Miami Hurricanes

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Alabama opens as Bovada’s early 2017 title favorite

1 Comment

Alabama may have seen their dynasty temporarily derailed Monday night in Florida, but at least one wagering establishment expects Nick Saban to get it back on track post-haste.

Bovada.lv released its opening set of 2017 national championship odds very early Tuesday afternoon, with the bookmaker installing Bama as a 4/1 favorite coming off the loss to Clemson.  Last year at this time, coming off their fourth title in seven years, the same book had the Crimson Tide as a 7/1 favorite.

The team ‘Bama beat, Clemson, is at 16/1, tied with ACC Atlantic rival Louisville and behind six other teams besides the one they beat on the field last night — Florida State (7/1), Ohio State (15/2), Michigan (9/1), Oklahoma (9/1), USC (9/1) and LSU (12/1).  The other 2016 playoff team, Washington, is at 40/1, the same as 4-8 Notre Dame and behind the likes of Texas (28/1) and Miami (33/1).

Boise State, at 75/1, was the highest favorite amongst Group of Five programs.

Below are the complete list of 2018 title odds for the championship following the 2017 season, again courtesy on Bovada.lv:

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-12-34-29-pm

Final AP poll: Clemson No. 1; USC rockets to No. 3; Ohio State drops to No. 6

20 Comments

The votes are in and — surprise!!! — Clemson’s the media’s king as well.

The Associated Press released its final 2016 rankings Tuesday morning, with Clemson, off their stirring win over the cyborg that is Alabama football, claiming the No. 1 spot in the last Top 25 of the 2016 season.  As expected, the Tigers claimed all 60 first-place votes, while the Crimson Tide earned all 60 second-place votes to finish No. 2 in the final AP poll.

Up next is the a team that will no doubt be the media darling throughout the offseason — I’m already guilty, as you’ll see shortly —  with USC moving from ninth to third on the strength of the epic Rose Bowl win over Penn State (fifth to seventh) as well as a nine-game winning streak to close out the season.  Ohio State, which was shutout by Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal, tumbled from second to sixth.

The remainder of the Top 10 is rounded out by Washington (No. 4), Oklahoma (No. 5), Florida State (No. 8), Wisconsin (No. 9) and Michigan (No. 10).

Three Group of Five teams managed to finish in the final Top 25, although none came in higher than 15th: Western Michigan (No. 15), South Florida (No. 19), San Diego State (No. 25).  Two of those teams will have new coaches in 2017, with Charlie Strong replacing Willie Taggart with the Bulls and a too-be-determined replacing P.J. Fleck with the Broncos.

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-9-03-13-am

Major Applewhite adds three to Houston staff, including ex-Miami DC Mark D’Onfrio

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 05:  Offensive Cooridator Major Applewhite of the Houston Cougars looks on during warm ups before the game against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on September 5, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

New Houston coach Major Applewhite has been busy filling holes on his coaching staff just about as soon as they pop up and that was the case on Friday as the school announced three new hires for the Cougars.

Most notable among the trio of names is former Miami defensive coordinator Mark D’Onfrio, who will hold the same position in Houston. The long time coach was one of the notable staff hires by Al Golden when he went to Coral Gables but D’Onfrio was not retained by Hurricanes coach Mark Richt when he took over the program.

Also donning new colors are Darren Hiller, who previously served as co-offensive coordinator at AAC-rival USF but will not follow Willie Taggart to Oregon. He will serve as the Cougars’ run game coordinator and offensive line coach.

Finally, Dan Carrel was promoted to outside linebackers coach after spending two seasons with the program as a graduate assistant.

Given that most of the previous staff at Houston followed Tom Herman to Texas, Applewhite has needed to make several outside connections for his coaching staff and did so on Friday with a trio of new additions.

Florida promotes Randy Shannon to defensive coordinator

Randy Shannon III
Associated Press
Leave a comment

With Geoff Collins leaving for the head-coaching job at Temple, Jim McElwain was left looking for a new defensive coordinator.  As it turns out, the Florida head coach didn’t have to look far.

The Gators announced Friday that McElwain has stayed on staff and promoted Randy Shannon to defensive coordinator.  Shannon had spent the past two seasons as UF’s linebackers coach; there’s no indication in the release as to whether Shannon will retain those duties or McElwain will add someone to coach that group.

Either way, McElwain still has one spot to fill on his nine-man coaching staff.

“Coach Shannon has been a big part of our success over the last two years,” a statement from the coach began. “It’s been really cool to watch him handle his business. He really connects with our players and they have a lot of respect for him. More than being a great coach, he is a great mentor and teacher to these young men and that is one of our greatest measuring sticks as coaches.”

Shannon came to Gainesville with a pedigree almost exclusively tied to the University of Miami.

A linebacker for the Hurricanes, Shannon’s first coaching job came at The U as a graduate assistant.  He then spent 12 of the next 15 years as an assistant at his alma mater — he was on the Miami Dolphins staff from 1998-2000 — the last five in the role of defensive coordinator before being promoted to head coach in 2007.  Fired in 2010, Shannon spent 2012 at TCU and 2013-14 at Arkansas — he was linebackers coach at each stop — prior to his move to Florida in 2015.

Shannon will continue to hold the title of associate head coach.

“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Mac has given me to be the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida,” Shannon’s statement read. “We will continue to work together as we have the past two years to put together a plan so our players are in a position to be successful in football and in life.”

Miami QB Brad Kaaya declares for NFL Draft

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 5: Brad Kaaya #15 of the Miami Hurricanes warms up prior to the game against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on September 5, 2015 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Getty Images
8 Comments

Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya declared for the NFL Draft on Monday night. In breaking with recent protocol, the announcement did not come from one of Kaaya’s social media accounts, but instead via a Miami press release.

“While I am looking forward to pursuing my future endeavors, I am going to miss our fans, media, students, administrators, coaches, families, and most importantly my teammates, who were with me through the good times and the tough times,” Kaaya said in a statement.

“Attending a University this far from home wasn’t the easiest transition initially, but this program provided me a home away from home ever since my arrival in 2014. Since then I have registered as a resident of Florida and am proud to call Miami my long-term home. I plan to be involved with the University of Miami moving forward as I pursue my degree in communications. I also will give back to this university and South Florida community, two places that had such a positive impact on my life. I look forward to watching Coach Richt and his staff, and our team do even bigger and better things for years to come.

“This was one of the toughest decisions of my life, however, I have zero worries that The U will indeed be back. No matter who is under center next season, I have no doubt in my mind they will have the platform and the resources around them to bring a major championship back to Coral Gables. Miami will forever hold a special place in my heart and I am proud to say that I will always be a Miami Hurricane.”

He leaves school as Miami’s all-time leading passer — no small feat considering the lineage of quarterbacks that have run through South Beach.

In 38 career games, Kaaya completed 720-of-1,188 attempts for 9,968 yards — all school records — with 69 touchdowns against 24 interceptions. His 69 scores and 60.6 percent completion rate rank third all-time in Hurricanes history.

Kaaya was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Year in 2014 and garnered spots on the All-ACC team in 2015 and ’16.

(Also, college fans who follow the Draft: prepare yourself now for another round of “Hey, did you know Brad Kaaya’s mom was in Friday??? stories.)