Conference USA

HADLEY, MA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Head coach Ron Turner of the FIU Golden Panthers looks on during the game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Hadley, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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Florida International fires head coach Ron Turner after 10-30 run

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The firing season in college football is getting started earlier and earlier. Just ask Ron Turner.

The Florida International head coach was fired early Sunday in a move that was hardly surprising aside from its timing.

“I want to thank Coach Turner for his contributions to the FIU football program, most importantly his commitment to academics and community service,” athletic director Pete Garcia said in a short statement. “At this time Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Ron Cooper has been named interim head coach.”

Turner went 10-30 over four years at the school but was 0-4 to begin the season after a 53-14 loss to Central Florida last week. While he is far from the first coach fired in 2016, Turner did become the first head coach to be fired after the season got underway.

Cooper had a 45–55 record in nine seasons as a head coach at Eastern Michigan, Louisville and Alabama A&M. He was elevated to FIU’s defensive coordinator prior to the season and notably served as LSU’s defensive backs coach when Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu starred in Baton Rouge.

The Panthers are set to play local rival Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

With seven more, Lamar Jackson has more TDs than all but ONE FBS team

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) awaits the snap during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Huntington, W. Va., Saturday Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Walter Scriptunas II)
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With the final games of the first month of the 2016 season being quickly put to bed, we can officially hand the September Heisman Trophy to Lamar Jackson.  In an utter and absolute landslide.

The Louisville quarterback’s ridiculous, video game-like month has officially come to an end, with Jackson accounting for seven touchdowns in a 59-28 win over Marshall in Huntington.  The true sophomore threw for five touchdowns and ran for another two in a performance that did nothing but show how remarkably easy the game is for Jackson right now even as he “struggled” early on.

With this showing, Jackson has now accounted for 25 touchdowns on the season — 13 passing, 12 rushing.

Remarkably, Jackson now has more touchdowns individually than all but one team — aside from his own — playing at the FBS level.  That one team?  Michigan, with 28.  USF, with 25 as a team that played this week, is tied with Jackson as an individual.

I guess you could technically add an asterisk to the “one team” theme as Texas Tech (25), Ohio State (23) and Miami (21) were all on byes this weekend.  And I’m also going under the assumption that Washington (19 entering Week 4) won’t get beyond 25, even as they are currently tied 14-14 with Arizona at halftime.

Still, the numbers Jackson is putting up are historic and epic, and that was even before he added Nos. 6 and 7.

I have no clue how Jackson will close out the season, but I do know that, at the moment, there’s the Cardinals’ signal-caller and then there’s everybody else when it comes to the 2016 Heisman race.  Just as it was exactly a week ago.

Concussion to reportedly keep Marshall starting QB out vs. Louisville

BOWLING GREEN, KY - NOVEMBER 27: Chase Litton #14 of the Marshall Thundering Herd looks to pass while under pressure from Jontavious Morris #3 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the first half of the game at L.T. Smith Stadium on November 27, 2015 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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If Marshall is live up to the awe-inspiring hype video released earlier in the week, the Thundering Herd will be forced to do so without the triggerman of their offense.

While there’s nothing yet official from the school, ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy is reporting — or tweeting, if you will — that Chase Litton will not play in tonight’s game against Louisville because of a concussion.  The quarterback sustained the concussion during last Saturday’s loss to Akron.

Litton is currently ninth in the country with a 181.7 pass efficiency rating.  That number is tops amongst Conference USA quarterbacks.

Rumors of an issue with Litton surfaced earlier in the week, speculation that was reflected in the wagering lines.

With Litton apparently sidelined, the Herd will turn to Garet Morrell.  A true freshman, Morrell has attempted eight passes the first two games of the season.

At least one bit of good news for Morrell in making his first career start against the third-ranked team in the country is that it will be played in the friendly confines of home in Huntington.

If hype videos meant anything, Louisville wouldn’t stand a chance against Marshall

HUNTINGTON, WV - DECEMBER 06: Remi Watson #8, Kevin Rodriguez #35, and Stefan Houston #3 of the Marshall Thundering Herd take the field before their game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Joan C. Edwards Stadium during the Conference USA championship game on December 6, 2014 in Huntington, West Virginia. The Thundering Herd defeated the Bulldogs 26-23. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Oddsmakers don’t give Marshall much if any chance of hanging with Louisville much less upsetting them later on today, with Bovada.lv installing the Cardinals as a four-touchdown road favorite.  The television networks don’t think much of the Thundering Herd’s chances, either, with ESPN employees already confirming that their College GameDay traveling road show will originate from Clemson for their huge Week 5 ACC Atlantic showdown with the U of L.

Don’t tell that to the Herd, or at least their video department Wes Wilson (follow him on Twitter HERE).

The football program earlier this past week unleashed a very emotional hype video ahead of the non-conference matchup, with the three-minute clip invoking the sights, sounds and words from the “We Are Marshall” film that pays tribute to the plane crash that gutted the football team’s roster and the university’s psyche.  Most pointedly, the clip makes mention of Marshall’s 2003 upset of sixth-ranked Kansas State; Louisville enters this game ranked third in the country.

Watch, and enjoy.

That masterful piece of cinema will do nothing to stop the Lamar Jackson juggernaut, but, if nothing else, it should serve to fire up a home crowd that will do its damnedest to help pull off the upset.

(Writer’s note: I just want to personally apologize to Wes Wilson for not realizing initially that was his work, not the school’s.  Also, job very well done, Mr. Wilson.  That was tremendous.)

Rice offers mea culpa for band’s ‘Title IX’ shot at Baylor

MOB members playing trombones in shorts at football game, Rice University
Rice University
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Those wild and wacky collegiate marching bands are at it again.

At halftime of Baylor’s Friday night 38-10 win over Rice, the Owls marching band, known as the MOB, decided that they would pay tribute to the visitors with a performance that included the group spelling out the phrase “Title IX.”  That, of course, is a reference to the spate of sexual assaults that have plagued the scandal-laden football program over the past several months.

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, university officials apologized for the performance, saying “we regret any offense, particularly if Baylor fans may have felt unwelcome in our stadium.”

It’s not believed the school will take any action against the band.  Below is the entire statement released by the university:

The Marching Owl Band, or MOB, has a tradition of satirizing the Rice Owls’ football opponents. In this case, the band’s calling attention to the situation at Baylor was subject to many different interpretations. Although the band’s halftime shows are entirely the members’ projects with no prior review by the university administration, we regret any offense, particularly if Baylor fans may have felt unwelcome in our stadium. While we know that the MOB did not intend in any way to make light of the serious issue of sexual assault, we are concerned that some people may have interpreted the halftime performance in that vein. Sexual assault is a matter of serious concern on campuses across the nation, and all of us have an obligation to address the matter with all the tools at our disposal. The MOB sought to highlight the events at Baylor by satirizing the actions or inactions of the Baylor administration, but it is apparent from the comments of many spectators and Baylor fans that the MOB’s effort went too far.