Indiana (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten) cannot wait to be out of Wisconsin’s division. Next year, when the Big Ten adds two members and reorganizes their divisions, the Hoosiers and Badgers will be split up with Indiana staying in the east division and Wisconsin moving to the west. The change could not have come soon enough for the Hoosiers, who were once again trounced by Wisconsin (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten).
Since the move to a division format in the Big Ten, Wisconsin has outscored Indiana 172-24, including Saturday’s 51-3 decision in Madison in favor of the Badgers. In this latest blowout, Wisconsin ran for over 500 yards of offense while James White rushed for over 205 yards and Melvin Gordon rushed for 146 yards. The two combined for two rushing touchdowns and receiver Jared Abbrederis added two rushing touchdowns while rushing for 86 yards as well.
The win keeps Wisconsin in the running for a return trip to Indianapolis to play in the Big Ten championship game, although the Badgers need two losses by Ohio State in the next couple of weeks and that appears highly unlikely. Wisconsin also needs to win their remaining games, which is entirely possible with a road trip to Minnesota next week and a regular season finale at home against a Penn State team that has struggled on the road all season.
It is likely too late for Wisconsin to make a push for a BCS at-large spot considering the traffic jam in front of them in the BCS standings, but the Badgers look to be on track for a good match-up in a New Years Day bowl game at the end of the season under new head coach Gary Andersen.
The Hoosiers now are in a tough spot in order to reach the postseason. To become bowl eligible Indiana must win their final two games of the season. The first hurdle remaining is Ohio State, so good luck with that Hoosiers.
Indiana does not play Wisconsin again until 2018, unless they happen to meet in the Big Ten Championship Game before then. Will the Hoosiers be able to prove they belong on the same field as Wisconsin by then?
As expected, Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck now has a brand new contract to remain the head coach of the Golden Gophers. After agreeing to terms on a new deal and the school officially recognizing the new deal last week, just before a monster of a win for the program, the contract has been given the final green light to become officially official after the Board of Regents voted to approve the terms of the new contract.
As previously reported, Fleck will have a new seven-year contract good through the 2026 season and the terms of the buyout were significantly increased to fend off would-be suitors looking for a new head coach this year on the coaching carousel, and potentially in the next few years as well before the buyout drops off in price. Of course, any school with deep enough pockets willing to pony up to get Fleck to be their guy will still make a phone call or two, but Fleck appears to be settled in with Minnesota for the foreseeable future.
In addition to Fleck seeing his own pay increase, Minnesota’s regents also signed off on providing more combined salary for an assistant coaching staff with an extra $1.05 million being placed in the budget for assistant coaches.
Now that all of that contract business is squared away, Fleck can continue to focus on Minnesota’s next task on the field. This week, Minnesota heads on the road to face Iowa in a pivotal Big Ten West Division game. The Gophers remain undefeated and have climbed to No. 8 in the College Football Playoff ranking. A win on the road against Iowa could set Minnesota up for a regular-season finale riding an 11-0 record and the division already clinched for a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.
It’s no wonder Minnesota decided to lock down Fleck while they still could.
We overlooked this one earlier in the week, but it’s a rather sizable piece of official news for Lane Kiffin‘s Florida Atlantic football program.
By way of the Palm Beach Post Tuesday, it has been confirmed that John Raine was recently awarded a fifth season of eligibility. The ruling will allow the senior tight end to play for the Owls in 2020.
A broken ankle cost Raine all but four games of his true freshman season in 2016, paving the way for the NCAA to rule in his favor on his appeal for another year of eligibility.
“I’m super excited about it,” Raine told the Post about the NCAA’s approval of a medical hardship waiver. “I love being here; I love playing football.”
With two regular-season games plus a bowl remaining, Rainer has already set career-highs in receptions (26), receiving yards (426) and receiving touchdowns (five). The touchdowns are tops on the Owls.
All good things, streaks in this particular case, must come to an end.
Saturday afternoon in South Bend, Notre Dame will play host to Navy in the 93rd renewal of their football rivalry. And, according to the South Bend Tribune, the game won’t be played in front of a sellout crowd at Notre Dame Stadium (capacity: 77,622), which is actually a startling development.
This weekend, you see, will mark the first time since Thanksgiving Day 1973 (vs. Air Force) that the Fighting Irish haven’t sold out a home football game, snapping a streak of 273 straight sellouts. Ahead of that streak being snapped, the Irish’s athletic director for the past dozen years, Jack Swarbrick, attempted to downplay the development.
From the Tribune:
It was never sort of important to me to keep it alive, but I understand why other people thought so. It’s a point of distinction to a lot of people and our fans.
“For me it’s always been: What’s the stadium environment like? Are we creating a great environment for our team and for our student-athletes? That you can say it’s also sold out is sort of a byproduct of that.
“But if my choice is (77,622) people in an environment that’s not really good versus 75,000 in a raucous environment, I’ll take the latter every time.
Notre Dame’s 237-game streak had been the second-longest active streak in college football behind Nebraska’s 373, which will move to 374 when Big Red hosts Wisconsin this weekend. The last time the Cornhuskers failed to sellout Memorial Stadium was during the 1962 season.
The field for the award that fetes the nation’s most versatile college football player has been whittled down significantly.
Earlier Thursday, the Louisville Sports Commission announced the four finalists for the 2019 Paul Hornung Award that have been chosen by the 17-member selection committee. And (surprise!), all four of the finalists come from Power Five conferences: Lynn Bowden Jr. (Kentucky), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU), Joe Reed (Virginia) and Wan’Dale Robinson (Nebraska).
All four of the finalists come from the offensive side of the ball and have spent time as return specialists as well. Because of injuries at the position, Bowden, listed as a wide receiver to start the season, has started the last three games at quarterback for UK, with the Wildcats going 2-1 in that span.
Reed is primarily a wide receiver and Edwards-Helaire a running back, while Robinson has split his time between both positions.
The 2018 winner of the Hornung Award was Purdue’s Rondale Moore, who likely would’ve been given serious finalist consideration again this year if not for his season essentially being derailed by a lingering hamstring injury.
For all of the statistical particulars for each candidate, click HERE the award’s press release: