Category: Nevada Wolf Pack

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 01:  Head coach June Jones of the Hawai'i Warriors hangs his head against the Georgia Bulldogs during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 1, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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Report: June Jones one of five finalists interviewed for Hawaii job


Earlier this month, former Hawaii head coach June Jones would indeed apply for the opening with the Rainbow Warriors.  Three weeks later, not surprisingly, Jones is decidedly in the mix.

Citing sources familiar with the process, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser is reporting that Jones is one of five coaches who have interviewed for the job.  In addition to Jones, the others who were given one-hour interviews were former Army head coach Rich Ellerson, current UH football analyst Rich Miano, Tulsa co-defensive coordinator Brian Norwood and current Nevada offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich.  All four of those candidates, as well as Jones, played their college football for the Rainbow Warriors.

The Star-Advertiser writes that “[b]arring a late addition, they would be the only finalists interviewed by athletic director David Matlin and his advisory panel.”

The 62-year-old Jones, of course, was the head coach at Hawaii for nearly a decade and led the Rainbow Warriors to its winningest stretch in the program’s history.

From 1999-2007, UH went 76-41 under Jones. Prior to Jones’ arrival, the Rainbow Warriors won nine or more games four times and 10-plus once the previous 28 years; in Jones’ nine seasons, they won nine-plus six times and 10-plus in three seasons. The pinnacle of his career at the island school was his last season as he led UH to a 12-1 record and a Sugar Bowl appearance in 2007.

He left for SMU in January of the following year and went 36-43 with the Mustangs before abruptly resigning two games into his seventh season at the school in 2014.

The Fifth Quarter, Week 11 Rewind

at Davis Wade Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Starkville, Mississippi.
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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

It wasn’t the earth-shattering, landscape-shifting tumult that it could’ve been, but it was enough to, once again, shake the playoff picture up all over — especially at the latter half of the Top 10.

Stanford, No. 7 in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, suffered its second loss of the season while No. 10 Utah did the same, effectively putting the Pac-12 on a precarious playoff precipice if not outright pushing the Power Five league over the ledge.  No. 9 LSU, coming off the loss to Alabama, saw its playoff hopes go up in smoke with an embarrassing loss to Arkansas.

Even more impactful, No. 6 Baylor fell from the ranks of the unbeatens to a No. 12 Oklahoma squad that will now be very much in the thick of the playoff chase.

That said, the remaining teams in the most recent Top 10 held serve, including the first five.  To varying degrees,  No. 1 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 5 Iowa and No. 8 Oklahoma State struggled in closer-than-expected wins.  The key word there, of course, is “wins.”

Conversely, No. 2 ‘Bama put together the most impressive performance of Week 11, a 31-7 shellacking of No. 17 Mississippi State in Starkville.  Along with the Sooners, the Tide may have gained the most tonight in the eyes of the committee.

Will it be enough, though, to leapfrog an unbeaten Clemson into the No. 1 hole?  I think it will, but it wouldn’t shock me either way.  That said, and armed with the knowledge that (pats self on back) I nailed the committee’s top four last week (pulls muscle patting self on back), here are the four teams I believe will occupy the first four slots when the newest rankings, the third of the year, are released this Tuesday.

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Notre Dame

For some perspective, here is how the top four looked after the third release of last year’s CFP Top 25:

  1. Mississippi State
  2. Oregon
  3. Florida State
  4. TCU

Neither Mississippi State nor TCU would end up qualifying for one of the four playoff spots.  The two that did, Alabama and Ohio State, were No. 5 and No,. 8, respectively, with four releases remaining.  With three releases remaining last year, which is what’s left this year, Alabama, Oregon and Florida State were Nos. 1-3, while Ohio State was No. 6 (Mississippi State was No. 4).

Looking ahead to next weekend, the sport could be in for yet another significant shakeup as Ohio State will host No. 13 Michigan State; Oklahoma State will see Baylor invade Stillwater; Oklahoma will square off with a wounded and 15th-ranked TCU in Norman; and No. 14 Michigan will take a dangerous road trip to Penn State.

With Clemson (ACC Atlantic) and Florida (SEC East) clinching in Week 10, we entered Week 11 with seven Power Five divisions/conference up for grabs.  Exiting Week 11, no divisions were decided, but more than a couple came closer to being claimed.

Below are the remaining scenarios for each P5 conference.

Thanks to 6-0 North Carolina’s win over 5-1 Pittsburgh earlier this year, the Tar Heels have total control of the division.  In order to claim its first-ever spot in the ACC championship game, all UNC needs to do is either beat Virginia Tech next weekend or North Carolina State in the regular-season finale the following weekend. For Pitt, they need UNC to lose both of those games and beat Louisville in Week 12 and Miami in Week 13.

Ohio State (6-0), Michigan State (5-1) and Michigan (5-1) all held serve with conference wins in Week 11.  If OSU wins both, they’re back in the Big Ten championship game.  An MSU win over OSU this Saturday and over Penn State in the final game of the regular season gives the division to the Spartans.  UM, because of its loss to MSU earlier in the season, needs their in-state rivals to lose to OSU and then beat the Buckeyes themselves the week after.

At 6-0, and with a win already over 5-1 Wisconsin, Iowa needs to simply win one of its two remaining games — vs. Purdue, at Nebraska — to claim its first-ever West title.  UW can still win the West, provided it wins out (at Maryland, vs. Northwestern) while the undefeated Hawkeyes lose out.  A three-way tie between Iowa, Wisconsin and Northwestern (4-2) is possible, but the tiebreaker would go to the Hawkeyes based on their 2-0 record against the other two.

Oklahoma State v Iowa StateBIG 12
You’d be lying if you said you thought before the season began that the road to the Big 12 title would run through Stillwater, yet that’s exactly where we stand with three weeks left in the regular season.  All that stands between Oklahoma State and a conference championship — and a likely punched playoff ticket — are two rather sizable obstacles: Baylor in Week 12, Oklahoma in Week 13.  An OSU loss in either of those, however, would send the conference plummeting into chaos.  Or, it’d clear things up if it’s the Sooners, more respected by the committee, who win out.  As has been the case throughout the first 11 weeks of the season, this conference won’t be decided until the end of November — unless OU loses to TCU and OSU drops BU in Week 12, of course, which would hand the Big 12 to the Cowboys.

Stanford claims the North if it beats Cal in the Big Game.  Oregon can claim the division with a Stanford loss and wins over USC and Oregon State — in Eugene — the next two weeks.

With 4-3 UCLA’s stunning last-second loss to Washington State and 5-2 Utah’s double-overtime loss to Arizona, it’s 5-2 USC that suddenly controls its own destiny in the South thanks to the Trojans’ Oct. 24 win over the Utes.  Wins over Oregon and UCLA the next two Saturdays would give USC its first berth in the Pac-12 title game.  Utah will need to win out against UCLA and Colorado and have USC lose at least once to win the division.  UCLA would need to win out against Utah and USC and have both of those teams lose out in order to claim the South outright.  A three-way tie is also a possibility as USC, Utah and UCLA could all finish 6-3.  In that scenario, UCLA would win the North based on a 2-0 record vs. the other two.

For 6-1 Alabama, it’s simple: Beat Auburn, and ‘Bama is headed back to the SEC title game as West champs.  A loss in the Iron Bowl, though?  Ole Miss could claim the West with wins over LSU in Week 12 and Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl in Week 13.  Arkansas can still claim a share of the division, but can’t earn a spot in the conference title game as they would lose out on a three-way tiebreaker with Ole Miss and Alabama and a two-way tiebreaker with ‘Bama.

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 11 gamers/pertinent pieces posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.

1. Clemson — After the big win over Florida State, Clemson might’ve been due for a letdown against Syracuse.  They were, but they still managed to take care of business and chugged along its unbeaten way. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: vs. Wake Forest, Nov. 21

2. Alabama — The ass-whoopin’ ‘Bama put on Mississippi State, coupled with the struggles of the team that was right above them in my eyes, was enough for me to get in lock-step with the College Football Playoff committee.  As was the case with the Buckeyes around this time last season, I don’t know if there’s any team in the country that wants to face the Tide right now. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: vs. Charleston Southern, Nov. 21

3. Ohio State — With games coming up against Michigan State and Michigan that will go a long way in determining their postseason fate, you can’t really blame OSU if they were peeking ahead.  Based on how they played, for the most part, against Illinois, that peek was actually a full-blown stare. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: vs. No. 13 Michigan State, Nov. 21

4. Notre Dame — Much like with Clemson the week before, I’m relenting on the Golden Domers and tossing them into my top-five mix.  The Irish doesn’t do anything that really stands out, yet they do almost everything very well.  They’re a fascinating team, and one that you should root for to succeed if you want to see the playoff field expand sooner rather than later. (Last week: NR)
Next up: vs. Boston College, Nov. 28

5. Oklahoma State — The Big 12 OSU didn’t look good against a very below-average Iowa State squad, although, in fairness, there’s something about Ames that makes the Cowboys go off the rails.  They won in the dictionary trap game on the road, though, and that’s all that really matters.  Given all of the tumult above them, OSU should rise in the CFP rankings this Tuesday.  Here, not so much. (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: vs. No. 6 Baylor, Nov. 21

(Dropped out: No. 4 Baylor)
(Others considered: Iowa, Oklahoma)

2014 Heisman Trophy PresentationHEISMAN RACE, BY THE NUMBERS
A statistical look at how the top contenders for this year’s stiff-armed trophy fared this past week.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (8-2, No. 16)
Saturday: 22 carries for 138 yards, two touchdowns; two receptions for 17 yards
Season: 170 carries for 1,369 yards (8.1 ypc), 14 touchdowns; 18 receptions for 202 yards, one touchdown

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (10-0, No. 3)
Saturday: 27 carries for 181 yards, two touchdowns
Season: 220 carries for 1,425 yards (6.5 ypc), 16 touchdowns; 24 receptions for 169 yards

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (7-2, No. 9)
Saturday: 19 carries for 91 yards (4.8 ypc), one touchdown; three receptions for 36 yards
Season: 214 carries for 1,474 yards (6.9 ypc), 17 touchdowns; 10 receptions for 94 yards

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (9-1, No. 2)
Saturday: 22 carries for 204 yards (9.3 ypc), two touchdowns; one reception for zero yards
Season: 240 carries for 1,458 yards (6.1 ypc), 19 touchdowns; nine receptions for 69 yards

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green (8-2, NR)
Wednesday: 23-41 (56.1), 269 yards, three touchdowns, one interception; 10 carries for zero yards
Season: 291-421 (69.1%), 3,955 yards, 36 touchdowns, four interceptions; 87 carries for 147 yards, three touchdowns

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (9-1, No. 12)
Saturday: 24-34 (70.6%), three touchdowns, one interception; 15 carries for 76 yards, one touchdown
Season: 217-309 (70.2%), 31, five interceptions; 110 carries for 301 yards, six touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (8-2, No. 7)
Saturday: 33 carries for 147 yards (4.5 ypc), one touchdown; five receptions for 42 yards; two kick returns for 60 yards; one punt return for minus-five yards; 0-1 passing (0%)
Season: 231 carries for 1,354 yards (6.1 ypc), seven touchdowns; 33 receptions for 367 yards, two touchdowns; 23 kick returns for 665 yards; 11 punt returns for 32 yards; 1-2 passing (50%), 28 yards, one touchdown

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (10-0, No. 1)
Saturday: 34-47 (72.3%), 360 yards, two touchdowns, one interception; 14 carries for 105 yards, one touchdown
Season: 216-308 (70.1%), 2,593 yards, 23 touchdowns, eight interceptions; 108 carries for 598 yards (5.5 ypc), five touchdowns

(Dropped out: TCU QB Trevone Boykin, Baylor WR Corey Coleman)
(Added: Mayfield, Watson)

JT’s Personal Top Fivesman
1. Henry — Going from darkhorse to two straight dominant performances against ranked teams puts the talented running back in the stiff-arm driver’s seat. (Last week: No. 3)
2. Cook — If Cook reads this, he’ll think I have him rated way too low.  Don’t believe me?  Scroll down to this week’s “he said its.” (Last week: No. 2)
3. Watson — When you’re the quarterback of the No. 1 team in the country, and you put up a career-high of 461 yards of total offense, you have earned yourself a spot. (Last week: NR)
4. Elliott — Were it not for Elliott, the Buckeyes could very well be a two-loss team.  That said, it’s hard justifying placing him over anyone else currently above him. Games against Michigan State and Michigan, though, could change that. (Last week: NR)
5. Fournette — The exact opposite of Henry as Fournette was the hands-down Heisman front-runner before back-to-back games that saw him run for a total of 121 yards puts him on the verge of missing out on an invitation to New York City altogether.  I still say he’s the best player in the country, but the stat line doesn’t lie. (Last week: No. 1)

Normally, the ESPN College GameDay Twitter feed is all about the on-location signs that litter the crowd, tweeting out the best and the funniest and wittiest throughout Saturday morning.  After the horror in Paris Friday night, signage seemed a little too trivial, save for one.

If the Army football players running out onto the field prior to its game against Tulane with both the American and French flags flying doesn’t give you chills and/or goosebumps, you have no soul.

These are almost too bad-ass for words, with “these” being UCLA’s “Frog Men” helmets worn this weekend to honor the Navy SEALs around Veteran’s Day.

LSU pulled out your standard no-look-touch-pass-for-a-score play against Arkansas.  In fact, the only thing missing was a stick.  And a net.  And a goalie.  And some ice.  Never mind the hockey analogy; just watch the clip.

You ever have that feeling where there’s a pair of hands between your legs when in reality there isn’t?  Welcome to Texas center Taylor Doyle‘s world.

I’m a fan of big-boned touchdowns, thus I’m a huge fan, so to speak, of Baylor’s LaQuan McGowan.  This is sheer poetry — and size — in motion as the, ahem, tight end notched his third career touchdown.

Kansas has lost an FBS-worst 13 straight games.  They’ve also lost 38 straight games played away from Lawrence and 31 consecutive conference road games.  As if that’s not bad enough, and just to add visual insult to on-field misery, KU’s equipment personnel can’t even get their Big 12 helmet stickers correct.  Either that or it was a bassackwards tribute to the old Big 8.

Following Texas’ win over West Virginia last season, Charlie Strong, and with the aid of his players, did some crowd surfing in the postgame locker room.  A year later, following the Mountaineers’ win over the Longhorns, his counterpart, Dana Holgorsen, responded in kind.

On most fall weekend afternoons with the Iowa football team not in action, Kinnick Stadium sits empty.  As this is Iowa, and they’re really into their grappling, they decided to hold a wrestling match on the football field and in one of the stadium’s red zones.  And it actually looks pretty damn cool.

It was a quick turnaround for the stadium crew as the unbeaten Hawkeyes took the field a few hours later for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff against Minnesota.

North Texas was paid $1 million for its trip to Knoxville to Tennessee.  Suffice to say, the Mean Green wasn’t fond of the playing conditions inside Neyland Stadium, and perhaps thought UT should’ve put some of that guarantee toward field repairs.

“It felt amazing. It felt better than it does in here right now. It’s too hot in here right now. I was sweating out there. It was a beautiful day out. Thank God for that. I’ve never had a November in Iowa, from what I can remember, that has been this nice.” — Iowa wrestler Thomas Gilman, on what it was like to wrestle outside at Kinnick Stadium.

“Once again, I’m sure television loves us.” — Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, following a comeback win over Iowa State that was fueled by a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

“I know that if I had any choice at tailback in the country, I got mine. I think I speak on behalf of the team. He’s a tough guy.” — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, after watching Ezekiel Elliott rush for 100-plus yards for the 15th straight game.

“I just feel like I run the ball how I run the ball. If I keep doing me, because I’m Dalvin. I am one of them great running backs that are in college football.” — Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, humbly stating his Heisman case.

“Just want to comment about the environment. The fans were fantastic. Sold out, black-out crowd, and the energy was present from the time we came up pregame. Just an electric atmosphere. To be involved in this program 26 years now, these are the things our players will remember their entire lives. So just want to compliment our fans and thank them.” — Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, following a five-point win over Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
With 10 wins to start the 2015 season, Ohio State has pushed its nation’s best winning streak to 23 straight.  Clemson (13), Oklahoma State (12), Houston (10) and Iowa (10) are the only other FBS teams with double-digit win streaks, while North Carolina has won nine straight.

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak is Kansas at 13 straight, followed by UCF (11), Eastern Michigan (nine), Louisiana-Monroe (eight), SMU (eight), Charlotte (eight), Hawaii (eight), Maryland (seven), Boston College (six) and Oregon State (seven).

Entering Week 11, there were 51 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 62 teams eligible for the postseason with three weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions this week total 11: Arizona, Arkansas, Cal, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas Tech and USF.

There are 40 bowl games this season — counting the two College Football Playoff semifinals — meaning 80 teams will need to reach the six-win threshold in order for teams with sub-.500 records to remain where they belong: at home during the postseason.

UMass football will be leaving the MAC following the conclusion of the 2015 season.  The Minutemen will play as football independents in 2016 and 2017 and then reassess their situation, deciding whether to remain independent, move to another conference (AAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt are possibilities) or drop back down to the FCS level.

Alabama has played more games against Mississippi State than any other opponent. The two border rivals met for the 100th time on the gridiron Saturday. Tennessee (98) and Vanderbilt (82) are the only other opponents ‘Bama has played at least 80 times.

Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has 278 career wins, the most of any active FBS head coach and sixth on the NCAA’s FBS all-time list. Beamer trails only the icons of the game in career wins in Joe Paterno (409), Bobby Bowden (377), Paul “Bear” Bryant (323), Glenn “Pop” Warner (319) and Amos Alonzo Stagg (314). To give some perspective, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher has averaged 11.6 wins a year in his first five years as a head coach, the best mark in league history. Fisher would have to average 11.6 wins a year for the next 19 years, or until 2034, to pass Beamer on the all-time wins list.

Of the 128 FBS teams, just eight players with junior eligibility have received their undergraduate degree and are now pursuing their Master’s:

Junior Master

Baylor (8-1), Oklahoma (9-1), Oklahoma State (10-0) and TCU (9-1) of the Big 12 are a combined 36-3. No other Power Five conference has four teams with one-or-fewer losses.

Since 2012, Trevone Boykin tops all players nationally in percentage (56.8) of his team’s total offense (12,613/22,199). No one else is above 50 percent.

Ohio State has won 17 consecutive true road games (games on an opponent’s home field), the longest such streak in the nation and extending the school record. The Buckeyes are undefeated, a perfect 17-0, in road games under head coach Urban Meyer, or since the start of the 2012 season.

Courtesy of the Alabama sports information department

Three and Outs

Courtesy of the UT-San Antonio sports information department

First-Time Starters

Courtesy of the Ohio State sports information department

FBS Scoring Since 2013

Courtesy of the Temple sports information department

Grad Rates

Courtesy of the Louisiana Tech sports information department

State Rushing Yards Per Game

Baylor can join BYU (1983-85) and Houston (1966-68) as the only FBS teams in history to lead the country in total offense in three consecutive years.  The Bears led in that category in 2013 and 2014, and came into Week 11 leading with 665.6 yards per game (TCU was No. 2 at 621.4 ypg).  BU put up 416 yards in the loss to Oklahoma Saturday, although that shouldn’t jeopardize their standing entering Week 12 as TCU was held over 200 yards under their average.

During Frank Beamer’s 28 previous years at Virginia Tech, 20 different power conference schools have had six or more head coaches, including five schools in the ACC: Pittsburgh (8), Boston College (7), Louisville (7), North Carolina (7) and Miami (6). Three schools — Pitt, Stanford and Vanderbilt — have had eight different coaches during the time Beamer has been the head coach at Tech.

Utah’s Devontae Booker has handled the football on 305 plays this season, the most of any FBS player.  Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin are next with 300 and 292, respectively.

Alabama v Mississippi StateDID YOU KNOW THAT

… with 204 yards against Mississippi State and 210 against LSU last week, Derrick Henry became the first player in Alabama history to rush for 200-plus yards in back-to-back games?  He also became just the second Tide back to rush for 200 or more yards three times in a single season, joining Bobby Humphrey in 1986.

… Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, in addition to breaking the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns, now has 81 total touchdowns in his career to tie him with Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon for second all-time?  The twosome trail the 83 of Wisconsin’s Montee Ball.

… Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott became just the 12th player in FBS history to pass for 8,000 yards and run for another 2,000 in his career?  The others are Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour, TCU’s Trevone Boykin, Baylor’s Robert Griffith III, Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, Florida’s Tim Tebow, Northern Illinois’ Chandler Harnish, Missouri’s Brad Smith, USF’s Matt Grothe, Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase, USF’s B.J. Daniels and Illinois’ Juice Williams.

Louisville v Wake Forest… six Power Five quarterbacks lead their team in both passing and rushing?  That sextet includes Prescott, Oregon State’s Seth Collins, Texas’ Jerrod Heard, Kansas State’s Joe Hubener, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Duke’s Thomas Sirk.

Matt Johnson was held under 300 yards passing (269) for the first time since December of 2013 in Bowling Green’s 41-27 win over Western Michigan Thursday night?  Johnson had thrown for 300-plus in all nine games this season plus one last season — the opener, in which he sustained a season-ending injury — after being held to 272 in the 2013 Little Caesars Bowl loss to Pittsburgh the day after Christmas.

… Florida State’s Dalvin Cook is averaging 189.4 rushing yards per game (947 in five games) against FBS teams with a winning record, the most in the nation? Second is Alabama’s Derrick Henry at 163.7 (1,310 in eight games).

… Christian McCaffrey has now rushed for 100-plus yards in eight straight games, breaking Toby Gerhart‘s Stanford record of seven straight?

Ralph Webb has set school rushing records for freshmen and now sophomores in the first two seasons he’s seen the playing field at Vanderbilt?  Webb is already ninth on the school’s all-time rushing list.

492180284… Iowa State’s Mike Warren is the first freshman in Cyclones history to rush for over 1,000 yards?  He’s also only the seventh Big 12 freshman ever to top 1,000 yards.

… Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich is the only FBS player to lead his team in tackles every game this season?  Matakevich currently leads all FBS players in career tackles.

… Tulane linebacker Nico Marley is the son of former Miami Hurricane linebacker Rohan Marley and the  grandson of music legend Bob Marley?  The junior is the Green Wave’s leading tackler and is third in tackles for loss.

… the Laufasa brothers at UTEP, tailback Jeremiah and fullback Darrin, are the only brothers on an FBS program starting in the backfield?

… Florida’s Jim McElwain is the third first-year head coach in conference history to reach the SEC Championship Game, joining LSU’s Les Miles (2005, lost to Georgia, 34-14) and Gus Malzhan (2013, beat Missouri, 59-42)?

Wake Forest v Notre Dame… Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson replaced Al Golden as a voter in the coaches’ poll following Golden’s firing as Miami’s head coach?

… since 2010, the winner of the Oregon-Stanford game has also claimed the Pac-10/12 conference title? The Ducks beat the Cardinal Saturday night, so we’ll see if this streak continues in 2015.

… Nebraska is only the second FBS team since 2006 to lose four games in which the opponent scored the winning points in the final 10 seconds or overtime? The other was SMU in 2007.

… Memphis is just the third FBS team since 1996 to overcome double-digit deficits in five or more games in a single season?  UofM’s five such comebacks this season are tied with 2005 UCLA, and one behind 2000 North Carolina State’s six.

… Clemson’s 13-game winning streak ties the school record set from 1980-81?

… North Carolina’s nine consecutive wins is the longest one-season winning streak at UNC since 1914 when the Tar Heels won 10 straight?

Minnesota v Iowa… Iowa is 10-0 for the first time in school history?  C.J. Beathard is the first Hawkeye quarterback to ever win his first 11 starts (10 this season, one in 2014).

… Washington State has eight players with at least 20 receptions this season, the most of any FBS team?  Texas Tech is next with seven.

… Arkansas State has put together five consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1949-53?

… BYU, Fresno State, Georgia State, Louisiana-Monroe, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV are the only FBS teams to play road games in four different time zones this season?

… with two each, Nevada, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest have the fewest senior offensive players on their respective two-deep depth charts?

… Minnesota, Navy and Northwestern are the only three schools in the country that have had the same offensive staff (all coaches) for the last five seasons?

Dozen finalists for ‘Academic Heisman’ announced

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 12:  Center Jacoby Boren #50 of the Ohio State Buckeyes prepares to snap the ball in the first half against the Oregon Ducks during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images

As the watch lists for on-field honors continue to roll out, an award for what’s essentially scholastic excellence has significantly whittled its list to the chosen several.

The National Football Foundation, in conjunction with the College Football Hall of Fame, announced Thursday the finalists for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy.  Commonly referred to as the “Academic Heisman,” the Campbell Trophy annually “recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.”

Five of the dozen finalists hail from Power Five programs (Baylor, Mississippi State,Ohio State, Oklahoma, UCLA), while another four come from Group of Five teams (Kent State, Navy, Nevada, UMass). There are also one each from the FCS (Montana), Div. II (Ferris State) and Div. III (Mount Union).

Below are the 12 finalists for this year’s award.

Academic Heisman Finalists

“We are extremely proud to announce this year’s finalists for the Campbell Trophy, who make up the National Scholar-Athlete Class,” NFF president & CEO Steve Hatchell said in a statement. “These young men have an unrelenting commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives, and they represent all that is right in college football. They serve as living examples of our mission of Building Leaders Through Football, and we are excited to be able to honor their hard work and accomplishments with postgraduate scholarships.”

Each of the 12 finalists will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.  Te winner will have another $8,000 added to that for a $25 postgrad scholarship.

Courtesy of the NFF, here are some of the 12-player classes’ highlights:

  • 3.76 Average GPA
  • 11-of-12 Team Captains, including four players who have been captains for two or more years
  • 11-of-12 Academic All-Conference Athletes
  • 7-of-12 All-Conference Athletes (including one all-independent selection)
  • 6 Academic All-America Selections (Boren, Crittenden, Darlington, Italiano, Spencer, Vander Laan)
  • 1 Rhodes Scholarship Finalist (Crittenden)
  • 4 Players Who Have Already Graduated (Calhoun, Darlington, Drango, Frohnapfel), with three more on track to graduate by this December (Boren, Crittenden, Vander Laan)
  • 4 All-America Picks (Brendel, Drango, Spencer, Vander Laan)
  • 1 Major Award Winner (Vander Laan – Harlon Hill Trophy)
  • 2 Members of National Championship Teams (Boren, Spencer)
  • 5 Members of Conference Championship Teams (Boren, Darlington, Drango, Spencer, Vander Laan)
  • 6 Members of Nationally Ranked Teams* (as of 10/29) (Boren, Crittenden, Darlington, Drango, Spencer, Vander Laan)
  • 7 Offensive Players (Binns, Boren, Brendel, Darlington, Drango, Frohnapfel, Vander Laan)
  • 5 Defensive Players (Calhoun, Crittenden, Dobrich, Italiano, Spencer)

The 2014 winner of the award was Duke’s David Helton. A non-FBS players hasn’t won the award since Brandon Roberts of Washington University in St. Louis took home the 2002 version trophy.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 7 Rewind

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 17: Sharrieff Shah Jr. #32, Andy Phillips #39 and Clarence Smith #35 all of the Utah Utes celebrate their 34-18 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils after their game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

Why yes, Judge Haller. When discussing the best team in the country, I did just that.  And I’ll absolutely go there: the Utes are the No. 1 team in the nation.

Given the list of contenders for that midseason title, why not?  Every single one of them has their flaws, including the Utes.  It’s been a handful of years since, as deep as we are into a season, we haven’t been able to find any team even remotely resembling a consensus No. 1.  Or even two or three teams that are heads and shoulder above everyone else.

Instead, and depending on your point of view, there are at least seven teams that could make a valid case for the No. 1 ranking.  Or make a valid case for not being No. 1. Consider this slant on their respective résumés:

  • No.1 Ohio State: four wins over Power Five teams; three double-digit wins over P5 teams; one double-digit win over P5 team on the road; one other P5 road win.
  • No. 2 Baylor: three wins over Power Five teams; three double-digit wins over P5 teams; one double-digit win over P5 team on the road.
  • No. 3 TCU: five wins over Power Five teams; three double-digit wins over P5 teams; two double-digit wins over P5 teams on the road; one other P5 road win.
  • No. 4 Utah: four wins over Power Five teams; one double-digit win over P5 teams; one double-digit win P5 teams on the road.
  • No. 5 Clemson: four wins over Power Five teams; two double-digit wins over P5 teams.
  • No. 6 LSU: five wins over Power Five teams; three double-digit wins over P5 teams; one double-digit win over P5 teams on the road; one other P5 road win.
  • No. 7 Michigan State: four wins over Power Five teams.

Or, how about this, with the collective records of their opponents plus average margin of victory:

  • No. 1 Ohio State: 23-24 (.489 winning %), 20.7 points per game
  • No. 2 Baylor: 15-22 (.405, includes FCS team), 39.0 ppg
  • No. 3 TCU: 19-26 (.404, includes FCS), 23.6 ppg
  • No. 4 Utah: 24-15 (.615), 17.0 ppg
  • No. 5 Clemson: 21-19 (.525, includes FCS), 18.5 ppg
  • No. 6 LSU: 22-18 (.550), 12.7 ppg
  • No. 7 Michigan State (.478): 22-24, 9.1 ppg

Add it up, and what does it all mean?  Hell if I know, other than you can make Team X look better than Team Y depending on which data you use.  Which, of course, gets back to the central point: any one of at least seven teams could make a valid case for the No. 1 team and you’d have to respect the argument.

In that vein, I’m going with the Utes at No. 1 until further notice.  Why?  Because my eyeballs tell me they’re the best team I’ve seen all season. And because their opponent winning percentage is pretty damn impressive, too.

Every year, there are a couple of Group of Five sideline bosses who become the “it” guy on the coaching carousel.  This year, there’s no one hotter than Justin Fuente.

In the three seasons prior to Fuente’s arrival in Memphis in 2012, the Tigers were 5-31.  In the three-plus seasons since, the U of M has gone 23-20.  That mark, though, is somewhat deceptive as, after a 7-17 start in his first two years, Fuente has gone 16-3 in the last 19 games.  Included in that run is a current 13-game winning streak that continued with the Week 7 upset of No. 13 Ole Miss, a program-defining win that has shined an even brighter national spotlight on what Fuente is doing in a state they share with another team from the SEC.

Even prior to the win over the Rebels, Fuente was viewed as a hot commodity for Power Five teams who would be looking for a new coach this year; after the impressive outing against the SEC program, Fuente’s name is now at or near the top of many a list, especially, but certainly not limited to, the vacancy at USC.  In reality, Fuente will have his choice of schools if he so desires.

And that right there is the double-edged sword for those in and around the Tiger football program.  Yes, they want the Tigers to do well, but every win only serves to add to Fuente’s burgeoning résumé — and the likelihood that he will leave before the calendar flips to 2016.

That may not be fair to fans and administrators alike, but that’s the current state of the money-green game of college football

West Virginia v BaylorCATCHING HISTORY
There are many ways to wax poetically about the machine that is the Baylor offense.  Right now, there’s no more eloquent way to state it than uttering the name Corey Coleman.

The Baylor wide receiver totaled three touchdowns in Saturday’s win over West Virginia, giving him a whopping 16 on the season and already setting a school record in just six games.  The performance marks the fourth time this season he’s had at least three receiving scores in a single game; in Week 2, he grabbed four.

It’s the most after six games since Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree totaled 17 in 2007 (he finished with 22).  At his current pace, Coleman would finish the 12-game regular season with 32; the current FBS record is 27 set by Louisiana Tech’s Troy Edwards in 2008.  Add in a couple of playoff games, and there’s the possibility that Coleman could be closer to 40 on the year than 30.

And that may be the most astounding part, that such a number for a receiver is even remotely a possibility.

Iowa v IllinoisIO… WHAT?
Through seven weeks of the 2015 season, there are still 10 Power Five teams left that have yet to suffer a loss.  There are the teams you’d expect, like Ohio State and Baylor and TCU and LSU and Michigan State and Clemson and Florida State.  And there are the likes of Utah and Oklahoma State, teams many thought would be vastly improved from a year ago heading into the season.  And then there’s… Iowa?

Yep, Iowa.  And the most mind-bending aspect of the whole situation?  The Hawkeyes actually have the best chance of any of the remaining P5 unbeatens to get to the end the regular season unblemished.  Think about it.

Ohio State and Michigan State will square off next month, while the former still has to face Michigan the game after that as well.  TCU and Baylor and Oklahoma State will all play each other, and all three still have to play a ranked Oklahoma as well.  LSU has November games left against Alabama and Texas A&M, with a road trip to Ole Miss thrown in for good measure.  USC, Arizona and UCLA still await Utah.  Clemson and Florida State remain on a collision course, with Florida still a tough out on the latter’s schedule.  And 7-0 Iowa?

2-4 Maryland, 4-3 Indiana, 4-3 Minnesota, 1-6 Purdue, 3-4 Nebraska.

That’s it.  That’s all that stands between the Hawkeyes and a 12-0 record heading into a month of December that, with that mark, would include a spot in the Big Ten championship game.

There’s a better-than-average chance that, when the dust settles on the regular season, there will be one undefeated P5 left standing — and that one team will be coached by Kirk Ferentz.  If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about the 2015 season, I don’t know what would.

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 7 gamers posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.

1. Utah — If you’re looking for a lengthy explanation, did you not read what I wrote in the lede?  Until further notice, impressed with opponent’s winning percentage and so on and so on. (Last Fifth Quarter: No. 2)
Next up: at USC, Oct. 27

2. LSU — Even prior to Week 7, LSU’s résumé was better than the one right below them.  Add in Saturday’s win over a previously unbeaten Florida, and LSU inches closer to Utah and puts more distance between themselves and Baylor. (Last Fifth Quarter: No. 4)
Next up: vs. Western Kentucky, Oct. 24

3. Baylor — The offensive juggernaut that is BU is hard to ignore, even if it leaves a sour taste in the mouth of “traditionalist.”  By any metric, though, even old school types have to admit that the Bears are one of the best teams in college football through seven weeks. (Last Fifth Quarter: No. 3)
Next up: vs. Iowa State, Oct. 24

4. TCU — Fun fact: three of TCU’s seven wins have come by seven points or less, although all three have come against Power Five teams.  I don’t know what that means, but just found it interesting and/or intriguing. (Last Fifth Quarter: No. 1)
Next up: vs. West Virginia, Thursday Oct. 29

5. Ohio State — Putting tOSU back into my Top Five is based solely on the assumption that Urban Meyer will permanently hand the keys to the offense to J.T. Barrett.  Well, that and they actually bore some resemblance to their 2014 selves the past two games.  And, on principle, I just can’t put Michigan State here after the way they remained unbeaten. (Last Fifth Quarter: NR)
Next up: at Rutgers, Oct. 24

(Dropped out: No. 5 Northwestern)
(Others considered: Clemson, Michigan State)

There are losses that serve as punches to the gut.  Then there are losses that serve as punches to the gut, followed by a kick to the testicles, followed by a baseball bat upside the head.

The latter is the current state of Michigan fan, who as a collective lost in one of the cruelest ways possible.  Making it worse?  The loss came at the expense of bitter in-state rival Michigan State.

Yep, that sums it up on pretty much any and every level.

Please tell me that, even if he’s starring in it, this is a sign that “Punt, Grass & Kick Ass: The Les Miles Story” is coming to the big screen at some point in the future.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it at least twice: The enemy of a head coach is not fan anger but rather apathy.  Speaking of which, let’s go to a shot of Miami’s home stadium shortly after the kickoff of today’s game against Virginia Tech.

I can only assume the photo was taken by one of the vultures circling the rotting carcass of Al Golden‘s tenure at The U.

Shawn Elliott was making his debut as South Carolina’s interim head coach following the resignation of Steve Spurrier last week.  Shawn Elliott was, by all appearances, very excited about making his debut as USC’s interim head coach.

I love the smell of burst blood vessels in the morning.

Normally when you’re talking about a punter and his hang-time, you’re referring to the ball.  In this case, you would be referring to the punter himself.

The landing could use some work, but he did drop himself dead inside the 20.

Fat guy touchdowns are rare.  Even rarer?  A fat guy two-point conversion.  There was a sighting of one of those yesterday afternoon, though, as Texas Tech broke into Kliff Kingsbury‘s bag of tricks for this gem, one that also includes a sideways snap from the center.

For the record, that would be 6-5, 308-pound Red Raider offensive lineman Le’Raven Clarke doing the honors.

Even with a huge matchup with “Little Brother” in the offing, The Game is never far from Michigan fans’ minds.

That said, this was a really craptistic week for GameDay signs — “Connor Cook uses Internet Explorer” was OK, though.  You can tell it’s been awhile since U-M has been on this kind of stage, so a little bit of rust should be expected.

Even so, the costume game was strong with this one…

This may have just about made up for the sign weakness.  Well, not really but still well done.


Yes, this happened Thursday night, but holy hell does it deserve a nod.  And by it, of course, I’m referring to one of the best catches you’ll ever see at any level of football.

I don’t know what’s better, The Catch by Stanford’s Francis Owusu or David Shaw‘s reaction to The Catch.

Corey Coleman is the best player in college football. You can put me on record with that.” — West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, after watching his Mountaineers get torched by the record-setting Baylor wide receiver

“This is probably the most significant and major challenge that any of us have ever met.” — Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, after Oklahoma laid a 55-0 shellacking on his squad.

“After he bobbled it, he still thought he could get the ball kicked. But it was a mistake, mistakes were made. It wasn’t fielded cleanly, and once you bobble it a few times, he should’ve just fell on it. Mistakes were made. Very unfortunate.” — Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, after, well, you know.

“It just sucks.” — Michigan defensive tackle Willie Henry after, well, you know.

“Holy —-!!! Are you ——- ——– me!!! No way that just ——- happened!!!” — Me, after, well, you know, because I couldn’t believe what I had just seen and, mainly, because I had to scrap 99 percent of what I had already written and start from scratch.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
Seven wins to start the 2015 season have pushed Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 20 straight.  Up next are TCU (15), Memphis (13), Clemson (nine) and Toledo (nine).

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, New Mexico State still owns the nation’s longest losing streak, which now stands at 16 straight.  With Wyoming snapping its nine-game losing streak, the second-longest now falls to UCF at seven in a row and North Texas at seven in a row. Kansas deserves its own special sentence as the Jayhawks are the not-so-proud owners of the longest losing streak amongst Power Five conference members at nine straight.

Entering Week 7, there were six teams that had secured bowl eligibility (Florida, Iowa, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, TCU).  Exiting the halfway point of the season, there are now 19 teams eligible for the postseason.  The newest additions totaled a baker’s dozen: Alabama, Baylor, Clemson, Florida State, Houston, LSU, Marshall, Memphis, Notre Dame, Temple, Toledo, Utah and Western Kentucky.

There are 41 bowl games this season — counting the two College Football Playoff semifinals — meaning 82 teams will need to reach the six-win threshold in order for teams with sub-.500 records to remain where they belong: at home during the postseason.

Art Briles has completely and totally revitalized the Baylor football program.  In his seven-plus seasons in Waco, Briles’ Bears have won 36 Big 12 games; the previous 12 years, they won a combined 35 games in conference and non-conference action.

Nevada is the only FBS program with two players that have rushed for more than 600 yards. James Butler has run for 622 yards, while Don Jackson has 613 yards.

The overtime win at West Virginia in Week 6 moved Oklahoma State to 6-0, marking the fourth time under Mike Gundy that OSU has had a perfect record after six games. OSU had only two 6-0 starts (1945 and 1997) in 103 seasons before Gundy took over in 2005.

Dating back to the beginning of the 2004 season, ESPN’s College GameDay has had the Washington State flag appear throughout the show. The streak is up to 170 after this week’s appearance in Ann Arbor. Two flags – Ol’ Crimson and Gray – have been flown in the background of the GameDay set by dozens of friends and alumni. The Gray flag was added last year after Whitey was retired in honor of Steve Gleason’s “No White Flags.” WSU recognized the GameDay flag wavers in a pregame ceremony prior to the Montana State game in 2010. In addition to the flags that fly, there is a traveling flag signed by the holders after each episode. The traveling flag is retired after each season, the first of which is hanging in WSU’s Alumni Center.

Just five FBS players handle both the punting and place-kicking duties for their teams: Alex Howell (Boston College), Lumi Kabia (Texas State), Dalton Parks (Tulsa), Austin Rehkow (Idaho) and Rigoberto Sanchez (Hawaii).

Clemson became just the fifth current FBS school with a winning record over Notre Dame (given a minimum of three games). Clemson now has a 2-1 advantage in the series. The others with a series advantage over the Fighting Irish are Florida State (6-2), Michigan (24-17-1), Ohio State (3-2) and Nebraska (8-7-1).

Penn State played just its second road game this season after playing the last five consecutive games at home. It was the first five-game homestand at Beaver Stadium, the first overall since 1922 and the third in program history.

Courtesy of the Oregon State sports information department

College Towns

Courtesy of the Wyoming sports information department

Single-Game Rushing Highs

Courtesy of the Louisiana-Monroe sports information department

State of Texas

Boston College’s defense had permitted only two touchdowns through its first six games. It was the first FBS defense to allow two or fewer TDs through six games since Wisconsin allowed two in 2004.  In the Week 7 loss to Clemson, BC allowed four offensive touchdowns.

UCF has seen a whopping 30 players make their first career starts this season while Kansas has seen 27 do the same, the top two totals in the FBS.  Not surprisingly, both schools, as noted above, are riding lengthy losing streaks that include zero wins in 2015.  Then again, the team No. 3 in first-time starters, TCU with 19, is undefeated and came into Week 7 ranked No. 3 in the country.  The Horned Frogs have also played 29 freshmen (14 true, 15 redshirt) this season, the most of any team.

Hawaii had been shut out in its first three trips to the mainland this season, losing by a combined score of 121-0 to Ohio State, Wisconsin and Boise State.  UH scored 27 on the road in a loss to New Mexico in Week 7.

Alabama v Texas A&MDID YOU KNOW THAT…

Derrick Henry has rushed for at least one touchdown in 12 straight games, the best streak in Alabama history and the longest current streak in the FBS?

… with Stanford’s Thursday night win over UCLA, Kevin Hogan became the first quarterback to go 5-0 against a single team in college football history?  Hogan was the starter in regular-season victories from 2012-15 as well as the starter in the 2012 Pac-12 championship game win over the Bruins.

… Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. is the only FBS Player averaging 200-plus yards passing and 100-plus yards rushing per game this season?  In a 42-7 Friday night win over Tulane, Ward Jr. had 222 yards passing and 77 yards rushing.

… LSU’s Leonard Fournette became the quickest to 1,000 rushing yards in SEC history by reaching the mark in the fifth game of the season? The sophomore became the 11th player in FBS history and first since 2006 to reach the mark in 5 games.

… Oklahoma is now 32-0 coming off a regular-season loss during the Bob Stoops‘ era with the Sooners?

Houston v TulaneTom Herman is the second Houston coach to begin his career with six straight wins? He joined John Jenkins, who won his first eight in 1990.

…  this was the fourth straight USC-Notre Dame game in which the Trojans have had a different coach?  The last four, in order, were Lane Kiffin (2012), Ed Orgeron (2013), Steve Sarkisian (2014) and Clay Helton (2015).

… No. 22 Toledo is 6-0 for the first time since 1997, when head coach Gary Pinkel led the Rockets to an 8-0 mark before finishing the season 9-3?

… Air Force and Toledo are the only FBS teams that have yet to allow a sack this season?  Toledo has attempted 200 passes, the Falcons 66.

… only Iowa and TCU have five wins over Power Five teams this season?

… Florida State has zero offensive turnovers through the first six games for the first time in school history?  The Seminoles’ lone turnover this season came on a muffed punt return in Week 1.

… Memphis’ game with Ole Miss was the first in program history that saw the Tigers facing a ranked team while they themselves were ranked?

… Saturday’s game in Columbus against Ohio State was Penn State’s first game outside of Pennsylvania this season?  Their first six games of 2015 were played in the state, five at home and one at Temple in Philadelphia.

West Virginia v Baylor… TCU is the only team this season that is 4-0 in true road games?

… TCU’s 15-game winning streak breaks a school record first set in 1937-38 and then matched in 2008-09?

… Baylor’s 383 points through six games this season are the most by any school since major classification began in 1937?

… entering Week 7, Boise State had not turned the ball over in three straight games for the first time in the program’s history?  Of course, the Broncos promptly coughed the ball over eight times in an embarrassing loss to Utah State Friday night.

… Kentucky’s matchup with Auburn was the first Thursday night game in Commonwealth Stadium history and its first Thursday home game since 1939?

As a lot of y’all have mentioned in comments and via email, there was no Fifth Quarter last week, and I guess you deserve some sort of explanation.  Well, it’s a relatively simple and straightforward one: my nine-year-old daughter had a cheerleading competition that kept me away from televisions and computers for the vast majority of the day — and it was well worth a one-week break even if it did freak some people out as her squad finished first.  So, there you have it.  Barring a medical emergency or something unforeseen, the Fifth Quarter will be back every Sunday morning for the stretch run to the end of the regular season.  Consider yourself warned.

Nevada DT Rykeem Yates suspended by Mountain West Conference

Quinn Kaehler, Rykeem Yates
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The Mountain West Conference is coming down on Nevada defensive tackle Rykeem Yates for a second offense related to targetting another player. Yates will be suspended for one-half of play in Nevada’s next game for his hit on a Buffalo player last weekend.

Per a released statement from the Mountain West Conference, this was the second offense for Yates under the statute of limitations according to the conference rules. That tacked on another half-game suspension on top of the previous ejection from Nevada’s contest against Buffalo. Yates will be eligible to return to the field in the second half this Saturday when Nevada faces UNLV.