CFT preseason No. 6: Oregon


2010 record: 12-1, 9-0 (1st Pac-10)

2010 bowl: 22-19 loss to Auburn in the BcS championship game

2010 final AP/coaches’ ranking: third/third

Coach: Chip Kelly, third year; 22-4 overall, 17-1 conference

Offensive coordinator: Mark Helfrich, third year

2010 offensive rankings: first, scoring offense (47 ppg); first, total offense (530.7 ypg); fourth, rushing offense (286.2 ypg); 39th, passing offense (244.5 ypg)

Defensive coordinator: Nick Aliotti, third year

2010 defensive rankings: 12th, scoring defense (18.7 ppg); 34th, total defense (346 ypg); 27th, rushing defense (128.1 ypg); 56th, passing defense (217.9 ypg)

Returning offensive starters: 6

Returning defensive starters: 5

Location: Eugene, Ore.

Stadium: Autzen Stadium (FieldTurf; 54,000 capacity)

Last league title: 2010

2011 schedule: [view]

2011 roster: [view]

2010 statistics: [view]

Snapshot: Coming off a close three-point loss in the BCS title game, perhaps I have the Ducks rated a little bit lower in the preseason poll than they should be or where others will likely slot them.

Then again, Oregon returns just half of its offensive/defensive starters from last year’s 12-win team, one of the lowest totals in the country. The offensive line alone will feature at least three new starters and could be a cause for concern early on, especially with a neutral-field game with LSU and their outstanding front seven looming in the opener. Lavasier Tunei is the lone returning starter at wide receiver, so there are some depth and experience concerns at that position as well.

That said, there’s almost no chance the Ducks won’t once again get off the bus scoring points, although it might be too tough of a challenge to replicate the 47 points per game they scored a year ago. Darron Thomas and LaMichael James, one of the most explosive and entertaining quarterback-running back combos in the country, return for another season, which means the offense will once again be in good hands despite some question marks at other positions. Largely overshadowed by that prolific offense, the Ducks possess a surprisingly good and very athletic, very quick defense, but that unit was hit hard by attrition and returns half their starters from a year ago. Additionally, All-American cornerback Cliff Harris will miss at least the first game of the season, costing the Ducks arguably their best and most important defensive player for the critical opener against the Tigers.

Given their schedule– they also play at Stanford and will host a vastly improved USC team — it will be tough for the Ducks to duplicate the first undefeated regular season in the modern history of the school. Certainly, though, a repeat is far from impossible.

Make-or-break game: Nov. 12 at Stanford

If all goes to plan, this game will likely decide which school will represent the North in the first-ever Pac-12 championship game almost a month later. Last season’s game in Eugene saw the Cardinal jumping out to a 21-3 first-quarter lead, and even led early in the third quarter, before the Ducks ran away with a 21-point win. This time around, the Ducks will have to travel to Palo Alto for a game that will determine not only the division frontrunner but the top conference dog as a whole as well.

Heisman hopeful:  James

After finishing last season third in the Heisman balloting, there’s little doubt James will be one of the preseason favorites on every major watch list published between now and the start of the season. There’s a very good reason for that, of course, as James rushed for more than 1,700 yards — averaging 5.9 yards per carry — to lead the country, and also added 21 touchdowns on the ground; that total was No. 2 in the nation. There’s nothing to suggest — well, a significantly revamped line could be a concern — that his production will not be at/near/above that 2010 level, meaning the junior will once again be in the thick of the Heisman hunt.

Postseason projection: Alamo Bowl

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Starting East Carolina DE Chance Purvis arrested on felony kidnapping charge, suspended

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For the second time this month, this time by way of a member of the East Carolina football program, a college football player is facing some serious off-field allegations.

According to, Chance Purvis was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count each of second-degree kidnapping and breaking/entering with intent to terrorize or injure.  Both of those charges are felonies.

No details of what led to the arrest and charges have been released thus far.

As a result of the arrest, though, the redshirt junior defensive end has been suspended by East Carolina football head coach Mike Houston.

“We are aware of the situation concerning Chance Purvis and consider these charges as very serious and completely unacceptable,” a statement from the coach began. “Chance has been suspended from all football-related activities until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation, but since this is a legal matter, any additional comment on our part would be inappropriate at this time.”

Purvis didn’t play at all his first two seasons with East Carolina football.  In 2018, the lineman played in 10 games, starting one of those contests.  This past season, Purvis started all 12 games for the Pirates.  He was second on the team in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (four).

Depending on how the off-field situation plays out, Purvis would be the only returning starting lineman on the defensive side of the ball for East Carolina football in 2020.

Purvis is actually the second East Carolina football player arrested this year.  Last month, Cortez Herrin was arrested on one felony count of possession with the intent to sell or distribute.  He’s also facing a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

When healthy, Herrin has been a part-time or full-time starter at left guard for ECU the past three seasons.

In 2018, Houston started all 12 games for the Pirates.  He made five starts in 2017 as well.  A knee injury in 2019 helped limit him to five starts.

Michigan State investigating allegations of NCAA violations committed under Mark Dantonio

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Mark Dantonio may have retired as the Michigan State football head coach, but his impact on the program will continue. On and off the field.

In May of 2017, Michigan State confirmed that the university had “parted ways” with Curtis Blackwell after opting not to renew the football staffer’s contract.  Blackwell, whose official title with the program was director of college advancement and performance, was suspended with pay February 9 of that year, the same day three unidentified Spartan football players were suspended in connection to sexual assault allegations.  While Blackwell was a part of the police investigations into the allegations, he was not accused of participating in the alleged sexual assault but rather failing to disclose information he knew about the incident.

In a lawsuit filed in November of 2018, which named Dantonio, among others, as a defendant, Blackwell alleged that his employment contract was violated when it wasn’t renewed by the university. According to recent court filings connected to that ongoing suit, Blackwell and his attornies are also alleging that NCAA violations were committed by Dantonio.


The mother of current Notre Dame defensive end Daelin Hayes said in an affidavit that Blackwell attended an in-home visit at their house in Michigan along with former head coach Dantonio and assistant coaches Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel. LaKeshia Neal, Hayes’ mother, also provided a photo of the coaches and Blackwell on that visit.

The NCAA has reached out to Hayes to ask about the incident, a source said. Per NCAA rules, Blackwell was not allowed to be part of off-campus recruiting during that time at Michigan State because he was not one of the program’s on-field coaches.

In documents filed two weeks ago, Blackwell alleged that Dantonio helped arrange jobs for the parents of an unnamed, high-profile recruit as well. The day after those documents were submitted, Dantonio abruptly announced his resignation.

Dantonio has claimed that the allegations had nothing to do with his decision to step down. One of Dantonio’s lawyers labeled the claims as “false, scandalous, and wholly unsupported accusations.”

As a result of the allegations made by Blackwell, the university — and the NCAA — is in the process of investigating the claims.

“We are aware of the allegations made by Curtis Blackwell as part of his litigation,” an MSU spokesperson stated. “As with any allegation concerning NCAA compliance, MSU is investigating and working with the NCAA and Big Ten. We have fully complied with our self-reporting obligations to the NCAA throughout this case.”

Feb. 12, Colorado’s Mel Tucker was hired by Michigan State football to replace Dantonio. As part of Tucker’s six-year contract, there is a clause that protects the new coach should Michigan State football be sanctioned by the NCAA for the actions of the previous coaching staff. The language of the deal calls for an additional year to be added to the length of the contract “as of the date the sanction takes effect or, if such sanction lasts more than one year, the six-year term will be extended to match the length of the sanction period.”

Colorado QB Blake Stenstrom heading to transfer portal

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Citing “circumstances beyond his control,” Colorado quarterback Blake Stenstrom has announced he is entering the transfer portal.

“[Due] to recent events and circumstances beyond my control, I have made the difficult decision that it is time for a new chapter in my football journey,” Stenstromg said in a statement posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon.”

While Stenstromg doesn’t say exactly what those circumstances beyond his control are, it could very well be the second head coaching and staff change in Boulder in the past two years. Stenstrom originally signed in Colorado’s Class of 2018 for former Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre. MacIntyre was relieved as head coach in 2018 and replaced by Mel Tucker. But after just one season in Boulder, Tucker has already moved on to become the new head coach at Michigan State. A third head coach and an entirely new staff in as many years makes for a tough situation for any college football player.

By entering the transfer portal, Stenstrom is free to have contact with any college football program. As is the case for all players entering the transfer portal, Stenstom may also withdraw his name from the portal at any time and remain at Colorado.

Stenstrom appeared in four games in 2019, in which he attempted three pass attempts and completed one for 12 yards. He was intercepted on one of his two other attempts. Stenstrom will have to sit out the 2020 season if he ends up transferring to another FBS program. After sitting out the 2020 season, Stenstrom will have two years of eligibility remaining. Of course, that could change very soon with the NCAA moving toward making it easier for players to have immediate eligibility with an approved waiver in their favor.

TCU grad assistant and former QB Kenny Hill promoted to offensive analyst

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Former TCU quarterback Kenny Hill is taking the next step up within the Horned Frogs family this year. Hill is being promoted from his role as a graduate assistant to the position of offensive analyst.

As an analyst, Hill will not be doing any direct coaching of TCU football players, but he will help break down film and prepare game plans for the offense. Analysts are not permitted to have any direct coaching interactions with players, but having a handful of analysts preparing game plans and breaking down film is never in short demand. This is especially true with power conference programs that can afford to pay a few more analysts to do the work.

Hill originally joined the TCU football family as a transfer quarterback from Texas A&M. After being granted a release from his scholarship by Texas A&M in early 2015, Hill officially joined TCU later that spring. After sitting out the 2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Hill led the Horned Frogs on an 11-3 campaign in 2016.

Hill returned to TCU after trying to land a job in professional football in 2018. Hill signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2018 but was released that summer. He later signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL.