College football has been secondary to those in the Sunshine State as Hurricane Irma approaches the Florida coast but is still quite a bit of debate outside the area over whether or not to play games this weekend in advance of the front hitting.
While games like Miami’s trip to Arkansas State were cancelled early in the week, Thursday brought word that the remaining games on the schedule were not going to be played as campuses were officially closed by state officials. That does not mean that schools involved explored all avenues to get the games in though, and that was certainly the case in Gainesville as the Gators attempted to play their home opener with Northern Colorado before eventually cancelling the whole thing.
Among the options considered? Long time local columnist Pat Dooley says an empty Swamp was initially considered by the school in order to play the contest without putting too much of a burden on state and local authorities.
Perhaps the more intriguing idea was moving the game elsewhere, as FIU did with their game against Alcorn State, which is being played in Birmingham, Ala. on Friday. While Florida has not played on the Plains since 2011, one option for the team to go was apparently at SEC rival Auburn.
“We’ve had different conversations with people calling asking could they come here and just be here and practice,” Tigers AD Jay Jacobs said on the Tiger Talk radio program Thursday, according to AL.com. “University of Florida contacted me earlier this week, (athletic director) Scott Stricklin, about maybe them playing their game here on Saturday. But they decided, and rightfully so, instead of playing of bringing Northern Colorado this side of the country and probably the issue of possibly getting them back home, they actually canceled the game.”
As Jacobs alludes, it was the right decision for UF to go ahead and cancel the game instead of trying to play it, but the team certainly made a few calls early in the week to at least figure out a few possibilities if Irma was going to take a different track.
In an interview earlier this week, transferring Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson expressed confidence that he would be immediately eligible to play for Michigan in 2018. Whether that confidence will be rewarded, though, won’t be known for a couple of months down the road.
Patterson and other transferring Rebels football players have retained the services of Thomas Mars — known to most of the college football world as the bulldog attorney who handled Houston Nutt‘s lawsuit against Ole Miss — in their attempt at immediate eligibility next season without having to sit out the transfer season normally required by the NCAA. In an interview with Angelique Chengalis of the Detroit News, Mars revealed that a final decision on Patterson’s eligibility to play for the Wolverines in 2018 won’t be known until late January or early February.
In the interim, Mars will argue to the NCAA that Ole Miss displayed “egregious behavior,” including misleading recruits like Patterson and his family regarding the potential seriousness of the NCAA issues facing the football program, and thus the standard transfer year should be waived in this case. “At this point, there’s no room for Ole Miss to deny it unlawfully kept the NOA (NCAA Notice of Allegations) it had just received under wraps for five months while the school misled prospects and their parents about how the NCAA investigation would likely impact the future of the football program and the goals and dreams of the student-athletes who ended up signing with Ole Miss under false pretenses,” the lawyer told Chengalis.
The News also laid out the process that will play out between Patterson, Ole Miss, Michigan and the NCAA in the coming weeks:
In the case of Patterson, Michigan must send a package to Ole Miss with information that supports the premise of Ole Miss’ “egregious behavior.” Ole Miss has several options — it can support what Michigan sent, oppose it, express neutrality or not respond at all. Once the NCAA has Ole Miss’ position on this, it moves forward with its decision-making process.
“If Ole Miss supports the transfer waivers, this could be a very easy decision (by the NCAA),” Mars said.
If Patterson is able to gain instant eligibility, he’d immediately become the favorite to win the Wolverines’ starting quarterback job.
Seth Collins‘ winding journey in Corvallis has taken yet another twist.
After asking for it, Collins has been granted a release from his Oregon State scholarship, the school has confirmed. The junior wide receiver has already parted ways with the team, and no specific reason for the departure has been given.
This marks the second time that Collins has left the Beavers football program. In January of 2016, Collins, amidst speculation that he would be moved from quarterback to wide receiver, made the decision to transfer; three months later, he returned to OSU — as a receiver.
Last season, Collins was second on the team in catches (36) and yards (418). After three games this season, Collins was ruled out indefinitely because of what was described by the team as a health-related issue; he didn’t play again for the Beavers in 2017. In the three games in which he played this season, he caught 12 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.
That illness was unrelated to the unspecified health event last season that left him hospitalized and caused him to miss not only the last two games of 2016 but spring practice this year as well.
If Collins moves on to another FBS school, it’s believed he’ll have to sit out the 2018 season. That would leave him with one season of eligibility that he can use in 2019.
It was thought that, when Collins left the first time, he was headed to Northern Illinois, so that’s certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward.
You just have to love the vagaries of the annual coaching rumor mill.
The offensive line coach and running-game coordinator at Minnesota, Ed Warinner has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Paul Haynes as the head coach at Kent State. In fact, just yesterday, the former Ohio State and Notre Dame assistant had been labeled as a “strong candidate” for the opening.
Thursday night, however, FootballScoop.com tweeted that Warinner is no longer a candidate.
Less than 20 minutes after that tweet, Warinner took to his personal Twitter to confirm he is not only not a candidate for the job but claimed that he has “never been contacted by anyone involved with the school.” Left unsaid is whether those representing or associated with him had been in contact with the university.
Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen (HERE) and Syracuse offensive coordinator Sean Lewis (HERE) are the latest names du jour connected to the opening at the MAC school.
Kent State’s one of two jobs at the FBS level that remain open, although the other, Louisiana, could be closed in short order.
So much for that plan.
The odd marriage of Arizona State and long-time but not-in-a-long-time NFL coach Herm Edwards was made even odder by the fact that Edwards was retaining Todd Graham‘s entire offensive coaching staff. Less than two weeks into his tenure, however, there could be a glitch in the plans to help ease Edwards’s return to coaching as 247Sports.com is reporting that Louisiana (the school formerly known as Louisiana-Lafayette) has offered its head-coaching job to Billy Napier.
The 38-year-old Napier had just completed his first season as ASU’s offensive coordinator. He was also given the title of associate head coach upon Edwards’ hiring.
Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry was also one of the potential candidates for the Louisiana job who interviewed for the opening.
Whoever gets the job with the Ragin’ Cajuns will be replacing Mark Hudspeth, fired earlier this month after seven years with the program.