2010: A look ahead

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With the corpse of the 2009 season not yet even cold, what better time to look at the 2010 season than at the present?

Sure, it’s kinda like taking a date to your wife’s funeral, but, just like the deceased spouse, I’m sure ’09 would want us to be happy and move on quickly to next season, right?

With that in mind, we’ll take a quick glance at what may happen in 2010…

FIVE COMPELLING STORY LINES

1. Meyer: For or Against Urban Renewal?

C’mon, is there any story that’s even close to whether or not Urban Meyer will be back as Florida’s coach by the time the regular season rolls around?  This will be the dominant story over the next six months, and how it plays out before the season starts will shape how UF’s regular season will go.

2. Big Ten: Earnest Growth or One-Time Blip?

The most beleaguered and vilified conference in the country finished the 2009 bowl season with a 4-3 record, the first winning record for the league since 2002. And it’s not like they compiled that mark with a handful of Emerald Bowl-type wins; no, their wins came in BcS games over the Pac-10 and ACC champions (Ohio State over Oregon and Iowa over Georgia Tech, respectively), with the other two coming over No. 13 LSU (Penn State) and No. 14 Miami of Florida (Wisconsin).  It was a statement postseason for the beleaguered conference, but only time will tell if the performance was a shifting trend upward or simply false hope.

3. Mountain West: Finally the Time For Some Respect

The loss by TCU to fellow non-automatic qualifier left a bad taste in the conference’s mouth, but the MWC still exited the bowl season with a 4-1 mark and a healthy dose of national respect.  With their play this year, they have finally confirmed to most of the masses that they deserve an automatic BcS bid.  Carrying that momentum through 2010 will be key for the automatic bid to become a reality.  The conference is on a perilous slope perception-wise, and simply can’t afford to take a step back.

4. The BCmesS: Time to Grab the Congressional Pitchforks?

At no time in its controversial history has the BcS been under more fire than it is right now.  They were the subject of congressional hearings throughout 2009, and the only question remains when, not if, the government becomes more deeply involved.  Based on the tea leaves, one thing is certain: there will be some type of change to the system in the coming years, whether by force or by the threat of force.  Will it lead to a full-blown playoff system that most of the country, including the First Fan, wants?  2010 should go a long way toward answering that question

5. Replacing Legends: Adios, Tim & Colt; Hola, John & Garrett

Entering the past three seasons, there were no question marks at the quarterback position for both Florida and Texas.  With the departures of Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy due to expired eligibility, John Brantley of the Gators and Garrett Gilbert of the Longhorns have the unenviable tasks of replacing arguably the greatest QBs in their respective school’s history.  How they perform will go a long way in determining whether or not the two programs can remain at the top of the national scene.

WAY-TOO-EARLY HEISMAN ROLL CALL

1. Mark Ingram, Alabama — To be the man, you gotta beat the man.  Winning the Heisman as a sophomore will keep the running back in the trophy talk for the next two seasons.  Provided he stays in Tuscaloosa after his junior year, of course.

2. Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State — Was the Rose Bowl performance a sign of things to come?  If it is, you can bet the Buckeyes quarterback will be in any and all Heisman talk.

3. Kellen Moore, Boise State — One of the best quarterbacks in the country that nobody talks about, the early-season match-up with Virginia Tech will go a long way toward determining Moore’s place in the Heisman discussion.  Speaking of that showdown with the Hokies…

4. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech — 1,655 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns as a freshman?  Yeah, that’ll get you into the mix.  The Moore-Williams September head-to-head will jump-start the race for the stiff-armed trophy.  And, no, we’re not completely finished with Six Degrees of Kellen Moore

5a. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State — With 1,440 yards rushing, 21 touchdowns and, for good measure, 78 receptions out of the backfield, this Beaver back is one of the best running backs in the country that nobody talks about.  Oh, did I mention that Rogers’ Beavers will take on Moore’s Broncos in September?  Early-season Heisman intrigue, indeed.

5b. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh — It’s hard to believe a freshman had a more productive season than Williams, but Lewis did just that.  1,799 yards just screams Heisman contender for many years to come.  Unless, of course, head coach Dave Wannstedt rides him into an early RB grave.

COACHING HOT SEAT

1.Rich Rodriguez, Michigan

The throne entering the 2010 season is RichRod’s alone, and no one else is really close.  An 8-16 overall mark in two years at Michigan is bad enough; a 3-13 record in Big Ten play is wholly unacceptable in Ann Arbor.  Add in an NCAA investigation and two losses to archrival Ohio State by a combined 46 points, and you have a coach facing an absolute must-win season.

2. Ron Zook, Illinois

Really, is there any explanation needed?  With the exception of a head-scratching 9-4 season in 2007, The Zookster has compiled a 12-35 record in his five seasons with the Illini.  The school has recruited better than that record indicates, which is a tribute to Zook’s innate ability to coach his players down.

3. Paul Wulff, Washington State

You don’t go 3-22 in two seasons and not have your butt planted on something with at least a little bit of warmth to it.

4. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

T. Boone Pickens did not donate approximately $300 kajillion (U.S.) to watch his beloved Cowboys go 9-4, not play in the Big 12 title game and lose bowl games.  T. Boone wants more bang for his buck, and what T. Boone wants T. Boone gets.

5. Pete Carroll, Southern Cal

This one might be stretch.  In fact, it’s so much of a stretch that I might’ve torn a muscle typing it.  However, with the looming specter of an NCAA investigation coming to a conclusion at some point this year, coupled with an utterly disappointing 2009 season, Carroll could be feeling the heat more so than he has at any point in his USC career.

FIVE RISERSFive teams outside the final Top Ten who could surprise

1. Nebraska

Sure, they have to replace a Beast Named Suh, but there is plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball returning for Bo Pelini & Company.  If the ‘Huskers could just get some type of consistency on the other side of the ball — yeah, I’m looking at you Zac Lee — this team should be the class of Big 12 North and might be able to challenge Texas for conference supremacy.

2. Miami of Florida

The Hurricanes showed in the early part of the 2009 season that the talent is there.  Look for The U to put it together throughout the entire 2010 season and make a serious bid for both an ACC title and top-ten ranking.

3. Pittsburgh

With Dion Lewis and that defense, the immediate future is looking very bright for Dave Wannstedt & Company.

4. Oklahoma

Simply put, Bob Stoops is too good of a coach, and there’s too much talent in that program, for the Sooners to spend another season outside of the Top 25.  Call this one a hunch.

5a. Stanford

Yes, the likely loss of Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart to the NFL leaves a void, but, as long as
Jim Harbaugh
doesn’t bol
t for the NFL and quarterback Andrew Luck stays healthy for the entire season, the Cardinal is poised to challenge Oregon for Pac-10 supremacy in 2010.

5b. Tennessee

Lane Kiffin made most of his news in 2009 for what he said and did off the field.  Behind all that brashness, however, he and his staff were quietly rebuilding a storied football program on the field.  They might be a year away, but it would be no surprise at all to see the Volunteers challenge for a BcS berth as early as this year.

FIVE TUMBLERSFive teams inside the final Top 25 who could struggle

1. Florida

Uncertainty surrounding Urban Meyer.  The loss of Tim Tebow.  A pair of talented juniors — Joe Haden and Aaron Hernandez — have already left early; up to five more, including two-fifths of the starting offensive line, could follow suit.  Charlie Strong left for the head coaching job at Louisville, and his presence will be missed.  If he does indeed return as expected, it will take the best coaching job of Meyer’s coaching career to keep the Gators on top of their lofty national perch.

2. Cincinnati

Butch Jones is a tremendous football coach, but make no mistake — losing Brian Kelly to Notre Dame will hurt this program.  This won’t be a free-fall — Kelly left too solid a foundation for that to happen — but Jones could struggle in his first year at a BcS school.

3. Penn State

Losing quarterback Daryll Clark to graduation and Navorro Bowman to the draft are huge blows to the Nittany Lions.  Evan Royster, get your rest.  The offense will be on your shoulders.

4. Texas

Losing Colt McCoy will have an effect on the Longhorns, although Garrett Gilbert showed in the BcS title game after being suddenly thrust into the spotlight that he has a bright future.  In 2011.  UT will dip a little bit in ’10 — not bottom out, mind you — but look out for a reloaded group in ’11.

5. LSU

In the first three years of Les Miles‘ tenure, the Tigers did not win less than 11 games in any season.  In the past two seasons, the Bayou Bengals have gone a very pedestrian 17-9, including an even 8-8 mark in SEC play.  The concerning part for LSU faithful, though, is that there is not much hope that a turnaround is in the offing at any point in the near future.  And, if Miles doesn’t turn it around in 2009, he could very well find himself on the coaching hot seat.  Especially if he continues to boggle the mind with mind-numbing clock management at the end of games.

EARLY-BIRD TOP FIVE

1. Alabama: They were the best team in the country throughout the 2009 season — regardless of what the polls said.  They return most of the key performers from their national title team.  No way you can keep this team out of the top spot entering the season.

2. Ohio State: (And let the whining and bitching commence…)  This is all predicated on the Terrelle Pryor that seemed to mature in one sixty-minute Rose Bowl game being the real deal.  And the fact that the five-time defending Big Ten champs lose almost no one of consequence.

3. Boise State: Why?  One, because I can, and two, because they convincingly beat the team — TCU — I felt should’ve been playing in the national title game.  And that same team returns 23 of 24 starters in 2010.  If a non-automatic qualifier is ever going to make a run at the BcS title game, next year’s Broncos have the best shot at it.

4. Texas: As the BcS runner-up, they will start roughly in this area if not higher.  It’s deserved, given their finish, but it’ll be too high come the end of the year.

5. Iowa: The only two games the Hawkeyes lost in 2009 were games where quarterback Ricky Stanzi was unavailable for either all or part of the games due to injury.  A healthy Stanzi and a dominating defense helped Iowa roll Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, setting the tone for what Hawkeye Nation hopes will be a run at the Big Ten crown.  If not more.

Veteran WRs coach Gunter Brewer joins Louisville staff

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After a brief foray in the NFL, Gunter Brewer is back in college football and, more specifically, back in the ACC.

Brewer was announced as Louisville’s wide receivers coach on Tuesday, completing Scott Satterfield‘s initial staff.

This will be Brewer’s fourth different tour of duty in the ACC. He joined the conference as a Wake Forest wide receiver in 1985-86, then joined the Deacons’ coaching staff as a strength and conditioning assistant in 1986-87. He returned to the conference as North Carolina’s wide receivers coach from 2000-04, then coached the Tar Heels’ wideouts again from 2012-17.

In between those stints, Brewer has coached wide receivers at East Tennessee State, Marshall, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss. He has tutored two Biletnikoff Award winners and a third finalist — Randy Moss at Marshall (1997 winner) and Dez Bryant (2008 finalist) and Justin Blackmon (2010 winner) at Oklahoma State. (Blackmon also won the honor in 2011, but Brewer was at Ole Miss by then.)

Brewer spent the 2018 campaign as the wide receivers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. His NFL stint ended with Alshon Jeffrey‘s drop against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional round.

Les Miles hires NAIA head coach to Kansas support staff

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Stay with me here, but Les Miles has made a smart, visionary hire to help his offensive coaching staff.

Bethel University head coach Brent Dearmon is leaving his post to become a senior offensive consultant at Kansas. The announcement was made by Bethel; KU has yet to confirm the hire.

“It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to come back home to Bethel and help rebuild the program,” Dearmon said in a statement. “This place will always be very a special place to me and my family. Bethel molded me into the player I was, the coach I am, and the man God designed me to be.”

Dearmon led Bethel, an NAIA school in McKenzie, Tenn., to its best season in school history. The Wildcats went 10-1, including an undefeated regular season and a ranking as high as No. 3, while averaging a staggering 55 points and 540.3 yards per game.

Dearmon’s offense was the highest scoring unit not just in NAIA, but all of college football.

Meanwhile, Kansas is still without an offensive coordinator after Chip Lindsey left to become the head coach at Troy.

“We are happy for Coach Dearmon and this opportunity for him but at the same time we regret to see him leave,” Bethel AD Dale Kelley said. “He did a marvelous job and the team was exciting to follow. The excitement around the program this past year was phenomenal. We wish him and his family the very best.”

The 2018 campaign was Dearmon’s first as head coach at Bethel, his alma mater. He had spent the previous three campaigns as the offensive coordinator at Division II Arkansas Tech, and prior to that deposited two seasons as an analyst on Gus Malzahn‘s staff at Auburn.

Missouri, Colorado reportedly ink home-and-home to celebrate Fifth Down anniversary

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Colorado and Missouri are set to reunite to celebrate the anniversary of one of the most infamous officiating gaffes in college football history, according to a pair of reports.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Friday that the Buffs and Tigers will play a home-and-home in 2025 and 2030, which was confirmed on Tuesday by CBS Sports‘s Dennis Dodd.

The 2025 game will be in Boulder and the 2030 game in Columbia, according to the Post-Dispatch. Specific dates have not been disclosed.

The pair will “honor” the anniversary of the famous Fifth Down game, an Oct. 6, 1990 game in which officials mistakenly gave Colorado two second downs in the closing moments of their meeting in Columbia. That mistake allowed Buffaloes quarterback Charles Johnson to score a 1-yard keeper as time expired, allowing Colorado to escape with a 33-31 win. Adding to the controversy, replays showed Johnson’s knee was down before the ball reached the goal line, but Colorado was allowed to keep its ill-gotten win and went on to share the 1990 national championship with Georgia Tech, the school’s only title.

Colorado and Mizzou have not met since both schools left the Big 12 following the 2010 season. Missouri won the final five games, including a 26-0 blanking in 2010, and holds a 41-31-3 all-time lead in a series that dates back to 1930.

The series will not be the first time either school faces a former Big 8/12 bunk mate since their respective departures. Missouri has a home-and-home with Kansas State set for 2022-23, while Colorado faces Texas A&M in 2019 and ’20, meets Nebraska in 2023-24 and squares off with Kansas State in 2027-28.

Colorado is set to open its 2025 season with Georgia Tech on Aug. 30 and visit Houston a week later. Mizzou has games with North Dakota, Miami (Ohio) and Massachusetts set for 2025. Neither team has another game on the docket for 2030 as of yet.

Penn State transfer TE Danny Dalton lands at Boston College

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One of the dozen(ish) members of the Penn State football program who has decided to transfer from the Nittany Lions this offseason has found himself a new college football home.

Over the weekend, Danny Dalton took to Twitter to announce that he has decided to transfer to Boston College and continue his playing career with the Eagles.  The tight end is on schedule to graduate from Penn State in June, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

Including the upcoming season, the Marshfield, Mass., native will have two years of eligibility remaining.

A three-star member of the Nittany Lions’ 2016 recruiting class, Dalton was the top-rated player at any position in the state of Massachusetts.  After not playing at all his first two seasons in Happy Valley, the 6-4, 247-pound redshirt sophomore appeared in three games