CFT preseason No 20: Ohio State

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2010 record: 12-1, 7-1 (T-1st Big Ten; all wins since vacated)

2010 bowl: 31-26 Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas (win since vacated)

2010 final AP/coaches’ ranking: 5th/5th

Coach: Luke Fickell, first year

Offensive coordinator: Jim Bollman, 11th year

2010 offensive rankings: 11th, scoring offense (38.8 ppg); 20th, total offense (448.6 ypg); 14th, rushing offense (220.1 ypg); 54th, passing offense (228.8 ypg)

Defensive coordinator: Jim Heacock, seventh year; Paul Haynes, first year

2010 defensive rankings: fifth, scoring defense (14.3 ppg); fourth, total defense (262.2 ypg); third, rushing defense (96.7 ypg); eighth, passing defense (165.5 ypg)

Returning offensive starters: 6 (includes suspended players)

Returning defensive starters: 4

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Stadium: Ohio Stadium (FieldTurf; 102,329)

Last league title: 2010

2011 schedule: [view]

2011 roster: [view]

2010 statistics: [view]

Snapshot: Slotting the Buckeyes in my Top 25, when there’s a pretty good chance the offseason upheaval — especially the resignation of Jim Tressel — will render them a non-entity to at least some pollsters, is based on one thing and one thing only: Luke Fickell realizing sooner rather than later true freshman Braxton Miller is a better option at quarterback than senior Joe Bauserman or any of the other signal callers on the roster.

Losing Terrelle Pryor for the first five games of the season and then for eternity was bad enough; don’t compound the error by putting a player into the starting lineup just because that’s what the coach’s playbook — The Vest’s playbook — says to do. Yes, being sans last year’s leading rusher and receiver for the first five games would be tough on any QB let alone a true freshman — but how different would it be if those players were lost to graduation instead of a partial-season suspension? Look, the Buckeyes will play defense at or near a championship level like they do nearly every year despite losing more than half their starting defense. Dan ‘Boom’ Herron will be missed for the first half of the season, but there’s a load of talent behind him in the backfield; they need to step up and seize the opportunity that’s in front of them. Tight end Jake Stoneburner would be a wonderful security blanket for a young QB while he awaits the return of DeVier Posey, and as the other young receivers take the steps to fill the void at the position.

Pull the trigger on Miller, Fickell; he can handle it. You should be able to as well, especially as your future at your dream job could very well depend on it. Unless Urban Meyer has already moved into that house in the Columbus suburbs, then all bets are off and just do whatever you want.

Make-or-break game: Nov. 26 at Michigan

C’mon, it’s The Game. It’s the greatest rivalry in all of sports. This interstate hatefest is the dictionary definition of a make-or-break game; win it, what happened in the previous 11 games won’t matter. Lose it, and it won’t matter what happened in the previous 11 games, with the added bonus of having the opportunity to stew over the loss for another 365 days. For the first time in more than 2,900 days, though, it could very well be the Columbus school stewing for the next calendar year, given the “situation” they find themselves in and as That School Up North seeks to dig themselves out from under the RichRod wreckage.

Heisman hopeful: There isn’t a single player on this team for whom I could make even a hamstring-tear stretch of a case.

Postseason projection: Outback Bowl, with the assumption the NCAA will not enact a postseason ban as part of the program’s sanctions.

Return to CFT’s preseason Top 25

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WATCH: 338-pound Wisconsin nose tackle nails beach backflip

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Yeah, this is absolutely fantastic. And extremely impressive.

Up until now, Olive Sagapolu has been mainly known to most nationally for his prowess on the football field. Entering his fourth-year season in Madison, Sagapolu has started 23 games during his time with the Badgers, including 10 in a 2017 season that saw him earn honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.

As it turns out, though, Sagapolu’s athleticism isn’t confined to merely on the field as, in this video sent out through UW’s official football Twitter account, the 6-2, 336-pound starting nose tackle lands a backflip on a beach in Hawaii.

To repeat: the man in that video weighs 336 pounds. 336 pounds.

Then again, it shouldn’t be all that surprising given the fact that Sagapolu spent a portion of his senior year at football powerhouse Mater Dei High School in California as a member of the varsity cheerleading squad. Seriously.

“In a way, (cheerleading) does help because it shows how athletic I can be and I’m getting,” Sagapolu said by way of way back in August of 2015. “I mean, I’m about a 300-pound guy doing a backflip. You don’t really see that a lot. Doing these other kinds of tricks also helps with hand-eye coordination. It does help with football. …

“(People) were definitely surprised seeing me on the cheerleading team. They thought it was funny seeing… a big guy like me. For me, it is shocking to see the reaction from people’s faces. … Just the whole thing about cheerleading is very different from football. It was something I wanted to do for my senior year and have fun with it.”

Tennessee’s Will Ignont to have weed charge dismissed

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A legal journey for one Tennessee football player that began last year is coming to an end.

In October of 2017, former UT running back John Kelly and current Vols linebacker Will Ignont (pictured, left) were cited for marijuana possession following a traffic stop. Kelly was the driver of the vehicle, Ignont a passenger.

Tuesday, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported, Ignont “received a pass disposition and will have his charge dismissed with court costs assessed.” Kelly, selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2018 NFL draft, pleaded guilty in the same court appearance.

Both Ignont and Kelly were suspended for the Kentucky game as a result of the incident, but returned the following week.

Ignont was a four-star member of the Vols’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 16 inside linebacker in the country. He played in six games as a true freshman and was credited with six tackles, one of which went for a loss.

Georgia third string QB Stetson Bennett considering transfer

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Georgia lost quarterback Jacob Eason to a transfer, but gained a younger, more highly-regarded signal caller in Justin Fields with the 2018 recruiting class. With Fields on the roster and Jake Fromm not going anywhere, another Bulldog quarterback is considering leaving as well.

Stetson Bennett IV — who, outside of the current U.S. Attorney General, sports the best Southern name in circulation — has told Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart he might rather leave than spend his career as the No. 3 man in Athens.

“He’s looking at some different options,” Smart told the Macon Telegraph. “Stetson has done a tremendous job for us. We’re really excited what he has done for us. We’re exhausting every option to try to keep Stetson with us. We think he’s a very talented young man. I’ve spoke on behalf of that multiple times. We hope we keep him here. He has not made that decision yet.”

Listed at an even 6-foot-nothing and 172 pounds, Bennett was a successful quarterback at Pierce County High School and listed as a 2-star recruit before choosing to walk-on at Georgia rather than take scholarship offers from Group of 5 and FCS programs. Bennett redshirted as a freshman in 2017, sharing Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year honors with three other players.

Should Bennett transfer, his stature and walk-on status would draw easy comparisons to Baker Mayfield, which is ironic considering Bennett was tasked with mimicking the 2017 Heisman winner ahead of Georgia’s Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma.

Both of Bennett’s parents are Georgia graduates, so leaving would be a tough decision for the redshirt freshman.

“We need to keep Stetson there and help us,” Smart told the Telegraph. “We don’t really have many other guys to be honest. We have two young quarterbacks who will be walk-ons, who we think are good players. But we’ve invested a lot in Stetson with the development he took this spring, and with what he did in bowl practices. I’m excited to see what he can do. We’re encouraging him to stay so he gets that opportunity. I certainly respect what he has done this far for the University of Georgia and he’s a really good student as well. We’re selling him on the University of Georgia education.”

Tulane extends Willie Fritz through 2023

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Major news on the Kansas football front came down the pike Tuesday when Tulane announced it has extended head coach Willie Fritz through 2023.

Wait, what? Let’s back up a bit.

Kansas fired AD Sheahon Zenger on Monday, citing that a “change in leadership is necessary” because “progress in key areas has been elusive.” While Kansas chancellor Douglas Girod did not come out and say this move was related to football, he did feel the need to mention head coach David Beaty in his release announcing Zenger’s firing. “In addition, earlier today I spoke with Coach Beaty and shared my expectation that he will continue recruiting hard and getting his team ready for the season,” Girod said.

It doesn’t take Leonardo DiCaprio to read Girod’s thoughts here. Beaty is 3-33 in three seasons as KU’s head coach, including a 1-26 mark in Big 12 play. Coaches that average a win a year don’t typically last until Year 5. Just last year, Nebraska cleared out its AD so the new AD could fire the existing football coach and hire a new one, and it appears Kansas is headed down the same path later this year.

With Beaty apparently on his way out, I tweeted on Monday where Kansas should direct its incoming search.

Fritz-to-Kansas makes sense on a number of levels. Fritz is a proven program builder, a more-with-less guy that won at Blinn Junior College, Central Missouri, Sam Houston State, Georgia Southern and, now, Tulane. Overall, Fritz is 202-89-1 with two junior college national titles and conference championships in three separate leagues — all at places that have no business posting a collective .693 winning percentage. Simply put, Kansas is the rebuild job of the century, and there is not a more proven general contractor than Fritz.

And even better for Kansas, Fritz seems likely to take the job. He’s a Sunflower State native and at an age — 58 — where he’d likely take any Power 5 job offer that came his way, lest it be the last one.

All that said, it did not seem a coincidence that Tulane announced an extension for Fritz on Tuesday, who is 9-15 in two seasons with the Green Wave.

“I couldn’t be more excited with the direction in which our football program is headed,” Fritz said in a statement. “It is an absolute joy to coach at this institution. We have total buy-in from everyone on our staff to our administration, and I know we have a bright future.”

With Tulane being a private school, financial terms were not disclosed, but the key number will be the buyout.

Of course, Fritz could also pass on a potential Kansas offer. Or he may not get an offer. Or the job may not open at all. But even the prospect of an offer has already turned into a win for him.