College football had one more opening act before Monday’s BCS championship between Notre Dame and Alabama: the GoDaddy.com Bowl between Arkansas State and Kent State.
The Golden Flashes will be losing coach Darrell Hazell to Purdue, but Hazell wasn’t able to end his brief time with KSU on a positive note. The No. 25 Flashes fell to the Red Wolves 17-13.
A defensive battle, neither team was able to convert many third downs and two quarters — the first and fourth — didn’t feature any points scored. One of the more exciting players in the country, Kent State running back Dri Archer, scored a touchdown, but wasn’t nearly the factor he’s been during the season.
Speaking of missing game-changers, Arkansas State sorely missed its coach, Gus Malzahn, who will be the new coach at Auburn. The Red Wolves averaged about 36 points per game this season. Leading ASU going forward will be former Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin.
Kent State finishes the season with an 11-3 record while Arkansas State gets its 10th win on the year.
Now that we know Matt Campbell will not succeed Urban Meyer as Ohio State’s next head coach, Iowa State is getting down to business of keeping the 39-year-old in Ames for as long as possible.
Campbell signed a new 6-year, $22.5 million contract after last season’s 8-5 campaign that saw Iowa State register wins over then-No. 3 Oklahoma and then-No. 4 TCU, but the school wasn’t done investing in him.
On Sunday, Iowa State announced Campbell has signed an extension keeping him in Cyclone colors through 2024. While this extension doesn’t include a raise for Campbell — last year’s deal boosted his salary from $2.1 million to $3.5 million immediately — it does carry an additional $1 million for his assistants.
In addition to the $1 million Iowa State also committed last year, the school has now committed an extra $3.4 million annually to keeping Campbell and his assistants over the past 13 months.
“Coach Campbell and I had a great end-of-the-year meeting Friday and during our visit we mutually agreed to extend his contract to 2024 and further demonstrate Coach Campbell and the University’s commitment to one another,” Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited for our current players, fans and recruits to receive this great news.”
Iowa State’s assistant pool was $2.982 million in 2018 according to the USA Today salary database, putting the Cyclones 49th in the country. Adding another million would boost the Cyclones to 27th, based on 2018 figures.
Ranked No. 24 in the final College Football Playoff poll, Iowa State concluded the regular season at 8-4 and in third place in the Big 12. The Cyclones’ six conference wins are the most in the program’s 23-year history of Big 12 membership, and this year’s club was the closest Iowa State team to reaching the Big 12 Championship since the 2005 team that came within a game from winning their first (and only) Big 12 North title.
The Cyclones will finish Campbell’s third season against No. 13 Washington State in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28.
Tua Tagovailoa may have come in second in the Heisman race, but Saturday was still a winning night for Alabama.
While he was in New York with his quarterback, Nick Saban‘s recruiting machine was still humming at full capacity as the Crimson Tide managed to flip 5-star safety Dax Hill from Michigan.
A Tulsa native and the younger brother of Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill, Hill is the No. 8 overall player and the top safety in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
“This was a tough decision for me and my family but I have decided to de-commit from the University of Michigan and flip my commitment to the University of Alabama!!” Hill wrote in a Twitter post.
With Hill’s commitment, Alabama’s 24-man class has increased its lead for the No. 1 ranking in the 247Sports Composite team rankings. Alabama has a 25-point lead over Texas A&M for the top spot with a week and a half before the early signing period.
Hill’s loss means Michigan’s 23-man class now ranks 11th nationally and second in the Big Ten.
Go ahead and add another quarterback to the transfer market.
UTSA quarterback Bryce Rivers announced his intent to transfer on Saturday night. “After long talks with close friends and family, I think it is in my best interest to transfer from UTSA,” Rivers wrote in a note posted to his Twitter account.
A San Antonio native, Rivers backed up senior starter Dalton Sturm in 2017, appearing in just three games and throwing eight passes. He competed with junior Cordale Grundy for the starting role heading into 2018 but lost that battle.
By appearing in just three games, Rivers could use this season as a redshirt and play elsewhere as a redshirt junior in 2020.
Rumors popped up in the past week — from no less a source than former Ohio State wide receiver Cris Carter — that Jim Harbaugh was open to returning to the NFL. Tired of banging his head against the scarlet and gray wall in the Big Ten, the story went, Harbaugh would pack up his bags and leave Ann Arbor for a second time.
He was intrigued by the chance to coach Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, the rumors said. Maybe he’d cross Lake Erie and coach the Browns. Or maybe Dolphins owner and Michigan booster Stephen Ross could lure him to South Beach.
The story is wrong, Harbaugh said.
Speaking to ESPN on Sunday, Harbaugh said this:
“This is a choreographed message that comes up at this time every year before signing day. It’s people spreading messages to further their own personal agenda.
“But I’m on record right here, right now: I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying at Michigan. We have big plans here, and there’s a lot we want to accomplish.”
There are ways to deflect coaching rumors without outright confirming or denying them, but this isn’t that. It’s hard to be any more unequivocal than, “I’m staying at Michigan.”
Four years into his return to Michigan, Harbaugh has undeniably improved the program from where he found it, going 38-13 with two top-15 finishes and another on the way, though hasn’t lived up to the expectation that he’d wrest control of the Big Ten away from Urban Meyer and return the maize and blue to national prominence.
With Meyer leaving Columbus, the second stage of Harbaugh’s Michigan tenure will see even more pressure to push the Wolverines past the Buckeyes, once and for all. And it appears Harbaugh is open to the challenge.