My how things can change in a short span with this glorious sport.
Just a week ago, Ohio State was seemingly in the Big Ten East’s driver’s seat thanks to its come-from-behind win over Penn State combined with Michigan State’s three-overtime loss to Northwestern. The Buckeyes stood at a perfect 5-0 in conference play, with a one-game lead on the 4-1 Spartans and what was essentially a two-game lead on the 4-1 Nittany Lions thanks to the head-to-head advantage.
With Week 10 nearly in the books, there’s suddenly a tie atop the division as MSU stunned PSU in a rain-delayed matchup while OSU was embarrassed by unranked Iowa in Kinnick Stadium. That leaves the Buckeyes and Spartans tied atop the East with three weeks left to play.
And, just who do Michigan State and Ohio State play in Week 11? Each other, in Columbus next Saturday at noon, with the winner really wresting total control of the division from the other.
After next weekend’s action, each team will have two games remaining in the regular season — OSU at home against Illinois and on the road at rival Michigan, MSU hosting Maryland and closing it out at Rutgers. The winner of the Week 11 game could afford one loss in those final two games and still win the division, even if there were a three-way tie with Penn State as the Nittany Lions lost to both teams. Of course, the Buckeyes and Spartans could technically lose its last two games after next week and the Nittany Lions could win its last two, handing the division to the latter. Or all three of those teams could lose out the last two weeks and Michigan, which lost to both MSU and PSU, could win out and oh no I’ve gone cross-eyed.
Either way, and outside of those highly-unlikely scenarios closing out the above paragraph, whichever team comes out on top next weekend in Columbus you will be seeing in Indianapolis in early December. And probably against an unbeaten Wisconsin team that currently serves as the Big Ten’s lone playoff hope, provided the “no two-loss team has ever qualified for the CFP” standard remains in place as the Badgers are the only B1G team with less than two losses.
And, looking even further ahead, if the Big Ten misses out on the playoffs for the first time, especially if conference-less Notre Dame qualifies? The cries from the B1G for expanding the CFP will come. Bank on it.
K.J. Carta-Samuels may have left Washington, but he’s not leaving the Pac-12.
Carta-Samuels brother, Austyn, revealed on his own personal Twitter account that K.J. will be transferring to UCLA. “Chip Kelly, you just got yourself a QB,” the recruiting coordinator at Missouri wrote.
The younger Carta-Samuels brother subsequently told CBSSports.com that Kelly is “a huge reason why” he chose to move on to the Bruins.
In early December, Carta-Samuels announced that he would be leaving Chris Petersen‘s Washington football program.
Carta-Samuels will be joining Kelly’s squad as a graduate transfer, which means he’ll be one of the players fighting for the right to replace three-year-starting quarterback Josh Rosen. Earlier this month, Rosen did the somewhat expected and left early for the NFL draft.
A four-star member of UW’s 2014 recruiting class, Carta-Samuels was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 24 player at any position in the state of California. Budda Baker, a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, was the only signee in the Huskies’ class that year rated higher than Carta-Samuels.
Carta-Samuels played in 25 games over the past three seasons. He ended the Huskies portion of his collegiate playing career with 310 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in completing 27-of-47 passes.
This is certainly a surprising, if not extremely significant development.
Given his talent level and the position he plays, it’s been long thought that Bryce Love would be leaving Stanford early and declaring for the April draft. Instead, Love’s father confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle in a text early Tuesday morning that his son will be returning to the Cardinal for his senior season.
The Chronicle wrote that “[t]he junior tailback didn’t make his decision until the last possible minute Monday night, the deadline for entering the NFL draft.”
Despite battling through an ankle injury that lingered throughout the latter portion of the 2017 season, Love was second in the country in rushing with 2,118 yards and tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns with 19. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.
With this decision, Love will very likely enter the 2018 season as the favorite to claim this year’s Heisman.
It wouldn’t take long to call the roll of head coaches who could get away with hiring Hugh Freeze at the moment, and Nick Saban is certainly at or near the top of that list. Based on word coming out of Tuscaloosa, a Saban-Freeze marriage could very well be on the horizon to test that theory.
According to the Tuscaloosa News, the disgraced former Ole Miss head coach was a visitor at Alabama’s football building on Monday. While the News didn’t detail the nature of the visit, FootballScoop.com writes that “Freeze was in the building today at Alabama to discuss the open offensive coordinator job.” Another national writer, however, downplayed the possibility of Freeze joining Saban’s staff.
Per the News, Saban has always held a healthy respect for Freeze given how much success, relatively speaking, the Rebels’ offense had going up against the Crimson Tide’s defense.
Saban is searching for a fourth offensive coordinator in less than 14 months after Brian Daboll left the team Sunday after one season to take the same job with the Buffalo Bills. Given Freeze’s credentials, he’d certainly warrant serious consideration to fill the opening; based on his exit from Oxford, he could be a tough sell in a lot of places.
Freeze “resigned” from Ole Miss after it was discovered he was using a school-issued cell phone to hook up with escort services on multiple occasions. Additionally, there were the Rebels’ NCAA issues while Freeze was in charge that left the coach with a team-game suspension to serve; that suspension would not have to be served if Freeze is a coordinator or position coach.
It was reported earlier this month that Les Miles was involved in Arizona’s search for a head coach and had an interest in bringing Freeze along as his coordinator if he landed the job. Not long after, after criticism came pouring in over the potential move, the earlier reports were walked back because of the stigma that still follows Freeze.
It appears Keyshawn Johnson Jr. will continue his collegiate playing career a little bit further west than where it began.
On the same day that Kevin Sumlin was hired as the head coach at Arizona, Nate Clouse of Rivals.com reported that Johnson will be enrolling at UA this week and play for the Wildcats. The son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson will be eligible to play immediately for Sumlin in 2018.
In late June of last year, Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Not long after, the wide receiver decided to take a leave of absence, with his famous father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and would not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.
At the time, the plan was for the junior Johnson to return to Lincoln and play his college football for Mike Riley. With his father’s college offensive coordinator dismissed at the end of the regular season, Johnson took to Twitter in mid-December to announce that he wouldn’t be returning to the Cornhuskers.
Johnson was a four-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2017 recruiting class who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, but never played a down for NU. Before signing with Nebraska, he held offers from, among others, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and USC.