremendous example they set on and off the field.”

These types of awards seem to be just as much about honoring the namesake as they do the winner, but I doubt either of the three finalists would turn down the award if chosen.

The winner will beget a $10,000 contribution in his name to his school’s scholarship fund, and will be chosen on Feb. 22.