PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 3:  In this handout provided by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Naval Academy Color Guard presents the colors during march-on ceremonies during the 106th playing of Army vs.Navy football game on December 3, 2005 held for the third consecutive year at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mids have won the past three Army-Navy battles to even the all-time series at 49-49-7. Navy has accepted an invitation to play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on December 22.  (Photo by James G. Pinsky/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Why many college football officials are rooting for Temple to beat Navy

13 Comments

The quote pretty much says it all.

“I don’t want to be un-American,” a bowl official told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, “but nearly everyone in the bowl industry, quite frankly, is rooting against Navy.”

Because the commissioners that run the College Football Playoff chose to include the Army-Navy game in the committee’s tabulations, there’s a chance the entire bowl industry could be thrown for a loop this year.

Navy is ranked No. 19 in the latest CFP rankings, two spots behind No. 17 Western Michigan ahead of each’s respective conference championship games this weekend. (WMU will face Ohio in the MAC title game on Friday, while Navy hosts Temple in the AAC Championship on Saturday.) Because of that, Navy is Western Michigan’s only viable competition for the Group of 5’s automatic slot in the Cotton Bowl, meaning a Middies win would require the Dec. 10 Army-Navy game be included in the committee’s Group of 5 tabulations.

And that would create a domino effect for the rest of the bowl industry. Writes McMurphy:

Delaying the Group of 5’s bid to the Cotton Bowl would impact many bowls involving Group of 5 teams. They would have to hold up placing teams in bowls without knowing if its champion could get pulled up to the Cotton Bowl. Also, opponents in those bowls wouldn’t know whom they were playing and then there are the obvious logistic and financial issues involved with waiting another seven days before planning travel, buying tickets and other factors.

That domino effect has a quick turnaround, with only a week between the Army-Navy game and the Dec. 17 kickoff of bowl season. Bowls typically require competing teams to arrive by that Wednesday, Dec. 14, meaning participating teams would have only three days to prepare for a bowl trip.

But wait, there’s more:

Not only would a delay impact the Group of 5 teams, but it also would prohibit the five to seven teams with losing records that qualified because of APR from getting placed into a bowl until Dec. 10 because those teams would go to the bowls that couldn’t be filled by bowl-eligible teams with a 6-6 record or better. The APR teams will be the last teams placed in bowls.

The easiest solution would be a Temple victory or, short of that, a Western Michigan win. (Actually, the simplest solution would be to not consider the Army-Navy game at all, but the commissioners’ infinite wisdom disagrees here.)

If Navy wins and WMU loses, suddenly the Mountain West champ (San Diego State or Wyoming) and possible Conference USA champion Western Kentucky could join the mix. Only conference champions are considered for the Cotton Bowl slot, so 12-1 Western Michigan would not be in the mix.

But the easiest way to avoid all of this would be a Temple victory on Saturday. No pressure, Owls.

Texas Tech parts ways with offensive line coach Lee Hays

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 10:  Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders reacts on the sidelines during the first half of the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kliff Kingsbury has parted ways with one longtime member of his coaching staff and said goodbye to another recent addition at the same time.

Texas Tech announced on Saturday afternoon that Lee Hays would not be returning to the staff in 2017, having previously served as the team’s offensive line coach the past four seasons. In addition, the program confirmed the departure of DeShaun Foster as running backs coach after just one year on the job.

“We appreciate all that Coach Foster and Coach Hays have done for our football program,” Kingsbury said in a release. “We wish them nothing but the best moving forward.”

The reason for Foster’s departure was made clear earlier in the day when it was announced he was taking the same position at his alma mater UCLA.

While many expected a new look to come to Kingsbury’s staff after a disappointing 5-7 season in 2016, the fact that the first two changes occurred on the offensive side of the ball is pretty notable for a team that struggled to stop just about anybody on the defensive end. Hays notably has been around the program since 2013 when the head coach returned to Lubbock and is the more surprising name not coming back to the staff for next year.

UCLA’s Jim Mora hires two more coaches, including former Bruins RB DeShaun Foster

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 12:  Head Coach Jim Mora of the UCLA Bruins looks on during the first half of a game against the Oregon State Beavers  at The Rose Bowl on November 12, 2016 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jim Mora’s offensive overhaul appears to be complete.

UCLA announced a pair of hires on Saturday to the team’s coaching staff, starting with Hank Fraley as the Bruins’ new offensive line coach and the return of former tailback DeShaun Foster as the new running backs coach.

“DeShaun is a Bruin through and through, which makes this such an exciting addition to our staff,” said Mora in a statement. “On top of being a tremendous alum, consummate professional, trusted voice and valued mentor, he is an exceptional football coach whose pedigree and knowledge of the game command respect.  We’re thrilled to welcome Deshaun back home where he belongs.”

Foster spent last season in the same position at Texas Tech but was in Westwood from 2013-2015 serving a variety of roles with the program. He is a familiar face to many in the powder blues, ranking third on the school’s all-time rushing list. He also had a lengthy stint in the NFL, most notable with the Carolina Panthers.

Fraley also has plenty of NFL experience, having spent 11 years in the league as a player before joining the coaching ranks. He recently served three seasons as the Minnesota Vikings assistant offensive line coach.

The duo replace Kennedy Polamalu and Adrian Klemm, both of whom were dismissed in the past month. They’ll join new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch at UCLA, who was recently brought on board himself.

Michigan graduate transfer QB Shane Morris announces move to Central Michigan

ANN ARBOR, MI - APRIL 04: Shane Morris #7 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a pass during the Michigan Football Spring Game on April 4, 2015 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Central Michigan has their replacement for star quarterback Cooper Rush and didn’t have to go far to get him.

Former Michigan signal-caller and recent graduate transfer Shane Morris announced Saturday on Twitter that he would be making the move up the road to play for the Chippewas in 2017.

Morris was a former four-star recruit coming out of high school in the state but never quite lived up to those expectations with the Wolverines. He did start two games for the team over the course of his career but was third on the depth chart in 2016 behind Wilton Speight and John O’Korn.

As a result, he wraps up his time in Ann Arbor by completing 47 of 92 passes for 434 yards, with no touchdowns and five interceptions. He’ll be eligible right away for Central Michigan, which is a great landing spot for an incoming quarterback with almost all of the offensive starters returning from last season’s team.

Tennessee goes in-house for new offensive coordinator

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Interim Head coach Larry Scott of the Miami Hurricanes look on at the start of the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on November 21, 2015 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

With Mike DeBord off to IndianaButch Jones is staying in-house for his next offensive coordinator.

Tennessee announced Friday it has promoted Larry Scott to be its new offensive coordinator. Scott joined the staff before last season as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator. He spent the previous three seasons coaching tight ends at Miami, and racked up a 4-2 mark as the ‘Canes interim head coach after Al Golden‘s mid-season 2015 firing.

To replace DeBord in the quarterbacks room, Tennessee has hired long-time offensive coordinator Mike Canales as quarterbacks coach, and handed defensive backs coach Charlton Warren special teams coordinator duties to free Scott to focus on the offense.

Canales has previously served as offensive coordinator at Snow College, South Florida, Arizona and North Texas. He deposited two separate stints as the interim head coach at North Texas, and spent the ’16 campaign as assistant head coach, running backs and tight ends coach at Utah State.

“We spoke to a lot of very quality candidates,” Jones said in a statement. “Our goal was to gather as much information as possible in a timely manner but also go through a detailed process, which we did. We feel strongly about our offensive staff and that Larry Scott is the best fit moving forward to lead the unit.

“Larry played an important role in the success we had offensively last year and was heavily involved in all aspects of our game plan, both during the week and on game day. We felt it was vital to maintain our continuity on offense and keep building on what we have established the past four seasons.

“I’m also really excited about adding Mike Canales to our staff. Mike has recruited, coached and developed numerous quarterbacks at the collegiate level. He will be of great benefit to our players and staff with his extensive experience and knowledge of the quarterback position.”

The Vols finished the 2016 season ranked 24th nationally in both yards per play and scoring